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Myasthenia Gravis: The Science behind this crippling Autoimmune Disorder & its Ayurvedic Treatment

Myasthenia Gravis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that affects the neuromuscular system, causing weakness and fatigue in the skeletal muscles. The condition is caused by a problem with the transmission of nerve impulses to the muscles, resulting in muscle weakness and fatigue.

Myasthenia gravis, or MG, affects a range of 50 to 200 individuals per million, with new diagnoses being made in 3 to 30 people per million annually. Despite the lack of a cure in modern medicine, an increase in awareness has led to more frequent diagnoses. However, alternative therapies such as Ayurvedic treatments may offer more promising results for managing symptoms.


The exact cause of Myasthenia Gravis is not fully understood, but it is believed to be an autoimmune disorder. In an autoimmune disorder, the body's immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy cells and tissues. In the case of Myasthenia Gravis, the immune system attacks the receptors for acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is essential for the transmission of nerve impulses to the muscles. This leads to a decrease in the number of acetylcholine receptors on the muscle cells, resulting in muscle weakness and fatigue.

Symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis can vary widely from person to person. Common symptoms include:

  • Weakness in the muscles of the eyes, face, throat, and limbs

  • Double vision or drooping eyelids

  • Difficulty speaking or swallowing

  • Fatigue and weakness that worsens with activity and improves with rest

  • Breathing difficulties

Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and can fluctuate throughout the day. Some people may experience a worsening of symptoms later in the day or after prolonged activity, while others may experience more severe symptoms in the morning.


Myasthenia gravis is typically diagnosed based on the symptoms and a physical examination. Additional tests may be performed, such as blood tests, electromyography (EMG), and a test called a Tensilon test. The Tensilon test involves the injection of a medication called edrophonium into the bloodstream. If the medication improves muscle strength in someone with Myasthenia Gravis, it is likely that the patient has the condition.


Western treatment for Myasthenia Gravis typically involves a combination of medications such as cholinesterase inhibitors, steroids and immunosuppressive medications, as well as therapy.


Ayurveda's Approach to treating Myasthenia Gravis


Myasthenia Gravis, while not directly correlated to any specific ailment within the Ayurvedic framework, shares numerous characteristics and symptoms with conditions classified as Vata-vyadi. Therefore, it is reasonable to approach its treatment according to the protocols established for such disorders.


In order for Panchakarma to be an effective treatment option for Myasthenia Gravis, a thorough assessment of the patient's physical and mental readiness for the detoxification process must be conducted. If deemed suitable, the patient would commence the treatment by undergoing Snehana and Swedhana Karma using oils known for their strengthening properties, such as Karpooradi taila and Kottamchukkadi taila. This will be followed by a course of Nasya Karma and Basti Karma for a duration of 14-21 days, utilizing oils and decoctions that are intended to further fortify the body, such as Anu Tailam, Mashabaladi Kwatha, Panchagavya Ghrita and Kethaki Mooladi tailam.


In addition to Panchakarma, the patient will be advised to consume herbal and mineral Ayurvedic preparations, designed to strengthen and nourish the neuromuscular system as well as manage and reduce Vata dosha, such as Ashwagandha, Kapikacchu, Guduchi Satwa etc.


Physical therapy and daily Abhyanga with nourishing oils are also an important aspect of treatment for Myasthenia Gravis. Physical therapy can help to improve muscle strength and function, and can also help to prevent muscle wasting. Occupational therapy may also be used to help patients with myasthenia gravis to manage daily activities and to conserve energy.


In some extreme cases, surgery may be recommended to remove the thymus gland. The thymus gland is thought to be involved in the development of Myasthenia Gravis, and removing it may help to improve symptoms.


While this is not suggested by Ayurveda, in some severe cases, where the patient is at risk of respiratory failure, plasmapheresis and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) may be used. Plasmapheresis is a procedure in which the patient's blood is removed, the plasma is separated from the blood cells, and the plasma is replaced with a solution containing albumin. IVIg is a treatment in which the patient receives infusions of immunoglobulin, a blood product that contains antibodies. Both of these treatments suppress the immune system and reduce the level of antibodies that are attacking the acetylcholine receptors. According to Ayurveda however, this will destroy the body's immunity, which would then need to be rebuilt.


In conclusion, the management of Myasthenia Gravis requires a multi-disciplinary approach that includes not only the use of medications and therapy, but also the incorporation of lifestyle changes, learning how to cope with stress and support from loved ones.



A well-balanced diet that includes nourishing warm foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as those that support the health of the immune system, can help to improve the overall well-being of patients with Myasthenia Gravis.


Additionally, it is important for patients to practice self-care and to avoid activities that may lead to muscle fatigue and weakness. This may include pacing oneself, avoiding overexertion, and getting adequate rest.


Emotional support from family and friends can also play a crucial role in the management of myasthenia gravis. Living with a chronic condition can be challenging, and it is important for patients to have a support system in place to help them cope with the emotional and psychological aspects of the disease. This may include joining a support group, meeting with a therapist, or simply having a trusted friend or family member to talk to.


In summary, the management of myasthenia gravis requires a comprehensive approach that addresses not only the physical symptoms of the condition, but also the emotional and psychological well-being of the patient. By incorporating lifestyle changes, diet and nutritional support, therapy and medication, and emotional support from loved ones, patients with myasthenia gravis can work towards improving their quality of life and managing their symptoms.



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