Ayurvedic Medicine

Vindari Kanda, the Grandmother of Indian Ginseng

Vindari Kanda

Vidari Kanda is known as the Indian Ginseng’s Grandmother, is revealed for its powerful nutritive properties that provide vitality and energy to the body. Vidari is patient, wise and is always willing to look after her ‘grandchildren,’ especially those hormones running wild in the body. It is properties are similar to Ashwagandha, Ashwagandha presenting more masculine qualities and Vidari feminine.

Vidari is a relative of Wild Yam, and it grows as a large tuber in the hotter regions of India. Similar to its Western sister ginseng, Vidari has strong nutritive properties with a particular affinity for the endocrine system. One example of this is how the biochemical glycoside, saponin, and diosgenin contained in Vidari are used by the body to produce cortisol. It is heavy, unctuous, sweet and cool, used to balance Vata and decrease Pitta. In excess, it increases Kapha and Ama. Vida means ‘to destroy, ‘ and adi means ‘enemy,’ and this refers to all to all Vata disorders, Vata being the ‘enemy’.

Depending on the unique needs of the individual, Vidari Kanda can be used in muscle weakness and wasting, Multiple sclerosis, sexual debility, it strengthens breast tissue and the female and male reproductive system. Also,  like a grandmother, it is there to look after you when you have a cough or a sore throat and offer you relief. It is commonly taken with fat such as butter, milk or ghee to enhance its nourishing properties.

12 Properties of Vindari Kanda

  •  Aphrodisiac
  •  In males supports healthy male organs
  •  In females promotes healthy cycle and lactation health
  • Immunity enhancer
  • Supports a robust aging process
  • Useful for the respiratory system and tuberculosis
  • Muscles wasting and weakness
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Pregnancy
  • Hoarse voice
  • Cardiac tonic
  • Nourishes the tissues

The Art of Panchakarma

Panchakarma is the Ayurvedic art of detoxification, purification, and rejuvenation. A multiple day in-depth cleansing program that involves herbal advises diet, medicated health spa techniques, and elimination procedure.

These ancient rejuvenation therapies are designed to nourish the physical body and access the subtle body where stored toxins, emotions and thoughts form to create blockages in our body. It is a powerful way to address and eliminate the cause of disease and has been a method for thousands of years to stay healthy, young and vital.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

Shatavari

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Shatavari is one of my favorite Ayurvedic herbs. It is has excellent hormone balancing properties and is an ojas (immunity) builder. It also has many other great benefits I will be discussing in this article. It is an herb that can be taken every day and is easily available, making it a fantastic option for the modern women.

There are many terms for Shatavari, the Sanskrit word, Shatavari, comes from the word shat (meaning one hundred) and avari (meaning that the person who takes this plant can get married a hundred times). Another synonym of Shatavari is bahusuta, many children, because it helps to support fertility. It is also called virundivari, taking away the fear of getting married if there is a lack of hormonal flow, pivari, helping to continue marital bliss, narayani  or Lakshmi - the goddess who bestows fortune, shatavirya, giving "100 times" more potency than other herbs, especially for strengthening shukra dhatu, or reproductive tissue.

Shatavari is wonderful for pacifying Vata and Pitta. Shatavari is guru (heavy), sheeta (cooling), tikta (bitter) and svadvi (sweet). It also has a pro-alkaline post-digestive effect. Most sweet tastes become acidic after digestion but Shatavari maintains a high pH even after digestion. These physical properties give Shatavari the ability to pacify Pitta and Vata doshas.

Shatavari balances Apana Vata more than the other Vata sub-doshas. This is because Shatavari helps balance the hormones, which affect the lower part of the body the most, this area is governed by apana vata. Shatavari is also said to be atisarajit, this is helpful to reduce high-pitta diarrhea because it's cooling, bitter and heavy qualities balance the heating effects of reactive toxins that cause high-pitta diarrhea.

Shatavari is said to also give long healthy life to the eyes. Because it is cooling and nourishing in nature it, Pitta in the eyes is pacified.  It gives the intelligence-enhancing properties to the eyes so that they can connect to the brain and the inner eye properly.  Shatavari is also described as medhagnipushtida or nourishing the agnis of the brain.

Finally, when we look at the effect of Shatavari on shukra dhatu (reproductive tissue). Traditionally used to maintain the healthy production of female hormones. As a nutritive tonic, it encourages the healthy production of milk in lactating mothers and the healthy production of semen in would be fathers. It is also useful during menopause and for women who have had hysterectomies. Its unctuous quality soothes and nurtures membranes of the lungs, stomach, kidneys, and reproductive organs. Sattvic (pure, harmonious) in nature, Shatavari calms the mind and promotes love and devotion.

Overview

  • Nourishing tonic for women and men*
  • Maintains a healthy female reproductive system*
  • Supports healthy lactation*
  • Supports the healthy production of semen*
  • Promotes fertility and a healthy libido*

Ayurvedic Energetics:

  • Rasa (taste): bitter, sweet
  • Virya (action): cooling
  • Vipaka (post-digestive effect): sweet
  • Doshas (constitutions): Balancing for Vata and Pitta, may aggravate Kapha in excess

Suggested Use:
¼ to ½ teaspoon with warm water, once or twice daily, or as directed by your health practitioner.

Please consult with your health care practitioner prior to the use of this product if you are pregnant or nursing, taking medications, or have a medical condition. Keep out of the reach of children.

 

An Ayurvedic Approach to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Balance your Hormones, Balance your Life

In the modern woman of all ages, most women rooted in hormonal imbalances have been brought on by doing too much while getting too little physical and emotional nourishment. Their hormones have been out of balance for an extended period of time whose medical problems range from painful periods, mood swings, fatigue, insomnia, uterine fibroids, hot flashes, and infertility.  

According to Astanga Hrdayam, twenty disorders of the female reproductive tract exist, caused by poor flow, defective ovum and ovary, and past karma. This results in an inability to conceive and other health concerns such as tumors, polycystic ovarian syndrome, hemorrhoids, menorrhagia, endometriosis, etc. The intent of this article is to discuss female hormone and reproductive imbalances associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) from the view point of Ayurveda.

Infertility primarily refers to the biological inability of a person to contribute to conception. Infertility may also refer to the state of a woman who is unable to cary pregnancy to full term. For medical treatment, infertility is the failure of a couple to become pregnant after one year of regular, unprotected intercourse. PCOS is a leading factor causing infertility.

Menstruation is evidence of a woman’s fertility and hormonal balance. When the quality and quantity is healthy she has a healthy, moderate flow. As long as she is in balance, she will enjoy regularly timed cycles. When out of balance, she may suffer from painful, heavy, scanty or irregular periods, headaches, skin breakouts, or extreme emotions accompanying her cycle. A woman’s menstrual cycle is a great indicator of her hormonal balance and when it is accompanied by unpleasant symptoms it is an indication of imbalance or disease.

Western medicine emphasizes the separate domains and functions of various kinds of hormones in the body. Ayurveda emphasizes the context within which they exist and how they relate to each other. Having the right balance of hormones gives us plenty of energy, deeper sleep and healthier menstrual cycles, happier dispositions, easier menopauses, healthier hearts, stronger bones and much more.

The first step in achieving hormonal balance is to understand it. Most people are confused about hormones. Estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin are the primary female hormones affecting women’s health. There are also some amounts of testosterone in the body playing a greater role during menopause. Besides these hormones, FSH (Follicular Stimulating Hormone), LH ( Leutinising Hormone) and Gonado Trophic Releasing Hormones are important hormones secreted by the Pituitary gland. While the ovary is capable of forming and releasing both estrogen and progesterone by itself, it is also the reservoir of the ova.

The ovarian cycle is governed by a hormonal feedback system moderated by the hypothalamus thus it requires constant feedback of hormonal levels for it to properly regulate and release the FSH and LH from the pituitary gland. As hormone levels in the body are imbalanced and the ovum is not released by the ovary the positive feedback mechanism is impeded.

However, Ayurveda does not speak in the terms of “hormones”. It has its own unique language and terms. Hormones are considered as fire elements in the tissue.  The action of hormones expresses the nature of Pitta, the energy responsible for the transformation. All stages of the female reproductive process are a result of the interplay of hormones. The spark of the intelligence behind the transformation of each stage is due to pitta reflected in the influence of the hormones on the different stages of the ovarian and menstrual cycles.

Kapha’s heavy cool qualities nourish the development of the tissues that form and support the reproductive system including the nurturing energy supporting growth of the follicle during the ovarian cycle. It is responsible for the mucosa lining that protects the tissues from digestive enzymes.

Vata is responsible for the movement of the follicle during the ovarian cycle, the rupture of the ovary wall releasing the matured ovum, the movement of the fimbriae - the finger-like projections that guide the ovum into the fallopian tubes and the movements of the ovum towards the uterus. These actions are due to Apana Vayu, the force behind downward movement from the navel down. Apana Vayu is also responsible for the movement of menses during menstruation and the energy behind the downward movement of the baby through the birth canal during labor.

By knowing one’s own prakruti (true nature), one can plan and practice an appropriate daily and seasonal dietetic and behavioral regime. With this simple effort, the body will maintain a balance of the doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha). From an Ayurvedic perspective, this balance is considered the “healthy” state of humans.

Dietary and behavioral activities bring many changes in the rakta dhatu (blood). For example; if a pitta-type woman eats plenty of hot, spicy and acidic foods while indulging in pitta-aggravating activities such as playing in the sun or taking a hot tub bath, getting angry, etc, she will aggravate the pitta in the blood. This can cause excessive bleeding during menstruation or lead to menorrhagia.

As another example; after the age of forty, the body begins to move towards the Vata stage of life and away from the pitta stage of life. During this period, if a Vata-type woman does not sleep well, works until late at night, eats plenty of cold foods and salads and eliminates sweets, salt, and fats from her diet, she will most certainly aggravate Vata in both the blood and the body. This will lead to a more difficult menopausal syndrome. In the same way, when a Kapha-type woman excessively indulges in sweet, rich food, eats plenty of dairy products and nuts, and lives a sedentary lifestyle during peri-menopause, she will be accumulating an excess of Kapha (mucous) in her blood and body which can lead to tumors or depression.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disturbance affecting women between 15-30 years of age. The disorder accounts for 30 percent of all infertility cases with 73 percent of women suffering from PCOS experiencing infertility due to anovulation. Modern medicine has been able to pinpoint a number of important factors indicating the disease, however, the exact cause of the disease is unknown. In PCOS the hormonal imbalance affects follicular growth during the ovarian cycle causing the affected follicles to remain in the ovary. The retained follicles forms into a cyst and with each ovarian cycle a new cyst are formed leading to multiple ovarian cysts. Women suffering from PSOC often present with other associated symptoms including excessive body hair, menstrual disturbance, acne vulgaris and obesity. Ayurveda observes the disease looking for indications of the dosha responsible for the disorder.

Ayurveda classifies PCOS as a Kapha disorder, and by looking at the findings of modern medicine we can correlate the exhibiting features of the disease with the dominate dosha responsible for the disorder. One of the key factors being realized in modern medicine in PCOS is the increased levels of insulin in the blood. These increased levels are due to de-sensitivity of cells to insulin, the blood stimulates androgen secretion by the ovarian stroma, the connective tissue of the ovary and reduces serum sex hormone, binding globin (SHBG) causing increased levels of free testosterone. Due to the presence of increased androgen in the ovary, the follicle undergoing maturation in the ovary cycle is affected causing anovulation of the particular follicle. This presence of insulin also impacts the natural occurring death of the defective cell causing the follicle to continue to survive whereas under normal circumstance it would have perished.

“Kapha getting aggravated by the use of foods which increases moisture leads to slaismiki characteristic by the absence of pain, feeling cold, itching and discharge of pale, slimy blood” -Astanga Hrdayam. The organs responsible for reproduction in the female body are called artava dhatu. The channels that supplies, nourishes and enables the functional action of carrying the ovum to the uterus is called artavavaha srota. All three doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) play important and distinctive roles in the processes behind the female reproductions which includes the ovarian cycle and the menstrual cycle. PCOS is due to the Kapha blocking Vata and Pitta, hence movement is obstructed and the transformation process is suppressed.

Kapha having the first affected the digestive fire, jathara agni starts to affect the metabolic aspect of the seven tissues of dhatu agni. Each dhatu agni is responsible for the nourishment and formation of that particular tissue that resides in. In the case of PCOS the dhatus that are affected are rasa dhatu, lymph and plasma, meda dhatu, the adipose tissue and artava dhatu, the female reproductive system.

Due to factors that aggravate Kapha, kledaka kapha residing in the GI tract increases in quantity and as stated affects the digestive fire in the stomach called jathara agni. As the heavy cold sticky qualities of Kapha suppress the digestive fire, food that is ingested is not properly digested forming ama. As kledaka kapha increases it mixes with the toxins and begins to move out of the GI tract entering the channel of the first tissue. Affecting the dhatu agni of the rasa, the metabolism of the lymph and plasma, rasa dhatu increases in quanity. In woman, the superior byproduct of rasa dhatu is menstrual fluid. The menstrual fluid will also take on the quality of kapha which will, in turn, begin to block apana vayu in artavavaha srota and rajahvaha srota, the channel that supports the functional action of the menstrual fluid.

Increased rasa dhatu circulating the body via the circulatory system being mixed with increased kledaka kapha and ama begins to coat the cells of the body, this begins to affect agni at the level of the cells responsible for the permeability of the cell membrane. Due to the sticky heavy qualities of Kapha the cell membrane of the tissues is coated suffocating the agni affecting the cellular intelligence causing insulin receptors on the cell to not recognize chemical structures that normally engage them. Insulin unable to engage cellular receptors begins to build up in the bloodstream moving towards artava dhatu. Kledaka kapha and ama having affected meda dhatu affects artava dhatu angi increasing tissue formation. Ama entering the cells of artava dhatu begins to affect the cellular function and intelligence as seen when insulin engages receptors on the ovaries causing the production of androgens. A mistake of cellular intelligence is also expressed in the inhibiting of apoptosis, the death of defective cells.

Vata is the principle in the body and in nature that moves things. Both Pitta and Kapha are immobile without Vata. If Vata becomes constricted, it in turns stops both Kapha and Pitta from functioning properly. Apana vayu is a function of Vata. Due to the heavy sticky qualities of Kapha and ama the srotas are blocked and apana vayu becomes stagnant, impeding the flow of Vata in the ovarian cycle. Because Vata is blocked, pitta is blocked as well. As pitta is blocked the hormones that carry the energy of transformation are unable to initiate their activities. The accumulated Kapha is expressed in the formation of the cyst in the ovary as it takes on a heavy white, sticky quality expressing Kapha and ama.

Due to Vata and Pitta being blocked in the artava dhatu the other functions of both these doshas begin to be aggravated. Pitta aggravation at the level of bhrajaka Pitta and ranjaka pitta manifests as acne and increased body hair. Menstrual problems manifest to the aggravation of all three doshas but namely apana vayu. “ Without the aggravation of Vata, the vagina does not get disordered in women, hence it should be treated before Pitta and Kapha” - Astanga Hyrdayam.

Allopathy treats the condition on lines of Hormonal imbalance and the major treatment includes HRT ( Hormone replacement therapy) where subsequent hormones are administered after proper evaluation of the patient. Diet and certain exercise are also recommended. Diabetic drugs like metformin may also be prescribed by a doctor and surgery is also an option. However, all this have their own after effects.

Hormone therapy further depletes the already taxed endocrine system and puts it to sleep. The hormones that are meant to be naturally released by the body, now provided with artificial means pushes the body into lazy mode. The HRT treatment may provide excellent results over a short period of time but it can lead to irreversible metabolic damage.

The Ayruvedic approach is to clear the obstruction in the pelvis, normalize metabolism and assist cleansing and regulate the menstrual system (arthava dhatu). We do this by addressing Apana Vayu. The seats of the function of Apana Vayu are testes, bladder, umbilical region, thigh, groin etc. It controls the functions of elimination of semen, urine; feces etc. The movements related to the delivery of fetus are also governed by it. Vata is the dosha that governs Apana Vayu. Vata is responsible for all the movements in the body. Below are a few suggested Ayurvedic protocols to balance Vata and Apana Vayu.

The first step in creating balance in someone with PCOS is addressing the Ama, as we know PCOS is an imbalance related to the Ama created from Kapha. It is important to provide the patient with herbs that are pachana. Ask the patient to take trikatu or any pungent herb, hingwashtak churna with meals to start loosening the sticky ama. Adding ginger, musta and kumari would help with the digestion of the ama.

After the digestive system is stimulated herbs pacifying Vata and supporting Apana Vayu can be given. This may include shatavari, mahashatavari, ashwagandha, arjun, pipli Aloe vera, cinnamon, fenugreek, amalki, honey, and shilajit. Some other useful medicines include arogyavardhini, dashmool preparations, kanchanar guggul, pushyanug choorna, and chandraprabha. The goal of the herbal medicine is to reduce circulating androgens, optimizing ovarian function and supporting optimal endocrine function.

Herbal suggestions:

Suggestion #1- 150 gms ashwagandha roots,  70 gms arjun bark. Divide both of these into 30 equal parts. Boil 1 part every morning in 3 cups of water and reduce to 1 cup. Filter this mixture and add 1 cup of cow’s milk to it. Boil the mixture again over a low until milk remains. Add 2 cardamoms while boiling. Consume this milk early morning empty stomach. A Little sugar can be added for taste. The remaining ashwagandha and Arjun can be used again for the evening dose. During summer months, shatavari can be substituted for ashwagandha.

Suggestion #2- 5gms ashwagandha tubers, 3gms shatavari tubers, 3 gms putrajivak seeds. Crush them in 3 cups of water and 1 cup of cow’s milk. Boil the mixture till milk remains. Filter and drink empty stomach.

Suggestion #3- 50gms pipil,  50gms Vad, 30gms shivlingi seeds. Dry and them into a fine powder. Intake 3 gms of this mixture with cow’s milk 2 times a day.

Panchkarama protocol helps to high degrees to clear many pathologies which cause a direct inhibition to fertility. Basti treatment proves very beneficial. Since Basti is targeted at regulating the Apana Vayu it facilitates the timely release of ovum and also the good production of sperms. Uttar Basti, is helping to strengthen the uterus and help implantation. Purificatory process of Vamana and Virechana also help in patients with a high imbalance of Dosha. Nasya is an important Karma to promote fertility. Nasya with Phalaghritaor simple cow’s ghee is very benficial in women for timely release of an egg, as Nasya is claimed to act directly on the hormonal apparatus. Abhyanga massage with Vata calming oils and Swedana with Vata herbs will also be beneficial.

Diet and lifestyle factors are important when dealing with PCOS. Losing weight is an essential part of the treatment. Weight loss rectifies the hormone imbalances; the serum insulin and sex hormone binding globulin levels in the body go up and the testosterone hormone comes down. Exercise and yoga are aid weight loss, relieves stress and improves blood circulation to the ovary thus naturally curing PCOS. Yoga postures that open and stretch your lower back and hips; arousing your thyroid, pituitary and hypothalamus gland can work.

A diet with at least five servings of fruits and vegetable a day increases the immunity of the body. Since the body has become insulin resistant create a low carbohydrate diet. When eating carbohydrates eat well-cooked whole grains and avoid refined flour, processed foods, and white sugar. Lentils, chickpeas contains phytoestrogens, which reduce estrogen levels. Drink plenty of warm/room temp water and avoid coffee and alcohol. Avoid foods such as soy and meats that or hormone filled. Foods that contain essential fatty acids should be taken, avocado, soaked nuts, and seeds. Make sure food is well cooked and warm and meal times are regular.

 

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

Marma Points of Ayurveda

In every science there are two aspects: the theoretical and the practical (applied). In medicine and the healing professions, it is the day-to-day practical application that rests on a body of knowledge and foundation of solid principles. Marma chikitsa or Ayurvedic marma therapy is an essential hands-on practice of Ayurveda, based on ancient, field tested knowledge. Its benefits and affects are often profound. 

Marma chikitsa is the precise action or art of touching an individual in exactly the right place at a critical moment of time, for the purpose of balancing the body's systems and promote healing. The mama points, which are similar to those acupoints of Chinese medicine, are the vital energy point located on the surface of the body. In sanskrit the word marma actually means mortal or vulnerable point, suggesting access to areas that may be tender, weak or sensitive. They are located at anatomical sites where veins, arteries, tendons, bones or joints intersect. 

Throughout Ayurvedic history these points have been used to support a communication between cells, serving to maintain their functional activity and coordination. As prana (life-force) flows through the marma points the nadis (panic pathways) within the body, it transmits information, linking healing between the mind and body by facilitating communication between deeper internal organs and tissues. The action of this also has a great response in the mind, helping it calm, leading to increased clarity of perception and more effective communication. 

Stimulating a marma in relation to a particular tissue helps maintain its normal functions and addresses a specific imbalance if it is present. As it relates to the doshas, marma chikitsa can either be used to stimulate or pacify a dosha. It can promote a healthy response of the dosha and is used in balancing prakruti and vikruti and supporting to restore it to its natural state. Often these points are used as a mechanism of pain relief. Pain is generated by an impeded flow of prana resulting from tension and stagnation in the body. Mama chikitsa alleviates this pain by stimulating the flow of prana to the area, pacifying the accumulated dosha. 

There are 117 primary marma points that are classified according to location, elemental associations, dosas, dhatu, mala, corresponding organs, srotamsi and degrees of vitality. The vitality of marma is intimately related to ojas, tejas and prana, because they are the basic support of the vital essence of life. Marma chikitsa is rarely used alone as a practice, it is utilized as a part of a comprehensive, multi-faceted program treatment program. It is important that the Ayurvedic practitioner has a broad and in-depth understanding of etiology, symptomatology and the stages of pathogenesis as well as a sensitivity and skill in Ayurvedic diagnosis in order to design and integrated approach of marma chikitsa. However, it can be used effectively for immediate pain relief, long term pain management and for first aid. Though using mama therapy in these conditions may not eradicate the pathogenesis completely, it can give temporary symptomatic relief that may prevent serious complications from arising. 

Marma locations are in accordance to their region of the body and their relationship to the internal and external features of the doshas and their sub-doshas. Sushruta, an expert surgeon of Ayurveda, describes mamas according to the six major parts of the body: the four extremities, trunk, head and neck. He also divides the points in reference to the five Ayurvedic principals of the body's physical structures: mamsa (muscles), sira (veins), snayu (ligaments), asthi (bone) and sandhi (joints). 

The marmas located on the scalp are immediately connected to the brain and distally to the other organs as well. On the chest and upper back, the points are connected with the heart and lungs. On the lower back, the points are connected with the kidneys, stomach, the digestive organs and so forth. Each of the five elements of Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth is also associated with a particular region of the body. Each mama located in these regions activates the energy of its associated element. 

The language of the doshas is absolutely key in understanding the Ayurvedic view point of health and disease. Knowing how energy points affect the dosha is crucial to achieving excellent therapeutic results. In this, mamas are also classified according to the seat of a dosha. For example, chest and lung marma points stimulate Kapha, umbilical points affect Pitta, and colon points will influence Vata. 

There are eight great marma points that are essential to life. These are considered to have the most vitality of all the points. Sushruta also described how injuries at these marma points, whether superficial or deep, can disrupt the panic energy, flow and decrease vitality. These points are known as the Sadyah Pranahara Marmani: Murdhani (crown), Brahmarandhara (anterior to crown), Shivarandhra (posterior to crown), Ajna (third eye), Shanka (right and left temple), Hrdayam (heart), Nabhi (umbilicus), Guda (anus). There are so five extra vital points that can cause death or serious injury when traumatized: Kantha, Griva, Basti, Vrushana, and Yoni Jihva. 

Sadyah Pranahara Marmani

 

  • Anja to benefit the eyes and nose, regulate hormones, and function of pituitary. 
  • Shivarandhra to stimulate memory, calm the mind and balance emotions.
  • Hridayam to enhance the energy of love to the heart.
  • Nabhi to directly enkindle the gastrointestinal agni.
  • Murdhani to enhance cerebral circulation and circulation of the cerebral spinal fluid.
  • Brahmarandhra to relieve headache and facilitate optimal pituitary gland functions.
  • Shankha to strongly pacify pitta, relieve stomach pain and decrease acidity, influence speech.
  •  Griva to enhance circulation of plasma and lymphatic fluid, benefit the throat and thyroid. 
  • Guda to balance over strength, vitality and to be grounded. 

In general, stimulating the mama enhances the flow of prana locally and for mild and shorter condition, mama therapy alone can be quite effective. As the complexity of a disease increases, other Ayurvedic therapies become essential. These may include herbal or dietary recommendations, panchakarma, and exercise and lifestyle changes. 

 

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

Ayurveda 101

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Ayurveda, one of the oldest forms of health care, it is the tree of knowledge from which many popularized therapeutic interventions and medicines have grown. Used for 5000 years by many thousands of doctors on millions of patients, Ayurveda is the time proven medical system of India. The term Ayurveda is Sanskrit and literaly means the “Science of Life.”   It encompasses a variety of natural therapies and philosophies that support and enhance individual balance, health and wellness. It has made huge advances in the fields of surgery, herbal medicine, herbal extracts, medicinal effects of minerals and metals, human anatomy, physiology, psychology, nutrition and exercise

The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined health as a state of complete, physical, mental and social well-being - not merely the absence of disease. Ayurveda goes a step beyond this as it is not just a medicinal approach to health, but rather a complete philosophy of life. It gives equal importance to all aspects of life as well as those that are subjective and intangible when addressing disease and imbalance. Ayurveda has had its success and longevity because it helps us to maintain the knowledge of living. It teaches us how to live vibrantly by creating good health every step of the way.

Ayurveda is multi-faceted, and practitioners often undergo years of education. It is an extremely sophisticated system of observation, and categorizes its clients by distinctive anatomic and metabolic “types” also known as “Prakruti.”  According to Ayurvedic beliefs, each person has a distinct pattern of specific combinations of physical, mental, and emotional characteristics of the body. The course of illness and remedies are determined in part by each client’s constitution and the environment in which they exist.

In Ayurvedic philosophy, our Prakruit is made up from a combination of doshas. There are three doshas that govern our psychobiological functioning of the body known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The doshas are a combination of the five elements (panchamahabhutas) and are present in every cell, tissue and organ of the body. All five elements are present in each dosha, but the predominance of two elements create a dosha. The doshas are responsible for the huge variety of individual differences and preferences and they influence all that we are and all that we do, from our choices of food to our modes of relating to others. 

The doshas also govern the biological and psychological process of our body, mind and consciousness. They regulate the creation, maintenance and destruction of bodily tissue as well as the elimination of waste products. They even govern our emotions and metal state. When in balance, they generate understanding, compassion, love and health. When their balance is disturbed by stress, improper diet, and environmental conditions, they give rise to many disturbances such as anger, fear, anxiety, confusion, depression and disease. Thus, when in balance, they create health; when out of balance, they are the cause of disease.

The goal of Ayurveda is to protect the health of a healthy person and restore health of a sick person by maintaining or bringing the body back into constitutional balance (doshic balance). Many factors can disturb the balance of the body such as stress, unhealthy diet, toxins, weather, work, strained relationship and lifestyle choices. Such disturbances are expressed in the body as disease. Inherent in Ayurvedic principles is the concept that you are capable of taking charge of your own life and healing. When a person becomes ill, the illness is not likely to completely cure unless you change behaviors that caused it. Understanding genetic make up and getting to the bottom of these factors is an important process of the Ayurvedic medical science.

An Ayurvedic practitioner creates specific health programs according to each individual's doshas patterns, addressing each person's illness different from the next. Ayurvedic treatments may include internal and external medicinal remedies, diet plans, exercise, daily lifestyle programs, external body therapies, yoga, meditation and practices of detoxification and rejuvenation. Through a combination of these techniques and understanding individual uniqueness, Ayurveda can provide a complete system of healing with long-term solutions.

 

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

Reducing Cholesterol Through Ayurveda

Its important to understand that not all cholesterol is bad. Cholesterol is essential to the functions of the body. It is a fatty acid produced in the liver used to build cell membranes, lubricates the channels of the body, and synthesizes vitamin D, hormones and bile acids. To be healthy the body must have this lubrication and elasticity that cholesterol provides. According to Ayurveda, cholesterol isn’t bad in and of itself, however it has a harmful effect when ama is present in the body. Ama, is the metabolic waste that has accumulated in the body, caused by improper digestion. It can block the channels of the body and arteries, causing a variety of health concerns and imbalances.

According to Ayurveda, the principle factor behind balancing cholesterol in the body is balancing the digestive system. Therefore, when digestion, assimilation and elimination are in balanced the fat tissue and cholesterol will also be in balance. One of the Ayurvedic dosha principles involved in fat metabolism is the Kapha dosha. Unbalance Kapha dosha lies at the root of excess production of cholesterol in the body. With this understanding lowering cholesterol by using dietary recommendations that balance Kapha and the overall fat metabolism of the body.

A diet to enhance fat metabolism and pacify Kapha would be a diet which favors foods that have primarily bitter, astringent and pungent tastes. Astringent foods include dried beans, such as split mung dhal, lentils and garbanzo beans. Avoid larger beans such as pinto and black beans. Vegetables that are astringent in taste are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and fruits such as apples and pears. Bitter foods such chard, kale, spinach and other leafy greens cooked with spices help cleanse the bowel helping the prevention of bad cholesterol from accumulated in the body. Spices to use in cooking can include, black pepper, garlic, cardamom, turmeric, ginger, fennel, cumin, cinnamon, cilantro, Basil, Asafetida and parsley.

It is also important to know what tastes to avoid when trying to balance cholesterol in the body, these include sweet, sour and salty. Sweet foods are not just sugary foods, its food with a sweet taste, such as wheat, pasta, breads, yam, and sweet milk products. Sour foods include lemons, tomatoes, cheese, yogurt and vinegar which are found in dressings, ketchup, mustard and pickles. Try cooking with less salt in your food, and avoid processed foods such as crackers, salted nuts, and chips.

One of the best thing you can do for the body to support its metabolic process is to eat freshly cooked foods eaten when it warm and directly after preparation. Cook with small amounts of oil such as ghee or mustard oil or sunflower oil. Avoid dry hard cool foods, or foods frozen or packaged meals.

Ayurveda has many effective herbs to support the body in the reduction of cholesterol. The herbal formula of Triphala can be used before bed to improve digestion and fat metabolism. Guduchi can also be taken daily as it supports the metabolism of the whole body including fat tissue and fat metabolism, it does this by enhancing the intelligence of the liver. In many studies Guggul was shown to reduce cholesterol as much as cholesterol-lowing drugs, but with out harmful side effects and Turmeric was found to lower triglycerides and serum cholesterol. Consider speaking with an Ayurvedic practitioner to find out what herbal support can work best for you as well as additional dietary recommendations.

 

Cholesterol Balancing Spice Mixture

  • 6 parts ground cumin
  • 6 parts ground coriander
  • 6 parts ground fennel
  • 3 parts ground turmeric
  • 2 parts ground fenugreek
  • 1 part powdered ginger
  • 1 part ground black pepper
  • Mix and store, use desired amount while cooking

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

 

 

Brahmi, the Ayurvedic Nervine Tonic

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Brahmi is perhaps the most essential nervine herb used in Ayurvedic medicine. It revitalizes the brain cells, removes toxins and blockages within the nervous system, It improves memory aids in concentration, while at the same time has a nurturing effect. It also calms the heart and helps guard it against heart attacks.

Brahmi is added to many Ayurvedic formulas as a nervine and antispasmodic agent. It aids in getting over an addiction or bad habits, such as alcoholism, drug abuse, and also helps the body kick sugar habits. It is a blood cleanser, improves the immune system, and is an excellent tonic for venereal diseases as it also cleanses the kidneys while calming and soothing the liver.

Yogis use Himalayan Brahmi daily by eating a few fresh leaves to support and improve meditation. They do this because it helps awaken the crown chakra and balances the right and left hemisphere of the brain. It is also one of the best herbs for balancing Pitta, while at the same time actively reducing Kapha and can reduce Vata if taken in the proper dose or with other anit-Vata herbs, such as Ashwagandha.

According to Ayurvedic texts, Brahmi ghee is an essential medicine for the mind and heart that should be kept in every home. It can be taken in small amounts daily to maintain good health. As a milk decoction, the herb is an excellent brain tonic particularly when it is combined with Ashwagandha. Bhrami taken with Holy Basil and a little black pepper is suitable for all kinds of fevers. A cup of Bhrami tea made with honey before meditation is great to aid the practice.

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

 

Ayurveda and Sports Medicine

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Sports medicine, as a separate medicinal specialty, has a recent origin. Sports medicine is difficult to define because it is not a single specialty, but an area that involves health care professionals, researchers and educators from a wide variety of disciplines. Its function can not only be curative and rehabilitative, but also used as a preventative, in which may actually be the most important of all. One may ask how a medical system such as Ayurveda that is more than five thousand years old, can make any contribution in a field like sports medicine.

When we observe Ayurveda we find there can be a very significant contribution to sports medicine as a whole. Three primary factors that influence athletic performance are genetic endowment, state of training and nutrition. Ayurveda offers comprehensive and detailed studies of these factors and provides support to gain optimal wellness in each area.

Ayurveda understands that physical fitness training is also influenced by many factors such as age, mental stability, environmental stresses, economical circumstances and so forth. Sports medicine is not just challenged by the musculo-skeletal but a combination of all of these factors. The approach in Ayurveda is holistic, where as it combines modalities to have profound impact on not just the physical problems but the much more important psyche of the sportsperson. It can effectively work towards stress relieving and in developing concentration. Ayurveda also has certain management protocol for a person who has been debilitated due to a disease, these could also be used effectively by those who are recuperating from an injury.

Injuries in sports are increasing with its popularization. The following are the most common injuries; injuries to ligament, injuries to tendon and injuries to muscle.  Ayurveda has very effective remedies that can either be used principally or as a supportive therapy in numerous orthopedic problems encountered by sports persons. One therapy is known as Marma Point Therapy. The use of pressure points called marma forms an important part of this therapy in Ayurveda. Just as acupuncture points are used by Chinese medicine, marma points are used by Ayurvedic physicians to heal, and support strength. Ayurveda also has very simple herbal formulations that can hasten the process of recuperation after a surgery, rehabilitation of an injured muscle, bone, performance levels.

For enhancing the physical prowess of a person, Ayurveda offers herbal supplement support . Ayurvedic herbal formulas are said to have components that can enhance the performance level. These were widely used in ancient times by warriors to enhance their performance during war as well as from getting tired easily.  Some of these are Mahakashaya Brimhaneeya dasaimani (Muscle builder), Jeevaneeya Dasaimani (Vitiliser) Balakara Dasaimani (Promotes strength) and Sramahara dasaimani (Promotes cheer). These formulas are non-steriodal and probably act by increasing the secretion of the biological hormones and enzymes in the body.

Even though good diet cannot guarantee success, poor diet can certainly undermine training. Ayurveda gives comprehensive descriptions of food substances that can increase muscle mass and physical prowess. In Ayurveda Nutrition, food should be taken according to eight factors such as nature of food, processing of food, combination, quantity, place, time dietetic rules, constitution also known as genetic make up. An Ayurvedic practitioner can develop a detailed nutritional plan that will support these eight factors in accordance with the individual goals.

As one can see, Ayurveda incorporate several principles that can be effectively used for improving the sports medicine as practiced today.  A relationship between modern sports medicine practitioners and Ayurvedic practitioners should be initiated to develop a more natural and effective way of approaching sports medicine.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

Unwanted Cellulite?

Most of us struggle with unwanted cellulite but never know how to handle it. Ayurveda looks to restore the systems of the body by balancing the mind, emotions, and physical attributes based on a persons constitutional make up. Ayurveda also tackles cellulite in this same manner.

According to Ayurveda cellulite is an imbalance in the bodies ability to metabolize fat. The metabolic system for this in Ayurveda is called Meda Agni. Cellulite occurs when the agni (digestive system) is malfunctioning and the metabolism becomes sluggish, in this the digestive impurities interact with the body tissue and becomes toxic (ama).

Do to ama, essentially in the lymph system, the body has a drainage problem. When this occurs, toxins and fluids then accumulate as fat pockets in areas of the body that are constitutional specific. To address cellulite, one must first understand, that the accumulation of ama first starts in the gut. It then spreads through subtle channels of the body. 

By first correcting the digestive system in the gut, along with improving the circulation of the lymph in areas that are prone to cellulite, one can successfully help reduce the cause of cellulite. Since Ayurveda addresses every case differently, its best to have a consultation with an Ayurvedic Practitioner to know specifically what to do for your constitution and circumstance. If this is not possible, simply add a few of these general suggestion to your daily routine:

  1. Drink plenty of water. Sipping warm water with fresh squeezed lemon through out the day help stimulate digestion and clears toxic build up in the system.
  2. Focus on herbs that help reduce ama and promote circulation in your diet. Us more herbs such as ginger, black pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, fenugreek and cardamom in your cooking and food.
  3. Eat two fresh Tulsi leaves in the morning and at night, it helps to regulate fat and has both lightening and dry properties.
  4. Eat three regular meals a day at the same time, making lunch the largest meal of the day no later then 2 pm and dinner no later then 730 pm. This is by far most the important aspect in managing cellulite. 
  5. Have a cup of Kapha reducing tea. 1/4 teaspoon each of dry ginger, dill seed, fenugreek seed, add one clove to 1 cup water. Boil water add mixture and steep for 5 minutes and drink it. 
  6. Avoid High-Fat diet, but take a daily dose of good quality oil, such as Ayurvedic Ghee or flaxseed oil in a cup of warm water first thing in the morning.
  7. Daily self full body Abhyanga with organic almond oil. In the place of accumulated cellulite, us organic mustard seed oil followed by Calamus herb powder. Use rapid long strokes heating and improving circulation through out the whole body.
  8. Exercise is a vital part as diet is in reducing cellulite. Yogasanas like Dandayamana Dhanurasana (Standing bow pose), Ardha Chandrasana (Half moon pose), Utkatasana (Chair Pose) , Supta-Vajrasana(Reclining adamant pose),  Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) and Salabhasana (Locust pose) are recommended.
  9. Daily intake of Triphala and Turmeric. 500 mg of Turmeric in the morning upon waking and 500 mg of Triphala before bed. 
  10. Try Panchakarama. An annual Panchakarma programs which detoxifies many of the bodies channels including the liver, helps improve the bodies ability to metabolize fat. Its the Ayurvedic science of detoxification and rejuvenation and can have a profound transformative effects. 

For More information visit us at our clinics or schedule an online appointment! 

 

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

An Ayurvedic Perspective on Healthy Elimination

For many of us, unhealthy elimination is somewhat of a routine occurrence. If we are completely honest, most of us have suffered from constipation, diarrhea or some other affecting bowel imbalance. Yet, generally, we are afraid to talk about our elimination health. Fortunately, Ayurveda is not afraid and has a lot to say about it, and the truth is, for all of us our bowel habits and stools show us a great deal about what our bodies are going through and what we need to return them to balance.

Ayurveda recognizes that the digestive tract is the very first place imbalances arise in the body. According to Ayurveda the digestive system is the root of all disease. Ayurveda places great importance on the digestive system and its abilities to transform foods properly. Without the proper digestion, foods cannot be broken down and absorbed in the body for the use of tissue renewal, instead more waste is created leading to toxic build up and eventually disease.  This being the case, our stools tend to offer us very early warning signs that something is amiss in our physiology. 

If an emerging imbalance is not properly addressed, it will either take root in the digestive tract and become a more serious condition, or spread to other tissues and create imbalances there. If we can learn to understand the early indications of disharmony in our bodies, and respond appropriately, there is the ability to self-correct and heal. It is a wonderful tool Ayurveda has given us to maintain health by paying attention to the habits of our bowels and stool. 

According to Ayurveda, healthy elimination occurs one to two times every day. Generally, the fist bowel movement should happen in the morning, with in a few minutes of waking up. It should not be stimulated by food intake and should be well formed, about the consistency of a ripe banana and should maintain its shape after being eliminated. The color is a light brownish-or yellow color, it should float and has slight oil to it and does not stick to the sides of the toilet. It should only have a mild order, not strong or pungent. 

Most people fall short of this. With the kinds of lifestyle we lead, it is difficult to maintain perfect digestive health, but this is why talking about elimination is so important, so we can foster balance in our lives, in our stool and in the body as a whole. 

In Ayurveda, the physiological systems in the body, such as reproductive, digestive or urinary systems are called channels. All channels have important overall functions to maintain whole health in the body.  Ayurveda accentuates the importance of proper movement in all the channels to preserve health with a body free of disease. The regular movement of the bowels is a fundamental part in keeping the digestive channels following correctly. 

The foods we ingest undergoes the process of digestion and absorption through the action of agni, or digestive fire. An individual’s agni largely determines how well or poorly food is digested and eliminated. When agni, is in balance, it supports strong immunity and a long, healthy life. Balanced agni also adds emotional health and makes the experience of life more enjoyable. The strength of agni is inevitably affected by a poor diet, improper food combinations, and un-supportive lifestyle, emotional disturbances and even damp, rainy weather. With a weaken state of agni, the bodies resistance to disease is weakened.  Strengthening the agni and understanding the individual is the key to finding a truly balanced diet

In general, the qualities of foods are similar to the qualities of the doshas. The intake of food that has the same quality of a dosha will tend to aggravate that dosha, such as when a Vata (dry) personal eats popcorn (dry), will create more dryness in the body. Opposite qualities tend to be balancing, such as when a pitta (hot) person drinks mint tea (cooling). This fundamental principle can help you select foods that are balancing to your own unique constitution. While there are certainly many things we can do to generally foster healthy elimination, identifying which dosha(s) are involved in a specific imbalance allows us to pursue deeper, and enables us to create a more focused therapeutic strategy. 

Sometimes it is very easy to identify personal bowel movement tendencies at a glance- if so, you can find more specific support to help you return to balance. If you remain uncertain, please see a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner to offer a more personalized assessment of your needs. It is also important to know that longstanding imbalances in the elimination channel often involve more then one dosha, and can easily lead to more complex disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. These conditions are more serious and should be treated by a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner. 

Vata Elimination

In Vata elimination imbalances the excess Vata in the channel tends to cause dry, hard, scanty stools, that can be painful or difficult to pass. Vata can also cause gas, bloating, colicky pain, gurgling in the intestines, irregularity in movements and constipation. Some people tend to alternate between constipation and diarrhea. The symptoms are usually accompanied by an irregular appetite and variable digestion. Other related ailments caused by excess Vata include low back pain, sciatica, non-bleeding hemorrhoids, prolapsed rectum and fissures or fistulas.

When Vata is eminent, you must balance Vata’s cold and dry qualities with warmth, a lot of fluids, along with healthy oils to return it to balance. It is also influential to slow the pace of life down, essential to keep warm and to stay hydrated. Support your digestion and elimination with Triphala or Hingvastak or consider taking Haritaki instead of Triphala if Vata is the true primary concern. Focus on the below diet and lifestyle suggestions.

Diet

  • Focus on eating Vata pacifying foods that favors the tastes of sweet, sour and salty.
  • Eat three solid meals a day, ideally at about the same time each day, vata needs consistency. Also eating three solid freshly cooked meals increases the digestive fire and helps with weight control and burning of toxins in the body.
  • Increase sources of fiber in you diet such as oatmeal, wheat brain, oat brain an other whole cooked grains and cooked vegetables. 
  • Increase the amount of good quality oils in your diet such as ghee, sesame oil and olive oil.
  • Eat more fruit, at least one hour before and after other foods, and do not eat it cold, room temperature fruit is the best.
  • Drink at least 60-80 ounces of fluid each day. Warm water and herbal teas are the best. Stay away from ice and cold liquids. Hot water is the best.
  • In addition chew on a slice of fresh ginger about the size of a nickel with a pinch of sea salt, a few drops of lime juice and a 1/4 teaspoon of honey 30 minutes before lunch and dinner. 

Lifestyle

  • Focus on establishing a Vata pacifying daily routine; consistency in the structure of the day is especially pacifying to Vata. Focus on calming the mood and energy, and nurturing the body. 
  • Get plenty of Vata pacifying exercise: Make sure that your exercise routine is not over stimulating, but gentle and grounding instead. Favor activities like walking, hiking, light jogging, swimming, or gentle cycling.
  • Practice Vata pacifying yoga or a handful of slow and purposeful sun salutations each morning.
  • Practice 5-15 minutes of Alternate Nostril Breathing every day on an empty stomach.
  • Daily oil massage with sesame oil after warm shower or bath. 

Pitta Elimination

Excess Pitta in the elimination channel tends to cause frequent or urgent stools that are soft, loos, liquid or oily. The stools my fall apart of being evacuated or my tend toward diarrhea. They are also often hot, causing burning pain when eliminated and have a strong and frequently offensive sour or acidic odor. Excess pitta can cause heartburn, blood in stool, bleeding hemorrhoids, acid indigestion and cause an insatiable appetite. 

In oder to balance pitta, one must balance Pitta’s hot, sharp, light and liquid qualities with food, herbs and experiences that are nutritive, heavy, cooling and dense. It is important to keep the mind and body cool and avoid heavy exercise and especially exercise at mid-day. Support your digestion with Amalaki are with Avipattikar, Triphala is also an option. Focus on the below diet and lifestyle suggestions.

Diet

  • Pitta pacifying diet that favors sweet, astringent and bitter tastes. 
  • Emphasize on cooling foods (not cold), but things that have a cooling effects such as cilantro, coconut water, peppermint tea, coriander, fennel, mint and cucumber.
  • Dink moderate amounts of fluid, mainly at room temperature avoid ice, sour drinks and sodas.
  • Take a few tablespoons of aloe vera juice or gel 2-3 times per day to cool and soothe the channels of digestion.
  • Include moderate amount of good quality cooling oils such as ghee, sunflower oil or coconut oil in your diet.

Lifestyle

  • Focus on Pitta pacifying routines as it helps to ground and cool the sharp intensity of pitta.
  • Sheetali pranayama every day on a empty stomach for 5-10 minutes a day and a few minutes of alternate nostril breathing will help balance pitta.
  • Practice pitta pacifying yoga at a gentle and purposeful rate. Do not make yoga a competition against yourself or others. Moon salutations are useful in balancing pitta. 
  • Daily exercise is important but not overly intense, do it with a relaxed effort. Walking, swimming, cycling, light jogging and hiking are best and its best for pitta to practice exercise when the day is the coolest in morning or evening. Don’t forget to breath through your nose the entire time.

Kapha Elimination
To return to balance, we need to balance Kapha’s heavy, slow, cool, oily, smooth, and sticky qualities with foods, herbs, and experiences that are light, sharp, hot, dry, rough, and clarifying. In general, when Kapha is aggravated, it is important to keep warm and dry, to avoid daytime napping, and to stay active. Use Trikatu to stimulate Kapha digestion, Bibhitaki is better then Triphala, but Triphala can also be used. In addition, the following diet, lifestyle, recommendations will help to pacify Kapha so that the channels of elimination can return to balance.


Diet

  • Focus on eating a Kapha pacifying diet.
  • Minimize the presence of oil and fat in your diet (the best oils for Kapha are sunflower oil and olive oil).
  • Reduce processed foods and sugars.
  • Favor warm and hot beverages and be careful not to over hydrate. Hot water and herbal teas like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, or clove can help to liquefy, dry, and eliminate excess Kapha.
  • Eat three square meals each day (at about the same time each day) and try not to snack between meals.
  • Focus on making lunch the main meal and eating smaller quantities of food at breakfast and dinner. 
  • Embrace a wide variety of spices in your cooking.
  • Stoke the digestive fire about 30 minutes before lunch and dinner by chewing a slice of fresh ginger (about the size of a nickel) with a pinch of sea salt, a few drops of lime juice, and about ¼ teaspoon honey. About 30 minutes before lunch and dinner, instead.  

 
Lifestyle

  • Focus on establishing a Kapha pacifying daily routine.
  • Get plenty of Kapha pacifying exercise: Make sure that your exercise routine is fun, vigorous, and stimulating – Kapha thrives on activities like walking, hiking, running, cycling, and high intensity interval training.
  • Practice Kapha pacifying yoga or a handful of invigorating sun salutations each morning.
  • Practice Bhastrika Pranayama every day on an empty stomach. You can start with just one or two rounds of 10 breaths, but can slowly build up to five rounds of 10 breaths. A few minutes of Alternate Nostril Breathing make a wonderful complement to this practice.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

The Amazing Healing Properties of Turmeric

Turmeric is a root plant or rhizome closely related to ginger. Commonly used in curries, turmeric has a warm, slightly bitter taste for coloring or enhancing the flavor of curry powders, cheeses, mustard and more. Many of my Ayurvedic teachers have stated that Turmeric is an answer to most common aliments such as stomach ache, soar throats, cuts, infections, skin problems and many others.

According to Web MD, the list of health-related uses for turmeric is long. It is ingested for stomach problems, such as gas, bloating or diarrhea; arthritis; menstrual pain; fever and such for thousands of years in some areas. A juice version is used as a topical agent and a turmeric paste (warm milk with some powder) is employed as an antiseptic in wounds.

Countless studies have shown the healing powers from turmeric properties. Recent research on the effect of aromatic turmerone, a turmeric extract, shows that the plant extract may help regenerate damaged brain cells after things like a stroke. There are many studies conducted on curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric. Many have dealt with anti-inflammatory abilities in curcumin. In one study, turmeric worked about as well as ibuprofen for reducing arthritis pain. There have also been clinical studies on the benefits in diabetes and pre diabetes, positive effects on cancer, prostate cancer in particular.  Also many that shows it aids in weight management, liver detoxification, and digestive disease such as chrohn's disease.

Turmeric can easily be incorporated in to your daily life. It has many essential vitamins such as pyridoxine, choline, niacin, riboflavin and more. It also contains minerals of calcium, potassium, copper, iron, magnesia, magnesium and zinc. Turmeric in the diet increases the productions of enzymes that digest fat, sugars, and stops cholesterol from forming gallstones. It is an immune support and is antiseptic that kills yeast and parasites when used internally. It is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, and menstrual problems. Other uses include depression, Alzheimer’s disease, water retention, and kidney problems

You can take Turmeric as a daily supplement and introduce it to you're cooking. It is delicious in soups, stir fry, curries and as a daily tea. Ayurvedic turmeric paste is a great way to use turmeric to make teas. The paste of honey and turmeric can store easily in a jar. For paste use 1/3 cup  or 80 ml good, raw honey 2 1/2 teaspoons dried turmeric. Work the turmeric into the honey until it forms a paste. You can keep this on hand, in a jar, for whenever you'd like a cup of tea. 

Ayurvedic Daily Turmeric Tea Recipe

  • Heaping Teaspoon of Turmeric Paste
  • Paste Squeeze of lemon
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper

For each cup of tea, place a heaping teaspoon of the turmeric paste in the bottom of a mug. Pour hot (but not boiling water) into the mug, and stir well to dissolve the turmeric paste. Add a big squeeze of juice from a lemon, and a good amount of black pepper. (pepper is invigorating and helps support the digestion of the turmeric) 

 

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

 

 

15 Reasons Why You Should Take Triphala Daily

Triphala is known as one of Ayurveda’s most used herbal formulation. Triphala powder is a composed blend of three dried fruits., Haritaki, Bibhitaki and Amalaki. The blend is distributed into equal parts to ensure maximum efficiency. The principle of Ayurveda suggests that healthy stomach leads to a healthier life. Thus, to remain fit and healthy, it is very necessary for a person to keep his or hers stomach fit and healthy. This herbal formula is popular among Ayurvedic practitioner and its users as it is an effective bowl cleanser. The herbal formulation offers great support to the digestive system that helps insure that the process of digestion is completed at its best, ensuring optimal working of the digestive tract. 

According to various general theories, Triphala is an effective laxative that helps in keeping the digestive system fit and working, However, in experts’ opinions. Triphala powder is not just a laxative but also as a nutritional food supplement as it has great nutritional values. Unlike other laxatives, Triphala dose not put direct effect on the liver and gall bladder to force them to secrete digestive juices to digest food. Instead, it works like a sponge that swells by absorbing fluid. Thus, it helps in cleaning not only the intestinal tract but also the liver and blood. 

Top 15 Benefits of Triphala

  1. Improves and normalizes the digestive functions.
  2. Alleviates and corrects constipation.
  3. Tones the gastrointestinal tract.
  4. Cleanses bowel.
  5. Purifies the blood.
  6. Removes excess fats out of the body.
  7. Liver and Blood Cleansing. 
  8. Builds body immunity and contains high amounts of Vitamin C
  9. Maintains good male and female reproductive health. 
  10. Nourishes and strengthens the respiratory tract and lungs. 
  11. Improves eye sight.
  12. Nurtures the voice quality. 
  13. Enhances hair color and strengthens hair roots.
  14. Rich in powerful antioxidants, polyphenols which reduces oxidative stress on the body.
  15. Contains anthraquinone that help stimulate peristalsis.


In order to get the optimum results, it is recommended that a person should take no more then 1 1/2 tea spoons at in the evening, 45 minutes after having dinner or just before bed. It is best to boil for 5 mins in 1 cup of water, but it also can be taken with a spoonful of honey or in milk. Boiling the herbs allows for the molecules to break down further for better absorption. Tablet forms are also available. For best results see an Ayurvedic Practioner for additonal health management suggestions.

Nighty Night Cap

Those who are suffering with insomnia, it is good to have a warm nourishing drink before bed. This method is best when using raw milk, but for those with milk sensitivities, almond milk can be used as a replacement. Cardamom is useful in reducing milk's mucous forming tendency. Sip this night cap just before bed in order to fall easily and deeply asleep. Modify and use cumin, coriander, and cardamom for a more cooling effect. If pitta is irritated, use maple syrup or sucanat instead of honey for sweetening. Add a pinch of fresh vanilla bean for additional grounding and flavor. 

1/2 to 1 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp ghee
1/2 to 1 tsp cardamom powder
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon powder
1-2 tsp honey
pinch fresh ground nutmeg

Warm the milk and ghee with cardamom and cinnamon. Place honey in bottom of drinking cup. Add warm mixture to it. Do not use the same amount of honey and ghee by volume as it causes disturbance in digestion. Add fresh ground nutmeg, as it has a sedative quality and can support peaceful sleep.

4 Ways to Maintain Healthy Joints

Have you ever stopped to consider just how dependent your every movement is on those miraculously slippery and cushioned spaces between your bones? Our joints are essential for bodily movement and yet somehow incredibly under-appreciated. Life without joints is hard to imagine; our joints really are crucial to living life as we know it, and caring for them can have a huge impact on how comfortable we feel in our bodies. So, do your joints ever talk to you? Are they especially conversant at certain times of year or after specific types of activities? Maybe your joints seem to pipe up at random, or perhaps they’re more persistently vocal. Whatever the case, you will find some useful strategies for supporting your joints below.
 

  1. Practice joint rotations: Practicing a series of gentle joint rotations daily helps to lubricate and protect the joints. In fact, it is often recommended as part of an Ayurvedic daily routine, and it only takes a few minutes. Consider doing about 10 rotations in each direction for each joint. Start with the arms, rotating the wrists slowly in each direction. Next, place both hands on your shoulders (right hand to right shoulder, left hand to left shoulder) and draw circles around the shoulder joint with the elbows – first rotating backward, and then forward. Then, let your arms hang long and circle the shoulders themselves, first backward, and then forward. If you are comfortable doing gentle circles with your neck, you can do a few in each direction before you shift your attention to the legs. Begin there with the ankles. Fold one ankle over the opposite knee and use one hand to gently turn your foot in circles around the ankle joint – first one direction and then the other. Then stand up, bend your knees, place your hands on your thighs (just above the knees) and make circles with your knees in both directions. Now separate your feet, place your hands on your hips and make wide circles with your hips – first clockwise, then counter clockwise. These practices are very effective at increasing circulation in the joints and supporting proper lubrication. If the entire practice is too much, you can focus where you need the most support, or reduce the number of repetitions for one or all of the joints. If your hands or feet need a little extra attention, you can massage the knuckles on the fingers and toes with gentle circular motions, one at a time.
  2. Get Regular and Appropriate Exercise: Our joints are meant to move. In fact, proper movement supports their overall health. But, some activities are far from supportive. The type of movement that is right for you will depend on your constitution, your current state of balance, and any other special considerations you may have (injuries, vulnerabilities, etc.). In general, however, the joints are supported by low-impact activities. There are more specific recommendations for exercise in the resources on balancing vata, pitta, and kapha in the joints.  
  3. Practice Yoga Regularly: Yoga and gentle stretching can help to improve circulation in and around the joints. Yoga also nourishes our bodies with prana, the vital life force. Cat Cow (especially if it is done as described in this link, with an organic wave type motion) is wonderful for juicing up the vertebral joints along the spinal column. More specific ideas for yoga practice are included in our resources on balancing vata, pitta, and kapha in the joints.
  4.  Eat a Balanced Diet with Sufficient High Quality: FatsBecause tissue nutrition determines the health of the joints, a balanced diet is critical. In particular, make sure you are getting an appropriate amount of high-quality fats and that you are actively tending to agni. Different constitutions and imbalances require different amounts of fat and different types of foods. More specific dietary recommendations are included in our resources on balancing vata, pitta, and kapha in the joints.

Ojas, The Pure Essence of all Bodily Tissues

In yoga and Ayurveda we speak a lot of ojas, most people do not understand this term, nor do the recognize the importance of ojas. In Ayurveda, we believe ojas to be the pure essence of all bodily tissues. Ojas is the essence related to vitality and immunity in an indvidual. It is like honey. As the honeybee collects the minute molecules of the essence of hundreds of flowers and accumulates them in the honey comb for survival, ojas, circulated via the heart and throughout the body to maintain the natural resistance of the bodily tissue.

In short it can be described as our immune system. Ojas fights against aging, decay and disease. It is a superfine biological substance that gives strength to all the bodies tissues. Although often hear it  as a romantic or poetic subject, ojas is a protoplasmic, biological substance that includes albumin, globulin, and many other hormones. It is formed durning biosynthesis of the bodily tissues. Modern medicine talks about the immune system which includes the hematopoietic, endocrine, nervous, and digestive systems. The Ayurvedic concept of ojas corresponds to the modern medical concept, including gamma globulin, which maintains the immunity of the liver.

Immunity depends on the quality of the digestion, liver functions, and the integrated functions of all hormones in the endocrine system.  It also includes the nervous, skeletal, and muscular systems. When all these systems preform their physiological functions, ojas is maintained. Therefore, ojas is the potential source of strength and power, and natural resistance against illness, this is natural immunity. There are two types of immunity, natural or acquired immunity. When you receive a vaccination, this is an example of an acquired immunity. Ojas is our body's  natural resistance to fight infection.

Ojas has the capacity to counteract the etiological factors or cause of disease. Ojas is influenced directly by agni, or digestive system, which determines the quality of assimilation and nutrition. These qualities of ojas also depends upon lifestyle, stress, traumas and the qualities of relationships. For example if our relationships are not good our ojas will not be good.

So how do we support our Ojas? Building ojas is an art. Perhaps one of the best ways to consistently build ojas is to eat a diet of fresh, unprocessed whole foods in the appropriate season. Through the process of healthy digestion, microscopic amounts of the essence of these foods accumulate over time and become ojas. Ghee is an effective ojas building substance that can be added to your daily diet. 

Certain herbs in Ayurveda are also prized as great ojas-builders. Traditionally, a concoction of these herbs, including Ashwagandha and Shatavari, were blended with ojas-building foods like dates, almonds, coconut, saffron, ghee, honey and cardamom in a milk base. This mixture was warmed and taken before bed as a sleep aid and an ojas-builder to boot.

Other effective ways of building ojas includes healthy lifestyle routines, such as, sleeping habits (early to bed, early to rise and not in excess), yoga, medication, breathing exercises, walking in nature, laughing, expressing and showing love and affection, creativity, taking time and not rushing, doing things that make you happy,  giving to others, daily self oil application, and daily self love.
 

Yoga and Ayuveda

Ayurveda and yoga are sister Vedic sciences that have been united for thousands of years for the sake of healing body, mind, and consciousness. Generally speaking, Ayurveda deals more with the health of the body, while yoga deals with purifying the mind and consciousness, but in reality they complement and embrace each other.

The ancient rishis (seers) were the original masters of all Vedic sciences. They understood that good health is a great asset on the path toward Self-realization. If the body is neglected it can easily become an obstacle to spiritual practice. Anyone who has practiced meditation for any length of time would agree to how difficult it can be to sit still for long periods of time without feeling discomfort and fatigue. Both yoga and Ayurveda are mutually supportive and offer many ways to prevent and heal various disorders as well as to cleanse and rejuvenate the body.

Besides sharing a philosophical foundation, both systems have many similarities in relation to attitude, nutrition, diet, hygiene, exercise, cleansing practices, as well as spiritual practices. Traditionally, a student of yoga would first live close to and serve the guru for many years, during which time he would learn healthy habits. The basic Ayurvedic principles for health and longevity were past on in the lineage in oral form to serve as a foundation for a life of sadhana (spiritual practice).

Nowadays, the teachings of yoga are easily available to all, and whether prepared or not we can leap headlong into its practice. This has its blessings, in the sense that more people can be turned on to the teachings, although much is often lost without the parampara, or close guidance at the feet of an accomplished master. With this in mind, modern yoga practitioners would most certainly benefit from a basic knowledge of Ayurveda to help establish a healthy daily routine and adjust their practice according to the constitution, dosha imbalance, season, and so on, to prevent disease and promote longevity.

First, let's take a look at the similarities between yoga and Ayurveda: Both are ancient Vedic teachings. Yoga originates in the Yajur Veda, while Ayurveda originates in the Atharva Veda and Rig Veda. Both recognize that keeping the body healthy is vital for fulfilling the four aims of life: Dharma (duty), Artha (wealth), Kama (desire), and Moksha (liberation). Both recognize that the balance of doshas (humors), dhatus (tissues), and malas (waste products) is essential for maintaining good health. Both share virtually the same metaphysical anatomy and physiology, which consists of 72,000 nadis (subtle channels), 7 main chakras (energy centers), 5 bodily sheaths, and the Kundalini Shakti (energy). 

Both advocate the use of diet, herbs, asana, pranayama, meditation, mantra, astrology, prayer, puja, and rituals for healing the entire being. Both encourage physical health as a good foundation for mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Both share the same view on psychology. Ayurveda embraces all six of the main schools of philosophy including the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and Vedanta (a non-dual philosophical and spiritual path). They both understand that the attachment to the body-mind complex is the root cause of all suffering and that the ultimate state of health is experienced when we abide in our true nature, which is total peace, regardless of the state of the physical body. Both use cleansing methods for the body, all of which encourage the removal of waste products and toxins through their natural routes of elimination. Ayurveda has panchakarma (five cleansing actions) and yoga uses Shat Karma (six purification measures) 

The use of asana, pranayama, and meditation for healing is known as Yoga Chikitsa, or Yoga Therapy and has been used for thousands of years by Ayurveda. In Yoga Chikitsa, a group of yogic exercises are chosen that will best support the individual and are practiced daily. This can be done over an extended period of time in conjunction with an Ayurvedic regime and herbal and dietary therapies. Yoga Chikitsa also plays an integral role in the Ayurvedic cleansing and rejuvenation process known as panchakarma. For a well balanced personal yoga practice, it is important to take into consideration the individual's body structure, prakruti (original constitution), and vikruti (present constitutional imbalance). The following are general recommendations according to the predominant dosha.

Vata predominant individuals should remember to focus on calming, grounding, stillness, strengthening, and balancing while doing their practice. Vinyasa or flow styles of yoga tend to move too quickly from one pose to the next and can aggravate the hyper-mobile quality of vata over time. Flow sequences can be made to be more vata pacifying if they are not excessively long, the length of time poses are held is extended, and transitions are done slowly and consciously. Those with lower back problems may find that bending the knees in standing forward bends can prevent discomfort. Back bends should be done slowly, carefully and within one's own limits.

Pitta individuals should maintain a calm, cool, and relaxed intention while doing asanas. Pitta types may benefit from trying to cultivate an attitude of forgiveness, and of surrendering or offering the fruits of their practice to the divine of to those in need of positive healing energy. Because asana practice tends to generate heat in the body, it is best to do them at cooling times of the day, such as dawn or dusk. Also, it is useful to place some emphasis on poses that help to release excess heat from the body, such as poses that compress the solar plexus and poses that open the chest like.

Kapha types tend to be sedentary and often dislike vigorous exercise. For this reason, their practice should be energetic, warming, lightening, and stimulating, providing they are physically capable. Vinyasa or flow style yoga is good for kapha because it is dynamic and moves quickly from one pose to the next, it induces sweating and gets the heart pumping.

Yoga poses that address specific doshic problems can be easily added to an Ayurvedic regime and integrated into an existing yoga routine, or they can be organized as a small session with the help of an Ayurvedic clinician who knows each individual case well and can help set up a well balanced program according to the needs of each client.