The Complete Guide For Making Homemade Ghee

Making Homemade Ghee

As a wife and mother, I am always on the lookout for wholesome and healthy food for my family. Having studied Ayurveda – a holistic science dating back thousands of years – I have been able to help bring some of that knowledge to the dinner table. However it is hard work! Finding the right types of foods and organic local products is a constant work in progress!

So I decided to start simple. And I stuck with the basics. Oil! The basics of cooking usually start with some sort of oil or butter that the main dish is created in. This particular type of fat can affect the whole chemistry of the dish. It can bring health, a conglomeration of the foods together and not to mention taste to a whole other level. Since I have been personally raised on ghee and have been aware of its wonderful healing properties, I knew that my family would benefit from consuming this wonderful tasting yet healthy fat.

In the past, due to time constraints, I have purchased my ghee from organic sources. However, the more I studied, the more I realized that each of the many stores and businesses I would purchase ghee from, were lacking in some of the important steps in its creation. Some would consider being organic enough. Others cooking on the full moon or having some mantras and prayers imbibed into them enough. Some have made their ghee’s from salted, unsalted, sweet cream or sweet butter. Is this really the truest form of ghee? I knew that as my schedule lightened, I would have to create my own authentic traditional ghee to help my family and myself reap its truest benefits.

Ghee

But what actually is ghee? Simply put, ghee is a clarified butter, however is that all it is? Ghee is one of the most revered of fats and is sometimes referred to as a ‘clean butter’ meaning that it is butter with all the water and impurities boiled off. Nevertheless it is still much more than that. True authentic and traditional ghee was made with a few points to consider:

  1. Real ghee should be made from 100% raw grass-fed milk. The process is quite lengthy but if done correctly, yields a delicious golden nectar from the Gods themselves! Considering the time constraints in this modern age, the next best thing is to make ghee from organic cultured butter preferably from grass-fed cows.
  2. Ghee cooked during the waxing and full moon is most beneficial as it imbibes some of the soma (essence of bliss) qualities of the moon itself. This phase of the moon is a most auspicious time and imparts the vitality and expanding properties of itself into the consciousness of the food thereby nourishing our bodies.
  3. Using prayers or mantras, in particular the mritunjaya mantra is especially valuable as the healing energies and positive vibes are ingrained into the ghee and renders it far more advantageous to health.
  4. The consciousness of the cook is vital in creating any dish, however more so with ghee. Since ghee is used so widely and as a wonderful base for cooking, it is particularly important to have the person making it, remain in a calm meditative and happy state.

 

Health Benefits Of Ghee

The health benefits of ghee are numerous! Amongst improving digestion, memory and a healthy immune system it is also chockful of nutrients and can improve mood and support a healthy weight loss regime.

  • Ghee is full of vitamins A and E – thereby promoting good vision, a healthy immune system and proper organ function as well as antioxidant properties
  • Ghee also contains Conjugated linoleic acid – if it is made from grassfed cows – another important note to consider using grassfed milk! Consequently it can help to reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Ghee is full of short chain butyric acid – which is useful in intestinal support and production of T cells thereby supporting a healthy immune system
  • The energy from the short chain fatty acids helps to burn fats promoting a healthy weight
  • Ghee is rich in vitamin K2 – an important nutrient for facial and dental health. Therefore ghee can literally make you beautiful! Pregnant mothers would particularly benefit from a regular ghee intake
  • The list can go on for eternity!

 

The Process - From Scratch!

Milk
In order to create ghee, I searched for a reputable source for raw milk. I wanted the process to be as authentic as possible and searched many stores. Luckily I came across a local dairy farm that prided themselves on their well cared for and happy cows. They were also 100% grassfed! Happily I purchased several gallons – having researched that the yield of butter from this much milk was not a large amount!

It is important to note here that some companies which sell organic cultured butter are labelled as pasture fed. On further enquiry I realized that these organizations have cows that are grass-fed 90% of the time, but during winter months are fed grain understandably so. The grains are hormone and antibiotic free and keep in line with the organic diet and regulations. Therefore these butters cannot be labelled grass-fed even though the cows have a predominantly grass-fed diet, and are supplemented with only organic grains. I have had great success using cultured butter made from these cows and I continue to use them even today. I would also recommend making ghee from these types of butters as they are as close to the traditional authentic ghees without having to make your own butter!

The Churn
Churning is essential to the butter making process. I looked at various churns and came across some lovely traditional wooden ones. However I rather preferred the heavy duty glass jar and stainless steel Dazey churns and stuck with that, although the novelty wore off after a few hours of churning! Another important detail to look into is the material of the items that are worked with. Some churns are made from plastics, aluminum and rubber. Not wanting these materials leeching into my butter, I chose to stick to glass and stainless steel. It is also rather simple to create your own butter churn using wood and a large stainless steel pot. Attaching the wooden stick to a stable post and using rope to churn the curd in the pot is a simple yet delightfully traditional method to creating the butter.

Curd

Curd is the wonderful thick mixture used to create butter. But what is curd? Curd is sometimes (wrongly) classified as yogurt. However there is a simple yet important difference between yogurt and curd. Curd is simply the milk solids that have separated when a natural sour source has been added to the milk. Some of these natural sources include lemon, vinegar, tamarind pods and even chili peppers. Yogurt on the other hand is created by bacterial fermentation using a bacterial inoculation of cultures such as Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Lactobacillus acidophilus amongst others. Whilst both curd and yogurt are great for gut health, I wanted to stick to the traditional use of curd or ‘dahi’ (as it is known in India) in the creation of ghee.

Making curd is simply adding a sour product to warm milk – which then turns to (yes you guessed it!) curd. Sounds simple right? Not so! I had a great learning experience by creating an ineffective curd starter! A curd starter is simply the initial curd used to create a larger batch of curd. My first batch of curd did not set correctly as I didn’t add an adequate amount of starter curd to it. When I tried my second batch, it came out wonderfully and I realized that the curd starter was an interesting aspect to the curd making process. The temperature of the milk is an essential point to note here; when it is too cool it will not set properly and will not turn into an efficient curd.

I wanted to experiment using tamarind pods and chili peppers to see which was the most effective curd starter.

Results
I used three different curd starters – one with just tamarind pods, another with just chilies and the third with both. They all turned out wonderfully! The chili pepper curd yielded a spicier buttermilk and butter that was simply delicious! Although probably not the greatest butter to use for making ghee! I found that even the curd created using the tamarind and chili was still too spicy. However the curd created using tamarind only was perfect! The butter was thick, delicious. Despite it coming from a smaller batch of curd, it yielded twice as much butter in comparison to the chili curds. The buttermilk produced was milder yet creamier and had a tangy delicious taste.

The steps to making curd starter

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of raw grassfed milk
  • Whole tamarind pods
  • 3 chili pepper stems and 1 chili pepper

 

  1. Bring the milk to a boil and let it gently simmer for 5 minutes. This effectively kills any unwanted pathogens that may have gotten into the milk.
  2. Let the milk cool to body temperature or 110 degrees
  3. Pour into a glass jar and add the tamarind pods snapped in half and/or chilli peppers
  4. Half cover with the lid, allowing it to be exposed to some air to provide live cultures
  5. Leave for 12 hours or overnight
  6. Curd starter is created! There should be a curdled milk solid which can now be used to create a larger batch of curd
  • Note: ideally use a stainless steel pot when cooking and/or boiling milk. This is not an easy thing to find since there are many on the market with tri ply – meaning a core of aluminum. So it is wise to be watchful of the material that your food is placed or cooked in.

 

The steps to making curd

Ingredients

  • 2 gallons of raw grassfed milk
  • 6 -10 tablespoons of curd starter

 

  1. Bring the raw milk to a boil and continue slow boiling for 10 minutes. Experimentation taught me that raw milk needs a slightly longer boil time to yield good curd.
  2. Once the milk has cooled to body temperature or 110 degrees, place into a large glass container or stainless steel or clay pot.
  3. Add the curd starter and gently stir, then cover and wrap in cloth and keep in a warm place overnight.
  4. Once the curd has set, it should be quite firm and have a slightly sour smell but not putrid. It should taste quite like a mild yogurt.
  5. Place in the refrigerator for a few hours
  6. Now we are ready to churn!

 

Burning butter by making butter!

Once the curd is cool, we can place it in the butter churn and start churning! This can be a lengthy process and it is important to be patient and churn in a clockwise and anticlockwise direction to really churn and not mix. I used the lever of the dazey churn to go back and forth, thereby creating this clockwise and anticlockwise process. It took an hour for the tamarind curd to separate into butter and buttermilk and it took almost two hours for the chilli pepper curd to separate.

Once you see the yellow clumps of butter floating on the buttermilk you are done! Sometimes adding a little ice water to the mixture can help to clump the butter further and you can take it out quite easily. Washing the butter is important since any buttermilk left in the butter can make it go rancid quite quickly. Simply use ice water to scrape the butter in a bowl and rinse until the water runs clear. Now we have collected enough butter to make ghee! But what about the leftover buttermilk?

Buttermilk
Buttermilk has tremendous health benefits. The buttermilk that is left once the butter is taken out is considered true lassi or takra. The health benefits are vast! It is a delicious and refreshing drink for the entire family! Takra is considered beneficial for many G.I. conditions such as IBD and Crohn’s disease as well as poor digestion, hemorrhoids, tumors, edema, diarrhea, anemia, urinary diseases and many other health-related conditions. Adding a pinch of roasted cumin powder and/or black pepper can greatly help with its digestive effects – not to mention making it even more delicious!

“He who uses takra daily does not suffer from diseases, and diseases cured by takra do not recur; just as amrita [divine nectar] is for the gods, takra is to humans.” Bhavaprakasha Chpt 6.7

Steps for making ghee – finally!

The Butter

And so we reach the ghee process at last! As I mentioned earlier, this long procedure to arrive at butter is time consuming and can be a little exhausting (think churning!). So in order to cut some time and create your own batch of divine ghee I would recommend looking into the butters available on the market. Ideally organic grassfed cultured butter is your best bet for making ghee as authentic and pure as possible. However the more I looked into the butters I realized that even cultured organic butter raises questions. For example, what is the difference between European and American cultured butter?

European butter is simply butter obtained using cultures from Europe! However it is also defined as a cultured butter that is churned longer in order to achieve at minimum 82% butterfat. Compared to American cultured butter which is churned to obtain at least 80% butterfat, the European butters usually have a richer flavor and a softer texture.

~Ghee Recipe~

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of cultured organic butter (preferably homemade!)

Utensils

  • Stainless steel pot
  • Cheesecloth and/or fine sieve
  • Airtight glass jars

 

  1. Place the butter in a stainless steel pan and melt gently on a medium flame. Gas burners are a more preferable method of cooking ghee.
  2. Once the butter has melted, lower the heat until the butter is gently boiling
  3. Foam will start to gather and rise to the top – if you want to remove it, do so gently using a wooden spoon – being careful not to stir the ghee. Some sources advise against removing this foam – arguing that it contains medicinal properties. The milk solids will start to gather at the bottom of the pan and it is important to not dislodge this into the ghee.
  4. Ghee can easily burn so care must be taken to watch over it and prevent too much vigorous boiling- if it has become too brown and gives a nutty aroma it has burned.
  5. Once the ghee starts to become clear – and you can see the milk solids at the bottom of the pan – it is almost done! The golden liquid will give off a most delightful buttery popcorn aroma – making your kitchen an aromatic heaven!
  6. Adding a drop of water to the ghee is a good test to see if it is done. If it produces a crackling sound, your ghee is ready! Once the ghee stops sputtering and popping you can switch the gas off. Let it cool down a little – once it is warm it can be filtered into glass jars. It is important to not let it cool too much or else it will conglomerate with the milk solids and all your hard work will be ruined!
  7. Filter using cheesecloths or fine sieves into dry glass jars or stainless steel containers. It should be kept airtight and in a dark place away from light. Ghee does not need to be refrigerated. Using dry jars are important as even a drop of water can ruin the ghee!

 

  • Ideally ghee should be made during the waxing or full moon – it is useful to consider that the true full moon will only last a minute! So any time after the exact full moon is considered a waning moon. Therefore cooking a few hours before the exact time of the full moon is most beneficial. Be wary of companies who market their ghees using the full moon – it may be helpful to enquire further of the exact time and date that these ghees are created.
  • Using mantras or prayers can imbibe the ghee with additional protective healing energies. It is also helpful to keep the cook mindful while he/she is chanting these prayers.
  • Placing the ghee on a sri yantra once it is cooked is another consideration. The sri yantra is a sacred geometrical shape which is particularly effective in energizing foods and drinks when used correctly. 

 


Āma - An Ayurvedic Perspective Of Indigestion

 

Āma - An Ayurvedic Perspective Of Indigestion
Ayurveda sees good digestion and its opposite, indigestion, as the foundation of wellness. When we're digesting well, we're keeping our internal environment balanced, well nourished, and relatively free from toxicity. When we're not digesting well, and experiencing indigestion marked by symptoms like gas, acidity, bloating, constipation, or loose stools, it's a signal that the body is not reacting well to the nourishment you're providing it.

Ayurvedic Digestive Supplements 
Good health depends on strong, efficient digestion.

Agni & Āma:
From the Ayurvedic perspective on digestion there are two primary concepts to be familiar with: agni and āma. Agni in a general sense is the principle of transformation in the body. There are many types of agni, that fulfill many duties of transformation in the body, but for our purposes lets understand Agni as our digestive fire or capacity. When agni struggles to completely and fully digest and assimilate the food you eat, the undigested food particles begin to putrefy creating a morbid, mucoid plaque that Ayurveda calls āma.

Āma coats and congests the channels of the body, from the main channel of the digestive tract, to the more subtle channels of the circulatory system and lymphatic system. Āma can disrupt flow, block nutrient absorption, and cause cellular immune system confusion. You may feel the results of internal coating and congestion as fatigue, heaviness, cloudiness, confusion, stiffness, or general body ache. Want a quick āma check? Upon rising, look at your tongue in the mirror. See a whitish, yellowish, greenish, or dark coating on the tongue? That's āma that the body is working to expel.

Health Benefits Of Lemon Water

Ready to clear that toxicity?
So what to do to begin to clear out that toxic plaque from the body? Luckily there are many things we can to help the body balance clear this plaque. The first thing to do it to support your digestive fire. I think of this like tending a campfire. You have to develop a relationship to the fire you're tending. If you don't give the fire any fuel, it goes out, and then takes considerable time to rebuild. If you dump a bunch of wet wood and soggy leaves on the fire, it smothers, and leaves you with a bunch of unburned (undigested) coals. However if you regularly feed that fire with the type of fuel that's appropriate for where it is in its burn cycle, it will burn brightly and efficiently for you.

Ayurvedic Detox Products

What fire-tending looks like in the body:

Establish a regular rhythm of meal times (3 is typically recommended)

  • Start your morning off with foods that will kindle your fire, a lighter breakfast with warm, easy to digest foods.
  • Your digestive fire is strongest at mid-day, make this your biggest meal.
  • Make your evening meal one that is nourishing but lighter, again so you don't have too much undigested food in the GI tract when you go to bed. (That's a sure recipe for ama.)
  • Make meals a meal. Sit down, breathe, un-plug and focus on the nourishment you are about to receive. We know that when the stress-response in active we are physiologically incapable of digestion - so take a moment to de-stress before you eat.
  • Have ~16oz of room temperature or warm water ~30 minutes before your meal. This helps to prepare the protective bicarbonate layer of the stomach for the acid production that will happen with digestion.
  • You can have a little warm water to sip on during a meal, but no chugging large amounts. You don't want to dilute the hydrochloric acid and digestive enzyme balance your body has worked to hard to create in the stomach for proper digestion. This would be like throwing water on a fire when you want it to burn it's brightest.
  • Eliminate or minimize the snacking. Snacking doesn't allow the body to move through a full digestive cycle without interruption. This creates undigested food-stuff in the GI tract, which leads to ama.

 

What toxicity clearing looks like in the body:

So you've begun to tend to your internal digestive fire, but what about the āma that's already in the system?

  • Drink a warm cup of water, or lemon-water first thing, upon rising.
  • Drink room-temp or warmer water away from meals. Cold and iced water are Ayurvedic no-nos.
  • Drink enough water. The calculation is pretty simple. Take you ideal body weight in pounds, and divide it by two to get the number of ounces. So a 140 lbs person would drink 70 ounces, and a 180 lbs person would drink 90 ounces. Use a container you can measure so you can track it daily.
  • Lighten the load. The body can digest ama if given the opportunity. This could look like single day of fasting each week, a short mono-diet, or a seasonal cleanse. Consult an Ayurvedic Practitioner to find out what option would be appropriate for you.
  • Get moving. Gentle movement will help the body naturally detoxify. Go for a walk, do some yoga asana, have a dance party in your living room - whatever it takes to get some movement in.
  • Align your diet, your food-combing, and your schedule with your unique constitution. An Ayurvedic Practitioner can help you create a diet, lifestyle, and herbal practice that will be a customized approach for your digestive fire (agni) and digestive plaque (ama).

 

About The Author 

Kara Aubin
Kara Aubin was called to the path of yoga in 1998, and has been a dedicated student and practitioner since. A lifelong lover of movement, she was drawn in by the intention and pranic wisdom of yogic movement, and the profound and challenging nature of yogic stillness. As a ParaYoga Certified teacher and NAMA Certified Ayurvedic Health Counselor based in Kalamazoo, MI and Albuquerque, NM she weaves the teachings of yoga and Ayurveda into group classes, private sessions, workshops, and retreats. Her mission is to guide students toward their bright inherent potential, as well as their right to radical wellness and balance.

Want an Ayurvedic consultation with Kara Aubin? 
Contact her at Kara Aubin


Turmeric & Other Natural Spices For Managing Diabetes

Turmeric & Other Natural Spices For  Diabetes 
It seems that we as a community, are shifting towards natural remedies for many health concerns. This implies returning back to simplicity by improving our dietary intake and correcting our way of living rather than merely popping pills. Ayurveda is considered to be one of the oldest medical sciences known to mankind and is a science of correct living. Ayurvedic principles aim to provide instructions regarding food and lifestyle so that healthy individuals remain healthy and those with health challenges may improve their health.

Turmeric Herbal Supplements
Turmeric is one of the oldest, most important spices known to humankind.

Health Benefits Of Turmeric - Dr. Josh Axe 

Some of the main benefits include:
1. Anti-inflammatory which helps relieve pain
2. Helps balance blood sugar levels
3. Anti-microbial properties
4. Supports detoxification
5. Cleans out your arteries
SOURCE - Dr. Josh Axe

"According to Ayurveda, there is no herb or medicine 
equivalent to turmeric in the treatment of Prameha (Diabetes)."

According to the American Diabetes Association, the total number of people with diabetes is projected to rise from 171 million in 2000 to 366 million in 2030. In other words, this is a very real concern. The science of Ayurveda dates back thousands of years and has explained diabetes as “prameha” which is a collection of symptoms due to various underlying imbalances rather than just a single disease. For example, prameha which means ‘profuse urination’ is categorized into twenty different types according to Ayurveda. It’s interesting to note that the ancient scholars also described diabetes mellitus [“madhumeha”] many thousands of years ago. Madhumeha is made up of two words, madhu and meha - which implies sweet urine. Similarly, the ancient Greeks called this condition diabetes mellitus due to the passing of sweet urine; i.e. glycosuria.

The ancient Ayurvedic scholars have grouped Madhumeda (Diabetes Mellitus) under one among the 20 pramehas. For simplicity, prameha can be grossly divided into three main types:

1. kaphaja prameha [10 types]
2. pittaja prameha [6 types]
3. vataja prameha [4 types]

Note:
Prameha is obviously a vast topic and this post is simply to introduce basic ideas on how to address diabetes from a natural and holistic approach.

The Root Cause ...
Kaphaja prameha reflects, often, the initial and underlying cause of diabetes. In this category there are 10 types. According to the classic Ayurvedic texts,  diabetes [“prameha”] begins with the derangement of kapha which spreads throughout the body and mixes with fat [“meda”] creating a mixture of properties similar to kapha; i.e. mucous. When kapha is mixed with fat and passes into the urinary system, it soon interferes with the elimination of urine which eventually effects the quality of urine. One of the underlying causes of disease, according to Ayurveda, is the clogging of channels and the accumulation of waste. Hence, therefore, kaphaja prameha commonly reflects the initial and underlying cause of diabetes.

Causes of Diabetes
The causes of diabetes have been long explained by the ancient teachings of Ayurveda. The causes include:
- lack of physical exercise [“asyasukham”]
- sedentary lifestyle [“alasya”]
- excess sleeping [“svapnasukham”]
- food & lifestyle which increase kapha [“kapha krut cha sarvam”]
- inherited/genetics [“sahaja”]
- stress [“chinta”]
- grief [“shoka”]
- fear [“bhaya”]

Traditionally, the management of diabetes is carried out with lifestyle modifiers along with appropriate herbal therapies. Herbs are selected based upon properties such as:
- tastes [“rasa”]
- properties [“gunas”]
- potency [“virya”]
- postdigestive effects [“vipaka”]
- unique action [“prabhava”]

Turmeric - The Spice Of Life
Turmeric is one of the oldest, most important spices known to humankind. Turmeric is bitter, astringent and pungent in taste, and has a heating quality. Likewise, turmeric has drying and light properties which effectively helps to eliminate kapha - the primary culprit for the manifestation of “prameha” [diabetes mellitus]. What’s of great importance is that, by taking control of the initial stage [“kaphaja prameha”] the disease process is likely to come to a halt and help to prevent the manifestation of complications with are often incurable.

It’s important to note that in Ayurveda, disease often has one or two predominant doshas that need to be balanced according to one’s constitution. Therefore, one therapy many not be applicable to all patients even though individuals share the same disease. Because of this, we highly recommend to always first seek the guidance of a qualified professional and to always first discuss management options with your primary care physician.

Buy Turmeric Online 

  • Want a Consultation?
    Health is not simply the absence of disease, but is a state of balance that provides for wellbeing, clarity, and joy. Ayurveda – “The Science Of Life” is considered to be the longest continuously practiced system of traditional medicine and emphasizes on creating balance in all areas of life. Not only does Ayurveda examine the body but inquires further about daily diet, lifestyle, relationships, stress, and overall sense of well-being.

Recommended Ayurvedic Practitioners

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Health Benefits Of Turmeric
Some of the many health benefits of Turmeric are:

1. Common Allergies:
A pinch of turmeric in hot water can be used as an effective steaming method to assist in coughs and colds. Add a pinch of turmeric and salt to warm water and use this for gargling twice a day for alleviating sore throats.

Aller-Defense
Turmeric, lebbek tree & holy basil balance the body’s immune system.

2. Asthma & Bronchitis:
As Turmeric has an affinity with the lungs, it can be used with a holy basil decoction to obtain relief from asthma and bronchitis.

Ayurvedic Products – Respiratory Health
Breathe easier all season along.

3. Anti-Inflammatory:
Consuming 500mg of turmeric daily has been found to have an anti-inflammatory effect on joints and has proved more effective than ibuprofen!

Amrit Kalash 
Immunity = Power Up!

4. Anti-Cancerous:
Due to its antioxidant properties, Turmeric has been found to be effective in inhibiting the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body. Recent research in rodents suggests that ‘Curcumin’, a factor extracted from Turmeric, is able to inhibit colon cancer growth and spread.

5. General Malaise:
Can’t get out of your bed in the morning? Feeling tired after a walk? A simple yet delicious tip- Take a pinch of turmeric with hot milk twice daily. Increased energy levels and overall fatigue may diminish.

Ayurvedic Detox Program
For people who want a whole-body cleanse.

6. Beauty:
Turmeric is widely used in many beauty products due to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Apply turmeric along with honey for lightening of acne spots and for improving complexion. Using flour, turmeric and water, make a paste and apply directly to the skin and/or pimples for a healing effect. It has been found very effective in hair and skin health.

Youthful Skin Line 
Potent ayurvedic formulas to help neutralize oxidants before they damage your skin; provides nourishment for natural, healthy skin cell growth; and helps stimulate collagen synthesis.

7. Dyspepsia:
The use of Turmeric has been found to be successful in cases of dyspepsia. Add a small amount of turmeric to vegetables when cooking.

Ayurvedic Digestive Products
Good health depends on strong, efficient digestion.

8. Alzheimer’s Disease:
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder, characterized by progressive cognitive deterioration together with declining activities of daily living, as well as behavioral changes. The many various effects of curcumin, such as its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can help improve overall memory in Alzheimer’s patients.

Other Dietary Considerations For Diabetics

1. Bitter Gourd (Bitter Melon)
To help reduce blood sugar levels, consider extracting the juice from 4-5 karelas and drink this juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Both the fruit and seeds of bitter melon contain charantin which helps to actively lower blood sugar concentrations.

2. Fenugreek
Fenugreek has numerous studies revealing its ability to help relieve symptoms of diabetes.

3. Neem
By consuming the juice of neem leaves it helps to lower blood sugar levels.

Click To Learn More About Neem

Plus ... 
Consider adding certain pungent and astringent tasting foods such as asparagus, spinach, black pepper, and ginger which are all encouraged for a healthy diet in order to help reduce kapha and help lower blood sugar levels.

Gurmar – The Sugar Destroyer
Gurmar is one of the most prevalent ayurvedic herbs for diabetes. Also known as Shardunika the name Gurmar translates to ‘destroyer of sugar’ and thereby suggestive of its properties as being an effective herb for balancing blood sugar levels.

How To Avoid Sugar Cravings!!! 
One moment, you’re innocently going about your day – the next moment, you discover yourself in the clutches of desire. Despite having a healthy salad for lunch it is now 2:30 pm and you somehow find yourself lost in desire with an overwhelming losing battle for a chocolate cupcake with buttercream icing. Click To Learn More About How To Avoid Sugar Cravings

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.


Improving Brain Function With Ayurveda + Benefits of Ghee & Brain-Boosting Herbs

 

Improving Brain Function With Ayurveda
According to the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, health rests upon a foundation supported by three pillars -  sleep, diet, and overall balance of life. If any one of these three pillars becomes weakened, our overall health and well-being may become affected. Therefore, in order to function optimally especially during modern times, let us look at specific ways to help maintain a healthy balance for the brain.

Intelligence Plus - with Gotu Kola, Ashwagandha, & Bacopa!!

~The Healthy Brain~
It’s to no surprise that the brain requires oxygen. In fact, the brain can only survive for about four minutes without oxygen before suffering from irreparable brain damage. Not only does the brain require oxygen - the brain requires glucose, fat and protein.

Healthy Fat - Healthy Brain
It’s quite astonishing that nearly 60 percent of the brain is fat. In fact, every single neuron [brain cell] is insulated by a myelin sheath made of fatty material - which stresses the importance of fat required for brain stability. That said, it is also important the differentiate between the quality of fat. For example, it’s important to eat healthy fats from pure oils [i.e. olive oil] and avoid nonorganic, mechanically processed, hydrogenated fats and all other altered fats such as trans-fatty acids [i.e. margarine].

The Importance Of Ghee 
Ayurveda has traditionally considered ghee [clarified butter] to be the healthiest source of edible fat, with many beneficial properties. Ghee is butter from which the water and milk solids have been removed. Recent research has clearly demonstrated the importance of essential fatty acids [EFAs] for normal brain function and stabilization of moods. According to Ayurveda, not only does ghee improve memory and strengthen the brain and nervous system but it’s thought to improve digestion, promote longevity, and even help to protect the body from various diseases.

The Brain-Gut Connection ...
According to Ayurvedic wisdom, by-products of poor digestion [ama] are considered toxic to the body and overall well-being. If these toxins [ama] enter into the general circulation and lodge into certain tissues this can interfere with proper functioning of the bodily systems. For example, in modern medicine we are quite familiar with a particular substance associated with Alzheimer’s disease being an amyloid-beta-peptide ‘plaque’. From an Ayurvedic perspective, this plaque formation is a by-product of poor digestion at various levels [G.I. tract, tissue, cellular, mental]. Therefore, from an Ayurvedic perspective, in order to keep the brain healthy and free of these toxic by-products of poor digestion [i.e. amyloid plaques], it is important to maintain a healthy and balanced digestive function.

The Ayurvedic Brain Gut Connection - By Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary

Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary, the Director of Neurology at Wellspring Health and a pioneer in the field of Integrative Medicine, explains the Ayurvedic view of The Brain Gut Connection.

4 Simple Tips For Keeping The Brain Healthy

1. Black pepper. Modern research suggests that black pepper enhances the uptake and utilization of oxygen by brain cells. Likewise, black pepper helps to improve the quality of digestion - therefore, preventing formation of by-products of poor digestion [ama].

2. Ginger. Ayurveda describes fresh ginger root as one of the best enhancers of digestion - helping to better assimilate food and prevent the formation of toxic by-products of digestion [ama].

3. Turmeric. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibacterial and has long been used in the Indian system of medicine to treat a variety of conditions. Epidemiological studies show a 4.4-fold lower incidence of AD in Southeast Asian countries where turmeric is commonly used as a dietary spice

Turmeric  - is one of the oldest, most important spices known to humankind!!

4. Avoid eating refined sugar. Alzheimer’s disease has been likened to “diabetes of the brain” and excessive sugar is thought to impair certain enzymes within the brain, such as neprilysin - which can promote the buildup of amyloid plaques [ama] within the brain.

Brain Boosting Herbs
There are a certain class of Ayurvedic herbs which are distinctly thought to improve the functions of the mind and enhance memory which are classified as “medhya rasayanas”.

Shankhapushpi [Aloeweed]
Shankapushpi is revered as one of the best herbs for supporting the brain and mental function. It enhances memory, calms the mind, and thought to improve tolerance to mental stress. Because of these properties, Shankapushpi is often considered “somanasya janana” - the giver of great mental power and bliss.

Brahmi [Bacopa] 
The effects of Brahmi help to calm and balance the mind. Certain scientific studies have demonstrated Brahmi to enhance learning and memory while providing antioxidant support for the brain.

Organic Brahmi  - A Revered & Ancient Brain Tonic!!

Gotu Kola [Indian Pennywort]
Gotu Kola is considered one of the best herbs at enhancing memory. Likewise, Gotu Kola also contains asiatic acid which is a known potent inhibitor for the formation of amyloid plaques often seen in Alzheimer’s disease.


Disclaimer:

This information is strictly for educational purpose only and not to be considered medical advice. Always first seek the consultation of your primary care physician before considering any new health regimen.


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


Agni: The Fire of Digestion

Agni: The Fire of Digestion
In Ayurveda we place a strong emphasis on digestion. In fact, when treating illness, correcting the digestion is almost always the first line of treatment. Digestion is said to be the work of fire element in the body (called agni in Sanskrit). It is this fire that digests our food, provides us with warmth and produces the glow of good health. A properly nourished body with a balanced digestive fire aligns itself with nature and self-adjusts to weather the small shifts and ups and downs of daily life. In fact, sometimes just by improving digestion we can clear up stubborn health problems without any further treatment.

On a bigger scale though, agni is the agent of all transformation. Agni provides our actual capacity to transform the food—and situations, thoughts and emotions—that we take in so that it becomes nourishment. It is also our passion and enthusiasm for life. In a very real way, agni helps us "take a bite out of life." Agni resides anywhere in the body where transformation takes place. However, the main digestive fire resides in the navel center and it determines the health of the agni everywhere else in our body. We can imagine it as the central fire in a village from which each household lights its own hearth. Encouraged by a gentle breeze within each of these spacious hearths, agni glows under an earthen clay pot filled with water. The meals cooked in that pot, nourish each inhabitant of the home.

When agni is healthy even “improper” food, thoughts, emotions and situations can occasionally be digested without too much difficulty. Conversely, we could eat the most nutrient-packed, health-promoting food and not receive its benefits, if our agni is not healthy enough to break the nutrients down into usable pieces. (This is one of the reasons that Ayurveda doesn't really promote raw food diets. Raw foods haven't undergone the transformation that makes its nutrients more available.)
If agni is either too weak or too strong it causes problems in the body and mind over time. However, even healthy agni fluctuates somewhat over time, responding to changes in its environment. For example, in the summer agni tends to burn with less intensity than in the winter, when the heat of the body is driven into the core to maintain the warmth of the organs.

Agni and Food Preparation
Essentially, digestion is a cooking process, so properly prepared food means less work for the body and better assimilation. Cooking with fire is, of course, recommended, but techniques like pickling with salt, acid or spices and fermentation are often used as well. However, it is important not to overuse these techniques, because they carry fire element into the body. The agents used in these processes (salt, vinegar, alcohol, citrus, pungent spices, etc.) can increase heat in the body and should be used in moderation by someone with a lot of fire in their constitution. The very best way to support your agni is to give it the proper time and space to do it’s job.

This means:

  • Wait at least 4 hours between meals (with no snacking in between).
  • Drink very little liquid with meals—or even within 1 hour of eating. Small sips of warm soup or tea may aid digestion, but a big glass of icy drink will smother the flame of agni.
  • Eat only during daylight hours. Give the body at least a full 12 hours of night to perform the more subtle aspects of digestion—clearing out the organs and allowing them to rest.
  • Eat only when you feel real hunger. If you don’t know what real hunger feels like, you should experiment a little bit with it (those with irregular or excess agni may often experience “false hunger”).
  • Base your meal frequency and size on your level of activity on a given day. It could be as simple as this: the more physical or mental effort you put out, the more food you need.
  • People with clearly slow agni may choose to fast or to eat very lightly one day a week so that undigested food which is clogging the system may be digested.