Supporting Your Ayurvedic Practice
Soothe the Prostate
Pitta in Shukra Dhatu
Your client is a 42-year-old male (Pitta-Vata prakriti) who complains of discomfort in his pelvis. He also tells you that he has some discomfort (mostly heat) with urination and even when he has intercourse. He has seen his physician who has ruled out any infection. He begs for some help—he is in his prime, just got promoted at a large company and plans to excel even more, and has a new girlfriend (who, by the way, loves spicy food). He looks a bit flushed, his skin is oily, and his abdominal exam is normal. What herb would benefit him most effectively and quickly?
Gokshura is an herb that is both sweet and cooling and also has an affinity to the whole urinary and genital tract. That makes this herb the number one choice (and even better if you take it with aloe vera!). It is a tonic for the kidneys and the reproductive tract, and supports the healthy flow of urine. It has the added benefit of supporting the nervous system tissue (majja dhatu) which can also be irritated with heat.1
Ashwagandha would certainly help his energy level and help him get the rest that he needs, as he is on an ambitious track in his career. It also would help maintain his libido. But his main concern is the discomfort and heat (and Ashwagandha is slightly warming). Trikatu would not be the best choice as it is quite heating. While Punarnava does help support the kidneys and flow of fluids in the body, it has more of a kapha-pacifying effect rather than pitta-pacifying effect.
In this article, we will talk about how to decrease heat in the prostate and make sure that there is proper flow, such that the heat does not become blocked or stagnant in the prostate. There will be herbal recommendations as well as general lifestyle tips to promote good health of the prostate through all of the man’s years.
Herbal Supportive Care
Herbs that are cooling and have an affinity to the urinary and genital tract would be great for heat in the prostate gland. Herbs that help with the cause of the heat (most likely his ambition and the stress and anger that accompanies his career journey) will also benefit him well. We also will look for herbs that that help support the proper flow of fluids and circulation. Since this is the male reproductive tract, there needs to be support to regular elimination of wastes. To that end, consider the following herbal support.
- Gokshuradi Guggulu. As we discussed, Gokshura is a fantastic herb for this client. Coupling it with guggulu helps cleanse any blockages that may be preventing the proper flow through the reproductive and urinary channels.
- Kidney Formula. This formula is very well balanced for soothing and gently cleansing the urinary tract. The herbs in this formula can have a very similar affect on the prostate gland.
- Triphala. Make sure that all of the channels of elimination are clear and moving. Given the close proximity of the colon to the prostate, prevent any stagnation or accumulation of toxins in the pelvis.
- Stress Ease. The stress and impact of demanding careers is a major factor of pitta imbalances in men during their middle age. Support proper restoration and calmness with this formula. Though the slightly warming Ashwagandha is a key player in this formulation, the other herbs (i.e. Shatavari, Brahmi, Amalaki, Guduchi) provide an overall balanced effect on pitta.
- Pitta Digest. Not only do many men have a stressful career, but they often love spicy, oily foods. It gives them that added kick of pitta to drive and motivate them further. Soothe their digestion with Pitta Digest.
- Shilajit. Rather than drinking caffeine, which is very sharp and pitta aggravating, try supporting the energy level with this herb. It also has the benefit of supporting the urinary and reproductive tract.2
- Healthy Pitta. As always, Healthy Pitta has an overall supportive effect on pitta in the body.
- Consider taking the primary herb with aloe vera. Aloe vera has a strong affinity to the reproductive and urinary channels and is quite cooling.
Lifestyle Supportive Care
Encourage recommendations and behaviors that prevent the build-up of heat in the body and those that promote flow and circulation.
- General pitta balancing recommendations are always helpful and a good reminder. Pay particular attention to their diet, avoiding spicy, oily foods. Foods that are high in quercetin (onions, garlic, radish, dill, and cilantro) soothe heat in the prostate gland.3
- Encourage healthy fluid intake (half the body weight in ounces), which is a must for making sure that the urinary tract has good flow. Cumin, Coriander, Fennel tea is ideal for this.4
- When there is more discomfort, have the client try sitz baths. The baths promote healthy circulation near the genitals.5
- Encourage the intake of omega-3 fatty acids, which has great anti-inflammatory actions.
- Avoid increased pressure on the genitals for long periods of time. Our sedentary lifestyle certainly is not helpful. Taking breaks with walks, stretches, and a few lunges throughout the day will prevent such stagnation.
- Lunges and hip openers will promote proper circulation in the pelvis and backbends help release excess heat. A good yoga routine is also very supportive to the stressed mind.
- Vajroli mudra is another yogic practice that stimulates movement in the pelvis, particularly around the prostate. To perform this practice, have the client sit upright. On an exhalation, have the client gently contract the urethra upward, as if he is blocking the urge to urinate. Begin with a few contractions and slowly increase to ten, a few times a day.
- Do not suppress urges. Encourage your client to use the restroom frequently and not to suppress the urge to have a bowel movement. Having intercourse when the client is interested and not blocking that flow also directly encourages the movement within the prostate gland.
1 Sebastian Pole, Ayurvedic Medicine: The Principles of Traditional Practice (London: Churchill Livingston, 2006), pp. 185
2 Pole, Ayurvedic Medicine, pp. 273
3 Shoskes D, et al. Quercetin in men with category III chronic prostatitis: a preliminary prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Urology 54, no. 6 (1999): 960
4 Lad, Vasant. Ayurvedic Perspectives on Selected Pathologies. (Albuquerque, NM: The Ayurvedic Press, 2012), pp. 185-186.
5 Lad, Ayurvedic Perspectives on Selected Pathologies, pg. 185