Ageing Brain-Ayurvedic Perspective

17 Feb

Brain–Ayurvedic Concept Mastishka is the term used for the organ situated in Shirah Pradesh . Various Dhatus compose this organ. Mastulunga (a type of Sneha ) is the main among them, hence sometimes Mastishka is also known as Mastishka is the site for all Dnyanendriyas and Karmendriyas which perform activity of perception and motor activities along with mental functioning. It is one of the main Marma . ( Marma is the vital part of the body.)

The Tridoshas  viz Vata, Pitta and Kapha are active all over the body. These are sub-typed according to the functions and site of activity. Seven Dhtus are the structural units of the body. Tridoshas and Sapta Dhatus, togetherly compose  / form / develop / make various body organs.

1.1    Composition of Mastishka / Mastulunga —

Prana Vayu

Udana Vayu

Alochaka Pitta

Sadhaka Pitta

Tarpaka Kapha

Majja  ( can be correlated with a kind of Nervous Tissue)

Medo Dhatu ( can be correlated with a kind of fatty Tissue)

Rakta ( can be correlated with blood)

Vasa ( can be correlated with a kind of fatty Tissue)

Composition of brain acc. to modern medical science

1.2    Functioning of Mastishka / Mastulunga —

In normal state, Prana Vayugives stimulation to Indriyas for perception and conduction of Impulses. Udana Vayu is responsible for enthusiasm, memory, initiation and Urja (inner energy). Alochaka Pitta and Sadhaka Pitta are responsible for intellectual activities. Tarpaka Kapha nourishes all Indriyas. Rtakta is supplier of nutrients Medo Dhatu and Vas aprovide suitable environment for all functions and frictionless conduction of impulses. Majja is substratum for all activities.

When all these are in proper status, Brain is in ACTIVE phase.

1.3    Ageing of Mastishka / Mastulunga —

Old Age is inevitable and last phase of the body which is followed by death. Death in / due to old age is considered as Normal  /  Natural Death The passage of time also effect the span of life. The life span at the beginning of creation was 400 years,which gradually started decreasing in the Tretayuga,Dvaparayug and in kaliyug.It becomes the lowest the rate of diminishing of lifespan mentioned in Charaka Samhita is one year after the passage of 1\100 th of the yuga.(Cha. Vi.3\24 to 27and chakrapani commentary) On this basis,it may be stated that with passage of time the life span of human beings is also decreasing.Acharya Sushruta has devided Jara int two groups.1-Kalaja  jara.(timely ageing ) and 2-Akalaja Jara.(premature ageing) The appearance of signs and symptoms of Jara before the age of 60\70 years may be defined as Akalaja Jara.It occurs before the scheduled age for not taking the care of swasthavritta and not getting shodhana(purification) done at the proper time as mentioned in Ayurveda.According to Acharya Dalhana the main cause of Akalaja Jara is once carelessness towards his health.He further mentioned that Akalaja Jara(premature ageing) can be cured successfully with Rasayana Therapy while Kalaja Jara requires continuous care since it is of Yapya type(it can just check or delay the ageing process for sometime).(life span of present era, years of natural ageing acc to this span)
The same symptoms of ageing may occur prior to ‘old’ phase of the body which is called Early Ageing.
This whole description is given in the first part. Here, discussion is restricted to Ageing of Brain only.
Three points are needed repetition here.

1 Abnormal status of Dhatus- especially Dhatu-Kshaya and Dhatu-Shaithilya. (explanation of these terms in modern language)

1 Prana Vaha Srotasa Shwaskrichrata(dysopnea)
2 Udaka Vaha Srotasa Nisthivana(expectration)
3 Anna Vaha Srotasa Agnimandya,aruchi(loss of apetite,anorexia)
4 Rasa Vaha Srotasa Twakshaithilya,Vali,
rukshata(loss of skin luster,elasticity)
5 Rakta Vaha Srotasa Dhamanikathinya(Atherosclerosis)
6 MamsaVaha Srotasa Mamsashaithilya(flabbiness
of muscles),Karshya(weightloss)
7 Medo Vaha Srotasa Twakparushya(roughness of skin.)
8 AsthiVaha Srotasa Asthibhangurta(osteoporosis),
Shlthasthisandhita(flabbiness of joints)
9 MajjaVaha Srotasa Asthisaushirya(osteoporosis)
10 Shukra Vaha Srotasa Shukralpta(oligospermia)
Jarajanya klaibya(impotency)
11 Mutra Vaha Srotasa Mutrakrichrata(urinary incontinence)
12 Purisha Vaha Srotasa Malaavashtambha(constipation)
13 ManoVaha Srotasa Smritinash(loss of memory)


2. Aggravation of Vata Dosha.-Achrya Charaka has coined the word vat dhatu prayah meaning the possibility of predominant unvitiated vatic qualities in the old age.The progression of ageing with dhatu kashaya again adds to the increase in the vata dosha.The features like prabhahani(loss of skin lustor),palitya(graying of hair),vali(wrinkling of skin) denotes the excessive activity of pitta dosha in the old age .Depletion of dhatu,loss of virility and bala denotes the activity of kapha dosha.

3. Ojah-Kshaya – Ojas- essence of Saptadhatus & basic factor of immune system.

In ageing phase, these disturbed mechanisms are effectively exhibited all over the body; same is the case for brain.

1.4 Causative factors for brain ageing—

So many causes are discussed in the earlier part. Almost all are applicable to brain also. Here, only two of them are discussed which are found with high % in present day life style. These two are not psychological but affect the body to great extent.

A) Excess consumption of Teeksna Substances

Alcohol, various preservatives etc are the examples of Teekshna Guna as stated previously. This damages Brain tissue. Teekshna Guna has penetrating capacity, it damages inner & / or outer wall of cells, cell-membrane , even inner structures of cell like mitochondria etc. It also loosens intermolecular and intra molecular bonds of Dhatus leading to Shaithilya.

(Mansa Shaithilya leads to Dhamani Shaithilya, Rakta Dushti / Kshaya leads to Sira Shaithilya)

B)Deficiency of Snigdha substances

Deficiency of Snigdha Guna  ultimately results in excessive Raukshya i e roughness of the surface even at micro level(area of very very small circumference) .This develops obstructions or frictions in the pathways of transportation of perception and motor conductions. Similarly, transportation of various nutrients is also obstructed. Such lack of nutrients leads to DhatuKshaya.

1.5 Ageing process in Brain—

Collectively, these cause Structural as well as Functional loss of the organ. Nourishment of Dhatus is disturbed to great extent due to Shaithilya and Kshaya, ultimately resulting in shrinking of brain. Step by step de-functioning leads to increased risk of Infarction.

Indriya-Karma-Hani – impaired functioning of sensory organs and motor functioning is observed alongwith declined intellectual activities and Mano-Gati-Nasha. (Mind is the main functional unit in the process of perception, thinking process and other intellectual activities. Mano-Gati-Nasha means  ????? explanation in modern science’s words )

Cognitive problems Behavioural Problems
Memory loss Agitation
Poor concentration Personality changes
Visuo_spatial difficulties Abnormal eating behaviour
Non-specific focal cortical damage Wandering
Speechand language defect Mood disorder
Focal neurological deficits Anxiety,phobias,fears
Loss of language Restleessness
Inability to recognize self and others Delusions
Seizures Hallucinations,illusions
Disturbances of muscle rigidity and gait Shouting,rage,violence
Bladder and bowel incontinence Disinhibition
Total confinement to bed Compulsive behaviour

Normal age related changes in the brain

1-Reduction in brain size.Enlarged ventricles,loss of neuronsand accumulation of end products of metabolism.

2-Reduction in efficiency of neural transmission

3-Age Associated Memory Impairment.(AAMI)

4-Dementia-impaired memory,disturbances of language functions and visio-spatial skills,variety of behavioural problems.pathological conditions causing dementia

i)Degenerative diseases-Alzheimer’sdisease,Parkinsons’s disease

ii)Vascullar-multi-infact dementia


iv)SOL-subdural hematoma.

1.6 Expression of Aging Brain—

As a result, ageing brain is expressed with various characteristics; a few of them are –

  • Impaired memory
  • Reduction in efficacy of Neural transmissions — (Alzheimer’s Disease)
  • Disturbance in speech
  • Varied behavior
  • Loss of Confidence
  • Cognitive Problems
  • Psychological Imbalance


Protein / fat  Synthesis abnormality —– Hummington’s disease —– Mansa / Medodhatu Shaithilya / Mansavaha / Medovaha  Srotodushti —–compare if possible

1.7 Line of Treatment—

  • Two fold treatment is needed simultaneously — Structural Restoration and Functional Restoration
  • Abhyangya(oil massage)Acharya wagbhata mentioned that oil massage check the process of ageing.
  • Nasya therapy(brihana)-medicated oil restores the normal function of tarpak kapha.


Structural Restoration–
  • — Rakta –Prasadana
  • — Medo – Poshana
  • — Majja – Poshana
 Functional Restoration
  • — Activation of Tarpaka Kapha for Proper functioning of Indriyas
  • — Maintainance of ‘Avyahata-Gati’ of Prana & Udana Vayu for smooth conduction of impulses.Avyahata Gati is the movement or course through specific pathway, during specific time and with specific speed. This results in normal & smooth conduction of impulses and also normalcy in Mano-Gati and in creation of Urja – the inner energy.
  • — Medya Rasayana –Bramhi(bacoppa monneri)-Guduchi(Tinospora cordifolia)Yashti madhu(glyceria glabra)Shankhapushpi are considered to be helpful as mentioned in Charka Samhita
  • Stimulation of Alochaka Pitta for positive intellectual activities


1.8 Drug of choice – Siddha Ghrita—-

Achievement of all such effects is possible with proper selection of Drug. Though, so many drugs are listed earlier; here, Siddha Ghrita is discussed.

Goghrita is expected here which is a derivative of cow’s milk. This Ghee when medicated with Aushadhis , called as ‘Siddha Ghrita’. It assimilates properties of Aushadhis and also retains its own properties ; thus exhibits desired effects.

***Properties of Goghrita–

•Pacifies Tridoshas

•Nourishes Medo Dhatu & Majja – thus helps in building up molecules??? / Tissues

•Improves Memory

•Activates Digestion


•Passes through Blood Brain Barriers àacts directly on Brain Tissue-à enhances Structural and Functional restoration of Brain if medicated with proper Aushadhis

*** Chemical analysis of Goghrita–

•65 % saturated fats – short chain acids

•30% mono saturated fats

•5% poly-unsaturated fats

•Good source of Vit. A D E K

•Linoleic Acid – proven anti cancerous and antioxidant properties.

Herbs are to be selected as per the required effect.

Date: 17th February 2011

Author: Dr. Santosh Chavan — B.A.M.S, M.D.(Ay. Medicine)

About: Dr. Santosh Chavan has studied at the National Institute of Ayurveda, Jaipur by Govt. of India and is an Associate professor in Dept. of Panchakarma Bharti Vidyapeeth. He is also pursuing Ph.D in Panchakarma. He is also on the panel consultant atthe Deenanath Mangeshkar Memorial hospital Ayurveda Department in Pune and is independently practicing in 2 places in Pune. Dr. Santosh Chavan has a website from WebsiteForDoctors


+91 9822249807


One Response to “Ageing Brain-Ayurvedic Perspective”


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