Do’s and Don’ts for Healthy Digestion

You may think you are eating healthy foods. But how you eat your food is even more important than what you eat. Even foods, which normally cause greater imbalance, will be digested reasonable well if the proper rules are followed. Likewise, if you eat the correct foods in the wrong way, your digestion will be compromised and the formation of toxins will follow. Following list of Do’s and Don’ts will help your digestion to be maximized and you will experience optimal digestion.

1. Avoid taking yoghurt at night because it will block the micro channels of circulation and will be become difficult for digestion as the physical activity is reduced at night.
2. Drinking a cup of warm buffalo’s milk at night will help in sound sleep.
3. Drinking goat’s milk will help in respiratory disorders.
4. Avoid mixing milk with citrus fruits, sour substances and salt.
5. Honey is nectar but when heated it can become a toxin causing Ama (metabolic toxin) accumulation in the body. So one should avoid heating honey or mixing it with hot substances.
6. Mixing cold and hot substances together.
7. Drinking cold drinks or cold water while eating.

Tips for winter care

• During winter, as the night time is longer, stomach be kept full in night with such solids which are easily digestible and of high caloric value.

• Turn even more exclusively toward warming foods. Remember the principle that foods taking longer to grow are generally more warming than foods that grow quickly. All of the animal foods fall into the warming category. So do most of the root vegetables, including carrot, potato, onions and garlic. Eggs also fit in here, as do corn and nuts.

• Food substances like jaggery, ghee, sesame oil and spice namely, fenugreek, ginger, cumin, and asafetida should be used for cooking.

• Try to eat freshly prepared warm meals.

• Since we don’t feel thirsty in winters, many don’t drink sufficient water. Make sure that you drink 10 – 12 glasses of water throughout the day. Preferably drink warm water boiled with little ginger.

• Regular exercise should be done especially during winters.

• Sleeping during the day is not advisable.

• Skin should be massaged with sesame oil daily. Sesame oil should be applied well in the heels of the feet to prevent cracks. Sesame oil pacifies Vata and hence will reduce generalized pains that occur during winters.

• Self massage of scalp should be done every alternate day with herbal hair oil.

Effect Of Tastes On Skin Health

Effect Of Tastes On Skin Health

According to Charaka, the ancient Ayurvedic scholar, the effect of food article on the body is predominantly due to its taste. So it is important to curtail food items depending upon the taste judiciously in your diet for keeping the skin healthy. The six tastes have different effects on the skin –

• Sweet taste in general increases the luster of the skin. It is beneficial for skin and hair.
• Sour taste has no direct effect on skin but if taken in excess can increase process of pus formation in the preexisting injury or eruption on the skin.
• Saline taste if taken in excess can increase cuts on the skin particularly in preexisting skin diseases. It accelerates the wrinkle formation on the skin and graying of hair as well as alopecia.
• Pungent taste reduces oiliness as well as itching of the skin but at the same time can create patches over the skin.
• Bitter taste in general is useful in all skin diseases. It reduces almost all secretions in the body.
• Astringent taste if taken in excess can produce tanning over the skin.

Six herbs used in oral health and their benefits

Most of the oral diseases are caused due to bacterial infections. The antibacterial activity of medicinal plants are due to the presence of potential bio active compounds which help to reduce bacterial load in the oral cavity and thus prevent formation of plaque, dental caries and ulcers.

1. Amalaki (Phyllanthus emblica) is an antioxidant effective in toothache, mouth ulcers, and gingivitis.
2. Lavanga (Cloves) is analgesic and effective in relieving pain caused due to dental caries, abscess and disorders of gums.
3. Kumari (Aloe Vera) is antiseptic and anti-fungal. It helps in dentin formation, fights gum disorders, disinfects oral cavity, heals inflammation, gingivitis, periodontitis, apthous ulcer, cracked lips, relieves bleeding gums and gum abrasion.
4. Nimbu (Lemon) is a source of citric acid and has antibacterial and antioxidant properties. It prevents bad breath, helps whiten teeth naturally, and soothes toothaches and gingivitis.
5. Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) is antioxidant and antimicrobial. It is effective in malignant lesions, gingivitis, toothache, and periodontitis.
6. Nimba    (Azadirachta indica) is antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It helps maintain oral and dental health, prevents dental caries & cavities and inflammation.

Celebrate Your Inner Light This Diwali

Diwali is celebrated with family and friends. In South India, the whole family wakes up before sunrise for a ritualistic oil bath / Ayurvedic oil routine. Sesame oil is applied on everyone’s head before their bath. This symbolic purification rite marks a new beginning. Then they get dressed up in their new best clothes and visit the temple to offer prayers to God and to make new resolutions. The first day of Diwali is called Dhanvantari Triodasi (thirteenth day) or Dhanteras. It is the festival that marks the beginning of the Diwali celebrations and therefore it is considered the first day of five days long festivities of Diwali. Lord Dhanvantari who is the physician of the Gods and an incarnation of Lord Vishnu came out of the ocean that was churned by the Gods and the demons on the day of dhanteras. Lord Dhanvantari is considered as the God of Ayurveda.

In this Diwali let us make small but decisive changes in our life. Let us follow the Ayurvedic principles to lead a stress free, happy and peaceful life. Dedicating a few minutes everyday to yoga, eating healthy meals, timely sleep and using natural Ayurvedic products can go a long way in enhancing your lifestyle in a natural way. In the vedas, much importance is given to Sattva, which symbolizes “Purity of the body, mind and soul”. So during this Diwali celebration let us all give utmost improtance to cleaning of the environment as well as body, mind and soul. In Ayurveda cleaning or Shodhana is mentioned as Panchkarma which is ritual to be performed annually maintain optimum health of the body and mind. Diwali is a festival of joy, hence if there was any unpleastness with your family members or friends, let us forget the bad memories / incidents and make a fresh new start and embrace them with love, joy and affection.

Few tips for celebrating a Healthy Diwali

1. Try avoiding sweets added with chemicals / preservatives or sweets having a shiny ‘silver’ coating as they are unhealthy and may cause health problems. Let us enjoy home made sweets which are healthier.

2. Say NO to crackers to reduce pollution. Let us celebrate this Diwali in a peaceful and less polluting way. Fire crackers cause lots of noise and vibrations and they release toxic gases which are harmful for health. As fire crackers cause noise and environment pollution, its best to avoid them or spend very less money on buying crackers and prefer to buy noise free crackers.

3. This Diwali, light up lamps with oil / ghee to reduce air pollution.

“Let us illuminate our inner light while lighting the lamps and chandeliers in this Diwali”

Viruddha Ahara (Incompatible Food Items)

The literal meaning of the word Viruddha is opposite or contrary. That food which is wrong in combination (Samyog), improperly processed (Sanskara), consumed in inappropriate time of day or in wrong season is Virudhha Ahara (Incompatible food) and it can lead to disease formation. Food items which are opposite in qualities or which has opposite action on the tissues may exert undesirable effects if processed in a particular form or combined in a certain proportion or consumed at an incorrect time. Some incompatible combinations which may lead to diseases are explained below. A person desirous of healthy and disease-free life should avoid incompatible food combinations.

Some Incompatible Combinations :

1) Desha Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to place) – Excessive intake of hot and sharp food in dry regions and sweet, unctuous food in marshy regions is an example of Deshviruddha.

2) Kaala Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to season) – Excessive consumption of pungent and sharp food articles in summers and cold, dry food in winter season is an example of Kaala Viruddha.

3) Agni Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to digestive fire) – Intake of light to digest food when there is strong digestive fire and heavy substances in weak digestive fire.

4) Maatra Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to quantity) – Honey and cow’s ghee when consumed in equal quantity is incompatible.

5) Satmya Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to habit) – Intake of light to digest and dry food by a person who is accustomed to eating heavy and unctuous food is an example of Satmya Viruddha.

6) Dosha Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to Dosha) – The use of diet, herbs and treatment which are similar in qualities to the predominant dosha present in a person.

7) Sanskar Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to mode of preparation) – Heated or cooked honey is considered to be like poison for the body while uncooked honey is like nectar.

8) Veerya Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to potency) – Intake of hot and cold potency food together in a meal is incompatible. Eg. Intake of fish and milk together.

9) Koshtha Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to alimentary canal) – Administration of ununctuous herbs or substances in small quantity to a person having Krura Koshtha (hard / costive bowels) and administration of large dose of laxatives to a person having Mridu Koshtha (soft bowels).

10) Avastha Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to status of health) – Consumption of heavy to digest, cold potency and unctuous foods that aggravate Kapha by a person after sleep and intake of light to digest, hot potency and dry foods that aggravate Vata by a person after physical exertion are examples of Avastha Viruddha.

11) Krama Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to sequence) – Taking hot water after honey and consuming curd at night is incompatible.

12) Parihar Viruddha (Contraindication Incompatibility) — Consuming cold water immediately after having hot tea or coffee.

13) Upachaar Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to treatment) – Intake of cold items after taking ghee.

14) Paaka Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to cooking) – Cooking food with bad fuel and undercooking or overcooking or burning food during the process of preparation.

15) Samyog Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to combination) – Intake of banana or sour fruits or sour food items with milk.

16) Hriday Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to palatability) – Intake of unpleasant food.

17) Sampad Viruddha (Incompatibility with respect to quality of food) – Intake of substances that are not mature or over mature or putrified.

18) Vidhi Viruddha (Not following the rules of eating) – Not eating food which is warm, unctous and in appropriate quantity, eating too slow or fast, talking and laughing while eating and eating without concentration.

Diseases caused by Viruddha Ahara

Viruddha Ahara causes various skin diseases, ascites, fistula-in-ano, intoxication, abdominal distension, fever, rhinitis, stiffness, swelling, anaemia. Incompatible foods does not produce diseases in those who are habituated to physical exercise, who are strong, who have good digestive power, who are accustomed to it by it’s long use and who consume it in little quantity.

The treatment of diseases caused by Virudhha Ahara is Shodhana (purificatory therapies which includes mainly emesis and purgation) and Shamana (palliative care with herbs and measures contrary to the nature of the disease). One should gradually discontinue the intake of incompatible and unhealthy food items and start consuming healthy foods and not abruptly as withdrawal symptoms due to sudden discontinuance of unhealthy substances may occur. By discontinuation of unhealthy foods and intake of healthy foods, bad effects of unhealthy measures will decrease and good effects of healthy masures being adopted will increase, thus striking a balance restoring health to the body once again. Thus by treating the diseases caused by Virudhha Ahara and by consuming healthy food in proper quantity, the person can attain optimal health and well-being.

This article is written by Vaidya Janaki Jayaraman, Consultant Physician at Chakrapani Ayurveda Clinic & Research Center.

Five Facts About The Female Uterine Tonic

Five Facts About The Female Uterine Tonic, Shatavari

In Sanskrit, Shatavari (Asparagus/Asparagus racemosus) means ‘she who possesses a hundred husbands,’ implying its ability to help support fertility and vitality. Shatavari has numerous positive effects on women’s health.

1. With an estrogenic effect on the female mammary glands and reproductive system, Shatavari boosts postpartum health and enhances the production of breast milk in lactating mothers.

2. Sustains pregnancy, prevents miscarriage & threatened abortion and has an anabolic effect on the fetus.

3. A potent aphrodisiac, which improves fertility and libido.

4. Shatavari can restore hormonal balance in women who have fluctuating hormonal levels due to menstruation and menopause, thus alleviating pre-menstrual and menopausal symptoms.

5. It regulates the menstrual cycle.

Proper food combination

Proper food combination

We all know that healthy foods will make us healthy but healthy foods eaten in wrong combination still form toxins, gases and will not get digested well because different classes of food require their own specific digestive system. When we consume different types if foods at a single meal, we place a demand on our digestive glands to manufacture and secrete different digestive enzymes simultaneously. Here are some basic guidelines to follow –

• Eating bananas with milk can diminish digestive fire, change the intestinal flora, produce toxins, and cause sinus congestion. This causes confusion in our system and results in serious imbalances.

• Avoid mixing milk or yogurt with sour or citrus fruits. And, yes, it means that yogurt with fruit is not considered a healthy breakfast.

• Melons should be eaten alone or left alone.

• Try to eat fruits separately to get the most nutrients.

• Avoid eating cooked and raw foods together.

• Do not eat meat protein and milk protein together.

• Do not mix fresh milk with other milk products. The action of hydrochloric acid in the stomach causes the milk to curdle. For this reason Ayurveda advises against taking milk with sour fruits, yogurt, sour cream, cheese, and fish.

Benefits of Organic Honey in Allergy

Honey is one of the healthiest animal products available today. It is a sweet fluid produced in beehives by the honeybees that are housing in it. There is a tedious manufacturing process involved behind the production of this sweet appetizing fluid honey. Honey is an ancient household product that has been used in a number of food recipes, desserts, mock tails etc. It is a great natural sweetener that is highly nutritious and is considered better for use in comparison to all other sweeteners natural as well as synthetic.

Organic Honey :

Nowadays, due to the widespread contamination of the farmlands and harmful methods of farming for obtaining maximum produce at cheaper rates, most countries have set up standards for producing high quality organic food products that have been grown under strict government rules. Guidelines for organic farming varies from country to country and are mainly aimed at ensuring best quality of food production, which is not contaminated by any pollutant or pesticide. Regular testing of the food and close monitoring of the whole process is done right from cultivation until it reaches the supply in the market. The products that go through this stringent process are thus labeled as organic.

Organic honey is one such product formulated under stringent guidelines and is said to have a superior taste and nutrition quotient as compared to the ordinary varieties. Raw honey is said to contain a substantial amount of the pollens of the plant from which it is obtained. As a result, it becomes extremely harmful for people who have a weak immune system and are thus prone to allergies. Therefore, organic honey should be the preferred choice as it is free from any such allergens that are naturally present in raw honey.

How honey can be beneficial for people with allergies? 

Before discussing the awesomeness of organic honey, let us first get into the depth of how honey can be beneficial for people with allergies. Honey is a natural sweetener that has a soothing effect on the body. It has great anti-inflammatory properties that makes it extremely beneficial in wound healing, burns, cuts and other inflammatory conditions affecting the human body. It counter balances the inflammation producing substances in the body which are secreted at the time of an allergic reaction e.g. Prostaglandins, histamines etc.

Honey is a tremendous anti-microbial, anti–inflammatory and tissue healing agent. Be it any kind of allergic reaction seasonal, dust or pollen grain allergy, honey directly acts on the histamines produced by the body in response to an allergic reaction and neutralizes them helping the person to achieve better control over the symptoms. Realizing the importance of honey in the field of health and medicine, a proper therapeutic branch has been made called as APITHERAPY that deals with the usage of honey as a nutritional substitute and as a therapeutic natural remedy.

Ayurveda texts have immense matter that explains why pure Honey (Organic honey available nowadays) or Madhu has a wide therapeutic spectrum in the natural treatment of many diseases. There are eight types of honey mentioned in Ayurveda namely, Bhramara, Makshika, Pauthik, Kshaudra, Chathram, Ardhyam, Oudalakam and Daalam. These are used in the treatment of various disorders according to their individual therapeutic properties. Other than this, it is also said that the properties of honey greatly vary depending upon the place of origin, the source of beehives and the flowers from which the bees collect their nectar for producing Honey. According to Ayurveda, the cause of developing an allergy is an accumulation of “Ama” or toxins in the body and a vitiated Kapha dosha. Honey has its activity against the kapha (Water body humor) dosha and also has a detoxifying action on the body. It not only expels out all the harmful toxins but also strengthens the immunity to catch any such infection.

Thus, we can say that regular use of pure honey can be a boon to the people suffering from serious allergic conditions or are simply prone for developing one. Since, purity of raw honey is questionable, it is advisable to use organically prepared honey for external as well as internal use.

Author: Dr. Vikram Chauhan MD, an expert Ayurveda consultant from Chandigarh practicing in Mohali, India.

Top 3 Ayurveda products for healthy digestion

Avipattikar churna (Digest cool) is a cooling blend in powder form which balances the digestive fire and eliminates natural toxins from the system. It soothes the stomach tissues and promotes normal, comfortable levels of acidity during the digestive process. It also helps to promote post-meal esophageal comfort and healthy elimination. For more on Avipattikat churna click here

Triphala (Digest clean) is a combination of three herbs which
are natural antioxidants, assists natural internal cleansing, supports regular bowel movements, improves peristalisis, maintains healthy digestion and absorption. It is beneficial in sluggish digestion. It helps to gently cleanse and detoxify the digestive system while simultaneously replenishing and nourishing it. It has the ability to rejuvenate healthy tissues. For more on Triphala  click here

Chitrakadi Vati (Digest boost) is a tablet, used in Ayurvedic treatment of anorexia and indigestion. It is also beneficial in sprue syndrome, diarrhoea and flatulence. It improves appetite, kindles digestive fire, eliminates metabolic toxins accumulated due to improper digestive function from the body. It acts as an appetizer as well as digestive. For more on Chitrakadi vati click here