Ayurveda, as mentioned, is the science of life. It is not just a set of general suggestions but a way of living life. It consists of set practices and lifestyle habits that work to make one healthy, both physically and mentally. Additionally, the herbs and medicines as prescribed in Ayurveda, are wholly natural and retain the ability to cure most diseases without any side effects.
Ayush Agrawal, Founder and Director of Rasayanam shares some prominent herbs that are renowned for their use in matters of health and wellness are discussed as follows-
Ashwagandha, by reducing the cortisol levels, helps control anxiety and stress. Its use is significant in calming the body and psyche of an individual and also helps in regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Ashwagandha is also popularly consumed as a vigor and strength supplement. Further, it aids muscle mass gain and boosts energy levels in people from all age brackets.
This over 1000-year-old remedy constitutes three principal ingredients of Amla, Bibhitaki, and Haritaki which are some of the most famous medicinal plants native to the country. Known for its anti-inflammatory and laxative properties, Triphala is also considered particularly helpful in preventing dental diseases and cavities as well as digestive problems. The many medicinal properties of this herb are what make it so well accepted and preached throughout the country.
Brahmi is primarily used for its significant impact on the brain and its functioning. It is said to improve the brain's retention and memory power as well as its spatial learning abilities. Brahmi is commonly utilized to treat and control symptoms of anxiety, stress, and ADHD. Additionally, it is also consumed to reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure levels.
This wonder spice is best known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps to regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels and thereby aids weight loss. The rich antioxidant content of cumin acts to protect the skin against free radicals which in turn helps to prevent skin and heart-related diseases.
Turmeric is a famously utilized Indian spice that is best known for its medicinal properties. A prime active ingredient found in turmeric is curcumin. As per the ancient Ayurvedic wisdom, curcumin works to balance the three doshas of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha in the human body. Further, it also brings relief to joint and muscle pain and tightness. Another typical usage of turmeric is to heal wounds and bruises. Lastly, it is used to prevent and alleviate symptoms of colds and sore throats.
Cardamom has been traditionally consumed as a mouth freshener and a remedy for dental problems. It fights off the mouth bacteria and leaves the person consuming it with a minty breath. This magic spice is also popular throughout India for its many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which help in lowering blood pressure levels and preventing chronic diseases such as cancer.
With its rich Vitamin C content, bitter melon is considered helpful in healing wounds, preventing diseases, and assisting bone formation. It is also believed to regulate the secretion of insulin in humans and thereby aid the balancing of blood sugar levels. Lastly, bitter melon may carry weight loss properties.
It is a refreshing, regenerating health tonic that is consumed in India for its several beneficial properties. Safed muesli is believed to boost immunity levels, control symptoms of chronic diseases such as arthritis and diabetes, and aid weight loss and muscle gain in individuals. Speculations have also been made with regard to the benefits of this useful herb in sexual health.
The Valerian roots are believed to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and stress. This they do by increasing the GABA levels in a person's body. GABA is a pacifying chemical produced in humans, and as its level increases, a person's mind becomes calmer. The roots are also packed with antioxidants that relax the body and mind and facilitate quality sleep. The valerian roots are a proven help to people who suffer from problems such as overwhelming stress, worry, or insomnia.
Herbs and spices are not only packed with medicinal benefits but are also delicious in taste and come with virtually no side effects. This quality of these items makes them extremely valuable in today's day where a large number of people suffer from some disease or the other.(N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe)
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New York- Covid-19 infection during pregnancy leads to distinct immune changes in mothers and babies, according to a study.
The researchers found that Covid-19 dysregulates maternal immune response, with different immune signatures between mothers with asymptomatic and severe disease.
"We know that pregnancy increases maternal risk for Covid-19, but relatively little is known about the long-term consequences of in-utero exposure for infants," said Jae Jung, Director of the Cleveland Clinic Global Center for Pathogen & Human Health Research.
The study highlights "how important it will be for long-term follow-up after pregnancy to catch and hopefully prevent any unforeseen long-term health conditions related to prenatal infection,"Jung added.
For the study, published in the journal Cell Reports Medicine, the team involved 93 mothers with Covid-19 and 45 of their infant children who were exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
The research team studied immune profiles for more than 1,400 cytokines and other inflammatory proteins collected from peripheral and cord blood samples.
The researchers compared maternal blood specimens collected close to the initial detection of SARS-CoV-2 and at different time points throughout pregnancy and delivery.
They found that compared to mild or moderate disease, pregnant women with severe Covid-19 exhibited significantly more inflammation and elevated levels of a protein called IFNL1 (interferon lambda 1) and the receptor it binds with, IFNLR1, which plays a critical role in protecting against viruses.
"This increase in interferon lambda signaling may help explain why we see relatively little direct transmission of Covid-19 between mother and baby during the period right before or after birth -- what we call vertical transmission," explained Suan-Sin (Jolin) Foo, a research associate in Dr. Jung's lab and co-first author on the paper.
Despite the lack of evidence for robust vertical transmission, the researchers found that SARS-CoV-2 infection alters maternal immunity at delivery and that gestational SARS-CoV-2 exposure alters infant immunity at birth.
At delivery, the women exhibited dysregulated levels of several cytokines that are associated with pregnancy complications, including MMP7, MDK, ESM1, BGN and CD209.
Among infants, prenatal exposure induced the expression of cytokines related to T cells, which are a type of immune cell involved in recognising and attacking specific antigens.
The majority of births within the cohort were healthy, but there was a high incidence of some complications, including preeclampsia and foetal growth restriction.
More research will be necessary to understand the extent to which the observed immune changes are related to these clinical outcomes, the team said.
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Rashes, dry and flaky patches of skin are some of the most prevalent skin issues during winter. As the intake of fluid decreases during the winter, dehydrated skin becomes a battleground for various skin issues. Therefore, it's essential to prepare our skin well ahead of the harsh winters. Homemade DIY treatments might work, but they are not all that helpful in solving all your winter skin problems.
Let's put a focal point on what our skin needs during winters:
In winter, we often feel that our skin does not need exfoliation because we haven't stepped out much. But, in reality, winters give rise to dead skin cells. This in turn clogs the follicles and acts as a barrier to the radiance of the skin. Therefore, exfoliate your skin twice a week to get rid of the dead skin buildup. Exfoliation also helps to boost the effectiveness of serums and moisturisers, thereby helping to maintain the perfect level of hydration.
Look for The Right Moisturizer
Beating the chilly winter air is equally as tough as escaping the summer heat. You have to find the right moisturiser that locks in the essential oils in your skin for a longer period of time. Ensure that you are applying that moisturiser twice a day. If you have extremely dry skin and hands, you can opt for an oil-based moisturiser during the winter. Water-based moisturisers are great for summer, but in winter they are not effective as they dry up your skin too often. You can select from shea butter to rich green tea and even rejuvenating fruit butters for intense hydration.
As hyaluronic acid comes with truck loads of benefits, including skin hydration, anti-wrinkle agency, healing agent, and antioxidant, skincare experts across the globe suggest that hyaluronic acid is the best way to maintain hydration during winter. It is suited for all skin types, and skin experts recommend that one should look out for hyaluronic acid-based products when their skin requires hydration. Profhilo has added a new and popular treatment that has gained popularity in recent times. It works by injecting hyaluronic acid into the skin's layers, resulting in visibly hydrated, healthy, and rejuvenated skin.
DIY Facemask for Winters
Face masks can hydrate your skin, remove the dirt and help in improving the pores of the skin. Applying honey and malai (milk cream) facemask is one of the best natural moisturising creams that you can apply on your skin to make it supple and soft. Honey helps to clear your skin off the bacteria that are responsible for the growth of pimples and acne on your face. Mix a tablespoon each of milk cream and honey in a bowl and mix them well. Apply the mixture on your face and skin and leave it for about 15 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. Pat dry your skin and see the result. (Dr. Chiranjiv Chabra, Cosmetic Dermatologist, Director Skin Alive Clinics)
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The unprecedented event in the form of a Pandemic has pushed people to work from home. While what seemed like a good break from the traditional 9-5, work from home brought its own challenges. With the increased working hours due to the lack of clear boundary between personal and professional life, work from home did not prove to be a relief like it was supposed to.
According to the CMR study, the average screen time for Indians increased to 25 per cent. And 23 per cent complained about weaker eyesight due to extended work hours. Ayurveda is the ancient Indian science that works on creating a balance and treating the body in a holistic manner. Following are the key Ayurvedic herbs and practices shared by Ritika Krit, Founder, Kamree that one can incorporate in their daily lives to decrease eye strain caused by electronics.
Icing or Sheeta Satmya: Consistent use of electronics produces heat in the eyes and makes eyelids dull and tired. To counter the effects of overwork, soak cotton balls in cool milk or rose water and place it on your eyes for a few minutes. The exercise will give much-awaited relief to the eyes.
Palm Exercise: Palm exercise, known as palming, is an ancient Ayurvedic technique to massage eyes and provide relaxation. Rub your arms together for 10 seconds and place it on your shut eyes in a cupping gesture. Remember not to put pressure on your eyes. Do the techniques 2-3 times as you inhale and exhale slowly. The Ayurvedic exercise provides relief to your eyes and is also helpful for a goodnight's sleep.
Mudras: Mudras are simple hand gestures that are always defined as a healing modality. Most Mudras for better eye vision can be done lying down while breathing normally. Different Mudras have different effects on the body, and when combined with a breathing exercise, they can bring back balance in the body while strengthening all desired parts and healing them holistically.
One of the most common Mudra is Prana Mudra. In order to practice Prana Mudra, keep your spine erect and body relaxed with open palms placed on your lap. Join the tip of your pinky finger to ring the finger to the tip of your thumb and breathe normally for 15 minutes. The Mudra will promote healthy vision and heal irritable eyes.
Herbs for Stronger Eye Vision
Fennel- Rich in Vitamin A and C, fennel is good to strengthen your eye vision. You can either consume it in the form of tea or wash your eyes with fennel water as it cooling for the eyes.
Triphala- Three fruits - Haritaki, Amla, and Bibhitaki make Triphala which balances the energies in the body and is a good source of antioxidants and Vitamin C, which reverses the signs of inflammation and oxidative stress.
The Ginkgo Biloba- Native to China, Ginkgo Biloba is most effective in treating degrading eye vision.
Calendula- Also known as "Pot Marigold," calendula is an anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial herb that helps in treating eye conditions such as redness, swelling, mild irritations,
Almonds- The most common ingredient to Indian households, almonds are a good source of Vitamin E, which promotes the growth of healthy tissues and great vision.
Splash water 3-5 times a day to active facial nerves and arteries.
Take a break from electronics during meals.
Practice calmness as anger and frustration can increase the flow of blood, which dilates pupils and causes eye strain. You can also exercise pranayama to bring more peace to your daily life.
Avoid hot water for showers which can cause the imbalance of fire elements in the body. Instead, use lukewarm water whenever necessary.
Wear preventive eyeglasses when using electronics to avoid direct contact with blue light.
Avoid reading or using electronics in a dark room.
Avoid rubbing your eyes harshly. (N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe)
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A team of US researchers are conducting studies to understand whether botanical therapies like medicinal mushrooms and Chinese herbs provide therapeutic benefit in treating acute Covid-19 cases.
According to principal investigator Gordon Saxe, director of research at the Center for Integrative Health in University of California-San Diego, mushrooms were chosen because of their long history of use and recent evidence of immune-enhancing and antiviral effects.
MACH-19 (Mushrooms and Chinese Herbs for Covid-19) is a multi-centre study led by UC San Diego's School of Medicine and UC-Los Angeles, in collaboration with the La Jolla Institute for Immunology.
In a preclinical study published in 2019, mushroom agarikon was found to inhibit viruses, including influenza (H1N1), influenza A (H5N1) and herpes. Saxe said he believes medicinal mushrooms inhibit the viruses' replication, a theory he plans to test against SARS-CoV-2 in a Phase II trial.
"Mushrooms have the advantage that they co-evolved with us. So bacteria, viruses and other fungi prey on mushrooms just like they prey on humans. And mushrooms have developed exquisite defenses against those pests, and we believe they can confer those to us when we eat them," Saxe said.
MACH-19's third ongoing trial measures whether the same medicinal mushrooms, given in capsules at the time of initial Covid vaccination, can increase antibodies and other measures of immune response.
A fourth trial, yet to be launched, will look at whether medicinal mushrooms could provide a similar lift to Covid-19 booster shots as an adjuvant, a substance which enhances immune response.
"Vaccines lead to the production of antibodies that can destroy the virus in the blood," Saxe said.
"Mushrooms may not only increase the number of these antibodies, but also enhance T-cell immunity against virally infected cells. Further, because mushrooms bind to receptors on human immune cells, they can modulate our immunity -- boosting it in some ways and calming it down in others. And this property of mushrooms may also reduce vaccine-related side effects.
Natural therapeutics have been used for centuries to treat infectious diseases, according to Saxe, who noted that herbs helped Chinese doctors manage 300 recorded epidemics, while the Greek pharmacologist Pedanius Dioscorides prescribed agarikon to treat pulmonary infections 2,300 years ago.
The three trials, under MACH-19 of which two are Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved, are currently recruiting for between 66 and 80 patients who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and who are quarantined at home with mild to moderate symptoms.AInitial safety data from the trials are expected by the end of this year, with efficacy data ready within a year.
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About 60 per cent of people suffering stroke in India face various degrees of disability, some lifelong, said experts here.
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients.
As brain cells begin to die in minutes, prompt treatment is crucial and early action can reduce brain damage, other complications and death.
"While the numbers of stroke patients continue to rise exponentially, like many other brain diseases, there is still a remarkable lack of awareness regarding this condition. Timely treatment in stroke will go a long way in improving a patient's quality of life, and reducing lifelong morbidity and mortality," said Pankaj Agarwal, Senior Consultant -Neurology, Head, Movement Disorders Clinic & In-Charge, Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) Programme, Global Hospital Mumbai.
"Stroke patients who get help from paramedics are more likely to reach hospital for care -- in India, that number is only 1.8 per cent. We need uniform emergency medical services (EMS) system and certification of stroke ready hospitals across the country so that people know where to go when they recognise the signs of stroke," added Dr P.N Sylaja, Professor and HoD, Neurology, In-Charge, Comprehensive Stroke Care Programme, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST).
While traditionally stroke affects older age groups, a large number of ischemic strokes are now known to also affect young people - in their 30s or 40s. Sometimes even adolescents in their teenagers or early 20s are affected.
"Stroke affects as many as 18 lakh Indians every year, which means one Indian suffers stroke every 40 seconds. One-fourth of these people are aged less than 50 and increasingly, a large proportion of stroke patients are found in the age group of 19 to 30 years. The burden of stroke on the most productive sections of society not only affects the person and their family but leaves a cascading effect on the countrya¿s socio-economic condition," said Kamal Narayan, CEO, Integrated Health and Wellbeing (IHW) Council.
Covid has also increased the risk of stroke, particularly among the young patients between 20 and 30,as the virus triggers abnormal and severe clotting in blood. While the risk is around 1 per cent (higher if other risk factors for stroke are present), it is still life-threatening or leads to severe disability.
"In India, about 30 per cent of people suffering stroke die and a whopping 60-70 per cent people suffer various degrees of disability. The number of disabled people is more as we move into the interiors where hospitals do not even have a CT scan machine. We need to ensure they get treatment," said Prof M.V. Padma Srivastava, Head, Neurosciences Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.
Eating a well-balanced diet, avoiding processed foods and sugary drinks, limiting salt, alcohol, smoking, and exercising daily can lower the risk of stroke, the doctors said.
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