Articles written by Kerala Ayurveda Centre’s staff

(Photo credit: PracticalCures.com)

Dandruff is a common condition with flaking of the skin on the scalp. Dandruff is not contagious and is rarely serious. It is commonly affected on scalp and also seen in eyebrows, around the nose, and chest.

In Ayurvedic texts, dandruff is termed as “darunaka” which is mentioned under minor skin diseases (Kshudra roga).

The very basics of Ayurveda is the thridoshas or the  3 elements that governs the body functions and the tridoshas are vata, pitta and kapha:

-Vata dosha is responsible for all movements, circulation and neurological functions in the body.

-Pitta dosha is associated with fire or heat and is responsible for all metabolic activities in the body.

-Kapha is the heaviest of the the three doshas. It provides the structures and the lubrication that the body needs.

In Ayurveda, the causative factors of dandruff are aggravated vata dosha and kapha dosha. Aggravation of these doshas may be due to lack of sleep at night, long term use of fermented food, excessive exposure to sunlight, dust, suppression of natural urges, excessive sweating, stress, anxiety and lack of hygiene.

Imbalance of these doshas results in releasing toxins in the body leading to dryness itching, hair fall, causing minute cracks, burning sensation and sometimes heaviness and pricking sensation.

Dandruff, the white dust falling on shoulder with severe itching and hair loss can produce mental stress. Chronic dandruff  may lead to other inflammatory skin lesions. Dandruff may also be seen in seborrhoeic dermatitis and early stages of psoriasis.


  • Gentle medicated warm oil application on dry scalp
  • Nasyam ( application of oil drops in nostrils) with medicated oil for internal purification.
  • Thalapothichil (application of herbal pack on scalp )
  • Head wash with medicated water with triphala etc. to reduce the infection.
  • Shirovasthi (medicated oil is kept on the head using a special cap)
  • Shirodhara (pouring streams of medicated oil on head) which also good for relaxation & sleep .
  • Takradhara (medicated butter milk streams on head instead of oil in shirodhara) is good in dandruff and psoriasis.
  • Detoxification with certain internal medication to purify the toxins and balance the doshas.
  • Maintain regular hygiene,sufficient water intake, wholesome diet, sound sleep, oil application and  head bath to keep the scalp free from dandruff.

Ayurveda and the General Management of Pregnancy

Garbhini Vyakaran is the field of study for the general management of pregnancy. Rules concerning diet, activities, behavior and mental activity (ahar, vihar, achar and vichar respectively) are laid down here.

From the moment the pregnancy is confirmed, the woman is advised to follow these rules. The physician steps in and starts supervision so that the pregnancy can terminate in a normal delivery at the scheduled time. Especially when she approaches full term, critical care is necessary as one of her feet is considered to be in this world and the other in the world of Yama (the god of death). Delivery is not complete unless the placenta is delivered. If the delivery is not normal, the woman is likely to be affected by one or the other of a list of 64 ailments, which are described in detail in Garbhini Vyakaran.

The following are a few from the vast repertoire of general rules to be maintained from inception of pregnancy to the delivery

The mother-to-be should always try to be in a happy mood. She should be clean, neat and well dressed, wearing simple clothes and sleep under a roof in a clean environment. The food she eats should be tasty, and most of it should be in a liquid form, moist, nourishing, and enriched with all the six rasas (tastes) and treated with drugs which are known to increase the appetite and digestive power.

She should always avoid excessive sex particularly during early and late pregnancy, overeating or fasting, sleeping during the day time and staying up late at night. Witnessing or listening to things which give rise to feelings of sorrow, anger, horror or agony, travelling in a vehicle on rough roads, squatting for a long time or sitting in an uncomfortable position or on a hard surface, lifting heavy things or remaining in a bent position for a long time should all be carefully avoided.

With all this KAC wishes every ‘safe’ mother an Ayurvedic delivery!

Ayurveda on Pregnancy

‘Evam kurvati hi arogya-bala-varna-samvahana-sampadam upetam jnatinam shreshtam apatyam janayati’

–          Charaka Samhita

Translating the above verses,

‘If a pregnant woman is taken care of as advised, she will give birth to a child who does not have any diseases – a healthy, physically strong, radiant and well nourished baby. He will be superior to all in the race’

Ayurvedic tradition has the practice of describing pregnancy under definitions of ‘safe motherhood’. This can be further explicated as ‘the basis of family life which, in turn, is the backbone of all the orders of society. Hence, family life remains protected if the woman is safe and protected.’ Thus the mother forms the pivot around which the health of the entire family revolves. Ayurveda compares conception to the germination and sprouting of a seed and its transformation into a sapling. When the male and female seeds unite and the soul enters the union, it becomes an embryo (called in Sanskrit as garbha). Ayurveda gives importance to the quality of the seed and hence, to the development during adolescence, of both the male and the female. In addition to the female seed, the mother also provides the ‘soil, nutrition and the right season’ for the seed to grow. Hence, Ayurveda advises special attention to be paid to the nutrition and protection of the woman to keep her (the soil) rich and clean. It further advises that a female under sixteen years of age and a male under twenty should not bear a child. The rules of sexual intercourse are also laid down. So also, those of antenatal care: the husband and other family members are advised to take care of the pregnant woman’s diet and encourage activities that are dear to her and beneficial to the foetus or child growing in her body. Thus, the approach towards motherhood, that is pregnancy and childbirth, is a holistic one. Such concepts are excellent, but the question is: are they practiced? In fact, it needs thorough introspection on our part to find out why this approach was abandoned.

Today’s Meat in Ayurveda

That meat of today does not meet the guidelines for healthy eating is undisputed. It is also widely proven in scientific circles that humans are also more suited to a predominantly vegetarian diet. Academics from the University of Arkansas and the John Hopkins School of Medicine have conducted extensive research to prove that the teeth and jaws of human ancestors were used for cutting through foods like fruits, nuts, shoots, leaves, flowers and insects-not the flesh of other animals.

Moreover, meat is a not an easily digestible food and the long digestive process often leads to the formation of toxins—and when accumulated in the body, produces kidney stones, gout, gallstones and rheumatism. Dr Jenson, a leading American nutritionist, expresses this concept clearly when he says,

Animal proteins putrefy very quickly in  the intestinal tract, and that is why we should be careful with meats…meat is one of the most putrefactive foods…toxic protein byproducts may find their way into the bloodstream, where they cause a great deal of trouble.”

These are some ideas concerning Meat eating in the modern culture. Given that our occupations are vastly different from those pursued in the samhita age, we should be even more cautious in our food intake. Kerala Ayurveda Centre wishes you an enriching Vegetarian platter everyday!

Ayurvedic perspective on Aging

Let the reader be informed of a review article that this blog wishes to summarize for the benefit of the topic and understanding of the reader. It is a work of erudite scholarship by Datta, Mitra et al.

As the paper explains, Aging is known as “Jarā” defined as that which has become old by the act of wearing out “jīryati iti jarā”. It is synonymed as “vārdhakya” meaning increasing age. Ayurveda divides human life into—childhood (up to the age 16 years); youth and middle age [from 16 to 60 years (charaka) or 70 years (sushruta) and exhibits progressively the traits of growth (vivardhamana, 16–20 years of age), youth (youvana, 20–30 years), maturity (sampoornata, 30–40 years), deterioration (parihani, 40 years onwards) which gradually sets in up to 60 years]; old age, wherein after 60–70 years the body elements, sense organs, strength, and so forth. begin to decay.

While describing aging, Ayurveda takes in consideration Prana (life energy that performs respiration, oxygenation and circulation). It governs two other subtle essence ojas and tejasOjas (the essence of the seven dhatus or bodily tissues) is responsible for the auto-immune system and mental intelligence, it is necessary for longevity. Displaced ojas creates the kapha-related disorders and decreased ojascreates vata-related reactions. Tejas (the essence of a very subtle fire or energy) governs metabolism through the enzyme system. Agni (central fire or energy source in the body) promotes digestion, absorption and assimilation of food. Tejas is necessary for the nourishing and transformation of eachdhatu. Aggravated tejas, burns away ojas reducing immunity and overstimulating pranic activity. Aggravated prana produces degenerative disorders in the dhatus. Lack of tejas results in over production of unhealthy tissue and obstructs the flow of pranic energy. Just as it is essential to maintain balance amongst the tridoshavata, pitta, kapha principles of motion, metabolism, structure, respectively, thedhatus and the three malas (bodily wastes); it is also important for longevity that pranaojas and tejasremain in balance. The tridosha play a very important role in the maintenance of cellular health and longevity. Kapha maintains longevity on the cellular level. Pitta governs digestion and nutrition. Vata, which is closely related to pranic life energy, governs all life functions. Proper diet, exercise and lifestyle can create a balance among these three subtle essences, ensuring long life.

How does Ayurveda talk of Body Weight?

Yogi Ashwini of the Dhyan foundation speaks on this issue at length. For the benefit of the readers we shall summarize his thoughts below. The ancient texts place Sanatan Kriya as being deep-rooted in the principle of Balance and Nature. It rids one of the imbalance and prevents negativity from entering a being. This balance as discussed in earlier posts herein has been the harbinger of good health and well-being. The ayurvedic explanation to weight gain is as follows. Of the seven dhatus which maintain equilibrium in the body, ‘Fat’ is required for a healthy existence. When kapha aggravates medas (Fat) dhatu, the balance of the body gets disturbed and a person gains excessive weight.

Yogi writes that indiscriminate dieting, consumption of steroids and adoption of customized diets aimed at bringing about a specific body shape (ultra thin, muscular) have drastic side effects in the long run. He states that these are the causes of serious ailments of the immune system and cause several psychological disorders.

As a suggestion, Ashwini lays the systematic and proper usage of natural products as a better alternative to restricting diets.

Lekhanas are the herbs prescribed to reduce fatty tissues. Their action causes burning up of the fatty tissues and consequently dries up of excessive weight. Generally, herbs which are bitter and pungent are effective in aiding weight loss. Cayenne pepper, black pepper, cumin and basil not only burn fat but also stimulate digestion and augment the digestive fire.

Bitter herbs like fenugreek are effective in detoxifying the body and purifying blood. The beneficial enzymes in fenugreek aid digestion of fat, carbohydrates, sugar and proteins. The most beneficial way to eat fenugreek is by eating its sprouts. The water in which seeds are soaked can also be consumed. Young leaves can also be eaten. Fenugreek is also effective in clearing mucous from the lungs. Fenugreek seed tea causes sweating, which releases toxins through the skin and is effective in bringing down fever as well.

Wish these lekhanas prescribed by the Yogi come in handy for our readers who might’ve laboured until now under restrictive diets.

The Environment and Ayurveda?

Contemporary discourses spanning almost all fields of research place impetus on an environmental impact assessment and bring to the fore-front, ‘Nature’ and try placing their work of research within that framework. Let us delve into the tradition of Ayurvedic practice and notice if the vedic literature placed emphasis on any sense of environmental sensitivity. We came across a paper by Dr. Ernesto Iannaccone who teaches Sanskrit and Ayurveda classical texts at the ‘Ayurvedic Point’ School of Ayurvedic Medicine located at Milan, Italy. His paper titled ‘Ecological Awareness in Ayurvedic Ancient Texts’ essentially points out that in all the classical Vedic and Ayurvedic literature, that have been interpreted to scholarly satisfaction and survived the test of time, a unifying factor aims to bring the shapes and events of nature back into an essential oneness. Here the differences dissolve.

Ancient Indian thinkers, Ernesto hypothesizes, believed in a deep interrelation between living beings and the expressions of nature. Thus, the philosophical basis of human beings being inseparable from nature; and therefore, Ayurvedic ethics stress respectful behavior towards the environment. As we also see, ayurvedic authors were well aware of the risks of environmental degradation. The third chapter of Vimanastana of Charaka Samhita, one of the most ancient treatises on Ayurveda, elaborates extensively on the causes and consequences of the deterioration of climate, water, and land. These instances thus attest to the environmental sensitivity that Ayurvedic thought instilled in the people of Ancient India.

United Field Theory of Modern Physics and Ayurveda

Articles written by Kerala Ayurveda Centre's staff

Let me present before the esteemed reader an argument forwarded by Prof. Ram Harsh Singh of the Banaras Hindu University. He explores the quantum logic in Ayurvedic tradition and here is one strain of his paper.

The Loka-Purusha Samya, a seminal doctrine of the Vedic tradition maintains that Ayu or the individual life entity is essentially a Four-dimensional entity comprising of the physical body, the senses, the psyche and the Soul (the consciousness). This encompasses the complete understanding of the Macrocosm-Microcosm continuum that we shall explore later in this blog. Basing its principle foundations on this philosophy, Ayurveda considers the Consciousness, denoted here by the Soul, also referred to as the Chetana as the primordian non-physical consmic power responsible for the creation of the entire material and nonmaterial universe. This cosmic power, is in philosophical terms, Brahman. The Brahman pervades and occupies in each living being, this extended fractional consciousness pervasive in all of us is the Atman. Thus vedantic philosophy argues that the Atman and the Brahman are a continuum. The thought also goes as far as to reason the clouding of reason in identifying this pervasive consciousness, due to the presence of a Maya; i.e. Ignorance. This is suggested to be over-ridden by Sadhana. Summarizing the note, a united field of Consciousness as conceived in Vedic traditions thus simulates the contemporary theory of United Field of Energy in Modern Physics (The theory basically explains that all fundamental forces and elementary particles hitherto explained by Physics can be written in terms of a single field. Doesn’t it strike a thought, now? A simplistic understanding of the theory, extracted from grandunifiedtheory.org.il, is available below).


Ayurveda and its holistic view

One of the worst, or rather the best criticism, that complementary systems like Ayurveda has had to contend with is mostly, if not solely, with respect to its ‘macro’ viewpoint which is at variance with the contemporary ‘micro’ view that the cosmopolitan medicine adopts. Modern science therefore appears to be antithetical to the ancient wisdom of looking at the “whole” rather than “parts” of the whole. Even without extolling the merits of one over the other, which in any case is not the purpose of this post, we need to appreciate that beneath this sheen of incongruity lies the complementarity of the fact that these are merely two varying stand points in trying to understand the same reality. The famous story of the blind men and the elephant comes immediately to the mind. Perhaps this analogy is loaded in favour of the ‘macro’ view. The supporters of the Ayurvedic ‘macro’ view would of course be delighted to no end by this because the reductionist approach of fragmenting reality, according to them, is fraught with inherent fallacies.

Ayurveda believes in engaging positively with the forces and elements of nature as a pre-requisite for upkeep of good health. Extolling the merits of holistic approach of complementary systems of medicine like Ayurveda, Dr. Kart Morst Pochlmann of the Habitchtswald Klinik, Germany says, “All natural systems have one thing in common. They think of the body as a whole, a part of nature, part of the cosmos and if you stay in tune with nature, there is no disease, no suffering. Diseases can happen only when we lose connection with nature.”

This holistic concept has of late been getting support from some unexpected quarter – physics. The world of physics began with the hum of rumours of a “theory of everything” from the early 1980s. This theory would in essence be a model that would unite all the known laws of the universe into one all-embracing theory that would literally explain everything in existence. In other words, modern science is slowly but definitely veering around to the ‘macro’ view. Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D, award winning American author of books like ‘Taking the Quantum Leap’ and ‘The Spiritual Universe’ writes in “Mind into Matter’ , “There is no “out there” unless first and primarily there is an “in here” taking action – a deeper, transformative effect – on the “out  there”.” The same idea was hinted at centuries ago by the great teacher of Ayurveda, Charaka when he said “Yavanto purushe tavanto loke iti” (as is in the purusha (body) as it is out there in the loka (universe)).

We shall delve more into these holistic concepts of Ayurveda in our future posts.