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Archive for the ‘AYURVEDA & ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE’ Category


Ayurveda is an ancient holistic system of medicine that originated in India over 5000 years ago, and was taught for thousands of years in an oral tradition from accomplished masters to their disciples. The purpose of Ayurveda is to heal, to maintain a high quality of life, and to increase the longevity of the individual. It is an art of daily living that has evolved from practical, philosophical, and spiritual insight. Even though they have been used for thousands of years, Ayurvedic principles have never changed, since they derive from universal laws of nature that are eternally true.

In Sanskrit, Ayurveda means the “Science of Life.” Life is the integration of body, mind and consciousness. Ayurveda places great emphasis on prevention and encourages the maintenance of health through diet, lifestyle, yoga and meditation practice, the use of herbs, as well as cleansing and rejuvenating therapies

Ayurveda finds it origin in one of the four Vedas, the Atharvaveda. Lord Brahma was the original propounder of Ayurveda, who passed it on to Daksh Prajapati, who gave it to Ashwini Kumars, the physicians of devas, and they gave it to Indra.

Ayurveda was given to mankind at the time of Satyug, when the diseases though existed had not yet manifested in the physical world. The level of existence was so pure and selfless that diseases were unable to manifest then.

The Rishis of satyug realized that in the times to come, the thoughts of people are going to become so polluted that diseases will find the required environment to manifest and then the need of Ayurveda would arise, so Rishi Bharadwaj went up to Lord Indra and asked for this divine science.

Ayurveda disregards any such thing as disease or healing, as the purpose of Ayurveda is not healing, it is to achieve a state of balance and maintain it. It eliminates the root of cause of imbalance and brings the body into a state of balance. When the imbalance is removed, the disease is automatically cured and the body radiates glow and strength.

In this series of articles WE are going to discuss about rejuvenating tonics for various systems of the body like the nervous, respiratory, skeletal, muscular, digestive, circulatory etc, which work in tandem to keep the body functioning in a state of balance.

Before we start with any rejuvenating therapies it’s important to remove toxins from the system so that the absorption of nutrients becomes easy and effective. Triphala is an excellent expeller of waste. Take equal quantities of Amla, Harar and Bahera, without seeds, and grind them to a fine powder.

Take half teaspoon every night with warm water for a month only as excessive use of triphala leads to addiction and then the body becomes dependent or addictive.

 As harar is one of the most potent of herbs and its effect is very strong on the body, it’s not suitable for people who are into fasting, are emaciated, who suffer from dryness, pregnant ladies and people who suffer from aggravated pitta.

Its beneficial if administered separately also for various digestive, respiratory and oral imbalances. If it is chewed properly it kindles the digestive fire and is effective in indigestion. One small fruit, seed removed chewed after meals, especially with molasses is an effective remedy for indigestion and flatulence.

It’s important to include cow’s ghee in one’s diet when one is administering a preparation, which contains harar as harar is dry in nature. Chewed orally it’s beneficial for teeth and gums and also for mouth ulcers.

Caution: The effects of these preparations are not immediate and take about 2-6 months bring the desired results. It is advisable to always get your constitutional analysis done before consuming any ayurvedic preparations, as ayurvedic preparations are highly individualistic.

Warning: Do not go to so called ayurvedic practitioners who sell their medicines without any verification of the authentication of the ingredients. 

For rejuvenation of the body, it is important to get rid of the wastes. There are specific herbs, which help in the elimination. The wastes get removed from the body, such that the body is under least pressure from toxins and assimilation of healthy prana is facilitated.

In the market, the commonly available churans and concoctions should not be taken, as they contain chemicals, which interfere with the natural peristaltic movements of the intestines.

The two preparations that Given here would ensure clean the colon and the small intestine. And would be very effective against symptoms of blood toxicity, such as pimples and other kinds of skin eruptions.

Did you know ?

that clean colon induces radiance on the face ?

Did you Know ?

Drinking two glasses of hot water with few drops of limejuice and old honey, for a period of three months at a stretch, cleanses the intestines of ama. Old honey aids in the removal of accumulated non-essential fats from the body.

Interestingly, the same preparation if had after all meals is a known formula for reducing fat.

Amaltas very bright yellow flowers which are in full bloom are found everywhere . Take the pulp of the Amaltas fruit and equal quantity of tamarind (Imli); half a teaspoon each and soak them overnight. Mash them in the residue water and remove the seeds. Filter this preparation and have the liquid at least one hour after dinner.

Do this at a stretch for one month and it will help you get rid of constipation.

Just before sleep take Amaltas (cassia fistula)

(Preparation: Take pulp of Amaltas and heat it on a very bearable temperature) and apply it in and around the navel in circular motions in the multiples of seven. This reduces aggravated vata and aids in removing the symptoms of acidity and flatulence.

In order to treat acne and pimples:
• Apply 2 tbsp. fresh tulsi juice over the affected areas
• Keep for half an hour
• Wash off with warm water
• Apply for a week and feel the difference

To treat constipation and skin eruptions due to blood impurities:
• Soak amaltas (cassia fistula) and a small ball of tamarind overnight
• Mash and remove pulp the next day
• Sieve through a muslin and drink

The fruit, seed, pulp, and root of amaltas have medicinal value. It is prescribed variously as purgative, emetic, febrifuge, reliever of thoracic obstructions, etc. It also relieves symptoms of asthma, leprosy, ring worm, fever, heart problems, etc. The fruit pulp is a safe purgative for pregnant women.

For a glowing skin:
• Soak 4 to 5 almonds in 2 tbsp. raw milk overnight
• Remove the peel and grind in the same milk with 3-4 strands of saffron
• Apply and keep for half an hour
• Wash with warm water
• Apply once a day for a week and witness the glow

Note : Those with existing acne and pimple problems should refrain from this treatment.

Importance of Dincharya –

Keep imbalances at bay by adopting healthy habits that bring the body in harmony with nature. The dincharya or daily routine is an essential component of an Ayurvedic lifestyle and supports the body and mind through the entire day’s activities. Routines and diets prescribed by ancient rishis form the basis of an Ayurvedic lifestyle, that result in flawless skin, luscious hair, a beautiful glow and both inner and outer strength. Here are few basic techniques that will help you achieve just that.

Oral Cleansing: First one has to remove the used up prana or wastes from the system and prepare the body for absorption of fresh prana, required for the day. Every morning, after emptying the bowels, check the tongue. A coated tongue indicates the presence of toxins (ama) in the body. The colour of the coating indicates disturbed dosha in the body. Clean the mouth and teeth thoroughly. Chewing and flossing teeth with neem twigs is the most effective method for strengthening and maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Bad breath is indicative of decay, either in tooth cavities, gums or in the digestive organs. An effective remedy is frequent rinsing and gargling with mint tea. This can be brewed by boiling some mint leaves in water or steeping the

The tongue should also be scraped everyday. For the maintenance of healthy teeth and gums and prevention of tooth decay, gargling and massaging the gums with sesame seed oil is very beneficial. Gargling with sesame seed oil promotes hair growth and shine and retards premature graying and hair fall. It also strengthens sense organs and prevents cough and throat infections.

Jal Neti: Jal neti is performed by slowly dripping salted warm water through one nostril and allowing the water to flow out of the other nostril. To do this comfortably, you should tilt your head. Continue for about fifteen to thirty seconds which is how long you will be able to manage as a beginner. After the neti, put a few drops of oil, as per your dosha in your swara (nostril), followed by a few drops in your ears.

Abhyanga: Abhyanga simply put, means oiling your body. It is the use of oil which suits your body according to your dosha. Use coconut or sunflower oil for pitta dosha and warm sesame oil for vata dosha, while warm mustard and safflower oil are best suited for the kapha dosha.

However, if you are unsure of your dosha or have doubts regarding your constitution then it is best to consult a vaid. After this do some simple Yog asanas and sit still with your spine straight and silently observe your breath.

Begin chanting a mantra; this could be Ram Ram or any other mantra which you are comfortable with. Chant aloud first and slowly let it become softer until it is inaudible and becomes an internal chanting.

After this simply let go, let nothingness envelop you and emerge out of this, taking your own time. Make sure you don’t sit for longer than is comfortable and on the other hand do not force yourself to get up either. You should allow everything to happen naturally without trying to force yourself to do anything.

A vision or a sound will gradually arise and manifest itself within fifteen days of beginning this part of the dincharya. 

Imbalance Cause of Disease

The pleasures and the miseries of life are the experiences of the body. Ayurved defines body as something that is constantly going through the process of decay –’shiryate iti shariram’. Here, decay indicates the gradual ageing of the body. The speed with which one ages decides the life span of that person – higher the speed or metabolism, faster the decay. This process of decay is further intensified when a disease enters the body, and a disease can enter a body only if there is an imbalance (vikriti or going against nature).

Even the aspect of yoga that deals with the physical exercise aims at bringing about a balance in the body. For example, a hyper (fast) pranayam (breathing technique) is always followed by a hypo (slow) pranayam. The three factors that maintain this balance in the human body are vat (vayu), pitt (agni), and kaph (sleshma). These are the pillars of the body.

The maximum number of diseases, about 80, are caused by an imbalanced vat. This is because of the mobile nature of vat. Pitt is the second most potent factor, and is said to cause about 40 diseases. Kaph, the least potent of all, causes about 20 different kinds of diseases. In their various permutations and combinations diseases can take innumerable shapes, thereby causing diseases that may even become incurable after a stage.

A disease manifests in a body when any of the doshas increases or decreases from its state of balance. The state of balance is different in every individual depending on the prakriti of that person. For example, ginger is a tonic, but for a person of pitt prakriti it can cause more harm than good.

The mool prakriti of a person never changes as it is decided at the time of conception in the mother’s womb. The dominating doshas of the parents at the time of conception determines the mool parkriti of that individual. That is why in earlier times there were specific rituals called ‘garbha dharan samskars’ to conceive a healthy child.

They included purifications of body to bring the doshas – vat, pitt, and kaph in balance, and mental purification mantras were chanted and havans performed.

The very object of ayurved is to maintain a disease free state, which is the state of equilibrium (samyavastha). Equilibrium gets disturbed mainly because of three reasons: wrong utilisation, non-utilisation, and excessive utilisation of time, mental faculties and objects of sensory organs.

Time here refers to seasons, and objects of sensory organs are sound, touch, vision, taste, and smell. Sleeping in the daytime, working at night, and eating at wrong hours are examples of wrong utilisation of time. Excessive or non-utilisation of senses also results in diseases.

Even natural instincts like hunger, thirst, and sleep may take forms of diseases if not satiated at the correct time and in adequate measure. Abuse of mental faculties are a definite cause of psychosomatic disorders.

Diseases can also be classified in three categories—purely psychological, purely physical, and psychosomatic. vat, pitt and kaph are pathogenic factors of the physical body. They may act separately or join together to inflict an imbalance in the body. In a disturbed state one may lead to the disturbance of the other. If these three doshas simultaneously reach an aggravated state or vitiated state, they become incurable.

The objective of ayurved is not treatment. It is health and balance. Diseases are the imbalance of the body. The regimens, precautions, diets, habits prescribed in ayurved are aimed at achieving a state where without using medicines one learns to keep the mind and body healthy and also slows down the ageing process.

Do not forget that ayurved is individual constitution oriented; never take general drugs for ailments.

Always get yourself evaluated and then take the prescribed drugs only. General tonics may be an exception to this rule.

Tridoshas : The Balancing Factors

In the earlier article we spoke about imbalance as the cause of disease, let us understand further as to what are the factors which cause this imbalance in the body.

The three factors which maintain the balance are vat, pitt, and kaph called the Tridoshas. They are like a tripod on which the body stands. In a healthy body they are said to be in a state of equilibrium or samyavastha. This state of balance varies from individual to individual depending on the prakriti or constitution of that person. To understand the prakriti of a person we first need to understand the characteristics pertaining to each dosha.

Vat occupies the most prominent place out of the three doshas as the diseases caused by vat are more serious and acute in nature. Said to cause the maximum number of diseases in the body, this is the carrier of imbalance because of its mobile nature. The other two doshas, pitt and kaph are unable to move from their positions without the aid of vat.

Vat or vayu as the name indicates is by nature dry, cold, light, subtle, mobile, expansive, and coarse. It is vat that enables to feel and perform all activities of the body, internal as well external. It is the cause of all physical movements in the body. It enables, commands and performs all the physical functions of any organ in the body.

It is said, there can be no pain in the body for which vat is not responsible because for the mind to perceive any sensation of pain, vat has to carry it also. Pain can be because of imbalanced pitt and kaph also but without the contribution of vat it cannot be perceived or felt.

To distinguish the pain caused by vat from pitt and kaph the position of the pain is observed. If the pain keeps shifting, it is definitely because of a disturbed vat. A person of vat prakriti can be recognised by the characteristics associated with vat. His or her habits, looks and likings for specific objects indicate the dosha dominant in them. He or she will be hyperactive, talkative, will have dry skin, thin frame, light, rough and lustreless hair, irritable in nature, there is trembling in their body and very often they dream about flying.

Diseases caused by any doshas are cured by drugs of opposite qualities. As vat by nature is cold rough, dry, light, non-slimy, it is reconciled by medicines which are hot, sharp, liquid in nature. Vat is said to have a cool tactile sensation, is aggravated by the use of cool substances and is alleviated by the use of hot ones.

Most important quality of vat is mobility. Its main function is activity without which no other phenomenon is possible in the body. Though a healthy body is said to be in a state of equilibrium doshas are always increasing or decreasing at various points of time. The first part of the day is dominated by kaph, the afternoon by pitt and night by vat. Therefore the daily intake of food should be planned keeping the dominance of doshas in mind.

Things which increase kaph should not be taken early in the morning and the same goes for pitt and vat. Similarly, there is dominance of kaph in childhood, pitt in middle age, and vat in old age. As the key to health is balance, the diets and regimens should be planned keeping the state of doshas in mind at specific time and age. One who resorts to balanced diet and regimen in accordance with nature and his or her own prakriti can rarely fall sick.

 

Pith [Digestive Factor ]

we’ll discuss pitt, the factor responsible for digestion or metabolism (primarily) in the body. Pitt also can be translated as heat or fire in the present context. Pitt is said to cause 40 kinds of diseases in the body, but many more when it combines with the other two doshas.

By nature pitt is sharp; the imbalances caused by pitt are, therefore, sharp and intense in nature. A person of pitt prakriti can again be identified by observing the characteristics of pitt dosha. The natural characteristics of pitt are sharpness, slight unctuousness, heat, fluidity, sourness, and bitterness, and is of all colours except white and red, fishy smell, and acrid taste.

Therefore it is reconciled by drugs having opposite qualities. A person of pitt prakriti is generally sharp minded, active, quarrelsome, sweats more, greys prematurely, with a radiant complexion, short temper, strong power of digestion, and proper metabolism, therefore, with a good appetite.

He or she is generally seen to be fond of sweets, cold foods, and cold things in general, dreams of fire or light and more of red colours, and has glowing skin.

Foods that are pungent, hot, sour and saline in nature aggravate pitt and foods sweet, bitter and astringent in nature alleviate pitt. Pitt primarily aids sight, digestion, appetite, thirst, and proper metabolism, maintaining radiance and unctuousness in the body.

The natural actions of pitt moving from one part of the body to the other are, causing a burning sensation , heat, suppuration, perspiration, sloughing, itching, discharge, redness, and exhibition of its inherent smell, colour, and taste.

These are the actions that help a competent physician to diagnose the paittika type of diseases.

Pitt is the main factor responsible for transformation of food into tissue elements in the body. The other factors are vat, moisture, unctuousness (in the food), the time of digestion, and proper administration of food.

Vat transports the food to the place where pitt resides, the moisture loosens and unctuousness softens the food particles, time brings about maturity of the process of digestion call pachak pitt or pachakagni.

Food, after digestion, is divided into two parts called the prasad bhag (containing the nutrients) which is absorbed by the body, and mala bhag, which is thrown out.

Among seasons it is summer, and in a day it is the afternoon that is dominated by pitt. Therefore it’s advisable to sleep in the day time in summer, as kaph dosha increases in the body when one sleeps, preventing aggravation of pitt in the summer.

A person of pitt prakriti should avoid hot, spicy food and resort to diets which are cool, sweet, and less spicy in nature. Excessive intake of tea, coffee, and hot drinks are also to be avoided. As the digestive fire is very strong in persons with pitt prakriti, light meals at small intervals are beneficial.

Kaph: Bevinding Factor

As we know by now, all bodily diseases arise out of the disturbance of the equilibrium of doshas. Vata, which is of prime importance, constitutes the very life of a being, as it is responsible for all activities of the body. Pitt helps in digestion and metabolism, and kaph is the promoter of strength in the form of ojas

. What ojas is we will discuss later when we discuss tissue elements of the body. For now we can understand kaph, also called sleshma , as that which binds the body together. Its qualities are whiteness, coolness, stability, viscosity, heaviness, unctuousness, sliminess, numbness, obstruction, sweetness, and delay in manifestation. Chest, neck head, joints, and stomach are the sites of sleshma.

Kaph prakriti is said to be the best constitution, as it is almost impossible to maintain an equilibrium at all points of time in the body as the doshas keep increasing or decreasing according to the time of the day, season, and the age of a person.

It is said to be the best because kaph is the causative factor of the least number of diseases in the body. A kaph prakriti person has a strong physical body, with strength like that of a bull, fair complexion, heavy and soft hair, a pleasant disposition, is patient, fond of sweets, and is generally mentally, emotionally, and financial stable. They are compared to Brahma, Shiva, devtas, horse, bull, or swan.

The characteristics of kaph are sweetness, coolness, and heaviness. The diseases caused by kaph are treated with drugs having pungent, bitter, astringent, sharp, hot, and unctuous qualities. The causes of disturbance of kaph are sleeping in the daytime, laziness, lack of exercises, excessive intake of food, which are sweet, sour, saline, oily, and heavy in nature.

Dominance of kaph is seen in the first part of the day, childhood, winter, and immediately after eating a meal. Persons of kaph prakriti are advised not to sleep in the daytime as it would result in an increase in the kaph dosha.

Any imbalance in the state of equilibrium of these three doshas (vat, pitt, and kaph) results in a disease.

Diagnosis of any disease is made on the basis of the state of each of these doshas in a body and treatment is given keeping in consideration the constitution of the person and the dosha that goes into a disturbed state.

The state of any dosha greatly depends on one’s dietary habits and daily routine or lifestyle that one follows. The diet and routine aid the functioning of the physical body. This routine is also subdivided into the day, the night, and the seasonal routine where diets and habits useful or detrimental are given by the ancients.

Just as vat, pitt, and kaph are the pillars on which the body stands, the three supports or aids for attainment of good health are ahara, or diet, swapna, or rest/sleep, and brahmacharya or control of sexual activities. If these three upasthambha (supports) are observed in moderation the individual can attain not only complete health but also a longer life.

signs and symptoms

Imbalance in any of the doshas, (vata, pitta and kapha), dhatus (rasa, rakta, mansa, meda, asthi, majja, sukra) and malas (excreta of seven types) results in a disease in the body. Out of these we have already discussed the signs and symptoms of imbalance in doshas.

Let’s understand the symptoms and signs of disturbed dhatus.

In case of decrease in rasa dhatu the symptoms generally seen are restlessness, palpitation, cardiac pain, intolerance of loud sounds and exhaustion with even slightest exertion. Disturbance in rakta dhatu shows as dryness, roughness, exhaustion, paleness, loss of luster from hair and skin and cracks in the skin. In case of decrease in mansa dhatu, there is emaciation, especially around hips, neck chest and abdomen, exhaustion, loss of appetite.

Disturbed meda dhatu results in thinness especially around the abdomen, lack of strength, cracking of joints, and weariness of eyes. Imbalance in asthi dhatu results in hair fall including hair of beard moustaches, weak nails, weak teeth, and looseness in joints. Decrease in majja dhatu results in weakness, loss of weight, brittle bones, and generally bones are afflicted with diseases caused by vata.

Disturbed sukra dhatu results in emaciation, weariness, pallor, impotency and non ejaculation of semen.

Ayurveda describes the body as the sum total of doshas, dhatus and malas, “dosha dhatu mala moola hi shariram “. All these together keep the body in balance. Malas (excreta) also play a role in maintaining the balance in the body.

They are thrown out of the body in normal circumstances, but in case the body is emaciated and deficient in nutrients, even the waste is conserved as it saves the condition from deterioration. In the event of diminution of faeces, the vata takes the upward and sideways route and causes dryness in the abdomen resulting in swelling and also afflicts the intestines.

Imbalance in urine causes thirst and dryness in the mouth, dysurea, and discoloration in the urine. Imbalance in other malas like sweat, excreta from eyes, ear etc show signs like dryness in excretory organs, feeling of emptiness and lightness in organs.

There exists one more dhatu in the body-Ojas, considered the essence of all the seven dhatus. It dwells in the heart and is white, reddish and yellowish in color. The first form it takes in the human body when produced is the colour of ghee, tastes like honey and smells like fried paddy. Ojas is said to be of two types, the superior quality which is only eight drops in quantity and the second type which is half an anjali (the space created when both palms are joined to form a cup).

If ojas is destroyed, the body will perish, especially the superior type, which is present in the heart and is only eight drops in quantity, cannot stand any decrease. The second type is present in the vessels attached to the heart; decrease in this type can be withstood by the body, which happens in case of diabetes mellitus.

The symptoms of diminution in ojas are immense and constant weakness, pain in sense organs, tension in body and mind, fear, loss of complexion, depression, dryness and emaciation.

Our ancient rishis were absolute authorities on the sciences of the body, mind and spirit. Such was their mastery on the above subjects that they described, for instance, certain dangerous diseases and their symptoms, which have baffled mankind and for which modern medicine has not yet found a cure. They have been described along with the curable types exhibiting different symptoms.

Even even after thousands of years of so-called advancements, modern science has completely failed in bettering their formulas. With such accuracy are the symptoms described that they have asked the vaidya (physician) not even to attempt a cure where certain symptoms are apparent, for a cure could fail and it would bring disrepute to the art.

Nowadays we find the majority of miracle healers and so-called yoga and ayurved experts who openly lay claim to cure every malady, though of course for a fee.

I would once more like to lay emphases on the importance of elimination. Ayurveda says that death begins in the colon, that’s how important it is to keep the colon clean.

I will give here one more very effective tonic for elimination and then move on to aphrodisiacs or sukra vardhaka rasayans.

Charaka Rishi(saint) says to take seven black pepper corns and make them into a fine powder, add one teaspoon of year-old honey and eat it first thing in the morning with a glass of warm water, an amazing glow would be felt after a month of regular use.

Aphrodisiacs are not for sexual gratifications they are for preserving the beauty and glow of the body and for the purpose of procreation.

Certain formulas would have non-vegetarian components and that brings negative karma to the user if they are used for the sake of physical pleasures. However, one is excused if they are consumed for survival, procreation or improving ailing health.

Charaka says that the best aphrodisiac is a sexually excited, good looking female partner!

All objects of beauty are assembled in this woman in a compact form and nowhere else. Dharma, artha, Lakshmi and the entire Universe are established in a woman. [ Verse 4 to 7, chapter 2, chikitsa sthanama ].

Charaka Samhita Verse 18, chikitsa sthanama says : One prashtha (about 640 gm) cow ghee boiled with shatavari [sita var] and 10 times of milk along with raw sugar, pippali and honey make an excellent aphrodisiac.

All the rasayans and tonics and herbal concoctions which are being prescribed in this series are to be strictly taken keeping in mind the cautions given…always consult an expert ayurveda physician before trying any of the mentioned formulations.

AUM SHAKAMBARI DEVIYE NAMAH

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