Oral Health & Hygiene with Ayurveda

Like commercial health and beauty products on the market, toothpaste has been industrialized over the years. Fluoride – free toothpastes are becoming more common because of its toxic effects though it is said to prevent caries. Not only fluoride, but other ingredients like titanium oxide, glycerin, sodium lauryl sulfate and artificial sweeteners can cause damage to the teeth. Also mouthwash can cause adverse effects.

Global need for maintenance of oral health

Oral diseases are one of the most important problems in public health and are on the rise in developing countries. Dental caries and periodontal diseases are among the most important global oral health problems. Also there is rise in incidence of oral cancer and other disorders. There is a global need for safe and effective alternative prevention and treatment.

In Ayurveda, dental health is individualistic varying with each person’s Prakriti (Constitution). There are different twigs mentioned for brushing for different Prakriti. Oral cavity includes the Oshtha (lips), Dantamoola (gingiva and tooth supporting structures), Danta (teeth), Jihva (tongue), Talu (palate), Kantha (throat) and Sarvasara (oral mucosa). The Mukha (oral cavity) is the gateway of the alimentary canal and is considered to be one of the most important parts of the Urdhwajatru (part above the clavicles). Oral health reflects the body health.

Ayurvedic recommendations for oral health includes

Danta Dhavana (Brushing) – Ayurveda advises brushing with twigs like neem or twigs of astringent, bitter and pungent taste.

Jihwa nirlekhana (Tongue scrapping) – Tongue scrapping is done gently with a metal scrapper from root to tip. This removes accumulated dirt and bad odor.

Gandusha (Gargling) – Gandusha (Mouth gargle) is filling the mouth to its full capacity with liquid for prescribed period of time and then the patient spits it out.

Dhumapana (Herbal smoke) – Dhumapana is inhalation of herbal smoke. Dhumapana gives firmness of teeth, pleasant smell and cleanliness of mouth.

Nasya (Nasal medication) – Administration of medicine through the nose is called Nasya. When administered after brushing, it bestows good smell to the mouth. When administered after meal, it cleanses the passage and bestows a feeling of lightness.

Pratisarana (Massaging the teeth and gums) – Pratisarana is done with paste of herbs, thick decoction, honey or powder of herbs. It is applies with fingers and rubbed gently on teeth and gums. This process removes the food debris and plaque and helps to maintain the periodontal health.

Ahara (Diet) – For healthy living and for healthy teeth and gums, one should eat healthy diet. It’s not only what we eat but when we eat also can affect our dental health. Timely meals, preferably freshly prepared and warm is advised. Eat healthy foodstuffs like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, vegetable protein, low fat diet. Reduce excess intake of fast foods, refrigerated food & drinks, aerated drinks, refined sugars and sweets. Drink sufficient fluids. Brush your teeth after every meal.

Vihara (Lifestyle) – Avoidance of smoking, alcohol and tobacco is a must for oral health. Regular physical exercise is not only beneficial for overall health but also plays a vital role in oral health. Being physically active throughout the day and doing moderate physical exercise will help maintain oral health. Breathing exercises are also good for oral health.

Aushadha Prayoga (Use of herbs) – Most of the oral diseases are caused due to bacterial infections. The antibacterial activity of medicinal plants are due to the presence of potential bioactive compounds which help to reduce bacterial load in the oral cavity and thus prevent formation of plaque, dental caries and ulcers.

Ayurveda is a holistic health system which also recommends some daily therapeutic procedures for the prevention and maintenance of oral health. Most of the oral diseases are due to bacterial infections and medicinal plants have anti-bacterial activity against various microorganisms including bacteria’s responsible for dental caries.

Four Ayurvedic Remedies To Get Rid Of Stretch Marks

Stretch mark over the abdomen during pregnancy is a physiological condition but it gives lot of stress to the women in the cosmetic view. More than 90% of total woman populations are affected by stretch marks on the body particularly on the abdomen, groin and on the chest region during and after pregnancy. These stretch marks are called as Kikkisa in Ayurveda and it can be well prevented & managed by Ayurveda. One should avoid scratching and the following external treatments can be beneficial.

1. The paste of the Sandalwood and Usira (Vetiveria zizanioides) should be applied over the abdomen.

2. Powder of Sirisa (Albizia lebbeck) stembark, flowers of Dhataki (Woodfordia fruiticosa), mustard and licorice are rubbed over the abdomen.

3. Abdomen and breasts should be irrigated with decoction of Neem, Bottle gourd, Basil and Manjishta (Rubia cordifolia) or leaves and flowers of jasmine and licorice

4. Repeated cleansing with of daruhridra (Berberis aristata) and licorice should be done.

Management Of Gluten Intolerance With Ayurveda

As per Ayurveda gluten intolerance can be correlated with the concept of formation Ama (undigested residue) formation due to deranged Agni (Digestive fire). Intake of incompatible food, untimely food, faulty diet habits deranges the Agni (Digestive fire). This Agni thus deranged becomes unable to digest even the light food and the food being undigested gets toxic leading to formation of Ama.

After a meal all the partakers fall ill something was probably wrong with the food; but if only one person becomes ill then that individual is probably allergic. Allergy is caused by the ‘antigen’ which is unfamiliar to the body. Ayurveda has a general term for all kinds of such antigenic material—ama. Just as ama created from improper digestion of food can disturb the alertness and agitate the emotions, disturbed emotions can undermine the digestion and create ama, which then incites the immune system to react against it. The continuous presence of ama in the system creates a condition of permanent immune alert called allergy.

Concept of Ama & Gluten Intolerance

According to Ayurveda, gluten intolerance symbolizes imbalance of Doshas and Agni. Gluten is particularly difficult to digest and requires strong Agni (digestive fire) to process it. If there is weak digestive fire, the gluten remains undigested or improperly digested leading to formation of ama. In due time an gluten-like ama accumulates in you so that whenever an gluten touches your tongue your immune mechanism gets alerted, assuming that it too will be improperly digested. This reaction is so striking that you are made aware of it by some bodily or mental symptom caused as a side effect of the internal conflict.

Don’t just replace your current diet of processed bread, pasta and cookies with a diet of processed gluten-free bread, pasta and cookies. It won’t do you any good in the long run. Ayurveda gives a new ray of hope for those who are suffering from gluten intolerance. Simple Ayurvedic advices, balanced diet, exercise, yoga help to enjoy better digestion and absorption whole life, thereby helps to overcome gluten intolerance.

Treatment of Gluten Intolerance in Ayurveda

1. Avoidance of food gluten containing food.
2. Eating timely and wholesome food in accordance with one’s Prakriti (Body type)
3. Usage of herbs and Ayurvedic treatments to correct Agni and clear Ama by stimulating enzyme secretions, improving digestion and absorption.
4. Slowly adapting to gluten containing food.

Okasatmya

Okasatmya is the adjustment to a particular diet by practice. This is the practice of introducing foods, which are not suitable and may contain antigenic substances, in small amounts and / or at large intervals, so that these gradually become acceptable. This appears to be similar to the present concept of desensitization.

Ayurveda has time-tested treatments to counter the imbalance of body functioning where body has become his own enemy. More in-depth treatments like Ayurveda Panchakarma, specific diets and herbal medicines over a period of time are prescribed to overcome gluten intolerance. In Ayurveda, each and every patient is an individual entity and the treatment also differs from patient to patient. So patient suffering from gluten intolerance must take Ayurvedic treatment under the supervision of an Ayurvedic physician.

Ayurvedic perspective of Skin

The Sanskrit word Twacha is derived from the root Tvach samvarane, meaning to cover the body. The skin is the seat of Vata dosha. Tactile sensation is the attribute of Vata dosha. The sensory stimuli from the skin are carried by Prana Vata (one among the five divisions of vata) to the brain. The sensation of touch is more on the tip of the tongue, eyes and the tip of the little finger.

The tvacha is the subsidiary tissue (upadhatu) of Mamsa dhatu. Susrutha has mentioned 7 types of skin viz. Avabhasini, Lohita, Shewta, Tamra, Vedini, Rohini and Mamsadhara, whereas Charaka has mentioned only 6 layers.

The skin is also the seat of Pitta dosha. Bhrajaka pitta (subtype of Pitta) located on the skin is responsible for the metabolism of the skin and maintenance of body temperature. Vyana Vata, sub type of Vata dosha expresses the colour of the skin and secretes the sweat from sweat glands. The sweat (sweda) is the waste of medho dhatu, sebum (majja mala) is the waste of majja dhatu and hair and nails are wastes of Asthi dhatu.

It is also important to know, clinically, the basic types of skin, in normalcy and in pathological conditions, according to the constitution of an individual.

Normal Skin in Vata type individuals – The skin is dry, rough, thin and flaky in patches in Vata type individuals. The skin is cold to touch and color of the skin is dark, grayish hue. There is very less sweating. Body hair is dry, sparse, harsh, curly, split and grey.

Normal Skin in Pitta type individuals – The skin is soft, smooth, and with many moles in Pitta type individual. The skin is warm to touch and fair, peachy, freckled, coppery blue color. There is profuse sweating and foul body odor due to excess sweating. Body hairs are smooth, oily and reddish brown.

Normal Skin in Kapa type individuals – Skin is oily, thick, and moist in Kapha type individuals. Skin is fair, pale with a glow, soft and cool to touch. Sweating is less. Body hairs are thick, black, unctuous and strong.

Abnormal skin in Vata type individuals -There is lack of lusture and tone, rough patches and cracking of skin. Hands and feet are rough and dry. There is appearance of dark patches. Body hair is harsh and excessively dry. Disorders like corns, callouses, dry rashes, dry eczema may occur.

Abnormal skin in Pitta type – Skin is oily and there is discoloration of natural pigment. There is falling of body hairs and sometimes graying of body hairs. Disorders like acne, furuncles, allergic rashes, wrinkles and inflammation occur.
Abnormal skin in Kapha type – Skin is dull, congested and very pale. Body hairs are very oily. Disorders like itching, pustules, cystic formations occur.

Daily Skin Care

• Ayurveda advises the application of slightly warm oil as per your Prakriti (Vata – Sesame oil, Pitta – Coconut oil, Kapha – Mustard oil) on the whole body including face daily. This makes the skin soft and silky, promotes strength and sturdiness of the skin and nourishes the body.
• Then perform few warming up exercise like suryanamaskar or yogasana for 20 – 30 minutes.
• Scrub your body with udwartana powder (mixture of chickpea, sandalwood and many other herbs good for the skin) or green gram powder. Scrubbing with herbal powders renders the skin clean and smooth. Udwartana powder wards off excess accumulation of excessive fats in the subcutaneous tissue.
• Take warm water bath to rinse off the herbal powder.

Facial Care

Face is our identity, personality and much more. So facial care is important. Water is very cheap yet effective cleansing agent for the face. Daily morning, followed by face wash with water, apply a face pack with 2 tsp of Triphala powder mixed in water. Triphala is a combination of 3 herbs which are good for all three doshas. Triphala is also a Rasayana (rejuvenative). Apply the pack for 5 minutes and then rinse it off. Then apply Yashtimadhu (licorice) pack by mixing ¼ tsp licorice powder in water and after 5 minutes, wash it off similarly. Licorice is a moisturizing agent and suits all skin types.

Ayurvedic face care can be achieved by taking steps in a sequence like initial cleansing, oleation massage, gentle scrub, face packs and moisturizing.

Cleansing

These fine particles skin to the facial skin, which is slightly moist and oily due to sweat and sebum. Hence initial cleansing of face is mandatory daily and especially before a massage.

There are numerous herbs which exert a gentle cleansing action prepared with simple cold water as a base. The base can be chosen according to the constitution, eg. Milk for Pitta, honey for Kapha and Sesame oil for Vata. Following herbs are generally used for cleansing the face.

Facial Massage

After cleansing, facial skin is free from grime, sebum and other secretions. It is ready to receive a facial massage, with enhanced herbal oil preparations. Commonly for all skin types, plain or medicated sesame oil / crème prepared from ghee are used for facial massage. Specifically for Vata type skin, sesame oil, for Pitta type coconut oil and for Kapha type mustard oil is used for facial massage.

Indications – Old age, Wrinkles, Debility, Dry skin, Pigmentation, Sunburn.

Benefits – Relieves muscular fatigue and pain, creates lightness, soothes facial skin and improves circulation; Prevents build-up of excessive numbers of dead surface cells.

Scrubs

Scrubs stimulate circulation, prevent blackheads, cleanse skin pores and effectively cleanse deeper layers of skin. It stimulates new skin growth and improves complexion. The base of all scrubs is chickpea or green gram powder. Other herbs are added to them as per the skin type.

Face Packs

Smooth paste prepared from suitable herbs mixed in suitable medium are applied on the face in a thin layer and allowed to dry for 10 – 15 minutes, then washed with cold water gently. Do not keep face packs for long hours. Wash face once the face pack is dried. Keeping face pack for prolonged time depletes the complexion of the skin.

The base of face packs is multani mitti. For pimples or acne, face packs prepared with turmeric, neem powder and aloe vera is used, because these herbs exert antiseptic, anti inflammatory properties and promotes healing process as well.

Benefits – It brings beauty and refreshes facial skin. It prevents wrinkles, cures blemishes and improves complexion.

Moisturizers

Ghee and herbs like Saffron, Coriander, Cardamom, Coconut, Rose, Lotus, Fenugreek, and Sesame have moisturizing properties. They are most commonly used for moisturizing. They reduce dryness of skin, by alleviating Vata dosha which is the causative factor for dryness. They augment the unctuousness of the skin by replacing their own unctuous attribute to the skin, keeping them soft, silky and moist.

In Ayurveda, inner and outer beauty is intimately related. The more we nurture ourselves, the more radiant we become physically and expressively – regardless of our particular body shape or proportions. Ayurveda has always understood beauty to be the product of general physical health and appropriate daily care. It is not just a cosmetic event. To enhance beauty, one should realize the importance of self-care in our increasingly fast-paced and chaotic world.

Ayurveda for a Happy & Healthy Pregnancy

Proper good health is very much necessary before planning to have children. Ayurveda states that one’s state during pregnancy will influence the mind and body of the child. Obviously this knowledge has been lost in today’s fast-paced world. The basic treatment during pregnancy is to strengthen and nourish the whole body. Emphasis should be give to emotional happiness and her contentment because this has a greatest influence on the developing baby.

Diet and lifestyle during Preconception

Couples desirous of healthy offspring should take a healthy diet predominant in sweet taste and include milk and its products, ghee and rice in diet. One should avoid excessive intake of food. The male partner should take herbal aphrodisiacs like Ashwagandha, Gokshur, Kaunch under the guidance of an Ayurvedic physician. The lady should take herbs like Shatavari and should consume food items prepared from black gram and sesame seeds. Both partners should avoid excessive eating, fasting and should have a pleasant state of mind devoid of fear, grief, anger, etc.

Recommendations during pregnancy

Ayurveda has prescribed a special diet and lifestyle regimen for healthy development of fetus during pregnancy and for easy labor. Following Ayurvedic regimen helps in maintenance of maternal and fetal health. Throughout pregnancy, the lady should take anabolic diet and herbs. During first trimester it is advised to take cold, liquid and semisolid food. Light diet, ghee and milk are advised. During second trimester meat soups or lentil soups, milk, ghee, rice, curd and rice gruel medicated with the herb Gokshur is advised. During third trimester rice, milk, ghee, meat soup or lentil soup, different cereals are advised. Also medicated oil enema, vaginal douche and mild laxatives are recommended in third trimester.

Avoid the following during pregnancy

• Strenuous physical exercise, excessive walking, squatting, prolonged sitting especially in uncomfortable postures and riding on vehicles or animals especially in uneven road.
• Avoid psychological dispositions like anger, grief, and fear.
• Tight synthetic clothing
• Suppression of natural urges like urination, thirst, hunger, tears, etc.
• Indulgence in quarrels or fights, bad thoughts and jealousness
• Lying in prone position.
• Excessive refrigerated food items and drinks, spicy, fried food, pungent food, and heavy to digest food, excessive salt, processed foods, junk foods, confectioneries, alcohol and smoking.
• Sleeping in excess
• Staying awake late at night.

Recommendations on lifestyle during pregnancy

• Follow strict personal hygiene.
• Wear clean comfortable cotton clothes preferably light colored.
• Intake of palatable and light to digest diet according to her desire
• Adequate sleep in soft bed
• Sufficient rest
• Pleasant thoughts and state of mind
• Listen to soft music
• Take bath in water treated with aromatic herbs.
• Living place should be fumigated with aromatic and antiseptic herbs.

Month wise regimen of pregnant lady

• First month – Milk with ghee in desired quantity, light and easy to digest food, seasonal fruits and fruit juices.
• Second month – Light, easily digestible food, milk processed with Shatavari herb or sweet herbs, seasonal fruits and fruit juices.
• Third month – Include green leafy vegetables, carrot, beetroot, fruits, pulses, beans and milk with ghee in diet.
• Fourth month – Use of milk in desired quantity, use of yoghurt, naturally extracted butter in diet.
• Fifth month – Light to digest food, use of milk, ghee and other milk products like curd, butter is advised.
• Sixth month – Light to digest food with ghee, rice gruel medicated with Gokshur herb, desired quantity of natural cane sugar is advised.
• Seventh month – Light to digest food with ghee, milk and ghee processed with herbs like Prithakparni, etc is recommended.
• Eighth month – Light to digest food with ghee, use of mild laxatives to prevent constipation.
• Ninth month – Light easily digestible food with ghee is advised.

Tips during pregnancy

For striae gravidarum (itching and striations that occur due to stretching of skin on abdomen, breast and thighs) – Apply the paste of Sandalwood and Ushira (Vetivera zizanoides) or paste of Neem and Basil. Bathing with water boiled with Neem and Basil also helps.

For stretch marks – Jasmine oil application helps.

For cracked nipples – Coconut oil or Castor oil application is good.

Postpartum care

Puerperium is the period following childbirth generally lasting 45 days. During this period, special diet and lifestyle regimen should be followed for regaining strength.

Do’s and Don’ts during Postpartum period

• Gentle oil massage especially on lower back and lower abdomen followed by mild fomentation is advised.
• Abdomen and flanks should be tightly wrapped with cotton cloth.
• Spices like ginger, fenugreek and cumin should be used in diet.
• Drink warm water in small quantities throughout the day.
• Light to digest food, which is warm, should be given.
• Avoid anger, excessive physical exercise and mental strain.
• Avoid indulging in sex.
• Rice gruel, ghee and milk can be included in diet.

Ayurveda for Women’s Health

Ayurveda is holistic health care for repairing the body and teaching it to thrive, thus living a life of greater comfort, ease and bliss. Ayurveda has best natural health supplements and products to manage the changes in the body right from puberty to menopause. A women goes through different phases namely – menarche, menstruation and menopause. Ayurveda recommends specific diet and lifestyle regimen to be followed during these different phases to maintain health.

All the three doshas are always present in the body but relative predominance of doshas changes in different conditions or ages. For e.g. Artava (Menstrual blood) being Agneya (Predominance of Fire element) in property hence there will be Pitta dominance during menstrual phase. So women should follow specific diet and lifestyle according to the state of health and dosha predominance at different stages of her life in order to maintain health.

The following table illustrates the status of doshas in different stages of a women’s life.

Classification of Age Sub classification Age limit (years) Changes in body Status of Doshas
Balyavastha (Childhood) Bala 10 General development Kapha predominant
Kumari 10 to 12 Development of secondary sexual characters Kapha predominant
Rajomati 12 to 16 Menarche and the lady is capable of conception Kapha & Pitta predominant
Madhyamavastha (Middle Age) Yuvati 16 to 40 Maximum reproductive capacity, full maturity Pitta & Kapha predominant
Praudhavastha 40 – 50 Pre menopause Pitta & Vata predominant
Adhirudha After 50 Menopause Mainly Vata predominant and Pitta second predominant
Vriddhavastha (Old age) Vrddha After 55 or 60 General decline Vata predominant

Lifestyle guidelines during menarche
Ayurveda opines that menarche is generally attained at 12 years of age. During this phase a girl should adopt healthy diet and lifestyle to support the physiological changes in her body. Staying awake at night for long hours, sleeping during daytime, sedentary lifestyle without much physical activity, excessive exposure to sexual content in television, internet, etc. should be avoided.

Common health problems during menarche –Amenorrhoea, Oligomenorrhoea
Herbs recommended –  Shatavari, Kumari, Hingu, Ajamoda

During menstruation
During menstrual phase, a woman should take nutritious diet, which is freshly prepared, light to digest, warm and unctuous. She should restrict excess intake of salt, spicy food, fried food, processed food items. She should avoid excessive physical activity, strenuous physical exercise, sexual indulgence, mental strain, exposure to excessive wind, sunlight, etc.

Common problems during Menstruation – PMS (Pre – Menstrual syndrome), Menorrhagia, Metrorrhagia, Dysmenorrhea, PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome)
Recommended herbs –Lodhra, Shatavari, Manjishta, Ashoka, Triphala, Yavani

During Menopause
Menopause!! This is a “pause” period of the menstrual cycle. This phase is an important corner of the life for a female, which brings a lot of changes in her life. Ayurveda explains that menopause occurs due to ageing which is a ‘Vata’ predominant stage of life. Common menopausal symptoms experienced are Hot flushes, Night sweats, Mood swings, Palpitations and Vaginal dryness. Strengthening and rejuvenating diet, ghee and milk are advised. Yoga, meditation and exercise should be done daily. One should avoid excessive physical strain and mental stress.

Common health problems during menopause – Obesity, Improper lipid metabolism, Osteoporosis, Thyroid imbalance
Recommended herbs – Shatavari, Guduchi, Amalaki, Gokshur, Brahmi, Sariva

Diet and Lifestyle regimen during menopause
Ayurveda is a holistic health care system and its main principle is keeping the body toned in tune with the nature. Women are complex and delicate and they can be benefited with Ayurveda. Ayurvedic healthcare is the perfect solution for women to maintain health, beauty and zest.

This article is written by Vaidya Mita Kotecha, Professor & HOD Dravyaguna department, NIA, Jaipur.

The Basis of Understanding and Harmony

We sometimes hear older people commenting affectionately upon certain reactions and behavior of their middle-aged children by saying, “He is just same as he was during his childhood.” And couples often try to change each other for the “better,” hoping the partner will change personality. Ultimately they give up their efforts, saying, “I have given up, he or she will never change.”

If you look around, or observe yourself, you will realize that there are certain ways of acting and reacting that always stay with you. For example you react in a particular way-whether it is the doorbell, telephone, or replying to a question. If you react quickly, you will do so all your life if you are a vata dominant person. In normal conditions (Non-pathological), the personality traits of vata-dominant people are a part of their being until their last days of life. Similarly, to have a slow reaction times and responses, an inability to make a decision quickly or postponding things to the next day, are traits of kapha dominant people. You cannot expect these people to become like vata people, as their fundamental nature is part of their being. Those who are generally impatient by nature cannot delay their meals, and if they have to, they get angry and irritated- the pitta type.

The above described traits re the part of the prakriti, or the fundamental nature, of an individual. The qualities for this way of behaving have been their since birth.

Understanding others:

After you have trained yourself to observe your action and reactions in the context of your fundamental nature or prakriti you will also begin to know the vikriti(abnormal) behavior. It is natural to see other people at same perspective at this point. It’s good idea to cooperate with the people you work with based on the context of their fundamental nature. For example, if you are a vata personality and you work with someone who is kapha, don’t get irritated at the slow pace of this person. Learn to have patience, and think about the slow and steady progress this person can make while you forge ahead. In working situation, if you try to understand each others reactions, a feeling of togetherness develops, and the group functions at a more personal level. This will inspire you to help each other, and to have compassion and love for each other.

The advantage of understanding others in the context of their prakriti is that people not so self-involved, and are not embarrassed, touchy, or sensitive about accepting their so-called negative traits. The group learns to understand the specific personality traits are linked with physiological reactions and behaviour patterns, and pointing these out is not passing judgment. Neither do people feel helpless, as they realize that there is a way to change themselves that requires a change in attitude or a change in nutrition.

Knowing each others prakriti can help you deal with interactions with others on the jobs. Everything has the time and place. For example, you never ask questions of a pitta person or discuss other work problems just before the lunch. These people cannot tolerate hunger and are easily angered immediately before meal time. Also watch your interaction with pitta people when they come inside after having been out in the hot sun. Vata people are easily exhausted in windy weather. Therefore, let them relax a little when they come to work when the wind is blowing, rainy cloudy, dark winter days tell upon Kapha people, and if you want to have an important business meeting with them, invite them for hot and spicy meals.

Some basic training in Ayurvedic wisdom can initiate a successful process of mutual understanding. People are usually intrigued with this way of thinking, for it is so different from the mechanistic way of looking at the universe, body, mind, personality and behaviour. Making a few simple adjustments can help to create an atmosphere that is more human and loving, and which give rise to more productivity and creativity in any business situation.

Sattva for Balance and Harmony:

Sattva not only helps us to develop positive qualities during the state of vikriti(abnormal), but also to bring balance and harmony in everyday life. The quality of tolerance love, and compassion help enhance mutual understanding and support in a group. These quality is necessary in enhancing efficiency in a group on the one hand and in individual creativity on the other. The moment you are angry, irritated, or dissatisfied, you will make mistakes no matter what the nature of work is. One mistake leads to another and create a vicious circle of irritation and anger.
We should develop the sattvic quality of our mind even when we are functioning total balance. There are certain things in each of seven types of prakriti that we ‘tent to do’. That means each prakriti has certain specific negative tendency, such as anger, irritation, lethargy, intolerance, dissatisfaction and so on. These traits may not come to the surface in normal circumstances, but in a given situations, they may evoked in you. Even in specific and provoking circumstances, we should make an effort to keep our equilibrium by evoking sattva. For this breathing technique and meditation might be helpful in this direction.

This article is written by Vaidya Aniket (BAMS).

Ayurvedic Interpretation Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Cause and Pathogenesis of Amavata

Vata is responsible for all the sensory and motor activities of the body. With advancing age or other precipitating factors Vata gets aggravated causing degenerative changes in joints and body, leading to dryness, pain, swelling and difficulty in movement. Aggravation of Vata dosha and accumulation of Ama (Metabolic toxin) is the main cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Kapha dosha and Pitta dosha are also invariably involved in the pathogenesis. Due to improper functioning of Agni (Metabolic fire), there is malfunctioning of digestive and metabolic systems leading to Ama formation. Vitiated Vata dosha circulates the Ama in the whole body and gets deposited at the sites which are weaker. When it deposit in the joints it leads to manifestation of the symptoms of the disease such as pain, stiffness, swelling, tenderness in small and big joints, fever and weakness.  Involvement of joints restricts the normal body movements which may lead to contracture of muscle and permanent deformities making a person lame. This disease is called Amavata (Rheumatoid Arthritis). The symptoms of Amavata are identical to rheumatism, which include rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatic fever.

Line of treatment

In the management of Amavata all the Acharyas (Ancient Physicians) have described the sequential employment of Langhana, Snehana, Swedana, Virechana, Basti and Shaman therapies.

1. Langhana (Light and easy to digest food): This is first line of treatment.  Using easy and light to digest foods such as vegetable or lentil soups added with Dipana (Appetizers) and Amapachana (Digestives) herbs and spices like ginger, pepper, etc to correct the functions of Agni (Digestive & Metabolic fire). Freshly prepared warm and easy to digest food in liquid or semisolid form is advised for a prescribed period of time.

2. Swedana (Fomentation):  Dry fomentation using sand or salt is recommended.  Upanaha (local medicinal application) can also be done to relieve pain.

3. Snehana (Internal and External Oleation):  Suitable medicated ghee / oils are used for internal and external oleation.

4. Virechana (Purgatives): After oleation and fomentation, Purgation with suitable herbs yields best results.

5. Basti (Medicated enema): Various medicated enemas with suitable herbs are beneficial.

6. Shamana Chikitsa : Suitable Ayurvedic herbal formulations are administered. Ayurveda utilizes immunomodulatory and Rasayana herbs which help in correcting the Agni (Digestive and Metabolic fire), eliminating Ama (Amapachana) and pacifying Vata dosha for treating Amavata.

Advise on Diet and Lifestyle

1. Foods which are homemade, freshly prepared and warm, easily digestible, vegetable juices, vegetable and lentil soups, cooking with spices like cumin, coriander, ginger, asafetida, fennel and turmeric is beneficial.

2. Restriction of hot, spicy and fried foods, sweets, Vata aggravating (Wind forming) foods like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, lady’s finger and potatoes is necessary.

3. Excessive intake of tea, coffee, fast food, processed food, food additives, non vegetarian food, white sugar, chocolate and cocoa, refrigerated food and drinks, sour curd / yogurt, sour food items like tamarind should be avoided.

4. Excessive alcohol, smoking, sleeping during day time, staying up late in the night and mental tensions like worry, anxiety, fear, stress and grief etc., should be given up.

5. Regular physical exercise and every day gentle massage with oil should form an important part of life style.

6. One should avoid exposure to cold breeze and excessive wind.

7. Bathing with cold water should be avoided. Warm water bath is recommended.

8. It is also advisable to take a gentle walk after every meal.

9. Light exercise is beneficial.

An analysis of a Rheumatoid Arthritis case at Chakrapani Ayurveda Center

Presentation / History:  The patient, a thirty-eight year old female presented with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis from her rheumatologist twelve years prior to being seen at our hospital. She complained of joint pains and stiffness throughout her body, most severely in her hands, wrists and sacroiliac joint. In addition to the joint and muscle discomforts the patient complained of significant fatigue and difficulty in walking. Movements of upper arm were restricted. She had constipation. There was ulnar drift and swan neck deformity. She was under oral Corticosteroids and Immunosuppressant for more than 10 years.

Examination: The patient had obvious signs of discomfort including inflammation in her wrists, fingers, elbows and other joints causing her to move with discomfort. The joints were stiff and slightly swollen. The patient was significantly underweight at five feet one inch tall and 49.5 kg. The blood pressure was normal. The erythrocyte sedimentation rate was elevated at 48 mm per hour and RA factor was positive.

Treatment protocol: Customized Panchakarma therapies were administered for 21 days to help ease the patient’s discomforts and to encourage healing.

Panchakarma Treatments : Yoga Basti (Therapeutic medicated enema for 8 days), Virechana (Purgation) and Nasya (Nasal medication) were the main Panchakarma (Detoxification) therapies administered. Other treatment procedures like Marma Abhyanga (Therapeutic gentle body massage), Swedana (Steam bath), Dhanyamladhara, Katibasti, Greevabasti, Valuka swedana, Upanaha, Pinda swedana, Pizhichil were administered.

Yoga Basti Therapy – The patient was given 5 Anuvasana basti and 3 Niruha basti.

Virechana Therapy – The patient had Krura Koshta (Hard bowels) and Pravara Satva (Good mental tolerance). She was administered 6 days of Snehapana (Drinking of medicated ghee) in increasing dose followed by Virechana (Purgation). On administration of Virechana, she had 35 bowel movements and suitable Samsarjana karma (Post Panchakarma diet) was given.

Diet and lifestyle during Panchakarma – The patient was placed on a bland diet, lentil soup and cooked vegetables. Rest and proper sleep were advised.

Internal Medicines – Shallaki capsule, Sunthi guggulu, Sinhanada guggulu and customized herbal compound powder consisting of Guduchi, Gokshura, Ashwagandha, Pippalimool, Shatavari and Godanti were given.

Observation : At the end of Panchakarma the patient’s condition began to improve, her swelling and pain was reduced and the flexibility of joints improved. Favorable results were obtained with the help of Panchakarma and with her positive attitude and compliance with the treatment program.

On discharge, the patient was counseled and advised on the need to follow the healthy and suitable diet and lifestyle.  She was made to understand that a return to former habits or excessive levels of stress is likely to cause a resumption of disease activity and need to be disciplined in taking proper care of herself on an ongoing basis. Her health condition was reviewed at periodic intervals.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF HOLY BASIL – TULSI

Tulsi has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda for its diverse healing properties. It is regarded in Ayurveda as a kind of “elixir of life” and believed to promote longevity. Tulsi has its own religious importance. The Tulsi Manas mandir at Varanasi is one such famous temple, where Tulsi is worshipped.

Apart from its religious significance, it is of great medicinal significance, and is a prime herb in Ayurveda treatment. The plant extract can be used to prevent and cure many illness and common ailments like common cold, headache, stomach disorders, inflammation, heart disease, various forms of poison and malaria. Essential oil extracted from Karpoor Tulsi is mostly used for medicinal purpose though of late it is used in the manufacture of herbal toiletry.

The Tulsi plant is known to purify or de-pollute the atmosphere and works as a repellent to mosquitoes, flies and other harmful insects.

Attributes of Tulsi

Rasa (taste): Tikta (Bitter), Katu (Pungent), Kashaya (Astringent).

Guna (Properties): Tikshna (Sharp), Ruksha (Dry) and Laghu (Light) 

Virya (Potency): Ushna (Hot) 

Karma (action): Pacifies Kapha and Vata dosha, Ruchikara (Promotes taste), Dipani (Appetizer), Hridya (Cardiac tonic) 

Varieties: Though there are many varieties of Tulsi only the two varieties are commonly found. Two types are Krishna Tulsi (Black variety) and Rama Tulsi (White variety).

Health Benefits :

Tulsi has been mentioned in the classical text books of Ayurveda which proves that Tulsi has used in many formulations and is the drug of choice in many disorders since thousands of years. Here are few health benefits of Tulsi. 

1) Common Cold & Cough: Chewing Tulsi leaves cures Cough and flu. It helps to mobilize mucous in bronchitis and asthma attack. Almost all the Ayurvedic cough syrups contain Tulsi as an important ingredient, as it helps in lessening bronchitis. A decoction of leaves with honey and ginger is an effective remedy against bronchitis, asthma, influenza and cold.

2) Pediatric Health Problems: In problems like cough, cold, diarrhea and vomiting, Tulsi juice is very effective. Basil leaves taken with honey keeps chicken pox at bay.

3) Excellent Mouth Freshener: Tulsi is an excellent mouth freshener and oral disinfectant and destroy 99% of germs and bacteria found in the mouth. Tulsi is also used as mouth wash to relieve tooth ache. These leaves are quite effective for several mouth infections like ulcers. 

4) Sore Throat: Water boiled with Basil leaves can be taken as a drink in sore throat.

5) Diabetes: Tulsi reduces blood glucose level and so is an effective herb for diabetes.

6) Stress Reliever: Tulsi act as a stress reliever by balancing various body processes. The anti-oxidants present in Tulsi helps in balancing different processes of the body. Drinking Tulsi extract daily smoothes the nervous system and helps to relieve stress.

7) Immune Booster: It boosts the immune system thus it promotes longevity.

8) Memory Enhancer: Tulsi leaves are beneficial for nervous system and help in enhancing memory.

9) Insect Bites: Tulsi is very beneficial against insect bites or stings. Drinking juice of Tulsi leaves after every few hours in case of bite is very beneficial. You can also apply Tulsi paste to the affected part.

10) Anti-Cancer Effect: Tulsi has anti-carcinogenic property and helps to treat certain forms of cancer including breast cancer. Tulsi restricts the blood vessel that feeds tumors. It also helps to inhibit the growth of oral cancer that it caused due to tobacco. But Tulsi should not be used as the sole treatment of cancer however.

11) Helps To Quit Smoking: Tulsi can also help you immensely if you are trying to quit smoking. It is more helpful than nicotine gum and candies which claim to keep you distracted from your need of smoking. Keep some fresh Tulsi in your pocket and munch whenever you feel the urge to smoke. The Tulsi juice will cool your throat just as the mint drop do and chewing will distract you.

This article is written by Dr. Aniket Kamble who is a B.A.M.S (Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Science)                                

Ayurvedic Approach To Allergy Management

Allergy is the condition present in certain individuals that can be described as the chemical ‘idiosyncrasy’ i.e. an abnormal physical reaction by an individual to a food or drugs. It is the typical hypersensitivity reaction to the foreign body. Allergy is caused by that antigen which is sometimes unfamiliar to the body, it manifest in the form of swelling, itching, hives and bodily discomfort are brought about by a particular article of food, the most common being fish, egg, mushrooms and milk. If for example after a meal all the partakers fall ill something was probably wrong with the food; but if only one person becomes ill then that individual is probably allergic.

Causes:

Although pollen, dust, dander, stress and other allergens are the trigger for the allergies in susceptible people they are not the underlying causes. Many people are exposed to these substance everyday without developing allergic reactions. Rather it is the inner conditions of the body that determines whether an allergic response results from exposure to allergens.

In ayurveda the traditional Indian system of health and well-being, the causation factor is the digestive fire ‘Agni’. The state of agni determines our body’s ability to digest what it experiences.  Agni protects our immunity by generating sufficient life forces (prana), life-vitality (tejas) and life strength (ojas) to protect and nourish the body. If digestive fire is low, metabolic toxins known as ‘Ama’ are formed. Ama results from the poor digestion, poor elimination and poor assimilation. This may lead to allergic reactions.

Symptoms:

Symptoms will vary depending on the tissue that has accumulated the metabolic waste (ama). If the ama is involved in the digestive tract, diarrhea can result. If it is in the skin, rashes or hives may occur and if respiratory tract is involved sneezing, inflammation and mucous drainage will occur.

Since the source of allergies lies with our diet and digestion, adopting a proper diet and improving digestion are “job done” in the fight against the allergies. Next, it is valuable to use internal cleansing regimens to reduce the clogging and accumulate impurities.

Treatment:

1) The foremost and essential principle is the ‘Nidana parivarjan’ i.e cessation of the cause. Total avoidance to food or drug which causes allergic reaction or intolerance.

2) Diet:

a)   Eliminate diary & Cold food: one should restrict cold and diary items like cheese, ice- creams, cold-drinks and bakery stuffs.

b)   Eat warm & cooked food: Majority of the meals should be warm. In Ayurveda eating warm and cooked food gives the digestive fire a chance to rest. When the digestion is low, it can’t access the nutrition stored in the raw food and the poorly digested food creates toxins. So one should have warm and cooked food. Avoid eating the leftovers.

3) Do Ayurvedic Cleanse:

One should go under purification procedure i.e Panchakarma atleast once in a year to remove the excess of toxins (ama) from the body. A cleanse is the great way to get rid of the toxins that are already in the body and reset the digestion. Vaman and Virechan are the recommended ones.

4) Nasya:

Nasya is the Ayurvedic practice of putting herbal oil in the nose. This practice lubricates dry nasal passage, delivers the benefits of herbs directly to the nose and keeps allergens from directly irritating the nasal lining. Daily two drops of medicated oil instillation in each nose is recommended.

5) Herbs and spices:

The Ayurvedic herbs known to support and rejuvenate the system like guduchi, sunthi, trikatu, haridra, tulsi, vasa, yasti-madhu can be adopted. One can use spices in cooking like black-pepper, turmeric, coriander seeds, ginger to enhance and support the digestive fire ’Agni’.

“Defend allergies before they defend you”

This article is written by Vaidya. Aniket Kamble B.A.M.S (Rajiv Gandhi university of health science, Bangalore)