Shatavari

Shatavari.png

Shatavari is one of my favorite Ayurvedic herbs. It boasts excellent hormone-balancing properties, and it builds ojas(vigor), strengthening immune function. As an herb that can be taken every day and is readily available, shatavari is a fantastic option for the modern woman. Its many amazing characteristics are the subject of this article. 

There are many terms for shatavari that reflect its sattvic (energizing, harmonious) quality and its unique capacity to promote love and devotion, as well as its long-standing fame as an aphrodisiac. The Sanskrit word shatavaricomes from the words shat(100) and avari, which is traditionally translated as “she who possesses 100 husbands,” suggesting its potent effects on female sexual vigor. Another synonym for shatavariis bahusuta (“many children”) because it helps support fertility. The herb is also called virundivari, meaning ittakes away the fear of getting married if there is a lack of hormonal flow. Other descriptors include pivari,meaning it’s an aid to continued marital bliss, and Narayani (another name for Lakshmi, the goddess who bestows fortune), as well as shatavirya, which refers to the herb’s reputation for having “100 times” the potency of other herbs, especially for strengthening shukra dhatu, or reproductive tissue.

Shatavari is wonderful for pacifying vataand pitta. Shatavari is guru(heavy), sheeta(cooling), tikta(bitter), and svadvi(sweet). It also has a pro-alkaline post-digestive effect. Most sweet tastes become acidic after digestion, but shatavari maintains a high pH even after digestion. These physical properties drive shatavari’s dosha-balancing effects.

Shatavari helps regulate functions in the lower part of the body, where dosha imbalances can lead to problems with menstruation, elimination, and the ebb and flow of hormones. Described as atisarajit, which refers to herb’s usefulness for relieving diarrhea caused by excess pitta, shatavari offers the perfect mix of physical attributes to calm and soothe overactive bowels.

These cooling and nourishing qualities also help pacify pittaimbalances in the eyes, contributing to their enduring health. Shatavari further benefits the eyes by instilling them with intelligence-enhancing properties so that they can better connect to the brain and the inner eye. The term medhagnipushtida, which refers to nourishing the agnis of the brain, is sometimes applied to shatavari, emphasizing its beneficial effects on mental functioning. 

The positive impact of shatavari on shukra dhatu(reproductive tissue) and other tissues are reflected in its traditional uses in Ayurvedic medicine, including the following*:

Overview

  • Serves as a nourishing tonic for women and men

  • Soothes and nurtures mucous membranes in the lungs, stomach, kidneys, and reproductive organs

  • Maintains a healthy female reproductive system

  • Supports healthy lactation

  • Encourages healthy production of semen

  • Promotes fertility and a healthy libido

Ayurvedic Energetics:

  • Rasa(taste): bitter, sweet

  • Virya(action): cooling

  • Vipaka(post-digestive taste): sweet

  • Doshas(constitutions): Balancing for vataand pitta; may aggravate kapha when used in excess

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

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

Disclaimer
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

The sole purpose of this article 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.

Dinacharya, Daily Self Care

DInacharya

Dinacharyais the Ayurvedic daily ritual of self-care. According to Ayurveda, routine plays a significant role in health. A healthy life can best be maintained by creating a daily regimen tailored to a person’s constitution. Governing  all daily actions, such as the time you wake up in the morning, the time you eat, the  time you begin daily body purification, and the time you go to sleep, is the essence of dinacharya.

Ayurvedic dinacharya has been practiced for thousands of years and has many benefits. It cleanses the body and prevents the buildup of toxins, it helps to keep the senses and mind clear, and it’s very nourishing. Repeating a routine every morning sets the rhythm of your day and gives you a feeling of stability and steadiness. It promotes a healthy organization of the energy channels and the seating of prana (life force) in the body, creating calmness in mind, limiting stress, and minimizing decision fatigue.

The new science of circadian medicine suggests that our genes have lost their ability to perceive and harmonize with the natural circadian cycles of nature. In our modern high-tech world, following the dictates of our body’s circadian clock is becoming more and more of a challenge, and some people are starting to have symptoms of a “nature deficit disorder.” While modern scientists are only now beginning to recognize the relationship between our overall health and the cycles of nature, Ayurveda has emphasized the primacy of this connection for millennia. Current research on this connection may revolutionize modern medicine as we know it, and Ayurvedic practices can be a foundation for this research to build on.

Ayurveda aims to reconnect our bodies to these natural circadian rhythms through the practice of dinacharya. At first, the challenge of establishing a daily self-care routine may seem overwhelming, but you can take things gradually and ease your way into it.

Starting the day right is the most important aspect of dinacharya. According to Ayurvedic teachings, you will have the best health if you wake up before sunrise and excrete waste shortly after. The early morning hours are the body’s natural purification time. Various dinacharya practices that are performed first thing in the morning—including tongue scraping, oil pulling, nasya(herb-infused nose oil) applications, and drinking a glass of warm water with a fresh-squeezed lemon or lime—support this time-sensitive purification process.

Next, to provide a sense of alertness and freshness, you should rub your body with oils and take a bath or shower. Then put on comfortable clothes, exercise, and practice yoga for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Light exercise is necessary each day to keep the digestive system at peak functioning by creating internal heat. Choose the form of exercise that’s best for your constitution, and avoid overexercising. Afterward, rest comfortably on your back with arms and legs outstretched, and breathe from the lower abdomen to calm the central nervous system.

Daily self-enhancing practices are considered crucial in Ayurveda. They don’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. Taking a break as short as 10–20 minutes to refresh your mind and spirit with activities like meditation, pranayama(regulation of the breath), yoga, journaling, or prayer provides immense health benefits. The more time you allow for these types of practices, the greater the rewards.

Eat regular meals daily! Irregular meals and excessive snacking can weaken the digestive fire. The natural course of the day sets the rhythm of our digestive system. Having scheduled eating times is essential, with lunch being the largest meal of the day and occurring between noon and 2 p.m. When the sun is at its highest, our digestive system is also at its peak, so naturally, this is when the largest meal should be eaten; it’s also the best time to eat raw foods and animal proteins. If possible, have dinner before sunset, as the digestive system slows down as the sun goes down. Breakfast should be eaten before 9 a.m. and should consist of something simple and easy to digest. Remember to favor warm, cooked, light meals that are appropriate for the seasons and the doshas you want to balance.

It is best to go to bed by 10 p.m. Keep this regular bedtime as it lets the body know that it is time to wind down and recuperate. To promote healthy sleep, drink a glass of warm cow’s milk or almond milk with cardamom or nutmeg shortly before bed. You can enjoy this while listening to relaxing music. Stay away from stimulating conversations, music, and television for at least one hour before sleep. This suggested regimen follows the flow of energy within the body and its relation to the external environment. Continuous awareness of this natural energy flow is the key to getting the most from your daily routine.

Check out our video 10 things to do before 10 a.m. for dinacharya tips!

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.

 

Empty Bowl Meditation (Agama Nigama Veda)

Empty Bowl Meditation

Known in Sanskrit as Agama(“inhalation”) Nigama (“exhalation”) Veda, the Empty Bowl Meditation induces a calm, blissful state of mind by using the breath to access the kundalinishakti—the divine spiritual power that inhabits every human being. 

As described in renowned Ayurvedic physician Dr. Vasant Lad’s classic Textbook ofAyurveda, this technique serves as a simple, straightforward approach to mindfulness that can be practiced every day.  

How to Practice Empty Bowl Meditation

Begin by sitting comfortably and quietly in a cross-legged position, facing east or north, with the palms up and placed opened on and curved like empty bowls on your knees. Open your mouth slightly and gently press your tongue against the roof of your mouth, behind the front teeth.

As you sit quietly, observe your breath, letting your lungs work naturally without conscious effort. Focus on your breath, maintaining awareness of the tip of your nose and the feeling of the cool air entering the nostrils. Notice the warmth of the outgoing air.

After about five minutes, visualize the movement of your breath. Picture the air going into your nose, throat, lungs, diaphragm, and down behind the belly button. At this point, your breath will naturally come to a “stop.” Stay there for a fraction of a second; then exhale, following the breath upward from the belly to the diaphragm and lungs, and out through the nostrils until it naturally ends at a point about nine inches in front of your nose. You may also practice this meditation while lying down.

The profound benefits of this meditation are evident in Dr. Lad’s comparison of the movement of our breath to the flow of time: 

“At these stopping points, the breath stops and time stops, and there is only pure existence. God is present and you are surrounded by peace and love. The moment you allow the lungs to breathe and become like an empty bowl, divine lips can touch you and your heart will fill with divine love. God will pour love into you. Most bowls are full of ambition, competition, thoughts, feelings, desires, anger, frustrations, or fear. Since time immemorial, God has been seeking an empty bowl into which to pour his love.”

 

Practice this meditation without expecting anything special to happen for 15 minutes each morning and evening. With continued practice, the pause between inhaling and exhaling will gradually grow longer without any effort on your part until eventually your breath stops for approximately 90 seconds. It should take a year or so of practicing this meditation daily to naturally achieve this effortless suspension of breath and thought. At this point, according to Dr. Lad, “you will see the inner light behind the third eye, the blue pearl that is a beautiful dawn on the horizon of bliss.”

 Source: Vasant Lad, “Empty Bowl Meditation,” The Ayurvedic Institute website: https://www.ayurveda.com/resources/articles/empty-bowl-meditation.

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 Approach to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Balance your Hormones, Balance your Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Herbal suggestions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

8 Ayurvedic Uses for Honey

8 Ayurvedic Uses of Honey.png

The uses of honey in health care trace back many centuries. In Vedic times, honey was seen as a gift—its remarkable healing properties were valued more than its taste. Now that honey is being re-examined by modern researchers, it’s increasingly recognized for the medicinal and nutritional properties that made it a staple of Ayurvedic practices for thousands of years. Discover the gifts of honey through these 8 Ayurvedic uses.

1. The skin is the largest organ of the body and benefits greatly from the application of honey. Ayurvedic texts have described how honey promotes healing of wounds and sores and acts as an antiseptic, a pain reliever, and a cooling balm that speeds recovery from burns.  

2. Honey helps build tissues and generate energy and heat, three properties that make it  good for aging bodies. One or two teaspoons of honey in a cup of warm water is a refreshing and strengthening drink. Take daily.

3. Because honey contains iron, manganese, and copper, it is excellent for building hemoglobin. In cases of anemia, Ayurvedic practitioners suggest using honey to maintain the right balance of hemoglobin in red blood corpuscles.

4. Honey is easily digested and assimilated, making it one of the best sweet foods for reducing stress on the digestive organs. It’s also useful for maintaining the health of the stomach. Ayurvedic experts find honey not only supports proper digestion, but also helps ward off stomach diseases and symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and heartburn by preventing the overproduction of hydrochloric acid. Honey also promotes clearing the digestive canal of putrefied fecal matter and undigested foods.

5. As an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, honey helps maintain healthy teeth and gums.  According to Ayurveda, a daily application of honey cleanses the teeth, makes them sparkle, and helps prevent tartar, decay, and premature tooth loss. Gargling with honey and water is very useful in protecting against gingivitis (i.e., inflammation of the gums caused by bacterial infection).

6. Insomnia affects many of us in our modern age. Honey has been used for centuries for the treatment of this common affliction. Its hypnotic qualities help bring on sound sleep. Two teaspoons can be taken with a cup of warm water or with warm almond milk before bed. Adding a dash of cardamom and cinnamon makes this soothing beverage more delicious. It’s an excellent remedy for sleepless babies and children.

7. Honey’s natural tendency to clear the channels of the body makes it very useful in helping the body eliminate imbalances in the respiratory pathways. As a demulcent or soothing agent, it reduces the discomfort of inflamed mucous membranes in the upper respiratory tract, coating them with a protective film that helps relieve coughing and irritation. You can ingest a spoonful of honey or gargle with mixture of honey and water for this purpose.

8. Honey can be easily added to all your meals to supply the body with extra energy. Ayurvedic texts recommend honey for arteriosclerosis and weak hearts. It can be taken before bed in a glass of water with lemon juice to provide the heart with energy throughout the night and to alleviate cardiac pain and heart palpitations.

These Ayurvedic recommendations come with several caveats. The Ayurvedic sage Charaka wrote over 500 years ago that “nothing is so troublesome as amacaused by the improper intake of honey.” In Ayurvedic medicine, ama, or undigested matter in the body, is considered to be the root cause of most ill health. Many incompatible food combinations produce this toxic material, but heated honey is one of the most complicated forms to cleanse. Heating honey destroys the enzymes that support the digestive process.

Precautions when using honey:

  • Honey should never be heated to above 40°C (104°F).

  • Honey should not be mixed with hot foods.

  • Honey should not be consumed when you are working in a hot environment. 

  • Honey should never be combined with ghee  or mixed with rainwater; hot, spicy foods; fermented beverages (e.g., whiskey, rum, brandy); or mustard.

  • Honey includes nectar of various flowers some of which may be poisonous.

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. 

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. 

Warming Ayurvedic Breakfast for the Cold, Dry Winter Mornings

Warm Ayurvedic Breakfast

Roasted Rice with Dates, Cinnamon & Cardamom

  • 1 cup basmati rice

  • ¼ tsp black pepper

  • ¼ tsp cardamom

  • ¼ tsp cinnamon

  • 4 whole dates

  • 1 Tbsp ghee

  • 1 to 2 pinches of mineral salt

  • 3 cups of water

Preparation

Chop dates. Heat a medium saucepan on low, and add ghee. When it melts, add uncooked rice. Stir continually for 2–5 minutes, until it smells sweet and all the rice is coated with ghee. Add the spices and dates. Stir for 1 more minute. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover pot and lower to a simmer. Cook until rice is tender (about 20 minutes). Serve with warm coconut milk or rice milk. And top with slivered almonds or nut of choice.

 

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. 

 

 

The First Step of Health: Forgiveness

You can heal yourself

“When you look deeply you begin to understand, the moment when you understand, compassion is born in your heart. And then it is possible for you to forgive.” – Thich Nat Han

The ancient sage Charaka was the founder of what may be the world’s oldest continually practiced medical system—Ayurveda. For over 5,000 years, this holistic approach to health has been practiced by millions in India and around the globe. Now this ancient wisdom is gaining traction in the West, as a result of the popularity of its sister science, yoga.

Ayurveda, yoga, and tantra constitute a sacred trinity of systems developed by ancient rishis (seers) to foster progress toward liberation: Ayurveda purifies the body; tantra, the mind; and yoga, the spirit. Practiced together, these three systems help an individual achieve an ideal integrated balance of physical health, mental focus, and spiritual enlightenment.

In our hectic modern time, we find it hard to do the things necessary to reach the harmony that Ayurvedic sages have taught us to seek. Although we know what it is we need to do, we often find excuses for harmful behaviors and procrastinate when it comes it to acting in ways that would lead us toward better health. Many of us get bogged down by the demands of modern life and fall into negative thought patterns. The National Science Foundation estimates that as much as 80 percent of our thoughts are negative. Every day, we struggle with self-criticism, thus impeding the development of health and overall well-being.

So what do we do to change this? Many who aspire to an Ayurvedic lifestyle start by setting unrealistic self-improvement goals, resolving to practice yoga five days a week, eat only healthy home-cooked Ayurvedic food, and meditate and do tantric breathing exercises for an hour every day. These ambitious good intentions are bound to prove overwhelming! I would like to suggest that you first take the step of finding forgiveness for yourself and those who have had a negative impact on your life. So how do we do this? It’s simple—we do it with love. More love, more compassion, from ourselves, for ourselves, and toward others. Start by making friends with yourself. Be willing to truly know who you are, what you’re doing or not doing, and why. And then team up with yourself to do whatever is necessary to bring yourself back into love, and the health and balance you seek will follow quite easily.

Once you commit to re-establishing self-love, focus on the necessary attributes for self-change. This Ayurvedic or yogic concept is known as tapasTapasis Sanskrit for “inner fire.” Tapas refers to austerity, determination, and the willingness to do whatever is necessary to bring yourself back into balance and health. In order to be successful in this we must identify and acknowledge our crimes against wisdom or our contributions to our own ill health. Then, instead of beating yourself up about it, realize your inner empowerment. Accept the reality that you’ve helped cause your illness or imbalances. Only then can the power of tapasfinally stop causing your illness. This realization can now bring you back onto the path of Dharma(the right way of living) and renewed health.

Thanks to this self-love and self-realization, you’ll now have the force behind you to do something about your health. Draw on your inner resources, your courage and resolve, your patience and perseverance. Reach out for support from your family and friends, Ayurvedic books, therapists, practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine, the internet—get all the information and assistance you can. Be willing to let go of the past to move forward into a future of wellness. Change your diet, change your job, change your life. Reach down inside yourself and find the tapasto heal yourself. In the end no one else can heal you; they can only assist you—you are the one who needs to do the work to heal yourself. You’ve got this!

Contact us to schedule an online Ayurvedic Wellness Session here.

 

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. 

Sadhana and the Power of Aum (“Om”)

Sadhana and the power of Aum "om"

In Vedic philosophy there is a concept known as sadhana.Sadhanais a Sanskrit word whose root, sadh, means “to reclaim that which is divine in us, our power to heal, serve, rejoice, and uplift the spirit.” Sadhanapractices encompass all our daily activities, from the simple to the sublime. These practices aim to help live you in harmony with the cycles of nature and to move to the rhythms of the cosmos. When you begin to do this, your mind becomes more fluid and peaceful and your health can improve. Your entire life can become easier.  

When you begin to practice yoga and Ayurveda, your first responsibility is to look beneath the various disguises  assumed over the years and see yourself as you truly are. The more you find out about yourself and your strengths and weakness, the more you will learn about your body, mind, and spirit and their innate power. You will awaken to your own self-healing abilities. In Ayurveda, there is a belief that disease happens from within, and so too must any cure. From this perspective, we can view any disturbance or illness as an opportunity to go deeper into ourselves to discover what changes we need to make in order to heal our bodies, our feelings, and our lives.

Each of us was born on this earth to fulfill a unique purpose. The Vedas call this purpose our dharmaand teach that by following the path of sadhana, we will achieve harmony with it. Harmony already exists at the core of every human life. Once we become conscious, we are able to recognize it. We become aware of the blessedness that surrounds us, the serenity in our living space after a long day’s work, the beauty of dusk glimpsed through the windows, the sweetness of sparrows’ songs, and the warmth of the colors of the autumn leaves.

When we are aware of our inner harmony, our power of intuition becomes active. We become more expressive, more fully alive, and more in tune with our bodies and all our healing energies. This intuition, together with our rational mind, will help us heal and bring all aspects of our lives into balance.

The Sanskrit word Aum(meaning “source” and transliterated as “Om”) represents pure consciousness. Through the Vedic practice of chanting mantras that begin and end with Aum, we harness the inner power of our intuition. The fact that the Biblical word amenand Koranic word aminmirror the Aumsound suggests that Aumtranscends the vocabulary of any single religion. It’s the highest vibrational sound of the universe, for the universe, and from the universe. The Vedic seers tell us that as the universe’s most sacred sound, Aumresonates within in the space of the sixth chakra, located mid-brow, between the eyes, in the area known as the “third eye.” Modern science now this defines this area as the pineal gland, which regulates reproductive hormones and helps maintain the body’s circadian rhythm.

Aumand amenshould always be spoken very reverently as though you’re touching one of the most sacred symbols of Divinity. They are not magic words nor are they curative or therapeutic words to be used in pain and suffering but, rather, they are purely Divine words to bring about attunement and oneness with God in the highest spiritual sense.

The practice of chanting Aumencourages progress toward sadhana. The purpose is well stated in the Upanishads: “What world does he who meditates on Aum until the end of his life, win by That? If he meditates on the Supreme Being with the syllable Aum, he becomes one with the Light, he is led to the world of Brahman [the Absolute Being] Who is higher than the highest life, That which is tranquil, unaging, immortal, fearless, and supreme.” – Prashna Upanishad 5:1, 5, 7

In the yoga, Aumis the holiest of holy words, the supreme mantra. Aumis also called the pranava, a Sanskrit word that means both controller of the life force (prana) and the life giver (infuser of prana). Each of us has the capacity to enter the vast universe within ourselves and become conscious of the Divine spirit that is beyond the material reality we understand through the five senses. The daily chanting of Aumdaily in during mundane routines such as cooking, cleaning, and taking a shower will help you learn to shift your perspective and enter a meditative state many times throughout your day. In this state of mind, you will come to see all obstacles and challenges in your everyday life as opportunities to learn more about yourself and your individual inner strengths. This simple practice of sadhanacan have profound impact on your inner harmony and path to health and happiness.

 

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.

 

Eating for the Season: Recipes to keep Kapha in Balance!

Eating for the Season

Ayurvedic dietary principles call for us to largely avoid refined sweets and excessively cold, dry, unctuous, salty, and fatty foods. I know this seems hard during the holidays, but if you keep this wisdom in mind, you may notice the ease that it brings to your body and mind. Because winter is considered a primarily kapha season, the meals you eat during this time should incorporate slightly more of the pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes that pacify this dosha. However, winter’s heavy, moisture-laden atmosphere frequently gives way to the dry, windy conditions of the vata dosha, so it’s also important to focus on vata-balancing foods and tastes on days when this type of weather prevails. Overall, you should eat warming meals that balance kapha and vata and help you adjust to the predominant weather conditions. Also be mindful of your agni, or digestive fire. Since kapha conditions can contribute to sluggish digestion, eat at regularly scheduled times without skipping meals or overeating. As always, eat your largest meal at lunch, when the digestive fire of pitta is strongest.

Here are some simple, tasty recipes that will make it easier and more enjoyable to maintain a dosha-balancing wintertime diet.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup (serves 4)

·      ½ gallon water

·      1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

·      ½ cup rolled oats

·      1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

·      1 tablespoon cumin powder

·      1 teaspoon coriander powder

·      ½ teaspoon turmeric powder

·      ½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper

·      1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

·      juice of 1 fresh lemon

·      1 tablespoon rock salt

·      1 tablespoon soya oil

·      2 scallions, chopped

·      parsley

·      watercress

Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add squash, oats, cilantro, and spices, including black pepper and salt, fresh ginger, and lemon juice. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 35 minutes. Transfer to the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to pot. Heat oil in a small skillet, and sauté scallions for about 2 minutes; then add to the pureed soup. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Serve hot and garnish with fresh parsley and watercress.

Seven-Grain Bread (serves 4)

·      1 tablespoon natural yeast

·      ½ cup warm water

·      2 tablespoons sesame butter

·      ½ cup spelt flour

·      ½ cup unbleached whole wheat flour

·      ½ cup soya flour

·      ½ cup millet flour

·      ½ cup oat bran

·      ½ cup rolled oats

·      ½ cup cracked wheat

·      1 tablespoon Sucanat

·      ½ teaspoon rock salt

·      1½ cups warm water

Dissolve the yeast in warm water; then dilute the sesame butter in the yeast solution. Combine the flours, bran, rolled oats, cracked wheat, Sucanat, salt, and remaining water; then add the yeast-sesame butter mixture. Knead into a sticky dough. Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl. Cover securely and let rise in a warm place for 40 minutes. Punch down the dough, cover, and let rise again for 40 minutes, until it doubles in size. Form dough into four rolls, and place on oiled baking trays. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Whole Mung Dhal (serves 4)

·      1 cup whole mung dhal

·      2 ¼ cups water

·      ¼ teaspoon turmeric

·      1 pinch sea salt

·      1 tablespoon ghee

·      1 minced green chili pepper

·      ½ teaspoon grated ginger

·      1 tablespoon masala

·      1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Wash mung dhal until water runs clear. Soak in 3 cups of cold water overnight. Drain. Boil 2 cups of water and add dhal, turmeric, and salt. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 50 minutes. In a small skillet, heat ghee, green chili pepper, and ginger for a few minutes. Add the masala toward the end of browning. Add to dhal with lemon juice and remaining water. Cover and continue to simmer for an additional 30 minutes over low heat.

Sautéed Golden Beets with Masala (serves 4)

·      4 golden beets

·      1 tablespoon sunflower oil

·      1 tablespoon masala

·      2 yellow onions of shallots, cut into half-moon slices

·      1 teaspoon rock salt

·      1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Scrub the beets and cut into bite-size pieces. Heat sunflower oil in cast iron skillet. Stir in masala and cook until slightly browned. Add shallots, beets, and salt. Stir in two tablespoons of water. Cover and allow to cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, garnish with fresh parsley, and serve hot.

Caraway Brown Rice (serves 4)

·      2 cups long-grain brown rice

·      3½ cups boiling water

·      1 pinch of sea salt

·      2 teaspoons of caraway seeds

Wash rice until water runs clear and add to boiling water. Add salt. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 25 minutes. Dry-roast caraway seeds in a small cast iron pan until golden. Add to rice mixture and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Red Cabbage and Onion Soup (serves 4)

·      ½ gallon of water

·      1 small red cabbage shredded

·      2 red onions, chopped

·      1 tablespoon coriander powder

·      ½ teaspoon cayenne powder

·      1 tablespoon dried dill

·      1 tablespoon dried parsley

·      2 cloves of garlic

·      1 tablespoon of rock salt

·      ¼ cup cashew butter

·      1 red onion, cut into thin half-moon slices

Bring water to a boil in a large soup pot. Add the cabbage and onions, along with the coriander and cayenne powders, dried dill, parsley, and salt. Lightly crush the garlic cloves with a handstone and remove the skin. Add the lightly crushed cloves of garlic to the soup mixture. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 35 minutes, until onions are practically dissolved. Add cashew butter to the soup and stir until it dissolves. Garnish the hot soup with thinly sliced red onions; remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve hot with a heaping dollop of Millet Supreme.

Millet Supreme (serves 4)

·      3½ cups water

·      2 cups millet

·      ¼ cup fresh peas

·      ½ teaspoon turmeric

·      ½ teaspoon cumin powder

·      ½ teaspoon ajwain seeds

·      1 teaspoon rock salt

·      1 tablespoon sunflower oil

·      ¼ cup currents

·      ½ cup roasted almonds, slivered

·      juice of ½ lemon

Bring water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Thoroughly wash the millet, and add to boiling water, along with the peas, turmeric, cumin powder, ajwain seeds, and salt. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes. Heat the oil in a small skillet, and add the currants and almonds. Stir for another few minutes until currants begin to swell. Add the lemon juice. Add to the millet, and continue cooking for 10 minutes more. Serve warm.

 

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. 

Bedtime Treat That Helps You Sleep

AyurvedicSleepSupport

Delicious and easy to make, this potent bedtime tonic (known as ojas rasayana) is revered in Ayurveda for nurturing deep and restorative sleep. The recipe makes about two servings and can be diluted with water if it’s too thick for your liking.

  • 10 almonds, soaked for 8 hours

  • 1 cup whole milk (dairy, almond, or rice)

  • 2 teaspoons ghee

  • 4–5 dates, preferably Medjool

  • 8 black peppercorns

  • ½ teaspoon cardamom

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 pinch of cumin

  • 1 pinch of turmeric

  • 1 pinch of nutmeg

Liquefy all the ingredients in a blender until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency; then pour into a pot on the stovetop. Set the burner to medium heat, and bring the mixture to a very gentle boil. Stir and serve.

If you haven’t pre-soaked the almonds, you can simply blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and run the almonds under cold water, then remove and discard their skins.

For a delicious dessert, stir in 1 cup of natural yogurt after removing mixture from heat, spoon into small bowls, and drizzle maple syrup over each serving.

 

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.

Healing Music for Your Ayurvedic Type

HealingMusicDosha

Each of us has a unique connection to music. Most of us experience the effects of music on our mind and body daily. It’s a joy to think that we are all inherently musicians who can connect with the rhythms of life and spirit, if only we can find the music that most resonates with us. Ayurveda teaches that choosing music according to our type can deepen our ability to achieve a balanced state of health and wellness. Your Ayurvedic type depends on which dosha primarily governs your physiological and psychological functions. Identifying the dosha that determines your mind-body type is the first step toward finding the right music for you to play, compose, or simply enjoy. Once you’ve done this, you can follow these guidelines to select the kind of music that is most likely to nurture your total well-being.

Music for a Vata Type: In general, it's best for a vata person or someone who is experiencing a vata imbalance to listen to or play instruments with soft, low, and mellow tones, including string instruments such as the guitar, mandolin, bass, and cello and wind instruments, such as chimes and the didgeridoo. Learning to play Himalayan singing bowels and the harmonium can also be very healing and meditative for a vata type.

Music for Pitta Type: People with pitta-type constitutions should seek out soft, rhythmic music with a mid-range tone. Congenial instruments include the flute, clarinet, saxophone, and mouth organ. String instruments that are balancing for pitta types are the violin, dulcimer, and mandolin. All types of percussion that are gentle are also very soothing.

Music for Kapha Type: Kapha types should focus on energizing music with a solid bassline accompanied by higher tones. All types of drums, such as the Indian dholak and tabla and African conga and water drums, as well as bells, chimes, Incan panpipes, and the accordion, electric keyboard. and piano are all great instruments for a kapha person to learn to play.

 

 

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. 

Easy Summer Pitta-Pacifying Recipes

unnamed.jpg

One of the delights of summer is the joyful abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables tumbling off the grocery shelves. According to Ayurveda, sweet fruits and bitter greens help pacify the pitta dosha. According to the scientific community (and our own common sense) fruits and veggies also help protect us from falling ill.

A recent international research study conducted by the University of Adelaide found that people who consumed a diet high in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains had a lower risk of developing a host of chronic health woes, including anemia, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, arthritis, hepatitis, coronary heart disease, asthma, stroke, bone fractures, and cancer. The study found that a high intake of fruit was associated with a lower risk of developing any chronic disease, while a high intake of vegetables may help people with one chronic disease avoid developing a second. Here are some delightful pitta-pacifying recipes to try this summer!

Cooling Mint Tea
1 cup fresh peppermint leaves
1 quart boiling water
1 quart room temperature water
2 teaspoons sweetener

Pour the quart of boiling water over the mint leaves. Cover and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain the tea into a pitcher or glass jar. Add a sweetener. If you are adding honey, make sure the water has cooled down first. This is a great drink for aiding digestion. Drink at room temperature for maximum assimilation. Remember that iced and chilled drinks dampen our digestive fires, making it difficult to properly digest our food.

Asparagus and/or carrots with lemon-herb sauce
Steam your chosen amounts of asparagus and/or carrots to the point where they are “fork-friendly.” This means a little less firm than al dente but not soft or mushy. Then pour the following lemon-herb sauce over the vegetables.

Lemon-Herb Sauce: Juice one lemon. Add a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon of honey (use only unheated honey). Mix together in a blender with a few leaves of fresh basil and mint. Puree until smooth.

Cucumber Raita
This side dish goes well with dhal, rice, curries, and other Indian dishes.
Combine in a mixing bowl:
1 cup fresh yogurt
¼ cup cucumber, peeled and diced finely
1 tablespoon ginger root, peeled and grated
¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro (the leaves of the coriander plant)
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
salt to taste

Dandelion Salad
If your lawn is full of dandelions, stop complaining and start picking! Dandelions are one of the most nutrient-dense plants you can eat. Their leaves, when young and tender, have a slightly bitter taste like that of arugula. The older the plant, the more bitter the greens. Before you start picking, be sure that the yard in which the dandelions are growing has not been treated with toxic chemicals.
1 cup dandelion greens, washed and dried
8 large leaves of butter lettuce, washed and dried
½ cup feta cheese or goat cheese, chopped or crumbled

Dressing
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 cup olive oil
sweetener to taste (just a bit is needed)
1 tomato chopped
fresh basil
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Boiling the dandelion greens is better for older, larger leaves as it removes their bitterness. You may even want to boil older, tougher greens twice. If so, boil once for 2 minutes; then, drain and boil again for 2 minutes.


For information on consultations with Ayurveda experts or to take a dosha quiz and discover your individual mind/body type, visit us at our clinic or online.

 

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

Marma Points of Ayurveda

Based on centuries of intuitive wisdom and field-tested knowledge, marma chikitsa (therapy) is an essential hands-on Ayurvedic practice that often delivers profound mind-body benefits. This practical application of ancient Ayurvedic principles is defined by the renowned Ayurvedic physician Dr. Vasant Lad as “the precise art of touching an individual in exactly the right place at a critical moment in time for the purpose of healing.”  

Similar to the acupoints described in Chinese medicine, marma points, or marmaṇi, are specific locations on the body where our mental and physical energies can be accessed and adjusted or redirected. These access points occur in areas where veins, arteries, bones, tendons, or joint intersect. In Sanskrit the word marmameans “mortal or vulnerable point,” suggesting that these areas may be tender, weak, or sensitive. 

Located along the nadis—the energy channels that prana(the life-force) flows through—marma points are used in Ayurvedic medicine to promote communication between the body and mind as well as between cells, maintaining and coordinating their functional activities and transmitting healing energy to organs and tissues. 

Stimulation of a marma point that relates to a particular tissue can be used to not only help maintain the normal functioning of that tissue but also to address a specific imbalance (vikruti) in our elemental makeup by either increasing or reducing the predominance of a particular dosha, thus restoring our constitution (prakruti) to its natural intended state. The activation of marma points also produces a powerful response in the mind, helping to calm it while increasing the clarity of perception and empowering more effective communication. 

Often these points are used as a mechanism of pain relief. Pain is generated when tension and stagnation in the body block the flow of prana to a particular part of our body, disrupting the delicate equilibrium of the doshas associated with that area. Marma chikitsa alleviates this pain by stimulating the flow of prana to the affected area, pacifying the accumulated dosha. 

There are 117 primary marma points that are classified according to their location; constituent elements; degree of vitality; and associated doshas, tissues (dhatus), bodily wastes (malas), organs, and physical channels (srotamsi). The power of the marmaṇi is intimately connected with the basic components of the vital essence of life (ojastejas, and prana). Marma chikitsa is rarely used in isolation; more often it’s employed as a part of a comprehensive, multifaceted treatment program. To design this type of program, an Ayurvedic practitioner must have a broad and deep understanding of the etiology and symptomatology of disease and the stages of pathogenesis as well as sensitivity and skill in Ayurvedic diagnosis. However, marma chikitsa can also be used for immediate pain relief, long-term pain management, and first aid. Although marma therapy alone may not eradicate the disease process completely, it can give temporary symptomatic relief and may prevent serious complications from arising. 

Marma points reflect the qualities of the region of the body where they reside and the internal and external features of the corresponding doshas and subdoshas. Sushruta, an expert Ayurvedic surgeon in ancient India, described marmaṇi according to the six major parts of the body: the four extremities, the trunk, the head and the neck. He also defines the points in relation to the five principal components of the body’s physical structures: mamsa(muscle), sira(veins), snayus(ligaments), asthi(bone) and sandhi(joints). 

The marmaṇi on the scalp are connected to the brain as well as to organs situated in other parts of the body. On the chest and upper back, the points are connected with the heart and lungs. The points on the lower back are connected with the kidneys, stomach, and the digestive organs. Each of the areas where marmaṇi reside is associated one of the five constituent elements of the body (space, air, fire, water, and earth), and each marma point activates the energy of the element associated with its location. 

The language of the doshas is absolutely key to understanding the Ayurvedic viewpoint on health and disease. Knowing how marma points affect the dosha that predominates in a particular region of the body is crucial to achieving excellent therapeutic results. For example, chest and lung marma points stimulate kapha, umbilical points affect pitta, and colon points will influence vata. 

There are eight great marma points that are essential to life. These marmaṇi house the greatest concentration of vital energies of all the points. Sushruta described how injuries at these marma points, whether superficial or deep, can disrupt the flow of prana, decreasing vitality and even causing life-threatening damage. These points are known as the sadyah pranahara marmaṇimurdhani(crown), brahmarandhara (anterior to crown), shivarandhra(posterior to crown), ajna(third eye), shanka(right and left temple), hrdayam(heart), habhi (umbilicus), and uda(anus). The illustration below shows these eight marmaṇi, as well as five other vital points—kanthagrivabastivrushana, and yoni jihva—that can cause death or serious injury when traumatized. 

Sadyah Pranahara Marmani

 

 While marma points are the most vulnerable areas of our body, they also hold great potential to improve our health and well-being. Each of the following marma points provides access to specific health benefits:

  •  Anja – benefits the eyes and nose, regulates hormones, and improves pituitary function 

  • Shivarandhra – stimulates memory, calms the mind, and balances emotions

  • Hrdayam – directs the healing energy of love to the heart

  • Nabhi – enkindles gastrointestinal agni(digestive fire)

  • Murdhani – stimulates blood flow in the cerebral cortex and the circulation of the cerebrospinal fluid

  • Brahmarandhara – relieves headache and optimizes the functioning of the pituitary gland

  • Shankha – strongly pacifies pitta, relieves stomach pain and excess acidity, improves speech

  • Griva – boosts circulation of plasma and lymphatic fluid, benefits the throat and thyroid 

  • Guda – balances strength, vitality, and stability 

In general, stimulating the marmaṇi enhances the flow of prana. The manipulation of marma points can be quite effective when used on its own to treat mild and short-term illnesses and  dysfunctions. As the complexity of a disease increases, other Ayurvedic therapies become essential. These may include herbal or dietary recommendations, panchakarma, and exercise and lifestyle changes. 

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

Ayurveda 101

IMG_0113.JPG

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. 

Your Ayurvedic Dosha in Menopause

Ayurveda and Menopause

The word Ayurveda means “knowledge of life,” and to know Ayurveda is to comprehend the dynamic relationship between our body, mind, and spirit and how each of these aspects of the self relates to the world around us. While we will always know our own bodies better than anyone else ever could, there are times in a woman’s life, such as menopause, when the changes in our bodies confound us. At such times, talking with an experienced practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine can be helpful. Many women have found not just relief during menopause, but improved overall health and longevity by integrating conventional medical approaches with alternative practices such as Ayurvedic medicine.

There are many Ayurvedic approaches to nurturing  well-being during menopause. First we must understand the doshic system, which serves as a central guide to the origin of menopausal symptoms. Each of us is born with a fundamental constitution, or prakriti, that persists throughout life. Acting on our constitution and influencing our health are the three doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. These three doshas are responsible for the manifestations of the natural forces at work in the body’s systems. Each dosha is defined or represented by two of the five natural elements: ether (space), air, fire, water, and earth.

Vata, formed by the interaction of space and air, resides in the hollows and channels of our body and helps govern the function of the nervous system.

Pitta, composed of fire and water, exists within our body mainly as bile and acid and is most closely associated with the digestive and excretory systems.

Kapha, which combines the properties of water and earth, relates to the respiratory system and mucous membranes and forms the structures of our body.

In Ayurvedic medicine, a course of action is always individualized and will generally be based on the individual’s imbalances (also known as vikṛti). If you have an imbalance or excess in one of the doshas during menopause, that imbalance tends to produce certain symptoms that are characteristic of that dosha. Recognizing which dosha dominates your system in menopause will help to identify which Ayurvedic guidelines would best ease your symptoms. Below are signs or expressions of which dosha is predominant.

Vata

  • Anxiety

  • Nervousness

  • Insomnia

  • Mild hot flashes

  • Poor skin tone

  • Constipation

  • Vaginal dryness

  • Depression

Pitta 

  • Irritability

  • Angry outbursts

  • Short temper

  • Skin rashes

  • Hot flashes and night sweats

  • Urinary tract infections

Kapha

  • Sleepiness

  • Sluggishness

  • Yeast infections

  • Slow digestion

  • Weight gain

  • ·Fluid retention

As a general rule, the first step to restoring balanced wellness during menopause is to adopt a dietary and lifestyle regimen that’s specifically designed to pacify the dosha that dominates your constitution at this time of life. Here are some guidelines for addressing menopausal symptoms with a dosha-specific self-care program.* 

*To obtain the best results from the Ayurvedic herbs and formulas recommended for your  symptoms, take them under the supervision of an experienced Ayurvedic medical practitioner.

Ayurvedic advice for vata-dominated menopause:To nurture stability, establish a routine in all that you do from the time you get up in the morning to mealtimes to the time you go to bed. Going to bed early can also help balance excess vata.

Consume herbs such as cardamom, fennel, cumin, and ginseng in warm teas and in your food. A daily self-massage with a blend of sesame and almond oil is often one of the best vata-pacifying actions. The use of essential oils such as sandalwood, frankincense, cinnamon and myrrh as vapor or in massage oil is also effective.

Dietary habits that decrease vata include frequent small meals, freshly cooked, warm, and mildly spiced with herbs. Warm drinks and foods build strength, and it is good to try to avoid eating when you are nervous or worried.

Some gentle Ayurvedic herbs that could be used would include ashwaganda, licorice, haritaki, and tulsi.

Ayurvedic advice for pitta-dominated menopause: According to Ayurvedic wisdom, one of the best ways to calm your fiery pitta-dominant menopause is with the application of coconut and sesame oils. Ghee (clarified butter) used as a massage oil or  taken internally is another soothing option. You may also find the pitta-balancing essential oils of gardenia, honeysuckle, geranium, lotus, and peppermint quite relaxing.

The pitta-pacifying diet consists of lots of heavy, cooling foods that are cooked or small amounts of raw foods. The taste should be relatively plain, and the food shouldn’t be cooked in a lot of oil or heavily laden with hot spices. It’s important for these women to eat three regular meals a day around the same time each day. Eating sweet, juicy fruits like grapes, pears, plums, mango, melons, and apples between meals can also help. It’s best to avoid alcohol. Drink generous amounts of cool water to stay refreshed and hydrated.

Ayurvedic practitioners encourage women with pitta-related symptoms  to avoid pungent, sour, salty, and hot spicy tastes, and hot drinks and to consume foods and teas that incorporate herbs such as coriander, cilantro, and cardamom. Daily topical application of pitta-pacifying Ayurvedic herbs such as amalaki, aloe vera, shatavari, and brahmi is also recommended.

Ayurvedic advice for kapha-dominated menopause: During menopause, it’s particularly important for women with a kapha-related symptoms to stimulate the mind and body. According to Ayurvedic dietary principles, reversing the lethargy and stagnation induced by excess kapha requires eating light, dry, and warm foods, so it’s best to avoid sweet and cold foods, as well as oily or heavy foods like meats and cheeses. Instead, women with kapha dominance should eat mild-tasting fruits as opposed to very sweet or sour ones; warm and drying whole grains, such as millet and buckwheat, rather than wheat; smaller legumes, such as mung beans and red lentils; and pungent and bitter vegetables, such as greens.

Any and all spices (except salt) are fine, including black pepper, turmeric, and ginger. Kapha-dominant women often find they feel best when they avoid big meals, eat a light breakfast and dinner, and make lunch the most substantial meal of the day. Avoid most cooking oils, using light to none if possible.

Essential oils such as basil, cedar, frankincense, and black pepper can be used as a vapor or directly applied to the body. Try adding spices such as cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper ginger, and turmeric to warm teas and sip them throughout the day. Ayurvedic herbs such as guggul, bibhitaki, and pippali can be taken in moderation.

 

 

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.