Hemochromatosis is a hereditary, autosomal recessive disorder which leads to abnormal accumulation of iron in the body in different organs, leading to organ toxicity. The iron overload results from inappropriately high iron absorption from the intestines. The white race is more affected by this condition, and men are affected more than women. Hemochromatosis commonly affects the liver, heart, pancreas, pituitary, joints and skin; resulting in skin pigmentation, liver cirrhosis, malignant hepatoma, heart failure, diabetes mellitus, impotence and arthritis. The excess deposition of iron is commonly treated with therapeutic phlebotomy (venupuncture).
The Ayurvedic treatment of hemochromatosis is aimed at removing the excess iron from the body, preventing excessive iron absorption, treating the symptoms and preventing complications. Blood-letting is performed periodically to reduce the excess iron from the body. High iron absorption from the intestines is prevented using medicines like Kutaj-Parpati, Panchamrut-Parpati, Suvarna-Parpati, Sukshma-Triphala, Triphala (Three fruits), Arogya-Vardhini, Bilva-Avaleha, Psyllium (Plantago ovata), Gandharva-Haritaki, Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Abhrak-Bhasma, Praval-Panchamrut and Trivang-Bhasma.
Liver cirrhosis and hepatoma can be prevented using medicines like Arogya-Vardhini, Sutshekhar-Ras, Suvarna-Sutshekhar-Ras, Bhunimbadi-Qadha, Punarnavadi-Qadha, Kutki, Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa), Sharpunkha (Tephrosia purpurea), Rohitak (Tecoma undulata), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Gokshur (Tribulus terrestris), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Kalmegh (Andrographis paniculata), Devdangri (Luffa echinata), Bhrungraj (Eclipta alba), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and Bhumiamalaki (Phyllanthus niruri). Heart failure can be treated using medicines like Laxmi-Vilas-Ras, Shrung-Bhasma, Arjunarishta, Dashmoolarishta, Punarnavadi-Qadha and Drakshasav.
Diabetes mellitus can be treated using medicines like Haridra (Curcuma longa), Amalaki, Mamejva (Enicostemma littorale), Gudmar (Gymnema sylvester), Yashad-Bhasma, Shilajit (Purified bitumen) and Vijaysaar (Pterocarpus marsupium). Impotence can be treated using medicines like Kuchla (Strychnos nuxvomica), Kapikacchu (Mucuna pruriens), Samudrashosh (Argyreia speciosa), Lavang (Caryophyllus aromaticus) and Akarkara (Anacyclus pyrethrum). Arthritis can be treated using medicines like Yograj-Guggulu, Triphala-Guggulu, Kaishor-Guggulu, Maha-Rasnadi-Guggulu, Vat-Gajankush-Ras and Maha-Vat-Vidhwans-Ras.
With adequate and timely treatment, patients without significant organ damage can be expected to have a normal life expectancy. Patients affected with this condition should avoid iron supplements, red meat and alcohol. Since hemochromatosis involves multiple organs of the body, the management of this condition requires a team of medical and surgical specialists.
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