A study co-authored by well-known alternative health guru, Deepak Chopra, has shown that a short Ayurvedic Panchakarma intervention can lower the risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
In the experimental group, 65 healthy male and female subjects participated in a Panchakarma-based Ayurvedic intervention which included herbs, vegetarian diet, meditation, yoga, and massage. A control group of 54 did simple relaxation.
The researchers found that those who were on the Ayurvedic program showed a measurable decrease in blood-based metabolites associated with inflammation, cardiovascular disease risk and cholesterol regulation, compared to the control group.
Senior author of the study Deepak Chopra explained, “These phospholipids exert broad effects on pathways related to inflammation and cholesterol metabolism … Plasma and serum levels of the metabolites of phosphatidylcholine are highly predictive of cardiovascular disease risk.”
Integrative medicine practices, such as meditation and Ayurveda, are popular but their effects on human physiology are not yet fully understood. Ayurveda, a Sanskrit word that means the ‘Science of Life’ or the ‘Science of Perfect Health’, is a traditional system of personalised medicine from India that emphasises disease prevention and health promotion.
Panchakarma, Ayurvedic medicine’s principle cleansing and rejuvenation protocols, incorporates a vegetarian diet, Ayurvedic herbs, meditation, yoga, oil massage, heat therapies, and other specialised treatments that are thought to promote general health and well-being.
While numerous studies have examined the health and well-being benefits of individual practices such as meditation, yoga and diet, few have examined the effects several of these interventions concurrently in one program.
The study notes that further studies are necessary in order to fully understand these links, however, “It appears that a one-week Panchakarma program can significantly alter the metabolic profile of the person undergoing it,” says Chopra. “As part of our strategy to create a framework for whole systems biology research, our next step will be to correlate these changes with both gene expression and psychological health.”
“Identification of Altered Metabolomic Profiles Following a Panchakarma-based Ayurvedic Intervention in Healthy Subjects” has been published in Scientific Reports.