Fighting an E coli infection with Ayurveda

I am sitting on a clinic bed, with a needle in my hand, attached to an IV drip bag. Shahnaz is right by me, holding my other hand, and Bina is massaging my forehead. Several other staff members are gathered around me in Dr. Qaiser’s office, whispering, wondering what had happened to me. I have 40 degree (104F) fever and can hardly keep my eyes open. I am also wondering: what on earth is wrong with me? Why can’t anyone tell me what I have? Is it malaria? No, I tested negative. So what is making me so sick?

It took a three-day stool culture to figure out that I have an E coli stomach infection. The bacteria is what caused severe, several day-long loose motion and non-stop high fever.

But don’t worry.  I wasn’t just wasting away while I was waiting for the result of the culture to come out. Sathyu had told me that there was a chance that I may be resistant to the antibiotics anyway, so my best chance to feel better and fight the infection would be with Ayurveda. I said, why not. At least I won’t be developing any extra resistance to antibiotics! And so I immediately started with ayurvedic medicine once I got off the IV, a day later.

The consultation was interesting. Dr.Rupa came up to my room and the first thing she did was take my pulse. I still had a high fever then. After that, she started asking me lots of question, such as the color of my stool, its consistency, frequency, if I had pain anywhere… Then she prescribed a diet for me. I couldn’t eat any dairy products because of my cold, and no bananas. The best thing I could have was wheat-based products. As for the medicines, she gave me two different pills and some herbal powder that I had to mix with some honey. That powder, Sathyu told me, was pomegranate based. Apparently, pomegranate is even used to treat stomach cancer. It is an excellent fruit for all kinds of stomach ailments. The pomegranate powder was fowl tasting. I did not like it at all but I forced myself to scarf it down because I could feel it burn in my stomach. “This is what is killing the infection”. “But Dr. Rupa, is that burning sensation normal?” Her answer was interesting. “I’m supposed to prescribe this powder with buttermilk, and buttermilk is supposed to ease the burning sensation, but because you have a cold, you can’t have buttermilk.”

Wow. Ayurveda is such a complex millennial science! Don’t let yourself be fooled by the doctors who make it seem so easy. These doctors have gone through years of training and hold the key to an unimaginable wealth of knowledge of body ailments and plants. Ayurveda is not a simple mixing of herbs and fruits au petit bonheur; it is an ancestral system of knowledge of herbs and the body and their compatibility. It is this system of knowledge that has cured me and killed the E coli bacteria without using any antibiotics, especially since after the three days, the lab staff discovered that I was highly sensitive to no antibiotic at all. So no antibiotic would have effectively killed the bacteria. Regular antibiotics are definitely not as effectively as Ayurveda.

This is why I say thank you Ayurveda (and Dr. Rupa!!)  and I thank Sathyu for encouraging me to choose that path. As Westerners, we are often skeptical if these “alternatives” really work and I can remember my mom panicking on the phone asking what kind of medication I was taking. When I told her Ayurveda, she was worried. “Is it going to work? Are you sure? Why can’t you take antibiotics?” As Westerners, we are used to stuffing ourselves with antibiotics thinking it is the cure for everything. Well, because of the over-prescription of antibiotics in my childhood, the result is that I wouldn’t have been able to efficiently fight my current stomach infection with it. Ayurveda doesn’t just target the infection, it also seeks to reestablish the balance that I had lost because of the runs and the fever. It views the ailment globally and not merely as a process of targeting a specific organ.

So thank you Ayurveda, this is definitely a success story!

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