Culinary medicine is not gourmet cooking, it’s a food preparation & science of medicine . It is a practice of helping patients to use nutrition & cooking to restore and maintain health. It is about teaching why & how to prepare health promoting and delicious home cooked meals & healthy eating patterns.
Culinary medicine offers a simple approach to understand how food and cooking relate to personal health, behaviour & healthcare goals. But this concept is not new for Ayurveda as in ayurveda texts it's already mentioned that food is our medicine.
Ayurveda places special emphasis on food & believes that a healthy meal nourishes not only the body but also mind & soul. No other science has described the unique effect of diet as methodically, as Ayurveda described thousand years ago.
According to Ayurveda diseases in our body are the result of the food we take & food is an important pillar of life . In today’s world of modernization we have alerted our food consumption habits which may lead to diseases . Ayurveda has given detailed discipline and process to take the food.
This discipline is titled as Ahara vidhi vidhan, where all the laws about the diet and drinks are given. In Ayurveda, food as well as the method of it’s intake both have equal importance. Food which is consumed according to the prescribed methods (in the scriptures) are the seat for satisfaction for life.
Healthy diet is a main cause for the growth and development of the body, where as unhealthy diet is cause of several diseases, So in ayurveda diet is having a very important place, but to be a complete healthy diet does not means only the food items, but it includes other factors too, which are the law of do’s and don’ts about the diet.
A healthy diet requires a lot more than just having nutrients and ancient Ayurvedic texts have emphasised on all aspects of food and Special rule for diet intake.
These eight factors need to considered before taking food:
1. Prakriti (Natural Qualities)
It means natural quality of food, drugs i.e. inherently attributed like Guru (heavy ) , Laghu (light). These are the natural properties of substances. On the basis of nature , Green Gram and Grey Partridge are Laghu which digest easily . While Black Gram, Meat of Pig, Buffalos are Guru & takes time to digest.
2. Karana (Processing of Substances)
Karana is also known as Sanskara. It means processing of substances which leads to alteration in the inherent properties of substances. This modification is brought about by dilution, application of heat , preservation etc.
3. Samyoga (Combination)
Samyoga means combining together two or more substances. For example -the combination of Honey and Ghee, Honey and Ghee taken alone is healthy for the body but combined together, they become toxic. So we can say that though Samyoga is very useful it may be harmful too. A few examples of its usefulness are Guda and Curd in combination are more useful. Milk with Ghee used regularly is the best Rasayana.
4. Rashi, (Quantity)
Rasi is the measure of the total mass and of each constituent in order to determine the effects of the right and wrong doses. A person should have his diet in proper amounts; it means that a person should have a diet according to his digestive power.
5. Desha, (Habitat)
Habitat is a geographic region. It indicates variation in the quantities of substances, due to difference in the soil, use and climate. One can acclimatize to the different types of localities by using opposite qualities.
The wholesomeness of diet also depends on the Desha, like the food which a person of Kashmir can digest, cannot be digested by a person of Kerala.
6. Kala (Time)
Time is used in two senses, time in the general sense means season and time in the sense of stage of disease.
7. Upyoga- Sansatha, (Dietetic Rules)
It simply means the dietetic rules. It contains everything related to Diet, how to eat, when to eat, what to eat.
8. Upyokta (The User)
The user is he who makes use of food, habituation depends on him. Creating wholesomeness by habitual intake of things comes under Upyokta and known as Satmya which differs person to person.
After describing these eight factors, there are some other rules which are described in Ayurveda, which indicates the method of taking food.
1. The first requisite regarding prepared meals is that it should be taken hot. If one’s taking hot food, feel of proper taste, Stimulate the digestive fire.
2. The meal taken should be Unctuous to have a proper taste, facilitate early digestion and It makes the body Plump, Strengthens the sense organs, increases in the brightens the complexion.
3. Eat in an adequate amount. Signs by which a person can decide that this is adequate amount are freedom from distress in the stomach, Absence of any cardiac discomfort, The non-distension of sides, Freedom from the excessive heaviness of the stomach, Sense of ease in standing, sitting, lying down, walking, inhaling, exhaling, talking. Easeful digestion and assimilation of food in the evening and the morning, the imparting of strength & complexion.
4. Eat after digestion of the previous meal. If one takes food before the digestion of the previous meal, the digestive product of the previous food, i.e. undigested food gets mixed up with the food taken afterwards, it provokes all the toxins & leads to diseases.
5. Eat those food articles which are not antagonistic in potency. Eating food that is not antagonistic in potency one will not afflict with disorders born of incompatible dietary.
6. Eat in a congenial place provided with all the necessary appurtenances. One eating at a congenial place does not get depressed in the mind by the depressing emotions produced in an unpleasant environment, similarly with appurtenances. Therefore one should eat in a congenial place and circumstances.
7. Do not eat hurriedly. One should not take food too hurriedly. If food is taken to hurriedly it enters into a wrong way or it is not properly placed, as food taken in hurry can obviously affect the power of digestion by increasing the Vata.
8. Do not eat too leisurely. One who eats too leisurely is not satisfied even if he eats much. The food would become cold and there will indigestion.
9. Do not talk or laugh while eating, one who talks and laughs while eating is liable to suffer the same disorders as the one who eats too hastily. The most important one is that the food should be eaten with concentration. Talking and laughing divert the attention from the meals and the food is eaten too slowly or too hastily
10. Eat rightly, considering your constitution.
Read More► Ways to tackle tobacco addiction as per Ayurveda !!
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.
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