(Last Updated on : 25/05/2013)
Stree Rogam (Gynaecology) and Prasuti Tantra (Obstetrics) is one among the eight branches of Ayurveda
. Stree Rogam deals with identification, diagnosis, pathology and treatment of various diseases related to women while Prasuti tantra is concerned with the methods of achieving knowledge about reproductive dhatu(tissue), measures for maintaining healthy pregnancy, factors injurious to pregnancy, abortion and its management, factors responsible for the inhibition of foetal growth and its care, dietary and other care of a pregnant woman, child delivery and post natal care.
is the major text of Ayurveda where sage Agnivesa says that women are the source of progeny who are affected with many yoni disorders or genital problems. Hence the various diseases of yoni should be studied along with their origin, symptoms and prophylaxis and symptoms. Chaarka Samhita describes twenty different disorders, which occur in women.
Sometimes diseases of women arise due to intake of improper food and regimen. This ultimately results in imbalance of the three doshas -Vata, Pitta
and Kapha along with blood, present in the reproductive organ, giving rise to many diseases. Each disease has their own characteristic symbol, depending upon the combinations of the doshas involved. For example, when Vayu gets aggravated in the reproductive organs and genitals, it results in various kinds of pain, stiffness, a sense of ants crawling on the body, hardness or numbness of the vagina, exhaustion, rough and thin menstrual bleeding, a feeling of instant relief after the discharge of the menstrual blood etc. Similarly when Pitta is aggravated in reproductive organ, it gives rise to other types of symptoms like inflammation, burning sensation, swelling, fever, heat, discoloration of menstrual blood etc. When Kapha is aggravated a cold itching sensation in the genital takes place along with mild pain and pale menstrual flow.
In the Charaka Samhita text, the some of the common disorders in stree rogam and prasuti tantra are - bleeding after conception, painful discharge of menstrual blood with pain in the back, waist, thigh and groin, repeated abortions, non-retention of semen in the vagina, descended uterus, fleshy growth in the reproductive organ etc. Special attention is given in the Ayurvedic text about 'Pradaram' or excessive and heavy menstrual bleeding. This problem also persists today, which is solved by performing hysterectomy. In general, all chronic gynaecological disorders are treated first with the application of Panch Karma-the mild purification therapies. Oil is used both internally and externally along with mild diaphoresis is the most common form of the treatment. There are various combinations of decoction, pills, powder, paste, oil, ghee for internal use, pastes and ointments for external application. Apart from these medicinal tampons, vaginal douche and fumigations are also applied to cure the diseases.
Prasuti Tantra or obstetrics is very elaborately dealt in Ayurveda. The two most important things for a prasuti or pregnant woman is to deliver a normal and healthy child and the delivery should be normal free from any complications. A series of practice like good diet, regimen, medicines and physiological well being of a woman ensures a normal delivery to give birth to a healthy progeny.
It is also mentioned in the text what are the essential preconditions for the healthy conception. Healthy Sukra or semen and healthy artava or female reproductive tissue and a healthy Garvasayam or female reproductive organ are the most necessary. Ayurvedic treatments provide a unique treatment called Sodhana or cleansing whereby the reproductive tissues are free from affliction by the doshas. Thus the defects of man and woman can be minimized before cohabitation.
To maintain a healthy pregnancy, from the first month of conception the pregnant woman is given various herbal decoctions and simple medicinal preparations such as Dhanvantaram Gutika, Sukumara Rasayanam, decoction of Bala (Sida cordifolia) etc throughout the pregnancy. In the first three months especially the expecting mothers should take food
that is sweet, cold in potency and largely liquid in consistency. Milk and milk products like ghee, butter and rice, gruels prepared with sweet medicines are useful for the growth of the foetus. Sushruta recommends meat soup for the pregnant mother from the eighth month, which gives much strength. Apart from this application of medicated oils on the body and using the tampons soaked in medicinal oils helps in softening the placenta, pelvis, back and the waist. Medicated enema is applied in the eighth month, which helps in downward movement of vayu, elimination of urine and faeces easily and ensures a normal, trouble-free delivery.
In certain complicated cases, the vital fluid can be lost during the pregnancy and the foetus might shrink, stop gaining weight and remain in the uterus for the longer period without any growth. Similar condition might result from too much fasting also. In these conditions medication and treatment are administered so that the normality is restored. This helps in restoring the full growth of the foetus and eventually a normal delivery without any defect of the baby
Thus Prasuti tantra in Ayurveda was an important science of earlier period, which is very relevant even today.