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, 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.

Yummy Radishes!

Today I was working in our beautiful organic garden and as we harvested our delicious multi-colored radishes, I thought,  "Wow, what an understated vegetable, why don't more people enjoy them? And more so, why are they never mentioned for how good they are for our health?"  This unassuming root vegetable actually packs more health benefits than you may suspect, like, the simple fact that they stimulate the flow of bile in our system which makes them a useful tool for cleansing fat, blood and the liver. Radishes have also been used to break up gall stones and kidney stones. 

Radishes contain magnesium, manganese, calcium, vitamin B6, folate, riboflavin and a good amount of copper. Radishes are excellent for blood pressure, as they high in potassium, which supports the body in keeping the blood pressure at safe levels. Since potassium is a diuretic, it flushes stored water from the body and the National Institute of Health DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) recommends increasing potassium, calcium and magnesium to keep blood pressure in balance.

Radishes are also a very good source of vitamin C – 25% of the daily recommended value – helping to rebuild tissues and blood vessels, and keeping bones and teeth strong. Vitamin C fights disease and rescues the cells from an onslaught of destructive free radicals. This is done through electrolytes and natural antioxidant action of this one vitamin, increasing immunity of the body, and helping to fight against all kinds of diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

Radishes can also have effects on relieving congestion, and preventing 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 prospective it is best to eat them freshly cooked. Radishes can provoke the pitta in the digestive tract. This is good for both Vata and Kapha, as it clears food stagnation and has a laxative effect due to its diuretic nature, all while having a cooling effect so the vegetable can be eaten by Pitta in moderation. If you are a Vata individual you may find a raw radish to be difficult to digest and they can create gas sotry to avoid eating them raw, but don't leave them out of your diet, as they are Vata balancing.

White Radish With Mung Dal & Radish Greens Recipe

Ingredients:

For the seasoning

2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 to 3 dry red chilies, broken into bits
1/2 tsp asafetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
radish greens cut from the radishes, finely chopped

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

Method:

In a small or medium sized sauce pan pour in enough water, add in the mung dal, bring to a boil over a medium flame and cook until half cooked, about 12 to 15 minutes.

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

Add the finely chopped radish, cover and cook on a medium low flame, stirring in between until the radishes are half cooked, about 7 to 8 minutes. Put in the mung dal, mix well, cover and cook until the radishes are fully cooked, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the coconut, give it a good mix and switch off the flame. Serve hot with rotis or rice.

 

*Note that raw brassicas contain chemicals that can block the thyroid function called goitrogens. These chemicals are easily inactivated by steaming or cooking, so always ensure you eat this 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 I:12

Kapha is unctuous, cool, heavy, slow, smooth, soft, and static. Understanding this provides you with the keys to understanding how to balance Kapha. Having a Kapha-predominate Prakriti 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 one is Kapha, cold weather, dense foods and those things that are inherently cool and heavy will increase Kapha in your system. For example if a Kapha person who lives in Boston, and drinks a large frozen smoothie in the evening time, may find themselves the next day having a cold. This is because you have increased the heavy and dense qualities through out the body and under these conditions it will be more difficult to move it out, Kapha in nature is stagnant.

With this understanding we use opposites as “medicine.” It is common for our predominant dosha, Kapha in this case to increase more quickly then any other dosha. If the dosha increases in the body, naturally we want to decrease it to restore a healthy balance to our constitution. “Medicines” are substances that decrease the excess Kapha by providing the opposite qualities to it. These qualities are predominatly dry, light, warm and active. Therefore it is best for people with a imbalance of Kapha to seek out enviornments both physical and emotional that possess these opposite qualities. This includes food, diet and routines.

One with increased Kapha will do well with warming, light, freshly cooked foods to maintain balance. Foods and herbs with a bitter, pungent and astringent taste will help to decrease Kapha. These tastes should be predominate in your diet. Bibhitaki, Chitrak and Punarvana or three herbs that can support in removing excess Kapha from the body and maintain balance.

The ideal environment for Kapha to live would be warm and dry. It is good to focus on keeping warm and dry if you are in a cold wet environment and during the winter seasons. Activity can be one of the best medicines for kapha. Try to find something that motivates you, ensure that you exercise regularly, maybe join a race or competition that will give you that extra push.

Daily self-massages with warm sesame oil will help keep kapha from becoming stagnant. Be sure you do the massage with vigor and ensure the oil is warm almost hot. You can use aromatics that are heating in nature such as Juniper, Eucalyptus, Marjoram, and Clove, by apply to your clothing or 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. Its called stinging nettles because the leaves sting at the lightest touch, but if you can bear the tickling pain, it is great to increase circulation; traditional Mexican medicine uses nettle in a handful and pounds the body with it to promote healthy circulation.

Nettle is considered a superfood, because it's a great source of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, C, D and K, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, iron and sulphur. Its has sedative and nervine properties, aiming in the good functioning and strengthening of the nervous system.  Use a compress of nettles to relieve arthritis and muscular pain, as well as sciatica.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, nettles are an excellent nourishing tonic and rejuvenative/rasayana particularly for the kidneys & adrenals. They increases ojas, and are particularly good when run down from stress or illness or needing extra nourishment as in convalescence, old age, pregnancy & breastfeeding. Nettle tops have been used throughout history in food and drinks as a nourishing and detoxifying spring tonic. They stimulate the action of the liver and the kidneys, thereby helping to clear toxins/ama and wastes from the body via the bowels and the urinary tract/ mutravahasrotas.

Nettle's mild astringency and general nourishing action tightens and strengthens blood vessels, helps maintain arterial elasticity and improves venous resilience. They are used to clear inflammatory skin problems and restore vitality to the whole system while cooling skin conditions due to high pitta like eczema, psoriasis, acne, etc. by clearing excess pitta & kapha from rasa & rakta dhatus. Its carminative qualities relieve intestinal gas and promotes peristalsis, in which case is good to alleviate some of the common vata intestinal problems; but it can increase vata when taken in excess. It is also used to stop diarrhea.

Energetics

  • Taste: astringent  
  • Energy: cooling
  • Post Digestive Effect: pungent
  • Dosha: Pitta and Kapha - Vata +

Nettle Infusion

  • 1 liter of water
  • 1 ounce of dried herb (2 ounces fresh)
  • Pour nettles into 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 use any left overs to pour over your hair after washing it, 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 feeling the cold and dark attributes of the winter. Ayurveda defines rutu sandhi as the transition between two seasons, which is generally taken to be the final 15 days of one season and the first 15 days of the next season. As we are coming out of winter and into spring, this ‘door’ or pathway between seasons is a great time to change our clothes, lifestyle and attitudes from the old season and have a fresh new start for spring. This seasonal juncture is an excellent opportunity for a cleanse like panchakarma. Chances are we have accumulated kapha in our system during the winter, which can be aggravated by the entering of the spring, also a kapha season. Ayurveda recommends incorporating certain foods, practices and herbs in our daily routine to keep kapha in balance.

Spring is the king of the seasons. During this time, Mother Earth awakens to bring new life after the winter dormant months. Spring is mild, moist, and full of color. It is a great time to test new skills, for growth and starting a new lifestyle. Since it starts getting warmer during spring, any accumulated or stagnated kapha will start to liquify and run out of the body, which is the cause of spring colds.

Spring is also a blooming season, where flowers shed their pollen and fragrance making it gorgeous for some people, while others, specially kapha individuals or people who have an accumulated kapha, suffer from allergies and hay fever. To alleviate kapha in the throat area you can gargle honey and hot water or a cup of hot water with a teaspoon of each tumeric and saltTrikatu is a combination of ginger, black pepper, and pippali (piper longum) and great for pacifying kapha, increasing digestive fire and eliminate toxins during this changing season. Eliminating any excess kapha during the pre-spring period can lower the incidence of allergies, hay fever and colds. Diet is an important part of this process.

Regimen for Spring

  • Eat a kapha pacifying diet primarily bitter, pungent and astringent foods
  • Eat light, easily to do digest 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 tea
  • Practice yoga, meditation, and pranayama
  • Keep warm and dry
  • A warm saltwater and herbal rinse of the nasal passages takes just a few seconds but it can save days for misery from sick sinuses

Things to Avoid

  • kapha aggravating foods like fatty and fried foods
  • Excessive amounts of sweet, sour and salty foods
  • Heavy, large breakfasts
  • Snacking between meals, except for dried fruit
  • Cold or iced beverages
  • Daytime sleep
  • Exposure to dust, dirt and pollen
  • Cold drafts and air conditioning

Foods for the season

  • Legumes, slit peas, red lentils, chickpeas, pinto beans and fresh soybean products
  • Amaranth, barely, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, radish, spinach, artichoke, asparagus, beets, broccoli, carrots, lettuces, okra, radish.
  • 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. Allergrens, pollutants and other irritants can irritate this built up of Kapha. Too much Kapha in our system weakens our agni (digestive fire) and ama or toxic undigested material accumulates. These accumulations then weaken the immune systems and since the seat of kapha is in the chest, imbalance in the respiratory system are most likely to occur.

Ayurveda offers a variety of support for a healthy immune and respiratory system during spring. Our suggestion would be a four part process. First you would want to start by boosting the agni. In doing this, you also cleanse the ama in the system, which is the second part. There are many herbs you can use for boosting agni and burning ama at the same time. These herbs include pippali, ginger, turmeric, and an Ayurvedic formula known as triphala. Make a tea with a combination of these and drink morning and night. Having a warm cup of water with lemon and black pepper upon waking is another easy way to support a healthy digestion.

The next step, would recognize if there is a high imbalance of kapha. If so you would want to create a kapha reducing lifestyle and diet routines while  using herbs to support the respiratory system. When the respiratory or lungs need support, Ayurveda’s traditional formulas of talisadi and sitopaladi would be a good choice. These warming herbal blends are particularly suited for kapha in the respiratory tract. They help in clearing the throat and nasal passages and promote a healthy respiration. Honey is a wonderful carrier in which you can take these mixes with, as it helps target the respiratory tissues and naturally scrapes toxic residues.

The final step would  to create daily herbal protocol to rejuvenate the immune system and build ojas. Chyavanprash is a formula in Ayurveda known for is immune supportive properties. It is an excellent choice to promote proper immune functions and rejuvenation, as well as supports healthy digestion, metabolism, nervous system and respiratory system. Take one teaspoon once or twice a day alone with milk. It is delicious as a jam on toast or other foods as well. 

In addition to Chyavanprash, herbs such as ashwagandha and guduchi are both known to support the body through cycles of stress by promoting energy, vitality and general health. In Ayurveda, the belief is to support healthy elimination in order to strengthen the immune system. Consider adding triphala daily along with your immune supportive herbs to aid in the removal of waste and toxins from the body. Taking triphala before bed each evening is the most effective.

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

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.

 

 

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.

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