Gut Health - Managing Irritable Bowel Syndrome [IBS] Naturally + Ayurvedic Tips

"All disease begins in the gut."
– Hippocrates

Hippocrates - who is the father of modern medicine has stated that - “all disease begins in the gut”. However, even more impressive is the science of Ayurveda. The literal meaning of Ayurveda is “The Science Of Life” and dates back thousands of years. Ayurveda is an ancient science which takes a positive and preventative approach for maintaining health which is beautifully explained with the following quote ...

“The aim of Ayurveda is to maintain the
health of the healthy and to cure diseases of the sick.”

- Charaka Sutrasthana 30:26

Gut Health - Gut Flora
The ancient wisdom of Ayurveda has stated long ago the health benefits of optimal digestion [“Agni” - The Digestive Fire]. Modern science is only recently begun to understand the full extent of the gut flora’s role in health and well-being. For example, the gut flora promotes optimal digestive function, provides a robust immune response, regulates metabolism and even compromises more than 75% of our immune system. It's extraordinary that the teachings of Ayurveda have stated much of these important functions many thousands of years ago.

Factors which can disrupt normal gut flora:
- antibiotics and other medications
- diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods
- diets low in fermentable fibers
- chronic stress
- chronic infections

VIDEO - "How To Treat IBS Naturally." - Dr. Josh Axe

Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can vary widely from person to person. However, the most common symptoms are abdominal pain and cramping, bloating, and alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea. The science of Ayurveda has described this condition as “pakvashaya kupita dosha” mainly involving inflammation of the intestinal mucosal lining and abnormal gut motility.

These ancient teachings have described that nearly all movement of the body is governed by an energetic concept named “vata dosha”. A modern perspective resembling these same principles of ayurveda are that of ‘Functional GI & Motility Disorders’. The wisdom of Ayurveda has long understood the relationship of the body and mind and has always placed great emphasis upon this in order to find the root cause of all diseases. Even further Ayurveda gives focus on diet, lifestyle, herbal remedies, yoga & meditation to help manage disease and to help bring about overall balance to the body and mind.

“According to Ayurveda, irritable bowel syndrome is due to
vata pushing pitta into the colon.”

- Dr. Vasant Lad; Ayurvedic Physician

In this context we can think of vata as the driving force of gut motility. Likewise, we can state that the derangement of vata not only leads to impaired gut motility but more specifically leads to unsynchronized and uncoordinated functioning of the specialized microvilli resulting in symptoms often reported in IBS patients. The following research article states,

“This review presents evidence for the presence of an anatomical defect in IBS patients, namely in the gastrointestinal endocrine cells. These cells have specialized microvilli that project into the lumen and function as sensors for the luminal content and respond to luminal stimuli by releasing hormones into the lamina propria, which starts a chain reaction that progresses throughout the entire NES. The changes in the gastrointestinal endocrine cells observed in IBS patients are highly consistent with the other abnormalities reported in IBS patients, such as visceral hypersensitivity, dysmotility, and abnormal secretion.”

An Ayurvedic Perspective 
The basic approach to improving IBS from an Ayurvedic perspective is centered around pacifying and reducing this quality of vata. Vata is often characterized as being dry, rough, cold and mobile. Therefore a simple approach in helping to pacify vata is simply to eat fewer raw vegetables and eating meals which are grounding and generally warm, soft, and easy to digest.

“Yep, that’s right. Fewer vegetables. Vegetables (as well as some fruits) are often high in insoluble fiber. While soluble fiber can be soothing for the gut, consuming large amounts of insoluble fiber when your gut is inflamed is a little bit like rubbing a wire brush against an open wound. Ouch.”
- Chris Kresser; “Gut Health”

Therefore, you may want to consider vegetables that are high in soluble fiber, but lower in insoluble fiber (and thus tend to be safer for those with gut issues). These include:

  • Carrots
  • Winter squash
  • Summer squash (especially peeled)
  • Starchy tubers (yams, sweet potatoes, potatoes)
  • Turnips
  • Rutabagas
  • Parsnips
  • Beets
  • Plantains

 

Simple Considerations For IBS

  • Consider taking 1 teaspoon of sat isabgol [psyllium husk] with 1/2 cup of fresh yogurt 1 hour after dinner.
  • Another consideration is to boil 1 teaspoon of flaxseed in a cupful of water to make a tea, and drink at bedtime.

 

ENEMA:
According to the teachings of Ayurveda, the seat of vata dosha is in the colon and the therapy of choice is a rectal enema [i.e. “basti”]. This procedure should only be performed under the guidance and supervision of a qualified ayurvedic professional after having discussed the risk/benefits/alternatives with your primary care physician. Ayurveda recommends introducing 1/2 to 1 cup of sesame oil into the rectum and retain the oil for approximately 5 minutes. This is thought to help pacify vata and helps to nourish and support optimal gastrointestinal function.

Want More?
Click Here - To Learn About "The 10 Golden Rules Of Food Intake" 

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

Resources:
‘Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome An Organic Disorder?’; ncbi.nih.gov
‘What Are FGIDs’, UNC Center for Functional GI & Motility Disorders.
‘Gut Health’, Chris Kresser, L.Ac - Holistic Health Practitioner
‘The Complete Book Of Ayurvedic Home Remedies’; Dr. Vasant Lad. Three Rivers Press.


3 Health Benefits Of Ghee + Simple Tips On Making Your Own Ghee

 

3 Health Benefits Of Ghee
The ancient science of Ayurveda has long revered ghee [clarified butter] as an elixir for health and longevity. Very much like butter, ghee has received a bad reputation for many decades due to its high saturated fat content. Research is revealing that instead of increasing the risk of heart disease, ghee may actually decrease the risk instead. That’s not all. Ghee made from grass-fed cow’s milk containing vitamins A,D,E and K, along with fatty acids conjugated linoleic acid [CLA] and butyric acid is now revealing other interesting health benefits.

Ghee + Heart Health:
Ghee is rich in conjugated linoleic acid [CLA] which is a fatty acid with known protective qualities against arterial plaque formation and diabetes - known risk factors of heart disease. According to some studies [to prevent cardiovascular disease], researchers say that ghee can potentially be used to help prevent heart disease.

Ghee + Gut Health:
Healthy digestion is considered the fundamental pillar of good health. According to Ayurvedic literature, ghee increases the digestive function and thought to nourish nearly all tissues of the body - specifically the gastrointestinal tract. According to Phyllis A. Balch, author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, butyric acid is “a monounsaturated fatty acid [that] reduces inflammatory conditions, reduces seepage of undigested food particles, and aids in repair of the mucosal wall.”

Ghee + Weight Loss:
Not only is conjugated linoleic acid [CLA] considered beneficial to heart health but it has also been shown to help prevent weight gain and may even help with weight loss. According to a certain study CLA supplementation in overweight individuals demonstrated significant weight loss over a six month period. Further studies are obviously needed - however this is a good step in the right direction to help validate the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda.


Great Video Demonstrating How Easy It Is To Make Ghee. 

Simple Steps For Making Ghee
1. Place two pounds of butter [preferably grass-fed, organic, and unsalted] into a heavy yet medium sized pot and turn the heat to medium.

2. Heat the butter until the butter melts making sure not to burn the butter. Once the butter has melted, turn down the heat and continue to cook to a very light boil typically for 15-20 minutes. After about 15-20 minutes you will notice the most amazing aroma of buttered popcorn and the beautiful golden color of ghee.

3.  White-colored curds will begin to form as the butter continues to lightly boil. Once these white-colored curds turn into a light tan color, carefully remove the pot from the heat source. Your ghee is now ready to cool until it is just barely warm. Once the ghee is warm strain the clear ghee into a clean container using a cheesecloth and discard the curds which are left on the bottom of the pot.

* Two pounds of butter generally creates 1 quart of ghee
* Always keep a clean storage of ghee to prevent contamination
* Ghee does not require refrigeration
* Health benefits of ghee are thought to increase with age

Buy Organic Ghee Online

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


Food As Medicine - How Food Affects Your Mind - An Ayurvedic Perspective

How Food Affects Your Mind
According to the teachings of Ayurveda food not only nourishes the body but also nourishes and affects the mind. Ayurveda has a very elegant way of explaining certain qualitites of the mind - namely, sattva [pure], rajas [dynamic], and tamas [stable/heavy] qualities of the mind.

Qualities Of The Mind
From the most fundamental perspective we can say that - mind is movement. The movement of thoughts, feelings, and emotions make up most of what we generally consider to be the mind. These three shifting qualities [sattva-rajas-tamas] of the mind are briefly described below.

Sattva
Sattva [pure] qualities of the mind are expressed mostly as love and compassion, righteousness, and often describes the kind of person who seeks after truth in life. Sattva individuals tend to be well-mannered with an optimistic and postitve attitude. We can think of sattvic energy within the mind as that being of great clarity.

Rajas
Think of a ‘Type-A personality’ and you pretty much have rajas. Rajas individuals are dynamic, ambitious and hard-working. On a good day, rajas individuals are kind, friendly and quite lively. On a not-so good day, rajas individuals can very easily become confrontational, restless, egotistical and self-centered. In essence, rajas is dynamic energy, however, not always laser focused.

Tamas
Tamas individuals, on the other hand, are far less percpetive and dynamic than both sattva and rajas individuals. Tamas individuals are mostly described as being less intelligent, tend to sleep excessively and often considered more the lazy type.

Food And Its Effect Upon The Mind
Based upon Ayurvedic literature, food can be classified as being sattvic [pure], rajasic [stimulating], and tamas [dull] with its respective influence upon the mind.

"SATTVIC FOOD"
Sattvic food is light and easy to digest. Eating sattvic food brings about clarity to the mind and often desired by individuals who live a life of austerity.

Examples Of Sattvic Fruit:
- mango
- pomegranate
- coconut
- figs
- peaches

Examples Of Sattvic Grains:
- rice
- tapioca
- blue corn

Examples Of Sattvic Vegetables:
- sweet potato
- lettuce
- parsley
- sprouts
- yellow squash

Examples Of Sattvic Beans:
- mung beans
- yellow lentils
- kidney beans
- lima beans

Examples Of Sattvic Dairy:
- milk
- fresh homemade yogurt or cheese

"RAJASIC FOOD"
Rajasic food is stimulating and mostly hot, spicy, and salty. Interestingly, it’s these very kinds of food which are most compulsive in nature. Ever try eating just one potato chip? Nearly impossible. This very compulsive and dynamic nature is rajas.

Examples Of Rajasic Fruit:
- sour fruit
- apples
- bananas
- guava

Examples of Rajasic Grains:
- millet
- corn
- buckwheat

Examples Of Rajasic Vegetables:
- potato
- cauliflower
- broccoli
- spinach
- pickles

Examples Of Rajasic Beans:
- red lentils
- toor dal
- adzuki beans

Examples Of Rajasic Dairy:
- sour cream
- sour milk

"TAMASIC FOOD"
Tamasic food is considered heavy and dull and does just - “that” - to the mind. Often after eating tamasic food one will feel sleepy and tired. Tamasic food in moderation can actually be beneficial in helping to stabilize and ground an overly restless mind.

Examples Of Tamasic Fruit:
- avocado
- plums
- watermelon
- apricots

Examples Of Tamasic Grains:
- wheat
- brown rice

Examples Of Tamasic Vegetables:
- mushrooms
- garlic
- onions
- pumpkin

Examples Of Tamasic Beans:
- urad dal
- black beans
- pinto beans

Examples Of Tamasic Dairy:
- aged cheese


Chyawanprash - The Famous Ayurvedic Elixir

 

Chyawanprash - The Ayurvedic Elixir
Long ago, sat in the forest an old wise sage named Chyawan. It has been said that the old wise sage had been sitting in mediation for such a long period of time that he eventually became covered with moss, twigs, leaves and branches. One day, a beautiful princess found herself joyfully singing through the forrest as she played a game while being blindfolded. Accidently, the beautiful princess’s hand had gently grazed the head of sage Chyawan. According to the rules of the kingdom - whomsoever the beautiful princess touches will be destined to be her husband as she was only to touch one man in her lifetime.

"Restore Youthfulness & Vitality"

How could such a beautiful princess marry an old man? Suprisingly, sage Chyawan agreed to marry the young princess; however he insisted several months of preparation. During these months of preparation sage Chyawan sought out a combination of herbs which would restore his youthfulness and vitality so that he might offer to his newly beloved wife many years of conjugal bliss and joy. After the several months of preparation the young beautiful princess had returned to marry the now handsome and youthful Chyawan. Due to the remarkable rejuvenating qualities of this formula - “Chyawanprash”, it has for thousands of years been esteemed as an Ayurvedic Elixir.

Amrit Kalash
Traditional ayurvedic formula of 13 herbs that supports the health of mind, brain, and nerves; increases vitality and inner strength; powerful antioxidant — research shows it to be up to 1,000 times more effective than vitamins C and E.

 

THE ELIXIR OF LIFE
Chyawanprash is a remarkable tonic as it rebuilds not only the body but also helps to rejuvenate the sense of wellness within the mind. Chyawanprash is a unique a mixture of 35-37 powerful ayurvedic herbs [some say up to 49] with amla [indian goosberry; Emblica officinalis] being the base of this formulation. Chyawanprash is also found to be a potent immune enhancer, largely due to the high bioavailability of vitamin C from amalaki. In fact, Chyawanprash is thought to have as much as 30 times more vitamin C than an orange and is therefore helpful with strengthening the immune system.

Premium Amla Berry
Supports natural immunity; works as a powerful antioxidant for people of all ages.

Great Video On Amalaki - One Of The Main Ingredients in Chyawanprash

Because Organic Digest Tone contains three elixirs in one compound [including AMALAKI],
it is considered one of the most valuable herbal preparations in the world!!

Other Ingredients Of Chywanprash Include:
- ashwaganda
- pippali
- cardamom
- nutmeg
- cinnamon
- clarified butter and honey [as the base]
- plus so much more ...

Other Benefits Of Chyawanprash Include
:

- increased immunity; antioxidant
- rejuvenative to all bodily tissues
- reproductive tonic; enhances fertility
- provides increased strength; “balya”
- helps alleviate cough
- helps with urinary disorders
- improves skin complexion

Special Note:
- often can be taken with milk to help carry this formulation to deeper tissue
- may also consider taking with almond milk for those avoiding dairy

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.

Photo credit: “Archana’s Blog”
Click: ‘Easy To Make Chyawanprash!‘


Dashamula - "The Ten Roots" - A Potent Ayurvedic Formula

Dashamula - "The Ten Roots"
Dashamula is an ayurvedic formulation made up of ten herbs. The name Dashamula translates to ‘The ten roots’ and it is a potent ayurvedic formula. It is particularly beneficial to disorders of the nervous system and lungs. It is also frequently used as an enema as it helps to alleviate constipation, lower back conditions and inflammation in the pelvic and sacral areas.

Dashamula has expectorant, nervine, analgesic and febrifuge actions. It directs the air and space elements in the body to flow downward and alleviates most nervine disorders associated with weakness, debility and pain. It is particularly effective in tremors, sciatica and parkinsons. Dashamula is also used in cases of dry coughs associated with respiratory weakness.

Properties:
Dashamula is a heavy, dry herb and has a sweet, astringent taste with a warming effect in the body. Its post digestive effect is pungent and it works especially well on the nerve, digestive and respiratory systems.

The Ten Roots
Dashamula is a formulation of equal parts of of the ten following roots:

·        Agnimantha
·        Bilwa
·        Bruhati
·        Gokshura
·        Kantakari
·        Kashmari
·        Patala
·        Prushniparni
·        Shaliparni
·        Shyonaka

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

1.      Dashamula with Ashwagandha and Bala is commonly used in an oil for lower back pain
2.      Dashamula with trikatu and vasa for respiratory conditions
3.      Dashamula with tulsi for fevers.

Other Ways To Help Balance Vata Dosha

Some indications of dashamula, amongst others, include:
·        Parkinsons
·        Ungroundedness
·        Headaches
·        Fever
·        Sciatica
·        Tinnitus
·        Neuralgia
·        Asthma
·        Colics
·        Arthritis
·        Tics and tremors
·        Lumbago
·        Dry cough
·        Debility

A Word Of Caution:
This is strictly for educational purpose and not medical advice. Caution should be exercised in using dashamula especially in cases of heaviness and excess heat in the body. It is generally not advised during pregnancy. As always, consult with your physician and practitioner before starting a herbal program.

References:
·        Lad, V. (2002). Textbook of Ayurveda. Albuquerque, N.M.: Ayurvedic Press.
·        Lad, V., & Frawley, D. (1986). The yoga of herbs.
·        Pole, S. (2013). Ayurvedic medicine the principles of traditional practice.
·        Green, J. (2000). The herbal medicine-makers' handbook a home manual.


Ojas - The Divine Essence + 2 "Ojas" Recipes [Hotshake & Laddoos]

Ojas - The Divine Essence
Having strong Ojas helps maintain optimum health and many diet and lifestyle factors can contribute to either depleting or nourishing ones Ojas. Ojas is defined as the pure essence of the bodily tissues. This is the refined by-product of digestion which can take up to 30 days to be created. Ojas is also referred to as the source of vitality, immunity and vigor in the body. The quality of Ojas is dependent on diet, lifestyle and stress. Possessing strong Ojas can determine how one’s body reacts to certain diseases and infections. Every tissue system in the body is said to have its own Ojas. Whilst all the physiological systems in the body are maintaining their function at optimum levels, Ojas is preserved. However during disease or infections the integrity of Ojas in the body can be compromised.

“Ojas has the capacity to counteract the
etiological factors or causes of disease.”

- Dr. Vasant Lad

It is important to maintain optimum health and thereby strong Ojas by a suitable diet and lifestyle.  There are some practical ways to increase Ojas and it is also vital to be aware of activities that can deplete this vital essence of the body.

Ways To Increase Ojas:
·        Meditation
·        Moderate yoga suited to one’s constitution
·        Pranayama (breathing exercises)
·        Consuming fresh wholesome and balanced meals appropriate to ones state of balance
·        Following a daily morning practice incorporating walking in nature, nasal drops and oil massages
·        Certain herbs such as Ashwagandha and Shatavari can help in promoting Ojas
·        A restful and appropriate sleep is vital to building Ojas

Activities That Deplete Ojas:
·        Excessive sexual activity
·        Physical and psychological traumas
·        Intense and excessive vigorous exercise
·        Overexposure to bacteria, virus and parasites
·        Diseases such as cancer, chronic asthma, osteoporosis, arthritis, ulcerative colitis amongst others
·        Excessive stress and an intense work schedule
·        Excessive consumption of foods that have preservatives and additives and other chemicals
·        Overconsumption of incompatible foods for one’s constitution

 

~Ojas Building Recipes~
There are some basic and delicious recipes to help increase the vitality and vigor in the body.

 

Ojas “Hotshake”

Ingredients:
·        1 cup Organic, whole, non-homogenized milk (can use cow or almond milk)
·        A pinch each of saffron, cardamom, cinnamon
·        ¼ teaspoon of ghee
·        2-3 whole medjool dates with pitts removed
·        5-10 almonds that have been soaked overnight with shells remove

1.      Place dates and almonds in a blender with 2 tablespoons of the milk and blend until smooth
2.      Place the date/almond mixture along with the rest of ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil
3.      Stir lightly and then let simmer for a few minutes
4.      Pour into a cup and enjoy!

Word of caution:
If desired, you can add ½ teaspoon of raw honey to also nourish depleted Ojas. However, from an ayurvedic perspective, consuming the same amount of honey and ghee by weight is considered toxic to the body, so practice caution and awareness when using both ghee and honey in a recipe.

 

Ojas Laddoos

Ingredients:
·        ½ cup of almonds (skinless)
·        ½ cup of sunflower seeds
·        ½ teaspoon of ginger powder
·        ¼ teaspoon of cardamom powder
·        ¼ teaspoon of fennel powder
·        3 medjool dates pitted
·        1 tablespoon of coconut oil
·        1 tablespoon of raw honey

For coating:
·         ½ cup Coconut flakes
·        2 tablespoons of rose petal jam

1.      Place all ingredients into a food processer and process until mixture is smooth consistency.
2.      Roll into small balls (ladoos)
3.      Dip the tops of each of the ladoos into the rose petal jam and then sprinkle with coconut flakes.
4.      Enjoy!

Note:
The rose petal jam and the coconut can add a cooling effect to the laddoos which can help bring balance in overheated conditions. This step can be omitted if there is no excess heat in the body or adjust according to taste.

Word of Caution : Honey should never be heated or cooked into a recipe – it is considered to alter the properties and create toxicity in the body. In these cases, honey can be added as a last step or in a recipe that does not ‘cook’ the ingredients.

References:
·        Lad, V. (1999). The complete book of Ayurvedic home remedies.
·        Sharma, H. (2011). Ayurvedic Healing. Singing Dragon
·        Lad, V. (2002). Textbook of Ayurveda.
·        Lad, V., & Frawley, D. (1986). The yoga of herbs
·        Pole, S. (2013). Ayurvedic medicine the principles of traditional practice.
·        Green, J. (2000). The herbal medicine-makers' handbook a home manual.


Punarnava - The Renewing Ayurvedic Herb

Punarnava - The Renewing Ayurvedic Herb
Punarnava is one of the best known diuretic herbs in Ayurveda. The name Punarnava means ‘one that renews the old body’ indicating its potent rejuvenative properties particularly in heart and kidney issues. It is a strong digestive herb that is beneficial in sluggish and slow digestion. However, as it functions by absorbing fluids from the digestive system, it can be very constipating in excess and therefore caution must be exercised whilst using Punarnava. Since it works efficiently in reducing adipose tissue and balancing the urinary system, it is also an effective herb in cases of diabetes. It has a strong action on the kidneys by reducing excess fluids, swelling and edema hence making it an excellent herb in bladder infections and nephritis. Punarnava also works on reducing congestion and edema in the heart and lungs and allowing circulation to improve.

Some of the many ayurvedic actions that Punarnava possesses include; kindling appetite, reducing edema, alleviating coughs and congestion, nourishing the heart, promoting the eyes, reducing hemorrhoids and absorbing fluids from the intestines.  It is a strong rejuvenative to the urinary system and heart thereby increasing vitality and strength in the body.

Properties:
Punarnava is a dry, light herb with a bitter taste and has a cooling effect in the body. Its post digestive effect is pungent and it is beneficial to the digestive, urinary and circulatory systems.


"It is believed that this plant can bring
rebirth in a deadly diseased condition."

- Quote from the video clip - Healthy Ayurveda does not endorse any medical claims.

Some indications, amongst others, include:
·        Cardiac edema
·        Nephritis
·        Bladder infections
·        Congestive heart conditions
·        Impaired urinary function
·        Anemia
·        Kidney stones
·        Hepatitis
·        Arthritis
·        Hemorrhoids
·        Alcoholism
·        Diabetes
·        Menorrhagia
·        Intestinal spasms
·        Bloating/ flatulence
·        Worms

 Usage:
There are many combination compounds that involve Punarnava to address certain conditions.
Some being:
·        Punarnava, arjuna, and guggulu in heart deficiency
·        Punarnava, gokshura and guduchi in edema and kidney conditions
·        Punarnava, gokshura and guggulu in urinary tract infections
·        Punarnava, shilajit and guduchi in diabetes
·        Punarnava, ashoka and manjistha in uterine bleeding

Word Of Caution:
It is important to be aware of some of the contraindications of using Punarnava. In cases of diarrhea it should be avoided. Use caution particularly with sedative, antidepressant and antiepileptic medications. As always, use under the guidance of a medical professional.

Homage To Punarnava
To pay homage to Punarnava and the power of the divine feminine, included is the poem
by Raju Debee Bhattacharya

"Punonnoba"-Punarnava?
In some rainy month, did you decide
to climb up our lichened wall, to reach
the rusty tin-roof, transforming
its shabbiness into velvet-green,
to hang your emerald-pendants
around the neck of our home?

 All knew the perennial Madhavilata;
the fragrant Hasnuhana; queen of the night.
They gaped when they saw you
running wild on our roof –

Velvet-green, strange, unknown.
We shouted with glee, "It is Punonnoba … Punarnava."
That you had medicinal properties
that your juice soothes and heals
we never knew till the Vaid
sent his servant,

a demon who expertly climbed our roof
hacked away at its emerald-fringed coverlet!
Oh the despair and the hope
the running out in soaking rain
to watch your extending tendrils,
sprouting leaves,

growing in greenness … Punarnava …
eternal companion on the root-top.
That home was left behind,
as birth-strings snapped.

 A refugee, wanderer, I
look for you, but no one here
knows your name. No one knows

a velvet-green medicinal creeper.
Lost to me, Punarnava,
your shade, your cool décor,
your healing magic.

 

References:
·        Lad, V. (1999). The complete book of Ayurvedic home remedies.
·        Sharma, H. (2011). Ayurvedic Healing. Singing Dragon
·        Lad, V. (2002). Textbook of Ayurveda.
·        Lad, V., & Frawley, D. (1986). The yoga of herbs
·        Pole, S. (2013). Ayurvedic medicine the principles of traditional practice.
·        Green, J. (2000). The herbal medicine-makers' handbook a home manual.
·        Lad, V. (2012). Ayurvedic perspectives on selected pathologies


10 Tips For A More Healthy Life With Ayurveda

10 Tips For A More Healthy Life With Ayurveda
Ayurveda, the science of life, is more a way of life than a way to treat people. Prevention is far better than curing a disease according to Ayurveda. I will now share with you some tips that will help you lead a more healthier and better life.

1.  Have A Daily Routine
Ayurveda suggests to have a daily routine and to stick with it. Sleeping and waking times are very crucial in Ayurveda. For example, the liver cleanses itself during the night (12 am to be exact) which during this time one should be fully asleep and is why Ayurveda recommends the time to sleep to be around 10 PM. Similarly, waking up should be around 6 AM. Eating at regular times should also be  adopted, this way the body and Agni (the digestive fire) work optimally and food will then be digested properly.

2. Eat Hot Food
Make sure not to make your diet strictly raw. Eating a small salad as a side dish is ok. However, food itself should be warm and seasoned with spices to aid digestion. Drinking large amounts of liquids during meals will only dilute the digestive acids which will then result in poor digestion and assimilation. Drinking sips of warm ginger water is more appropriate. A tip from Bhavaprakash: few slices of fresh ginger, sprinkled with rock salt and few drops of lemon chewed before food will aid in digestion and even helps in the prevention of gas formation.

3. Eat When You Are Hungry
When we feel hunger and know that the previous meal has been properly digested only then is Agni ready to digest the next meal. Eating when there is no hunger will often lead to Kapha disorders [i.e. gaining weight] and result in poor assimilation and indigestion.

4. Drink When You Are Thirsty
Don’t drink 3 litres per day or whatever these rumours tell you. Our body knows exactly when it needs liquid and will alert you with the thirst sensation. When drinking more than needed, Kapha problems are more likely to occur [i.e. kidney problems, edema, etc].

5. Never Suppress Your Body's Natural Urges
Yes, we live in a civilized and cultural community and we can't just burp, right? Wrong! When suppressing bodily urges (cough, burp, flatus etc.), it will result in a disturbance of vata and when vata is disturbed it may lead to problems such as gas not leaving the body, breathing problems, bloating etc. Therefore, one must always find a proper way to not suppress natural bodily urges.

6. Walk during the day. Practice Yoga
A bit of exercise is very important for the body. Not only does the brain release endorphins and serotonin during exercise to make us feel good but the whole body benefits from exercise. Agni is maintained in its optimal state when practicing Yoga or any other sport. Even walking a bit everyday will be beneficial. Getting off the bus two stations before your destination and walking to your final destination is a nice routine to follow. According to Ayurveda, one should exercise only till one gets sweaty with that being the optimal limit for one's exercise regimen.

7. Drink Room Temperature Water Upon Waking Up
Drinking water that is room temperature (a "bit" cold is also ok) will help to promote bowel movement as this will stimulate Apana Vata [downward movement of the body]. During sleep we are in a natural state of fasting and therefore returning liquid to the body is very important.

8. Advice from Vimalananda (Dr. Robert Svoboda's Mentor)
Keep your body moving, keep your bowels moving, keep your breath moving. By keeping to this one simple rule, surely, will help lead to a long and healthy life. We have discussed the benefits of exercise and avoiding constipation (i.e. promoting regular bowel movements) but above all - the most important movement of the body is the breath. Therefore, make sure to breathe well, deep, and fully.

9. Practice Meditation At Least 20 Minutes A Day
Practicing meditation daily for 20 minutes will help one cope with all of life's daily activities. Meditation has been proven to help with the resistance to stress and to provide better understanding in order to help make the complexities of life more simple.

10. Look At The Bright Side Of Life
Life isn’t all that bad. After all, when you really look at it - life has lots of surprises. Some of those surprises may not always make us happy, however, learning from each incident is the most insightful thing to do. Therefore, make sure to look at all the beautiful things you do have rather than focusing on the negative aspects of life.

May you all lead a healthy and fruitful life!


Dinacharya - Daily Routine To Perfect Health [10 Important Tips]

Dinacharya - Daily Routine To Perfect Health
Daily routine is a vital and integral part of our state of health. A routine that is followed with care and awareness with respect to our individual constitution and balance will bring many health benefits. In Ayurveda there are certain steps to starting the day, and whilst these can take up some time, they are valuable in their relation to boosting vitality.

To help bring us in tune with nature, and rather our own intelligence, following a dinacharya [daily routine] is essential for establishing great health and regularizing our own biological clock. A proper morning routine can assist in digestion, absorption and assimilation as well as generating peace, discipline, happiness and longevity. It is important to assess any imbalances and your natural constitution before initiating a daily routine as it should be catered to your current state of health.  However, there are some general guidelines that are recommended from an ayurvedic perspective.

What Is Dinacharya?

 

10 Steps To Perfect Health

1.     Arising before the sun
2.     Wash face and scrape tongue
3.     Drink warm water
4.     Evacuate
5.     Oil gargle
6.     Nose drops
7.     Oil Massage
8.     Bathe
9.     Yoga
10.   Meditation

1. Awaken Early
Whilst this is not an easy task for some, arising early is beneficial in starting the day. The pure and subtle qualities of nature that is present at this time of the day will bring peace and freshness to the mind and senses. People who have more of the earth and water qualities should arise between 5-5.30AM. Those who have more of the fire element should arise between 5.30-6AM and those who have more light, air and space constitutions should arise between 6-6.30AM. After arising it is beneficial to say a little prayer or mantra before getting out of bed. This is a divine way of starting the day and induce positivity and light into your life.

Ayurvedic Oral Care Products
All-natural ayurvedic formula with neem extract helps cleanse deep toxins from the teeth and mouth.

2. Tongue Scraping
Washing the face with cold water will bring alertness to the mind. It is a good idea to also wash the eyes and rinse the mouth with cool water. There are a few ayurvedic eye washes that are recommended based upon ones constitution. Triphala tea, rose water and even diluted pomegranate juice are effective eye wash solutions.

An important part of the dinacharya is scraping the tongue. Scraping the tongue can aid in digestion, absorption and assimilation as it stimulates the internal organs. It also removes bacteria.  There are a variety of tongue scrapers available on the market today – gold, copper and silver ones. However, stainless steel tongue scrapers are generally suitable for all.

Tongue Cleaner
According to Ayurveda, cleaning the tongue is an important part of the daily oral hygiene routine, along with regular brushing and flossing of the teeth

3. Drink Warm Water
Although many use caffeine as a morning drink for stimulation, warm water is more preferable at promoting health. Drinking water, especially from a copper cup, can enhance peristalsis and also flushes the kidneys. Caffeine can contribute to adrenal fatigue and constipation and is therefore not recommended as part of a healthy daily routine.

4. Evacuation
Elimination is one of the three pillars of health according to Ayurveda. If there is proper daily elimination, good health is simpler to attain.  When food is not properly digested toxins can build up, creating sluggish digestion. It is important to train the body to have a daily elimination. According to Ayurveda if one misses a daily bowel movement, then the person is said to be constipated. In today’s medical world, constipation is classified as having fewer than three bowel movements a week. To ensure that daily elimination is taking place, one must follow a proper diet and lifestyle for their constitution.  Keeping hydrated and the use of herbs, such as triphala, can also help with regulation of bowels.

5. Oil Swish - Gargle
There are many health benefits of oil pulling. This is a technique where a tablespoon of oil (usually sesame or coconut) is swished in the mouth for 10-20 minutes. From promoting dental hygiene to detoxifying the body and increasing energy, oil pulling is an ancient yet current health benefit. However if time is a factor, even a few minutes of oil swishing is advantageous. After spitting out the oil be sure to massage the gums and brush thoroughly.  In Ayurveda this practice is referred to as ‘Gandusha’.

Daily Swish
Daily Swish is a combination of sesame and coconut oils infused with Ayurvedic herbs traditionally used to support healthy teeth and gums.

6. Nose Drops (Nasya)
Administering ghee or oils in the nasal passages can help with lubrication, cleansing and enhancing mental clarity and improving vision.  Making sure that one is lying down with their nostrils parallel to the ceiling, add 3-5 nasal drops into each nostril and sniff deeply but gently. It is advisable to lie for a few minutes to allow the nasal drops to nourish prana. There are a variety of nasal drops recommended, such as brahmi ghee, calamus oil (medicated, not the essential oil) and regular ghee or sesame oil.  It is important to note that nasya should not be done an hour before or after showering, or after exercising. It is also recommended to do nasya on an empty stomach. The health benefits of nasya are extensive.

Nasya
This Nasya oil is a balancing formula for all doshas and especially good for vata dosha.

7. Oil Massage (Abhyanga)
Massaging oil on the body is a great way to keep the skin soft, supple and wrinkle free. It is a rejuvenating technique that improves circulation and, when done at night, induces sleep. Massaging the scalp can prevent hair loss and graying. In the evenings, massaging the scalp and soles of the feet with bhringraj oil can help in achieving a calm, restorative sleep.

It is advisable to start with the outer extremities and work towards the heart. One should massage in a linear fashion along the limbs and with circular motions on the joints. Some popular oils used are coconut, sesame, sunflower and almond. According to one’s natural constitution, one should pick an oil that is appropriate to their state of balance.

Daily Massage Oil
This Daily Massage Oil is formulated to balance all three doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. This makes it a good choice if you do not know your constitution.

8. Bathing
Bathing should follow abhyanga to remove any excess oil left on the skin. Bathing is not only cleansing and refreshing, but also an activity that improves mental clarity and revitalizes the body. Using natural and chemical free soaps are recommended. During the summer months it is advisable to shower with cooler water than the winter months. This helps the body to keep in tune with nature and the surrounding environment.

Ayurvedic Herbal Cleansing Soaps
A special blend of light and fresh Ayurvedic herbs that cleanses deeply while balancing soft and smooth skin.

9. Yoga/ Pranayama (breathing exercises)
Practicing yoga daily is recommended for all body types. There are various postures and poses that can help to alleviate many conditions and diseases. Yoga is a vital and important daily activity that brings balance and serenity into life.

There are many types of breathing techniques that have various uses for the body. From lowering blood pressure to reducing weight and cooling the body, it is important to know which pranayama would be indicated for personal use. Pranayama increases the vital energy force in the body and therefore is recommended for health and longevity.

Exercise is an important part of life. Walking daily, particularly in the early mornings, maintains good health and balance. Although many people practice vigorous exercise, this is not always recommended. Ayurveda advises stretching and breathing whereas straining is to be avoided.

10. Meditation
The profound health benefits of meditation are staggering. A simple technique, it allows one to connect with the divinity within oneself and should be a daily practice. There are a few methods that one can choose from simple breathing to mantra based meditation. Amongst many benefits, meditation brings peace, harmony and clarity into one’s life.

These are considered general and basic guidelines for overall health and wellbeing.
This is strictly for educational use and not to be considered medical advice.

References
·        Lad, V. (1999). The complete book of Ayurvedic home remedies.
·        Sharma, H. (2011). Ayurvedic Healing. Singing Dragon
·        Lad, V. (2002). Textbook of Ayurveda. Albuquerque, N.M.: Ayurvedic Press.
·        Lad, V. (2012). Ayurvedic perspectives on selected pathologies
·        Pole, S. (2013). Ayurvedic medicine the principles of traditional practice