Amla- The Exceptional Berry

 

Amla (Phyllanthus Emblica or Indian Gooseberry) is native to India and grows in tropical and subtropical conditions. Thus, it has been extensively used in many parts of India as traditional medicine or for its nutrients. Regionally, amla is known by various names as Amalaki, Dhatri, or Amrutphala. In Ayurveda, amla has been described as peculiar green plum-like fruit that has all six tastes (except saltiness). It has been referred for a host of health benefits that involve improving digestive health to relieving cough in respiratory diseases. 

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Immunity & Ayurveda

Immunity & Ayurveda

 

Immunity is the body’s natural response to maintain homeostasis in human. Usually, the immune system recognizes a variety of threats including viruses, bacteria, and parasites; and distinguishes them from the body’s healthy tissues. The overall immune mechanism is essential for our survival. It is a holistic system, which is interconnected with the psychological endocrine neurological systems. The immune system is associated with the proper functioning of different type of cells, organs, and constantly cooperates with the chemical signals to protect us against any infectious disease. Immune mechanisms are coordinated by different cellular components such as T-cells, B-cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells. Each has a specific role in recognizing, attacking, recruiting, and killing foreign invaders like harmful bacteria, viruses, worms, and others. 

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The Obesity Epidemic

Obesity is accumulation of excess fat in the body which may lead to negative effects on health, reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems. Presenting the figures given by WHO, in 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults aged 18 years and older were overweight. Of these over 650 million adults were obese. Overweight and obesity are linked to more deaths worldwide than underweight. Hence, it is vital to reduce and prevent obesity. Obesity is one of the aspects in Ashtanindita Purush (eight types of abnormal constituents) in Charak Samhita. In Ayurveda, Atisthaulya (Obesity) is described as excessive accumulation of Meda (fat tissue) and Mamsa (muscle tissue) leading to looseness of hips, abdomen, and breast. In Ayurveda, it is considered as one of Santarpanottha Vikaras (disease due to consumption of excessive calories).

According to Ayurveda, the body constitutes of 7 dhatus (tissues) namely rasa, rakta, mamsa, meda, asthi, majja, and shukra. Due to abnormality in vata-kapha doshas, there is nutritional shift at the level of meda dhatu (fat tissue) which causes accumulation of meda (fat) in the body and improper nourishment of asthi, majja and shukra dhatu. Once the carbohydrate and fat metabolism are hampered, it creates free radicles and destroys the cell which eventually shortens life span. Medodushti (disorders of fat metabolism) may be one of the risk factors for Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD).

BODY MASS INDEX (BMI)

BMI is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults. Normally in a healthy adult person BMI ranges between 18.5-24.9kg/m2. while BMI of an overweight person is more than or equal to 25kg/m2, and of an obese person is more than or equal to 30kg/m2.

 

Ayurveda & obesity

Firstly, there is abnormality in vata dosha which causes increase in agni (digestive fire), eventually leading to increase in appetite and food intake. Excess sweets, sedentary lifestyle, no exercise, and other factors causes intensification of kapha dosha and abnormal conversion of meda dhatu (fat tissue) causes accumulation of meda.

Provoking factors

  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Binge-eating and junk food
  • Less water consumption
  • Deep-dried foods
  • May be due to side effect of hormonal therapy

 

Line of treatment

Chiefly, the main aim is to balance kapha and vata doshas by adopting diet and lifestyle which brings down kapha-vata.

  • Regular exercise
  • Eating slowly decreases excess hunger
  • Eating only on digestion of earlier food
  • Udvartana (massaging in opposite direction to hairline) with dry qualities of herbs helps to burn down fat
  • Honey with water
  • Massage of sesame oil with salt

Ayurvedic Formulations

  • Triphala Churna
  • Navaka Guggulu
  • Medohar Guggulu
  • Kanchnar Guggulu

 

Dos and don’ts

Do’s:
  • Take low-fat and low-calorie food items
  • Take more proteins to stay longer without food
  • Steamed/ boiled and baked vegetables rather than fried
  • Take frequent small meals to avoid food cravings
  • Drink skimmed milk instead of whole milk
  • Take Healthy foods such as – oatmeal, walnuts, salads, bitter gourd (Karela), drumstick (Shigru), barley (Yava), Green gram (Moong dal), honey (Madhu), Indian Gooseberry (Amla), and pomegranate (Anar)
  • Use warm water for drinking.
Don’ts:
  • High carbohydrates such as potato, rice, and
  • More sugary or sweet products, more dairy products, fried and oily foods, fastfoods, and excess salt
  • Salty foods or excessive salt in meals

 

BY.
Purav Jayesh Trivedi

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GOKSHURA: A BEST DIURETIC

Gokshura (Tribulus terrestris. Linn) is an herb with sharp thorny fruit. It is also known by Gokharu in Marathi and Hindi, and Small Caltrops in English. Other synonyms like Shvadanshtra, Trikantaka, Kantaki are also used.

Attributes

Gokshura possesses sweet taste and after-taste, it is cold in potency, and is heavy and oily in nature.

Action and uses

  • It balances vata dosha and pitta dosha but increases kapha dosha
  • Administration of gokshura is suggested to eliminate gas formed due to intestinal spasm due to its anulomana (downward movement of vata) nature
  • Decoction of Gokshura given with Kantakari powder is said to be useful in Cough, Asthma, and Heart Pathologies
  • Due to its attributes, it pacifies Hematuria (blood in urine)
  • It strengthens and nourishes Garbhashaya (Uterus)

Best Diuretic

  • It increases urination due to its sweet taste, rich in potassium and salt content. It said to be highly effective in Urinary Stones
  • Study reveals that both the whole plant and fruits of Gokshura (Tribulus terrestris Linn) in the form of ghanasatwa is having a significant action in reduction of clinical symptoms, systolic and diastolic blood pressure without any side effects on the patients of mild to moderate essential hypertension
  • Decoction and water extract of the fruits produce moderate diuretic activity due to high potassium content. Alcoholic extract produces hypotension and depresses respiration.

Kalpa: –

  • Gokshuradi Guggul\
  • Goksura Quath
  • Gokshuradi Avaleha
  • Dashamoolarishta

 

BY.
Purav Jayesh Trivedi

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HOW HEALTHY IS YOUR AGNI?

Agni (digestive fire) is the main governor of the body because overall digestion determines the health of an individual. According to Ayurveda, there are four types of agni based on whichever dosha is imbalanced in an individual. They are:

Sama agni

Individuals with sama agni can digest a reasonable quantity of any food in any season without issue, and they tolerate changes in the weather and the seasons quite gracefully. The three process of digestion namely, digestion, absorption, and assimilation are well balanced in such individual. Metabolism is balanced and elimination is regular. There is an overall state of perfect health and the emotions are in equilibrium. No ama is present in the system and the tongue will be clean of any coating.

 

Vishama agni

When agni is affected by vata dosha it becomes irregular and fluctuates the metabolism. The chief symptom of vishama agni is irregular appetite. Indigestion, abdominal distension, gas, gurgling intestines, constipation (or alternating constipation and diarrhea), and colicky pain are other common symptoms.

 

Tikshna agni

When excess pitta is present in the body, agni tends to become tikshna (sharp). Pitta’s properties inflame agni in excess which leads to hypermetabolism. Common symptoms such as hyperacidity, acid indigestion, gastritis, heartburn, hot flashes, acidic saliva, and fever are seen in individuals with tikshna agni. Individuals with tikshna agni have a practice of eating on a frequent basis and have an unsatisfied diet. Excretion is extremely active, and stools are usually soft, loose and at times even liquid. Hypoglycemia, diarrhea, loose stools, pain in the liver are observed more in these individuals.

 

Manda agni

Manda agni is associated with excess of kapha and usually suppresses body’s digestive fire. It lowers your digestive activity, slows down metabolism and causes heaviness in body. It causes over salivation, nausea, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. Cravings for dry, hot, and spicy food is seen in individuals. Mentally and emotionally, it can cause lethargy, boredom, and desire for excess sleep.

 

These four types of agni helps find out the difference between a healthy agni and impaired agni. The point of these types of tools is to increase self-awareness so that we can apply the wisdom of Ayurveda and begin to heal. If the entire process feels off-putting or overwhelming, an Ayurvedic practitioner can help you to sort out the particulars of your case and offer personalized support wherever you need it.

 

BY.
Purav Jayesh Trivedi

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Anosmia- Loss Of Smell

Anosmia means loss of sense of smell. It is usually caused by nasal condition and rarely by brain injury. As the nose is in direct contact with the external environment, it is exposed to the many microorganisms and pollutants present in the atmosphere. Due to the increase in environmental pollution and the busy lifestyles of today, rhinitis and sinusitis are common disease in the present era. Improper management of this stage leads to sinusitis, which may later lead to chronic sinusitis. All these disease have a common symptom as anosmia.

In ayurvedic scriptures, anosmia is termed as grahananasha.

Causes

• Upper respiratory tract infection (sinusitis or the common cold)

 

• Nasal polyps

 

• Hypothyroidism

 

• Head trauma

 

• Zinc deficiency

 

• Asthma or Allergy

 

Precautions

Taking the smell of strong perfumes, exposure to the dust and fumes, pollens, towards the substances regarding which person is allergic are to be avoided in anosmia. Repeated infections are to be reduced. Cold water head bath, exposure to breeze is to be avoided.

If you experience a loss of smell that you can’t attribute to a cold or allergy or which doesn’t get better after a week or two, tell your doctor. Your doctor can take a look inside your nose with a special instrument to see if a polyp or growth is impairing your ability to smell or if an infection is present.

Ayurvedic Management

Nasya –Nasya is the chief procedure to drain doshas from head. The main treatment for accumulated doshas in such cases is Shodhana Nasya. Hence, Pradhamana Nasya, which is the best among all the Shodhana Nasya, was selected according to Acharya Charaka and has also advised a combination of Trikatu and Triphala Churna for Pradhamana Nasya. Nasal drops treatment with Anu Taila and Shadbindu taila is very useful in case of Vata Dosha increase.

Dhoomapana – herbal smoking is useful in Kapha dosha increase, leading to excess phlegm collection.

Vamana – vomiting therapy is useful in excess of Kapha Dosha increase.

Ayurveda believes in cleansing the body and pacifying the tridoshas from the roots by using unique treatment modalities such as sodhana (eliminative), shamana (palliative), and sthanika chikitsa (local treatment).

Anosmia in Covid-19

Studies suggest it better predicts covid-19 than other well-known symptoms such as fever and cough, but the underlying mechanisms for loss of smell in patients with COVID-19 have been unclear.

 

BY.
Purav Jayesh Trivedi

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CHANDANA- AN AYURVEDIC COOLANT

According to Charak Samhita, Chandana (Santalum album Linn.) is a coolant which has many beneficial properties.

  • Sandalwood (Chandana) is best in reliving bad odour, burning sensation and best to apply as a paste.

  • Rakta Prasadana – Detoxifies blood, useful in bleeding disorders
  • Vrushya – acts as aphrodisiac
  • Dahahara, Antardaha hara – relieves internal burning sensation, seen in Pitta imbalance conditions such as gastritis, sore throat, laryngitis, sun stroke etc.
  • Pittasrahara – useful in bleeding disorders such as nasal bleeding, menorrhagia etc.
  • Vishahara – anti toxic
  • Trushnahara – relieves thirst

  • Krumighna – Relieves worm infestation, useful in infected wounds
  • Shishira – coolant
  • Ahladana – brings about pleasant effect, nourishes sense organs
  • Klamahara, Shramahara – Relieves tiredness, fatigue
  • Shoshahara – relieves emaciation, dehydration
  • Varnya – Improves skin tone and complexion
  • It acts as diuretic, used in treating bladder inflammation
  • It is used in eye disorders involving excessive secretion, redness and burning
  • It is useful in menorrhagia and excessive white discharge
  • It is useful to control anger (by balancing Pitta). Hence useful in psychiatric disorders such as Mania, Schizophrenia etc. Hence used as ingredient in Manasamitra Vatakam
  • Chandana is used in acute dermatitis, gonorrhoea, palpitations
  • A paste made of it, applied externally relieves burning sensation, in herpes its paste helps to relieve pain and burning, improves skin complexion, cleanses wounds, and stops secretions
  • Its paste is applied over forehead to relieve migraine, headache
  • Its powder rubbed into hands, helps to relieve sweaty palms. It helps to check excessive sweating and bad odour
Precautions

Because it is a coolant, people with asthma need a little care while taking it.

 

BY.
Purav Jayesh Trivedi

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PANCHAMRIT: – DIVINE NECTAR

Panchamrit is an essential requirement for any pooja according to the Hindu religion. It is the divine offering to the deities and used during Abhisheka. The word is a combination of two words, Pancha (five) and Amrut (divine nectar). According to Mahabharta, Panchamrit was one of the ingredients that appeared during the Samudra Mathan also known as Ksheera Saagar mathan (churning the ocean of milk).

 

Health Benefits

 

According to Ayurveda these five ingredients have immense health benefits when combined in correct proportions. Panchamrit nourishes the Sapt Dhatu (the seven bodily tissues) namely; Shukra Dhatu (reproductive tissues), Majja Dhatu (bone marrow and nervous tissues), Asthi Dhatu (bone, teeth), Medas Dhatu (fatty tissues), Mamsa Dhatu (muscle tissues), Rakta Dhatu ( blood ) and Rasa Dhatu (plasma for strength, immunity and vitality). Panchamrit can be consumed every-day and particularly for nine months during pregnancy as per Ayurvedic scriptures.

 

Ingredients

 

Milk

Panchamrit is made from Cow’s milk. According to Ayurveda cow’s milk has a cooling effect upon our body and mind. It enhances Ojas, the essential energy responsible for a long healthy life, radiance, strength, vitality, immunity, and mental and emotional wellness. It increases appetite and has strengthening effect and it is also said to be effective in curing fever.

 

Curd

 

Curd or yogurt is the only fermented food that Ayurvedic scriptures acknowledges as Sattvic. It is a probiotic and improves the digestion and balances vata dosha. Cow curd is slimy, sweet in digestion. Increases meda dhatu (fatty tissues), shukra (reproductive tissues), kapha, pitta, rakta and agni. It is used in anorexia, debility, and weakness.

 

Sugar

Sugar is the symbol of sweetness and bliss. Candy sugar or mishri is used in many Ayurvedic formulas and churnas (medicinal powders). Candy sugar has a cooling effect on the body. Gudasharkara (Jaggery sugar) acts as coolant, and is sweeter, also useful in bleeding disorders and relieves thirst.

 

Ghee

Ghee, the most treasured food of Ayurveda has remarkable healing properties for the body and mind. A good source of Vitamins A and E with antioxidants that offer medicinal benefit. Cow ghee enhances memory, intellect, digestive capacity, oja, kapha, and meda. It is cold, sweet in taste, and after digestion (vipaka) too. It balances vata and pitta and alleviates dryness. It has thousand good qualities, and does a thousand actions, when processed properly. (Precaution: According to Ayurveda, ghee and honey should never be mixed in equal quantities.)

 

Honey

Pure honey has all the required enzymes. It improves digestion, clears complexion, and makes skin smooth. It is easily digestible and gets assimilated in the bloodstream instantly when consumed. Honey is often the Anupana, a carrier or medium for Ayurvedic medicines. It is said to be yogavahi, which means it acts as carrier. It enhances the quality of other four ingredients. It is included one of those ingredients that can be taken daily (pathya)

Panchamrit recipe

  • 4-5 tablespoon Cow’s milk.
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon curd
  • 2 tablespoon ghee

 

All ingredients have specific symbolic meanings. Milk represents purity and piousness, honey symbolizes sweet speech and unity, sugar is about sweetness and bliss, yogurt/curd indicates prosperity and ghee is for strength and victory. These five ingredients when mixed in the right proportion improve each other’s gunas or good qualities.

BY.
Purav Jayesh Trivedi

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SADVRITTA (ETHICAL REGIMEN)

Ayurveda means knowledge (veda) of life (ayu) which includes balance of doshas, digestive fire (agni), and tissues (dhatus), proper elimination of waste products, and healthy atma, mana, and organs. Sadvritta is all about principles of right conduct for maintaining healthy mind. Practicing them gives balance and peace to the mind, and a healthy body.

 

They are:

  • Always speak the truth
  • Control your temper under any situations
  • Always speak politely and speak good words

  • Meditate everyday

  • Be patient
  • Try to distribute knowledge and money to others
  • Give respect to Almighty, and elderly individuals
  • Follow a daily routine (dinacharya)
  • Control your sense organs

 

The following practices must be avoided according to Ayurveda

  • Avoid binge-eating, over drinking, excess sexual activity and sleep

  • Do not harm anyone including tiny creatures, and social animals (himsa)
  • Do not get addicted to sensory pleasures
  • Theft
  • Lying to others
  • Meaningless and ugly conversation
  • Desire for other’s possessions
  • Atheism

These codes of conduct have been stated in various Ayurvedic scriptures for a strong and healthy mind, which will lead to balance in tridoshas and eventually health. Preservation of health and sufferings of the ill can be improved by following a daily routine (dinacharya) and sadvritta.

 

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Varsha Ritucharya: – Monsoon Regimen

 

In Ayurvedic scriptures, seasons (ritus) are very well explained along with dietary measures and lifestyle changes in respective season. But sudden change in the season leads to many abnormal functions inside the body, which is also explained in various Ayurvedic texts. Therefore, adaptation to the changes for upcoming season must be started 15 days prior. (Refer Ritu Sandhi)

Varsha ritu

 

Varsha ritu usually ranges between mid-July to mid-September. Sky is covered with clouds, visibility of sun is irregular, and humidity is very high at this time. Ponds, lakes, and other water bodies are filled with water.

The strength of the person becomes less during this period as varsha ritu leads to imbalance in vata dosha, accumulation of pitta dosha, and agni (digestive fire) becomes irregular. Sourness predominates during this period

Diet regimen

Consumption of food which are easy to digest, warm, and preferably home cooked is best advised. As sour and salty taste is predominant, soup of the same taste should be consumed. Old barley, rice, wheat, oats, ghee, and oats are advised in moderate quantities.

Digestion is weak during this period; therefore, avoid foods which are hard to digest, fatty foods and meat, stale food, and leafy vegetables. Excess amount of proteins and dairy products like cheese and curd in your diet must be avoided.

Humidity is favorable climate for many micro-organisms therefore; water must be boiled before drinking.

Among many Indians, some healthy individuals go on fast during the shravan, this helps to relax the digestive system and prevent it from any infection during this period.

Lifestyle

Boiled water must be used for bathing and applying oil after bath is advised. For application on skin til (sesame) tail is best suited or rubbing the body with a thick towel and applying medicated powders to prevent against pathogenic infestation.

Varsha ritu is the best season to detoxify the body specially the first half of the  monsoon(mid-July to mid-August) is the best period to detoxify the body. Therefore, Medicated Basti (enema) is prescribed as an evacuative measure to expel vitiated Doshas. (must be done under an ayurvedic physician’s supervision)

Avoid sleeping at day-time in varsha ritu, as it might lead to an excess of kapha dosha in the body. Since the body metabolism and agni is irregular during this period, excess kapha dosha can further diminish it and cause multiple disorders and aggravate existing diseases.

Exercising late in evening or nights can hinder your agni and may cause other digestive problems. Getting wet in rain, day-sleep, exercise, hard work, excessive sexual indulgence, exposure to wind, and staying awake at night are to be avoided as it may aggravate vata dosha and cause vata related disorders.

 

During covid-19 pandemic, it is essential to maintain health of the body and prevent it from infections. Therefore, by following such simple regimen and adapting to the external environment will be beneficial.

 

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