Ayurveda

Spice things up with Ayurvedic herbs for Valentines day!

There are many Ayurvedic herbs and spices known for their rejuvenating and aphrodisiac effects, which can kick things up a notch for Valentine’s day. In addition to proprietary blends, there are many Ayurvedic recipes for spicing up your love life that use ingredients that are easy to find and taste delicious. Nutmeg, clove, cardamom, and ginger are found in most pantries and, when mixed together as a “chai,” serve as an easy and enjoyable way to enhance libido.  

Nutmeg is known in Ayurveda as “women’s Viagra.” This almost overpowering aromatic spice warms the body, pacifies vataand kapha, and increases pitta, and stimulates circulation. These effects can also be achieved with ginger. Clove ignites attraction and boosts libido. It has been used as an aphrodisiac in India and other parts of Asia for many centuries. Cardamom is a tridoshic spice that balances the three fundamental energies and promotes healthy blood flow. Its super-sweet taste enhances energy and vigor.

The two best known Ayurvedic herbs for revitalizing the body and optimizing sexual health are ashwaganda and shatavari. A member of the nightshade family, the ashwagandha plant regulates stress hormones such as cortisol according to the body’s needs, keeping users alert and energized during the day and allowing them to relax and fall asleep at night. In Ayurveda, this adaptogenic herb is believed to be particularly effective at boosting the sexual energy of men. Shatavari, a species of asparagus (Asparagus racemosus), serves as an equivalent tonic for sustaining women’s sexual vigor and the health of their reproductive organs throughout their life.

These two herbs combined with the suggested Ayurvedic spices offer a natural approach to maximizing vitality, energy, and vigor for both sexes. Enjoy this aromatic and delicious recipe to prime your libido for a romantic occasion. Or use it regularly to maintain overall health and vibrancy in everyday life.

Mix & Store

1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon clove
2 teaspoons of cardamom
2 teaspoons of ginger
1 tablespoon ashwaganda
1 tablespoon shatavari

Use ½ teaspoon boiled for 5 minutes in 1 cup of milk. Use the milk of your choice— fresh cow’s milk or almond or coconut.

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.  

What is Kapha Dosha?

What is Kapha Dosha

According to Ayurvedic philosophy, there are three doshas (a.k.a. humors) present in every cell, tissue, and organ of our body that govern our psychobiological functioning. These doshas—vata, pitta, and kapha—comprise the five potential states of matter (i.e., space (or ether), air, fire, earth, and water). All five of these elements are present in each dosha, but the two predominant elements in a dosha determine its defining qualities. When in balance, the three doshas create health; when out of balance, they cause disease. They are also responsible for the vast variety of differences and preferences that exist among individuals, and they influence all we are and all we do, from our food choices to the ways we relate to others.

As the forces that govern our physiology, the doshas regulate the creation, maintenance, and destruction of body tissue, as well as the elimination of waste products. They also act as psychological drivers, governing our emotions and mental state. When in balance, the doshas generate understanding, compassion, and love and sustain mental health. When their balance is disturbed by stress, improper diet, and environmental conditions, they give rise to disturbances such as anger, fear, anxiety, confusion, depression, and disease.

The kapha dosha combines the prithvi(earth) and apa(water) elements. In ancient Sanskrit texts, kapha is conceptualized “that which holds things together, embraces, and provides coherence.” It is slow, heavy, cool, dense, soft, greasy, unctuous, sticky, cloudy, liquid, and sweet. Kapha holds the body together, giving it shape, form, and stability. The combined elements of kapha are responsible for the gross structure of the body and for its solid and liquid components including phlegm, mucus, synovial fluid, and plasma. Kapha also fills the intercellular spaces of the body as connective tissues such as tendons.

Kapha occurs mainly in the chest, throat, head, pancreas, lymph, fat, nose, and tongue, but its primary site is the stomach, where much of our immune system resides. As the dosha that regulates body’s protective and immune functions, kapha  is related to ojas(our innate reserves of strength, vigor, and resistance to disease). In addition to building immunity, kapha promotes growth. 

The water element of kapha softens the earthen structures of the tissues, moistening and lubricating the skin, joints, and respiratory system. These watery qualities also help heal wounds and support our sense of smell and taste.  

Psychologically, excess kapha is responsible for the emotions of attachment, greed, lust, and envy. When kapha is in the balance, it expresses love, calmness, and forgiveness; when out of balance it gives rise to heaviness, slowness, coolness, oiliness, dampness, and stasis.

 

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. 

What is Pitta Dosha?

What is pitta Dosha

According to Ayurvedic philosophy, there are three doshas (a.k.a. humors) present in every cell, tissue, and organ of our body that govern our psychobiological functioning. These doshas—vata, pitta, and kapha—comprise the five potential states of matter (i.e., space, air, fire, earth, and water). All five of these elements are present in each dosha, but the two predominant elements in a dosha determine its defining qualities. When in balance, the three doshas create health; when out of balance, they cause disease. They are also responsible for the vast variety of differences and preferences that exist among individuals, and they influence all we are and all we do, from our food choices to the ways we relate to others.

As the forces that govern our physiology, the doshas regulate the creation, maintenance, and destruction of body tissue, as well as the elimination of waste products. They also act as psychological drivers, governing our emotions and mental state. When in balance, the doshas generate the understanding, compassion, and love that sustain mental health. When their balance is disturbed by stress, improper diet, and environmental conditions, they give rise to disturbances such as anger, fear, anxiety, confusion, depression, and disease.

The pitta dosha governs all the various forms of digestion and transformation that manifest in our mind and body—from digesting sensory impressions and emotional responses to transforming chyle (lymph and fatty matter from partially digested food) into protoplasmic substances like sperm and ova. Pitta is closely related to agni(digestive fire). Its qualities are pungent, hot, penetrating, greasy, oily, sharp, liquid, spreading and sour. The main locus of pitta is the small intestine, where most chemical digestion takes place, but it also resides in the eyes, blood, sweat glands, stomach, and lymph. 

Made up of tejas (fire) and apa(water), pitta seems like a contradiction in terms, but its two constituents are actually complementary. The liquid nature of pitta protects the tissues from the destructive aspects of fire and enables pitta’s metabolic properties to flow through the body in fluids such as bile, digestive enzymes, and hormones. In additional to playing an important role in the digestive and endocrine systems, pitta affects body temperature, visual perception, hunger, thirst, and skin quality.

Mentally and emotionally, pitta promotes sound judgment, discipline, responsibility, and joyfulness when in balance. If out of balance, it generates restlessness, anger and irritability, obsessiveness, jealousy, resentment, or deep negativity.

 

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. 

 

 

What is Vata Dosha?

What is Vata Dosha

According to Ayurvedic philosophy, there are three doshas (a.k.a. humors) present in every cell, tissue, and organ of our body that govern our psychobiological functioning. These doshas—vata, pitta, and kapha—comprise the five potential states of matter (i.e., space, air, fire, earth, and water). All five of these elements are present in each dosha, but the two predominant elements in a dosha determine its defining qualities. When in balance, the three doshas create health; when out of balance, they cause disease. They are also responsible for the vast variety of differences and preferences that exist among individuals, and they influence all we are and all we do, from our food choices to the ways we relate to others.

As the forces that govern our physiology, the doshas regulate the creation, maintenance, and destruction of body tissue, as well as the elimination of waste products. They also act as psychological drivers, governing our emotions and mental state. When in balance, the doshas generate the understanding, compassion, and love that sustain mental health. When their balance is disturbed by stress, improper diet, and environmental conditions, they give rise to disturbances such as anger, fear, anxiety, confusion, depression, and disease.

Vata dosha is composed of akasa(space, or ether) and vayu(air). The root va, which means “to spread,” suggests vata’s responsibility for all movement in the body and mind. This includes the flow of breath, pumping of blood; waste elimination; movement of the muscles, bones, limbs, and diaphragm, and the gut’s secretor-motor functions, as well as expressions of speech and responses of the intellect, the nervous system, and the five senses. 

Known as the master dosha because without it all the doshas would be inert, vata exerts a powerful influence on our well-being. Its capacity to affect our internal energies both positively and negatively becomes evident when we consider the dynamic between air and space in the external world. When the movement of air is unrestricted by space (as on the open ocean), it can gain enough momentum to become a hurricane  with gale-force winds traveling at speeds of over 150 mph. When air is confined in a box, it can’t move and becomes stale. Whether it’s due to lack of movement or too much movement, a vata imbalance disrupts the harmony of the doshas. 

The primary site of vata is the colon, but it also resides in the thighs, ears, bones, and bladder. The predominant qualities of its elements, or pañcamahābhūtās, are cold, light, rough, mobile, subtle, clear, dry, and astringent. These attributes can manifest as physical traits such as agility and thinness or health conditions like insomnia, as well as finding expression in mental and emotional functions and characteristics such as imagination, sensitivity, spontaneity, intuition, exhilaration, fear, insecurity, and doubt.

 

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 is one of the oldest forms of health care—it is the tree of knowledge from which many popular medicines and therapeutic interventions have grown. Used for 5,000 years by many thousands of doctors on millions of patients, Ayurveda is the time-tested medical system of India. The term Ayurvedais Sanskrit and 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 surgery, herbal medicine, herbal extracts, medicinal uses 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 by offering a complete philosophy of life. It gives equal importance to all aspects of life, including those that are subjective and intangible, when addressing disease and imbalance. Ayurveda’s success and longevity stem from its capacity to teach us how to live vibrantly by creating good health at every step along the way.

Ayurveda is multifaceted, and practitioners often undergo years of training. It is an extremely sophisticated system of observation that categorizes clients by distinctive anatomic and metabolic “types” also known asprakruti. According to Ayurvedic teaching, each person exhibits a distinct pattern of physical, mental, and emotional characteristics. The course of illness and remedies are determined in part by each client’s constitution and the environment in which he or she exists.

In Ayurvedic philosophy, our prakruti is made up of a combination of doshas. There are three doshas that govern our psychobiological functioning: vata, pitta and kapha. Each dosha comprises 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 two predominating elements determine the defining qualities of the 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 the ways we relate to others. 

The doshas also govern the biological and psychological processes 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 mental state. When in balance, the doshas generate understanding, compassion, love, and health. When their balance is upset by stress, improper diet, and environmental conditions, they give rise to disturbances such as anger, fear, anxiety, confusion, depression, and disease. Thus, when in balance, they create health and well-being; when out of balance, they cause disease and distress.

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 relationships, 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 we becomes ill, the illness is not likely to completely resolve unless we change the behaviors that caused it. Understanding genetic makeup 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 doshic patterns, addressing each person’s illness as unique to him or her. Ayurvedic treatments may include internal and external medicinal remedies, diet plans, exercise, daily lifestyle programs, external body therapies, yoga, meditation, and detoxification and rejuvenation practices. Through a combination of these techniques and understanding of an individual’s unique constitution, 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. 

Yummy Radishes!

Today I was working in our beautiful organic garden, and as we harvested our delicious multicolored radishes, I thought, Wow, what an underused vegetable—why don’t more people enjoy them? And even more important, why are their health benefits so seldom mentioned? This unassuming root vegetable actually packs more nutritional punch than you may suspect, including the power of sulphur-based plant chemicals to stimulate the flow of bile, which makes them a valuable tool for optimizing the digestion of fats and cleansing the blood and the liver. Radishes have also been used to dissolve gallstones and kidney stones. 

Radishes contain manganese, vitamin B6, folate, riboflavin and copper, as well as three minerals—potassium, magnesium, and calcium—that support healthy blood pressure. (The National Institute of Health’s DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) recommends increasing our intake of foods that provide these nutrients.) As a potassium-rich food, radishes also help reduce water retention by lowering salt levels and boosting urine output. 

Radishes are also a very good source of vitamin C—providing 25 percent of the daily recommended value.  In addition to helping rebuild tissues and blood vessels and keeping bones and teeth strong, vitamin C fights disease and helps protect our cells from an onslaught of destructive free radicals. The natural antioxidant action and immunoprotective effects of this one vitamin play an important role in reducing the risk of potentially lethal health threats, including cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

Radishes can also help relieve congestion and prevent respiratory problems, such as asthma or bronchitis. They have antibacterial, antifungal, and detoxifying properties and contain compounds that soothe rashes, dryness, and other skin disorders.

Most people eat radishes raw, but from an Ayurvedic perspective, it’s best to eat them freshly cooked. Radishes greatly increase the pitta energy in the digestive tract, which is good for both vata- and kapha-dominant types, because it clears food stagnation and has a laxative effect. While pitta individuals may find heavy consumption of radishes overstimulating, they can eat them in moderation. Raw radishes may be difficult to digest and cause gas in vata individuals, so they should stick to cooked radishes to enhance their diets with this vegetable’s vata-balancing qualities.

Yummy Recipe: White Radish with Mung Dhal & Radish Greens

INGREDIENTS:

For the seasoning

2 tbsp oil
 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
2 to 3 dry red chilies, broken into bits
½ tsp asafetida
½ tsp turmeric powder
radish greens cut from the radishes, finely chopped

500 gm or 2 white or pink radishes, finely chopped
100 gm (½ cup) mung dhal
1 tsp sugar
1¼ tsp salt or to taste
3–4 tbsp grated fresh coconut (you can also use frozen)

METHOD:

In a small or medium-sized saucepan, pour in enough water for cooking the mung beans and add them to the pot. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, and simmer until cooked halfway, about 12 to 15 minutes.

In a wok or kadhai, heat the oil over medium heat. Reduce the heat before the oil smokes, and add the mustard and cumin seeds. When the seeds pop, add the chilies, asafetida, turmeric, and radish greens. Stir fry for 30 seconds.

Add the finely chopped radishes, cover, and cook over a medium-low flame, stirring from time to time until the radishes are half-cooked, about 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the mung dhal, mix well, cover, and cook until the radishes are fully cooked, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the coconut, mix well, and switch off the burner. Serve hot with rotis or rice.

*Note that raw brassicas contain chemicals called goitrogens that can block the thyroid function. These chemicals are easily inactivated by steaming or cooking, so always ensure you eat these nutrient-packed foods freshly cooked. 

 

 

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. 

Balance Kapha

"Snigdhah shita gururmandah shlakshno mritsnah sthirah kaphah".— Ashtanga Hrdayam: Sutrasthana 1:12

Kapha is unctuous, cool, heavy, slow, smooth, soft, and static. Understanding kapha’s qualities is the key to understanding how to balance this dosha. Having a kapha-predominant prakriti(constitution) means that these qualities will express themselves throughout your physical, mental, and emotional makeup.

A basic tenet of Ayurvedic medicine, is that “like increases like.” So if kapha is your dominant dosha, cold weather, dense foods, and all things inherently cool and heavy will increase the kapha in your system. For example if you’re a kapha person living in Boston who drinks a large frozen smoothie on a cool evening, you may wake up the next  day with a cold. This is because you’ve amplified the heavy and dense qualities throughout your body, making it even more difficult to move out kapha, which is already stagnant in nature and therefore hard to dissipate. 

It’s common for our predominant dosha to increase more quickly than the others. If too much of one dosha accumulates in the body, we naturally want to decrease it to restore a healthy balance to our constitution. In Ayurveda, “medicines” are substances that do this by providing qualities that are the opposite of those inherent in the overabundant dosha. In the case of kapha, those opposing qualities are dryness, lightness, warmth and activity. Therefore it’s best for people with a kapha imbalance to seek out environments, foods, and routines that embody these qualities both physically and emotionally.

A person with a kapha imbalance will do well with warming, light, freshly cooked foods. Foods and herbs with a bitter, pungent, or astringent taste will also help decrease kapha. These tastes should predominate in your diet. Bibhitaki, chitrak and punarnava are three examples of herbs that help remove excess kapha from the body and maintain balance.

The ideal environment for a kapha person is one that’s warm and dry. Take extra care to stay warm and dry in cold, wet weather and during the winter. Activity can be one of the best medicines for kapha. Try to find something that motivates you to exercise regularly. Consider signing up for a race or a competition to give yourself that extra push.

Daily self-massages with warm sesame oil will help keep kapha from becoming stagnant. Make sure that you massage yourself vigorously and that the oil you use is warm to the point where it’s almost hot. You can capitalize on the warming properties of aromatics such as juniper, eucalyptus, marjoram, and clove by applying them to your clothing or putting them in a diffuser in your home, car, and office.

These are just a few tips. If you would like more information on how to balance kapha, schedule an online appointment here.

Visit the Kapha Yoga tips article to know how to customize your daily yoga practice to balance kapha.

 

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. 

Nettles, an Ayurvedic Perspective

Nettle (Urtica urens) grows in many climates, sprouting in the spring and spreading widely in the summer. It’s often called stinging nettle because the leaves sting at the lightest touch. If you can bear the prickling sensation, nettle is a great boon to the circulatory system; traditional Mexican healers rub handfuls of nettle on the body to promote healthy circulation.

Nettle is also considered a superfood because of its rich supply of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, D and K; calcium; potassium; phosphorous; iron; and sulphur. Its sedative and nervine properties make it  an excellent support for the nervous system. Use a compress of nettles to relieve arthritis and muscular pain, as well as sciatica.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, nettle serves as a nourishing and rejuvenative (rasayana) tonic,particularly for the kidneys and adrenals. The herb increases ojas (vitality), making it particularly useful for individuals who are run down from stress or illness or need extra nourishment during convalescence, old age, pregnancy, or breastfeeding. The baby leaves at the top of the plant have been used throughout history in food and drinks to nourish and detoxify the body in the spring. By stimulating the action of the liver and the kidneys, nettle helps clear ama(toxins from undigested food) and wastes from the body via the bowels and the urinary tract (mutravaha srotas). 

Nettle’s mild astringency and general nourishing action tightens and strengthens blood vessels, helps maintain arterial elasticity, and improves venous resilience. By reducing excess pitta in the blood (rakta dhatu) and in watery secretions like lymph and plasma (rasa dhatu), nettle helps clear inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne. The herb also helps keep kapha levels in check, improving overall vitality. Its carminative properties relieve intestinal gas, and its capacity to promote peristalsis is helpful for some common vata-related intestinal problems; however, it can result in excess vata when taken in high doses. Ayurvedic practitioners also recommend taking nettle to stop diarrhea. 

Energetics

  • Taste: astringent  

  •  Energy: cooling

  •  Post-digestive effect: pungent

  • Dosha: pacifies pitta and kapha/stimulates vata 

Nettle Infusion

  •  1 liter of water

  •  1 ounce of dried nettle leaves (2 ounces fresh)

Add the dried nettle leaves to a 1 liter glass jar. Boil the water and pour into the jar; cover and let steep for at least 4 hours or overnight. Drink the herbal infusion during the next 36 hours. You can pour any remaining liquid over your hair after shampooing—it’s a great hair tonic!

 

 

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. 

How to Ensure a Healthy Transition with the Change of Season

ayurveda spring food

Spring is almost here, but we are still experiencing the cold and dark conditions of the winter. Ayurveda defines rutu sandhi as the transition between two seasons, which generally consists of the final 15 days of one season and the first 15 days of the next. As we move from winter to spring, this “door” or pathway between seasons offers a great opportunity to switch out the old season’s clothes, lifestyle, and attitudes for a fresh new start. This seasonal juncture is an excellent time for a cleansing treatments like panchakarma. Chances are we have accumulated excess kapha in our system during the winter. This imbalance can be aggravated by the arrival of the spring, which like winter is a kapha-dominant season. Ayurveda recommends incorporating certain foods, practices, and herbs into our daily routine at this time of year to keep kapha in balance. 

Spring is the king of the seasons. During this time, Mother Earth awakens to bring new life after the dormant winter months. Spring is mild, moist, and full of color. It is a wonderful time for testing new skills, growing intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually and starting a new lifestyle. Spring is also a blooming season, when flowers shed their pollen and infuse the air with their glorious fragrance. While the transition to warmer weather and burgeoning plant life can be a delightful experience for some people, it can have a downside for kapha individuals (especially those with pollen-based allergies) and for any anyone else who’s accumulated excess kapha.For these individuals, the irritation of mucous membranes and the buildup of mucus associated with kapha can lead to an onslaught of colds, allergies, sinus infections, asthma attacks, and hay fever symptoms. Their discomfort often intensifies when the warming spring air liquifies the congestion, inducing runny noses and wet, phlegmy coughing.  

To alleviate excesskapha in the throat, you can gargle honey and hot water or a cup of hot water with 1 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of salt. Another helpful formula for this time of year is a combination of ginger, black pepper, and pippali (piper longum) known astrikatu. This spice blend not only clears mucus from the body but also increases digestive fire and helps eliminate toxins. Adopting a kapha-pacifying  diet during the pre-spring period can also lower the incidence of allergies, hay fever, and colds. 

Regimen for Spring

  •  Adopt a diet dominated by bitter, pungent, and astringent foods. 

  • Eat lightly, and consume easily digestible foods. Favor soups and cooked vegetables.

  • Use small amounts of raw honey as a sweetener.

  • Fast for one day a week, preferably on Monday or Thursday (for astrological reasons).

  • Drink warming, cleansing herbal teas, such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, clove.

  • Practice yoga, meditation and pranayama.

  • Keep warm and dry.

  • Rinse nasal passages with warm saltwater and herbs. By taking just a few seconds to do this, you can avoid days of misery from sick sinuses.

Things to Avoid

  • Fatty and fried foods

  • Excessive amounts of sweet, sour, and salty foods

  • Large, heavy, breakfasts

  • Between-meal snacks, except for dried fruit

  • Cold or iced beverages

  • Daytime naps

  •  Exposure to dust, dirt, and pollen

  • Cold drafts and air conditioning

Foods for the Season

  • Legumes, split peas, red lentils, chickpeas, pinto beans, and fresh soybean products

  • Amaranth, barely, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, 

  • Radishes, spinach, artichoke, asparagus, beets, broccoli, carrots, lettuces, okra

  • Apricots, berries, cherries, dark grapes, mangos, peaches, pears, pomegranates, and raisins

 

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. 

 

 

Herbal Immune and Lung Support for Spring

Spring can bring many challenges for the respiratory and the immune systems. You may notice many people around you are suffering from colds or flus at this time. This is generally due to excess kapha in the system, built up from the winter season. Allergens, pollutants, and other irritants can aggravate this buildup of kapha. Because too much kapha weakens our agni(digestive fire), it can lead to increased levels of ama(toxic undigested material) in our body. This accumulation of ama overloads our immune system, setting the stage for infections and chronic health issues. Since the seat of kapha is in the chest, the most likely place for these imbalances to manifest is in our lungs and their airways.

The Ayurvedic approach to maintaining a healthy immune and respiratory system during spring comprises a four-step process. The first step, boosting your agni, is inextricably linked to the second step, burning ama. There are many herbs that accomplish both of these goals, including pippali, ginger, turmeric, and an Ayurvedic formula known as triphala. Make a tea with a combination of these herbs and drink it morning and night. Having a cup of warm water with lemon and black pepper upon waking is another easy way to fuel efficient digestion.

Next, you should combine a kapha-reducing diet and lifestyle with herbal support for the respiratory system. Traditional Ayurvedic formulas such as talisadi and sitopaladi are particularly effective at removing kapha from the respiratory tract. These warming herbal blends help clear the throat and nasal passages and promote healthy respiration. Honey is a wonderful carrier for these herbs, as it target the respiratory tissues and gently scrapes off toxic residues.

The final step is to follow a daily herbal protocol for rejuvenating the immune system and building ojas(vitality). A nutritive herbal jam known as chyavanprash is an excellent choice for promoting proper immune function and rejuvenation, as well as for supporting healthy digestion, metabolism, and nervous system and respiratory system function. Take one teaspoon once or twice a day with milk. It’s also a delicious source of nourishment when served on toast or with other foods. 

Herbs such as ashwagandha and guduchi are also known to sustaining the body during periods of stress by bolstering energy, vitality, and overall health. In Ayurveda, the elimination of toxins and wastes from the body is considered the key to strengthening the immune system. To optimize elimination, consider adding triphala to your daily herbal regimen. The formula is the most effective when taken in the evening before bed.

We are happy to help you create a personalized herbal program based upon your mind-body constitution. Please contact us to schedule an in-office or 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. 

 

Reducing Cholesterol Through Ayurveda

It’s important to understand that cholesterol per se isn’t bad. In fact, it’s essential to the functions of the body. A combination of fatty acids and protein produced in the liver, cholesterol helps build cell membranes; lubricate the channels of the body; and synthesize vitamin D, hormones, and bile acids. To remain healthy, the body needs the lubrication and elasticity that this fatty substance provides. 

From an Ayurvedic perspective, cholesterol becomes harmful only when amais present in the body. Ama is the metabolic waste that accumulates in the body as a result of improper digestion. It can block the body’s channels and arteries, causing a variety of health concerns and imbalances.

According to Ayurveda, the key to balancing cholesterol in the body lies in maintaining the strength and healthy functioning of our digestive fire (metabolic process). A strong, balanced metabolic process prevents ama from accumulating in the body and thus helps keep fat tissue and cholesterol levels in balance. 

Ayurvedic principles hold that an overabundance of the kapha dosha in our systems can disrupt this balance, slowing the metabolism and promoting the accumulation of fat. This buildup of fat in turn leads to increased levels of cholesterol in our bloodstream. In keeping with this logic, a diet that pacifies the kapha imbalance would serve as the first step toward balancing cholesterol levels and optimizing fat metabolism. 

Such a diet 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 and fruits with an astringent taste range from broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower to apples and pears. Bitter foods, such chard, kale, spinach, and other leafy greens, should be cooked with spices that help cleanse the bowel and prevent bad cholesterol from accumulating in the body. These include black pepper, garlic, cardamom, turmeric, ginger, fennel, cumin, cinnamon, cilantro, basil, asafetida, and parsley.

Avoiding the three tastes that increase kapha—namely, sweet, sour, and salty—is equally important. In addition to sugary foods, you should limit your intake of other sweet-tasting foods such as wheat, pasta, breads, yams, and sweet milk products. Sour foods, such as lemons, tomatoes, cheese, yogurt, and vinegar, are often found in dressings, ketchup, mustard, and pickles—so use condiments sparingly. Try cooking with less salt in your food, and avoid processed foods such as crackers, salted nuts, and chips.

One of the best ways to support a vigorous metabolic process is to eat cooked food that’s freshly prepared and still warm. Cook with small amounts of oil, such as ghee or mustard oil or sunflower oil. Avoid dry, hard, cool foods as well as frozen foods and packaged meals.

Ayurveda  recommends a variety of herbs to support the body’s capacity to manage cholesterol levels. The herbal formula triphala can be consumed before bed to improve digestion and fat metabolism. Guduchi can also be taken daily to boost fat burning and cholesterol metabolism by enhancing liver function. Studies of guggul have shown it reduces cholesterol as much as cholesterol-lowing drugs, but without harmful side effects. Research also suggests that turmeric  lowers triglycerides and serum cholesterol. Consider speaking with an Ayurvedic practitioner for more specific information about what herbal support and dietary measures will work best for you.

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 for 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. 

 

 

Ayurveda and Sports Medicine

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Ayurvedic Medicine

 

How can Ayurveda—a medical system that’s more than 5,000 years old—contribute anything of value to sports medicine, a discipline that didn’t emerge as a medical specialty until the late twentieth century? 

As it turns out, Ayurveda’s holistic approach to musculoskeletal imbalances serves as an excellent complement to conventional sports medicine, for both rehabilitation, and, perhaps even more important, prevention of sports injuries. Like the Ayurvedic healers of old, today’s sports medicine professionals recognize that sports injuries and athletic performance involve not just bones and muscles but, rather, the whole person. Their increasing reliance on the services of dietitians, psychologists, trainers, and body workers to complement or minimize surgical, pharmaceutical, and other conventional medical interventions reflects what Ayurvedic practitioners have always known: Many diverse factors—from the patient’s genetic endowment and state of training and nutrition to his her age, mental stability, environmental stresses, and economic circumstances—determine how successfully that patient recovers from an athletic injury. Ayurveda offers comprehensive and detailed studies of these factors and provides specific advice on how to optimize wellness in each area.

Ayurveda was ahead of its time particularly in looking beyond the body to the all-important role of the individual’s psyche in the preventing and healing of injuries and in increasing physical prowess. Its focus on relieving stress and developing concentration taps into the proven power of the mind to overcome physical limitations. Ayurveda also offers specific management protocols for persons debilitated by disease that can be effectively applied to those who are recuperating from sports injuries.

As more and more people adopt fitness regimes, cases of muscle, tendon, and ligament injuries are becoming increasingly widespread. Ayurveda offers a number of gentle yet powerful remedies that can be used as either primary or supportive therapies for orthopedic problems. Among them is marma point therapy, an approach similar to Chinese acupuncture that activates  various pressure points called marmas to heal imbalances and support strength. Ayurvedic experts have also developed many herbal formulations that can hasten recuperation after a surgery, optimize rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries, and help boost performance levels.

These formulations were widely used by ancient warriors to enhance their physical prowess, speed recovery from injuries, and sustain their energy during long, arduous battles. Their Sanskrit names—Mahakashaya Brimhaneeya Dasaimani(“muscle builder”), Jeevaneeya Dasaimani (Vitalizer),Balakara Dasaimani(“promotes strength”), and Sramahara Dasaimani(promotes cheer)—speak for their therapeutic properties. These formulas, which are thought to achieve their effects by stimulating beneficial enzymes and balancing hormones, represent a safe, natural alternative to steroids and other performance enhancing drugs.  

Even though good diet cannot guarantee success, poor diet can certainly undermine training. Ayurvedic practitioners consider eight factors when formulating diets for clients who want to strengthen muscles and build stamina. These include the client’s genetic makeup, the nature of the foods to include, and the proper way to process and combine them, the right quantity to consume, and the best time and place to eat them to advance a particular client’s performance goals.

This deep knowledge of restorative and rejuvenative nutritional regimes, together with their sophisticated understanding of the mind-body relationship, suggests that Ayurvedic practitioners can go a long way toward helping orthopedists and other sports medicine professionals develop a more natural, effective, and individualized approach to maximizing not only the fitness and vigor of the people they treat, but also their satisfaction with the provider’s services. 

 

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. 

Yoga Tips For Pitta

Pitta types tend to have the best focus and determination of the three Ayurvedic types. Because of their natural physical abilities, in yoga, a Pitta constitution is able to have a very disciplined practice once oriented correctly. To start, Pitta person must understand their strengths and limitations. In general, Pitta tend to overheat, become irritable, and may even lack the patience to get started with the practice. Because of their determination, they may even overdue postures, becoming aggressive with themselves, and they tend stick to poses they can do well while ignoring the ones that they are most in need of to develop further.

According to Ayurveda a Pitta person will do best with a practice that is balancing. Pittas should perform asanas that are cooling, nurturing, expansive and relaxing. In a practice, this requires relaxing breaths and quiet sitting between strong asanas, releasing any stress that has developed. This doesn’t mean that they cannot do any strong practices, but if they do, they should make sure to compensate for any heat created by ending with cooling postures and Pranayama.

Those people with an imbalance in Pitta dosha tend to suffer from excess heat in their bodies. Calming and cooling poses which extend the soar plexus (where pitta resides) helps balance this. Poses which extend the solar plexus help dissipate heat in the body, however its important not to fall for the temptation to over-cool pitta, our bellies should always be warm, but our heads cool. Pitta types tend to be good at asanas but can not do some of the poses Vata types find easy,  due do to their shorter bones.

In general, their practice should cool the head and blood, calm the heart and relieve tension. A yoga practice for a pitta individual should encourage compassion, acceptance, have a relaxed effort and be cooling in nature. Pittas can cultivate this by following some basic guidelines: 

  • Have fun in your poses. Do not take yourself or your pose too seriously. 
  • Enjoy movement in your poses. 
  • Soften your gaze downward, at the horizon or even practice with your eyes closed. 
  • Allow freedom and creativity in your practice. Change it up. Avoid sticking to one style or series of poses. 
  • Practice in a moderately cool space. You do not want to get cold, but pittas should avoid practicing in extremely heated spaces. 
  • Focus on the yoga experience in your body, not your brain. 
  • Work at 80% effort. 
  • Avoid being judgmental and critical of yourself. 
  • Make sure you have plenty of practice space. 
  • Remind yourself that yoga is not a competition. 
  • Focus on your exhalation. 
  • Use the exhalation to let go and release any built up anger, frustration, stress, etc. 
  • Be aware of your breath in your back body. 
  • Practice plenty of twists and side body openers. 
  • Notice the position of your ribs; draw them back into your body. 
  • Benefit from practicing at a moderate pace. 
  • Remind yourself that less is more.

For more information on how to balance pitta email us. We have loads of information we love to share!

 

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.

Sex and Your Dosha

Sex is a very individual experience, and each person has unique thoughts, emotions, desires and opinions regarding sex. These things can be influenced by our up bringing, culture or experiences, but most of it depends on the dosha. Understanding your dosha and how it is in regards to sex will help one understand themselves in life and relationships. It is also wise to know and understand your partners dosha, as it will help you meet their needs, know how to stimulate and seduce them and also give you the patience and understanding when things do not go exactly as you hoped. 

The Vata person is creative, responsive, sensual and wary. They naturally have a low interest in sex. Physically this serves them well, as sex can be very unbalancing for them. Don’t miss-understand this, sex is very important for a Vata person, but only as an expression of love. It is a part of their natural need to express themselves. A Vata person may take time to commit in a relationship first, but once they do they are very faithful lovers. Because of this, at first they may be considered cold sexually, but when they meet the right person who can hold them safely, they will be a surprisingly satisfying lover.

A Vata person really appreciates romance, beauty and art, and their partners would be wise to indulge them here, as it will help allay their anxiety and warm their desire for sex. They may not know it, but traditional values and routines are actually very valuable to them. It can be helpful to plan to have sex ahead of time and enjoy all the courtship and foreplay that precedes. 

Vata is the most likely to have problems conceiving due to stress, dryness, low body weight and disturbed Apana Vata. Traveling, too much work and general instability will not help a Vata persons sex drive. So as a Vata partner, one can really help by appealing to their romantic side, cooking them regular meals (the best thing anyone can do for Vata) and encourage them to slow down, rest and nourish themselves. Worry is their greatest enemy, and their sex drive can be switched off all too easily. 

Pitta is fiery, attention seeking, ambitious, and passionate. Pitta people love to think of themselves as fantastic lovers, but their lack of reliability and patience may be frustrating for their partners. Their competitive nature may impede on their sex life by preventing them form ever feeling satisfied. They tend to prefer spontaneity and power. But in the matters of sex, Pitta should take care to channel their enormous energy through the heart, rather than their sex organs or brilliant intellect. This will lead to virility, mobility and compassion in sexual relationships. 

Pitta may want to indulge is sex more often than a Vata person, this is fine for them as they have the natural body reserves to rebuild themselves after the act of sex, but they should go more gently in the summer. Pitta types my suffer from impotency, due to excess heat burning up reproductive tissues or from the upward movement in the body, instead of movement downwards (like a fire). It is important for them to balance the act of sex with cooling, calming and compassionate actions afterwards. 

A person of Kapha dosha is enduring, nurturing, hard working, balanced and determined. Kapha is naturally very sensual and considered a very good prospect in marriage and in sex. Their partners need only to watch out for the feeling of being trapped by a Kapha person, as they become very attached and greedy. For Kapha, it may take time to stimulate them or spark their interest in the activity of sex, as their nature is to reserve their resources, but once they are interested they enjoy greatly. Kapha can really benefit from exercise and can be easily persuaded to partake in sex as exercise. It is a balancing act for them and also satisfies their natural nature to be nurtured and loved. 

A Kapha person is unlikely to suffer from reproductive tissues imbalances and will usually bear many children very easily. They have the body structure and endurance to give birth and recover afterwards. On the other hand with the large amount of earth element in their bodies, they may experience enlarged prostate, endometriosis or ovarian cysts. If Kapha has any trouble conceiving they need only to loose a little weight and lighten the body. 

For the best possible sex life with you partner, take in consideration their dosha (natural state). Understand that their body’s natural needs and desires for sex, physically, mentally and emotional may be different from yours. Have patience and compassion to adapt to their desires and provide them with care as you understand each dosha’s biorhythms, and then find the balance that works for you both. 

 

 

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.

Essential Oils for Your Dosha

Essential oils are a wonderful way to balance the dosha on a daily basis. Understanding essential oils from an Ayurvedic prospective can help you customize your approach to essential oils. Ayurveda recognizes that because of their chemical makeup, all essential oils, will either add heat or will have a cooling effect on the body. Essential oils can be arranged in a vertical line, with the oils that are coolest at the top, the oils that are neutral in the middle , and the oils that are warming at the bottom. All essential oils can be placed somewhere on this line , according to their properties. For example blue chamomile is a cooling oil, lavender exemplifies neutrality, and thyme is a hot essential oil. 

Try taking a chamomile and peppermint bath and feel the coolness when you come out. Experience a drop of thyme or clove rubbed into the skin on the forearm. You should notice a warmth with in 15 min. The oils in the middle range, the neutral oils such as lavender as known as balancers, because if you are feverish, they can help cool you down, and if you are feeling very cold and you apply lavender in a massage oil base to the body, it can warm you up. Lavender is an oil for all seasons. Balancers will always bring you back toward neutral, toward normal function. 

Western chemistry can fit into this arrangement, with the essential oils at the top of chart being very electro-negative. They have extra electrons and take heat away from the body. Those essential oils at the bottom of the chart are elect o-positive. They are missing electrons in their outer rings, and are eager and ready to acquire them, producing heat in the body.

Ayurveda also recognizes that essential oils can be classified as wet or dry. The wet oils have hight polarity and mix well with water. If you put them into a bath they disperse into, and become a part of the water. Another name for this property is hydrophilic (water loving). Oils of low polarity don’t mix with water. They will float on the surface of the bather and form a “ring” on the edge of the tub. They have affinity and mix with vegetable oils and fats , these oils are called lipophilic (fat loving). All of the essential oils can be arranged on a line that runs from left (wet) to the right (dry). Some of the wet essential oils are geranium and rose, having high constituents levels of alcohol and some of the dry, fat loving oils are the terpenes, such as citrus oils and pine. Neutral oils again are oils such as lavender, clary sage Roman chamomile, basil, anise and tarragon.

Vata Balancing
Because Vata is light, dry, mobile and cold, it is treated with oils which are wet, heavy, calming and warming. Vata is reduced by the tastes sweet, sour, and salty, this can be used when determining the oil that is correct for Vata. When understanding Vata, there are two types of imbalances to consider. One is known as obstructed Vata where the channels of the body have become clogged with toxic residues (ama), the result of indigestion, poor diet, and poor elimination in the presence of dosha imbalance. Like Kapha excess, obstructed Vata is treated for a short period of time to remove the blockages. The other type is called Vata-caused deficiency, and this is where excess Vata in the system has caused drying, emaciation and loss of tissues. Vata-caused deficiency resembles the extreme aging process.

The following essential oils are good stimulates for both types of Vata, they increases digestive fire, flushes toxins, increases internal heat and strengthen circulation. They are contraindicated in very high Vata conditions such as dehydration or inflamed mucous membranes. Ginger, oregano, orange, eucalyptus, cumin, cinnamon, clove, celery seed, black pepper, bergamot, bay, calamus, camphor, marjoram, arnica, ajwan, caraway, thyme, sage, rosewood, lemon, nutmeg.

Vata-caused deficiency requires nutritive herbs that will build the tissues. These could relieve menstrual cramping, build the blood, moisten and nourish the sexual immune system, strengthen organ weakness due to disease and alleviate poor nutrition or aging. Angelica, clary sage, myrrh, parsley, tarragon, vanilla, rose and jasmine (but both are cooling so avoid prolonged use).

Pitta Balancing
Because Pitta is hot and wet, it is supported with cooling, heat dispelling drying, nutritive and calming oils. The tastes for reducing Pitta are sweet, astringent and bitter. Cooling carminatives are often aromatic spices that improve digestion and elimination by removing blockages and promoting flow of energy. These oils include chamomile, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, lavender, lemon, lemon balm, lime, neroli, peppermint, spearmint, winter green.

Astringent oils reduce the excretions and discharges and are drying, yet prevent the loss of moisture and have a tightening effect on the tissues, promote wonder healing of the surface tissues and stop bleeding. Calendula, carrot seed, lemon, St. Johns wort, turmeric, wintergreen, yarrow.

Cooling alternatives that purify the blood, fight infections, reduce fevers and promote healing, includes herbs such as, aloevera, coriander, cumin, dill, jasmine, neem, sandalwood, spearmint, taggets, turmeric, yarrow, blue chamomile. Nutritive tonics nourish the tissues of the body, reduce inflammation, restore secretions, build the blood and lymph system. Angelica, carrot seed, cedar wood, neem, neroli, spikenard. Rejuvenates renew the body and mind, increases awareness, change patterns, and creates expansion. Angelica, brahmi, carrot seed, cedar wood, rose, jatamansi.


Cooling diuretics reduce Pitta’s heat and cool the liver. Coriander, fennel, lavender, lemongrass, sandalwood, spearmint. Antipyretics to reduce Pitta’s fire. Jasmine, lime, neem, tagetes, vetiver, neroli are all options.

Kapha Balancing
Kapha is water and earth, it is predominantly cold, moist, slow and heavy in nature. It can be supported with warming, drying, lightening and stimulating therapy. The tastes that improve or balance Kapha are pungent, bitter and astringent. Pungent is the most important because it is exactly opposite from Kapha, being light, hot and dry. Diuretics can be used to reduce water and are an important Kapha therapy. Oils of Ajwan, cinnamon, coriander, fennel, garlic, juniper berry, lemongrass, parsley, spearmint, are effective for this.

Increasing the digestive fire reduces Kapha, so all stimulant and carminative essential oils can be importance therapy, especially the heating carmitive and stimulants. Ajwan, anise, basil, bay, black pepper, calamus, cardamon, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, ginger, juniper berry, mustard, nutmeg, orange peel, oregano, parsley, pennyroyal, safforn, thyme turmeric, valerian.

The main areas that hold Kapha in the forms of mucous are the lungs and stomach. Emetic therapy is important for expelling mucous buildups in the stomach and the lungs, but should be only administered by those who have training in Panchakarma. Diaphoretic oils can be helpful for eliminating water through seating. They cleanse the blood and lymphatics. Ajwan, angelica, basil, camphor, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, eucalyptus, ginger, juniper berry, lemongrass, mugwort, oregano, sage, thyme.

 

 

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.

 

 

To Supplement or Not To Supplement?

Ayurveda believes you should get your daily nutrients out of food as much as possible, and you can do this by eating plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, healthy meats and seaweeds. That said, there are cases in which it makes sense to supplement your diet with vitamins. Vegetarians should take vitamin B12 and possibly vitamin D, since they are missing out on these nutrients by not eating meat. Pregnant women should take extra folic acid. Those with osteoporosis will need to take extra calcium, magnesium, trace minerals like boron, and other supplements that specifically support their bone health. People recovering from a long illness may need to take certain immune-boostig supplements.

Its important to keep in mind that the American soil from which most of our food derives from is significantly depleted of nutrients, and as a result, our food is not as nutritious as it once was, which begs the question of what if we are even getting enough nutrients by eating a wide variety of foods. If this is of concern to you, you may consider taking a general mineral supplement or daily multivitamin. Whenever possible, ingest supplements that are extracted from a whole foods source like fruits, vegetables and grains. These will have the best bioavailability, meaning the highest absorption rate by your digestive system. The best way to take vitamins and minerals in is powdered from, liquid concentrate or as a oil. Avoid taking mega- doses or and dose larger than recommended dietary reference intakes, no matter how good you think they may be for your health. 

Supplementing your diet with vitamins should be the exception, not the rule, they are, after all, called supplements. Nutrients are much more accessible and easily processed by your body when they are consumed in food forms versus supplement form. Also, there is the danger that a person taking vitamins will then rationalize that there is no need to focus on balanced nutrition from food, but there is no magic bullet and no replacement for a diet of healthy, whole foods. 

Healing, Anti-aging Foods

For thousands of years, humans treated their bodies as personal laboratories to discover which foods were therapeutic and which were poisonous. Prehistoric humans evaluated "healthy" and "unhealthy" foods based on their reactions to what they put in their mouths. Occasionally, eating a certain food, herb or plant would bring a certain relief to a particular ailment, and that food would be noted as possessing healing qualities. Over time, patterns emerged and were combined into longstanding principles governing healthy diet and nutrition. After thousands of years of experimentation and documentation, and which consensus of modern science, its is widely agreed that fresh fruits and vegetables should be humans' primary foods. Fruits and vegetables are low in fat and sodium, high in fiber, and best of all, these superfoods are packed with powerful antioxidants crucial for maintaining your health. 

All whole, unprocessed foods from the earth- fruits, vegetables, grains, beans and legumes, nuts, seeds - possess rich, healing properties. Take just one example: cranberries. Cranberries are antioxidant-rich and have been traditionally used in the prevention and treatment of urinary tract issues. While preceptive and health-conscious humans have recognized this truth for centuries, studies now show that cranberries contain hippuric acid, which inhibits the growth and attachment of various strains of bacteria, such as E. coli, to the bladder. Studies also proved that cranberries improve dental health and help heal stomach ulcers by inhibiting H.pylori. Cranberries are merely one healing food in your arsenal to achieve good health and longevity. As Hippocrates says, "Let food be they medicine, and medicine be thy food."

In many years of studies of centenarians, it was discovered that the same ten foods kept recurring again and again in the diets of long-lived individuals. They are plenty and wonderful healing foods and can be the best when it comes to longevity and self-healing:

1.Sweet Potatoes
2. Corn
3. Peanuts
4. Pumpkin
5. Walnuts
6. Black Beans
7. Sesame Seeds
8. Shiitake Mushrooms
9. Green Tea
10. Seaweed