Health Benefits Of Pomegranate + Pomegranate Chutney Recipe

Health Benefits Of Pomegranate
Revered since ancient times, this bright beautiful red fruit has become well known for its sweet astringent taste and healing properties. It also plays a role in myths and poetry! In fact, in one of the most popular Olympian telling of the story of Persephone, pomegranate seeds play an important role!

Premium Amla Berry
According to Ayurveda, amla is the best among rejuvenative herbs.

This is an excerpt of the story:
Zeus, the king of the gods, it is said, permitted Hades (god of the underworld), who was in love with the beautiful Persephone, to carry her off as her mother Demeter was not likely to allow her daughter to go down to Hades. Persephone was gathering flowers in a field when Hades came to abduct her, bursting through a cleft in the earth. Demeter, when she found her daughter had disappeared, searched for her all over the earth. In most versions she forbids the earth to produce, or she neglects the earth and in the depth of her despair she causes nothing to grow. Finally the sun, who sees everything, told Demeter what had happened and at length she discovered the place of Persephone’s abode. In the end, Zeus pressed by the cries of the hungry people and by the other deities, forced Hades to return Persephone. Hades complies but first tricks Persephone by giving her some pomegranate seeds to eat. Persephone was released, but because she had tasted food in the underworld, she was obliged to spend a third of each year (the winter months) there, and the remaining part of the year with the gods above.

The Health Benefits Of Pomegranates

Pomegranate has inspired many comparisons of beauty in texts and other legends. Yet as beautiful and delicious as this fruit is, its healing properties are even more so! It is particularly effective on the circulatory and reproductive systems as it is a well-known aphrodisiac that has hemostatic properties.

Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus)
Organic Digest Tone contains three elixirs in one compound, it is considered one of the most valuable herbal preparations in the world.

In addition to being a tridoshic fruit, pomegranate also has fantastic antacid and carminative actions. Despite pitta being aggravated by the sour taste, pomegranate is an exception to the rule. It is also particularly useful in cases of digestive disorders with inflammation. The rind of the fruit should be avoided during pregnancy and pomegranate is not recommended in cases of constipation.

Properties
Pomegranate is light and unctuous with a sweet, astringent and sour taste. It has a heating effect in the body and its post digestive effect is also sweet. It has a strong affinity for the digestive and reproductive systems. 

Some indications, amongst others, include:

  • Hyperacidity
  • Inflamed stomach
  • Inflamed intestines
  • Dysentery
  • Parasites
  • Excessive, sharp appetite
  • Bleeding
  • Weak heart
  • Leucorrhoea
  • Prostate conditions
  • Menopause
  • Nervine debility
  • And many others!

It is important to be aware of some of the contraindications of using pomegranate. It is advised against usage in pregnancy and other constipation as it has binding actions.  Always seek a physician’s advice before undertaking herbal supplementation.

Usage

There are many combination compounds that involve pomegranate to address certain conditions. Some being:

  • Pomegranate seeds or the juice with coriander and cumin for pitta digestion
  • Pomegranate rind and juice with haritaki and amalaki for diarrhea and acidity
  • Pomegranate rind with rhubarb root for tapeworm
  • Pomegranate with shatavari for menopause

 

~Pomegranate Chutney Recipe~

A delicious and easy way to incorporate pomegranate with our daily meals is by using it in chutney. This recipe is simple yet divine!

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons of dry pomegranate seeds
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup of fresh mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp fennel powder
  • ¼ tsp cumin powder
  • ½ onion chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tablespoons of water
  • Sugar and/or chili powder to taste

 

Steps

  1. Wash the pomegranate seeds well.
  2. Add all the ingredients into a blender with a little water and blend until smooth
  3. Place into a container and enjoy!
  4. This chutney can be kept for up to 3-5 days in the fridge
  • There are many variations that can be used according to one’s taste or preference. Different spices can be added or removed to create your own perfect pomegranate chutney!
  • Also adjust the amount of water to create the desired texture of the chutney

 

References

  • Lad, V. (1999). The complete book of Ayurvedic home remedies. New York: Three Rivers Press.
  • Sharma, H. (2011). Ayurvedic Healing. Singing Dragon
  • Lad, V. (2002). Textbook of Ayurveda. Albuquerque, N.M.: Ayurvedic Press.
  • Lad, V., & Frawley, D. (1986). The yoga of herbs: An Ayurvedic guide to herbal medicine. Santa Fe, N.M.: Lotus Press.
  • Pole, S. (2013). Ayurvedic medicine the principles of traditional practice. London: Singing Dragon.
  • Green, J. (2000). The herbal medicine-makers' handbook a home manual. Berkeley, Calif.: The Crossing Press.

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.


Ayurveda - Healing Through The Doors Of Perception

 

Healing Through The Doors Of Perception
According to the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, the two governing principles of creation are “Purusha” [i..e. Awareness] and “Prakruti” [i.e. Creative Dynamism]. The ancient teachings explain that this model of creation exists as a whole - the universe and the individual being the same separated only by degree. In essence, all creation is one. 

“As a child is born in its mother’s womb, so the universe is born
within the womb of Prakruti, the divine mother.”
- Dr. Vasant Lad, Ayurvedic Physician

Purusha - choiceless passive awareness; bliss; pure being
Prakruti - creative intelligence, potentiality, dynamism 

What Is Ayurveda? ... "Ayurveda Is The Science Of Right Living."

The Doors Of Perceptions
The ancient vedic science of Ayurveda has long used the organs of perception [i.e. senses] to help bridge the gap between the reality and the seemingly unreal. Ayurveda describes these doors of perception as being the way to help bring about balance and even further - heal.

  • sound [shabda] - ether element
  • touch [sparsha] - air element
  • vision [rupa] - fire element
  • taste [rasa] - water element
  • smell [gandha] - earth element

 

Sound - Ether Element
In many cultures, sound is considered the root energy behind all of creation. For example, the Holy Bible states that there was sound and that sound was God. Similarly, vedic culture explains that the universe reverberates to a cosmic vibration of ‘Aum’. Even contemporary thought explains the birth of creation originating from a ‘Big Bang’.

“Mantras - create radical change in the person’s neurochemistry.”
- Dr. Vasant Lad

Mantra
“Mantra means a sound, a certain utterance or a syllable. Today, modern science sees the whole existence as reverberations of energy, different levels of vibrations. Where there is a vibration, there is bound to be a sound. So, that means, the whole existence is a kind of sound, or a complex amalgamation of sounds – the whole existence is an amalgamation of multiple mantras. Of these, a few mantras or a few sounds have been identified, which could be like keys. If you use them in a certain way, they become a key to open up a different dimension of life and experience within you.” - Sadhguru 

 

Touch - Air Element

The skin provides the ability to heal through touch. The healing touch may include various modalities of healing such as massage, acupuncture and acupressure, deep connective tissue work, and various other modalities of healing such as reiki, polarity therapy etc.

Abhyanga - Ayurvedic Oil Massage
Ayurveda describes in great detail the benefits of daily oil massage. Not only is massage comforting to the body but essential for overall health and well-being.

“Give yourself a full-body oil massage on a daily basis. It is nourishing; pacifies the doshas; relieves fatigue; provides stamina, pleasure and perfect sleep; enhances the complexion and the luster of skin; promotes longevity; and nourishes all parts of the body.” - Ancient Wisdom Of Ayurveda

Marma Therapy
Marma therapy is an ancient practice whose focus is the directing of subtle energy (prana) in the body for the purposes of supporting the healing process. Marma therapy is based on the utilization of 107 points in the body which are considered to be access points to body, mind and consciousness.

 

Vision - Fire Element
The world is full of vibration and every color is a display of a unique frequency and vibration. Ayurveda describes ‘rupa‘ as that which provides vision, color, light, and form. The use of colors [chromotherapy] is a vast science and takes into consideration the influence that color has on the physical and mental bodies, aura, chakras, doshas, etc.

Color Therapy
From a holistic perspective, we can think of our physical body as condensed light with each individual having a unique signature of vibrational energy.

Vata Colors: blue, indigo, purple and violet
Pitta Colors: red, orange, and yellow
Kapha Colors: green, gray, and white

“Based upon the prakruti [balanced state] and vikruti [imbalanced state] paradigm,
the different colors can be used for healing purposes.”
- Dr. Vasant Lad

Taste - Water Element

Rasa has many meanings. For example, rasa can mean juice, taste, comprehension, melody and harmony. For now, we consider rasa to mean taste. There are specialized taste buds on the tongue which perceive the six tastes in our diet. Ayurveda explains an interesting relationship between taste, the power of digestion, and the therapeutic effects which food has upon both the body and mind.

Examples:
Sweet, Sour, Salty - pacify vata dosha, increase kapha dosha
Pungent, Bitter, Astringent - increase vata dosha, pacify kapha dosha
Click Here - To Learn More About The Six Tastes

 

Smell - Earth Element
The sense of smell has a deep primal connection to the nervous system and consciousness. Ayurveda uses various aromas such as essential oils, incense, and natural fragrances in order to help balance the body [i.e. doshas, dhatus, malas].

Scented Oils
Essential oils are often the most common and practical way of using aromatherapy. By simply placing certain oils, preferably on marma points, can help to balance doshas and provide a sense of well-being.

Vata: Lavender, rose, jasmine or nutmeg.
Pitta: Sandalwood, fennel, lemongrass or mint.
Kapha: Rosemary, myrrh, clove or eucalyptus.

Note:
Some oils are tri-doshic such as Tulsi, Rose and Sandalwood.
Clove and Myrrh are good for Vata as well.

Disclaimer:
This information is strictly for educational purpose only and not considered medical advice. Always first discuss with your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen.


Awareness - The Mirror Of Life

 

Awareness - The Mirror Of Life
The mind can either be a beautiful servant or a dangerous master [Osho]. It’s fascinating that in a world of change, one of life’s greatest challenges is simply to sit still and to do absolutely nothing. Ayurveda - 'The Science Of Life', talks a great deal about meditation and cultivating a sense of moment-to-moment awareness.

mind [noun]
a beautiful servant,
a dangerous master.

 

"The Troubled Mind"
According to the wisdom of Ayurveda, the mind is present throughout the body permeating every cell and that every cell of the body is the center of awareness. Likewise, "Prana" - 'the vital life force', governs all communication of the body and mental confusion arises due to repressed thoughts, feelings, and emotions - reflecting a disturbance of prana. Furthermore, confusion implies a conditioned response arising as a result of many thousands of yesterdays with the past projecting itself onto the future bypassing the present moment. In reality, all there is - is now.

Conditioning
"The important thing is to be aware from moment to moment without accumulating the experience which awareness brings, because the moment you accumulate, you are aware only according to that accumulation, according to that pattern, according to that experience. That is, your awareness is conditioned by your accumulation, and therefore there is no longer observation, but merely translation. Where there is translation, there is choice, and choice creates conflict; and in conflict there can be no understanding." - Jiddu Krishnamurti, The Collected Works, Vol. VI, 206, Choiceless Awareness

Great Video: Transformation Of Human Consciousness - Alan Watts

The Journey Within ...
As we begin to observe our thoughts, feelings, and emotions as they naturally arise, we begin to settle into a subtle state of awareness. Awareness then becomes the mirror of life and soon begins to mirror all of our relationships - with nature, with others, and ultimately ourselves.

“No meditation, no life.
Know meditation, know life.” - Osho

Meditation - Being The Mirror

The Sanskrit word “Samadhi” is derived from two words “sama” which means ‘to be in harmony with’ and the word “adhi” meaning ‘God’. Therefore, Samadhi implies a state of awareness beyond the limits of the conscious thinking mind [both conscious and unconscious]. Although Samadhi has a much deeper and profound meaning, we can take from it the practical perspective of being in a state of balance - equilibrium. To be passively aware of all the workings of the mind with complete balance reflects a mind which is in harmony and such a mind mirrors one's true state of being; bliss. Meditation no longer becomes an act apart from daily living. Rather, your entire life becomes meditation.

“Meditation is mind without agitation.”
– Narasimhan

Just Some Benefits Of Meditation:
– greater clarity and inner calmness
– increased creativity and happiness
– improved sense of emotional stability
– reduced level of anxiety and depression
– improved brain function and memory
– reduced level of stress
… the list can go on and on …

Disclaimer:
Meditation Is Known To Cause Enlightenment. 


Marma Therapy - An Ancient Healing Science Of Ayurveda

 

Marma Therapy - An Ancient Healing Science Of Ayurveda
The word “Marma” literally means a tender full vital point, which is a conjugation of muscle, nerve, joint, bone, tendon, artery and vein either in combination of two, three etc., or all the above structures. The father of Surgery – Sushruthacharya, defines Marma as “Marayanthi ithi marma” – which means, that certain vital anatomical locations in the body, when injured shall become painful and cause malfunctioning of the local organs or even cause sudden death (marayanthi) of the individual.

 

"Vital Life Force"
The actions of Marma are controlled by the Pranic Vayu (cosmic energy principle in human body). This Prana Vayu is essential to maintain the life or longevity of a person. Sushruthacharya in his treatise Sushrutha Samhita, in the 6th chapter of Shareera sthana, says that “a person with a surgical amputation of limb will survive, but a person injured at the base of the toe, may not, since the base of toe is a marma point." Post surgically, after amputation, the channels of the body near the area of amputation get closed, thereby preventing the loss of pranic energy from the body. But where as in case of an injury to the toe, the person loses his life, due to the gradual loss of Prana Vayu or the Vital life force.

Great Video: The Spiritual Tradition Of Marma Therapy

108 Marmas In The Human Body
There are 108 Marmas in the human body. The Marmas are classified based on the anatomical structures involved or based on the action potential caused in the body when it is injured. It is classified into the following 5 varieties based on the vulnerability it causes after the injury, namely-

1) SADHYA PRANAHARA MARMA:
When a marma falling in this category gets injured, due to the spontaneous loss of the Prana vayu , death is imminent to occur.

2) KALANTHARA PRANAHARA MARMA:
These Marmas result in kalanthara (gradual) loss of life (pranahara), after a lapse of time.

3) VISHALYAGHNA:
The word shalya refers to a foreign body. When a foreign body pierces these varieties of Marma, the injured person survives as long as the foreign body remains in the place of injury. But instead if removed, it results in the death of that individual.

4) VAIKALYAKARA:
These varieties of Marma when subjected to injury caused deformity of those organs which are dependent on that particular Marma for their energy distribution. The word Vikalya or Vaikalya means deformity.

5) RUJAKARA MARMA:
These Marmas neither result in deformity nor cause death, but results in excruciating pain (ruja) when injured.

About The Author: 
Dr. Rangaprasad Bhat is a staunch believer of Ayurveda & Marma Chikitsa, whose vision is to break the myth that Ayurveda is a slow acting medicine, which it is not,when the diagnosis is perfect and the medicines selected are accurate. And his passion is to teach, preach and spread the potentialities of Ayurveda.

Disclaimer:
This is strictly for educational purpose only and NOT to be considered medical advice. Always first discuss with your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen.


Ayurvedic Daily Routine: Oleation + Self Massage [Abhyanga]

 

Ayurvedic Daily Routine - Oleation & Abhyanga
Ayurveda takes pride in oleation therapy where we can apply oil to every part of our body, inside and out. As we enter into Vata Season we enter into a period of dryness and coldness. The quality is light and we can feel ungrounded. Due to the dryness and coldness the orifices, especially those that are exposed to the elements are susceptible to these qualities and become compromised causing various conditions and creating a forum for disease to start. The first line of defense of the body is the skin. It covers us from head to toe and lines all the orifices; eye, ears, nose, digestive tract from mouth to rectum.  Ayurveda suggests that we keep these areas lubricated throughout the winter for our protection and immunity.

Regular Daily Practice:
- a drop of warm oil can applied to each ear before bed. *Make sure to avoid hot oil.
- a drop of ghee can be added to each eye before bed. *Make sure to avoid hot oil.
- 3-5 drops of basic oil or medicated oil applied to each sinus in the morning, before showering.

Gandusha
We can oil pull (Gandusha) with 2 tbs. of warm oil. Which means swooshing and gargling every morning after brushing and before eating; for about 10-15 minutes. Make sure not to swallow the oil.

Abhyanga 
Before bathing or showering we can apply a layer of  warm oil on our skin and lightly rinse off with soap and water; allowing a residue of oil to remain on the skin.

Organic Massage Oil
Base oils infused with a decoction of one or more Ayurvedic herbs combine nourishing and soothing qualities of oil with the healing properties of the herbs.

Great Video: "How To Do Abhyanga, A Self Massage With Warm Oil 

A self massage with warm oil, known in Ayurveda as abhyanga, is a luxurious treat considered a must for health and longevity. Learn how to do it and the great benefits to your entire body and mind in this step-by-step instructional video by  Banyan Botanicals.

Cooking With Oil
Ensure that you are cooking daily with oils such as ghee/coconut, even drizzling food with olive oil. (never cooking with olive oil)

Basti/Enema - [Not Daily]
Once a month we can conduct a home enema using Fleets kit from the pharmacy. Replace the content with a slightly warmed oil. Clean the nozzle and exchange it with ghee/coconut oil. Insert and hold for several minutes; alternating sides (laying on the left side, right side and on all fours with buttocks elevated and chest descended towards the ground). Basti should be performed under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic professional. Always first discuss risk/benefits with your primary care physician regarding any new health regimen.

Which Oils For Who:

Vata Dosha
Vata predominant types can use Sesame oil.
For the body, ears, oil pulling and enema.
Nasya could be sesame, ghee or almond.

Pitta Dosha
Pitta predominant types can use Sunflower oil.
For the body, ears, oil pulling and enema.
Nasya could be coconut, sunflower or ghee.

Kapha Dosha
Kapha predominant types can use Canola oil.
For the body, ears, oil pulling and enema.
Nasya could be sesame, canola or ghee.

 

SCENTED OILS

For body massage you can add:

Vata: Tulsi (holy basil), rose, lavender or nutmeg.
Pitta: Sandalwood, geranium, lemongrass or mint.
Kapha: Cinnamon, myrrh, clove or eucalyptus.

Note:

Some oils are tri-doshic such as Tulsi, Rose and Sandalwood.
Clove and Myrrh are good for Vata as well.

Disclaimer:
This information is strictly for educational purpose only and not considered medical advice. Always first discuss with your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen.

About The Author: 
Vishnu M.Ayu, BA Psy., LMT, CSP, E-RYT, CS2, is a licensed massage therapist with more than 15 years of experience and Master’s of Ayurveda/Yoga from Hindu University of America. He is the owner of ‘Hidden Health’ Center and offers Ayurveda out of a few locations. To learn more about Vishnu and his practice you can find him at hiddenhealthcenter.com.

 


An Ayurvedic Purification Purge [Virechana]

 

An Ayurvedic Purification Purge 
According to the ancient teachings of Ayurveda, there are three doshas called vata, pitta, and kapha. These three doshas act as the guiding principles that keep all our bodily functions balanced and healthy.

“Health results from the natural, balanced state of the doshas.
Therefore, the wise try to keep them in their balanced state.”
– Charak Samhita

Imbalanced Doshas
Each of the three doshas are present throughout the body. They govern our physiology and all activities of the body, mind, and emotions. Ayurveda is a holistic science and recognizes that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. That said, when the doshas become imbalanced it affects the whole body. Likewise, when the doshas become aggravated by various factors such as poor diet, unhealthy lifestyle, negative emotions, etc. this can cause an imbalance to the bodily systems and if not corrected appropriately - may lead to disease.

Imbalanced Doshas + Impaired Digestion = Toxicity
As a result of poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle not only do the doshas become imbalanced but the digestive fire [agni] soon becomes impaired. As the digestive fire becomes disturbed, food no longer is able to be properly digested and the undigested food then accumulates within the G.I. tract. allowing for toxicity [i.e. fermentation, putrefaction]. From this perspective, Ayurveda states that the by-product of poor digestion [“ama”] is the root cause of all disease.

"The signs and symptoms of ama are clogging of channels, sense of heaviness, low energy, restlessness, lethargy, indigestion, kaphatype congestion [expectoration], accumulation of the three malas [wastes], loss of taste and sexual debility." - Ast Hrd Su. 30.23

Goal: Remove Ama [Toxins]

Cleansing & Purification 
Once the doshas have begun to significantly cause an imbalance or disease, it soon becomes necessary to consider certain purification techniques to cleanse the body of excess doshas and toxins [“ama”]. This purification process is called “panchakarma” which involves five cleansing actions.

Panchakarma
Panchakarma is an Ayurvedic purification system which helps to remove impurities and toxins from the physiological channels of the body. With proper purification of the body springs forth greater cellular intelligence allowing for optimal functioning of the body as a whole.

Great Video - A Very Brief Introduction To Panchakarma

The Five Purifying Actions Of Panchakarma:

  • vamana: therapeutic vomiting
  • virechana: purgative or laxative therapy
  • basti: medicated enema therapy
  • nasya: nasal administration of medicated oils
  • rakta moksha: blood-letting; purifying blood

 

Snehana - Virechana 
Modern living is filled with impurities. These impurities are typically stored in adipose/fat tissue and in order to remove these toxins the cleansing process of panchakarma makes use of oleation therapy called “snehana”. Typically, the oleation process of snehana takes place during a few days. During these several days, one would be instructed to drink melted ghee [clarified butter] on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. The amount of ghee to be ingested is specified by a qualified ayurvedic professional as the amounts typically increase daily throughout the few days. Generally, on the third or fourth day, the person is instructed to skip dinner, take a hot tub bath, then undergo purgation [“virechana”] by ingesting castor oil or other laxatives which are properly indicated

 

The Logical Explanation

Toxins From Fat Cells Get Pulled Into Circulation
Prior to the ingestion of large amounts of ghee there is a brief period of reduced ingestion of fat and/or calories. The reduced ingestion of fat helps fat cells to concentrate impurities and toxins [i.e. PAHs; polyaromatic hydrocarbons] stored within adipose tissue. As one begins to ingest large amounts of ghee this creates a sudden increase in the amount of “impurity-free ghee” within the blood stream. The fat [triglycerides] in the blood stream attract the toxins which are concentrated within fat cells and through the process of diffusion, osmosis, and active transport - the toxins from the fat cells enter into the blood stream.

Circulating Toxins - Pulled Into The Gut
As the toxins leave the fat cells due to diffusion-osmosis-active transport explained above, these toxins then begin to circulate into the general circulation. The fat-soluble impurities which have now been released from fat cells are now unstable in the aqueous circulating blood and therefore seek out other stores of fat to dissolve into. Likewise, the circulating impurities are also unable to return back into adipose tissue due to the imposed concentration gradient created by the ingestion of large amounts of ghee. Finally, due to the increasing amounts of ghee ingested, the “impurity-free ghee” within the gut now creates a favorable concentration gradient allowing for circulating toxins in the blood to enter into the G.I. tract. Now that the toxins are concentrated within the G.I. tract, the next step is purgation.

In Essence:
A concentration gradient was established in order to pull stored fat-soluble impurities from fat cells into the blood stream and from the blood stream into the gut.

 

The Purging Of Toxins 
Now that the toxins are concentrated within the G.I. tract, the next step is purgation. However, before the final purge it’s best to consider a hot bath to induce vasodilation and to further loosen and remaining fat-soluble toxins. Finally, purgation using castor oil [or another laxative] specified by a trained professional results in the elimination of toxins and ghee from the G.I. tract.

Signs & Symptoms Of Proper Virechana

  • tongue looks clean
  • clarity of the mind
  • no gas or discomfort
  • appetite returns a couple hours after purgation
  • creates lightness to the body and promotes sound sleep

 

Caution:
Excess purgation can lead to excessive diarrhea, severe dehydration, and hypovolemic shock and therefore should only be performed under the guidance of a qualified professional.

Disclaimer:
Panchakarma is a specialized Ayurvedic procedure which should be performed under the guidance of a trained and skillful Ayurvedic professional. Excess purgation can lead to excessive diarrhea, severe dehydration, and hypovolemic shock. This is strictly for educational purpose only and not medical advice. Always first consult your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen.

Want More?
CLICK HERE - For More Information On Panchakarma

 


Shirodhara - The Most Popular Ayurveda Treatment

 

Shirodhara - The Most Popular Ayurveda Treatment
Shirodhara is undoubtedly one of the most popular Ayurvedic treatments in the west. The word ‘shiro’ means head and ‘dhara’ means steady flow. Therefore, shirodhara involves pouring a steady stream of soothing oil over the forehead and acts as a method of relieving stress to the restless mind.

The Moving Mind
The science of Ayurveda speaks of vata as being the basis of all movement of the body and mind. When vata is in excess [within the mind] it can result in anxiety, nervousness, depression, insomnia and many other forms of difficulty handling stress. With nearly eighty percent of all diseases in the west being attributed to stress, it is no wonder why Shirodhara has been considered one of the most popular Ayurvedic treatments of modern day.

Creating Stillness
Shirodhara is a classical and a well-established ayurvedic procedure of slowly and steadily streaming medicated oil on the center of the forehead while resting quietly on a comfortable bed. Other liquids like coconut water, buttermilk, milk, etc. are also used depending on the individual need of the patient. Ultimately, this procedure helps to induce a relaxed state of awareness, mental clarity, and even thought to help produce improved “psychoneuroimmunology”; the ability to handle stress.


Great Video - Discussing Just Some Of The Benefits Of Shirodhara



Deeply Relaxing

“Shirodhara is deeply relaxing and induces a relaxant state; these effects are mediated by the brain wave coherence, alfa waves, and a down regulation of the sympathetic outflow. This procedure induces a relaxed state of awareness that results in a dynamic psycho-somatic balance.”

Just Some Of The Benefits Of Shirodhara:

  • Relieves stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia
  • Helps mental focus and concentration
  • Balances VATA DOSHA
  • Works on the cerebral system, helps to relax the nervous system, and balances the 'Prana Vayu' (life force energy) around the head
  • Improves the sensitivity of five senses
  • Reduces and relieves migraine headaches
  • Decreases hair loss and fatigue and makes one calm and refreshed
  • Deeply relaxes mind and body
  • Releases negative emotions and thought patterns.
  • Improves sleep patterns
  • Rejuvenates the entire face and softens worry lines
  • Heightens the senses
  • Increases spiritual awareness
  • Pacifies vata reducing anxiety, restlessness, irritability, nervousness, fear & excessive thinking
  • Improves mental focus and concentration

 

WANT MORE?
The classical texts of Ayurveda have explained that in order to treat a person with complete effectiveness, you must treat the person not as a set of parts, but as a whole.
CLICK HERE - To Learn More About Ayurveda


 


Follow The Journey From Yoga To Ayurveda - Discovering The Benefits Of Nasya

Discovering The Benefits Of Nasya
She woke up in the morning feeling clogged in her nose. Food did not have taste for her and her head felt heavy. Easy way out was popping an antihistamine. This easily became a daily routine till she found yoga! Yoga was delightful but when it came to practicing pranayama (breath control), she was still limited. Slowly with time she learnt that the nose is the gateway to the brain and thereby it increases prana (life force) through breath.

Life is Breathing - Breathing is Life 
To be able to inhale and exhale through the nose is wonderful, we instantly calm down, get grounded especially if we notice the breath. Now imagine trying to inhale with a blocked nose. The flow of breathing is fragmented, creating tension. One of the methods of maintaining healthy sinuses is pranayama, in Sanskrit it means “extension of the pran or breath”. There are many simple techniques used to cleanse the nasal passage. Congested sinuses may result in bad moods, prolonged periods of feeling tired (we don’t get enough oxygen for the whole body to relax and recharge), sleepiness, snoring, apnea, runny nose, recurring sinus problems, headaches, migraines, hay fever the list can, of course, go on.

 The link ~ Discovering The Benefits Of Ayurveda And Pranayama
Ayurveda, literally, is ‘The Science of Life’.  It came to her. She realized that it provided simple yet very effective solutions for decongesting the sinuses and eliminating other imbalances that might stem from just a blocked nose and bad breathing. Also discovered was that a very important aspect of Ayurveda is Nasya.

Nasya:  What is it?
‘Nasya’ is an Ayurvedic practice that involves administering herbal oils to the nasal passage. Commonly such treatments are known to clear sinus congestion, help clear accumulated toxins from the head and neck region. In Ayurveda, nasya is one of the important self-care methods which brings about internal detoxification. It is a part of an 'Ayurvedic Daily Routine' by putting 3-5 drops of warm ghee or sesame seed oil into each nostril in the morning.

Nice Video ~ How To Do Nasya Using Ayurvedic Nasya Oil:

Use Different Nasya Oils For Different Doshas:
- Vata Dosha: Sesame oil, ghee, or vacha (calamus) oil.
- Pitta Dosha: Brahmi ghee, sunflower or coconut oil.
- Kapha Dosha: Vacha (calamus root) oil.

She Discovers The Benefit Of Anu Taila:  
Which is a classical Ayurvedic formula oil for nasya that was described in Asthanga Hrdaya, the Ayurveda Classical text. Prepared in a base of sesame seed oil it contains 30 herbs and goat’s milk. Anu Taila positively effects Tridoshic conditions and has no known side effect if administered correctly.

 Self Administration Of Nasya Oil At Home:
a)   To comfortably lie down with the head slanting downward and looking at the ceiling
b)   To Place 3-4 drops of AnuTaila or any other nasya oil into each nostril.
c)   Massage in circular motion the outside perimeter of the nostril
d)   Ensure the drops of oil go down the nasal passage.
e)   And then to rest for two minutes.

Benefits of Nasya: A Revelation For Her! 
Nasya is thought to help relieve:
- Hoarseness of voice
- Stuttering or slurred speech
- Stiffness in the head, neck, throat, TMJ
- Headaches and migraines
- Earaches and any pain in nose and throat

Even More Benefits ~ Too Good To Be True:
It improves conditions such as Rhinitis (runny nose) and clear blocked nasal passage. Relieves mental and emotional stress, anxiety, fear and negativity. Positively impacts higher cerebral and sensory organs (eyes, nose, ears, skin and tongue). Prevents facial paralysis, goiter, tonsillitis, convulsion and motor disorder. Prevents loose teeth, gingivitis and diseases of the oral cavity.

 Nasya is also thought to nourish the body by:
1  Strengthening the hair as well as prevent white/grey hair
2  Firming veins, joints, tendons, and ligaments of the neck
3  Reduces the chances of eye disorders due to old age

DISCLAIMER:
This is strictly for educational purpose only. Not medical advice.
Always seek the advice of your primary care physician and guidance of a qualified practitioner.


Panchakarma - An Ayurveda Detox and Rejuvenation Process

Panchakarma - An Ayurveda Detox and Rejuvenation Process
Ayurveda is a life science which teaches an appropriate art of living in order to achieve longevity. Ayurveda explains unique methods to help guide each and every individual on how to maintain a healthy balance by considering simple changes in lifestyle, eating habits, and exercise. Ayurveda gives priority not only to preventive and therapeutic procedures but also to purification and rejuvenation therapies. The balance within the body is mainly governed by three doshas [vata, pitta, and kapha] which is also influenced by external environmental factors like seasonal imbalances, repressed emotions, holding natural urges, bad eating habits, incompatible food combinations and irregular use of the senses: all these factors may lead to an imbalance in the doshas.

Imbalances within the body may result in impairment of agni [the digestive fire] within the body. This deranged agni develops limitations in the ability to digest food properly and ultimately forms ‘Ama’ [undigested food material; toxins] in the body. When this Ama circulates through various channels in our body, it clogs the channels and spreads toxins in the entire body. In this context, Ayurveda described treatments to help eliminate and prevent these diseases in an elaborate method. Ama which is the main internal cause of disease can be eliminated from the body by ‘Sodhana’; a group of cleansing procedures used to eliminate ama from our body.

PANCHAKARMA – Five Therapeutic Procedures
Panchakarma or five therapeutic procedures are part of  ‘sodhana’ treatments. Ayurveda also described ‘shamana’ which are considered less intense procedures for prevention and curing of diseases. Before the actual cleansing procedures, Ayurveda describes purva karma or pre-cleansing procedures to sufficiently prepare the body. These preparatory steps are ‘SNEHA’ AND ‘SWEDHA’.

SNEHA:
Sneha is the application of medicated oils to the entire body with gentle massage and allows the toxins to move into the gastrointestinal tract for easy elimination. It is also administered internally for 3 – 5 days depending on the disease and patient’s tolerance.

SWEDA:
Sweda is sudation or sweating which is done immediately one day after sneha and helps to liquefy the toxins, allowing for easy movement towards the gastrointestinal tract. After sneha & sweda for 3—7 days ‘PANCHAKARMA’ are done depending upon the patient's Prakruthi (constitution) and Vikruthi ( disease).

PANCHAKARMA  ~ ‘FIVE TYPES OF SHODHANA’

1. VAMANA
2. VIRECHANA
3. BASTI
4. NASYA
5. RAKTHA MOKSHANA

1. VAMANA — THERAPEUTIC VOMITING:
Vamana or induced vomiting is indicated mainly in ‘Kapha’ disorders where excess mucus is lodged in all sinuses or channels in the body. Patients feel immediate relief after Vamana due to the elimination of mucus from all channels. It is indicated in diseases like chronic asthma, bronchitis and repeated attacks of cough and cold. It is also indicated in cases of severe psoriasis and leucoderma. After vamana, it is recommended to consider taking rest, herbal smoking, fasting, eating a light diet and avoiding the suppression of natural bodily urges. Proper administration of vamana should provide relief from congestion in the chest, allow for effective breathing, provide good appetite and create a lightness within the lungs.

2. VIRECHANA – PURGATION: 
Virechana or purgation therapy is indicated in ‘Pitta’ disorders [i.e. excess bile in the body] often causing symptoms like nausea, vomiting, G.I disturbances and even jaundice. This excess pitta within the body can be eliminated by therapeutic purgation. This therapeutic purgation helps to relieve all the above mentioned "pitta" disturbances from body. After virechana, one often feels relief from nausea and vomiting, feels a sense of lightness within the abdominal region, and may even develop soft stools.

3. BASTI – ENEMA:
Basti or Enema therapy is indicated in ‘VATA ‘disorders. It is considered as the best treatment for all vata disorders like chronic constipation, abdominal distention, sexual disorders, backache, sciatica and other joint disorders like rheumatoid arthiritis, gout, and muscle spasms. Vata is the main active principle in the pathogenesis of a disease. Vata is the moving force in the body; it is responsible for circulation, elimination and retention. So, it is also responsible in spreading toxins and wastes in the body. If Vata is eliminated from its roots (i.e. from the large intestine) it is easy to treat any disease.

4. NASYA  — NASAL ADMINISTRATION:
Nasya is administration of medicated drugs through the nose. ‘NASA HI SIRASO DWARAM’ means the nose is the door to the brain. Prana or life energy enters the body when we breathe through the nose. This prana or life energy in the brain governs all sensory and motor functions in the body. So, it is indicated in disorders where prana is affected like sinusitis, convulsions, migraines and all sensory organ disorders. Medicated drug administration followed by a facial massage may also improve with breathing more effectively. Nasya is described as part of a daily regimen for the general wellbeing of each individual.

5. RAKTHA MOKSHANA — BLOOD CLEANSING:
Raktha mokshana is the purification and cleansing of blood. Ama, which is considered the main cause of disease as it enters into blood as a toxin resulting in toxemia and other circulatory disorders like high blood pressure, and skin conditions [i.e. urticaria, herpes, eczema, acne and scabies]. Raktha mokshana is also indicated in pitta raktha associated disorders like an enlarged spleen and liver. Raktha mokshana is bloodletting via three different methods, mentioned in the classics. Bloodletting provides excellent results with conditions such as blood and skin disorders. Food such as yogurt, fermented foods, sour foods and alcohol are considered toxic to blood.

DIET AND LIFESTYLE:
Ayurveda describes, in great detail, diet and lifestyle instructions for a person who is undergoing Panchakarma treatments. These are designed keeping in mind that after a pancha karma treatment, agni is deranged. Therefore, to bring agni back to normal power it is advised to eat very light and easily digestible food like kitchari (cooked basmathi rice and moong dal) which is sweet, delicious, and nutritious to the body.

DISCLAIMER:
Panchakarma are specialised treatments which require proper knowledge and skill to perform. Therefore, one should not try these at home without proper supervision of a trained professional. This information is for educational purposes only and not to be considered medical advice.



The Ayurvedic View on Blood Cleansing PART I

Ayurvedic Medicine emphasizes the importance of maintaining healthy blood and offers a wealth of information about herbs which constitute blood purifying attributes.

Charak Samhita:
Charak Samhita states that “blood plays a vital role in the sustenance of elan vital.” When blood is pure, one experiences strength, good complexion, happiness and longevity.1

Sushrut Samhita:
In Sushrut Samhita, it is said that blood is considered identical with the vital principle of a living organism; blood has properties such as redness, lightness, mobility and a fleshy smell which also characterize the five fundamental elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether). Thus blood is considered to contain the five elements in its composition.2

Blood is the origin of the body. It is blood that maintains vitality. Blood is life.
Hence it should be preserved with the greatest care
.3

The Sanskrit term raktashodhan is defined as alterative or blood cleansing. Herbs with raktashodhan karma remove toxins from the blood.4

Rakta Dhatu
Rakta dhatu, the blood tissue, consists of red blood cells and carries nutrients to all the other tissues in the body such as oxygen from the lungs to the peripheral and deep connective tissues and hormones from endocrine glands to target tissues. In Ayurveda the concept of blood is different from the western view which includes both red blood cells and plasma.5 Ayurveda considers rakta its own tissue that is produced in the liver and spleen6 and when healthy, blood has a vivid red color and is neither too thin nor too transparent.7

Red blood cells have a lifespan of about 120 days and as they grow old they become fragile and break apart.8 Besides this natural aging process, rakta dhatu and the raktavahasrotas, the channels carrying blood in the body, become vitiated due to various dietary and lifestyle factors such as:

  • excessive use of pungent, salty, alkaline, acidic and oily foods and drinks;
  • heavy foods such as meat and yoghurt; overeating;
  • alcohol and other sour fermented drinks such as vinegar and whey;
  • taking food before the previous meal is digested;
  • deficiency of iron and B12;
  • rotten foods;
  • poor food combining;
  • sleeping during the day after taking food;
  • anger;
  • suppression of the urge for vomiting;
  • exposure to sun and fire;
  • lack of bloodletting in the fall;
  • antibiotics;
  • radiation;
  • and infections that are harmful to the liver and spleen.9,10,11

Due to the numerous ways for the blood to become vitiated, knowledge of how to purify and treat the blood to prevent and cure the various health issues due to vitiated blood is greatly needed.

Conditions Due To Vitiated Rakta 12,13,14,15

kushtha (various skin diseases incl. dermatitis and ringworm which are common when blood is impure)
Raktapitta (intrinsic hemorrhage) Asrgdara (menorrhagia)
Pramilaka (drowsiness) Mukha roga (mouth diseases)
Vidradhi (abscesses) Murcha-bhrama nidra (fainting)
Vatarakta (gout) Atisveda (excessive sweating)
Panduroga (anemia) Shvitra-shveta kustha (leucoderma/vitiligo)
Daha (burning sensation) Netrabhishyanda (conjunctivitis)
Arocak (anorexia) Mukhapakasotha (stomatitis)
Gulma/Arbuda  (tumors) Pliha and yakrt vrddhi (enlarged spleen and liver)
Indralupta (alopecia) Arshas (piles)
Visarpa (herpes) Various inflammatory diseases
Nilika (blue moles) Aching of limbs
Tilakalaka (black moles) Bad breath
Vyanga (freckles) Shivering
Kotha (urticaria) Hematuria
Asramandala (red circular patches) Rhinitis
Kamala (jaundice) Pimples
Trshna (thirst) Saline taste in mouth
Shirahshul (headache) Intoxication
Diseases which usually are curable but do not improve with appropriate treatments.16


The causes of blood vitiation are many and in the busy modern world, it is easy to develop impure blood. Fortunately, Mother Earth provides a large number of herbs that constitute raktashodhan karma.

Treatment of vitiated blood includes:

  • the use of Ayurvedic raktashodhan herbs,
  • proper fasting suitable for the individual,
  • Ayurvedic virechan (purgation) and
  • raktamoksha (bloodletting).10,17  

For more information about raktashodhan and Ayurvedic herbs with blood purifying properties stay tuned for part II.

DISCLAIMER:
This is for educational purposes only; NOT Medical advice.
Always consult your primary care physician before considering any new management.
Always consult with a professional ayurvedic provider before considering any new management

References

  1. Charak Samhita, Sutrasthana XXIV/4. Sharma RK, Das VB. Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi, India. 2007.
  2. Sushrut Samhita Sutrasthana XIV/8-9. By Kaviraj Kunjalal Bhishagratna. Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi, India. 2005.
  3. Sushrut Samhita Sutrasthana XIV/36. By Kaviraj Kunjalal Bhishagratna. Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi, India. 2005.
  4. Frawley D, Lad V. 1986. The Yoga of Herbs: an Ayurvedic guide to herbal medicine. Lotus Press, USA. Pages 49-50
  5. Lad V. 2002. Textbook of Ayurveda. Fundamental Principles. The Ayurvedic Press, Albuquerque, NM. Pages 113-114.
  6. Charak Samhita, Vimanasthana V/7-8. Sharma RK, Das VB. Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi, India. 2007.
  7. Sushrut Samhita Sutrasthana XIV/18. By Kaviraj Kunjalal Bhishagratna. Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi, India. 2005.
  8. Lad V. 2002. Textbook of Ayurveda. Fundamental Principles. The Ayurvedic Press, Albuquerque, NM. Pages 113-114.
  9. Charak Samhita, Vimanasthana V/14. Sharma RK, Das VB. Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi, India. 2007.
  10. Ranade S, Ranade S. 2005. A Textbook of Kayachikitsa. Chaukhamba Sanskrit Pratishthan, Delhi. Vol.1 pages 141-142.
  11. Charak Samhita, Sutrasthana XXIV/5-10. Sharma RK, Das VB. Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi, India. 2007.
  12. Charak Samhita, Sutrasthana XXVIII/11-12. Sharma RK, Das VB. Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi, India. 2007.
  13. Charak Samhita, Sutrasthana XXIV/11-17. Sharma RK, Das VB. Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi, India. 2007.
  14. Sushrut Samhita Sutrasthana XXIV/10. Kaviraj Kunjalal Bhishagratna. Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi, India. 2005.
  15. Astangha Hrdayam. Sutrasthana XI/8-9. Translated by Prof. KR Srikantha Murthy. Chowkhamba Krishnadas Academy, Varanasi, India.
  16. Astangha Hrdayam. Sutrasthana XXVII/1½-4½. Translated by Prof. KR Srikantha Murthy. Chowkhamba Krishnadas Academy, Varanasi, India.
  17. Charak Samhita, Sutrasthana XXIV/18. Sharma RK, Das VB. Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office, Varanasi, India. 2007.