Ayurveda For Malaria During Pregnancy

 Malaria is predominantly a tropical disease . In India and other South Asian countries there is resurgence of malaria .

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Malaria is made of two Italian words ‘Mal’ – bad and ‘ Aria’ – air .

Its synonyms are – Marsh miasma , Remittent fever , Ague , Jungle fever .

It is a mosquito borne infectious disease caused by parasitic protozoans of genus Plasmodium , (mainly P. vivax , P. falciparum , P. ovale , P.malariae ) . Commonly , the disease is transmitted by a bite from an infected female Anopheles mosquito , which introduces the organisms from its saliva into a person’s circulatory system .

The diagnosis is confirmed by the detection of malarial parasites in peripheral blood smear ( PBS ).

According to Ayurveda , it is similar to ‘Visham Jwara ‘ which means irregular fever , intermittent fever . Also described as ‘Varunasya Ragya’ in Atharvaveda .

Visham jvara is sannipatika in nature , may persist for longer time because of doshas being situated in deeper dhatus             ( tissues ) .

Varunsya Ragya ( AV 1/25/3 ) i.e  Varun depicts ‘Water’ and ‘Ragya’ means disease producing germs ( micro organisms ) that originate from accumulated water , which points towards Visham Jvara . Thus Atharvaveda considers that Agantuja        ( external agent ) plays a major role in Visham Jvara .

This external agent has been named ‘Makka’ or ‘Mashaka’ which resembles Anopheles mosquito .


Malaria During Pregnancy :

Pregnant women have an increased risk of infection and parasitaemia may be great due to altered immunity .

Malarial parasites may cross placenta , particularly in non – immune mothers leading to congenital malaria . The parasites infest placenta and intervillous spaces become blocked .So , there is diminished blood flow to the fetus . This is mostly seen with Plasmodium falciparum and in the second half of pregnancy .

malaria deaths

Effect of Malaria on Mother :

a)      Anaemia due to hemolysis and Folic Acid deficiency .

b)      Hypoglycemia – due to increased glucose consumption both by the host and parasite .

c)       Metabolic Acidosis .

d)      Jaundice –  due to hepatic dysfunction .

e)      Renal Failure  – due to block of renal microcirculation .

f)       Pulmonary edema and Respiratory distress .

g)      Convulsions and Coma .

Risk and severity of infection are high due to immune compromised state  and Complications are high .

Effect on Fetus :

a)      Abortion

b)      Preterm Labor

c)       Pre maturity

d)      IUGR ( Intrauterine growth retardation )

e)      IUFD ( Intrauterine fetal death )


Preventive Measures :

  • Pyrethroid impregnated mosquito nets and electrically heated mats should be used .

  • Stay indoor during dusk and dawn .

  • Wear socks , long pants , long sleeve shirts when outdoors .

  • Neem oil should be used for spraying  .

  • Fumigation with guggulu , neem leaves , haritaki , yellow sarson and ghee should be done .

malaria nets

Treatment :

Prophylaxis and Treatment depend on local area , the dominant Plasmodium type and pattern of Drug resistance .

Patterns of resistance to Anti malarials change so rapidly that expert advice should always be sought regarding the treatment and prophylaxis .

Risks of Malaria is life threatening in pregnancy, so benefits of treatment outweigh the potential risk of anti malarial drugs .

The antimalarial drugs when given in therapeutic doses have got no effect on uterine contraction unless uterus is irritable .

Along with Antimalarials , Folic Acid should be given daily to prevent anaemia .

Ayurvedic Treatment :

  • Luke warm water or Shadanga paniya ( Decoction made with herbs – Motha , Pitpapada , Khas , Rakta chandan , Sugandhabala , Sonth ) should be used for drinking .

  • Soup made with Mudga , Masoor , Chana is beneficial .

  • Yavagu ( Gruel ) prepared with Shashtikshali rice with Pippali and Sonth added to it , should be taken in small quantities when hungry .

  • Giloy juice is helpful .

  • Cold infusion ( Hima / Fant ) made with Chirayata , Motha , Giloy , Sonth or Patha , Khas , Sugandhabala should be used .

  • Chutney made with garlic and sesame seeds is adviced .

Treatment should be strictly under supervision . Along with the treatment  , Garbhini Paricharya should be followed to safeguard the health of mother and fetus .

The top 10 human parasites according to WHO are Ascaris lumbricoides , Hookworm , Malarial parasites , Trichuris trichuria , Amoebae , Filarial worms , Schistosomes , Giardia lamblia , Trypanosomes and Leishmaniasis species . Together these top 10 cause more deaths than anything else apart from HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis .

So , this World Health Day should be an opportunity to give an impetus to the efforts in eradicating malaria and Ayurveda has an important role in it .