Good Food and Bad Food According to Ayurveda – I : Food that should not be consumed

Keeping in mind that food cannot be cooked separately for all persons in a house, Acharya Charak describes the food quality that should be taken regularly for all seasons and all prakrati, along with food that should be used very rarely by all prakrati individuals. However, it is particularly important to refrain from the bad food even if you have to stay hungry, as it is said that one should not eat poison even if he has nothing left to eat!

chili lot
Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

Food that should not be eaten regularly (occasionally, once or twice a year or for the medicinal purpose)

  • Dried Meat
  • Dried Vegetables
  • Lotus roots
  • Non-vegetarian diet for the weak

Dried Meat and Vegetables

It is very convenient and sometimes cheap to store dried meat or vegetables for easy use later. Many times people store dried vegetables to be used during the offseason. Dried or dehydrated meat/vegetables are now being frequently used in “Ready to cook” food. But such products should not be used every day.

The food should be consumed in its fresh or natural form as much as possible. According to my personal hypothesis, food that is naturally juicy, like most of the meat and vegetables, when consumed in dried form,  tends to absorb extra water from the intestines for getting into its original digestible form. It might swell in the intestines. If the adequate amount of moisture is not available, it might not be digested properly. Such food might create toxins due to incomplete digestion.

Dried Vegetables

Most of the vegetables that grow above the ground like cabbage, cauliflower, brinjal, beans, peas, bottle gourds,  etc. are dry in nature and they cause Vata imbalance(dryness in the body) when consumed without hot spices/oil etc. Also, most of the green leafy vegetables are heavy, dry and have a tendency to cause bloating (esp during the rains) if not cooked along with proper spices. When these vegetables are used in the dried form, the dryness produced in the body is multifold. Besides, it can seriously derail the digestive system. This is true for almost all the vegetables.

Therefore, if you have the option of using dried red chilies for the fresh green ones, please choose the fresh green chillis. Dried methi leaves, normally used as a flavor enhancing agent in Indian cooking, also should be used once in a while.

close up cooking cuisine delicious
Photo by Oscar Mikols on Pexels.com

Meat, esp pork is supposed to be extremely heavy in nature and can cause severe digestive problems (Vata derangement) if consumed in the dried form. Beef is recommended only in diseased conditions, not otherwise. Most of the meat is heavy to digest. Dehydrated meat is harder to digest and can cause severe Vata vitiation in the body.

It is said that such food takes a long time to get digested and after digestion does not fuel the digestive fire, instead leaves it weakened. Therefore such food is classified as Dhatupradushak or contaminator of the metabolism/tissue systems. In order to understand this concept, let us take the example of throwing sand on the fire. The sand does not get burnt but brings down the intensity of the fire. It might even extinguish a weak fire!

Ideally, we should stop using the packaged ready to cook masalas which contain dried vegetables like onion, garlic, or dried chicken pieces.

dosakaya-pickle-recipe.jpgInstead, meat or vegetables stored in pickled form are oiled, tender and better option for easy cooking than the dried ones.

However, dried meat and vegetables, even when used rarely, should be cooked in water/moisture/oil in order to make them soft and easily digestible. They should be served hot in order to stimulate the digestion. Digestive herbs like ginger, black pepper, asafoetida, cumin etc. should be used to make them easy to digest and absorb.

ginger-1191945_960_720That reminds me about dried ginger powder! There are some exceptions to everything. Dried root vegetables like potato chips can be kept for long duration and consumed after frying. The use of water or oil for proper cooking is indispensable. Still, a fresh potato is a 1000 times better than the dried potato. The dried ginger powder is an Ayurvedic medicine, easy to digest and produces heat in the body and therefore is not a bad food choice. Pumpkin in dried form is not damaging to health, therefore Vadi(a dried Indian curry material) made by sun-drying the chunks of pumpkin paste and spices, are not harmful.

Also, this concept is not applicable to the medicinal herbs(aushadhi) like Ashwagandha to coriander seeds. They can be stored in the dried powdered form of at least one year. However, their other preparations like jam (chavanprash), tablets, alcohols are more useful and have a longer shelf life.

Dried meat and vegetables are not great everyday food, but they might be used for medicinal purposes, as according to Ayurveda, everything in the universe can be used as a medicine. For example, dried radish soup is used to relieve severe bronchitis.

Considering all the health dimensions of dried vegetables and meat, it is best to avoid most of the dried vegetables and meat, unless prescribed by a trained physician.

8463441796_fe0b63090b_b

Lotus Roots

Lotus roots are considered to be very heavy and not digestible in the human system. Therefore they should not be consumed at all.

chicken close up dish food
Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

Non-vegetarian diet for the weak

Normally a person who is weak and thin is advised to consume a non-vegetarian diet, as according to Ayurveda also, flesh is the best diet to increase flesh. However, a weak person with a bad digestion should never consume non-vegetarian diet, as it can seriously hamper his digestion capacity. Ideally, according to the Ayurvedic procedure of weight gain, a very weak person should improve his digestion and health primarily on a vegetarian diet and digestive medicines. After that, he should gradually move to a non-vegetarian diet. A non-vegetarian diet for a weak person with retarded digestion is like a college assignment for a school kid. The chances of successful completion are almost nil. Besides, such a diet will cause further retardation of the already weak digestion.

The central idea of the above guidelines is to preserve the digestion. Digestion is the fuels the life-force in the body and anything that hampers digestion should be avoided at all cost.

 

Know thy food – Basic Ayurvedic Classification of Food

According to Ayurveda, the one who eats healthy food will never need any medicine; and the one who eats unhealthy food will never benefit from any medicine. Therefore it is important to know thy food!

According to Ayurveda, every edible substance on earth has 3 properties –

Doshashamak (Pacifier of Dosha)- It balances the dosha (physiological systems of the body). Herbs like turmeric, ginger, black pepper can be classified as Doshashamak. Turmeric balances Kapha and Pitta, ginger and black pepper balances Vata and Kapha.

assorted spices near white ceramic bowls
Photo by Mareefe on Pexels.com

Dhatupradushak( Contaminator of Dhatu)- It contaminates the vital tissue systems. Ayurveda believes that the diseases can occur only when there is a suitable environment for their incubation inside the body system. A contaminated dhatu is the ignorant king who unsuspectingly allows the trojan horse of diseases inside the body. It is like the traitor of Sparta who gave away the strategic secrets and led to the defeat of his kingdom. Therefore, all diseases have roots inside the body and these roots are formed by the Dhatupradushak food and lifestyle habits we practice.

Onion can be considered as an example of Dhatupradushak, as it is Guru (heavy to digest). Anything that is heavy to digest is taxing for the digestive system to absorb. It has a hot temperament and helps to balance Vata. However, it is heavy, sweet in taste, and unctuous. Therefore, onion has a tendency to vitiate Kapha Dosha. Onion is also sharp in action and has bitter as its secondary taste. Therefore, it can vitiate pitta dosha by disturbing the physiological processes.

red brown white and purple onions and garlic displayed
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Swasthyahitkarak(Beneficial for Health) – It is the substance that is indisputably good for health. It is important to note that all Ayurvedic guidelines should be considered in a context. Sutra is the system that provides a comprehensive context for all rules. Ghee, Honey, rice, moong dal are some of the swasthyahitkarak foods, that cause almost no harm to the body in the widest range of situations.

spoon honey jar glass
Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

Now, there is no physical substance that when taken in any quantity, any time and in any manner will be incontestably good for health. For example, rice is considered good for health and according to Ayurveda, one should have it every day. But uncooked rice is disastrous if consumed, an excessive amount of cooked rice is not good, polished rice is unhealthy etc. Therefore, there is a context where a substance is doshashamak, dhatupradoshak or Swasthyahitkarak. This is the broad view.

Now for practical purposes, how can we classify day to day objects in these 3 categories? Well, we can do that in the same way as we classify the solid, liquid and gas. Everything that exists on this earth can acquire any of the 3 states of physical existence, in specific conditions. For example, oxygen is a gas in normal circumstances. However, it can be transformed to liquid when compressed, or even solid. But still, for all practical purposes, it is classified as a gas, because that is its natural form of existence. In the same way, even arsenic can be good for the body. It is actually used in many of the Rasa Shastra medicines. But, for all practical purposes, it is classified as a toxin. Because it has a natural toxic effect on the body. Similarly, haritaki (Terminelia chebula) is extolled to be as benevolent as a mother towards the stomach but it is not supposed to be consumed more than a specific period of time. Still, for all practical purposes, it is a swasthyahitkarak herb.

food-dessert-sweet-color.jpg
Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

Besides, it is important to note that each human body is different. What is good for one person might not be good for the other. For example, eating curd might be good for a person with good digestion, but buttermilk is better for a person with weak digestion. But this classification is still applicable for everyone. For example, as swasthyahitkarak substance, Ghee is invariably good for all humans, (pure and natural) milk is nourishing for all children. Similarly, too much acid like vinegar is dhatupradushak for all people. And Amla is pitta doshashamak for everyone.

Therefore, irrespective of the body type, this classification is the basis on which we can choose the food that we should eat or the food that we should avoid, in general.

  • Swasthyahitkarak food items should be consumed every day.
  • Doshashamak food items should be consumed according to requirement.
  • Dhatupradushak food items should be consumed rarely or not at all.

If we follow these plain and simple rules of eating, we will never fall sick.

The most interesting thing about substance(dravya) as described in Ayurveda is Kal (time), Disha(dimension), Mana(mind) and Atma (soul) are classified as substances. Therefore the above 3 classifications are applicable to the lifestyle and the thought process also.

If you like my articles, please Become a Patron!

How to use Ayurvedic Health Supplements!

General Usage Guidelines for Ayurvedic Health Supplements

Ayurvedic Health Supplements like Chyavanprash, Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Gokshura etc. are fast catching on public awareness. However, in order to get the fullest benefit from them, it is important to consider some Ayurvedic parameters and factors that affect their performance.

If you are new to the use of Ayurvedic health supplements, you should reflect upon the following questions and make an informed choice –

How is your digestion?

What is your purpose for taking herbal supplements?

What is your Prakriti? You can check it online. If you are not able to find a good site, try ritucharya.com

Prakriti : Code of Body Physiology

Importance of Digestive Capacity

Efficacy of Ayurvedic medicine is not generalized. It is dependent on the age, digestive capacity and requirements. Therefore it is important to know how strong is your digestion? because if the medicine is not digested, it will not be absorbed by the body. The high undigested doses will produce more toxins than benefits. It is like giving a library of books to an illiterate person. He will be able to get no benefit from the huge number of books.

If your digestion is strong, you don’t get bloating, flatulence, indigestion, acidity etc frequently, then you can start with a good dose of herbal preparations. With a healthy digestion, you will be able to properly digest and absorb the nutrition available in the medicine. In perspective of the above example, in this case, you are literate and will be able to enhance your wisdom by digesting the knowledge from the books.

However, if your digestion is not great and you face the above-mentioned problems with digestion, the first step should be to enhance the digestion process.

In order to improve your digestion, visit

Ayurvedic Lifestyle for Excellent Digestion

Asana According to Seasonal Ritucharya

Healthy Sleep Patterns During The Seasons

Qualities of an Ideal Meal

Types of Ayurvedic Preparation

There are two kinds of preparations available in the market: Classical Ayurvedic preparations and herbal medicines derived from Ayurvedic text.

Genetically modified herbs

Because of huge popularity and demand of some Ayurvedic herbs like turmeric, ashwagandha, shatavari etc, these herbs are being genetically modified to produce more of their active ingredients, for example high percentage of curcumin in turmeric, or high level of withanolides in ashwagandha. However, these herbs are completely unnatural and cannot be expected to bring the benefits of original ashwagandha.

All the genetically modified products are capable of surviving incompatible environmental conditions. However, according to Ayurveda any herbs that grows in uncompatible season, soil or conditions does not contain the natural properties and can even have a poisonous effect on the body.

Therefore, please do not use turmeric with high curcumin levels in the name of Ayurveda. Ayurveda does not approve of genetically modified products.

Use of digestives

The major benefit of classical Ayurvedic health supplements like Chavanprash, paka preparations is that they contain a good amount of digestives(clove, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaf, clove, salt, and multiple other spices) in the preparations themselves. These ingredients help in easy digestion and assimilation of the nutrition. Apart from the stated benefit, these ingredients add multiple other qualities to the health supplement. For example, the ideal Chavanprash preparation contains 64 ingredients. And therefore Chavanprash helps in multiple physiological dimensions. It is anti-aging, improves stamina and immunity, is great for eyes, skin, liver; helps in blood purification, improves appetite, sleep quality, digestion and overall metabolism. Therefore if you are using some classical preparation like this in a dosage appropriate to your digestion, it will be properly digested and absorbed.

However, if you are using herbs in the form of extracts, capsules, or powdered form, which are normally single ingredient formulations and do not contain any kind of digestives, you really need to have a good digestive power to gain the maximum benefit from the herbs. Otherwise, there is a probability of indigestion, flatulence or other problems. Inappropriate consumption of herbal preparations might cause health distortion instead of health benefits.

Type of preparation

Many so-called Ayurvedic products use gelatin capsules, preservatives, colouring and flavouring agents. But these formulations decrease the best effects of the herbs.

Let us take the example of turmeric. Today we have raw turmeric capsules available in the market in the name of Ayurveda. But according to Ayurveda, raw turmeric is very difficult

Types of Foods Preparations

Dosage

The dosage of the Ayurvedic Health Supplements is also dependent on factors like digestion, age, health requirements of the body or medicinal purpose.

Tapering dosage is always recommended in Ayurveda, which means that you start with half of the final dose and gradually reach the full dosage so that there is no toxin formation in the introductory phase of the medicine.

Tapering dosage allows the body to assess and decide to accept or reject the medicine. It also helps to prevent allergies at an early stage.  Tapering dosage is like a proper introduction of a stranger before he enters the house. It is like taking the consent of the owner (our body). If a stranger suddenly enters the house, even with good intentions, the owner might feel attacked. There can be mild or severe reactions by the body when a high dose of a medicine is suddenly consumed, unless in extreme conditions.

Tapering dosage is applicable in stopping the medication as well. If the medicine is consumed for a reasonably long period of time, the body might become dependent on it. Imagine suddenly shaking away a hand that is placed on your shoulder! According to Ayurveda, a medicine or a health supplements should not be stopped suddenly, unless urgently required. Similar to the tapering introduction of the medicine, there should be a gradual and phased reduction in the dosage of the medicine. This helps the body to adjust to the new condition.

For example, if your optimal dosage of Chavanprash is 2 tsp, you should start the medicine with 1 tsp and increase it to 2 tsp after a week or so. Similarly, if you are stopping the intake of Chavanprash, you should decrease the original dosage to 1 tsp and stop the health supplement completely after a week. This duration and incremental dosage differ from person to person. It is good to consult a physician in case of any medicines containing heavy metals or minerals.

Tapering dosage, increasing or decreasing, is an important factor in preserving the homeostasis of the body.

Timing

Timing is another extremely important factor according to Ayurveda. Timing helps the medicine to reach the focused organ or metabolic system we want to improve.

The timing of a medicine can be divided into mainly 2 parts – seasonal and daily timing.

Seasonal Timing

According to Ayurveda, the seasonal cycle and biorhythm of our body, both are synchronized to the sun. Dosha, one of the important physiological factors in Ayurveda are severely affected by the changing seasons and so is our body. Ayurveda has a specific seasonal health regimen to prevent the effects of seasonal changes on the body. This regimen is called Ritucharya. There are many health supplements that are designed specifically to preserve the homeostasis of the body in different seasons. Each season has its own range of health supplements based on the Prakriti and requirements of the individual. For example, Chavanprash, paka and alcoholic preparations are best suited for winters, Amrakalpa(Summer Rejuvenation Therapy: Amrakalpa) is a fruit-based detoxification therapy best suited for summers. Use of season based health supplements is more effective as compared to using same health supplements throughout the year because the requirements of the body keep on changing according to the change in the climatic conditions. Therefore Ayurveda recommends differential health supplement therapy for a perfect balance between the external and internal body environment.

One of the best examples of seasonal health supplements is Ritu Haritaki

Introduction to Ritucharya

Effect of Ritu (seasons) on Dosha

Brief Ritucharya for 6 seasons

Daily Timing

After the seasonal health supplements are decided, daily timing of intake is the most important thing. Daily timing of the medicine is decided according to the theory of Vata subtypes. For easy understanding, the recommendations of this theory regarding the time of medicine intake are explained in brief below.

Focused Body PartTiming of Health Supplement
For organs in and below the pelvic regionBefore breakfast (lunch in case breakfast is missed)
For organs involved in digestionmiddle of the meal
For general effect on entire bodyAfter breakfast/ Lunch
For medicinal effect on throat region(speech-related organs – vocal cords, related muscles etc), heart, esophagusBefore dinner
For respiratory problemsbefore bed

Many factors are stated above, that should be considered regarding health supplements or medicine intake. Sometimes, it is not possible to incorporate all the factors at the same time. If you are not able to factor all the requirements at the same time, you can consider the factors in following hierarchy –

  1. Digestion improvement
  2. Decide on best formulation
  3. Dosage Tapering
  4. Timing

For example, first, improve your digestion with healthy dietary and lifestyle habits. Take a preparation that you will be able to digest in the best manner. Gradually increase the dosage. If you are not able to follow the proper timing for the medicine, then also the medicine will benefit you if the other primary factors are integrated properly

Every human body reacts differently to the same medicines. It is important to be aware of the physiological changes that you feel after the start of health supplement consumption. The awareness will help early identification of any kind of positive or negative changes in the body. Immediately contact your medical advisor if you notice signs of a possible allergy.

With some experience and practice, you will be able to decide the best possible formulation, dosage, and timing for your Ayurvedic health supplements. However, it helps to consult any experienced Ayurvedic physician if you are confused or using Ayurvedic health supplements for the first time.

Best Wishes!

Prakriti : Code of Body Physiology

Slide1

Dosha governs the health patterns and susceptibility to diseases of a person. 3 Dosha Vata, Pitta and Kapha are like 3 legs of a tripod on which the health is based. Any of the legs is disturbed, the health gets imbalanced. In every person, there is a constitution based on the 3 Dosha, which is also called the Prakruti or the health pattern of the person. Prakruti depends on the natural tendency of Dosha in the person. There are total 10 kinds of Prakruti depending on the combination of the 3 Dosha. More about Dosha

Qualities Of Dosha

General Functions of Balanced Dosha:

Dosha and The Subprime Crises

Some examples of Prakruti –

  • Vata Pitta Kapha
  • Vata Kapha Pitta etc…

The Prakruti is made of 3 Dosha in a hierarchy according to their importance in the body; the most prominent, lesser and the least effective Dosha, according to the extent of the effect they have on overall constitution respectively. Every person is born with his Prakruti.

Your health is governed by your constitution, your Prakriti!

Imagine a bowl full of matter which you are carrying and you have to prevent the matter from falling, evaporating or freezing. Some substances will have a tendency to fall, some will evaporate and some might freeze in the same environment. So first you need to know which type your matter is and then you need to have different arrangements accordingly to preserve it.

Water in the bowl will have a tendency to spill and fall, so you need to cover the pot and walk slowly (Vata). Consider petrol, it will evaporate or even catch fire so you need a cooler temperature for it (Pitta). If the substance freezes or has a tendency to solidify, then it is very convenient. It is most stable and easy to carry thing (Kapha). Kaphaj people, if they take good care of their body, are considered to be the healthiest people.

Prakriti decides the way your body functions in normal conditions.

Prakruti also decides the ailments that you can be more prone to (but unfortunately it does not decide a disease that you will never catch, that is why Dosha are called so. Dosha means the one which spoils…). Also, the symptoms of the same disease will be different and will have different magnitude according to individual Prakruti.

For example, a person with Vata Prakruti will be more prone to itching; another person with Pitta Prakruti will be prone to more swelling or burning sensation in the same medical condition. Likewise, a person with Kapha Prakruti can feel heaviness or numbness.

Prakruti with the predominance of Vata is called Vataj, vice versa Pittaj and Kaphaj Prakruti.

10 Prakruti types are

  • Vata
  • Pitta
  • Kapha
  • Vata Pitta
  • Vata Kapha
  • Pitta Vata
  • Pitta Kapha
  • Kapha Vata
  • Kapha Pitta
  • Vata Pitta Kaphaj

There are certain features that are characteristic to each Prakruti according to the Dosha governing it.

It is important to know your Prakriti just like your blood group. Prakriti is the single most important decisive factor in all kinds of Ayurvedic treatments.

 

5 Essential Yoga Poses for Rainy Season

Vata Dosha is vitiated in Rainy season. Imagine a heated pan suddenly sprinkled with water! A lot of vapor will be formed. Also, the metal continuously exposed to sudden drastic changes in temperature will erode at a faster rate (faster aging). Same phenomenon happens to our body, only in a more complicated physiological manner. Imagine that you are driving your car on a angular mountain road. If you are driving your car at a speed of 100 km, there is very low possibility that you will be able to suddenly change the direction at a sharp turn, without skidding . The momentum of the car prevents sudden change in direction. Body metabolism also has its momentum. It is in cooling mode during Summer. Suddenly it is ordered to change its functioning because of sudden temperature drop due to rains. The intertia of momentum is the vitiation of Vata Dosha. It causes confusion in the body and thus the diseases.

For details please visit following links :

Vata Dosha

Dosha in Rainy season

Sandhikal

However gradual cooling of the pan instead, will avoid the effervescence as well as the damage. Similarly a gradual food and lifestyle change is required to prevent damage to the body from seasonal changes. The Ayurvedic preventive system for seasonal change is called Ritucharya. In order to prevent skidding into diseases due to seasonal change, one must use the brakes of Ritucharya

Ritucharya

 

Exercise Routine : Important Factor of Lifestyle Change in Varsha Ritucharya.

 

5 Best Asanas for Rainy Season

These are poses which help in pacifying the Vata Dosha which is supposed to be vitiated during the rainy season.

 

Precautions for Varsha Ritucharya Exercise Regime

Avoid rigorous exercises and opt for light and easy exercises.

Do not exercise till you start feeling tired.

Prefer to avoid excessive exercise that might make you sweat profusely.

Keep yourself properly hydrated.

 

Benefits

Yoga is a good option as it is not a sweat inducing exercise.

Lack of sunshine due to clouds might induce SAD related depression ( Seasonal Affective Disorder) in susceptible individuals. Yoga generates a feeling of peace and contentment.

All 5 asanas strengthen abdominal muscles, improve digestion, help to relieve gas and constipation.

With above Ritucharya tips, keep healthy and happy in this rainy season and …

Enjoy the rains!

 

 

 

Healthy recipes you must have this rainy season! : Part 1

During summer, body is in cooling mode. Suddenly, with the start of rains the external environment becomes cooler. But the body systems have their own intertia of momentum. They take their time to change and adjust to the external environment. The time taken to adjust to the new conditions is a ripe time for seasonal disorders. This causes Vata Dosha to becomes vitiated in Rainy season. For more details on effect of seasonal changes on dosha, please follow the below link :

Vata Dosha in rainy season

The physiological shock that body receives cause seasonal joint pain, flu, body ache and a hoard of other diseases. Change in food habits and lifestyle can help prevent seasonal physiological shock to the body. This systematic change in food and lifestyle is called Ritucharya.

Ritucharya

Sandhikal

Brief Ritucharya for 6 seasons

 
The food in rainy season should be vatahar or contrary to vata Dosha. I this post, I have covered two great vata reducing ingredients – Ajwain (Ajowan caraway, bishop’s weed or carom) and Methi dana (fenugreek seeds).

Ajwain

Ajwain balances vata and kapha. It increases pitta. It is an excellent spice to ease digestion, eliminate gastric trouble and bloating . It has anti spam, germicidal, antiseptic and antipyretic properties. It is a good body cleanser and helps detoxification of blood and liver.

Methi dana

Methi dana or fenugreek seed is kapha and vata balancing spice. It is known for its blood purifying effect. It also has excellent effect on heart, lower blood cholesterol and blood sugar. It is a great digestive and prevents acid reflux (heart burn) or gas trouble. It has antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti diabetic and anticancer effects. It helps relieve body pain, muscular cramps and menstrual problems.
 
Find below links of delicious based on these 2 ingredients.

Proscribed

Following vata enhancing food should be avoided during rains.

  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Brinjal
  • Green vegetables
  • Green peas
One should use good amount of asafoetida, ginger, garlic, methi, ajwain, mustard oil, ghee, garam masala ingredients ( tejpatta, tejphol, etc.) if using the above vegetables.
 
Following acidic food items should be minimized in diet to avoid joint pain, body pain etc.
  • Tamarind
  • Vinegar
  • Acidic items
  • Chinese food

Use of Cloth during Periods : An Effective Diagnostic Tool

In earlier times, cloth was used for sanitary protection during the periods. But it serves as more than a sanitary protection; it is also a tool for prognosis of female reproduction and hormonal system disorders.

There is a simple diagnostic test for the reproductive health of a lady, based on the type of blood stains on cloth used during the periods.

This blood stained cloth when washed with water should not retain the blood spots. Almost all the blood should be washed away, without leaving any stain. It is important that blood stained cloth should be washed with only plain water. No soap or detergent should be used to clean the stains. Even dry blood stains should be washed away easily. If the blood sticks or leaves large spots, like regular blood, then it is an early prognosis of a disease.

Most women believe that the blood always sticks and form clots because clotting is its normal function. So there should be nothing wrong if the menstrual blood also forms stains on the cloth. But normal menstrual blood is different from the regular blood.

Menstrual blood does not comprise of elements responsible for coagulation. That is the reason that it does not coagulate neither in the body nor outside, thus ensuring smooth liquid flow. There are 3 components necessary for coagulation: prothrombin, thrombin and fibrinogen. They ideally should be absent in the menstrual blood. Instead menstrual blood contains many constituents which keep the blood thin. A large amount of anticoagulants are normally released during the flow of menstrual blood to prevent the clotting.

Stains formed on the cloth register the abnormal presence of coagulants in the menstrual blood, which if unchecked, set the stage for formation of clots later. They also indicate low supply of anticoagulants during the menstrual flow, inadequate to check the formation of the clots.

What are the diseases possibilities if the stains are formed on the cloth during menstruation?

  • The next stage after stains is the clots, which grow in size and number if unchecked.
  • Anaemia is another possible outcome.
  • The stains also indicate an environment inviting for the uterine fibroids to be formed. Stains and clots indicate the excess of Kapha metabolism in the body, which encourages abnormal solid formations like tumours (fibroids) in the body.
  • The stains are also an indication of the start of hormonal misbalance, which creates disharmony in entire reproductory system. It can lead to miscarriages also.

The value of prognosis is for early prevention of the disease. Therefore if you are finding major stains on the cloth used during the menstrual period, please use the following general blood cleansing treatment.

  • 10 ml of Dashmooladi Kwath empty stomach early morning.
    • If you practice drinking large amount of water early morning, take the medicine after ½ hour after drinking water for best results.
    • There should be no food intake for next ½ hour after taking the medicine for best results. However kindly continue the medicine with food if the above rule is inconvenient.
  • 10 ml of Ashokarishta after lunch.
  • 1 Tsp of Triphala with water before bed. ( Triphala is a renowned medicine for constipation, but it works even better as a blood cleanser.)

Yoga is has amazing results in regaining mental physical and mental health.

5 Recommended and easy to practise Asana for healthy reproductive system are :

  • Shavasan
  • Bhujangasana
  • Balasana
  • Pachimottanasana
  • Baddha Konasana

For more details on asana on female reproductive health, please go to following links :

For personalized preventive treatment according to Prakrati(body constitution) please contact on Kanikaverma625@gmail.com.

Jivem Shardah Shatam!

Dhatu

Dhatu is something that holds or sustains (धारण करना), similar to anabolism (Building up process).

Dhatu is a very important factor as it holds the life force and controls or steers the Dosha. Dhatu is like the hand that holds the steering wheel of Dosha, without which the wheel may throw the vehicle off track and lead to an accident. Imagine a pot which can contain X litres of liquid. Similarly every “body” has an innate and natural capacity to hold a definite amount of Kinetic energy, heat and inertia, in a balanced state. This capacity is governed by the Dhatu system of the body. Stronger the Dhatu system, more will be the total capacity. Stamina is the end result of the Dhatu.

Prakruti also can be defined by the Dhatu capacity. Rasa(lymph) belongs to Kapha, Rakta(blood) to Pitta, Asthi(bones) to Vata. Person with stronger Rakta Dhatu will have higher capacity to hold Pitta Dosha.

If we consider an object, the energy is naturally balanced in it. If it is stable, the energy is in inertia; when falling energy is converted to kinetic energy and when hitting the ground, some heat is also generated. Similar energy conversion is constantly happening in the body to achieve stability. The human body creates and maintains a special internal condition, which helps it survive; and the energy changes are far more complex as compared to a dead object. Stronger the Dhatu system and faster the anabolic processes in a body, lesser are the chances of getting diseases. The body of a child is like this. So a robust Dhatu system can easily prevent damages during the seasonal changes.

7 Dhatu are basic milestones in anabolic route:

RASA – Ingredients that are absorbed by the body after digestion. It is the end product absorbed in the intestines.

RAKTA – Blood

MAMSA – Muscles

MEDA – Fat

MAJJA – Marrow

ASTHI – Bone

SHUKRA – Semen

Dhatu are formed one after the other, means Rakta (blood) will be formed only after Ras (chyme or digested food juice) and not before, directly from the absorbed food. Also the better part of Rasa gets converted to Rakta by the Dhutvagni (Agni is taken as the transformational process or chemical reaction that converts the matter from one form to the other) and same happens with the other Dhatu subsequently. The lesser part gets converted to Mala of the respective Dhatu. It is like the burning of the wood, the better part gets converted to heat and light and the lesser part gets converted to ash.

Shukra is the most important Dhatu in the body. It is said that Shukra finally gets converted into “Ooja”, the life force.

General Functions of Balanced Dosha:

सर्वशरीरचरास्तु वातपित्तश्लेष्माणः सर्वस्मिञ्छरीरे कुपिताकुपिताः शुभाशुभानि कुर्वन्ति- प्रकृतिभूताः शुभान्युपचयबलवर्णप्रसादादीनि, अशुभानि पुनर्विकृतिमापन्ना विकारसञ्ज्ञकानि||९||
uraḥ śiro grīvā parvāṇyāmāśayo medaśca śleṣmasthānāni, tatrāpyuro viśeṣesarvaśarīracarāstu vātaPittaśleṣmāṇaḥ sarvasmiñcharīre kupitākupitāḥ śubhāśubhāni kurvanti- prakṛtibhūtāḥ śubhānyupacayabalavarṇaprasādādīni, aśubhāni punarvikṛtimāpannā vikārasañjñakāni||9||

The normal (physiology) Dosha, in balanced condition, result in good health, Upachaya (body nourishment)
Bal – improvement of strength and immunity
Varna Prasad – improvement of skin health and complexion and in imbalanced state, cause illness.

 

Characteristics of Dosha

Vata

The major function of Vata in the body is mobility. The sites of Vata are the ones with mobility as a defining factor. Excretion is one of the important functions of Vata apart from the limb movement. Also the major diseases are the ones which blocks the mobility (constipation) or excess movement (joint pain).

Physiological sites of Dosha in the body:
Place of Vata Dosha – 
बस्तिः पुरीषाधानं कटिः सक्थिनी पादावस्थीनि पक्वाशयश्च वातस्थानानि, तत्रापि पक्वाशयो विशेषेण वातस्थानं;
bastiḥ purīṣādhānaṃ kaṭiḥ sakthinī pādāvasthīni pakvāśayaśca vātasthānāni, tatrāpi pakvāśayo viśeṣeṇa vātasthānaṃ;
Basti – Urinary bladder
Pureeshaadhaana – rectum,
Sakthi – waist,
Padau – thighs, legs,
Asthi – bones and
Pakvashaya – colon are the sites of Vata
Pakvashaya (colon) is the most important site.

Pitta

The abode of Pitta is the sites of major biochemical reactions or transformations like the intestine, liver, pancreas etc. Pitta is basically related to conversions in the state or quality of matter. The sites of Pitta have a distinctive characteristic of high density of secretory glands. The secretions from these glands are sharp (acidic/basic) unlike the secretions of the Kapha, which are mainly protective in nature (mucus, ear wax etc.). These sites are also of very low mobility.

Place of Pitta Dosha –
स्वेदो रसो लसीका रुधिरमामाशयश्च पित्तस्थानानि, तत्राप्यामाशयो विशेषेण पित्तस्थानम्;
svedo raso lasīkā rudhiramāmāśayaśca Pittasthānāni, tatrāpyāmāśayo viśeṣeṇa Pittasthānam;
The important sites of location of these three Dosha are as below:
Svedo – Sweat,
Rasa – Rasa Dhatu – end product of food digestion, contains all nutrients
Lasika – Lymph,
Rudhira – blood,
Amashaya – small intestine (site of food under digestion after stomach)
Small intestine (lower part of Amashaya) is the most important site of Pitta Dosha.

Kapha

Let us consider the region around the clavicle or the neck collar as the example of Kapha region.

In this region, the only part with big movement ability is neck. This region is more about stability, protective coatings and shock absorbers, because it harbours the most important organs i.e. the brain, sense organs, spinal cord, lungs etc.. Higher amount of protective liquid resides as cerebrospinal fluid, fluids in eye balls, and nose secretions as compared to rest of the body. No high mobility like the limbs and no major chemical reactions like the stomach occur in this part. Because of such arrangements, stability is achieved, also this part remain cooler than rest of the body which enables better functioning of brain and other sense organs. Consequently the major diseases that can happen are due to blocking/ choking of Kapha channels (excess Kapha) like glaucoma, hydrocephaly, sinusitis or dryness(Kapha deficiency) like meningitis(Pitta excess),headache, dementia(Vata excess). As kapha decreases , other dosha increase , to maintain the energy balance.

Place of Kapha Dosha –
उरः शिरो ग्रीवा पर्वाण्यामाशयो मेदश्च श्लेष्मस्थानानि, तत्राप्युरो विशेषेण श्लेष्मस्थानम्||८||
uraḥ śiro grīvā parvāṇyāmāśayo medaśca śleṣmasthānāni, tatrāpyuro viśeṣeṇa śleṣmasthānam||8||
Ura – Chest,
Shira – head,
Greeva – neck,
Parva – joint,
Amashaya – stomach (upper part of Amashaya) and
Meda – Adipose tissue
Chest is the most important site of Kapha Dosha.


Dosha

Dosha is something which has tendency to malaise or spoil. It can be understood as a factor of catabolism (breaking down process in the body)

Also Dosha is a concept in itself.

According to Ayurveda, there are 3 kinds of Dosha or body temperaments – Vata, Pitta and Khapha.

It is said that as life resides in heart but no one can see it, similarly these temperaments guide the body physiology but no one can see them. In short, they are the 3 basic and distinguishable behaviour or metabolism patterns of the body.

Nature of Dosha

Let us understand this concept through an example of a wooden stick, which can endure pressure, force or weight up to a certain level. It has a yielding point after it will not be able to support the kinetic energy and will break. Similarly it will have a point of heat after which it will start burning. Same is with inertia. It will have a certain amount of inertia according to its weight, size etc. that gives the stability and opposes changes in its state of existence.

Same is with our body, in a more dynamic sense. Our body can hold certain amount of total kinetic energy, with specific channels of flow or function. This amount or holding capacity differs from person to person, just as volume differs from container to container. It also has different but definite capacities for heat and inertia.

The basis of Prakruti or natural body constitution lies in the different capacities of the individuals. Let us assume that the total energy (of all types) is 6X.One body will have capacity to hold 3X of kinetic energy, 2X of heat energy and X of inertia. This body will be of vata dominant prakruti, or VPK prakruti. Similarly if a body has capacity to hold more of heat energy – 3X, it will be Pitta dominant body.

VATA – It is the concept of kinetic energy in the body. All motion inside body or by the body is because of Vata. Vata is said to be made of Vayu (motion element) and Akash (space element).

PITTA – It is the concept of transformation energy, any chemical reactions, heat generation is considered to be under Pitta. It is made of fire (Heat element)

KAPHA – It is closer to the concept of inertia, mass, stability in the body. It is made of Jal (water element) and Prithvi (mass)

There is no single dosha at work at any point in time. One dosha might dominate or direct one process, but all 3 dosha contribute to it. There is natural tendency of Dosha or physiological patterns to spoil the body by either excess or deficiency of motion, transformation or inertia. When out of control, these become the negative forces in the body. They are balanced by Dhatu and Ooja (life force). Any imbalance tilting towards Dosha causes diseases.

Each of these behaviour pattern or syndrome has 3 aspects – Normal physiology, Excess and Deficiency.

 

Role of Dosha

Dosha are like different maintenance programs for different situations. They support a specific type of metabolism, have a set time and place of function and aim to produce specific results.

During any activity, entire body comes together and every part of the body contributes to produce a single result. Some parts contribute more, some contribute less. But there is no single isolated activity happening in the body at any point in time. Everything is connected. The organs of the body synchronize their activities under single command. It must be difficult for brain to communicate to each cell. The body parts communicate through their secretions or electric signals. But Dosha is like a pre-programmed code, triggering chain reaction in the entire body. Under a particular dosha and given a specific environment, each body cell will behave in a particular fashion, contributing towards a single result. Dosha are comprehensive platforms that define what each part will do to perform a particular activity. They align the body activities to produce a single desired effect.

We can compare it to the sympathetic and non-sympathetic nervous systems.

Let us take the example of digestion. Pitta dosha is the parent dosha for digestion. Complete digestion can be divided in 3 parts.

 

DIGESTION

 

 

 

Kapha stage:  Beginning of digestion

When the digestion of food begins, the blood supply to other parts of the body, like the limbs, brain etc. is reduced and diverted to the intestines for absorption (that is why we feel sleepy and lethargic immediately after a meal). It is advised that one should walk 100 steps to keep the kapha balanced during this time. So the hands, legs, brain etc are synchronized to the digestion in stomach because of Kapha dosha. This is a very simple example

Pitta stage: Complete breakdown

Various organs (gall bladder, pancreas) secrete their juices in the alimentary canal to aid digestion. Simultaneously, liver detoxifies the digested juices in the blood and produces the heat through digestion. This is time of chemical transformation and heat production. Blood gets fresh supply of nutrients. Body cells start assimilating the nutrition transported by the blood. Body becomes active. This is good time to sleep in summer, to keep the heat through activities, low and balance the heat of digestion.

Vata stage: Absorption and excretion

After complete digestion, the food gets absorbed though the small intestine (nutrients) and large intestine (water). Large intestine is the site of vata. This stage of digestion involves constant motion and absorption of water.

The important point is that with the beginning of digestion, other parts of the body, even the eyelids perform their function by getting drowsy or the legs by forfeiting extra blood supply, or the brain. And all this is orchestrated by the dosha. So we can appropriately evaluate what will be the condition of eyeballs or liver or legs when a particular dosha is active, vitiated or balanced.

Taking the same example forward, if the food is too heavy to digest; the Kapha dosha will get vitiated. This means that the Kapha program will not shut down at the correct time and will keep running in wrong condition and for wrong (longer) duration. The digestion of food will not reach the next stage properly and the errors in digestions will be carried forward in the form of toxins.

Best example is the process of sexual stimulation. Parent dosha for sex is vata, which is a kind of lord of all physical activity.

During sexual intercourse, the entire body activity is synchronized to achieve a single result. Eyes close to enhance the effect of skin receptors. Conscious brain activity is more imagination based (Pitta is associated with logic, Kapha with the memory and vata with imagination or creativity). Movements of hands, legs, penis / vagina are co-ordinated to achieve the desired outcome. Sperm friendly secretions lubricate the vagina to ensure safe and easy passage. This is a most elucidating example of perfect organ coordination on vata platform.

The key of health is in the balance of these Dosha.


Importance of Vata

Have you ever wondered why it is always Vata, Pitta and Kapha and not Kapha , Pitta , Vata or Pitta, Kapha and Vata.

It is because Vata is the most important and defining force among all three. After Vata comes Pitta and finally Kapha, most innocuous one.

This is because Kinetic energy is considered to be the most important here, which can affect other factors. Kinetic energy produces heat and can destroy inertia. Also Kinetic energy of the body is in direct control of the being. An Individual can use his kinetic energy at will and change or balance energy equation of the body. We can heat up the body by exercise and reduce inertia. Vata, because of its influence on other dosha, can cause maximum diseases. Hence Ayurveda chooses to establish Vata (Kinetic energy) as a greater force than the rest.

Sequence of Dosha

If we consider a lifespan or any natural phenomenon, Ayurveda has a rule that everything starts with stability (Kapha state), goes to the stage of transformation or maturity (Pitta state) and deterioration (Vata state).Same rule applies to human body as well. Child is in Kaphaj state, youth is in Pittaj state and elderly in Vataj state and interestingly all these are more prone to disease attributed to respective Dosha. For example, children are more prone to cold and coughs (Kaphaj disorders), youths are prone to acme, pimple according to their Prakruti (Pittaj disorders), and old people are prone to joint pain (Vataj disorders)

Similarly first 1/3rd of day is Kaphaj, second 1/3rd is Pittaj and third 1/3rd is Vataj. Again the symptoms of respective diseases exaggerate during the respective times, for example cold, sneezing etc. increases in the morning (Kaphaj), acidity is aggravates in daytime (Pittaj) and joint pain increases during the evening time.

The seasons come and go in a cycle but the cycle is considered from Hemant according to Ayurveda, which is the coldest season (Kaphaj state), then move towards summer (Pittaj state) and rains (Vataj state). In Sharad the effect of Vata subsides completely, to regain the Kaphaj state.