Ayurveda, the age old science of longevity has its own unique approach in dealing with childhood nutritional disorders. The signs and symptoms of karshya mentioned in Ayurveda (wasted muscles over buttocks, abdomen and neck, prominent veins, bony prominences, loose skin folds, etc.) has close proximity with the signs and symptoms of undernourished children. The cause of karshya is explained as the excess intake of dry food items (biscuits, rusks, namkeen, bread etc.), less intake of food, fasting, psychological causes like anger, fear, grief etc. Here due to the regular faulty dietary habits, agnimandya (diminished digestion) occurs. The ahara rasa formed will not be of good quality and will be inadequate to nourish the dhatus (tissues), gradually resulting in wasting of tissues leading to underweight. The ahara rasa formed from mandagni (diminished digestive power) will result in the formation of ama (toxic substance) which circulates throughout the body and obstructs the channels in the body meant for nourishment, further hampering dhatu poshana. In such circumstances, if the child is given heavy nourishing diet, it will lead to indigestion. Taking the agni into consideration, Ayurveda advocates the use of laghusantarpana (light to digest and nourishing) diet and medicines in karshya. Medicines which are having deepana (appetizing) amapachana and brimhana (nourishing) properties are the drugs of choice. Introducing nourishing diet like khichdi, banana mashed with ghee and jaggery, ragi porridge, curd rice etc., after the agni is ignited, channels being free from obstructions will give promising results in under nutrition.

Dr. Karthika