Health And Hormones
Hormones are the products secreted by the endocrine glands. They are internal secretions. The endocrine glands are ductless glands which discharge their several products or internal secretions directly into the blood stream and thereby influence all the regions of the body. These secretions affect every function of the body both physiological and psychological.
These endocrine glands are small wonderful chemical factories which manufacture very potent substances called hormones. These hormones regulate the chemistry of our lives. They markedly influence our structure, our health, and our whole personality.
The most important advance in Medical Science made during recent years is the discovery of the inner glands of the body and their importance to life. It has been proved that the glands control our entire life, energy, and mental and physical activity.
The body is a very intricate and complex machine. Hormone regulation is very important in the normal functioning of the human organism. Height, stature, the shape of the face, the appearance, intelligence, bodily development, the complexion, colour and the characteristic differences between men and women, such as the temper, the voice, the growth of the hair, mental and physical capacity, the formation of the body and even the emotions are regulated by the functioning of these mysterious glands. Even the individual, radical characteristics of every man, woman and child are attributed to the varying amounts of hormones manufactured by the endocrine glands of their bodies.
How wonderful is this magical machine- the human body, the moving temple of God or the chariot for the soul. Mother Prakriti has exhibited her marvelous skill and maximum dexterity in constructing this marvelous machine. If you seriously ponder over for a while over the structure and working of this wonderful machine that is our body you will be struck with awe and wonder.
The cells of these glands are endowed with marvelous intelligence. There are many endocrine glands and they all work in perfect unison and harmony with each other and thus the normal functioning of the body is maintained. If the function of one gland is disturbed a vicious circle will be formed. These internal secretory glands pour directly into the blood stream, their secretions in such quantities as are necessary to keep up a balance of bodily activity.
The various ductless glands of the body are pineal, the pituitary, the thyroid, the parathyroid, the thymus, the adrenals or the supra-renals, the gonads or the generative glands, and the islets of Langerhans. Chemists are now manufacturing some of these glandular products artificially from lower animals. Doctors administer these extracts or solutions to patients either by means of injections or by mouth to replace the secretions of the patient’s glands when they are not functioning properly. Pituitrin, the active principle of the pituitary gland, pancreatic extract, known as insulin, for the treatment of diabetes, adrenalin, the active principle of the adrenal glands, thyroxin,the active principle of the thyroid gland, and the Para-thormone from the parathyroid have been prepared by the chemists.
The pineal gland or pineal body is of the size of a pea, and has the shape of a cone. It is imbedded in the brain above the top of the spinal column near the middle of the skull. It contains some gritty calcareous particles called brain sand. It is the receiving instrument of the wireless telegraphy of the mind. It receives the thought message, from distant telepathists. Some regard the pineal gland as the seat of the soul. It functions most vigorously in the practice of telepathy, and plays a tremendous part in thought-transference. Occultists consider this as the sixth sense.
The pituitary gland is located at the base of the brain and produces several kinds of hormones. It has got two lobes, viz., the anterior lobe and the posterior lobe. This gland has much to do with the development of out height, weight and general contour, the character of the hair, the texture of the skin and the cast of features. This is a small body weighing six grams. Research workers are not in agreement regarding the number of hormones produced by the anterior lobe of the pituitary, but in general four are recognized, viz., the growth, gonadotropic, lactogenic, therotropic principles. The anterior lobe of the pituitary body promotes skeletal growth. Hyper-activity of the anterior lobe is a cause for premature sex development. The important functions of the posterior lobe are stimulation of the non-striated muscle fibres and control of the carbohydrate metabolism. Any deficiency in the secretion of the posteior lobe causes muscular weakness and a slowing up of carbohydrate metabolism with greatly increased sugar tolerance. Excessive functioning of this gland causes gigantism or unusually large hands, feet or nose, aggressiveness and persistence. Any deficiency produces a normally intelligent, obedient, good-natured and fickle minded man. It also leads to dwarfism, excessive obesity and retardation of sexual development.
The pituitary gland functions more vigorously after the removal of the thyroid. But it does not take over all the duties of the thyroid. If the function of the pituitary gland is impaired or lost, the thyroid gland begins to function more vigorously. This is a balancing action on nature’s part. Similarly when the kidneys are in a diseased condition more profusely. In winter the activity of the kidneys is accelerated and we pass more urine. Micturition is more frequent also. This sort of balancing work in the harmony of nature is done by the intelligent Prakriti under the direct guidance of the Lord of all nature. The Sattwa Guna of the Prakriti is characterized by intelligence.
The thyroid gland consists of two lobes which are attached to the sides of the lower portion of the larynx. In a normal individual it weighs from 20 to 25 grams.
The secretion of this gland palys a very vital part in keeping up a proper balance over nutritional and growth process in human beings. The active principle of the secretions of this gland is called thyroxin. The general effect of the thyroid hormone on metabolism is a regulation of the rate of oxidation in the body. A lack of thyroid secretion results in dwarfism, deficient muscular activity, lower bodily temperature, slower breathing rate, a depressed activity and underdeveloped and functionally deficient sex-glands. Goitre is a morbid enlargement of the thyroid gland. This is due to complete absence or marked deficiency of the iodine necessary for the normal functioning of the gland. Regular consumption of foods rich in iodine will help in preventing goiter. Children who suffer from cretinism show considerable improvement if they take thyroxin. Excessive functioning of the thyroid indues rapid physical development and sex-changes, increased restlessness and irritability.
The para-thyroids are closely attached to the thyroids. They are four in number. They weigh in all not more than two grains. The secretion from the para-thyroid controls the calcium content of the blood. The proper functioning of the glands is of paramount importance. Calcium helps the clotting of blood, and the muscular tone and the formation of the skeleton. An insufficiency of calcium in the blood is shown by the appearance of certain diseases. Complete removal of these glands results in a condition known as tetany which is characterized by painful spasmodic contractions of the muscles of the extremities, i.e., hands and legs. The calcium content of the blood is considerably diminished. The heart, lungs and the temperature of the body are also affected. The patient dies if proper treatment is not given. Administration of an extract of parathyroid promptly restores the sufferer to a normal condition.
The thymus is situated in the upper region of the chest along the trachea or wind-pipe. Removal of the thymus in human beings induces disordered development of the skeleton and results in defects like rickets, etc. the thymus is particularly important in childhood as it helps the physical and metal development. Early decline of thymic activity results in sexual precocity, whereas persistent thymus activity causes delayed puberty.
The adrenal glands are of yellow colour. They are two in number. Each weighs about four grams. Each is situated above the kidney. They produce two major hormones, viz., adrenalin and cortin. The secretion from the medullary portion of the adrenal gland is called adrenalin. This is widely used as a drug. It stops bleeding by inducing contraction of the arteries and capillaries and maintains muscular tone. A deficiency of adrenalin causes lowered blood pressure, lack of muscular tone and loss of strength. The secretions of the cortex control sexual maturity. Over-activity of the cortex portion of the adrenal causes masculine traits in women, such as the growth of a beard, harsh voice, et. Hypertrophy of the cortex causes precocious sexual development. Morbid affection of the cortical portion causes Addison’s disease. When cortical extract is injected, the patient shows signs of improvement. The adrenal glands assist in sexual development especially in early life, maintain muscular tone, including arterial tension and exert a protective influence against bacterial infection.
The generative glands (Gonads) produce internal secretions which affect the individual both mentally and physically. The gonads exercise deep psychological and physiological influence on men. These secretions determine the proper development of the specific male and female characteristics, such as voice, hairy condition, bodily outline, size, etc.
The pancreas is a gland that secretes a digestive juice called pancreatic juice which is poured through the pancreatic duct into the small intestines. In the midst of the lobules which secrete the pancreatic juice there are small tissues known as the islets of Langerhans. These tissues secrete a substance called, insulin which is directly absorbed in the blood. This hormone plays a very important part in the metabolism of carbohydrates. If there is any deficiency of this hormone insulin through disease of the islets of Langerhans, diabetes-mellitus is produced. The chief symptom of diabetes is increase of sugar in the urine. Doctors inject now an extract known as Insulin prepared from the pancreas of healthy animals for the treatment of diabetes-mellitus.
A hormone does not influence directly the endocrine gland from which it originates. On the contrary the active principles secreted by a gland may strikingly influence certain other endocrine glands. For instance, the ovarian follicular hormone does not affect the ovary directly, but exerts its effect upon the secondary sex organs. The ovarian hormone exerts a restraining effect on the anterior pituitary.
The internal secretions or hormones play a very important role in influencing the structure of our body, health, complexion, personality. Each endocrine gland must play its part in perfect tune and harmony with its companion. Then only will there be physiological harmony. Then only will the internal administration or government within the body run smoothly. Then only will you enjoy perfect heath and peace.