Pericarditis is a swelling and irritation of the pericardium, which is a thin sac-like membrane surrounding the heart. Pericarditis may be acute or chronic. Common symptoms of this condition include a sharp stabbing chest pain which intensifies on lying down; breathlessness while reclining; low grade fever; an overall sense of weakness, fatigue or feeling sick; dry cough; and abdominal or leg swelling. In the majority of patients with pericarditis, there is no known cause for this condition. A few patients may develop this disease after a viral infection, a major heart attack or heart surgery. Trauma, inflammatory disorders like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and other diseases like kidney failure, tuberculosis, cancer and AIDS can also cause this condition.
The Ayurvedic treatment of pericarditis is aimed at treating the inflammation of the pericardium and reducing the excessive accumulation of fluid. Medicines like Ras-Sindur, Malla-Sindur, Sameer-Pannag-Ras, Yograj-Guggulu, Punarnavadi-Guggulu, Punarnavadi-Qadha, Arjunarishta, Dashmoolarishta, Triphala-Guggulu, and Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu are used to reduce the inflammation in the pericardium.
Herbal medicines like Arjun (Terminalia arjuna), Pushkarmool (Inula racemosa), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Behada (Terminalia bellerica), Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa), and Gokshur (Tribulus terrestris) can also be used for this purpose.
Medicines which act on the ‘Rakta’ and ‘Mansa’ dhatus (tissues) can also be used to treat this condition. These medicines include Musta (Cyperus rotundus), Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Patol (Tricosanthe dioica), Patha (Cissampelos pareira), Nimba (Azadirachta indica), Triphala (Three fruits) and Draksha (Vitis vinifera). Medicines like Laxmi-Vilas-Ras, Shrung-Bhasma, Maha-Laxmi-Vilas-Ras, Suvarna-Sameer-Pannag-Ras and Makar-Dhwaj- Ras are used to strengthen the heart, improve the therapeutic response, and also improve the immune status of the body.
It should be remembered that pericarditis can lead to complications like constrictive pericarditis and cardiac tamponade, both of which need surgical intervention. Early diagnosis and treatment of this condition is therefore very important. All such patients should be under the regular care and supervision of a Cardiologist.