Dysphagia treatment in Ayurveda

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Dysphagia is the term used for the difficulty in swallowing or the feeling that food is sticking in the throat. Actually the feeling is in the esophagus, which is the tube that carries food from mouth to the stomach. Dysphagia may be experienced when swallowing solid foods, liquids or even both. In oropharyngeal dysphagia, there is trouble in moving food from the mouth into the upper esophagus. Esophageal dysphagia is the condition when there is trouble moving food through the esophagus to the stomach. In fact, it is the most common kind of dysphagia. Dysphagia can occur at any age, although the risk increases with age. This disease could deprive the body of proper nourishment and further leads to weight loss & weakness. In some people, dysphagia or problem in swallowing food is right from birth onwards.

Dysphagia can be caused due to damaged muscles and nerves used for swallowing. People suffering from some diseases may have problems while swallowing. A head injury may also affect the muscle that may constrain the mouth and throat movement. An infection or an irritation, including a sore throat, could narrow the esophagus.

symptoms of oropharyngeal dysphagia include difficulty trying to swallow, breathing saliva into lungs while swallowing, coughing while swallowing, regurgitating liquid through the nose, weak voice and weight loss. On the other hand, symptoms of esophageal dysphagia include pressure sensation in the mid-chest area, the sensation of food stuck in throat or chest, chest pain, pain with swallowing, chronic heartburn and sore throat.

  • Plant Description:

Glycyrrhiza is a hardy herb or undershrub, usually of 2 m height. It is a tall, erect perennial plant with light, gracefully-spreading pinnate foliage and dark green lanceolate leaflets that hang down at night and violet to lavender color flower. The roots are brown, long and cylindrical.

  • Chemical Constituents:

The roots of Glycyrrhiza glabra contain glycyrrhizin, which is a saponin that is 60 times sweeter than cane sugar; Flavonoid-rich fractions include liquirtin, isoliquertin liquiritigenin, and rhamnoliquirilin. The Indian roots show various 2-methyl isoflavones, and an unusual coumarin, C liquocoumarin, 6 – acetyl- 5, hydroxy- 4-methyl coumarin. Asparagine is also found.

  • Benefits of Licorice:
  1. Licorice can be chewed on to relieve sore throats.
  2. Gargling with an infusion of Licorice root is reputed to relieve oral inflammations, dry coughs, bronchitis, and asthma.
  3. Soothes irritation caused by acids, and coats digestive and urinary tracts. Hence, Licorice may be prescribed for indigestion, heartburn, dysphagia and gastric ulcers.
  4. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, Licorice is a time-honored remedy for arthritis.
  5. Externally applied for treating eczema, herpes, and canker sores (mouth ulcers).
  6. Strengthens the immune system.
  7. Currently, the herb is being investigated as a possible cancer treatment. It is suspected that the compounds in the Licorice root may be able to inhibit the growth of cancerous cells.
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