Can herbs help in a vegetative state?
by Dr. Jagdev Singh  18-Jun-2013

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A vegetative state is emotionally painful situation for loved ones caring for coma patients. Coma patients who awaken somewhat, but not completely, are characterised as being in a vegetative state. A vegetative state is commonly for short periods, whereas, persistent vegetative state can last for a year or more or for a entire life. Vegetative state that lasts more than 4 weeks can be classified under persistent vegetative state.   A Vegetative condition lasting longer than 1 year is called a permanent vegetative state.


Medical definition of vegetative state:


A wakefulness or open eyes with the state of unconsciousness after a coma is called vegetative state. Although the eyes are open its not true wakefulness.  

Possible herbal management of vegetative state:



Useful herbs and adoptive ayurvedic treatment methods may be helpful.  In ancient sciences, there are some techniques, which are used to treat patients in a vegetative state. The most famous technique is nasal instillation of herbal powder of Acorus Calamus and Achyranthes Aspera. This technique is still used in India, especially in the state of Kerela. However, Achyranthes Aspera seed powder is used in this condition and Acorus Calamus has been just an alternative to this herb if it is not available.


How to use Achyranthes Aspera


Nasal instillation of seed powder of Achyranthes Aspera is called Pradhamana Nasya or Virechana Nasya in Ayurveda and used to bring consciousness in a vegetative state as well as in the coma. It is also called Cleansing Nasya because of its use for detoxification and purification of the upper part of the body especially the brain, eye, nose, and throat.


In this procedure, a small amount of seed powder of Achyranthes Aspera is installed into both nostrils. It produces a vital sensation in the brain and brings patients into a conscious state. This procedure is repeated for a week or more as per condition of the patient.




However, this procedure looks like a simple nasal instillation, it is not.  It can have very dangerous side effects and should only be tried with a Medical Doctor present.  Consult an ayurvedic physician who is an expert in panchkarma therapy and nasya therapy for this procedure. The normal after effects of this procedure are:


1.     State of consciousness and awakening

2.     Sneezing

3.     Nasal discharge


These after effects are normal. Take a precaution too; use only very fine powder of seeds of Achyranthes Aspera, otherwise nasal injury can occur due to a coarse powder in the nasal cavity.

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