Aashiq Hussain Yatoo, BAMS student, Jammu Institute of Ayurveda and Research Physicians often quip that no matter how good we are, our patients will eventually die. It is true that regardless of human invention and new technologies each of us will eventually take a journey into the unknown we call death. The goal of modern medicine is to delay that journey and to improve the quality of life while we are here. It is to this end that Ayurveda offers humanity the greatest hope of achieving both of these goals.
Ayurveda means the “science or knowledge of life.” It is a complete system of understanding the human being and his relationship with the world around him. If an individual is living in harmony with their environment, optimum health is possible. However, the further out of harmony an individual is living, the less likely it is that they will reach their full life potential in either length or quality.
In order to maximize life potential, it is taught in Ayurveda that each person must learn to live harmoniously with the world through their five senses. Our senses are like portals or gateways into our body, mind and consciousness. If we take in sensory impressions that are healthy, we will, in turn, be healthier. If we take in that which is unhealthy, the body suffers. It is often said that “we are what we eat”. In fact, we are what we eat, smell, see, hear and touch. Through our senses, we absorb the world around us. While the human body and mind can survive on low quality sensory impressions, it cannot thrive.
Ayurveda is not simply a science of how to care for the body but also the mind. The Mind-Body connection is well established, both in the East and the West. Stress is recognized as an important contributor to disease. The damaging effects of stress on our immune and endocrine systems are well documented. Stress plays an important role in the both the onset and the prognosis of most diseases.
Ayurveda is a science of stress reduction. One facet of living a harmonious life of low stress is using the senses properly. Low-quality food is a stress on the physical system. Likewise, inappropriate smells, sights, sounds and touch can be just as or more stressful. While the proper use of the senses is important to reducing stress, complete stress reduction requires control of the mind as well. Toward this end, Ayurveda employs the techniques of Yoga to bring about greater peace of mind and stillness.
When the mind can focus on the present moment and resist wandering off into past or future dramas, stress is reduced and time appears to slow down. As the mind slows down and relaxes so to do internal bodily process. Heart rate slows down and contractions become stronger and more regular, there is decreased activity in the sympathetic nervous system and the secretion of stress chemicals such as epinephrine is reduced. When the mind is calm, both the mind and body are healthier.
As we age, we begin to realize the accumulated effects of decades of stress and poor lifestyle. We experience the results of this in the form of cardiovascular disease and the deterioration of all of the tissues of the body. The bones become osteoporotic, neurons in the brain degenerate, muscles atrophy and tissues become drier. The list of age-related diseases is long. Each disease is the end result of decades of wear and tear.
Healing is the process of restoring optimal function. Health is the experience of optimal function. Ayurveda offers people the opportunity to maximize their healing potential and restore optimum health. Through proper lifestyle and medicines provided to us by nature in the form of herbs, both the cause and the symptoms of many age-related diseases can be eradicated.
The role of Ayurveda is to remove the cause of disease and gently support the healing processes of the body with natural remedies. Each of us is a unique individual and each disease is also unique. Two patients who suffer heart attacks do not necessarily have the same cause of their condition and therefore, the cure may be different as well. It is the goal of Ayurveda to understand the unique nature of the patient and the unique nature of the disease.
With this understanding, the Ayurvedic physician is able to prescribe the best individualized program of care and then support the patient as they progress on their journey back to optimal health. Ayurveda maximizes the potential of the patient health, regardless of the disease. Patients under Ayurvedic care can expect both an increase in the quality of life and the length of life.
A patient came for consultation & asked, “Doctor do I need to follow diet when I’m taking ayurvedic medicines & treatment?”. Usually this is the most common question of patient who comes for ayurvedic physicians. It may be they are curious to know & follow the diet or afraid if doctor might cutoff the favorite food from his plate.
Today I would like to discuss about the importance of pathya aahara in our management & some cases which got 100% result by following pathya.
What is Pathya?
Pathyam patho anapetam yadyaccoktam manasah priyam | Yaccapriyamapathyam ca nityatam tanna lakshayet || (Ca.Su,25/45). Aacharya Caraka explains Pathya as the food which is beneficial or conducive to both body & mind.So the food items which balances,nourishes our dhatus and also raja-tamo guna of mind is considered as Wholesome food or Pathya.
Importance of Pathya
Vaidhya Lolimbaraj in his ‘Vaidhya Jeevanam’ book quotes a verse, Pathye sti gadartasya kimausadhanisevanai | Pathye asti gadartasya kimausadhanisevanai || (1/10) Means,“If a person is having diet food there is no need of medicines, but if a person is having unwholesome food then there is no need of medicine”.So diet plays a major role in the treatment .
Supporting the above words, Kashyapa aacharya names Pathya as “Mahabheshajam” a Superior Medicine.
Ayurveda considers that this body stands on 3 pillars(trayopaasthamba), among them the 1st pillar is Aahara/Food. So one should know what we eat.
Further explaining about Aahara, Carakaacharya explains, Aahara sambhavam vastu rogashcha aahara sambhavaah | Hitaahita visheshaattu vishesha sukhadukhayo || (Ca.Su 28/45 Means, “This body is made-up & nourished by food, similarly the diseases affecting this body is also by food. So hitaahara leads to Sukha/Health & ahitaahara leads to Dukha/Disease to both body & mind.
Harita states that, ‘if a person ignores the pathya-apathya & consumes apathy aahara, then the disease will never leave the body’. So one should follow pathya considering the age, place, dosha & dushya of a person.
To clarify the above statement Yogaratnakara gives an example of a Seedling(ankura). When we don’t put water to the seedling, It will die. Similarly when apathya aahara is stopped, the disease will destroy from the root.
So Aacharya Caraka has mentioned that Pathya as one of the synonyms of Chikitsa(Ca.Chi.3/3).
Benefits of Pathya
Sushruthaacharya mentions that pathyaaahara increases the vitality, strength, complexion & ojas. Acharya Caraka explains that pathya leads to,
Improves bala, varna, sukha & aayusha.
Promotes growth of dhatus.
Produces clarity of mind & improves intellect.
Some interesting case examples for Pathya aahara
Recently a 40yrs lady came with a complaint of 3-4 cm Ovarian Cyst. She underwent Shodhana followed by 3 months of yava-anna pathya. After 3months in a scan I was surprised to see that cyst had completely disappeared.
A female with a history of chronic tennis elbow with cervical reticulopathy. with some modern medicines she got 10-20% relief in the pain(She was not on pathya). This continued for 2 years. Later after 2 consultations I asked about her daily food habits & it was all guru, aama-karaka aahara. So asked her to cut off her food intake to 50% & at night to take only Yava/Broken wheat fried ganji in small quantity strictly. Within 15days of strict diet she got 90% relief .
A 5yrs old kid with chronic bronchitis got immediate relief after taking broken wheat dry fried ganji for dinner & by stopping dairy products & heavy food items.
After observing these cases we can know that how the pathya aahara plays a major role in our life.
Pathya means the right path, which does not cause any trouble to the body, rather it corrects the derangements produced due to disease & which creates pleasure to the mind.
So each physician should advise specific pathya aahara based on Agnibala, Ama, Dosha.
Most of the time if pathya aahara is properly followed, then the medicines requirement will be very minimum.
When once patients starts to follow pathya and soon problems are reduced, they will also realize the importance of Pathya aahara & they follow it with interest .
Thus every one should refrain from Apathya Aahara and follow Pathya Aahara as “Swasthasya swasthya rakshanam | Aaturasya vikaara prashamanam ||”(Ca.Su.)
Honey is a natural sweet substance not directly produced from plants but having the properties of plants on which beehive is present. Honey is the most delicious and wholesome natural food rich in carbohydrates.
Honey is called Madhu in Ayurveda. Eight types of honey are described in Ayurveda depending on the type of bee which collects it and Medicinally Makshika is considered the best among them.
Apis mellifera makes the best honey biomedically. Mature honey pacifies all doshas while raw honey aggravates vata, pita and kapha. In the rainy season, honey should be taken regularly.
Uses of Honey
Honey is used for internal and external applications
Best for wound healing
People who cannot swallow powder medicine can be easily given with honey
Very good for stomatitis, ulcers of the mouth
Useful in bronchial asthma
Cough and cold
Used in face packs
Old honey reduces fat and obesity and is highly significant
Used for curing Rickets, Marasmus, Malnutrition, scurvy
Reduces effects of poison
Very useful in urinary tract disorders, diarrhea and vomiting
Honey and cow ghee in 40:60 ratio helps in curing chapped lips
Recommended in the treatment of Prior to operation of cancer
Onion juice mixed with honey is good for arteriosclerosis
Honey is also one thing that can be added for safe intake of curd
Honey with milk is the ideal food for growth in children and adults
Pure honey is good for diabetics
Honey is also applied to sore nipples and to swollen mammae for drying up milk.
Honey is used with lime for headaches, sprains, and abdominal pain for local application.
Honey with charcoal powder can be used for rubbing over teeth for making them sparkling white.
The hypnotic action of honey is also studied. If we give this with water to children before sleep, their sleep is sound.
Honey decreases flatulence.
Rasanjan and madhu ashchyotan are very good for infective conjunctivitis.
Honey with cinnamon is good for preventing aging.
Honey contains flavonoids, so helpful in heart disease.
Helpful in hyperlipidemia.
Honey should never be heated or mixed with hot foods.
Honey should not be taken in the summer season.
Honey and ghee should never be mixed in equal quantities.
Honey should not be taken during indigestion.
Honey should not be taken in excess quantity.
Hot water should not be taken after honey.
On November 19, a government notification listed out specific surgical procedures that a postgraduate medical student of Ayurveda must be “practically trained to acquaint with, as well as to independently perform”.
The notification has invited sharp criticism from the Indian Medical Association, which questioned the competence of Ayurveda practitioners to carry out these procedures, and called the notification an attempt at “mixopathy”. IMA has threatened to withdraw all non-essential and non-Covid services on December 11.
After this opportunity was given by the government to the Ayurveda surgeons, the work and responsibility of the Ayurveda surgeon has increased.
Keeping the same responsibility in view, according to Vaid Namrata Kulshrestha, These are the things that an Ayurveda surgeon should keep in mind while performing surgeries.
Points must be followed by Ayurveda practitioner:-
1. Friends, be in touch with each other and your seniors and Teachers.
2. Try to refer complicated patients to more competent and experienced Ayurveda surgeons and setups.
3. Always give priority to the patient's life rather than money or your image.
4. Avoid doing complicated surgeries in the beginning.
5. Let us all try to win the faith of society which most of us have already won.
6. Let’s together prove that the government decision is worth and in favor of society.
7. Let’s not give any chance to IMA as that would mean that whenever they will come into power they will try to revert the decision.
8. Friends! Let's be more responsible and safe.
In this new era drug addiction has become a major problem in the world including India & number of drug addicts is increasing day by day, so it is important for doctors to understand the psychosomatic problems caused by drug abuse. Tobacco is also one of drugs addictive & is dangerous for health. It causes various diseases such as heart attacks, hypertension, stroke even cancer. Chewing of tobacco is one of the leading causes of mouth cancer. Ayurveda can play major role to decrease the adverse effects of tobacco by adopting following things:-
- Intake of Adequate Water: Tobacco consumption affects the heart in various ways, however, intake of adequate water is helpful in protecting the heart from various problems. An adequate amount of water thins the blood and reduces the risk of blood clots that can lead to heart attacks .
- Yoga and other exercises: Yoga is a form of relaxation and exercise . It helps in relieving tension and stress and helps to increase the strength and vitality without using any form of tobacco. Meditation can bring remarkable results to refresh the mind and consciousness.
- Use of ayurvedic herbs:- Regular use of tobacco caused a deposition of nicotine, tar and other toxic compounds in the body to get rid of these toxic effects of Tobacco few herbs like Triphala is useful, one tablespoon of Triphala powder every day, before bedtime is helpful because it has potency to cleanse the colon and flush out the body toxins.
- A powder of the combination of Ashwagandha, Shatavari and Bala root taken every morning is helpful in detoxification.
- For long term effect of detoxification Panchkarma is always a good choice, according to the weather & condition of patient under observation of qualified Ayurveda doctor such people must go for panchkarma once in a year.
- Chyavanaprash, a combination of various useful herbs, is considered to be a strong supplement for immunity boosting that helps to fight against various diseases.
- Herbal tea is also one of the good options to use during craving of Tobacco. By taking Sip by Sip Luke warm herbal tea can help to reduce desire for Tobacco. Herbal tea can be prepared with the combination of powder of Jatamanshi, Ashwaganda & Bhrami . One teaspoon of this powder can be taken in one cup of hot water.
- Chewing of dry Amalaki is also the best way to reduce the urge of Tobacco. All we need to do is dry the amalaki and keep it, whenever there is craving 2 or 3 pieces can be chewed . Whenever there is a craving of chewing tobacco better to chew dry herbs like Amalaki, Ashwahgandha , Suthi etc.
- Taking one teaspoon of ajawin can also reduce the craving of Tobacco chewing.
- Eating 2-3 leaves every morning can reduce the ill-effects of smoking and reduces tobacco addiction.
- In ayurveda there is a procedure called Dhoompan in which inhalation of herbal smoke is advised , the herbs will be according to the constitution of a person. Medicinal smoking, or dhoompan slowly cleanses the toxins. But, it is important to speak to an Ayurvedic practitioner before taking up this habit.
- Eat a Sattvic diet of fresh and lightly cooked foods, avoiding all processed and preserved foods. This kind of diet will increase immunity hence, increasing the resilience in dealing with withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Read More - Preserving and Building long term Immunity amidst 'Corona-Crisis'
This current situation of lockdown amidst the pandemic COVID -19 has made us re-thinks, re-analyze, retrospect and restructure our Lifestyle. People of all age-groups are confined at home In Urban scenario, with variety of family set-ups-Joint/Nuclear/Paying Guest homes and other forms of shared accommodations are all at home. There is limited space, the long day of household chores and professional work, as also the pertinent question of keeping younger and older generation engaged, secure and fit.
Perhaps for elderly, there is not a change of routine, but there is drastic change in the lives of all around them thereby causing an alteration in the emotional environment. The long happy holiday has ended, it is now mundane and a change that none of the age groups are enjoying. For the aged, there are issues of slowing down, not being able to take in too much noise &activity around, degeneration, debility, exhaustion due to high-wrung children leading to disturbances in diet and sleep routines.
Immunity may be compromised due to medication for chronic illnesses too. And the fact that they have not really thought about equipping themselves for the changing “RITU” .this time it’s not just the season but the compulsions of the current “kaal” as in the erratic unhealthy situation that has an unforeseen effect and an unrealized stress on them.
So, besides re-iterating certain facts about Ritu charya and dincharya ,which many of my wise colleagues have talked about ,and are imparting awareness about the do’s and don’t’s ,let us take a look at some FAQ’s that I deal with.
What can I do to ensure that my digestion is in order, as I do not feel very hungry/the dishes prepared are not catering to my old-school taste-buds/my bowels are not clear as I am not going for my walks?
People regard a daily bowel movement, eating 3 meals a day and 1-2 cups of tea as a mark of good digestion. Still they encounter difficulty in passing stools or suffer from bloating, acidity, flatulence etc. they are picky about what they eat being unsure of how it will affect.
Simple tips like using spices from the kitchen moderately and correctly can aid this issue. Your-go-to spices are:-
Instead of chat masala, sprinkle zeera and black pepper on all fruits and salads you consume, which should be consumed before Sunset at room temperature.
Lubricate your digestive system while treating yourself with a small serving of sheeera /halwa ,spiced with elaichi, saunf and dalchini as an early evening indulgence.
Always watch your hunger, sip on warm water before lunch and dinner.
Vegetable juices or smoothie of Mint-Coriander-Basil is a good coolant, so are Coconut water ,thin buttermilk, and a not-so sour lemonade. spiced again with the digestion aids like zeera ,black pepper, saunf. You may experiment with your taste-preferences here. Avoid Dahi. Iced drinks not advisable. skip lentils /pulses from Dinner.
Warm spiced milk is a good lubricant –a small cup will suffice. Do not forget elaichi and black pepper. Milk is not an accompaniment with lunch and Dinner.
Cow ghee on chappati or a desi tawa wala toast is a good snack.
How do I use the following? AYUSH is directing the use of Honey/Tulsi/Giloy/Turmeric/Dalchini? Should I take all together in breakfast? Will it Detoxify my body a? Will I improve on my Immunity if I consume only these things?
Honey –Take half a spoon, few drops of ginger juice and a small sprinkle of black peper, keep the breathing channels clear, expectorates and cleans. Honey can be added to herbal teas at a temperature that you want your beverage .Do not Reheat. Honey and lemon in warm water in the morning may not be suitable for everyone. Lemon in allergy season may increase irritation.
Tulsi/cinnamon/black pepper can be added to regular teas and to make masala chai or herbal tea .can even be used for spiced milk, sprinkles are enough ,generous amounts won’t make anyone well faster. These spices very well take care of the body functions, airway , digestion. As all dhatus are nourished well with a good functioning of organ systems, Oj is good, hence the immunity.
Turmeric is good in our cooking, So also in Milk and even in besan or atta sheeras. You may like to check the Turmeric latte version. But do not heat after honey is added.
Giloy boiled in water is consumed by many people these days as it is grown in kitchen gardens as well. Giloy stem(6inch) used to make a decoction ,boiled in a glass of water reduced to ¼ th of the water is a normal way to take, You may add honey .Expressed juice of stem in honey is also acceptable. Giloy capsules are also in use ,As Giloy is a very bitter herb. Giloy satva may be prescribed in some way by an Ayurveda Doctor near you. Amritarishta is also to be taken under medical supervision, so is packaged Giloy juice.
Why is oiling of nostrils prescribed in this Pandemic?
Is steam Inhalation also helpful?
Old age is a period of Vata vitiation ,so Vata needs Snehan ie Lubrication for balancing ,it is the simplest way to deal with the degeneration and erosion that Vayu Dosha causes. A little cow ghee on chapatti is always helpful.
Oiling of all our orifices is indeed helpful, Ears, nostrils, navel is the simplest.
For irritations in the eyes even when cataract is there for elderly, application of a drop or two like ANJAN in eyes is very nourishing.
Kanwal /Gandoosh –oil pulling as it is called these days keeps the buccal cavity, gums & teeth nourished too.
In case of feeling of tightness of chest, applying oil there followed by ‘seka’ with a simple potli of salt or of ajwain helps too. Steam with water boiled with Tulsi /ajawain/elaichi/haldi/dashmool will help in case where we have phlegm accumulation due to KAFA vitiation is there in Spring. As we progress towards Summer we need to be careful with steam inhalation and the duration we give it for.
Ano-rectal application is helpful for a smoother bowel movement too.
Snehan on head and body joints helps the elderly sleep better,therby cobating stress that may be induced with change in the environment for them due to more activity and sound and heavier food around them in the lockdown.
Why is Chyawanprash highly recommended? Is it Suitable for elderly or more so for younger age group?
Chyawanprash when prepared in the authentic way as per the textual directions aims to cure the complaints of the Shwasn Sansthan ie Respiratory Tract, hence curing Kas Rog, Trishna, Debility, degeneration, breathing issues, issues of lungs, chest, heart, hoarseness of voice, throat ,larynx in all age groups.
In growing children it aids nourishment by ensuring proper functioning of all body systems and dhatu –poshan.
In no way is Chywanprash a replacement for regular food or ahaar. This is to supplement the normal diet of an individual
Amala/Haritaki/Pippali/Giloy/Aloe Vera/Ghiya juice/Karela juice, will these protect me in old age in any way?
Harad/Haritaki: is a herb that is a holistic herb, not only is it easy to digest, aids digestive power ;it also ensures that all doshas work to aid smooth functioning of the body.It ensures balancing of the vata a & pitta doshas and nourishing for Body & Mind. This as a supplement to normal well balanced nourishing diet ensures that all nutrition is utilized well .It has a warming effect so all flows well in our system.
Amla: Again a holistic cooling herb, that aids body functions at minutest level balancing Vata and kapha ,its sourness and coolness catalyses body reactions and improves absorption & assimilation. These two are the ultimate Rejuvenating Herbs.
Pippali-it is a good rejuvenation herb in current context. To be taken with a lubricating medium like milk/ghee or honey due to its warming effect. It is a wonderful channel clearing herb specifically works on Respiratory system. Can be used like a nutritional supplement to protect breathing disorders in elderly, a piece or 2 is enough ,so is few pinches alongside normal diet.
Aloe vera: It is a great tridosha balancer, having a mild laxative effect to being a great skin nourishes externally. It also heals the soft tissues and internal mucosa of the body. In small quantities alongside a morning healthy routine. Aloe vera keeps degeneration of body cells at bay. Can be used internally and externally.
Giloy- boiled in water is consumed by many people these days as it is grown in kitchen gardens as well. Giloy stem(6inch) used to make a decoction ,boiled in a glass of water reduced to ¼ th of the water is a normal way to take, You may add honey .Expressed juice of stem in honey is also acceptable. Giloy capsules are also in use ,As Giloy is a very bitter herb. Giloy satva may be prescribed in some way by an Ayurveda Doctor near you. Amritarishta is also to be taken under medical supervision, so is packaged Giloy juice.
Ghiya/karela /amla/aloe vera juice: All herbs vegetables etc have a healing ,curing or nourishing effect on the body. the whole herb or parts of it or extracts & juices of the herbs have different properties by virtue of processing. A juice or extract of a herb or vegetable will have a cooler and a more drying effect hence increasing vata as compared to the whole herb in itself. Such properties are to be considered before prescribing to anyone what season, condition, digestive power, age etc. Not every juice, everything raw will essentially heal or strengthen the body. Whole foods and herbs indigenous to an area and usual methods of cooking or processing render such home remedies effective or ineffective
These herbs are supplement and in no way a replacement for a main meal likes breakfast. Our home, kitchen and kitchen garden are a treasure of herbs and herbal foods, knowing and utilizing these well with the principles of Dincharya & Ritucharya is the ultimate Mantra to good Immunity. ( Dr. Ashima Sardana)
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