The literal meaning of the word is ‘Lack of appetite’ for food. This is a psycho-physiological condition usually seen in girls and young women, characterized by severe and prolonged disinterest or inability to eat. Spontaneous vomiting, emaciation, and other associated symptoms sometimes accompany this. This ca occurs in anemia, chronic fevers, tuberculosis, gastro intestinal diseases, low digestive fire, constipation, and neurosis. Dieting for too long and being too underweight can become a very serious problem.
Usually any kind of food and any kind of taste are not appreciated, hence food intake is reduced. But sometimes the digestive fire becomes so low that stomach cannot hold the food and hence food is entirely vomited.
In the Vat Type, insomnia, fear, nervousness, and palpitation is present.
In the Pita type, loss of taste to food, undue thirst, and sweating is present.
In the Kapha type, nausea, vomiting, and a sense of heaviness in the stomach are common symptoms of anorexia.
It should be directed towards increasing the digestive power. Herbs like fruits of cayenne pepper, fennel seeds, anise seeds, prickly ash bark, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, and asafetida should be given with warm water. Sour fruits like pomegranate and mangosten (Garcinia Indica) increase the relish of food.
Hingashtaka powder is very common preparation used in this disorder. It is prepared by mixing cumin and caraway seeds, asafetida, black pepper, dandelion root, rock salt, ginger, citrus peel, slippery elm, and piper longum fruits. 1 tea – spoonful of this powder 3 times a day with warm water should be given for 15 days.
A similar type of formula is calls “bhaskar lavana.” It is also in the form f powder. Both these should be given in dose of one teaspoon with warm water or fresh buttermilk, before meals. The dose of this combination is the same as above.
For Vata and Kpha type, tab. Shankha vati 250 mgm. 3 times day with hot water is the medicine of choice. It is the combination of shanha bhasma, trikatu, kajjali, aconite and five types of salts- panchlavana. Similarly, abhaya lavana 125 mgm. Twic a day or tab. Agnivardhaka 250 mgm, 3 times a day, is also good.
Drakshasava 15 ml/ twice a day before meals for 15 days also has beneficial results.
Start the diet with liquid soup of vegetables or green-gram. When digestive fire increases, then slowly a normal diet can be given.
A sesam oil massge with whole body sudation is beneficial.