Recent research and studies have shown that a woman's lifestyle may affect her fertility.
Lifestyle factors like alcohol consumption, work-related stress and weight can impact a woman's ability to conceive and, if that happens, the proper development of the foetus.
It is therefore imperative that a woman should be free from disease, lead a healthy lifestyle and receive the required nourishment during the conception and gestation period.
Ayurvedic physician V.C. Ajith Kumar says sterility in women is generally a result of impairment of the ovary, uterus, fallopian tubes, hormonal imbalances or diseases: "The defects in the genital organs may be structural (organic) or functional.
These defects can be rectified through treatment. To correct organic defects, surgical measures have to be taken. But functional defects of these organs can be successfully treated by ayurvedic medicines."
In ayurveda, sterility is called bandhyatha and is believed to be caused by the simultaneous aggravation of all the three doshas - vata, pitta and kapha. Most ayurveda physicians prescribe medicines like sukumaran kashayam, ashokarishta and phalasarpis for bandhyatha.
According to Dr Kumar, who is with Ayush Ayurvedic, bala is another effective ayurvedic medicine for sterility: "The root of this plant is boiled in oil and milk, which is then used with lukewarm water as a douche.
This brings about a change in the mucous membrane of the genital tract which aids the effective combination of ovum and sperm in the uterus. The same medicated oil is also used internally, with patients consuming one teaspoon of it in the morning with a cup of milk."
He also advises women suffering from sterility to stop consuming fried and spicy food and instead eat fruits and vegetables in large quantities.
Kumari (aloe vera, above) is another medicinal plant used in ayurveda's treatment of bandhyatha.
Dr Kumar says it tones up the tissue cells of the uterus and the genital tract and prevents the discharge of abnormal fluids.
Ayurveda practitioners usually remove the outer skin of the aloe vera leaf and use the fleshy pulp inside to extract the juice. Patients are given about 30ml of aloe vera juice twice daily with a little honey added to it, preferably on an empty stomach.
It is said to stimulate the liver, promote digestion and regulate the bowels. "It has some effect in the correcting of the hormonal imbalances by which the genital organs of the patient get toned up," adds Dr Kumar.
Ayush Ayurvedic is at 146 Race Course Road. Tel: 6398-0415