Smoke for good health

Smoke for good health

Medicated smoke has an important role in Ayurveda. It can be used to fumigate a room or it can carry to an individual the essence of herbs. Incense thus has healing properties. The smoke with its gandha or aroma activates the nasal system and through it makeschanges in the body and mind of the person.

The literary meaning of dhoopa is smoke or fumes. Dhoopa is defined as dhoopahthapeiti or that which comes out from fire. The fumes from fragrant materials like chandana( santala album), Aguru ( aquarillaagurulocha) , kumkum, ela( Eletarria cardamom) Kustha (Saussarrialapa) etc. give a soothing and pleasant sensation to the body and mind. Medicated fumes are sued based on their dhosha predominance. In vata conditions a mild kind 0f smoke from guggulu, mustha, vilwasmajja, sarjarasaetc are beneficial. In pitta condition, fumes from utpala, bnark of nyagrodha, kamala Lakshaetc are beneficial. In kapha conditions strong smoke from Jyothishmathi, nish, triphalaetc are useful.
During differnet seasons, different fumes are used. In the cold season fumes from ushnadravy like guggulu, aguru can be used to overcome the chill. During summer fumes from drugs of cold potency like lotus and chandana can be used to minimise the haet.

Aromatherapy’s benefits:Soothing and aromatic smoke gives a pleasant sensation and energy to mind and body. Aromatherapy is highly beneficial for geriatric and post-surgical care. For example, as a daivavyapashrayachikitsa ( divine traetemnt) conducting homa with sugandha ( aromatic) dravyas like karpoora, ( camphor), sandal, ghee and firewood made f4rom aswatha ( Ficusreligiosa), aguru ( AquilariaagallochA) RED SANDAL. VACHA ( Acoruscalamus) Swethasarsapam ( Brassica campestris) neem leaves and ajamodha will have a a soothing effect.

Anti-bacterial properties: the fumes from the drugs like sarsapa, deva dhoopam( kundrika – Boswellia serrate) haridra ( Curcuma longa) neem, dhattura seeds ( Daturainnoxia) etc will act against microbes present in our body and environment.

During childbirth the fumes are used to help delivery in two ways:

The smoke helps during delayed and obstructed delivery and also as an antimicrobial drug, Fumes from the skin of snakes are beneficial.

Fumes protect the baby from evil spirits. Beneficial smoke is form drugs like vacha, hingu, vidhangha, saindhava, patha, prativisha, vyosham, gajapipplaitetc.

For good health: In Ayurveda, medicated dhoomapana( smoking ) is mainly advised for ENT ( aer, Nose And throat) diseasdes and as a post pacha karma therapy after nasya, vamanam , to vclear the obstructed channels.
Ingridients in incense and their effects: Sarva gandha oushadhas like ela, guggulu, kusta, aguru, charala, sarja rasa, chandana coral, parijatham, vilwam, khadiram, devadharam, etc are generally used for incense.
By and large drugs with hot [potency alleviate kaphaja diseases. Those with cold potency alleviate pittaja disorders and mild potency alleviates vataja diseases.

Adulteration: Adulteration of hard wood and other medicinal products used in dhoopa result in a bad effect to the atmosphere and the body. So one has to be careful when a dhoopa dravya is selected for fumigation.

How to Match Your Food

How to Match Your Food

In Ayurveda, there is an important concept called Viruddhaahara. This term referrers to the incompatibility of certain food articles when consumed together. The concept of Viruddhaahara has important practical implications because incompatibility causes a lot of disturbances to the physiology of the body and gives rise to the diseases of varied nature.

Over 20 different kinds of Viruddhaahara have been identified in Ayurveda. Some of these are:

Rasaviruddha: Substances having a sweet taste ( like milk) should not be consumed with substances having a sour taste ( fruits like grapes) in a very strict sense, it is hence unhealthy as per the norms of Ayurveda to drink the popular milkshakes of today.

Samskaraviruddha: These are food articles antagonistic in the way they are processed. Samskara means processing a food item to change its qualities, for example, by roasting, frying, steaming etc. some healthy food substances produce harmful qualities when they undergo specific processing methods. Curds or honey on heating become harmful to the body.

Viryaviruddha: This refers to food articles that must not be mixed together owing to their virya. Virya is the potency of food that can produce either hotness or coldness in the body while undergoing digestion. For instance, a food item prepared by using milk/ buttermilk and fish together becomes antagonistic as milk is sheethavirya (producing coldness) while fish is ushnavirya (producing heat).

Samyogaviruddha: This refers to food substances antagonistic due to the process of mixing. For instance, a mixture of fruits with sour taste and milk is contraindicated. Also, a mixture of fish with curd, or of alcohol with milk products is antagonistic to each other.

Pakaviruddha: These are articles antagonistic in the way they are cooked. Uncooked food or partially cooked food is unhealthy.

Agniviruddha: This means incompatibility due to a difference in the food ingested and digestive capacity of an individual (agni). For instance, if a person with mandaagni (diminished digestive power) consumes a lot of food then it keeps piling up, leading to indigestion and disease. This will require him to fast. Similarly, a person with pitta predominance will have tikshnaagni (increased digestive capacity) and has to take food articles which are Guru (heavy), Snigdha (oily) and Manda (foods requiring a long time for digestion).

Satmyaviruddha: A person acquainted with certain food habits should not change his food habits all of a sudden. An abrupt change to a new food regimen is known as satmyaviruddha.

Doshaviruddha: Every person has a normal constitution and due to this, he is prone to certain likes and dislikes from birth. The Vata constitution types can stay healthy by taking foods which are oily and heavy in nature and stable. Foods of these qualities help Vata function normally. But, if a person consumes a diet that is bitter, pungent, astringent and light then it will lead to the manifestation of disorders of Vata.

TIPS ON DIET FOR HEALTH

Every person should select a diet conducive to his nature, habitat and age. Such a course of action will help to maintain health and prevent disease.

  • An improper diet results in abnormal doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) which in turn vitiates the body tissues, causes obstruction of the channels of nutrition, weakens the digestive fire, accumulating toxins in the body ultimately causing disease.
  • The quantity of food ingested should be moderate and adequate and taken at the proper time.
  • It is important to be conscious of cleaning one’s hands, feet and mouth before eating food. The dining table dishes, spoons, bowls, water containers and cooking utensils should be cleaned scrupulously.
  • The surroundings and the atmosphere of the dining room should be clean, airy and fragrant. The clothes worn while doing the outdoor duty should be changed and clean attire should be worn whenever eating at home.
  • Ideally, the food should be freshly prepared and warm. It should contain the six rasas or tastes (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent) in adequate proportion.
  • Fatty content in proper quantity is essential in the diet while making the food tasty, it bestows strength and promotes secretion of digestive juices. It also prevents excess production of Vata dosha, nourishes the seven dhathus, increases strength, gives lustre to the skin and causes easy expulsion of stool and gas.
  • Food should be taken after complete digestion of the previously taken meal. Roughly, the interval between breakfast and lunch should be around 4-5 hours and the gap between lunch and dinner should be around 5 to 6 hours. Dinner should ideally be taken before sunset and it is advisable to retire to bed 2-3 hours after taking dinner.

Obesity

Tackle your high cholestrol

Tackle your high cholestrol

High cholesterol is a very common health problem among men and women especially among people who do not have enough physical work. After the age of 45, it is especially advisable to check the level of cholesterol in the blood. A high level of cholesterol can narrow blood vessels in particular, coronary arteries which supply blood to the heart muscles.

Ayurveda looks at cholesterol as a manifestation of Kapha dosha, one of the three doshas which keeps the body in a state of equilibrium. The other two Doshas are Vatha and Pitta. In Ayurveda, high cholesterol is seen as a product of Mandagni (weak digestion). In this condition, Ayurveda advises a diet that can improve the functions of Agni (digestive fluids) and does not contribute to further assimilation of Kapha in the system.

The preventive and curative measures for cholesterol in Ayurveda can be brought under the following three categories: Lifestyle, Diet, Processed preparations from natural sources.

Lifestyle

  • Do not sleep during the day. Even if you feel very sleepy due to some reason, sleep for a while in the sitting position during day time. Sleeping in a lying position increases Kapha in the body but if you sleep in a sitting position, Kapha does not increase.
  • Walk for a while, if you walk two to three km a day at a fast pace with both hands swinging, that will burn down the Kapha in your body.
  • Dry massage: A dry massage in an upward direction on the body for a period of 45 minutes to one hour with the Triphala powder and roasted, powdered horse gram is very useful. This can be done by a professional masseur.

Diet

  • Take a glass of buttermilk mixed with a small onion chopped into small pieces every day after food.
  • Chop a small onion and mix it with lemon juice. Have it as a side dish with your food.
  • Use roasted garlic directly or as a chutney with your lunch.
  • Take one meal with wheat or a rice product. The second with fresh fruits and the third meal with cooked vegetables.

Make your medicine

The following medicines are useful as a dietary supplement in the initial stages of cholesterol. You can choose one or two of these medicines for daily use, depending on the availability of materials around you.

These are simple and extremely safe herbs that are easily available in urban areas or commonly seen in the wild.

  • Boreahviadiffusa (Punarnava) is a weed seen all over the country. Take 60 gm of its roots, clean well and chop into small two-inch pieces. Crush slightly so that when the roots are boiled with water the juice inside can ooze out easily. Add one litre of water to 60 gm root. Boil till the water reduces to 250 ml. Filter this decoction and remove the roots. Reduce this 250 ml of the extracted decoction on a low flame to 120 ml. Take 60 ml in the morning on an empty stomach and 60 ml in the evening, around 6 pm again on an empty stomach. You can use this process to make any fresh herbal decoction. Once you know how to make this medicine, it is as simple, as or as difficult, as making a perfect cup of black tea.
  • Take about 100 gm of fresh drumstick leaves and make a decoction as instructed above (add one-litre water and reduce it to 120 ml) and take 60 ml in the morning and 60 ml in the evening with one teaspoon of powdered dry ginger and one teaspoon of honey.
  • Take 5 gm of fresh ginger paste. Add enough honey to make it palatable and take it in the morning after breakfast.
  • Take one teaspoon of tribhalaadichoornam (available in the market) mixed with 1 tablespoon honey at bedtime followed by drinking warm water.
  • Tinosporacordifolia (Gudbhel or Guduchi ): This plant grows everywhere in India. Cut 30 gm of Tinosporacordifolia into small pieces and crush. Add 30 gm of TribulusTeriesting (Gokshura – Gokhru) a thorny plant seen all over in fields. Make a decoction of both these and take 60 ml in the morning and 60 ml in the evening. A perceivable result should be seen within 41 days of following this advice.

Cholesterol Management in Ayurveda

Obesity

Your Monsoon diet

Seasons in Ayurveda are called ‘ritus’. The ritus are Varsha (monsoon), Sharad (autumn), Hemantha (winter), Shishira (late winter), Grishma (summer) and Vasanta (spring). Shishira, Vasantha and Grishmaritus are called the Adana Kala. Varsha, Sharad and Hemantharitus are called Visarga Kala.

In other words during the Visargakala, the sun is facing towards the south with its intensity attuned by time, course, cloud, wind and rain. The moon will have unobstructed strength and nature’s temperature will be cooled by the heavenly waters. Amla (sour), lavana (salt) and madhura (sweet), rasas/ taste increase in a progressive order with consequent promotion of strength in the body. Human beings experience weakness in the beginning and the end of the season. They will have medium strength in mid-term and maximum strength in the end and beginning of the periods, Visarga and Adana, respectively.

Ritucharya (seasonal regimen) is explained in the ayurvedic classics and if these seasonal regimens are followed in a proper way then a person will enjoy strength, complexion and healthy life. Now that we are welcoming the first showers of rain after the scorching summer, let us know more about the monsoon or Varsharitu.

The body will have weakened during the Adana period. The digestion which will have become poor will be further disturbed by the disorders of Vata and the other doshas during the Varsharitu. The aggravation of Vata and the other doshas during Varsharitu is due to earth vapours, the humidity of the clouds and the amla (sour) paka of the water. The diseases associated with the monsoon are malaria, jaundice and gastrointestinal infection like typhoid and cholera. Viral infections like cold and cough also make their presence during this season.

The puddles of water formed due to rain become the breeding place for mosquitoes. Using a mosquito net over the bed is a better way of avoiding the mosquitoes. To keep the house free of mosquitoes one can fumigate the house with the smoke of dried neem leaves in the evening for about 1 to 3 minutes. Precaution has to be taken to prevent dampness around the house. Fumigation has to be avoided around asthmatic patients. Moderate living is recommended during this season. One should avoid cold drinks, day sleep, dew, river water, physical exercise and the sun during this season. Using food and drinks mixed with honey is beneficial.

During the rainy season, a diet having a predominance of Amla (sour), Lavana (salty) and Snigdha (fatty) articles should be taken for rectification of Vata. Consuming old barley, wheat and rice along with wild meats and prepared soups is beneficial in order to protect the Agni (digestion) of the individual. Drinks such as wine and other fermented liquor mixed with honey and a little quantity of rainwater or water from a well or tank which is boiled and cooled may be used. Anointing of the body is advisable. One has to take a bath, use fragrance and garlands and wear light and clean clothes. It is advised to reside in a place which is free from humidity.

ALWAYS REMEMBER

  • Do not allow water to get accumulated around your premises
  • Always keep your surroundings dry and clean
  • Dry your feet and webs with a soft dry cloth whenever they are wet
  • Avoid eating uncooked foods and salads.
  • Eat only light and easily digestible food

HOME REMEDIES FOR MONSOON DISORDERS

  • Cough – Take a pinch of powdered long pepper (Piper longum) and a pinch of rock salt along with warm water. This will give relief from cough.
  • Cold – Freshly prepared radish juice is helpful
    – Fresh ginger juice half teaspoon can be taken
  • Diarrhoea – Add a little ginger juice and a pinch of salt to pomegranate juice. This increases the digestive power and then the diarrhoea stops.
  • Indigestion – Two long peppers can be powdered and fried in ghee and this can be mixed in rice ganji with a pinch of salt. This is helpful in relieving indigestion and ache.
SOME TIPS

The rainy season is the time when Vata is vitiated and conditions like diarrhoea can happen easily. There are many light dishes that help agni to work well and digest food properly. Liquid gruels of rice with pepper and turmeric are very good.

One good practice is to use 5 gm of the paste of Centelle Asiatica (Brahmi) to clear the bowels. Doing it twice every year during monsoon is very good to avoid any stomach related diseases.

Ayurveda Treatment for Cold

Healing depression

Healing depression

 

Mental disorders are explained in great detail in Ayurveda classics. The mind or manas of each individual is unique. According to Ayurveda, the person should dwell in an atmosphere of pleasantness appropriate to one’s mental constitution. Ayurveda recognizes three main mental constitutions or manasika prakruti– the saatvika, raajsika and taamasika. Any disturbance in the normal functioning of the mind manifests as an illness – either psychic or physical. Depression is a serious mental condition that alters the mind’s equilibrium with its environment. There are basically three types of treatments for mental illnesses –

  • Oral medication including Panchakarma.
  • Psychotherapy (counselling)
  • Daivavyaprasharayachikitsa (spiritual therapy) – prayers, performing yajna, charity, yoga, meditation, visiting holy places and penance.
  • A combination of all the above

Milder forms of depression get relief from psychotherapy itself. But it is generally felt that a combination of therapies works best. Treatment is given as per the severity of the condition. Certain medications, as well as some medical conditions, can cause symptoms of depression. The physician should not confuse these symptoms as depression. The causative factors of depression are a sudden shock to the mind by incidents such as the death of a beloved or break- up of a close relationship. It can also be a symptom of a medical condition like a stroke, heart attack, cancer, Parkinson’s disease or hormonal disorders. A person appears normal throughout the day but feels depressed only at a certain time of the day. A depressed child may pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent or worry that he may lose the patient. Teenagers may sulk, get into trouble at school or college and be negative and grouchy. Because normal behaviour varies from one childhood stage to another, it can be difficult to tell whether the child is just going through a temporary phase or is suffering from depression. Women experience depression about twice as often as men. Hormonal factors may contribute to the increased rate of depression in women particularly factors such as menstrual cycle changes (associated with the pre-menstrual syndrome), pregnancy, abortion, post-partum, pre-menopause and menopause periods in life. Stress at work, additional responsibilities at home and marital discord are also leading factors.

Men rarely admit to being depressed. Depression in men is often associated with increased risk of heart disorders. Male depression is often masked by alcohol or drugs, or by the socially accepted habit of working excessively long hours. Depression typically shows up in men, not as feeling hopeless and helpless, but as irritation, anger etc. Therefore it is quite difficult to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression in men. Even when a man realizes that he is suffering from depression, he is twice as reluctant to disclose it to his family doctor or even to his wife.

From an Ayurveda standpoint, most depression can be explained as Kapha imbalance. Initially, the brain’s electrochemistry has an erratic overreaction (Vata imbalance), which triggers a loss of enzymatic activity in the metabolism (Pitta imbalance). Kapha responds by trying to keep everything down, bringing about heaviness, darkness and stagnation, which the mind-body interprets as the negative message of hopelessness and depression.
In Vata-depression, the pranavayu in the brain and heart is provoked by a variety of factors, including terrifying experiences, especially when they occur during childhood, excessive travel, an irregular lifestyle, lack of sleep, excess talking, excess use of the telephone, habitual consumption of foods which are dried or frozen or foods which are microwaved, living or working in an air-conditioned room. Both recreational and prescription drugs provoke the pranavayu, particularly cocaine, amphetamines, speed weight-loss drugs, caffeine, and antihistamines (including ephedrine). Working night shifts is another cause of Vata depression.

The symptoms of Vata depression is tremendous anxiety, guilt, paranoia and catastrophicideation. Insomnia or restless sleep is a classic feature. The speech becomes incoherent, the person is easily distracted, restless, unable to concentrate, forgetful and spaced-out. The depressed person will not deliberately try to harm himself or but may forget to eat – indeed the main hazard in treating these patients is that they will be unable to take their herbs regularly and so will fail to improve.

Vata depression should be treated using Brahmi tea, Brahmi ghee, and Brahmi oil massage. 20 ml of Saraswatarishtam should be given daily after lunch and dinner. Oiling and sweating using Brahmi oil will help calm the pranavayu, as will Shirodhara or Shiro Basti. Nourishing oil basti using a Brahmi decoction and sesame oil is also valuable in calming the Vata dosha.

Pitta depression is characterized by anger and irritability. In some cases, the person is not aware of being depressed but is obviously angry and very easily irritated, irrational, and perhaps violent. There may be extreme self-criticism and low self-esteem, or the critical judgmental tendencies may be directed outwards. Suicidal ideation is a frequent symptom. Pitta depression is the most dangerous type of depression since in severe cases suicide is a distinct possibility. In more chronic forms of Pitta depression, self-destructive behaviour such as abuse of alcohol and drugs are a common symptom. Even those with pitta depression that is not overtly suicidal often commit slow suicide by inducing conditions such as hepatic cirrhosis. Insomnia is a symptom of pitta depression but is different from Vata insomnia.

Treatment for pitta depression also consists of Brahmi tea, Brahmi ghee and Brahmi oil massage. Saraswatharishtam can be used, combined with herbs that are used in Sadhaka Pitta. These include shankapushpi, rose, sandalwood and lotus. If there is a history of drug or alcohol abuse, shankapushpi will be tremendously useful in healing the liver as well as in calming the mind and balancing the Sadhaka Pitta. For overall balancing of pitta, a pitta diet should be taken, avoiding sour, pungent, salty and oily foods. Amalaki should be taken at bedtime, half a teaspoon steeped for ten minutes in a cup of hot water.

The causes of Kapha-depression are a visitation of the Tarpaka Kapha in the brain by lack of stimulus. Sleeping in the daytime, excessive sleeping, overeating and excess consumption of oily, heavy foods can contribute to the provocation of Tarpaka Kapha. Watching TV in excess and lack of exercise are other important factors. Frequently, Kapha depression originates in the houses where parents themselves have some degree of Kapha-type depression. There is an overwhelming atmosphere of heaviness, emotional denial and holding onto things. Parents often give food or material objects instead of genuine love. The child learns to become greedy, lazy and attached to food, money and possessions. These tendencies, passed on through the family tree, increasingly provoke Tarpaka Kapha.

The use of downers such as sleeping pills, sedatives, tranquillizers and alcohol further exacerbate Kapha-type depression within the entire family unit. Patients with Kapha-type depression rarely approach an Ayurveda practitioner complaining of depression; in fact, they deny accepting their ailment in the first place. However, face- reading and pulse reveal depression, deep-seated grief, attachment and other obesity-related problems.

In Kapha-type depression coupled with obesity, Triphala Guggulu can be used. Otherwise, Trikatu can be added to the Saraswatharishtam mixture for a more stimulating effect. Refraining from sleep during the day and vigorous exercise is essential for the treatment of Kapha-type depression. Vamana or removal of excessive Kapha by forced vomiting is an excellent remedy for this condition.

Ayurveda elaborates treatment for depression not only with medicine but also with counselling and approaching one’s spiritual base. According to a person’s culture and attitude, different methods are used to send positive thoughts to one’s self. There is an element of self-healing in this process, where the things one does for spiritual elevation help to remove the negative vibes from one’s thoughts and assist in healing. Pure, uncontaminated, fresh food with all tastes, easily digestible and non- provoking is crucial for treating depression.

Win over Depression the Ayurvedic way