Chronic Renal Failure is a disease affecting the kidneys, in which there is a gradual decline in kidney function and urine output over time. Mild kidney disease can lead to increased blood pressure and frequent urination at night. Moderate disease can lead to mild anemia and increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and other diseases. However, severe decline in kidney function leads to excessive retention of waste products in the body (a condition called “uremia”), for which heamodialysis or peritoneal dialysis is necessary. Kidney failure is a serious disease, and all affected patients should be under the supervision and treatment of an experienced and qualified Urologist.
Chronic renal failure is known in Ayurveda as “Mutra-Kshaya”. While the physiology of production of urine in Ayurveda is quite different from that of modern medicine, the ancient Ayurvedic texts recognized the importance of chronic kidney failure, and gave it due consideration and importance.
Traditional Ayurvedic medicines which are useful in chronic renal failure are: Gokshuradi Guggulu, Punarnava Guggulu, Punarnavadi Qadha(decoction), Arogya Vardhini, Chandraprabha Vati, Gomutra Haritaki, Surya Kshar and Yava Kshar. Single herbal medicines useful in this condition are: Gokshur (Tribulus terrestris), Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa), Shilajit (Purified Bitumen), Varun (Crataeva nurvala), Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia),Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Apamarg (Achyranthus aspera) and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula).
According to Ayurveda, the kidneys are made up of a combination of two tissues, “Rakta” and “Meda”. It is believed that the medicines which act on these two tissues also act upon the kidneys and help to preserve and restore function. Some of these medicines are: Patol (Tricosanthe dioica), Saariva, Patha (Cissampelos pareira), Musta (Cyperus rotundus), Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Chirayta (Swertia chirata), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Chandan (Santalum album) and Shunthi (Zinziber officinalis).
Some Ayurvedic physicians recommend a soup made from the intestines of goat to improve kidney function and urine output. Yet others recommend rice and jowar, processed like popcorn, to be eaten in large quantities.
Multiple courses of “Basti” or medicated enemas, both the “Anuvasan” and “Niruh” types, are recommended. It is believed that this treatment modality acts upon the “Apana Vayu” which in turn acts upon the kidneys and improves kidney function.
Ayurvedic treatment, taken regularly for prolonged periods, may help to reduce the frequency of dialysis and improve kidney function. However, the decision to reduce or stop dialysis should be taken by the attending Urologist, and not by the patient.