Lifestyle Modification- An Ayurvedic Approach to Heart Disease


* Govt. Ayurved College, Nagpur.


Heart disease (hridroga) is a global phenomenon. It is now becoming a major health problem even in the developing countries. The predisposing factors are hereditary, high blood pressure, diabetes, high serum cholesterol and smoking. The way one lives life and the way one feels appear as quite important factors in the increasing incidents of HD. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences recently held a conference where doctors from around the world discussed the efficacy of Ayurvedic drugs in relation to heart diseases.

The medical fraternity agreed that India’s ancient stream of Medicine has some miracle cures for the cardio-vascular diseases. Cardiovascular problems have been dealt with at length in Ayurveda, which describes ‘Hridaya’ (heart) as a body organ governing emotions and circulating blood to keep person alive and healthy. Heart disease before the age of 80 is not God’s will but is due to our own faults. Heart has major role in our body system. In Ayurveda, heart is concerned not only for its physical value, but also for its mental and spiritual values, thus the care of heart is given utmost importance.

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According to ancient Indian philosophy and Ayurveda, heart takes higher position not only by its anatomical and physiological importance but also by its mental and spiritual value. In Ayurveda heart is the seat of Par Oja, Vyan Vayu, Sadhaka Pitta, Avalambak Kapha and Mana. According to Charaka, heart has been mentioned as the seat of consciousness. The human body consists of six components (four limbs, trunk, head and neck), the Indriyas (five sense organs), the wisdom, the mind and the soul – all of these are dependent upon normal functioning of the heart.

The ancient Indian physicians postulated basic principles for the maintenance of normal positive health and pronounced certain preventive measures against the cardiac ailments like –

  • Achar – decent conduct
  • Ahaar – Proper intake
  • Vyayaam – physical exercise
  • Yoga




Vyayamaattikshnaativirechakva stichintabhaytrasgadaatichaara Chardaamsandharankarsonan ihaidogkartanithataabhigath (Ch. Chikitsa xxvi / 70)

  • Physical exertion
  • Drastic and excessive purgation and enema
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Terror
  • Faulty management of disorder
  • Suppression of vomiting and ama
  • Injury



Vaivarnyamaruchijwarakasahikkach washaasyavairasyatrishnapramoha Chardikaphoutklesharujoaruc hishchahridrogajashuviryavi ruddhasthaannyte.

(Ch. Chikitsa xxvi /71)

  • Abnormal complexion
  • Fainting
  • Fever due to inflammatory heart disease
  • Cough
  • Hiccough due to mitral regurgitation or stenosis
  • Breathlessness
  • Distaste of mouth due to coronary insufficiency
  • Tendency of emesis
  • Anorexia
  • Thirst
  • Chest pain
  • Giddiness




Classic symptoms of a heart attack may include –

  • Chest pain (tightness, fullness, a pressure or an ache) associated with shortness of breath.
  • Profuse sweating
  • Nausea Unfortunately, many people do not have these classic signs.


Other signs and symptoms of heart attack may include –

  • Indigestion
  • Jaw ache
  • Pain only in shoulder or arm
  • Shortness of breath or nausea or vomiting




Ayurveda is very much concerned about conservation of health. It presumes that improper dietary habits give rise to various disorders. Practice of dietary measures recommended in Ayurveda while elaborating ‘Medoroga Chikitsa’ will definitely be useful in weight reduction. It could be helpful to minimize the risk of fatty cholesterol deposits and could prevent complication of high blood pressure. This way vicious cycle leading to heart attack can be broken.




  1. Meditation in Ayurveda – this is often a first treatment for heart disease. Meditation lowers resting heart rate, decreases blood pressure, and reduces the production of noradrenalin, which indirectly affects the metabolism of glucose, lipids, and many neurotransmitters. Yoga postures and breathing exercises offer synergistic benefits.
  2. Maintain a healthy diet – The ideal portion of food in Ayurvedic practice is equal to an amount that fits in patient’s two cupped palms. Eating three meals at regular times each day trains the body to prepare for digesting the food. A sluggish digestive system will probably respond to a fresh slice of ginger dressed with limejuice and a pinch of salt. One should avoid heavy dinners and late – night snacks.
  3. Select natural foods – Choose plenty of fresh fruits, dress vegetables with fresh limejuice, eat blanched almonds, and add fresh ground black pepper and the spice turmeric. Avoid processed foods and leftovers; rich deep-fried foods, and cold, heavy foods.
  4. Avoid alcohol, drugs and smoking Ayurveda recommends internal cleansing with every change of season to help the body flush out impurities, especially in the digestive tract. Drink plenty of warm water during the day and go to bed by 10 pm to help the body cleanse itself during the natural purification time.
  5. Cultivate emotional health – Ayurveda encourages a holistic approach to heart health that views the heart as the source of all emotions. Stress disrupts emotional balance. Several Ayurvedic herbs are known for their positive influence on the emotions.
  6. Cultivate happiness Avoid excess stress. Focus on positive attitude, emotions, and activities increase Ojas – the substance that maintains life. Ojas leads to contentment, bliss, vitality, and longevity.
  7. Exercise daily – Make gentle exercise like walking, a regular activity. A 30 minute walk early in the morning is ideal.
  8. Get plenty of sleep – Ayurveda considers sleep as just important as diet in maintaining health. Research has linked sleep deprivation to depression, blood pressure and related problems and other issues that increase the risk of heart disease. Choose calm, restful activities during the evening to help the mind to disconnect from the senses. Keep the bedroom temperature comfortable and the space clear of television, computers and work related material.
  9. Ayurvedic medications Terminalia Arjuna, Rasona, Jaharmohara, Trifalaguggulu, Comifera Mukul etc are very effective drugs. These should be taken under the proper guidance of a Ayurvedic Practitionar.

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