By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Grahas are psychosomatic diseases afflicting children due to evil forces. Graha is a name given to the planets or unseen organisms. It was believed that some unknown and invisible entities would produce a few diseases and they were called Graha’s.
When compared with the modern day diseases the Graha’s can be compared to the micro-organisms like viruses, bacteria etc. Graha’s were said to bother the children more than the adults.
Table of Contents
This condition can be closely compared to ‘hemiplegia with facial paralysis in children’.
We do not find many instances when we find both hemiplegia and facial paralysis symptoms found at the same time, in a given child. The below mentioned conditions shall be considered in comparative study with its Ayurveda counterpart.
Alternating hemiplegia – also known as crossed hemiplegia is a form of hemiplegia in which we can find ipsilateral and contralateral presentation in different parts of the body. Superior alternating hemiplegia i.e. Weber Syndrome presents with contralateral hemiparesis of limb and facial muscles along with weakness in one or more muscles that control eye movement on the same side. There is loss of eye movement due to damage of oculomotor nerve fibers. There is increased weakness in upper and lower extremities. Another type of this hemiplegia i.e. Middle alternating hemiplegia or Foville Syndrome presents with weakness of the extremities accompanied by paralysis of the extraocular muscle, on the opposite side of the affected extremities.
Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood (AHC) – is a rare neurological disorder that usually occurs in children before 18 months of age. It causes recurrent episodes of hemiplegia that involves one or both sides of the body, multiple limbs or a single limb. Paralysis may affect different parts of the body at different times. The symptoms disappear during sleep and return on awakening. Many children display some degree of developmental delay, abnormal eye movements, uncontrolled limb movements and seizures.
Central facial palsy – presents with paralysis of lower half of one side of the face. It often occurs in patients who are hemiplegic. Symptoms include dysfunctions in the facial expressions, difficulty in communication and impairment of sucking, swallowing and talking.
Facial Paralysis in Children – Since the facial symptoms dominate the picture of Skand Grah, we shall discuss about the facial paralysis in brief. It is caused by damage to the seventh cranial nerve i.e. facial nerve. This nerve governs the sensation and movement of all the muscles in the face. Damage to this nerve causes inability to move one or both sides of the face. This affects the child’s ability to convey emotion through facial expression, blink, speak and eat. It may be caused due to Bell’s palsy, trauma during child birth, head injury, Moebius syndrome or tumors.
Symptoms include drooping on one side of the face due to muscle weakness, asymmetrical smile, inability to blink, drooling, difficulty feeding and speech problems, most of which are seen in children afflicted by Skanda Graham.
Congenital facial paralysis – is uncommon. When it is present, it might cause multiple problems for the newborn. Asymmetrical facial movement, difficulty in nursing and incomplete eye closure is common symptoms. On long run it might affect the speech, expressions and mastication in the child. This may be traumatic or developmental, unilateral or bilateral and complete or incomplete paralysis.
1. Internal medication
Rasna – Devadarvadi Ghrita / Ksheera Pana
Ghee processed with paste of Pluchea lanceolata or Cedrus deodara and milk should be given to drink. Alternatively milk processed with the same herbs and herbs having sweet taste should be given for drinking.
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.
Read – Which Ayurvedic Medicines Are Not Safe For Children? How To Know?
2. External measures
Gugguluvadi Churna Lepa
Soft powder of the below mentioned herbs should be prepared and applied on the body of the child –
Vatahara Kwatha Snana
Bath should be given with the decoction prepared with leaves of vata mitigating plants.
Read – How To Make Ayurvedic Herbal Bath Powder At Home?
Vata Nashaka Taila Abhyanga
Oil processed and prepared with the decoction of the roots of Vata mitigating herbs and fragrant herbs should be used for massage.
Kantakaryadi Taila Abhyanga
Oil prepared with the below mentioned herbs shall be used for giving massage –
Sarvagandha Dravya Siddha Taila Abhyanga
Massage shall be given with the oil prepared with ‘Sarvagandha Dravyas’ i.e. fragrant herbs, sura-manda i.e. scum or froth of bear, Mahanimba (Melia azedarach) etc.
Read – Oil Massage To Baby: Precautions, Method, Ayurvedic Oil Combinations
Fumigation should be given with the below mentioned things –
Fumigation with the powder of the below mentioned ingredients should be given –
Fumigation is given with Rauwolfia serpentine, nails and hairs of goat.
e. Parishechana – showering
Vata Nashaka Parishechana
Sprinkling done with the decoction prepared from the leaves of vata mitigating herbs like Bilwa, castor or Rasna. The roots of the same herbs shall be used to process sesame oil and this oil shall be used to give full body massage.
3. Ritualistic measures
a. Bheshaja Dharana – wearing medicaments
a. The below mentioned herbs should be tied in a bolus and tied in the neck of the child afflicted by Skand Graha –
b. The seeds of the below mentioned should be tied in a bolus and tied around the neck of the child. Alternatively the seeds shall be tied to the arm or wrist.
b. Bali – sacrifice
The below mentioned should be offered as sacrifice to the Skanda Grah –
These should be sacrificed in the main roads or at the roots of the latex yielding trees.
Later the child should be given a bath on the river bed. Following this, the below mentioned hymn should be recited.
c. Havana – fire worship
At the night, the fire should be lit up and should be offered with oblations of honey and ghee after chanting the below mentioned hymn –
For three nights, the mother / wet-nurse and the child should be bathed with water consecrated by ‘Gayatri Mantra’ hymn. The mother and child shall be seated at the junction of four roads.
Read – Analysis Of Effect of Mantras On Health And Nadi
d. Marjana – Raksha Sutra
The child should be subjected to sprinkling / body wash with the water consecrated with the above mentioned hymn, thrice in a day. A carrying girth made up of consecrated threads should be tied around the wrists of the child. This is said to protect the child from the evil spirits.
b. Symptoms from Yogaratnakara
c. Symptoms from Ashtanga Samgraha
The main symptoms of Skandapasmaram resembles ‘epileptic attacks in children’ explained in modern texts.
Epilepsy is quite common in childhood. Epilepsy causes seizures which begin in the brain. Most often it is found that adults with epilepsy have had their first episode of seizure in childhood or adolescence. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, 2/3 children with epilepsy outgrow seizures by the time they reach their teenage. Good and comprehensive care help many children get rid of seizures and in prevention of side effects. Seizures are common in the first year of life.
Read – Epilepsy – Ayurvedic Understanding And Its Treatment
Types of childhood epilepsy and symptoms
Focal seizures and generalized seizures are the two main types of seizures.
Focal seizures / partial seizures – affect only one side of the brain. The child experiences an aura before seizure. This signals the arrival of seizures. The auras of seizure may include changes in hearing, vision or smell, unusual feelings, such as fear, euphoria or sense of déjà vu. Focal aware seizures affect a specific muscle group such as those in fingers or legs. There is no loss of consciousness. The child having focal aware seizure may appear frozen. The child is unable to respond but can usually hear and understand things which occur in the surroundings. Nausea, pale skin and sweating are also present. Focal impaired awareness seizures cause loss of consciousness or awareness of surroundings. Symptoms like crying, laughing, staring and smacking of lips are present.
Generalized seizures – affect both sides of the brain. It usually causes loss of consciousness. After the attack, the children are sleepy and tired. This is called postictal state. It is of the below mentioned types –
Childhood Epilepsy Syndrome
Causes of childhood epilepsy
In many cases no cause may be identified. Below mentioned are the potential causes or contributing factors of childhood epilepsy –
Common trigger factors for childhood seizures
Below mentioned are the tools of diagnosis of childhood epilepsy –
Medications – antiepileptic drugs to control the symptoms. These do not control seizures in all children.
Ketogenic diet – to control the seizures should be planned with the help of doctor and dietician.
Neuro-stimulation – done when the epilepsy do not respond to the drugs. They are of 3 types – vagus nerve stimulation, responsive neuro-stimulation and deep brain stimulation.
Surgery – is some cases surgery may be needed to remove a portion of the brain. They may prevent or reduce seizures.
Read – Charaka – Apasmara Chikitsa – 10th chapter
1. Internal medication
Kshiri vriksha kwatha and Jivaniya Kalka Sadhita Ghrita Pana
Ghee prepared with the decoction of latex yielding trees or paste of Jeevaniya group of herbs should be given for oral consumption.
Kakolyadi Gana Siddha Ghrita Pana
Ghee prepared with decoction of Kakolyadi group of herbs and milk explained by master Sushruta should be given for oral consumption.
Read – When To Consume Ghee? Before Or After Food?
2. External measures
Skandagrahokta Lepa – anointment explained in the context of child afflicted with Skanda Graha should be used in this context too –Gugguluvadi Churna Lepa
b. Parishechana / Snana – showering and bath
Durvadi Kwatha Parishechana / Snana
Showering and bath should be given to the child with decoction prepared using the below mentioned ingredients –
c. Abhyanga – massage
Sarpasugandhadi Taila Abhyanga
Oil processed with the below mentioned ingredients should be used to give body massage to the afflicted child –
Fumigation should be given to the child with the below mentioned ingredients –
3. Ritualistic measures
a. Raksha Sutra – protective measures through wearing / tying medicament
The below mentioned herbs shall be tied to the limbs, neck or head of the afflicted child –
b. Bali and Snana – Sacrifices and bathing
Raw or cooked meat, blood, curds and spirituous liquor should be offered as sacrifice at the roots of Banyan tree.
The child should be given with bath at the junction of four roads while reciting the above mentioned hymn.