• Dr A A Mundewadi

Polyarteritis Nodosa (PAN) – Modern Herbal Medicine (Allopathic) Versus Ayurveda

Updated: Mar 17

Polyarteritis nodosa (PAN) is a rare autoimmune disorder which involves generalized inflammation of small arteries in the body affecting mostly the skin, joints, peripheral nerves, intestines and kidneys, though the lings are usually spared. Common symptoms include fever, night sweats, weight loss, skin ulcerations or tender nodules, and severe muscle and joint pains, developing over weeks or months. PAN may be related to Hepatitis B and C infections, as also to genetic mutations. This disease can have serious long-term complications, especially if associated with intestinal, renal, heart or brain damage. Spontaneous bleeding from multiple sites can also prove to be fatal. PAN is therefore a very serious disorder which needs urgent attention.

Conservative treatment is usually with steroids and immune suppressant drugs. These medicines can be life-saving since they act immediately on the body and reduce or reverse inflammation, bleeding, organ damage and multiple organ failure. The overall outlook can thus be considerably improved with these medicines; however, the long term prognosis still remains grim. In addition to these limitations, both steroids and immune suppressants have considerable side effects when used in high doses or for prolonged periods.

Ayurvedic herbal treatment is very effective in comprehensively treating PAN including the inflammation and damage to arteries, as well as treating and preventing long term complications. Herbal medicines can treat inflamed arteries; reduce the formation of micro aneurysms; prevent blockage, infarct, ulceration and bleeding; and thereby prevent long term damage to the organs they supply. Herbal medicines can also induce healing in inflamed arteries without compromising on immunity. Associated symptoms, or known causes, such as hepatitis, and chronic infections, can also be be treated separately with appropriate herbs.

For a complete remission and to prevent long term relapses, the full spectrum of Ayurvedic treatment needs to be given, including detoxification, rejuvenation, and immune modulation. The various stages of these treatments need different medicines, while the herbs for treating the presenting symptoms and PAN pathology are continued concurrently. Depending upon the type of presentation, the severity of presenting symptoms, and the stage at which treatment has been commenced; Ayurvedic herbal treatment needs to be given from periods ranging from 4 months to nearly 18 months, in order to be able to fully treat all the clinical presentations of PAN (which can be quite varied).

To sum up, PAN is a serious disorder which needs prompt and aggressive treatment, failing which it can prove to be fatal. While modern treatment can definitely prove to be rapidly effective in controlling symptoms, it is not a satisfactory long term treatment modality. That said, for acute or emergency medical care, there is no alternative to a fully equipped modern intensive care medical unit.

Ayurvedic treatment is a slow starter and may not be recommended for an emergency situation; however, Ayurvedic herbal treatment can successfully manage and treat PAN on a long term basis, and significantly reduce morbidity and mortality resulting from this disease. Ayurvedic herbal treatment scores comprehensively on efficacy, safety, and affordability. Early commencement of treatment ensures a more complete cure and reduces the chances for long term complications or relapse. From the patients’ point of view, a judicious combination of modern and Ayurvedic treatment is the best choice to ensure a quick and complete recovery, while minimizing risk.

Polyarteritis nodosa, PAN, autoimmune disorder, Ayurvedic treatment, herbal medicines.

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