So far, we’ve learned that PCOS is a chronic condition with no cure, but it can be managed with lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise and scientifically proven medications. With all the hype around “natural” in our everyday products, we bet you’ve considered giving Ayurvedic or homeopathic medicine a shot. Now, you might be wondering how exactly these ‘pseudoscientific’ treatments work or even skeptical about their benefits. Besides, the varying advice available on different PCOS remedies can sure be confusing. But don’t worry, we have you covered.
First, the good
Rooted in the Indian Subcontinent, Ayurvedic medicine focuses on preventing disease by balancing the body, mind and consciousness. It includes diet, herbal remedies, massage therapy, yoga and meditation.
Some Ayurvedic teachings surrounding diet are consistent with modern medicine. These include avoiding saturated fats, reducing salt, eating more fruits, vegetables and whole-grain and avoiding refined sugar. They pertain to PCOS as regulating your diet goes a long way in managing PCOS.
In addition, several Western studies have proven the positive effects of massage therapy, yoga and meditation in managing stress and mental health.
Now for the questionable
When it comes to Ayurvedic herbal remedies, the evidence is a bit murky. Extracted from plants, they have been used for centuries in India. Unfortunately, western medicine hasn’t yet verified all the herbal treatments with well-researched data. A handful of small scientific studies have shown Ayurvedic medicines to help with diseases like osteoarthritis and depression, but no studies have looked at Ayurvedic treatments specifically for PCOS.
Some Ayurvedic supplements can interfere with your liver function and affect how your body processes other medications. If that’s not bad enough, certain supplements have been shown to have toxic levels of heavy metals such as mercury. A few small studies even showed poisoning from these substances from supplements bought online. Yikes!
It’s also important to note that Ayurvedic supplements' production is unregulated in India, so always be careful to pursue this route. While there are Ayurvedic schools and certifications in India, if you’re starting Ayurvedic treatment from a practitioner, ensure that they’re a trustworthy source.
Did you know that homeopathy was founded by a German physician in the 18th century? It’s based on diluting medications with little to no active ingredient to cause an effect, but is essentially placebo. It centres around a belief that the body cures itself by giving dilute forms of the substance that causes the problem in the first place. The misconceptions and fads surrounding ‘natural healing’ may have led to its global appeal. But the reality is that this concept makes no sense and till date, there is no scientific evidence supporting its use.
To put it plainly, we don’t encourage homeopathic medicine at all. If you do wish to opt for it, always consult a doctor before doing so.
While Ayurvedic medicine is wildly popular in India, always approach herbal supplements with caution as they are not regulated and can contain toxic metals. Having said that, many lifestyle interventions from Ayurvedic medicine perfectly complement Allopathic medicine and many people have success with Ayurvedic treatments from a trustworthy source. Hence, we recommend using them as a supplement but never a replacement to Allopathic medicine.
Reviewed by Dr. Shailly Prasad, MD/MBA, Resident Physician, Obstetrics & Gynaecology.
Disclaimer: Content on Veera is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for medical advice given by a physician or trained professional.