Friedreich’s ataxia, also known as familial ataxia, is an inherited condition that causes the failure of muscle coordination, resulting in an unsteady gait, abnormal speech and disturbed motor reflexes. Symptoms usually begin in childhood or early adult life and include clumsiness; unsteady gait; reduced muscle coordination; weakness, paralysis and impaired sensation in the extremities; impaired speech and swallowing; vision and hearing problems; and the development of diabetes or cardiomyopathy. A gradual degeneration of the nervous system is believed to be responsible for this condition.
The Ayurvedic treatment of Friedreich’s ataxia is aimed at controlling the symptoms, treating the degeneration of the nervous system and preventing long term complications. Medicines like Kaishor-Guggulu, Tapyadi-Loh, Ekang-turn slightly-Ras, Maha-Vat-Vidhwans-Ras, Vat-Gajankush-Ras, Bruhat-Vat-Chintamani, Vish-Tinduk-Vati, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu, Yashtimadhuk (Glycerrhiza glabra), Trivang-Bhasma, Abhrak-Bhasma, Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Kuchla (Strychnos nuxvomica), Nirgundi (Vitex negundo), Rasna (Pluchea lanceolata), Deodar (Cedrus deodara), Erandmool (Ricinus communis), Prushnaparni (Uraria picta) and Shalparni (Desmodium gangeticum) are used to treat nerve degeneration.
Tremors can be treated using medicines like Trayodashang-Guggulu, Dashmoolarishta, Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Bala (Sida cordifolia) and Kapikacchu (Mucuna pruriens). Muscle spasms may be controlled using medicines like Yograj-Guggulu, Triphala-Guggulu, Nirgundi, Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina) and Khurasani ova (Hyoscyamus niger). Deformities of the spine and extremities may be treated using medicines like Maha-Rasnadi-Guggulu, Trayodashang-Guggulu, Laxadi-Guggulu and Praval-Panchamrut-Ras. Vision problems can be prevented using Saptamrut-Loh, Triphala-Ghrut, Punarnavadi-Guggulu and Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus). Hearing problems may be prevented or treated using medicines like Pathyadi-Qadha, Saarivadi-Vati, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu and Laxadi-Guggulu. Cardiomyopathy can be prevented or treated using medicines like Laxmi-Vilas-Ras, Shrung-Bhasma, Arjunarishta, Drakshasav and Punarnavadi-Qadha.
People affected with this disease should make appropriate life style modifications in order to cope up with this condition. Regular exercise, physiotherapy and the appropriate use of corrective orthopedic tools is recommended. All such patients should be under the regular care and supervision of a Neurologist.