by Dr. Santosh Jalukar
Online Faculty: San Diego College of Ayurveda
All of a sudden a phone bell rang and an old friend after long time said, “Hi doc, how are you?”
I am fine, how about you?
“I have been facing one problem for couple of months and I need your advice in this issue.”
“Tell me what it is about.”
“It is about bad body odour. As a part of my routine, I bath, put some good talcum powder over the body and leave for day to day activity. Within 1-2 hours my shirt gets a peculiar offensive odour. I tried different soaps and also started using perfumes but the problem still exists. Can you suggest some way out?”
This was the first time someone seeking advice for such an health issue. Normally using anti-perspirant helps to get rid of this issue, but, since he asked, I had to think something different and effective. Remembered one herb, read in the books about 15 years back, as that herb when consumed orally, eliminates bad body odour. Incidentally I had a chance to try the recipe on this friend.
The name of this herb is BEL in vernacular language and identified as Aegle marmelos in botanical language. I suggested him to take this powder with Triphala powder, mixed in equal quantity. The recommended dose was just half teaspoon at bed time with a sip of water. After this suggestion, I was eager to know the outcome after 1 week. I received his call on 11th day. In his words, “I am using the same shirt for last 2 days and now putting it for laundry as it is soiled. I am really shocked to notice the effect. Despite using it for 2 days, there is no stink”.
Seldom, it may happen that you suggest some remedy for certain condition but the disease would have normally settled by that time. It could be just co-incidence even. Hence, concluding was not logical unless it shows the same effect in few more individuals. Now the question was how to get guinea pigs? Suggesting this recipe to someone for bad body odour may be emotionally hurting. Suddenly I remembered one smart girl in our office having this problem. Whenever she used to enter the cabin for some work, I used to finish her task on priority basis so that she will move out at the earliest. I personally procured the above mentioned herbal powders and offered it to her.
“Sir, what is this powder for?”
“You are too weak and also anemic. I noticed you become little breathless on climbing even 2 stairs of our office”.
“Thank you sir. In fact I was about to ask you some safe treatment for this problem. When should I consume this and how much quantity?”
“Just half spoon at bed time with a sip of water. Don’t forget to give me the feedback after a week”.
After about 10-12 days she reported “I don’t feel any improvement in symptoms. I am still getting breathless and feeling exhausted”.
“O. K. Just continue it for some more days”.
“Meanwhile, my mother noticed some positive change and she told me yesterday that my clothes had very offensive odor which has suddenly disappeared”
“Now I will tell you the true story of this herbal mixture. This preparation I gave you for eliminating bad body odour but I did not want to express it. I was hesitating to convey it considering you may feel offended”.
“Sir, I just can’t express my contentment. I tried different soaps, perfumes, body sprays but the problem was never controlled.” The conversation ended with bunch of appreciation, thankfulness and gratudes.
The effect of this combination was now established for treating bad body odour. The mind did not allow me to breathe happily after this success but raised a basket of new question ahead.
What is actually the patho-physiology involved in body odour? How oral medicine would reach there and successfully treat it? What is the mechanism of action? It was now essential to discover all these various aspects before concluding.
The step by step study went on progressing and I was happy to arrive at some concrete findings.
There are about 2 to 4 million sweat glands situated under the skin. They function mainly for regulation of body temperature and provide an emotional response. The watery secretion produced by these glands make the body moist and helps to cool the body temperature. The glands are under the control of sympathetic nervous system. Sweat contains water and some salts like sodium, chloride, potassium, urea, bicarbonate, calcium and other excretions from the body such as amino acids. There are 2 types of sweat glands in human body.
They are Eccrine glands and Apocrine glands. Eccrine glands are situated all over the body whereas the Apocrine glands are situated in Axilla (underarm), Perianal (near the anal area), Areole (nipple), Periumbilical (around the belly button), Genital area, External ear canal, and Eyelids. The sweat is actually odourless but on drying, the Coryneform bacteria decompose which produces a peculiar bad odour. Hyperthyroidism is one of the major causes of excessive sweating. Therefore it is essential to have better control on thyroid hormone. While studying this, a research paper came to notice indicating that the leaves of this plant contain Scopoletin (7-hydroxy-6-methoxy coumarin), which regulates the hyper secretion of Thyroxine hormone. Along with that it also has the property to detoxify Liver.
This gave a partial satisfaction of the observation. Now the question of Triphala, how would it be performing the activity to treat the bad body odour. Incidentally one more research paper, which proved that the phenolic compounds and tannins exhibited comparable antimicrobial activity. The complete scientific rationale was established and the respect for Ayurveda was uplifted. The two activities required for treating bad body odour, controlling the excessive sweating and regulating bacterial decomposition was established. It is very important that Ayurveda, an Indian medical science, which is claimed to be older than 5000 years has such an enormous potential hidden within. There were no laboratories, no scientific instruments, no technical support to study; even then the formulations were established with such a great accuracy.
The scientists today study with huge available infrastructure and get doctorates in these subjects but conveniently forget that the answers are already available in our own age old ancient science. We only find as how our ancestors arrived to these findings. It is like the answer to complicated sum is given, we simply make an attempt to study the steps. Ayirveda is an ocean of millions of PhD subjects; we only need to explore the hidden treasury.