Important inputs on Ayurveda approach to Food and Nutrition

Diet high in whole grains and other fiber-rich foods that provide lasting energy throughout the day. Fiber helps maintain a toned digestive tract by providing bulk which helps toxins and excesses to be evacuated easily. When the intestines are regularly cleaned, the body does not become overloaded with undigested material that would otherwise seek elimination through the skin and hence a burden to the body.

Low in fat diet keeps the blood clean, prevents clogging and helps the circulatory system working efficiently which in turn nourishes the whole human system, and naturally keeps the weight controlled. On the contrary a diet rich in saturated fats leads to clogging up of veins, arteries, and organs which are obviously injurious to health.

Diet low in refined sugars. Refined carbohydrates are empty calories which only serve to pack on the weight. They give the body a quick boost of energy that is always followed by a physical (and emotional) lowness. This stresses the pancreas and adrenals hence devitalizing the body. Refined carbohydrates deplete the body of minerals which are essential for all its vital functions. It is the combination of refined carbohydrates and excess protein which forces toxins to the skin surface in the form of pimples.

Diet high in minerals that keep the body looking alive and charged with energy. Minerals greatly contribute to that intangible radiance, freshness, and magnetic look of a person, reflecting good health.

Intake of food low in animal proteins & rich in vegetable proteins. Low protein diets weaken the body and cause a hollow, sunken look to the face. Diets high in animal proteins raise the toxicity by increasing the waste products in the body due to their slow transit time (It takes meat about three days to be completely digested and expelled from the system). This slows digestion and depletes the body of minerals. Vegetable proteins, on the other hand, fully nourish the body, being quickly and efficiently metabolized. At the same time, not everyone would want to take only vegetarian food. Thus, Ayurveda has the means of making meats more digestible with spices such as garlic, ginger, cumin, cayenne, and black pepper.

Low intake of salt. Diets high in salt tend to make the mind and body stiff and tight. Having a constricting influence on the body, it tends to slow circulation and create retention of fluid in the body. This gives a puffy look and areas under the eyes appear to be sunken. In Ayurveda, a very low salt diet is suggested in some skin problems.

Absence of strong stimulants or depressives such as coffee, sodas, or alcohol. These stress the body’s organs and make skin loose and flabby, furrows the brow and swelling under the eyes in the long run.

High in fresh organic foods whenever possible. These are nutritionally the richest, coming from healthy soil and thus carry the strongest, vital energy. This contributes to a radiant, rich glow in our face and skin in general.

Back pain and Ayurveda

Back pain has become a common problem in recent time. One among every ten persons in our world suffers from back pain. There are many reasons for a patient to experience back ache. Back pain can exist in any one region of the back or in multiple areas at the same time. Pain can be localized to one side or can be a band of pain wrapping across the width of the back.

Causes:

We all know that back pain is a common complaint prevalent among middle-aged men and women. But the causes are different in both sexes. It involves vertebral column, their ligaments and various muscles attached to it. The serious doshas include – avalambaka kapha, samana, apana and vyana type of Vata.

Lack of proper exercise, excessive workload, obesity, traveling too much, improper posture, inherited weakness of bones and muscles are some of the common reasons for back pain. Among elderly persons back pain occurs due to destruction such as – ostemalacia, osteoporosis and in males prostatic diseases.

In females, working women are more prone to back pain because of the lengthy hours of office work and the work to be done after coming to home gives much strain to their back bone. There are other causes too like – multiple pregnancies, chronic cervicities, uterine fibroid, tubo-ovarion mass and certain urine pathology.

Obstruction in vertebrae diseases, inter vertebral disc, tumour, soft tissue involvement, tuberculous spine, diseases of retroperimotinal organs like kidney or intraperitonial organs may cause back pain.

Driving on rough roads, long use of old vehicles having no shockproof mechanism, lifting heavy weight etc are some of the main causes of back pain in developing countries.

Chakrapani’s tips for back pain

If you are a computer professional or an office going person, be careful not to sit in a stretch and strain yourself for a long time. Refresh yourself in between.

•  Swimming is a good exercise for back pain.

•  Avoid lifting heavy objects.

•  Now and then oil massage or spinal bath is good for back pain.

•  Yoga under the guidance of an expert yoga instructor is good for back pain.

•  Avoid a sagging bed.

•  Take a hip-bath everyday.

Treatments offered at chakrapani for back pain.

1. Oil Massage

Just as a vehicle needs to be greased occasionally so is the case with human body too. Body especially the back should be oiled and revitalized occasionally.

N.B.- Such type of oil massage is not indicated in surgical types of back pain.

2. Pizhichil

Two therapists first massage the body in synchronization using warm medicated  oil and then dip cotton swab in warm oil and squeeze it over the affected part of  the back and massage gently by their hands. This therapy tones the back muscles and relieves the stiffness over the back.

3. Dhara

Here the patient is asked to lie over his/her stomach. Thereafter a stream of medicated oil is poured over the back. This provides a soothing relief for the pain.

4. Kati Basti

In this, warm medicated oil is retained 20-30 minutes over the back with the help of application of circular dough prepared with white gram flour and water.

Tips for Personal care in Spring Season

Diet :
• Take easily digestible and fat free food.
• Avoid excess intake of cold, sour, sweet and fatty food.
• Include old barley & wheat, honey in your diet.
• Avoid intake of curd.
• Honey mixed with luke warm water can be added for fat and/or Kapha reduction.
• Beverages like Asava (fermented infusion), Arishta (fermented decoction), Sidhu (fermented sugarcane juice), wine and beer may be added to diet.

 

Lifestyle :
• Physical exercise should be done.
• Vamana (Ematic Therapy) and Nasya (Insufflations Therapy) should be taken.
• Massage with medicated powder should be adopted.
• Avoid day time sleeping.
• Enjoy the blossoms of the gardens, reservoirs of water and cool breez from south direction.

Iron Deficiency Anaemia

Iron Deficiency Anaemia which is described under the disease Panduroga in Ayurveda is a worldwide problem with the highest prevalence in developing countries. It is found especially among women of childbearing age, young children and during pregnancy & lactation.

Iron Deficiency is the most common cause of nutritional Anaemia; others are foliate & Vitamin B-12 deficiency. Iron deficiency can arise either due to inadequate intake or poor bioavailability of dietary iron or due to excessive loss of iron from the body. The poor bioavailability is considered to be major reason for widespread iron deficiency. Women lose a considerable amount of iron in menstruation. Some of other factors leading to anaemia are intestinal parasites (hookworm etc.) & malaria.

Tips for Preventing Iron Deficiency Anaemia

Diet Lifestyle
More intake of green leafy vegetables, carrot, and beetroot. Washing hands before meals.
Include dried fruits like figs, grapes, apricot, almonds etc. Washing vegetables and fruits properly before use.
Include Jagerry, Dates, Sugarcane. Early to bed and eraly to rise.
Intake of juice of Fruits like apple, pomegrannate, grapes & citrus fruits. Include Pranayama and light exercise.
Avoid intake of tea/coffee before and after 2 hours of meals.  

Herbs and Herbal formulation used in Iron Deficiency Anaemia

  1. Punarnava
  2. Shatavari
  3. Vidanga
  4. Mandoora Bhasma
  5. Louha Bhasma
  6. Dhatri Louha
  7. Punarnava Mandoor
  8. Daadimadi Ghee
  9. Daadimashtaka Choorna

Three best Ayurvedic Anti-Hypertensive Herbs

Ayurvedic herbs are effective in mild to moderate hypertension. They stabilize the raised systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. Also they effectively reduce physical, chemical and biological stress, which normalizes cardiac functions.

1) Arjuna (Terminalia Arjuna) is a cardio protective. It prevents oxidative damage to the heart and stabilizes blood pressure. It is also a potent hypolipidemic and helps in the management of artherosclerosis. For more please click here

2) Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia Sepentina) is a potent anti-hypertensive. Its anti-hypertensive activity is attributed to a decrease in peripheral resistance and the resulting decrease in cardiac output. As it controls anxiety, it is beneficial in the treatment of anxiety disorders also.

3) Lashuna (Garlic / Allium sativum) helps in vasodilation, thereby reducing blood pressure and restoring normal blood pressure in hypertensive people.

Simple secrets to achieve a naturally beautiful skin.

• Mix equal quantities of cucumber juice, rose water and lime juice. Wash the face and apply it overnight. Rinse off in the morning. This clears the complexion and keeps it healthy.

• Take 50 ml. of raw (not boiled) milk and mix a pinch of salt and two teaspoonful of lime juice in it. Use it as a cleansing lotion. It helps to clean the deep pores of skin.

• Mix equal quantities of lime juice, glycerin and rose water. This lotion if applied to the face regularly at bed time is very useful in removing pimples, blackheads and other stains of the skin. It makes the skin soft and can also be applied to other parts of the body (hands, feet etc.)

• Take 50 ml. of tomato juice and mix with one teaspoon of lemon juice. Apply this mixture to the face. It helps to make the skin soft and glowing.

• Take equal quantities of turmeric powder and wheat flour and make a paste with sesame oil. Apply it to the face to remove unwanted hair.

• Apply orange juice to the face for smooth and soft skin.

• Take 30 ml. of cabbage juice and mix one teaspoon of honey in it. This mixture, if applied regularly to the face, helps to keep the wrinkles away.

• Make a paste of raw carrots and apply it to the face. Wash it after one hour. The skin will become glowing.

• Regular application of mint juice to the face helps to remove stains.

• Try out some of these simple natural remedies for smooth, clear and radiant complexion.

For more on skin care please click here :

Top 5 Ayurvedic herbs to support well being during pregnancy

During pregnancy, an expectant mother experiences a wide range of biological and physical changes. Along with these changes comes varying degrees of discomforts. Fortunately Ayurvedic herbs can help relief the symptoms experienced and aid in a safe, healthy and happy pregnancy.

Pomegrannate seeds for Morning Sickness

• Actually morning sickness, a common problem during pregnancy occurs due to excess salivation, so it is better to do mouth gargle with plain water after waking up in morning and then eat 1 or 2 crackers or some dry snack.
• Dadima Bija (Seeds of Pomegranate) mixed with honey after waking up in the morning will help.

Avipathikar churna for Heartburn

• More than half of all pregnant woman report to suffer from heartburn. Eat small frequent meals slowly and cut down on high fat foods and caffeine.
• Avipathikar churna (A herbal compound in powder form) is effective in heartburn.

Triphala tablets for Constipation

• Constipation, a very common in pregnancy tends to increase as the pregnancy advances. High fluid intake, eating high-fibre foods and doing sufficient simple exercise is important.
• Triphala tablets / powder will help in laxed bowels.

Tulsi for Respiratory distress

• Many women feel breathless as the growing uterus as the pregnancy advances.
• Hot infusion of Tulsi (Holy basil) is beneficial.

Cumin mix for Bloating

• Exercise regularly, avoid carbonated beverages and moderate your intake of dairy products.
• A mixture of equal quantity of cumin, coriander and fennel seeds boiled in water, filtered and when taken internally helps get rid of bloating.

Tips for back pain

If you are a computer professional or an office going person, be careful not to sit in a stretch and strain yourself for a long time. Refresh yourself in between.

Swimming is a good exercise for back pain.

Avoid lifting heavy objects

Now and then oil massage or spinal bath is good for back pain.

Yoga under the guidance of an expert yoga instructor is good for back pain.

Avoid a sagging bed.

Take a hip-bath everyday.

Treatments offered at chakrapani for back pain.

  1. Oil Massage

Just as a vehicle needs to be greased occasionally so is the case with human body too. Body especially the back should be oiled and revitalized occasionally.

N.B.- Such type of oil massage is not indicated in surgical types of back pain. For more visit : http://chakrapaniayurveda.com/abhyangam/

  1. Pizhichil

Two therapists first massage the body in synchronization using warm medicated  oil and then dip cotton swab in warm oil and squeeze it over the affected part of  the back and massage gently by their hands. This therapy tones the back muscles and relieves the stiffness over the back. For more visit : http://chakrapaniayurveda.com/pizhichil/

  1. Kati Basti

In this, warm medicated oil is retained 20-30 minutes over the back with the help of application of circular dough prepared with white gram flour and water. For more visit : http://chakrapaniayurveda.com/kati-basti/

Six Herbs To Ease Menopause With Ayurveda

Menopausal symptoms are experienced by 75-85% of woman. Diet containing hot spicy food, alcohol, caffeine and stressful lifestyle can increase it. Ayurvedic herbs possess certain phytoestrogen that connects with the body’s estrogen receptors, which enable the hormones to function properly, thereby help smooth the transition through menopause. These herbs address almost all the changes of the menopause without any side effects and have an effect almost parallel to hormone replacement therapy and synthetic hormones medication.

Anethum Sova (Mishreya) acts as an emmenagogue, which imparts active ingredients that increase more blood supply to the pelvic area and uterus.

Saraca Indica (Ashoka) is the best uterine tonic, which strengthens the muscles of uterus and reduces vaginal discharge and pain.

Trigonella foenum graecum (Methika) contains estrogen-like saponins, which help to improve uterine functions, reduce excess fat, and levels of cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides safely and naturally.

Asparagus Racemosus (Shatavari) has phyto-estrogen that helps in hot flashes, night sweats, and anxiety and enhances libido.

Hemidesmus Indicus (Sariva) it is a blood purifier, which acts on the tissue level and effective in issues like hot flushes.

Emblica Officianalis (Amalaki) is an anti oxidant, rejuvenator and has anti aging properties, thereby promoting health of all organs including the uterus. It is a good cardiac tonic, hair tonic and complexion enhancer too.

Winning Over Depression Through Ayurveda

Depression is not just being deeply sad or blue, but it is a group of signs where the person feels sinking, sad, hopeless and alone constantly for a couple of weeks or more, where he or she fails to address the positivity, irrespective of positive or negative life situations; feeling of emptiness, incapable to enjoy the things which the person would normally would like to do, example-work, hobby or company of friends which in turn affects productivity, sleep, appetite or even be the cause for serious physical ailments, mental disorders and abnormal behavioral patterns over a long period of time more than a couple of weeks. The social stigma and the cultural taboos regarding the mental disorders makes it worse for the person under depression to communicate to the people around or to get needed medical assistance. Even the great personality like Arjuna was not spared from Vishada/depression is described in the 1st chapter of Mahabharata as Arjuna Vishada Yoga. Depression affects 350 million global populations of which the women outnumber men and 1 million deaths per year are due to the same. It is said to be a “common cold of mental health” which can affect any person in any age group irrespective of socioeconomic status & race.

Ayurveda explains depression or Vishada as an associated symptom of many physical ailments as well as a separate psychiatric ailment. In Ayurveda the commentators like Chakrapanidatta, Dalhana has elaborated the term “Vishada” (fear and weakness) as that which weakens the body and mind and is the aggravating factor for most of the diseases. Ayurveda considers the mind and body as the two faces of the same coin where a physical ailment can generate a mental illness. Eg.Diseases like epilepsy, leprosy, psoriasis etc can cause depression to the person owing to the social stigma towards such diseases. And similarly a mental condition can in turn pave way to a physical aliment the best example most of us have experienced is diarrhea before the exams or headaches due to stress and excess thinking. So Ayurveda is concerned not only about the body but also the mind and the soul. Even WHO have included the mental and spiritual health in the health definition apart from socio-economic and physical health.

Causes of depression

• The neurochemical imbalances like secretion and synthesis of nor epinephrine and serotonin which in turn affects circadian rhythm

• Hereditary factors

• Seasonal changes especially winter season or cold countries with less sun light

• Physiological factors – pregnancy, post partum and menopause

• Drug induced

• Excess exposure to electromagnetic waves (Television, computer, mobile phones)

• Loss of a loved one, Mate cheating, etc

Symptoms :

The symptoms of depression arise with when each doshas are associated with Tamas / the mass inertia of mind.

• Vatadosha associated with tamasic nature will have excessive worries, feeling of hopelessness, pessimism, feeling of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness, anxieties, fears, phobias, terrors, delusions, compulsions, irrelevant talk, monologue or dialogue with self, attention deficit, bi-polar disease, auditory hallucinations, irritability, restlessness, difficulty to concentrate and remember details, difficulty in decision making, insomnia, early morning wakefulness, loss of appetite, aches and pains.

• Pitta dosha associated with tamas will give riseto thoughts of suicide & even suicide attempts, murder and visual hallucinations, headaches and digestive problems that do not ease even with treatments. It also causes comparison, dominance, criticism, jealousy, frustration, obsession, territorialism, anger, rage, and violence.

• Kaphadosha associated with tamas will produce sadness&feeling of emptiness, melancholia, prolonged crying, stubbornness, dark depression, hiding, hoarding, catatonia, overeating and kinesthetic hallucinations, fatigue and decreased energy, loss of interest in activities or hobbies that was once pleasurable, including sex, excessive sleep, drowsiness even after proper sleep, over eating and indigestion.

Treatment

Ayurveda has the safest treatment for depression which is neither habit forming nor with side effects. There are 3 approaches for the treatment in Ayurveda –

Daivavyapasraya– Daiva means divine or the deeds of past life, Vyapasraya means seat or support. It includes mantras & prayers, use of gems, rituals, oblations, offerings, sacrifices like fasting, prostration, pilgrimages etc. These methods create confidence and remove the fears and pessimistic tendencies in person.

Yuktivyapasraya – Yukti means logical thinking or rational knowledge. These include the internal medicines as well as external therapies. Certain classical herbs like Jyotishmati, Brahmi, Ashwagandha, Shankhapushpi tablets like Saraswatvati, Mansyadighanvati, preparations like Brahma Rasayana are good for the depression. Shirodhara, Marma Abhyangam, Ksheeradhara, Takradhara and even Shodhana Chikitsa or the Panchakarma detoxification therapies are good for depression.

Sattvaavajaya – This involves counseling part, which is inevitable as rational treatment. The person under depression doesn’t need sympathy nor does he or she want other person to interfere in their life decision but need to be treated empathically with proper counseling and apt medication.

The branch of Ayurveda that deals with the mental disorders including depression is called Bhutavidya or Ayurvedic psychiatry. The Bhuta initially was interpreted as the entities of superstitious origin. But by 20th century in an attempt to avoid more epistemological and discursive aspect of Bhuta or vernacular idioms of distress, was reinterpreted as more secular and scientific idiom as bacteria, virus and microbes or even vectors which cause genetic changes which confirmed the mind body correlation of Ayurveda and also the hereditary aspect of diseases affecting the mind. Thus the treatment for depression is explained elaborately in ancient Ayurveda texts under Ayurvedic psychiatry (Bhutavidya).

The treatment for depression in the conventional medication and psychiatry has several problems including strong side effects that affect other areas of life. Moreover, the occurrence of depression cannot be prevented by these means; it just gives temporary relief as and when it occurs. On the other hand, Ayurveda provides a natural and effective way of treatment of depression, improves mental clarity and cognitive functions, also preventing re occurrences to a large extent.