Newly Opened: Kerala Ayurveda Centre ™ @ Tampines

Articles written by Kerala Ayurveda Centre’s staff

Dear Friends, our Tampines Branch is now open for business. Kindly give us a visit 🙂

The address and directions are in the Contact Us page!

Non-vegetarianism in Ayurvedic Texts?

Articles written by Kerala Ayurveda Centre’s staff

One would wonder if Ayurveda can ever be tolerant of Non-vegetarian food. The humble answer is YES!

Irregular consumption of meat has been propounded in the vedic texts and Charaka speaks at length the nourishment that meat gives the human body. He recommends meat for the alleviation of certain diseases and when the body is dehydrated, emaciated, weak or convalescing. But it is to be remembered by the reader that these suggestions were under seriously different conditions. The animals were not factory-reared like how they are now! They lived in their natural habitats and they were hunted for consumption. That makes a lot of difference, indeed. Consider what follows, for instance.

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(Photo credit: WebMD.com)

Charaka Samhita mentions that meat is unwholesome when it comes from an animal that has been raised in a habitat that is not its natural environment or in an area that it is not native to. Animal meat is toxic if the animal has eaten food that does not form part of its natural diet or does not come from its normal environment. Given that the word is out on the consumption of meat, how does the modern meat consumption rate in Ayurvedic circles? Await the next post!

Dandruff

Articles written by Kerala Ayurveda Centre’s staff
dandruff

(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.

Treatments:

  • 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.