Herbal Remedies for Anorexia Nervosa, Ayurvedic Treatment – Causes & Symptoms

Anorexia nervosa is a serious, potentially life threatening eating disorder characterized by self starvation and excessive weight loss. It is an eating disorder characterized by low weight, fear of gaining weight, a strong desire to be thin. Many people with anorexia see themselves as overweight even though they are underweight. People with anorexia place a high value on controlling their weight and shape. To prevent weight gain or to continue losing weight, people with anorexia severely restrict the amount of food they eat. Anorexia is more frequently diagnosed in adolescents of both males and females.


There are two types of anorexia nervosa:

1. Restricting subtype

People with this subtype place severe restrictions on the amount and type of food they consume.

There could be other ways also:

  • Restricting certain food groups like carbohydrates, fats
  • Counting calories
  • Skipping meals
  • Obsessive rules and rigid thinking

These restrictive behaviors about food can be accompanied by excessive exercise.

2. Binge eating/purging subtype

People with subtype also place severe restriction on the amount and type of food they consume. In addition to this, the person displays purging behavior and may also engage in binge eating. Binge eating involves eating a large amount of food and feeling a loss of control. Purging behavior involves self induced vomiting or deliberately misusing laxatives, diuretics or enemas to compensate for eating food.


People with anorexia may display following symptoms:

1. Physical signs

  • Rapid weight loss or frequent weight changes
  • Loss or disturbance of menstruation in girls and women
  • Decreased libido in men
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Feeling cold most of the time, even in warm weather
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Development of intolerances to food
  • Tiredness
  • Lethargy
  • Facial changes like looking pale with sunken eyes
  • Fine hair appearing on face and body

2. Psychological signs

  • Preoccupied with eating food, body shape and weight
  • Feeling anxious or irritable around meal times
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Unable to maintain a normal body weight for their age and height
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Reduced capacity for thinking and increased difficulty in concentration
  • Low self esteem and perfectionism
  • Extreme body image dissatisfaction


According to ayurveda, anorexia nervosa is known as aruchi. The physical cause of aruchi is the aggravation of vata (prana, udana and samana), piitta (paachaka pitta) and kapha (bodhak kapha) in the stomach which leads to loss of appetite. Prana, udana and samana vayu along with paachaka pitta helps in bringing hunger. Hunger stimulates proper perception to taste. For the normal perception to taste, bodhaka kapha and samana vayu should have proper co-ordination.

Negative mental feelings such as fear, sorrow, excessive greed and anger can also lead to anorexia.

There are five types of aruchi according to ayurveda:

1. Vataja aruchi – Symptoms found in vataja aruchi are:

  • Distress
  • Pain in body parts
  • Cardiac pain
  • Sensitivity in teeth
  • Astringent taste of mouth

2. Paitik aruchi – Symptoms found in paitik aruchi are:

  • Increased thirst
  • Burning sensation in the whole body
  • Cutting pain
  • Bitter and sour mixed pungent tastes or bad odour of the mouth

3. Kaphaja aruchi – Symptoms found in kaphaja aruchi are:

  • Sweet and salty taste in the mouth
  • Heaviness in the body
  • Coldness in the body
  • Nausea

4. Tridoshic aruchi

In this type of aruchi mixed features of all the doshas are found.

5. Agantuja aruchi

This type of aruchi is caused due to grief, fear, anger and greediness.


  • Lavana Bhaskara Churna
  • Hingvashtak Churna
  • Shivakshara Churna
  • Ashwagandha Churna
  • Hingvadi Vati
  • Lashunadi Vati
  • Agnitundi Vati
  • Chitrakadi Vati
  • Lashun Rasayan


  • Have freshly prepared and warm food.
  • Take meals at regular intervals, so that the previous meal gets digested.
  • Avoid snacking in between the meals.
  • A single day fasting is beneficial for digesting ama or toxins.
  • If psychological factors are involved, creating a happy and calm atmosphere helps to improve the condition.
  • Having the company of good friends and relatives relieves stress and improves digestive power.
  • Practice of Pawanmuktasana and Bhramari pranayama is also beneficial for people with anorexia.


  • Put five teaspoon of small chopped fresh ginger. Add lemon juice, a pinch of salt and one tablespoon of cumin seed powder. Keep the jar in the sun for two days. Eat half teaspoon of this before meals.
  • Mix 10 g dried ginger, 3 g black pepper, 2 g long pepper, 5 g celery seeds, 10 g cumin seeds and 10 g rock salt. Store in a container and take one teaspoon of this with the first bite of food during meals two times a day daily.
  • Take one teaspoon garlic paste. Add half teaspoon of rock salt. Mix and consume the paste once every day.
  • Take a small quantity of black pepper with buttermilk.


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