Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited disease of the mucous and sweat glands, which affects mostly the lungs, pancreas, liver, intestines, sinuses and sex organs. This condition is also known as CF, Fibrocystic Disease or Mucoviscidosis. CF is caused by a defect in the CFTR gene which makes a protein that controls the movement of salt and water in and out of the cells of the body. A dysfunction of this gene causes the thick, sticky mucous and very salty sweat, which are the main features of this condition. CF is an inherited disease, which is more common in people from Northern Europe, Latin Americans and Native Americans.
Common symptoms of CF include frequent coughing with thick sputum; bronchitis; pneumonia; salty skin; dehydration; male infertility; diarrhea or bulky, foul smelling or greasy stools; stomach pain and discomfort; and failure to thrive. CF can also cause sinusitis, bronchiectasis, pancreatitis, recurrent intestinal blockage, nasal polyps, clubbing, collapsed lung, rectal prolapse, liver disease, diabetes, gall stones and low bone density. The sweat test is the most useful diagnostic test for CF.
The Ayurvedic treatment of CF is aimed at liquefying the thick sticky mucous, preventing blockage in secretory organs and preventing or controlling infections. Medicines which act on the ‘Ras’ and ‘Rakta’ dhatus (tissues) of the body are useful in this condition. These medicines include Indrayav (Holharrhina antidysentrica), Patol (Tricosanthe dioica), Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Patha ( Cissampelos pareira) and Musta (Cyperus rotundus). Other medicines which are useful in this condition are Arogya-Vardhini, Triphala-Guggulu, Punarnavadi-Guggulu, Gokshuradi-Guggulu and Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu. Medicines like Sunthi (Zinziber officinalis), Marich (Piper nigrum) and Pippali (Piper longum), which are collectively called Trikatu; and medicines like Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Behada (Terminalia bellerica) and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), which are collectively known as Triphala; are very useful in this condition, and have to be given on a long term basis, or probably life long, in very small doses.
Since this is an inherited disorder, life long life-style changes need to be made. Good self care includes eating a healthy diet, washing and exercising frequently, drinking lots of fluids, doing chest physical therapy regularly and taking medicines as prescribed. It is important that all such patients be under the regular care and supervision of a medical team which specializes in CF.