Rattle of the throat in the morning and evening, hoarse voice, dry cough; or sputum with flecks of blood, or bloody vomiting; feeling slightly feverish from evening on; pain in the chest and back; general debility; and sweating at night – especially sweating of the head – are the main symptoms of tuberculosis.
Causes: Tuberculosis germs are present in almost all human bodies in greater or lesser numbers. So long as the strength of the blood and vitality of the human body remain normal, tuberculosis germs cannot do any harm or cause any disease. If, however, the strength and purity of the blood break down for any specific reason, then the tuberculosis germs get a chance to settle in different glands and joints and start multiplying.
Persons with pure blood usually have sound lungs – that is why it is not possible for tuberculosis germs to attack them. [[But when the strength of the lungs declines due to weakening of the blood, the germs succeed in establishing a foothold in them.]] Under such circumstances, to maintain their own health, the lungs try to expel the germs. This attempt takes the form of coughing.
Such coughing is a natural phenomenon to keep the body free of mucus and is not at all harmful. The best way to recognize this harmless type of cough is that there is almost some phlegm or mucus coming out with it. But when the cough happens to be dry and persists day after day, then it should be understood that there must be something seriously wrong in the system or that the tuberculosis germs are trying to dig into the lungs with all their might. This condition is the first stage of tuberculosis. In this stage there is usually a feeling of general debility, accompanied by night sweats – other symptoms are not so fully expressed.
In the subsequent stage of the disease, nature starts forming mucus around the diseased parts of the body in order to keep the internal organs strong and active. That is why a little bit of mucus is usually brought up while coughing. After the germ has managed to acquire a firm foothold in the lungs, the mucus also shows some flecks of blood, and the patient suffers from pain in the chest and back. Due to obstruction of the natural movement of the body’s fluids, a rattling sound and hoarseness appear in the throat. In the evening a fever of 99-100 degrees F occurs. Sometimes the patient vomits blood also.
“Begarodhát kśayácchaeva sáhasádviśamáshanát” – that is, when the fluid elements or the vital energy of the body becomes obstructed, people suffer an attack of tuberculosis. When tuberculosis attacks as a result of such obstructions, patients become emaciated and lose strength of mind within a short passage of time.
The final essence of the human body is shukra. As butter is obtained by churning milk, similarly the essence of the blood turns into shukra. Due to the excessive wasting of this essence of the body, shukra, the blood becomes lifeless and the vital energy decreases. As a result, tuberculosis germs easily get a chance to acquire a foothold in the body.
If people labour beyond their capacity, whether just taking a risk, or driven by the mentality of gaining applause or by financial greed, then their vital energy is reduced and tuberculosis may attack.
If any person is long habituated to eating badly-combined foods, such as meat, fish, eggs and similar támasika foods immediately before or after milk, kśiira (a kind of rice pudding) and similar sáttvika(1) foods, then those foods create a favourable condition in the body for tuberculosis.
Overeating day after day when one is only a little hungry or not hungry at all is also a bad food habit. Such harmful habits encourage tuberculosis germs.
If one for a long time cannot obtain enough food or takes unnutritious food, that is also a bad food habit. In most cases such habits are the main cause of tuberculosis.
There are many other possible reasons for this disease, such as: Blood weakened by acidity due to excessive use of intoxicants. Liver, blood and digestive organs weakened by taking too much non-vegetarian food.
Weakening of nerves, veins, arteries and glands of the pelvis by too much indulgence in sexual intercourse.
Living in unhealthy surroundings.
Too many persons living crowded together.
Close contact with tuberculosis patients.
Drinking the milk of tuberculous animals or eating their meat.
One has to remember in this context that wild birds and animals hardly ever suffer from this disease, whereas it often breaks out among domestic animals such as cattle, horses, ducks, hens, etc. Those persons who have not suffered from tuberculosis even when they have been using the milk or meat of domestic animals for a long time can be presumed to possess exceptionally great vital energy.
Among the domestic animals, goats, sheep, dogs, cats and rabbits are seldom found to suffer from tuberculosis. That is why ancient people used to advise tuberculosis patients to live in close proximity to rabbits. In the Hindu Puráńas (mythology) it is said that the moon also once suffered from this disease, and since that time has kept a rabbit on his lap to counter the disease. Therefore another name for the moon in the Puráńas is “Shasháuṋka” (the Saḿskrta word for “rabbit” is “Shasha”).
Extreme mental exhaustion and despondency in life also destroy people’s vital energy, and as a result, tuberculosis may strike. Tuberculosis of the lungs, or pulmonary tuberculosis, can very quickly destroy the vitality. For this reason pulmonary tuberculosis is the most dangerous kind. However, tuberculosis germs can strike any part of the body, and the causes are the same wherever it strikes.
One who does not suffer from constipation nor wastes his semen seldom becomes a victim of tuberculosis. This is because, in the first place, in such persons there is no possibility for undigested food, stool or unassimilated pitta to cause any contaminated gas or to breed any kind of harmful bacteria. And in the second place, the sufficient supply of lymph provides vitality to the blood and thereby strength to the body.
Maláyattaḿ balaḿ puḿsáḿ
Shukráyattam ca jiivitaḿ.
[One who has control over the bowels grows stronger, And one who has control over his semen enjoys long life.]
Treatment: Morning – Utkśepa Mudrá, Karmásana, Agnisára Mudrá, Matsyendrásana, Diirgha Prańáma, Yogamudrá, Bhújauṋgásana and Váyavii Mudrá or Váyavii Práńáyáma.
Evening – Sarváuṋgásana, Matsyamudrá, Naokásana, Utkat́a Paschimottánásana and Agnisára Mudrá.
Diet: Due to deficiency in blood and in body fluids, tuberculosis patients lose vigour very quickly; so tuberculosis patients should take easily-digestible and nutritious foods. One should never eat very much food at a time. Foods that may cause constipation should be carefully avoided. Depending on the condition of the liver, one should drink sufficient cow’s milk, goat’s milk, peanut milk or coconut milk. Spices, meat, eggs, ghee and átapa rice should not be taken until the disease has been completely cured, because such types of food cause constipation.
As with most other diseases, acidic food should be avoided. Instead, alkaline types of food, such as sweet and sour fruits and roots of all varieties, and soup of green vegetables, are ideal for tuberculosis patients.
Critically-ill patients should not take anything other than lemon juice and fruit juices. Afterwards, as the critical stage of the disease abates, they should eat nutritious yet easily-digestible food of alkaline type as far as possible. Non-vegetarian may be permitted to eat soup of small fish made with a little spice. It is far better for tuberculosis patients to use honey than raw or refined sugar. At night, rut́i instead of rice should be served. They should also consume about two-and-a-half to three seers of water daily, but never more than one-eighth seer at a time. Fasting without water is strictly forbidden for all tuberculosis patients.
Dos and don’ts: Tuberculosis patients should never exert themselves physically. If the health-permits, it will of course be beneficial for them to take a walk through an open field in a light and happy mood. Taking Vyápaka Snána daily and having sunbaths in summer and winter at a proper time (See Appendix) are also very useful in the cure of the disease. As far as possible, sun-baths should be taken completely naked and over the whole body. After the sun-bath is over, the whole body should be wiped with a wet towel.
Patients should always try to retain confidence and strength of mind. They should not allow despondency about the disease to get the upper hand in their minds.
A patient’s bedroom and bed must be dry, and there must be good ventilation and lighting. On the whole, the more patients remain in natural surroundings the better; they should guard against cold or sudden gusts of wind by covering their bodies with a wrapper of some kind. It will harm them if they are not allowed to take baths or if they are confined indoors for fear of their catching cold, because such restrictions will rapidly diminish their power of resistance.
Too much talking, sexual intercourse, eating together with healthy person, etc., are strictly forbidden. Removing the body hair is not advisable, but their bodies should always be kept very neat and clean.
Tuberculosis patients should also avoid staying awake at night, travelling from one place to another, and engaging in mental exertion. If they vomit blood, they should not get scared, but take Vyápaka Shaoca Kriyá at once, washing the head, then place a wet towel on the chest and keep it there until they feel better, wetting the towel in cold water periodically and wringing it out.
Some remedies: 1. Mix equal quantities of berelá, gámbhárii, shatamúlii, ashvagandhá and punarnavá, dried and powdered, and take 2 tolas of the mixture with honey. Soon after, the patient should drink a glass of goat’s milk, boiled just once. This will give quick results with tuberculosis.
2. It is desirable for patients to take every evening one spoonful of a mixture of bara elác, powdered along with the husk, and powdered cinnamon, mixed in equal quantities. Take it with honey. Similarly, every morning take a tola of the juices of bel, shiuli and kayetbel leaves, mixed in equal quantities.
3. Cut a golá pigeon into pieces, discarding the feathers, and dry the pieces in the sun. Powder these dried pieces and give tuberculosis patient 6 ratis (6 ratis = .73 gram) of the powder with honey every morning.