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)

BEAT THE HEAT

Summer is the season of Vata and Pitta. Heat abounds and we must help our bodies cope with the warmer weather. The sun takes away the strength of the people and the cooling qualities of the earth. It is the debilitating period.

Here are some things you can do to adjust to the scorching days of summer.

Summer Routine

1. This is the time of year to conserve your energy. Leisurely activities are best.

2. Keeping the body cool is recommended, as overheating can cause a Pitta imbalance, So take bath with normal water and anoint the body with sandal paste.

3. Rest and relaxation are advised. This is a great time for the typical “summer vacation”.

4. One can take a nap during the day since nights are shorter in summers. But nap is generally prohibited in other seasons, except in certain health conditions.

5.  Sleep for 7 – 8 hours at night.

6. Surround yourself with calming soft colors and fragrances.

7. Take extra care of your feet, as in warm weather shoes tend to leave feet cracked and dry. You can apply sesame oil to the feet daily. Oil application to the feet not only relives cracks, numbness or pain in feet but also improves eye sight.

8. Wear natural fibres such as cotton to allow your skin to breath. Prefer to wear light color dresses like yellow, light blue or green or pink. These colors help to calm Pitta.

9. One can wear pearl pendant or ring. Pearl helps to pacify Pitta.

10. Exposure to too much sun or too much exertion should be avoided.

11. Protect yourself from sun. Do not go out during the hottest time of the day.

12. Do not overdo anything – avoid over work, over strain or excess exercise.

13. Use suitable creams and oils on the body to prevent damage to the skin due to excess heat. One can use Aloe Vera gel for the face and apply coconut oil or ghee or ksheerabala oil for the body.

14. Place a piece of cucumber / potato or cotton dipped in rose water on the eyes. As eyes is the seat of Pitta, this helps to relax and rejuvenate the eyes.

Summer Diet

1. Eat cool, soft foods like fresh fruit juices or coconut water or sugarcane juice.

2. During summer, as the day time is longer, stomach should not be empty, therefore, three or four helping of semi solids / fluids / fruits.

3. Reduce excess hot and acidic foods like tamarind, sour yoghurt / curd, sour buttermilk, chilies, and vinegar.

4. Reduce excess alcohol as this dehydrates the body.

5. Keep hydrated with plenty of water. It is advisable to drink water from a mud pot.

6. Include buttermilk, fresh fruits and juices, salads, melon, squash, cucumber, peppermint, coriander, cardamom, fennel, anise.

7. Take timely meals.

The Three Gunas : Sattva, Rajas & Tamas

The three subtle basic components (tri gunas) of Sattva, Raja and Tamas are the very fabric of creation. Unknown to modern sciences, they permeate through all living and non-living, tangible and intangible things. The vibrations emitted by anything are dependent on its predominant subtle basic component. This also influences the behavior of all things.

Sattva stands for purity and knowledge and sattvic individual lives in service of society with no expectation of recognition or reward of any ulterior motive. Rajas stands for action and passion and Rajasic individuals live more for personal gain and achievement. Tamas stands for ignorance and inertia. Tamasic individual has no problem about stepping on other’s toes to get ahead or harming the society.

The gunas cannot be explained altogether distinctly from one another. Rajas, Sattva, and Tamas are mixed up with one another. They are attached to one another, serve one another, they feed on one another. Everything in the world is made of these three gunas. The creation of the gunas is eternal. As long as there is goodness so long, darkness exists. And, as long as goodness and darkness exist, so long the passion exists. They perform their journey together,                                                                           in union and moving about collectively.

Sattva can be correlated to potential energy of the system, Rajas – to the kinetic one, while Tamas is the lack of energy. This metaphor complies with physiological descriptions and it is intuitively subject to hierarchization according to up to down axis. For instance, the seed with its potency of making the new plant grow is Sattvic in its nature, the plant in its full bloom is Rajasic while the rotten fruit that has fallen from it is of Tamas nature.

Eat the right Diet

Regular and timely meals should be taken. Over eating and fasting should be avoided. Ayurveda diet emphasizes on eating a healthy diet which helps to maintain balance in doshas. It is not mathematical. It is about eating in moderation, the right diet which is conducive to health. One should refrain from frozen food. Freshly prepared warm meals are advisable. Refined sugar, sweets, chocolates, stimulants, caffeine, coffee, tea, cold drinks and foods, carbonated beverages, preserved food, fried or overcooked food, strong spices, excessively spicy food should be reduced. They interfere not only with the normal functioning of the body organs but also disturb our mental faculties, derange our emotions and thoughts. Also, foods like red meat, aged cheeses, over spiced, oily, salty, pungent and sour foods should be reduced. Hence, avoiding processed, precooked, fast foods and frozen foods is one of the best ways to reduce the Rajasic and Tamasic energies in your diet.

Ghee, cooked vegetables, fresh fruits, fresh warming spices, curd, yoghurt, milk, nuts and dry fruits soaked in water overnight, and cereals are good for maintaining a Sattvaguna, the positive energy of mind which fosters positive attitude and all positive emotions. It also balances of the negative energies in our mind. Sattvaguna is absolutely necessary for keeping our mind free from harmful negative emotions like anger. Hence, including foods that contain ‘Sattvaguna’ is the best way to control negative emotions.

Simple Lifestyle suggestions

Avoid going very late to bed at night or staying awake at night, over work, abuse, social isolation, self destructive behavior, negative thinking, alcohol, smoking and tobacco. Sleeping for 8 hours at night, Going to bed early and waking up early should be practiced. Practice pranayama or focused breathing exercise, yoga and meditation. Go for walking and be physically active all through the day. Listen to soft music at night. Organize your work and keep up with your tasks. It will ease off burdens and enhance Sattva Guna.

Coconut water an ideal natural drink

Botanically it is known as Cocos nucifera and belongs to Arecaceae family. Coconut water is one of the delicious and refreshing health drinks known to everyone. Coconut water is endosperm obtained by opening a tender and immature coconut. The water is clear, sterile and very sweet. It contains sugars, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, enzymes, amino acids, cytokine, and phyto-hormones.


Coconut plants are well grown in costal environments. Different species of coconut palms are grown all over the world especially in India, Brazilian Coast, Southeast Asia, Pacific Islands, Africa, and the Caribbean. They are collected at the age of 5-7 months. A single nut may contain about 200 to 1000 ml of water depending on size and its variety. In some countries it is available canned, or bottled. The natural taste and flavor of coconut water show variations on different parameters like soil, water, atmosphere etc.

Ayurveda Energetics

Rasa (Taste) – Madhura (Sweet)

Guna (Properties) – Laghu (Light)

Virya (Potency) – Shita (Cold)

Vipaka (Taste at the end of Digestion) – Madhura (Sweet)

Dosha Karma (Action on doshas) – Mitigates Vata dosha and Pitta dosha

Karma (Actions) – Brmhana (Stoutening), Balya (Strength promoting), Mutrala (Diuretic), Hridaya (Good for heart),

Shukrala (Spermatogenic).

Indications – Thirst, Burning sensation, Gastritis.

Nutritional Values :

Sr. No.    Contents    Percentage
1    Calories    45.6
2    Carbohydrate    3 %
3    Fat    1 %
4    Protein    3%
5    Sodium    11 %
6    Potassium    17 %
7    Dietary Fiber    11 %
8    Vitamin C    10 %
9    Vitamin B6    4 %
10    Thiamin    5 %
11    Niacin    1 %
12    Calcium    6 %
13    Iron    4 %
14    Magnesium    15 %
15    Zinc    2 %
16    Phosphorous    5 %
17    Copper     5 %

Health benefits of coconut water

  • Ayurvedic perspective tender coconut specially helps in lowering Pitta Dosha and Pitta related diseases like Pittaj Jwara, Raktapitta etc.
  • Coconut water is help in heart problem, act as appetizer, it also helps to increase sperm count in male infertility and very much useful in kidney stone. 
  • Coconut water is composed of many naturally occurring bioactive enzymes such as acid phosphatase, catalase, dehydrogenase, diastase, peroxidase, RNA-polymerases etc. In effect, these enzymes help in the digestion and metabolism.
  • Coconut water is a best drink for dehydration especially in summer season to mitigate thirst.
  • Research studies suggest that cytokinins (e.g., kinetin and trans-zeatin) in coconut water showed significant anti-ageing, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-thrombotic effects.
  • Despite very light consistency, its water has much better composition of minerals like calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc than some of the fruits like oranges. (Compare the mineral composition of oranges).
  • Water is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pyridoxine, and folates. These vitamins are essential in the sense that the human body requires them from external sources to replenish.
  • Fresh coconut water has a small amount of vitamin-C (Ascorbic acid); Vitamin C is a water-soluble ant-oxidant.
  • Coconut water contains a very good amount of electrolyte potassium. 100 ml of water has 250 mg of potassium and 105 mg of sodium. Together, these electrolytes help replenish electrolyte deficiency in the body due to diarrhea (loose stools) etc and reduce the need for intravenous therapy.
  • The osmolarity of tender coconut water is slightly greater than that of WHO recommended ORS (Oral Rehydration Therapy) osmolarity. Presence of other biological constituents like amino acids, enzymes, minerals, and fatty acids may account for this higher osmolarity. However, unlike WHO-ORS, its water is very low in sodium and chlorides, but rich in sugars and amino acids.
  • This well-balanced fluid composition with much-needed calories would be an ideal drink than any other brand of soft drink beverages in dehydration conditions and also in summer season.

   So, go ahead and indulge in this nutritious fluid and enjoy its abundant health benefits.

This article is written by Dr. Mahesh Varlekar Ph.D.(Ayu.). Please email at info@chakrapaniayurveda.com for any queries.

Simple tips for winter

  • 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.

Bala

Botanical name – Sida cordifolia

Family name –Malvaceae

English name – Country mallow

Common name – Bala

Habitat – Sida cordifolia grows as a wasteland weed throughout India in tropical and sub tropical situations especially in damp climates. It is a pan tropical species and hence found in both the hemispheres in similar situations.It grows along road sides, waste lands and found everywhere in tropical and subtropical regions.

Habit – Perennial shrub.

Useful Parts: Root, bark, leaves, flowers and seeds.

Common Uses: Bala is used for weight loss, to increase energy, for impotence, sinus, allergy, throat disease, asthma, bronchitis and to promote a strong skeletal system. The plant is tonic, astringent, emollient, aphrodisiac and useful in treatment of disorders of respiratory system. It is also rejuvenative, nutritive and stimulant to the heart. Externally bala oil is used for massage in muscular weakness and other nervous disorders. Stem is used as a demulcent, emollient, febrifuge, diuretic and in skin disorders. Bark is considered as cooling. It is useful in disorders of blood, throat and urinary system, piles and insanity. Leaves are analgesic, aphrodisiac; demulcent, diuretic, nervine tonic, rejuvenative, stimulant and tonic. Roots are regarded as cooling, astringent, stomachic and tonic, aromatic, bitter, diuretic and are used in rheumatism, leucorrhoea, inflammation and liver diseases. The seeds as considered as aphrodisiac.

Products description – It is a key ingredient in many products like Kshirabala oil, Bala Ashwagandha oil, Sandhivatayog, Swasyog, Rasayanaprash, Vajikaran tea, etc.