Ayurvedic Diets for a better body

Ayurveda has divided all kind of diseases and medical conditions into three types of Dosha or Body Types i.e Vata, Pita and Kapha and accordingly diets are also divided into three categories. Vata type body usually have slender figure, with their bones protruding at joints. They are quick moving and are constantly on the move, therefore, tasks like simple organization and keeping the household in order becomes a challenge for them. Their mind wanders, frustration sets in and things become difficult to manage. Vata can be prone to depression, especially if they become submissive. Since Vata is air and movement, it is vital for them to be active. But activity for Vata people must be arranged in a focused calm manner, or the activities will lead to anxiety. Focused, constructive activities can lift their spirits and spark the creative fire, that is so very important for their well being. Most Vata people chew their nails, crack their knuckles, and are usually seen moving their hands and feet in a nervous or quick manner.

Vata balancing fooods are: Fruits - Apricots, Avocado, Mango, Bananas, Berries, Dates, Fresh Figs, Grapefruit, Grapes, Kiwi, Lemons, Melon, Oranges, Papaya, Peaches, Pineapple, Plums, Strawberries. Sweet fruits are balancing. No dried fruits. Vegetables - Artichoke, Asparagus, Beets, Carrots, Cucumber, Green Beans, Leeks, Mustard Greens, Okra, Olives, Onion, Parsnip, Potato, Squash, Watercress, Zucchini. Cooked vegetables are most balancing. Avoid raw vegetables.Grains - Amaranth, Oats, Rice, Wheat, Wild Rice. Herbs, Spices, Condiments - Brown Rice Syrup, Honey, Maple Syrup, Molasses, other sweeteners than White Sugar, Allspice, Almond Extract, Anise, Basil, Bay Leaf, Black Pepper, Caraway, Cardamom, Cayenne, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, Coconut, Cottage Cheese, Cumin, Dill, Fennel, Garlic, Ghee, Ginger, Mustard, Nutmeg, Onion, Oregano, Parsley, Peppermint, Poppy Seeds, Rosemary, Sage, Spearmint, Spirulina, Tamarind, Tarragon, Thyme, Pickles, Salt, Seaweed, Soy Sauce, Turmeric, Vanilla. Dairy - Buttermilk, Cow's Milk, Cheese, Goat's Milk, Goat Cheese, Yogurt. All in moderation

Pita Body Type is a mixture of the water and fire (the Agni and Jal Mahabhootas). Imagine water and fire in co existence, it is close to a strong acid or to a strong alkali. So are Pitta people, strongly acidic in nature that can burn anyone with their wits or leave many expressionless by their words. Born with wisdom they are soft at heart and they also think a lot. The fire part enrages their anger anytime and water flows out of their eyes as soon as they are hurt. They become anxious easily. They have good moral values within them and this makes them more sensitive. Sensitivity coupled with anger is hard to control. They can fire anytime but when they are at peace with their minds they are hard to win.

PITTA Balancing Foods are: Fruit - Apples, Avocado, Berries, Dates, Figs, Grapes, Mango, Melons, Pears, Pineapples, Plums, Pomegranate, Prunes, Raisins, Watermelon. Sweet fruits are balancing. Sour fruits are aggravating. Vegetables - Artichoke, asparagus, bell pepper, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cucumber, celery, green beans, leafy greens, mushrooms, okra, parsley, parsnip, peas, potatoes, squash, sprouts, zucchini. Sweet and bitter vegetables are balancing. Grains - Barley, Cooked Oats, Basmati Rice, White Rice, Wheat, Wheat Bran, Wheat Granola are balancing. Amaranth, Buckwheat, Millet, Oat granola, Quinoa, Brown Rice and Rye are aggravating. Legumes and Nuts - All beans except black and red lentils are balancing, such as adzuki beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, soy beans, split peas and tofu. Coconut, psyllium, pumpkin and sunflower are balancing. Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Cashews, Chia, Filberts, Flax, Macadamia Nuts, Peanuts, Pecans, Pine Nuts, Pistachios and Sesame are aggravating. Herbs, Spices and Condiments - Maple Syrup, Fruit Juice Concentrate, Barley Syrup, Brown Rice Syrup, and other sweeteners except for honey and molasses, Coconut, Coriander, Cumin, Dill Fennel, Ghee, Mint, Orange Peel, Peppermint, Saffron, Seaweed, Spearmint, Sprouts, Turmeric, Wintergreen are balancing. Chili peppers, Garlic, Ginger, Horseradish, Ketchup, Mustard, Lemon, Mayonnaise, Onions, Pickles, Salt, Sesame Seeds, Soy Sauce and Tamari are aggravating. Dairy - Butter (unsalted), Cottage Cheese, Mild Soft Cheeses, Ghee, Cow's Milk, Goats Milk are balancing. Salted butter, Buttermilk, Hard Cheese, Feta Cheese, Sour Cream and Yogurt are aggravating

Kapha Body Type is derived from the basic elements of earth and water. These elements literally have the characteristics of being heavy, stable, cool, oily and smooth and these are the best characteristics of all the elements in nature. In fact, the very nature of stability of earth and water elements, imparts an amazing strength to Kapha individuals, both physically and psychologically. The qualities of Kapha are comparable to that of the Mother Earth , peaceful, fertile, calm, balanced and steady. Thus, Kapha individuals are deep rooted and down to earth. Kapha reflects the contentment and peaceful nature of the bovine cow and the primordial elephant. However, when these qualities become imbalanced it can lead to laziness, lethargy, over possessiveness and stubbornness. Kapha individuals may tend to indulge in excess when it comes to food, especially those of sweet, fried or creamy nature; therefore, they need to be aware, if their choice is over-dominated by foods that are too sweet or too oily, like fried food, sugar or refined carbohydrates, than it can result in diseases like diabetes and obesity
Kapha Balancing Foods: Fruit - Apples, Apricots, Berries, Cherries, Cranberries, Dried Figs, Mango, Peaches, Pears, Pomegranate, Prunes, Raisins. Sweet fruits such as bananas and dates are aggravating, as are sour fruits such as lemons, sour oranges and grapefruit. Vegetables - Asparagus, Beets, Beet Greens, Bell Pepper, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Eggplant, Garlic, Green Beans, Horseradish, Leafy Greens, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Okra, Onions, Parsley, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, Spinach, Sprouts, Turnips, Watercress. Raw, pungent and bitter vegetables are balancing. Sweet, juicy vegetables are aggravating. Grains - Amaranth, Barley, Buckwheat, Corn, Granola, Millet, Oats, Oat Bran, Quinoa, Basmati Rice, Rice Cakes, Rye and Wheat Bran are balancing. Cooked Oats, Brown or White Rice, and Wheat are imbalancing. Herbs, Spices and Condiments - allspice, Anise, Basil, Black Pepper, Caraway, Cardamom, Cayenne, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, Cumin, Dill, Fenugreek, Garlic, Ginger, Horseradish, Mint, Mustard Seeds, Nutmeg, Onion, Oregano, Paprika, Parsley, Peppermint, Poppy Seeds, Rosemary, Sage, Spearmint, Star Anise, Tarragon, Thyme, Turmeric, Wintergreen are balancing. Dairy - Ghee, Goats Milk and Diluted Yogurt (diluted 1:4 yogurt:water) are balancing. Butter, Cheese, Buttermilk, Cow's Milk, Ice Cream, Sour Cream and Yogurt are aggravating

Yoga for Children to improve their health & immunity

Well, no need to start the post highlighting the importance of exercising our bodies to remain fit for a longer perios, so I will not spend time on this. The point I am making in this post is that not only adults but children also need to exercise their bodies right from beginning so that they beome more fit and obviously for longer time. In today's world of video games, television and excessive internet surfing, the normal exercises that children used to do while playing field games went missing from their schedule and it is more pertinent for them to formally start doing these yogic exercises so that the balance in body remains positive. In addition, this will also develop natural inclination of children towards Yoga and hence will increase health conciousness in them.

As other field games, the fun factor is not missing from these yogic games though I agree that these can not be compared to the field games as those are multi player and maulti faceted games as compared to Yogic exercises but still there is enough fun factor in these to keep the children glued to them as their daily routine. Yoga also boosts the metabolism of the body and provides a natural calmness in mind. This is particularly beneficial for the children, most of whom possess a hyperactive or hypoactive nature these days.

I will recommend following exercises for the children to start with:

  • Vir-asana - this yogasana helps the kid to build the confidence
  • Pranayam - this hugely popular and useful breathing exercise(s) helps a lot in mental relaxation and the child will feel much more refreshened up(and this is without the dose of a fizzy cold drink that makes the brain dizzy)
  • Simh-asana - this instlls fearlessness and confidence in child
  • Swastik-asana - to provide them a feeling of security from all worldly emotional pains like exams, sadness due to a fight with a friend etc.
  • Trataka Karma - this enhances the concentration levels of children and also helps boost their memory
A child can be re-energized with yogic exercises like Surya Namaskar like I mentioned in my earlier posts on this. Also helpful are Bhramari, Hal-asana and Karnapid-asana to boost their overall growth.

Dejection and lack of confidence are common among children today, due to the intense competition which they have to face. Some of the yoga poses that help them regain their confidence and become competitive include Marichi-asana, Pash-asana, Bharadvaj-asana, Rangachikitsa etc. 

Yoga: Surya Namaskar - Benefits and Positions...Part 2

Let us talk today about the rest of the 6 positions of Surya Namaskar. Remember that it is important to do all 10 positions of Surya Namaskar ot attain maximum benefits.

Let me start with Position 4: Hold the breath and raise the knee of left leg. Take the right leg backwards and keep it close to the left leg. Straighten both the legs and both hands. Keep the neck straight and site fixed. Keep both the toes erect. Take care that the neck, spine, thighs and the feet are in a straight line.

Important points to remember for this position:
  • Take the right leg back and place it beside the left leg, keeping the toes erect
  • Keep the body in one straight line – plank position
  • Keep the arms straight
  • Gaze forward
Avoid below points for this position:
  • Bending the arms
  • Looking towards the floor
  • Dropping the hips/waist towards the floor
  • Sticking the buttocks into the air
  • Bending the knees
Position 5: Exhaling bend both the hands in elbows and touch forehead on the ground, touch the knees on the ground, keep both the elbows close to chest. The forehead, chest, both the palms, both the toes, knees should touch the ground and rest of the body not touching the floor. Since only eight parts rest on the ground , it is called ' Ashtanga' position.

Important points to remember for this position:
  • Bring the body towards the floor placing the 8 parts on the floor: Toes, knees, chest, palms, and forehead
  • Keep the hands close to the body, next to the shoulders
  • Keep the elbows pointed to the sky and close in to the body
Avoid below points for this position:
  • Touching the thighs, hips, waist or abdomen to the floor
  • Touching the chin to the floor
  • Letting the elbows fall away from the body
Position6: Inhale and straighten the elbows, stretch the shoulders upwards, press the waist downwards but dont bend the arms. Keep the knees and toes on the floor. Push the neck backwards and site upwards.

Important points to remember for this position:
  • Push the upper body upwards so that the arms are straight
  • Keep the fingers pointed forwards, palms on the ground, thumbs at 90 degree angle
  • Open the chest, pull the shoulders downwards
  • Drop the head and neck backwards and gaze upwards towards the sky
  • Keep the heels, legs and knees together
  • Keep the toes erect
Avoid below points for this position:
  • Letting the legs or heels be apart
  • Bending the elbows
  • Hunching the shoulders towards the ears
Position 7: Hold the breath, bend the neck downwards and press the chin in the throat, push the body backwards and touch the heels on the ground, raise the waist upwards, do not move the palms on the floor.

Important points to remember for this position:
  • Push the body upward so the buttocks and waist are raised into the air, leaving the body in an Inverted ‘V’ position
  • Take the head and chin towards the chest
  • Try to touch the heels to the floor
Avoid below points for this position:
  • Bending the legs in the knees
  • Bending the arms
Position8: Hold the breath as in position 7, bring the right leg in the front and place it in between the hands like in position 3 but instead of left leg in the front here take right leg and place left leg in the back with left knee and toes on the ground.

Important points to remember for this position:
  • Take the right leg forward and place it between the hands
  • The knee of the right leg will be bent
  • The knee of the left leg should touch the ground
  • Drop the waist/ hips towards the floor
  • Gaze is upwards, both arms are straight
Avoid below points for this position:
  • Bending the neck forward
  • Bending the elbows
Position9:Exhale and bring the left leg forwards as in the position 2 and place it in between both the arms.

Important points to remember for this position:
  • Take the left leg forward and place it beside the right
  • Palms touching the ground, fingers pointing forward, thumbs at 90 degree angle
  • Legs straight
  • Try to touch the forehead to the knees
  • Relax the neck
Avoid below points for this position:
  • Bending the knees
  • Keeping the neck tense
Position 10: Inhaling start getting up and attain the position as in position 1.

With this, the series of posts on Surya Namaskar comes to an end. I hope, people from all walks of life will find this helpful for the health and wellness.

Yoga: Surya Namaskar - Benefits and Positions

Though, I have not covered yoga in much details in my blog till date as I am not a yoga expert but it is not possible for me to stop the urge for talking about one of the best yogasana which has shown miraculous impact on body systems for various health conditions. Infact, it is considered as the best exercise for human body. Surya Namaskar consists of not only important Yogasanas and but also Pranayama. The Pranayama and its advantages are skillfully incorporated in Surya Namaskar. In all this Surya Namaskar is an appreciated exercise among people of all ages from kids to old age people.

Ideally, these exercises should be performed early in the morning, exposing your body to the sun's rays. But if, for some reason, it cannot be performed in the morning you may do so in the evening on an empty stomach, in a well ventilated room. Initially, you may start with three rounds and gradually build up the stamina for 10 to 12 rounds. Practice the exercises at the pace you feel comfortable with. If you feel tired after a few rounds, rest by lying down with eyes closed for a few minutes.

Before I start on explaining the exercise in details, let me highlight the Health Benefits of Surya Namaskar:
  • Surya Namaskar series of  exercises activates the endocrine glands and the chakras (vortexes through which the vital life energy or prana is channeled into us) energizing the entire body in a balanced way
  • Surya Namaskar accords overall strength and flexibility to the body, which is why it is generally performed before other asanas
  • These simple exercises fight aging and rejuvenate the entire body
  • Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is the best way to burn the calories and reduce weight
  • It is often recommended for obesity reduction
  • Prevents Heart complaints and controls Blood sugar levels
  • They have beneficial effects on chronic skin problems
  • Relieves Stress and Tension
  • Improves attention and concentration
Now let us move to the different positions in Surya Namaskar:
Position1: Inhale and maintain it in standing position with hands joined together near chest, feet together and toes touching each other

Position2: Exhale and bend forward in the waist till palms touch the ground in line with the toes. Don't bend knees while performing. At first you may find it difficult to attain the ideal position but try to bend as much as possible without bending in knees.

  • While exhaling bend forward in the waist
  • Palms touching the ground, fingers pointing forward, thumbs at 90 degree angle
  • Legs straight
  • Try to touch the forehead to the knees
  • Relax the neck
  • Do not bend the knees
  • Do not keep the neck tense
Position3: Inhale and take the left leg back with left toes on the floor, press the waist downwards and raise the neck, stretch the chest forward and push shoulders backwards. Keep the right leg and both the hands in the same position. Keep the right leg folded.

  • Take the left leg backwards and touch the knee to the floor, keeping the toes erect
  • The knee of the right leg will need to be bent
  • The knee of the left leg should touch the ground
  • Drop the waist/ hips towards the floor
  • Gaze is upwards, and both arms are straight
  • Do not bend the neck forward
  • Do not bend the elbows
We will talk about the rest of the positions of Surya Namaskar in my next post.

Ayurvedic Cure for Heart Disease

The heart is the most important organ of the body which pumps blood to all the other organs in order to keep them functioning. The heart has to work tirelessly for every living second of our life. It is no wonder then, that the heart is the organ that undergoes the highest degree of wear and tear in the human body.

Heart Disease or Hridyaroga is a global phenomenon. Already a big health problem in the developed countries, it is now becoming a major health problem even in the developing countries. Depending on their dosha, the heart diseases could be Vataka Hridyaroga, Paittika Hridyaroga and Kaphaja Hridyaroga. These three have slightly differing symptoms as follows:
  • Vataka Hridaya Roga is characterized by acute pains which are not localized at a particular point. This is the heart disease caused due to the vitiation of the vata dosha
  • Pittika Hridaya Roga is characterized by a burning sensation in the chest cavity. This is the heart disease caused due to the vitiation of the pitta dosha
  • Kaphaja Hridaya Roga is characterized by mild pain in the chest, accompanied by heaviness, nausea and coughing. This is the heart disease caused due to the vitiation of the kapha dosha.
The predisposing factors of this disease are heredity, high blood pressure, diabetes, high serum cholesterol and smoking. The way of living and the way of feeling appear to be quite an important factor in its increasing incidence. Cardiovascular problems have been dealt with at length in Ayurveda, which describes 'Hridya' (heart) as a body organ governing emotions and circulating blood to keep a person alive and healthy.

Cardiac problems arise mainly due to improper diet and stressful life styles. These lead to thickening of arteries (dhamani praticaya) or hardening of arteries (dhamani kathinaya) resulting in angio-obstruction (vata dosa) and angina (ruja).

High blood pressure that hammers the arterial walls roughens them and causes the arterial wall to thicken. Fatty cholesterol particles get deposited under the inner lining of the arteries (i.e. atherosclerosis). The higher the pressure more the deposits will occur. Subsequently these deposits become calcified due to fibrous growth and involved arteries lose their elasticity. It prevents blood from flowing easily and may lead to clotting. The clot formation can suddenly choke off the blood supply and lead to a heart attack, stroke or kidney failure.

Treatment for Heart Disease:

Useful Herbs in the Treatment of Heart Diseases:

1. Alfalfa (Medicago satina): The congestion of the arteries can be reduced with help of juice of Alfalfa. The juice has better effects if it is taken along with the juice of a fresh carrot.

2. Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna): Arjuna has properties in increasing the stimulation to the heart. Its bark is used in Ayurveda for this purpose.

3. Digitalis (Digitalis purpurea): The digitalis herb is renowned all over the world for its benefits in heart care. The herb can stimulate the activity of all muscle tissues, including those of the heart. It improves the nourishment of the heart and rejuvenates the heart from its basic wear and tear. The digitalis herb also helps in correcting problems that may occur in blood circulation to the heart.

4. Ephedra (Ephedra gerardiana): The ephedra has fantastic heart stimulating properties. It is especially beneficial in strengthening hearts that are damaged due to infections of pneumonia and diphtheria.

5. Garlic (Allium sativum): Rasona or garlic is most important substance helpful in alleviating vata dosha controlling blood pressure. It can break down the cholesterol accumulated in the coronary arteries. Having a few cloves of raw garlic every morning can also reduce the possibility of a heart attack.

Alternatively, a paste made of about 1gm of garlic should be mixed with a glass of buttermilk. Drink this buttermilk twice a day. It will bring your blood pressure down. Garlic lowers cholesterol and triglyceride that have impact on heart disease

6. Onion (Allium cepa): Scientists have proved the properties of the onion in allaying heart attacks. It also reduced thrombosis of the heart and reduces the accumulation of blood cholesterol.

Additional Ayurvedic treatments for specific heart diseases: The preferred drug for people with heart problems is the arjuna. The modes of giving this drug depends on the dosha of the ailment.

1. If the person has a vata dosha related heart disease, then the powdered bark of the arjuna is given mixed with pure ghee.

2. If the person has a pitta dosha related heart disease, then the powdered bark of the arjuna is given mixed with milk.

3. If the person has a kapha dosha related heart disease, then the powdered bark of the arjuna is given mixed with pippali powder or with honey.

Medicines prepared using arjuna as the main ingredient, such as Arjunarishta and Arjuna ghritam can also be given in some cases.

In addition, there are other medicines for heart care such as Hridayarnava rasa and Prabhakara vati, which are given in the form of tablets. If the person has suffered an acute heart attack, then Mrigamadasava is found to be quite effective.

Other medications as per Ayurveda:

Soak 1tsp fenugreek seed in water for a night and munch them early in the morning on empty stomach. It will reduce your cholesterol and excess fats.

Jaharmorha is another Ayurvedic drug used in the treatment of cardio-vascular diseases. It is a yellowish-green soft stone found in the Himalayas. Its powder is processed with rose water and administered to heart patients.

Triphala Guggul is yet another Ayurvedic preparation found useful in reducing cholesterol levels

Diet for Heart Care

Some sources of fats are actually good for the heart contrary to popular belief, and they must be included in the diet. The fats that are harmful for the heart are the trans-saturated fats, which are also labeled as hydrogenated vegetable oil, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or shortening. These fats can remove all the proteins, fibers, minerals and vitamins from the body, leaving behind only toxins.

But fats that are polyunsaturated or monounsaturated are good for the heart. These fats are contained in olive oil, flaxseed oil, sesame oil, mustard oil, groundnut oil and ghee. Such fats should make up for about 15% of the food requirement.

At the same time, remember that fat-free diets are extremely harmful for the body. These diets do not contain any fats, which prohibit the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K. This can only bring death faster.

All stimulating foods such as tea, coffee, alcohol and chocolates must be avoided by heart patients.

Some more Home Remedies to keep Heart healthy

1. A glass of lemon juice must be drunk daily. Lemon juice contains vitamin C, which helps to dissolve the cholesterol. Amalaki can also be used for this purpose.

2. Have a cup of parsley tea daily. Parsley must be also included in the salad along with beet roots. This helps the proper functioning of the heart.

Take care of your heart.

Ayurvedic Cure for Diabetes or Madhumeha or Prameha...Part 2

We discussed about role of Bitter Gourd, Gooseberry and Blackberry in treating Diabetes, in the last post, there is another remedy for diabetes that is worth mentioning here, which is the mixture of all three. Let me start this post with a popular home remedy for diabetes that is quite effective too.

Mix an equal amount of amla (gooseberry) powder, jamun (blackberry) powder, and karela (bitter gourd) powder and give a teaspoon of this mixture once or twice a day to the diabetic patient. It would be highly efficient in checking the progress of the disease.

Other herbal remedies that are helpful in treating Diabetes are:

Cumin Seeds: Take Wild jeera (cumin seeds) black colored 60 gm and mix in 1 litre of water everyday. Boil and reduce it to 1/4th litre and take half part. Divide it into two equal parts and drink one part in the morning and one in the evening 2 times daily.
Bengal Gram: Water extract or soup of kala chana (Bengal Gram) enhances the use of glucose and the insulin requirement goes down in the body considerably. Diabetes patients who are on a set diet which does not severely limit the intake of carbohydrates, but includes liberal amounts of Bengal gram extract, have shown significant improvement in their fasting blood sugar levels, glucose tolerance, urinary excretion of sugar, and general condition. Pulses from the same family like black gram are also quite useful in Diabetes treatment. In fact, two tablespoons of germinated black gram, taken with half a cup of fresh bitter gourd juice and a teaspoon of honey, is quite effective if taken everyday once for at least 100 days. Only thing that needs to be taken care of, in this case is that the intake of carbohydrates should be controlled.
Mango Leaves: The tender leaves of the mango tree are measured useful in diabetes. An infusion is prepared by soaking 15 gm of fresh leaves in 250 ml of water overnight, and squeezing them fine in the water in the morning. This filtrate should be taken every morning to manage early diabetes. As an option, the leaves should be dried in the shade, powdered and preserved for use when necessary. Half a teaspoon of this powder should be taken two times in a day everyday.
As Ayurveda healing principles are based on three main methods of treatment that are Ahaar (Food), Vihar (Exercise) and Aushadh (Medicine), there are other prescribed treatments of this disease in Ayurveda. We will discuss these treatments now:
In Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus {Vathaja prameha} Patients are advised to have Bhrimhana medication & diet which increases dhathus in the body.
In Type 2 Diabetes, obese diabetic patient with optimal body strength having intense increase of doshas, Purification of the body is advocated whcich is dependent on dosha predominance (Kaphaja are advised to have emetics, Pittaja are advised to have purgation.)
  • Snehanam (prescription of oils internally & externally)
  • Sodhana (Purification therapy under category three) – The treatment activities that are part of Sodhna are a) Vamanam (Induced Vomiting), b) Virechanam (Induced lose motions) and c) Vasthi (This process is the application of medicine through the anal route. This is indicated only in specific condition
  • Shamanam (Suppression of symptoms)
  • Pathya – Apathyas (Prescribed Diet)
  • Vyayamam (exercises)

In strong prameha patients, but with increased doshas, sodhana chikitsa (treatment) is prescribed. The Purification Therapies are most important treatment in this condition. Snehana karma should be done before giving sodhana chikilsa. Generally swedana is contra indicated in prameha as swethathi pravruthy (profuced sweating) and is one of the main symptom of prameha. Moreover swedana induces kleda which is a causative factor for this disease. Different snehanas (oliations) are advised in different stages of prameha

The most common problem in diabetic patient is a general body weakness & a fast deterioration of the major organs affecting all physiological systems including the mind.
Mild forms of snehana, shodhana & Shamana treatments accompanied with drugs formulated for this protocol has been very effective in controlling Kaphapitta type of prameha. The rugs or herbs that can be taken as treatment for diabetes are
  • Arogyavardhini
  • Vasanta Kusumakar Ras
  • Chandraprabhavati
  • Triphala with Amalaki juice
  • Gudmar
  • Shilajit
Last but not the least, the role of yogasana in controlling diabetes is enormous and one of the asana that is seen to be giving best results, paschimottana–asana. If this asana is practiced daily without fail, it generates related energy that reduces the insulin requirement in the body and hence helpful in reducing the need of insulin injections. Other helpful asanas are halasana, pranayam and meditation.

I have not mentioned some of the herbal and other treatments that I discussed earlier in one of my previous posts so will request the readers to go through all posts on diabetes to take most benefit from my research on this topic.

Ayurvedic Cure for Diabetes or Madhumeha or Prameha

I wrote about this disease, its prevention and cure some days back also and I got reponse from some readers that the details are not that much and they need more details to actually benefit from it. So I took it up this topic in much more details this time.
Diabetes Mellitus or Prameha or Madhumeha or Asrava has become the most dangerous killer disease across the globe. Though thousands of people are dying with Diabetes around the world every year, yet there is no discovery of the cure of this disease. The more unfortunate part is that there is very less awareness among people on the capabilities of Ayurveda, to not only prevent these disease (even for them who have history in family) but it can also be cured to a certain extent in more than one ways like frequency of taking insulin injections is reduced drastically or improving functioning of pancreas that generates insulin or reducing the requirement of insulin by body etc.
We all know that Diabetes Mellitus is the medical condition in which there is an accumulation of glucose in the blood and urine of the person. So, it is a metabolic disorder, which is caused due to malfunctioning of pancreas – which is responsible for production of an important hormone called insulin.
According to Ayurveda, Diabetes is divided in 4 major types (and total 21 types)

  • Kapha type (again divided into 10 types)
  • Pitta type (again divided into 6 types)
  • Vata type (divided into 4 types)
  • Juvenile diabetes for children

 It is categorized by Ayurveda as “Maharoga” (major disease) because it affects most part of the body and every cell of the human physiology. The ancient Indian physicians described not only the sweetness of urine as one of the major symptoms but also the relationship of the disease with disturbance of the 5 sheaths of the body – Annamaya kosha (Food sheath), Pranamaya kosha (Energy sheath), Manomaya kosha (Mind Sheath), Vijnanamaya kosha (Intellectual Sheath) and Anandamaya kosha (Bliss Sheath).
Though Prameha (Diabetes) is a tridoshaja vyadhi, the relative predominance of any one dosha and dooshya enables its classification in to Vathaja, Pithaja and Kaphaja pramehas. These have further been classified in to twenty sub categories (as highlighted above) in all the three classics of Ayurveda. Kaphaja and Pittaja prameha have been sub classified in to ten types and six types respectively. These sixteen types have the physical characteristics of urine that is colour, density and volume depending up on the different gunas of Kapha and Pitta. Vataja prameha has been sub classified in to four types depending up on dhatu being excreted through urine.
The prodromal symptoms of this disease are:
  • Profuse sweating
  • Foul smell of the body
  • Looseness the body
  • Feeling of lethargy
  • Heavy heart feeling
  • Feel like something coated on eyes
  • Excessive growth of nails and hair
  • Affinity toward cold
  • Dryness of throat and palate
  • Sweet taste in mouth
  • Burning sensation in palms and foot soles
  • Sweetness in urine
After catching Diabetes, the main symptoms are:

  • Increased thirst, increased urination, increased appetite are the initial signs
  • Blurred vision, skin irritation or infection, weakness or loss of strength, and decreased healing capability
  • Sugar in urine
If diabetes is not identified at the right time advanced symptoms like fluid and electrolyte imbalance, acidosis, coma are also seen.
Role of Ojus in Prameha: Ojus is the essence of life, an extract of the seven dhathus (Elements) represented as bala (strength) of the body. The ojus in a healthy person determines the physical, psychic, sensory motor functions of the body. This is a biochemical component of the body which is reddish-white in color and residing in heart & other vital organs of the body. If ojus is disturbed, degeneration will be fast and will result in decreased life span. In prameha, ojus is expunged from the body through all navadwaras (Nine Exits of human body) especially through urine & sweat.
Ojus gets imbalanced in prameha in two ways:
  • Through obstruction in blood vessels (srothorodha)
  • Degeneration of the body components is dhatu kshaya which can cause both cardiac & nervous system disorders - all this is ojakshaya meaning an imbalance in Ojus

Let us now talk about the various treatments suggested by Ayurveda that have the potential to reduce and sometimes remove Prameha or Diabetes.
Bitter Gourd: This can be utilized quite effectively in treatment of Diabetes as it contains a hypoglycemic or insulin-like principle, designated as plant-insulin, which has been found precious in lowering the blood and urine sugar levels. The best method is to take the juice of about four or five Karelas (bitter gourd) each morning on an empty stomach. Alternatively (or additionally), the seeds can be added to food in a powdered state. Diabetics can also use bitter gourd in the state of a decoction by boiling the pieces in water or in the form of dry powder.
Indian Gooseberry: Since it is high in vitamin C content, it is helpful in reducing blood sugar levels. Researches have shown that the anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C taken with other supplements has a great effect on diabetics, helping them lowering high sugar blood levels. It also helps reducing the risk of atherosclerosis too, that often occurs in diabetics. In this way the onset of heart stroke is easily delayed, and you may be well protected.
Blackberry: Jamun or black berry is quite useful in Diabetes treatment. Since pancreas malfunctioning is one of the characteristics of Diabetes and Jamun positively impact pancreas, it is an effective treatment of Diabetes. Its seeds contain a glucoside 'jamboline' which is supposed to have the power to check the pathological conversion of starch into sugar in cases of increased production of glucose. In addition of blackberry fruit, the tree bark is also useful for diabetic patients. The method of taking Jamun is to dry and powder its fruit seeds. One teaspoon of this powder should be mixed in one cup of milk or water or half a cup of curd, and taken two times daily. The internal bark of Jamun tree can also be dried and burnt after which it will be converted to white color ash. This ash must be pestled in mortar, strained and bottled. And then the diabetic patient should be given ten grams of this ash on an empty stomach with water in the morning, and twenty grams in the afternoon, and in the evening an hour after taking meals.
We will talk about some more herbal treatments for diabetes in my next post. Also, we will talk about the other effective treatments that Ayurveda suggests for this disease.



Fight Monkey Malaria with Ayurvedic Herbs

After Swine Flu, another disease that is making news these days is Monkey Malaria. This week, Researchers in Malaysia have confirmed that a form of malaria thought to primarily affect monkeys can infect and kill humans, according to a study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases journal. Let me provide some critical information to my readers on the causes, symptoms, prevention and ayurvedic cure for monkey malaria.
Malaria usually, is caused by protozoan parasites of the Plasmodium genus and is widespread in parts of the Americas, Asia and Africa. Malaria infections occur in more than 500 million people each year, with 1-3 million deaths. The parasite has two hosts in the course of its life cycle - a mosquito vector and vertebrate host. The parasites are transmitted to humans by female mosquitoes, multiplying within red corpuscles with consequential symptoms of anemia and fever.

The distinction between a disease that is occasionally transmitted to humans exposed in an area of natural occurrence and transmission (a zoonosis) and an actual human disease is one with serious biological implications. Although at least ten species of Plasmodium can infect humans, only four forms of specifically human malaria are believed to exist. In the case of these four established human malaria types, the parasite is transmissible from one human to another, and a stable transmission cycle is established in the absence of any other vertebrate host. Now Doctors have confirmed that monkey malaria made that switch and become the fifth human malaria.
The parasitic organism responsible, Plasmodium knowlesi, is an established cause of monkey malaria.The P. knowlesi parasites reproduce every twenty four hours in the blood, the disease can be potentially fatal, so early diagnosis and appropriate treatment is essential.

Symptoms of Monkey Malaria: Though any concrete information has not been released by any medical body till date on the correct symptoms of monkey malaria, its most obviuos symptoms are very similar to the known form of malaria. The major difference between other forms of malaria and monkey malaria is that the lungs and kidneys are impacted the most in this. The major symptom is breathlessness that starts creeping in after almost 24 hours of the infectious bite. Till date, breathlessness has been reported as the major cause of human deaths in case of monkey malaria. People with severe monkey malaria can develop bleeding problems, shock, liver or kidney failure, central nervous system problems and coma. This disease impairs the immune system of the body making it prone to other diseases too. 
Prevention of monkey malaria: Like other malaria variants, the traditional advice on its prevention includes avoiding exposure to mosquitos, wear appropriate clothing, use mosquito repellents or mosquito nets while sleeping etc. but early research in Ayurveda suggests that certain immunity building herbs can be very effective in your fight against monkey malaria. One of the wonder herbs is Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia). It is a climbing shrub. Barks are gray-brown or cream-white and warty. The upper layer of the bark is as thin as a paper and it is of brown color, which if removed gives way to a green stem. Leaves are broad, pointed at the tip and having margin. Small flowers appear in summer and fruits in winter. It grows in tropical and sub tropical regions up to an altitude of 300 meters.
Take GILOY herb (AMRITA or Tinospora cordifolia or Guduchi) one foot long branch and seven leaves of TULSI and mix it and collect juice of this mixture in a vessel. Boil this juice and drink it. This herbal juice will increase our body resistant up to three times. It is very early to confirm the exact impact on monkey malaria but the immunity it develops is surely powerful enough to counter plasmodium virus attacks that are the cause of all malaria variants. Please be congnizant of the fact that though Giloy itself (with tulsi) is sufficient to improve your body resistance but if the Giloy plant climbing on a neem tree (called as Neem Giloy popularly) can be found, it is considered to be therapeutically much more useful.
Another prevention tip is to drink a decoction made of fennel seeds soaked in warm water first thing in the morning which helps again in building body resistance against all kinds of malaria.
Cure: The exact ayurvedic medicine for curing monkey malaria should be out in next few months (though Ayush 64, which is a most effective drug for malaria can be effective in monkey malaria also) but one important fact that we need to keep in mind that though it is completely curable through other medical sciences like Allopathy but it has the potential to come back after 24 hours (relapse) so taking ayurvedic herbal supplements as stated above can always make you stronger to fight the relapse while you are recovering from the disease.

Home Remedies - Part...3

As promised last time, let us today talk about the healing properties of Ginger and Garlic in this post.
Ginger - It is known to prevent stomach upset  from many sources including pregnancy, motion sickness and chemotherapy. Ginger is also known to be effective in regulating the blood flow which inturn will lower the blood pressure. Its anti-inflammatory properties might help ease arthritis in some cases.
For motion sickness, Ginger is best taken as 500 mg of dried ginger powder, 30 to 60 minutes before the scheduled travel and then 550 mg every 2 to 4 hours as per requirement. This does will need to reduced to 50% in case of children.
The best ways to include Ginger in your daily food habits is to take freshly grated ginger combined with lemon juice, honey and water to make ginger lemondae; mix ginger, olive oil and garlic to make a healthy salad dressing and spice up all your legumes and vegetables by adding freshly grated ginger. It can also be taken as in Ginger Tea which is considered a good medicine for heart.
Garlic - Another wonder herb from Indian Kitchen, Garlic makes sure to lower the rates of ovarian, colorectal and other cancers if taken in substantial quantities and included in daily fooding habits. Couple of years back, a Japanese trial found that after a year of taking aged garlic extract extract supplements, people with a history of colon polyps saw a reduction in the size and number of the pre-cancerous growths detected by their doctors.
Garlic also protects heart. It contains more than 70 active phyto-chemicals, includeing allicin, which many studies have shown decreases in high BP by as much as 30 points. It also may prevent strokes as well by slowing arterial blockages. 
Garlic is best taken in the form of crushed fresh garlic which offers best cardiovascular and cancer fighting benefits (chew a clove of fresh garlic early morning with warm lemon water for heart health). When cooking, add garlic to retain sulphur compounds and its volatile constituents. You can even marinate crushed garlic in oilve oil and use this flavoured oil in dressings and marinades.
We talked about a few herbs or spices from Indian Kitchen that have mercurial healing properties but we sill need to keep in mind few myths and their truths. One of the myths about herbs is that they are completely safe as any other food when taken in moderation. The truth is that we can not ASSUME that all herbs are safe. Most herbs are not regulated for safety or efficacy. Also, we need to be particular about the grades and quality of the herb. Many people have allergies to some herbs and these need to be tested before you can started taking them in quantities.
The other myth is that anyone can take Herb Extracts. Well, largely it is true but as mentioned above, we need to take care of the allergies and also the fact that some herbs might react with some allopathic medicines if they are taken together. So, we need to consult the doctor in this case.
A myth about herbs is that you can take as much quantity as you want. It is a big NO. Ayurveda, which is the parent science behind herbs healing, says that more isn't necessarily better - infact, that can be even dangerous. For a treatment of length, some herbs need to be substituted with another after a few months of continuous use. Make sure to check with your herbal medicine practitioner.
With this, I will conclude my Home Remedies posts series and I hope that the information will benefit the people with health conditions.

Home Remedies Unearthed - Part...2

Let us take my Home Remedies post series further and we will talk about another spice in Indian Kitchen today that offers lot of healing properties. This spice is Cinnamon.
Cinnamon, when used to season a high carbohydrate food can help lessen its impact on your blood sugar levels. Cinnamon slows the rate at which the stomach empties after meals, reducing the rise in blood sugar levels after eating. Tests have also proved that adding cinnamon to the rice pudding lowered the gastric emptying rate from 37% to 34.5% and lessened the rise in blood sugar levels after eating.
The cholesterol lowering qualities of cinnamon are also unearthed some time back and one research actually found that people with type 2 diabetes if take 1 gram cinnamon everyday for 40-45 days, they experienced a significant decrease in their blood sugar levels, Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) , total cholesterol (HDL+LDL) and triglycerides.
Cinnamon can be taken in multiple ways like by adding to curries, tea, coffee or deserts. It has a mild sweetness. Make the classic cinnamon toast with a healthy twist - drizzle flax seed oil on a whole wheat toast. Sprinkle with cinnamon and honey and enjoy it.
Let us also talk about 2 super healers from Ayurveda Repository that are not spices from Indian Kitchen. These are Ashwagandha and Guggulu.
Ashwagandha stimulates activation of the immune system cells (the lymphocytes), counteracts the effects of stress and generally promotes wellness. It is particularly helpful in stress related disorders like such as arthritis, hypertension, diabetes and premature ageing. It is anti inflammatory and helps treat sciatica pain too.
Guggulu strengthens our digestive system, reduces fat levels from the body and helps in treating upper respiratory tract infections. It significantly lowers serum triglycerides and LDL and VLDL cholesterol's and raises level of HDL or good cholesterol. It protects against atherosclerosis and reduces the stickiness of platelets. It helps in treating menstrual disturbances too.
We all should try to make these part of our daily life as they are easy to use and naturally strengthens our body metabolism to fight against diseases and other health conditions. We will talk about the mercurial properties of ginger and garlic in the next post.


Which is your most preferred way to keep your body fit and away from diseases?