Friday, August 10, 2012

Ayurveda Herbs - Cumin


(शुक्ल जीरक/ कृष्ण जीरक/ कालिका)Cuminum_cyminum


जीरकत्रितयम रुक्षम कटूष्णम दीपनम लघु ।

संग्राही पित्तलम मेध्यम गर्भाष्यविशुधिकृत ॥

ज्वरघ्नम पाचनम वृषयम बल्यम रुच्यम कफापहम ।

चक्षुष्यम पवनाधमान गुल्म छर्दी अतिसार हृत ॥

भा. प्र.

Cumin is one of the most common and known spice. It is used in almost all the dishes in Indian traditional culinary system. As per Bhav Prakash Nighantu (Ayurvedic Pharmacogonsy), jeerak has three types as following:

1. White

2. Black

3. Kalika

In above quotation from the text states that all three types of cumin behold almost similar properties.

Latin name:

Cumin seed (white) – Cuminum cyminum

Black caraway seeds (Black) – Carum carvi

Nigella seeds (Kalika/ Black cumin) – Nigella sativa

All three varieties of Cumin are dry in nature and pungent in taste. They are hot in potency and stimulate digestive fire. Cumin is light to digest and helps in containing the stools, so it can be given in people suffering with irregular lose bowel habit. It has a special effect on brain and strengthens the memory. In my opinion it could be an effective herb in cases of Irritable Bowel Syndrome where in patient passes frequent lose motions along with stress. Cumin seeds are known for its properties of uterine cleansing. It is an effective herb in cases of dysmenorrhoea. Ladies suffering with painful menstruations can take a hot infusion during their menstruation. It helps in alleviating Vata, regulates menstruation, and cleanses uterus as well. Pregnant women should avoid taking cumin in large quantities due to its vasodilatation effect and heating property. It also helps in reducing fever by generating sweat.

As per ancient wisdom of life, cumin seeds promote digestion and also enhance sexual vigour. It is a stimulant, thus works on erectile dysfunctions. Cumin also increases strength. It could be because of its property of stimulating metabolic digestion which helps in a thorough absorption of micro nutrients from the food. It also enhances taste of the food and alleviates Kapha. Cumin helps in lacto genesis so it could be given in small quantity to lactating mothers.

Bhav Prakash says, cumin helps in promoting eye sight, and removes gaseous bloating of abdomen, vomiting, and diarrhoea. It is also a very good diuretic and could effectively be used in urinary tract problems.Cumin seeds contain 2.4 – 4% volatile oil which contains cumin aldehyde which could be converted in thymol. It can be used as antiseptic. It is one of the safe and effective remedy in infants.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ayurveda Herbs

The Bishop’s Weed (अजवायन /यवानी)

Latin Name – ajwain

Carum copticum (B & H)

Trachyspermum ammi (Linn)

Ptychotis ajowan (DC)


यवानी पाचनी रुच्या तीक्ष्णोष्णा कटुका लघु: ।

दीपनी च तथा तिक्ता पित्तला शुक्रशूलहृत ॥

वातश्लेष्मोदरानाह गुल्म प्लीहक्रिमिप्रणुत ।

भा. प्र.

Bishop’s weed or Ajwain is one of the most famous herbs among folklore practices. Although it is not very commonly used among spices but it has been herbs of choice in house hold remedies. Ajwain is carminative, and enhances taste of the food. It is pungent bitter in taste and sharp in action. Ajwain is hot in potency and increases Pitta. Metabolic taste of Ajwain is bitter and it is light to digest. It stimulates digestive juices and promotes the gastric absorption. Due to hot in potency, if consumed in excess quantities or for a prolonged duration it may result in gastric burning. Repetitive consumption in over doses may have adverse effect in spermatogenesis due to contradictory properties of Ajwain and sperms.

Ajwain alleviates Vata and Kapha and it is specifically prescribed in colic pain due to gaseous distention. It contains volatile oil which is constituted 40 – 50 % of thymol. As the traditional wisdom says, “it helps in removing worms (Krimi pranut).” Thymol is known for its anthelminthic properties. And famously used for hookworm treatments. Thymol is also known to have certain antimicrobial properties. Probably that is the reason why Ajwain is so potent in cases of gaseous bloating of abdomen and dysentery. It could be used in amoebic dysentries. As per Ayurveda, Ajwain also helps in splenic disorders. It is also believed that thymol is effective in removing certain fungal infections of finger nails and toe nails. It would be advisable for people suffering with fungal infections of nails to wash the nails with decoction prepared with Ajwain seeds for two to three times a day.

Due to its strong odor it is used in removing foul smell from many pungent oils especially of castor oil. In chronic dry cough it can be used effectively to remove Kapha. In cases of asthma (shwas) Ajwain powder in prescribed dose is given with hot water. Powder of Ajwain mixed with Epsom salt is known to cure chronic indigestion in folklore practices, and factually it is effective. Although people suffering with hypertension should be careful about the dose as it contains salt.

In pain abdomen, rheumatic pains and joint pains poultice is prepared and used for fomentation of local area to eradicate pain. Pitta Prakriti people should refrain from excessive internal consumption of Ajwain as it may aggravate thermodynamics of the body.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Ayurveda Herbs

Black pepper (मरिच)Piper

Latin Name – Piper nigrum

मरिच कटुकम तीक्ष्णम दीपनम कफवातजित ।

उष्णम पित्तकरम रुक्षम श्वास शूल क्रीमीन्हरेत ॥

तत आर्द्रम मधुरम पाके नातिउष्णम कटुकम गुरु ।

किंचित तीक्ष्णगुनम श्लेष्मप्रसेकी स्यादपित्तलम ॥

                            भा प्र

Black pepper probably is the one of the most used spice all across the globe. It is widely used to enhance the taste and also to provide a flavor to the food. Ancient wisdom of Ayurveda says, it is pungent in taste, sharp in action and stimulates digestive fire. It is known for its potential action over Kapha and Vata. Black pepper, due to its property of being hot, helps in liquefying the Kapha. Due to this property it becomes a drug of choice in cases of chronic cough wherein sputum is very sticky and creates congestion in respiratory system. That is the reason why in cases of Bronchial Asthma fine black pepper powder is advised for internal use. It immediately helps in broncho dilation due to stimulation effect and mobilizes the phlegm from bronchioles. It contains an alkaloid called piperin which makes this herb an excellent catalyst.

Black pepper increases digestive juices and stimulates digestive fire. In cases of gaseous bloating and chronic indigestion it is considered to be an effective medicine. It is hot in potency, so should be avoided by Pitta personalities and people with skin sensitivities. It is dry in nature, so effective in obesity for proper fat metabolism and may increase cellular activity.

Black pepper is traditionally known for its anthelminthic effect for ages. It is given in very small doses along with green tomato to kids in folklore practices. It can also be used in cases of tooth ache in form of decoction for gargles.

High doses of this herb may result in abdominal pain, and urethral burning. Excessive use of black pepper in food as spice and flavor may result in stomach burning and gastritis. So it should be consumed in low quantity under the physician supervision only.

Metabolic taste of tender or green form of the pepper is sweet. It is not so hot in potency and heavy to digest. It is good mucolytic and also increases pitta. One pinch of the black pepper powder along with one tea spoon of honey at night helps in relieving the respiratory congestion and as per traditional believe also enhances the immunity of respiratory tract.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ayurveda Herbs

Traditional system of medicines resorts that primary aim of this bodily world is to take care of the well- being. Prime state of the health is the key to success in all endeavours of life. Ayurveda resides in our life at every step knowingly or unknowingly. We are bringing Ayurveda facts from the kitchen. We use these herbs in and out and probably in our all meals.

Ginger (अदरक)ginger

Latin Name – Zingiber officinale

आर्द्रीका भेदिनी गुर्वी तीक्षणोष्णा दीपनी मता।
कटुका मधुरा पाके रूक्षा वातकफापहा ।
भोजनाग्रे सदा पथ्यम लवणार्द्रक भक्षणम ।
अग्नि संदीपनम रुच्यम जिव्हा कंठ विशोधनम ।
भा प्र
Ginger is one of the most common spice used in Indian kitchen and also world over. It breaks down stools due to its property of sharpness. The herb is predominant of fire quotient thus helps in promoting digestive fire. Due to its hot potency it also ignites digestive fire and becomes a very good medicine in cases of indigestion. In chronic cases of indigestion, it is advisable to have a small piece of ginger along with hot water. It is given for internal use in form of hot infusion in cases of rheumatoid arthritis. It is pungent in taste and mitigates Vata due to hot property while it helps in liquefaction of mucous (Kapha) and drains out the lymph. In cases of pain and congestion of throat, one can use hot infusion of Ginger for gargles. It reduces pain and removes Kapha.

In cases of common cold and cough where in mucous is not thoroughly drained, Ginger along with honey is given to produce mucolytic effect. Ginger contains zingirol and 1- 3 % of volatile oils. Dry form of ginger is an effective herb for abdominal colic. Essentially it is given in form of hot infusion. Dry ginger powder is considered very effective in Hypovolemic shock to restore peripheral blood circulation. It is rubbed constantly on hands and feet to restore thermodynamics.

Ginger is hot in potency, so it should be cautiously used in Pitta personality types and also Pitta disorders. It aggravates Pitta, so it should be avoided in cases of Gastritis as it may result in gastric irritation and symptom like epigastric burning may increase. Hypertensive patients should use ginger in moderate quantity only.
Ancient wisdom of life says, “consumption of a small piece of ginger smeared with salt before meal is a healthy practice. It stimulates digestive fire, increases taste, and clears tongue and throat.”

My suggestion, people suffering with hypertension should avoid smearing it with salt. Instead Epsom salt can be used.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Vedic Management - 5 Steps to Holistic Success (Part 2)

Rule 3
यो ह वै प्रतिष्ठाम वेद प्रति ह तिष्ठत्यस्मिंश्च लोके
The one who understands Pratishthaa (reputation) becomes Pratishtha (reputed) in its race and also in this world. Upanishad says, “Chakshu (eyes) are the reputation.”
To understand it comprehensively, the meaning of the Chakshu needs to be understood. The sense of vision is responsible for seeing things clearly and understands the material in all the dimensions. Vision helps us to weigh the possibilities and also help in judging potential threats. It helps us to place ourselves in a secure and stable position.
Your vision is the repute of your organization
The vision is an ultimate destiny of an organization. It could be divided in two parts for an easy understanding,
  • Organizational goal
  • Analytical abilities
Organizational Goal
It is the intimate desire to materialize the futuristic approach. Without a goal, any organization would behave like a small boat lost in the pacific. It works like a guiding star, and also a gauge. It is essential that the vision should not be a mere tool of self amusement. Vision of your organization should be multidimensional. It should revolve around the sense of uplifting one and all. The vision of your organization should not be motivated out of greed, but it should be an effort to motivate the mass for a revolution. And the organizational goal should be complemented by achieving short term targets. And one should make sure to share the organizational vision with each and every part of it, living, or non living. It generates the required passion and also works as a yardstick whenever you lose focus.
Analytical Abilities
Vision also includes the analytical abilities of your organization. One should always concentrate over the potential threats, own possessions, lacking skills, and futuristic possibilities. The one who possesses the calculative decision making power never lose the battle of fierce competition.
Veda says, “The one who possesses the clear vision, establishes itself amongst the most reputed company.”

Rule 4
यो ह वै संपद वेद संहास्मै कामाः पद्यन्ते
The one who acknowledges the Sampad (prosperity) persuades Sampad (opulence) not only in his race but the world over. Upanishad says, “Shrotra (sense of hearing) is Sampad (prosperity).
Our sense of hearing enables us to perceive the science and also help us to understand it in its specialized form. When we undertake any action after the complete perception of the matter, it always reaps a sweet fruit.
Comprehensive feedback is the Prosperity of your Organization
When we are working at a level where we do not seek anything lesser than perfection, there always remain a room for shortcomings. This is something that we tend to ignore considering it a small thing or could be fixed later attitude. ‘Feedback’ is like a resonance. The kind of a sound we make comes back to us. It helps us to understand the kind of vibes our organization is generating. Wise people say, “Silence is Gold.” By realizing your dream, you have already made an impact or sent percussion around, feedback is to keep silence and listen to your own conscience.
Feedback is the key. It is like a meditation. One should remain all ears to the finer details. Be it the customer, your first line managers, or your security guard. A good advice can flow from any corner. It always would help you to be active than being reactive. Not that every advice would be as important, but the reaction would reach you only if you lend your ears. Feedback should never be taken as a criticism, but it should always be used as a door for the improvement. An organization should inculcate the habit of procuring feedback at every level. Following are few examples
  • Service feedback
  • Managerial feedback
  • Communicative feedback
  • Personal feedback
After getting the appropriate advices let your conscience decide the room for the improvement.
Veda says, “In the deepest of your silence, you hear the speech of your mind.”
Rule 5
यो ह वा आयतनम वेद आयतनम ह स्वानाम भवति
The one who knows the Ayatana (the shelter/source) becomes the Ayatana (the source) for its own race. Upanishad says, “Definitely the Mana (Mind) is the Ayatana(The source/ Shelter).”
The mind is the source of all the actions. And our senses are like servant to our mind. Whatever subject is perceived by our senses is brought to the amusement of the mind. The mind controls our deeds. The mind is such a strong force in our body that we keep on dancing on its tunes. It never allows us to focus. The one, who knows the potential of the mind, becomes the source of joy, happiness, and fulfillment.
Your determination is the Source of your Fulfillment
If you want to live a fulfilled life, it is essential to focus on your mind. The mind is the source of your courage. Mind is the ultimate creator and destroyer too. Once the mind is in absolute form of stability, it can reap anything you want. It is the most difficult entity to handle in this world. Mind is such a minute entity that it can make you travel even to the unknown worlds. It takes you to the places where you never have been to. But one has to ensure, where you want to be? If you will not decide, then mind would do it for you. And mind has a fascination towards the subjects that are not meant for you. It keeps you confused. It is an obvious block created by that supreme force. Had this block not been there, everybody would become successful. But, there are only few, who knew their mind and rode over the ladder of eternal success.
Keep your mind in your control. Let your conscious- the soul be the guide to your mind. Never allow it to go to the ‘RIGHT’ or to the ‘LEFT’, but stay focused. Arjuna could hit the bird’s eye, “because he saw only the eye.”
Veda says, “The one who knows his source become the resource in his own race.”

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Vedic Management - 5 Steps to Holistic Success(Part 1)

Vedic wisdom is so profound that every single piece of information could be interpreted in any context. Upanishads are the easier forms of the traditional Vedic wisdom. They are an excellent piece of Vedic style of management theories. All you need to do is to interpret the information in the most relevant context and practice it in accordance with modern implications.
This article tries to produce an insight in the Vedic understanding of Human body in reference to the Modern principles of Organizational Management. Chandagyo Upanishad considers five essential elements that are needed for spiritual upliftment of the mankind. This reference of understanding humanity, when replaced with an Organizational structure, becomes an essential tool to construct a successful, holistically progressive, and meaningful corporate company.
While explaining spiritual upliftment of the mankind, Chandagyo Upanishad quotes the references given below. We are trying to replace ‘the humanity’ with ‘an organizational structure’ considering that every organization has a meaningful purpose. Sometimes, in the competitive environment the organizations fail to remember their roots. Idea of holistic development may seem to be new, but, none the less it is quite relevant. We need to construct sustainable ventures because an organization is not meant only for the prosperity of the owner/top management.
There are many other vital factors associated in a company which makes an organization in totality. Herewith, follows the fivefold methodology of holistically sustainable Vedic Management.
Rule 1
यो ह वै ज्येष्ठम च श्रेष्ठम च वेद ज्येष्ठश्च ह वै श्रेष्ठश्च भवति
The one who can categorize the true elder and the superlative becomes the elder and the superior amongst the race. Upanishad says, “The Prana (force of the life) is the best and the leader.”
Resources are the Prana of your organization
For any organization, from establishment to the successful running most essential requirement is its resources. At the time of conceptualizing any project, the vital link is resources. And it becomes again relevant when the operations take off. Resources could be divided in two categories:
  • Financial resources
  • Human resources
Vedic understanding says that any organization should pay the utmost regards to these two vital links. The one who can figure out the eldest and the best becomes the leader and superlative in its race.
Your investor is the elder
 For a successful company, it is essential to remember its investors at every stage. Without a strong back hold, no matter how large any company becomes, it couldn’t have survived a single breath. Lions always make sure to observe the distance they had traveled.
Your human resource is the best
According to an old saying, “The weapon is not important, the man behind the weapon is the one who matters.” For the successful running of a company, human resource is indispensable. Every single worker of the organization is unique and equally important. Company should enhance the feeling of ownership and make its employees a part of its success.
Veda says, “The one who concentrates on its Prana, fulfills his all desires.”
Rule 2
यो ह वै वसिष्ठम वेद वसिष्ठो ह स्वानाम भवति
The one who can make out Vasishtha (the survivor/the wealthier/the propagator) becomes Vasishtha (the survivor/richest/acknowledged) in its race. Upanishad says, “The Vaka (speech) is survivor/richest/acknowledged.
Communication is Vasishtha of your organization
Communication plays an integral part in the success of an individual or an organization. As per the Vedic understanding, one should pay utmost attention to communication. The one who seeks victory should worship his speech. From an organizational point of view, communication could be further divided in following types,
  • Oral communication
  • Written communication
  • Broadcasting & blogging
  • Internal communication
  • Any other way that establishes connection between the customer and service provider
Communication should be fundamentally correct, prompt, thoughtful, and wise. Meaning of worshiping speech is, “One should communicate humbly.” Sometimes a humble ‘NO’ works well instead of a forced ‘YES’. And it is absolutely OK to delay the answer if you are not very sure of the action or requirement. We have seen many organizations in a dilemma due to undue haste in making statements and later repent.
Any word that you utter is heard, consciously or unconsciously. And a good oration/drafting/expression establishes an individual comprehensively in the society. So it does to an organization as well.
Veda says, “The one who masters the speech becomes the acknowledged, famous, and richest.”

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Salvation - An Art of Ayurvedic Living

Ayurveda, an ancient science of life, resorts to the overall development of the mankind. It does not limit itself in physical boundaries, but expands the wisdom of its experiences to guide the life to the ultimate realm, the salvation. Every breath in this physical world is a journey towards the fundamental reality of life – the death. Factually the death should not be an ending, but a beginning of the unknown world. Since the time of evolution, human race conquered many mile stones. The science of medicines made amazing discoveries in the field of life, but unfortunately, no one could define how the journey ends? Why the heart stops beating even though the muscles of it are not prone to the fatigue? But the answer is illusive. When the logic cannot define something, one needs to turn towards philosophy. Ayurveda explains, “An ultimate purpose of human life is to get Moksha (salvation).” To get rid of the vicious cycle of rebirth is called as Moksha. To explain the salvation, different methodologies have been taught. Ayurveda says, “Physical body manifests itself due to Moha (attachment), Icha (desires), and Dwesha (revenge).” In a simpler format it could be assigned that Moksha (Salvation) is the complete detachment from these mental blocks. It is the union of oneself with the cosmic conscious. Though, it remains an uphill task to find the cosmic awareness, however many methodologies have been formulated in different philosophies. 
Ayurveda classifies Atma (The soul) in two categories; Paramatma (The universal conscious), and Jeevatma (The conscious). Difference between the conscious and cosmic awareness could be identified in following verse,
निर्विकार परस्त्वात्मा सत्व भूत गुण एन्द्रीयहि !
चैतनयो कारणं  नित्यो द्रष्टा पश्यती हि सर्वा क्रिया !!
                                    चरक संहिता/ सूत्र स्थान
Paramatma (the pure conscious) is Nirvikar (absolutely perfect). When the universal conscious combines with Satva (mind), Bhoota (five elements), Guna (qualities), and Indriya (senses), it manifests itself into the physical body. It is immortal, spectator, and witnesses all the actions.
Above definition of Paramatma is an absolute eye opener. It does not only describe the existence of the Almighty, but also makes us realize that every individual is the manifestation of the universal conscious. As per the description, universal awareness multiplies itself into various forms of life and each of the living entity is mere replication of that perfect self. It raises a question. If we are all the part of that Paramatma, we should be equally aware. Acharya Charaka says, “When the conscious unites the Bhoota, it is predominated by Rajas (selfish mobility), and Tamas (blissful ignorance) which results in subconscious suppression of the ultimate wisdom.” It makes us to forget our origin and enables us to become mechanical entities.
The ultimate purpose of human life is to realize that particle of the supreme conscious within oneself and all. Because our analytical ability is an advantage above the other races of life. Probably this is the reason why we are repetitively told that human life is precious. The time we separate ourselves from the mental and physical limitations, it lifts our conscious to another level of awareness. One should practice conscious detachment from the materialism. Having said that, it does not mean that one should not love what he does, but one should not cultivate the nature of possession. One should constantly practice to overcome the desires because desires result in greed which further ends up in attachment to the Karma (resulting action). And any residual desire forces the conscious to reincarnate itself to materialize the completion in next life. Having said that it does not mean not to have any desires, but one should try to fulfill the desire that had manifested within the subconscious and at the same time one should constantly practice to limit the desires which are manifested out of the greed quotient. The sense of revenge is another factor responsible as a blocking stone on the road of higher conscious. Ayurveda call it as Dwesha. One should cultivate the habit of loving thy world as a replica of itself. Not to have the sense of jealousy and also not to have a feeling of competition. Completion makes us the part of the rat race. It also develops the inferiority complex that end up in various forms of mental sickness. This again holds us back to be spiritually free and lands us into the cycle of rebirth. Ayurveda says, “when mind overcomes Rajas (selfish mobility), and Tamas (blissful ignorance), it destroys even the strongest of your Karma (unaware actions) resulting in spiritual freedom, which is nothing but Moksha (The Salvation)."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pratishyaya - Common Cold in Ayurveda

In the modern day world, we don’t have time for anything that can slow our race to achieve our set goals. A widespread ailment that affects us all, adult and child, is common cold. Generally, it happens to each individual, depending on their level of immunity, at least once or twice a year.Basically, common cold is a viral infection that attacks the respiratory system of an individual. These viruses can be contagious and can come from any form of pollutants that our prevalent in our modern world. Depending on which part of the respiratory system the virus attacks, cold can be divided into three different categories:
  • Common cold which primarily attacks the nasal passage
  • Pharyngitis which attacks the throat and 
  •  Sinusitis which attacks the sinuses
All of the above mentioned forms have some common symptoms which are a response of the individual’s immune system to the infection. These symptoms include cough, sore throat, runny nose or congestion in the nasal passage, fever in some cases, general body ache, head ache and/or fatigue.
In Ayurvedic theory, cold is an ailment which is caused by the vitiation of Kapha which is the dosha representing water. This vitiation of Kapha can be caused due to the exposure to cold/humid conditions.
Another reason of cold, which is quite prevalent in our lifestyle today, is related to an individual’s digestion. Today, the types of foods that we eat can cause our digestive system to become weak or irregular. This weakness/irregularity of the digestive system leads to the food being left indigested in the intestines leading to the accumulation of toxins, also known as Ama in Ayurveda. This Ama, when it reaches the respiratory system can be the cause of the three forms of cold mentioned above.
As cold is a contagious disease, which can be either airborne or contracted through direct contact with an infected person, a common precaution is for this ailment is regular washing of hands, especially, before eating. Other precautions include covering of the nose when going out in a polluted or cold environment and taking vitamin C and zinc supplementation in the diet.
Ayurveda also offers various remedies and treatments which can be helpful in the curing of common cold and sinusitis. It is important from Ayurveda’s perspective that one should take appropriate corrective measures in diet at the time of changing season. Drinking hot water is one of the corrective measures which produce a great deal of correction. It helps to digest the Ama (toxin) and clears the congestion in the channels. It also helps to liquefy the Kapha dosha and releases the respiratory channels. Ayurveda recommends that one should avoid food products which are heavy to digest and also are of cold in nature. Curd, rice, ice creams, banana etc. are the few such food products to be mentioned. Inhalation of steam is highly recommended at the time of exposure to contagious media. It helps to stop the progression of the disease. One spoon of honey with few drops of ginger juice at night is a home remedy which helps to reduce congestion and promotes per nasal discharge. Black pepper also helps in building immunity of the respiratory tract.
Recurrence of common cold and repetitive consumption of unwholesome food items can result in chronic sinusitis or rhinitis. It may result in partial or complete loss of olfaction, if not treated. Ayurveda Panchakarma treatments can help in eradicating these problems from the root, and also helps in building immunity against such contagious diseases. Seek the help of your Ayurvedic Physician to know more about the Panchakarma treatments and healthy life style. Nature is the best medicine and a healthy life style is the key to live a fulfilled life.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Balanced eating - A healthy way of Living

Ayurveda, a science of life considers the health as a primary aim of life. To fulfill the four basic purposes of life which are Dharma (the duty) Artha (material gain) Kaam (to fulfill desires) and Moksha (Salvation), health is an essential tool. Without a sound state of health none of such purposes could be solved. For that matter, even any other purpose could not be fulfilled, if any. Physical body has been considered as a building which stands erect on a tripod of three essential commodities. Ahaara (food), Nidra (sleep), and Bramcharaya (celibacy) are these three pillars of life. 
It is important to understand the sequence in which these three pillars have been mentioned. Ayurveda asserts a great deal of importance to the food as one of the most essential contributes to the health. It is sad that we do not pay any thought before eating and use our food as an entertaining item of the life. Acharaya Charaka says, “Matraashi Syaat.” It means that one should eat in appropriate quantity. Though, it is difficult to exactly quantify the food in general because individual requirement remains different, however one needs to realize his/ her own need. Contrary to the general belief of eating specified number of calories, quantity of food is directly proportionate to the physical exertion of an individual.
Consumption of food depends upon multiple factors like, 
  • Time of consumption 
  • Quality of food 
  • Type of the food 
  • Processing of the food 
  • Combinations of the food 
  • Sequence of eating 
  • Age and type of physical exertion of the consumer 
  • Season
Coming back to the point of Matra (quantity) of the food, Acharaya Charaka says, “Ahaar Matra punah Agnibala apekshani.” It means, quantity of the food which should be consumed by an individual should depend upon the state of his/her digestion. Quantity of the food that digests properly in stipulated time without harming the constitution of an individual should be considered as an appropriate dosage of the food. 

Ahara Matra (quantity of the food) also depends upon the quality of the food to be consumed. Generally food items could be divided in two groups Guru (heavy to digest), and Laghu (light to digest). Guru Ahara could be defined as the food item which takes longer time to digest even if consumed in a lesser quantity. For example red meat, pork, fermented food products, rice, black lentils etc. While Laghu Ahara could be defined as food which is easy to digest and does not harm digestive fire even if consumed in large quantities. Relevant examples of it could be Moong Daal (green lentils), pop corns, brown rice etc.

The idea of understanding this concept is that one should consume heavier food items in a lesser quantity. Because being predominant of earth and water quotient they tend to increase doshas in the body. While lighter food items though gets digested easily, but predominance of fire and air elements in them may increase Vata and Pitta dosha. Ayurveda recommends that both of the qualities should be consumed in moderate quantity in order to strike equilibrium among the trinity of the biological humors. 

“The one who consumes food in appropriate quantity enjoys a sound health, well nourished metabolic factors, good complexion, contentment, and long life,” said Acharaya Charaka. Food consumed in proper dosage becomes an absolute remedy to the health.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ayurveda speaks - watch your Clock

Ayurveda, an ocean of never ending wisdom states that one has to plunge deeper to get precious pearls out of it. One can never understand the essence of the science by fragmentary understanding of the matter. It is a life of science, which is based upon self experiences and strong observations. Ayurveda theory is based upon five basic elements of cosmic evolution which are Ether (Akash), Air (Vayu), Fire (Teja), Water (Jala), and Earth (Prithvi). These five elements join each other in different permutations and combinations to evolve three biological forces called as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. They are the trinity of biological humors that regulate our body when in equilibrium, and also result in diseases when get vitiated.
Biological humors coexist in the body in such a fashion that they do not hinder each other’s functions and simultaneously control each other in order to perform desired physical and physiological functions. Being primary constitutive factors of the body, they are directly influenced by our conscious or subconscious actions. Having said that means even a smallest change in our life style has an impact over the positioning of these Doshas. Trinity of Doshas also gets influenced by time and predominate each other at different parts of the day and night. This natural fluctuation of Doshas maintains our health and regulates our physiological routine. Ayurveda explain it as Natural Biological clock.
If we divide 24 hours in day and night, individual dosha has four hours of predominating cycle. Each dosha increases for four hours during the day cycle and repeats the same during night. This cycle is directly proportionate to the physiological performance of the body. For a better understanding, this clock could be understood as,
In a Day cycle:
  • From 6 am to 10 am Kapha predominates
  • From 10 am to 2 pm Pitta predominates
  • From 2pm to 6 pm Vata predominates
In a Night cycle:
  • From 6 pm to 10 pm Kapha predominates
  • From 10 pm to 2 am Pitta predominates
  • From 2 am to 6 am Vata predominates
One needs to have a fair understanding of this biological clock of the body to regulate the daily routine and maintain life style accordingly. For example, at night cycle Kapha predominates between 6 am to 10 pm. Kapha or adhesive force of the body is also responsible for inducing sleep. Ancient wisdom recommends sleeping during this Kapha predominant phase in order to experience a peaceful sleep. Once this time is elapsed, follows the predominance of Pitta phase. Pitta also depicts enlightenment, awareness which also suppresses the natural urge of sleeping. It makes the mind alert again, even if you are physically sleeping or feeling sleepy.
Understanding your biological clock can help you to deal with minor daily niggles with ease and helps to maintain a disease free life. It is just a walk towards the general principles of life to live in harmony with your inner peace. Ayurveda suggests that one should constantly engage in learning new things, because “the true knowledge is a power, rightly said.”

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cervical Spondylosis & Ayurveda - Manage pain with care

Today, the lifestyle which we lead is full of stress. The rat race of our world is taking us away from our natural habits and pushing us towards a life filled with disorders which is directly related to our way of living. One such example is cervical spondylosis.

Traditionally, cervical spondylosis was considered a medical condition in which the degeneration of the inter-vertebral disks occurred due to old-age. However, today this condition is commonly caused due to regularly ignoring the ergonomics of our bodies, e.g., working for long hours with computers, wrong postures while performing day-to-day life functions, sports/repetitive injuries such as long hours of playing video games, texting etc. Spondylosis could be defined as the degenerative osteoarthritis of the vertebrae.

Based on the area of degeneration Spondylosis can be of various types:

· Cervical Spondylosis: The most common form of spondylosis, because of our stressful living, it includes the region around the neck column and is characterized by severe pain and/or restricted movement in the head, neck, shoulders, arms and hands.

· Lumbar Spondylosis: When the vertebrae of the lower back/lumber region are compressed, due to a repetitive injury or poor posture, this results in lumbar spondylosis. This form of spondylosis is characterized by pain in the lower back.

When the space between two joints reduces, it may generate a compression over the corresponding nerve root resulting in Radiculopathy characterized by referring pain, giddiness etc.

In modern sciences, there are two approaches, conservative methods or corrective surgery, through which cervical spondylosis is treated. The conservative approach is most common, involving treatments such as physiotherapy, massage, acupressure, acupuncture, patient awareness in correct postures, exercising, yoga, and/or non-inflammatory medicine. Surgery is recommended for patients who do not show improvement in their symptoms with the former approaches, however, it is still controversial.

The traditional science of Ayurveda approaches the treatment of cervical spondylosis differently. In Ayurveda, a healthy body has an equilibrium of the three doshas Vata (Movement), Pitta (Change) and Kapha (Growth and Stability). Any disease is a direct result of the disturbance in this balance. Cervical Spondylosis is a condition which is predominantly caused due to vitiation in the Vata. It is related to Sandhigata Vata. When increased vata dosha gets localized in the Manya (neck) region, it produces dryness which results in excessive rubbing of two joints resulting in degenerative changes in corresponding joint.

Ayurveda recommends a comprehensive conservative line of treatment for managing cervical Spondylosis. As mentioned for Vata Vyadhi, oleation is the mainstay of the treatment. Internal and external oleation is recommended. For Vata Vyadhi, Basti have been mentioned as a treatment of the choice. It depends upon the understanding of an experienced Physician to plan judicious treatments for the management of degenerative changes of the spine. Hot fomentation using hot herbs helps to release the compression from the spine and restores blood circulation. Increased blood circulation to the area of inflammation promotes the recovery. Combination of physiotherapy along with Panchakarma treatments yields very good results. Physiotherapy also helps to restore the natural posture and decreases the chances of recurrence.

Alternative system of health and world’s most primitive science can create a world of goodness to the mankind if adopted with faith and patience. For further information and queries, feel free to ask your Ayurveda Physician. Adopt a healthy life style, live happily.


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