Naigamesha and Shwa Graha Afflicting Children

By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Naigamesha and Shwa Grahas are psychosomatic diseases afflicting children. Naigamesa Graha affliction can be closely compared to ‘collapse due to dehydration’. Similar symptoms can be seen in severe dehydration and consequent collapse. Shwa Graha are so complex and mixed up that the mentioned condition cannot be compared to one particular disease.

Signs and symptoms of Naigamesh / Mesha Graha

  • Distension of the belly
  • Tremors of hands and legs
  • Froth / foamy discharge from mouth
  • Thirst
  • Child makes tight fists
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness / hoarseness of the voice
  • Discoloration of body parts
  • Non-specific sounds from the throat
  • Continuous vomiting
  • Cough
  • Hiccough
  • Sleeplessness
  • Child bites his lips
  • Contraction of body parts
  • Stiffness of body parts
  • Body smells like goat or raw meat / raw meat of goat
  • Laughs seeing upwards
  • The body bends in the middle part
  • Fever
  • Fainting
  • Swelling of one eye

Symptoms from Sushruta Samhita

Sanskrit Verses

Modern Correlation

Naigamesh Graha affliction can be closely compared to ‘collapse due to dehydration’. Similar symptoms can be seen in severe dehydration and consequent collapse.

When a child’s body lacks enough fluids, it is called dehydration. Dehydration is common in infants and small children in comparison to older children or adults as they tend to lose fluids quickly in relation to older children.
Read – Benefits And Usage of Water As per Ayurveda: Complete Compilation

Causes of dehydration in children

  • Most often dehydration is caused by fever, diarrhea, vomiting and decreased ability to consume water or eat foods associated with viral infections like rotavirus, Norwalk virus and adenovirus.
  • Mouth sores caused by viruses make it painful to eat or drink.
  • Serious bacterial infections – Salmonella, E. Coli, Campylobacter, Clostridium difficile etc may cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Parasitic infections by Giardia lamblia cause giardiasis leads to diarrhea and fluid loss.
  • Increased sweating in hot environment
  • Excessive urination as in undiagnosed or poorly treated diabetes mellitus or diabetes insipidus
  • Conditions like cystic fibrosis or celiac sprue do not allow absorption of food and water, consequently cause dehydration.(Read more)

Symptoms of dehydration in children

You should take immediate action and seek medical help if your child has excessive fluid loss due to vomiting or diarrhea. You should also be concerned if the child refuses to eat or drunk.

Signs of dehydration in children are –

  • Sunken eyes
  • Decreased urination
  • Sunken fontanel (soft part on the front of the head) in babies
  • Dryness or sticky mucous membranes i.e. the lining of mouth or tongue
  • Absence of tears from the eyes when the child cries
  • Irritability – excessive crying, fussiness, child cannot be consoled
  • Lethargy – less than normal activity
  • No urine output for over 4-6 hours
  • Blood in stools
  • Pain in abdomen
  • Vomiting for more than 24 hours
  • Vomiting that is consistently green in color
  • Fever higher than 103 F temperatures
  • Less than usual activity in the child
    Read – Excessive Thirst – Ayurvedic Understanding And Treatment

Diagnosis of dehydration in children

Thorough history and physical examination of the child will help the doctor to find the severity and cause of dehydration in children.

The below mentioned tests may be needed for this purpose –

  • Complete blood count – to identify infections
  • Blood culture – to identify specific kinds of infections
  • Blood chemistry – to identify electrolyte abnormalities
  • Urinalysis – to identify bladder infection, to identify sugar and ketones in the urine and to determine severity of dehydration
  • Other tests like – Chest X-ray, test for rotovirus, stool culture or lumbar puncture etc.

Treatment for dehydration in children

  • Fluid replacement – any product designed to replace sugar and electrolytes
  • BRAT diet – if vomiting has subsided for 4 hours
  • Medical treatment – rehydration via an IV solution

Home Remedies

Fluid Replacement – is the most important strategy in dehydration. Generally diarrhea or vomiting following a viral infection may cause children to become dehydrated. Plenty of fluids should be given to the child.

Oral Rehydration Solutions – Suitable fluid replacement is called ORS i.e. oral rehydration solutions. They include pedialyte, rehydralyte, pedialyte freezer pops etc. The can be purchased in the drug stores.(Read more)

  • For bottle fed infants – ORS should be given if the child has vomited twice or more.
  • For breast-fed infants – reduce the amount per feeding. If the child vomits twice, nurse on side every 1-2 hours. If the vomiting is more than twice, nurse 4-5 minutes every 30-60 minutes. If there is continued vomiting, shift to ORS for 4 hours. Small amounts of ORS, usually 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 ml) every five minutes shall be given.
  • Children older than one year – should be given small quantity of fluids for 8 hours. After 8 hours without vomiting, add solids.

Solid foods – limit the solids to bland foods for 24 hours duration. Start with saltine crackers, white bread, rice, dried cereals etc. the child may resume normal diet in 24-48 hours.

Medication – all non-essential medications shall be discontinued for 8 hours. Acetaminophen suppositories shall be considered if there is fever and needs medication.
Read – Dry Mouth Causes, Ayurvedic Treatment, Remedies, Tips, Diet

Medical treatment for dehydration in children

Mild dehydration summing up to 3-5% total body weight loss – oral rehydration fluids is advised. If the child is able to drink fluids you are given instructions to manage fluids at home.

Moderate dehydration summing to up to 5-10% total body weight loss – the child may be hydrated through intravenous fluids. The child may be discharged with instructions to manage at home when the child is able to take fluids orally.

Severe dehydration summing up to more than 10-15% weight loss – admission of child in the hospital may be advised so as to enable continued intravenous fluid replacement, observation and to carry out tests to find out cause of dehydration. Antibiotics are prescribed for bacterial infections. Antiemetics or anti-diarrheals are generally not given for children.

Ayurveda treatment for children afflicted by Naigamesha Graha

1. Internal medication

Dashamuladi Ghrita Pana

Ghee processed with the below mentioned ingredients should be administered for drinking –

  • Dashamula Kwatha – decoction of ten roots
  • Milk
  • Madhura gana dravya – herbs predominantly having sweet taste
  • Dates

Dashamuladi Ghrita Pana

The ghee processed with milk mixed with the decoction of Dashamula or paste of Kakolyadi group of sweet tasting herbs is given to drink.

Triphaladi Ghrita Pana

Ghee processed with the below mentioned ingredients should be administered for oral consumption –

  • Triphala – fruits of Terminalia chebula, Terminalia bellirica and Emblica officinalis
  • Shalaparni – Desmodium gangeticum
  • Prishniparni – Uraria picta
  • Vidari – Pueraria tuberosa
  • Licorice – Glyzyrrhiza glabra
  • Dashamula Kwatha – decoction of ten roots
  • Milk of cow

Devadarvadi Ghrita Pana

Ghee processed with the below mentioned ingredients should be given for oral consumption –

2. External Measures

a. Parishechana-Snana – showering / sprinkling of medicated liquids and bathing

Bilwadi Parishechana – sprinkling / showering of medicaments

Decoction of Bilwa i.e. Aegle marmelos, Agnimantha i.e. Clerodendrum phlomidis and Putikaranja i.e. Caesalpinia bonduc is used to shower the child. Alternatively fermented liquids like sura, sauvira and kanji are used.

Agnimanthadi Kwatha Parishechana / Snana

Processed water / decoction of the below mentioned ingredients should be used for showering and bathing the child –

  • Agnimantha – Clerodendrum phlomidis
  • Varuna – Crataeva nurvula
  • Nala – Phragmitis karka / Arundo donax
  • Rohitaka – Tecomella undulate
  • Putikaranja – Caesalpinia bonduc
  • Neem – Azadirachta indica

b. Abhyanga / Mardana – Massage and rubbing of the body with medicated oils

Guggulvadi Taila Abhyanga

Massage should be given with oil processed from the paste of the below mentioned herbs –

  • Guggulu – Commiphora mukul
  • Ashwagandha – Withania somnifera
  • Mustard
  • Ushira – Vetiveria zizanioides
  • Shweta – Nerium indicum, white variety
  • Kushta – Saussurea lappa
  • Shatahva – Anethum sowa

Priyangvadi Taila Mardana

Sesame oil prepared from the below mentioned ingredients should be used for rubbing / massaging the body of the afflicted child –

  • Paste of Priyangu – Callicarpa macrophylla
  • Paste of Sarala – Pinus roxburghii
  • Paste of Anantamula – Hemidesmus indicus
  • Paste of Shatapushpa – Anethum sowa
  • Paste of Tagara – Valeriana wallichii
  • Gomutra – urine of cow
  • Dadhi mastu – supernatant liquid / watery layer of curds
  • Amla kanjika – sour fermented liquid prepared with grains
    Read – Ayurvedic Home Remedy For Baby Care – A Traditional Method

c. Lepa – anointment of medicinal pastes

Guggulvadi Kalka Lepa

Paste of the below mentioned herbs is applied as anointment over the body of the afflicted child –

  • Guggulu – Commiphora mukul
  • Elavaluka – Prunus cerasus
  • Manashila – Realgar
  • Haratala – Orpiment
  • Manjishta – Rubia cordifolia
  • Ushira – Vetiveria zizanioides
  • Rasna – Pluchea lanceolata
  • Aguru – Aquilaria agallocha
  • Devadaru – Cedrus deodara
  • Shriveshtaka – Clitoria ternatea
  • Harenu – Pisum sativum
  • Girikadamba – Neolamarckia cadamba
  • Sandalwood – Santalum album

Read – Infant Care As Per Ayurveda: Initial 6 Months

d. Udwarthana – powder scrub / massage

Vachadi Udwarthana – powder massage

The body of the child should be given with massage using the powders of Vacha i.e. Acorus calamus and Hingu i.e. asafetida.

e. Dhupa – fumigation

Sarpagandhadi Dhupa

Fumigation is given with Rauwolfia serpentine, nails and hairs of goat.

Sarshapadi Dhupana – Fumigation should be given with the powder of below mentioned herbs –

  • Mustard
  • Vacha – Acorus calamus
  • Hingu – asafetida
  • Kushta – Saussurea lappa
  • Barley – Hordeum vulgare
  • Ajamoda – Apium graveolens

Markatadi Purisha Dhupana – Fumigation should be given with powder of feces of monkey, owl and eagle.

Shushka Matsyadi Dhupa – fumigation should be given with powder of dried fish triturated in urine of cow or goat. The fumigation should be given in the midnight.

3. Ritualistic measures

a. Aushadha dharana – wearing / tying medicaments

One or more of the below mentioned herbs shall be tied to the limbs or any part of the body –

  • Vacha – Acorus calamus
  • Kshirakakoli – Lilium polyphyllum
  • Durva – Cynodon dactylon
  • Jatamansi – Nardostachys jatamansi

b. Raksha Sutra – protective measures

The below mentioned herbs shall be tied to the limbs of the afflicted child –

  • Vacha – Acorus calamus
  • Amalaki – Emblica officinalis
  • Brahmi – Bacopa monnieri
  • Jatamansi – Nardostochys jatamansi
  • Durva – Cynodon dactylon
  • Haritaki – Terminalia chebula
  • Bhutakeshi – Selinum vaginatum
  • Haridra – Curcuma longa
  • Kaushika – Commiphora wightii
  • Sahadevi – Vernonia cinerea

c. Bali – Snana – Sacrifices and bath

Sacrifice of dishes prepared out of fermented drinks like wine, jaggery, and ground sesame should be offered at the roots of sacred trees like Banyan tree. The father of the afflicted child should place the idol of a bull whose eyes have been made up of gold, beneath the tree before offering the sacrifices.

The child should be given bath below Banyan tree or any other latex yielding tree. After this, the above said hymn should be recited.

Shwa Graha

Signs and symptoms

  • Tremors
  • Goose-bumps
  • Excessive sweating
  • Eyes kept closed always
  • Bending of the body backwards
  • The child bites his tongue
  • Sounds from deep throat
  • Child runs restlessly
  • Smell of feces from the body of the child
  • Shouting and barking like a dog

Sanskrit Verses

Modern Correlation

The symptoms of the child afflicted by Shwa Graha are so complex and mixed up that the mentioned condition cannot be compared to any one disease.

The experts have anyhow tried to make a possible correlation and equated Shwa Graha to have symptoms of the below mentioned conditions in mixed proportions –

  • Whooping cough
  • Tetanus
  • Hydrophobia

Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

It is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. It was considered as a childhood disease before the vaccine was developed. Now it is also found to affect teenagers and adults whose immunity has faded. (Read more)

Symptoms –

  • Running nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Red, watery eyes

After a week or two the signs and symptoms worsen. Thick mucus starts accumulating inside the airways. This causes uncontrollable cough. Prolonged and severe coughs might cause vomiting, extreme fatigue, red or blue face and might end with high pitched whoop sound during next breath of air. In many cases there may not be a characteristic whoop. There may just be persistent hacking cough, especially in adults. Instead might not cough. They may struggle to breathe or there may be temporary stoppage of breathing.

The child shouting and barking like a dog as explained in Shwa Graha afflicted child resembles a whoop. Tremors, biting of tongue and backward bending of body may occur due to repeated cough. Sounds from deep throat may be an explanation of airways being blocked by mucus.
Read – 31 Easy And Effective Home Remedies For Dyspnoea

Tetanus – It is also called as lockjaw. It is a serious kind of infection caused by Clostridium tetani. The toxin produced by this bacterium affects the brain and nervous system. This leads to stiffness in the muscles. The infection can cause severe muscle spasms, serious breathing difficulties and can be fatal. Vaccine is the best way to protect against the tetanus. The early symptoms include diarrhea, fever and headache. The outcome is better if an early diagnosis is made.

Symptoms –

The symptoms of tetanus usually emerge 7-10 days after initial infection. It may vary anyhow from few days to few months.

Muscle symptoms include spasms and stiffness. Stiffness usually starts with chewing muscles. Therefore it is called lockjaw. The spasms spread to the neck and throat. This causes difficulties with swallowing. The spasms are also present in the facial muscles.

Neck and chest muscle stiffness causes breathing difficulties. Abdominal and limb muscles are also affected in many cases.

In severe cases, the spine will arch backward as the back muscles become affected. This condition is explained in Shwa Graha symptoms also.
Read – Stiff Neck Causes, Ayurvedic Treatment And Remedies

Other symptoms will include –

  • Bloody stools
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Touch sensitivity
  • Sore throat
  • Sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat

Apart from backward bending of the body, sweating and sore throat – as in ‘barking like dog sound & sounds from deep throat’, have been explained in symptoms of Shwa Graha as in tetanus. These may occur due to tightness of back, chest and throat muscles as explained in the context of tetanus. The barking sounds and indistinct sounds from deep throat explained in shwa graha can be due to laryngospasm which is a complication of tetanus.

Hydrophobia – means fear or aversion towards water that develops in humans during the later stages of rabies. It is a historic name for rabies.

Rabies is a deadly virus. It spreads to the people from the saliva of infected animals. The virus is usually transmitted through a bite. Stray dogs, bats, coyotes, foxes, raccoons and skunks usually transmit rabies.

Once the signs and symptoms of rabies manifest, it nearly always causes death. Anyone who is at risk of contracting rabies should receive vaccinations for the same.

Symptoms –

The symptoms may be similar to fly and may last for many days.

The later signs and symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Hyperactivity
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Excessive salivation
  • Fear on attempts to drink water / fluids because of difficulty in swallowing water
  • Partial paralysis
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations

Though most symptoms of rabies do not meet up with the description of Shwa Graha, the experts have included it in the comparison. Shwa means dog and rabies or hydrophobia is related to dog bite. This might be the reason behind considering it into comparison. We don’t find a clear description so as to why this graha had been named as Shwa.

Ayurveda treatment

1. Internal medication

Amalakyadi Ghrita Pana

Ghee processed with the below mentioned herbs should be orally administered to the afflicted child –

  • Amalaki – Emblica officinalis
  • Shatavari – Asparagus racemosus
  • Sariva – Hemidesmus indicus
  • Payasya – Pueraria tuberose
  • Eranda – Ricinus communis
  • Bala – Sida Cordifolia
  • Trikatu – Piper longum, Piper nigrum and Zingiber officinale
  • Milk

Read – Ayurvedic Treatment For ADHD – Herbs, Therapies, Medicines, Remedies

2. External measures

a. Anointment

Gavakshyadi Lepa

The paste / powder of the below mentioned ingredients mixed together should be used for anointment –

  • Gavakshi – Citrullus colocynthis
  • Brihati – Solanum indicum
  • Kantakari – Solanum xanthocarpum
  • Sariva – Hemidesmus indicus
  • Hribera – Pavonia odorata
  • Kushta – Saussurea lappa
  • Bhumi Kadamba – Anthocephalus indicus
  • Surasa Manjari – Inflorescence of Ocimum sanctum

b. Massage

Amalakyadi Taila Abhyanga

The oil prepared with Emblica officinalis and other herbs mentioned in Amalaki Ghrita above shall be used for giving massage to the afflicted child.
Read – Oil Massage To Baby: Precautions, Method, Ayurvedic Oil Combinations

c. Fumigation

Shushka Matsyadi Dhupa – fumigation should be given with powder of dried fish triturated in urine of cow or goat. The fumigation should be given in the midnight.

d. Bath

Bilwadi Kwatha – The decoction prepared with the leaves of the below mentioned herbs should be used to give bath to the child –

  • Bilwa – Aegle marmelos
  • Castor – Ricinus communis
  • Karanja – Pongamia pinnata
  • Shyonaka – Oroxylum indicum

3. Ritualistic measures

a. Raksha Sutra – protective measures

Similar as mentioned in Naigamesha Graha.

b. Bali – Snana – Sacrifices and bath

Ghee, meat, wine, curds, blood and paste of sesame should be offered as sacrifice at the junction of four roads.

Later the afflicted child should be given bath while reciting the above mentioned hymn.

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