Anorexia refers to the loss of appetite or loss of taste. Those suffering from anorexia lose interest in eating and in food. Anorexia is different from Anorexia Nervosa which is a kind of a psychological eating disorder, where people develop a phobia of eating more than required. This aversion to eating is rooted in a distorted body image and a fear of being obese. Anorexia, per say, is just a loss of apetite which can arise due to several reasons ranging from unhealthy eating habits, tummy problems, indigestion, inactive lifestyle, snacking between meals, emotional stress or prolonged illness. Anorexia is temporary and mild anorexia may be treated with a couple of home remedies.
In Ayurveda, this condition is known as ‘Aruchi’. Ayurveda expert Dr. Dhanvantri Tyagi explains, “Aruchi is simply declined interest in food, or loss of taste. If a person is not in a mood to eat, or has lost interest in food or simply doesn’t like what is on the plate, he is said to have developed a ruchi towards the food.” In ‘The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies’ by Dr. Vasant lad , he explains that the loss of apettite, ” is a condition of low jatharagni(digestive fire). Low agni creates not only poor apettite but also indigestion, bloating and ama(toxins) in the gastrointestinal tract.”
According to Ayurveda, anorexia is caused by an aggravation of vata, pitta and kapha doshas, and a couple of psychological factors such as fear, anger and stress that tend to hamper your digestive processes. This leads to the formation of ama (mucus) in the digestive tract which in turn might disturb the sense of taste.
Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Anorexia
Dr. Vasant Lad suggests a rather counter-intuitive remedy to treat anorexia which is not eating anything for a while. “A short fast will help rekindle the digestive fire”, he writes. He further mentions, “Lack of apettite is often due to continual munching, combined with drinking cold drinks , which depresses again.”
Ayurveda Expert Dr. Dhanvantri suggests a handful of home remedies for anorexia that may help revive the lost taste.
1. Ginger: A piece of ginger, combined with a pinch of lime juice and rock salt taken after food, stimulates taste buds, and also aids digestion.
2. Trikatu: Trikatu is a classic Ayurvedic herbal blend of equal parts of pippali, ginger, and black pepper. It aids gastric support. You can have it in powdered form with water or you can take it with a tablespoon of honey too.
3. Imli and Salt: Anorexia is a psychosomatic disorder, so if you can trick your mind into having food, you may revive the loss in taste. Take a teaspoon of imli powder and salt and just lick it. This would titillate the taste buds of your mouth, and invoke ruchi in food.
4. Badi elachi(cardamom): Adding badi elachi in certain dishes is also known to help treat anorexia.
5. Hot water: A glass of hot water has also shown effective results in some cases. Dr. Danvantri tell us that in many cases even bathing in hot water stimulates the lost interest in food.
Dr. Dhanvantri also clarifies that if the loss of appetite is due to certain illness or disorder, these home remedies may not be enough and in that case one must consult a medical practitioner who can prescribe some measures to regain healthy apettite.