Ayurveda

Creation of Ayurveda Formulas (Bhashajya Kalpana)

By Dr. Mithun Baliga
(Ayurveda Practitioner Student)

Bhaishaja Kalpana, Creation of Ayurveda Formulas is the art of processing of different therapeutic compounds together as a formulations. It is one of the most important aspects of Ayurveda. Ayurvedic dravya and “herb” as in western herbology are very different things although the general public think the word herb encompasses all non-allopathic/ CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) compounds.

Dravya includes not just plant-derived herbs but also animal derived substances like honey, milk, horn etc and inanimate products like metal ashes, mineral products like Shilajit etc. Not just the source as seen above but the journey that the dravya undergoes from its source until it enters the client’s body is very different in ayurvedic terms compared to western herbology.

Let’s look at the western perspective first. The focus is on extracting the active compound from a herb. This was mainly a way to preserve the degradable flowers and leaves. Either alcohol or oils were used for this as needed. This progressed on to specifically extracting the compound responsible for the therapeutic action, from the herb. The extracted ingredient could then be standardized and marketed and made accessible easily (due to standardization). Eg: turmeric. The active compound cucurmin can be extracted and purified, and standardized and sold. On the surface, this makes perfect sense. If cucurmin is the ingredient that gives turmeric its demonstrable benefit, then let us take that ingredient, concentrate it and ingest it for maximum benefit.

In contrast, Ayurveda takes a very different view. Ayurveda believes that the effects of a herb does not come from any one single ingredient that it contains but rather from the many different substances that are present in the herb. Some cause the main effects, some others potentiate it, others help in its absorption, yet others work synergistically with the body by helping in related conditions etc etc. So, Ayurveda will try to transform the entire turmeric root (the whole herb) into a product that can be consumed. This is the fundamental difference between Ayurveda and western herbology and all further differences stem from this in one way or another.

One of the results of this difference is that it is extremely difficult to prove the effectiveness of Ayurvedic herbs/preparation in clinical trials and studies. The inability to accurately list and quantify all the active ingredients and their individual and interactive actions (both good and bad) has been and still is a stumbling block when it comes to publishing studies. This lack of robust studies in Ayurveda will always be a problem when we try to compare it to western herbology. It is far easier to study/prove/publish about a single extract in in vitro, in vivo and human studies than it is to study/prove/publish about a whole herb product that might have many known and as yet unknown ingredients responsible for the herb’s overall effect.

Another big difference is that Ayurvedic herbs and kalpanas do not stand alone by themselves like a “one size fits all” solution. The very science of Ayurveda takes into account the individual’s dosha, state of agni, dhatus and srotas and the gunas and karmas of the dravya before picking the right dravya for the client. The concept of the 5 mahabhuta makeup of all things, the 10 opposing gunas of things play a very important role in matching dravya to client. Along the same lines, the delivery of the dravya using what is called an anupana is another key aspect of therapy. This again is not included in western herbology. Eg: Turmeric capsule has no specific instruction on how to take it whereas the turmeric recommended by an Ayurvedic practitioner will include instructions to take it in milk or to add it in the hot oil while cooking.

Bhaishaja Kalpana can be used as extensively as one’s practice allows. We should start by from the very first step. Proper sourcing of the dravyas, which is again an aspect of Bhaishaja Kalpana should be used by us all. Even though we are not personally collecting the herbs, checking and making sure that the companies we recommend do their sourcing according to recommendations of the scriptures is our first step. The production of the individual kalpanas have to be according to the “recipes” recommended in the appropriate texts. This is our job as the practitioner to check. We can extend the use of Bhaishaja Kalpana in our practice by making for ourselves some of the simpler products according to the proper guidelines. With enough knowledge and experience, by using Bhaishaja Kalpana, we can recommend the right anupanas and combinations to match our individual client’s prakruti and needs

Ashwagandha-how to take it

In my practice as an Ayurvedic Practitioner, I have noticed almost everyone who is listing their supplements on the intake forms, mention Ashwagandha.

A part of me is delighted Ashwagandha has become so popular in USA, that even nutritional supplements, smoothie mixes are adding it in.

The practitioner in me is a little concerned because Ashwagandha is heating and has indications and contraindications just like any herb. I have heard students say Ayurvedic supplements have no contraindications. This is absolutely untrue.

Ayurvedic supplements can harm when taken incorrectly. And, yes, there are definitely contraindications.

It is better to take a supplement after visiting a Practititioner.

Problem is when people buy things online they either have no idea of doses, or, anupana (see below), or what time of day to take it.

They take Ashwagandha when convenient with food.

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, supports Thyroid, energy, stress, anxiety, respiratory tract AND aches and pains.

It is also used in conjunction with other dravya for other imbalances.

However, for each of those situations doses differ, anupana differs, time of day differs and there are certain dietary restrictions also.

Anupana means vehicle that helps deliver the herb and helps in its absorption.

I have listed how Ashwagandha has to be taken with different anupanas at different times below. Please visit your Ayurveda Practitioner before you start taking any Ayurvedic supplement.

1. Supporting Respiratory tract--Ashwagandha with Honey and Tulsi Tea.
Time of day - 6-10 AM, 6-10 PM.
2. Supporting Stress/Anxiety-Aswagandha with Tulsi tea (Not suggested for Pitta. For pitta add Brahmi also)
Time of day 2-6 PM (1-2 hours after meal)
3. Generalized aches and pains-Ashwagandha Ghrtam (ghee), topically as Ashwagandha tailam. (Ashwagandha cooked in sesame)
4. Supporting Neurological imbalances- Not given alone. Can be suggested in conjunction with Jatamansi and/or Brahmi.
Anupana- Tulsi Tea
5. Supporting Thyroid- Ashwagandha with Kanchanar Guggulu before meals
6. Supporting Menstrual Imbalances-Ashwagandha with Shatavari and Turmeric golden milk
7. Supporting Arthritis-Ashwagandha boiled in milk twice a day
8. Supporting low energy- Ashwagandha boiled in milk. May be given with Shatavari.
9. Supporting insomnia-Ashwagandha, Bhringaraj and Brahmi with warm Golden milk(with turmeric, nutmeg, poppy seeds) one hour before bed.

You can contact Monica Groover at Ayurveda South Austin.
https://www.ayurveda-wellness-center.com/

Disclaimer: Ayurveda is a complimentary health system and NOT recognized in the West. Ayurveda practitioners are NOT allowed to prevent, treat or cure any disease. Please contact your physician if you have any health issues. The article above is for informational and educational purpose only.

Sanskrit for Ayurveda practitioners

By Dr. Mithun Baliga (Ayurveda Counselor Student)
and Lori Black

Sanskrit is the spoken language of the Devatas or Demigods, according to Vedas. Samskrtam is said to be the oldest language known. Sanskrit is such a language rich in meaning, oftentimes there is no equivalent translation of the depth in which a word or sentence may be expressed through its context. Any student who is interested in Ayurveda will inevitably turn to the Briyat Treya.

Once we realize how simplified modern translations are of the ladened meaning meant to convey, we find a desire to understand the classics a bit more. We decide to dig into what Sushruta was trying to say; or how Patanjali could say so few words by present a meaning so in-depth. Not to mention the mantra of Sanskrit traditionally is what has supplanted the classics when there were no written versions available.

We look at the history of Ayurveda and see how there was a time when Indians were precluded from possessing the texts for fear of political retribution. Therefore, memorization was often accomplished through mantra; teaching was accomplished through mantra. As it seems so appropriate that any student who is serious about Vedanta, Ayurveda or any of the amazing Indian philosophies once must embark on the quest of deepening their preliminary understanding to even peek at what is revealed from the heart of the Gods.

Ayurveda is an ancient science believed to have divine origins. The language of the time was Sanskrit. Hence all the original texts are written in that language. Of course, we now have a translation in various languages. So we can ask certainly as the question: what is the importance of Sanskrit to Ayurveda practitioners? since everything is now available in English. It is important for many reasons.

1. The arrangement of information is the texts are in poetic form. This was to facilitate memorization which is easier why set to rhyme and meter. This poetic way of delivering information has to be interpreted correctly in the original language it was written(as in all poetry). Otherwise, errors can occur.

2. Sanskrit is an original stand-alone language, meaning it has no borrowed words. So, many times it is not possible to find exact equivalent words in other languages like English. Eg: the word dosha. The closest translation could be "a fault" but we know that "a fault" is not what we mean when we say dosha in Ayurveda. For this reason, Ayurvedic practitioner has to have at least a rudimentary knowledge of the language so that they can use those Sanskrit words correctly and with confidence.

3. Some aspects of Ayurveda involve invoking mantras and or salutations. Although these can also be translated, again their inner meaning is lost. To recommend these forms of adjuncts to therapy, the practitioner may find the knowledge of Sanskrit helpful.

4. As a diagnostic tool: Although not used nowadays, in the past the ayurvedic practitioner would ask the patient to read out the syllables of the Sanskrit language. By observing the pronunciation and speech patterns, they would diagnose the patient's issues.

5. At a higher level, the Sanskrit language has divinity in itself. The syllables have a deeper meaning and specific combinations have different effects and strengths. Chanting Vedic and other hymns are known to bring about profound changes in the physical body as well as the mind and for spiritual progress.

Ayurvedic Herbs are different

(Submitted by a student)

We dont call study of Ayurvedic Herbs- Herbology. We use the word "dravya". This means any substance therapeutic whether plant, mineral or rock. (example shilajit is a substance that oozes out of a rock).

Energetics of Ayurvedic Herbs include five things. These are called Rasa panchadi.

1. Rasa (Taste)
2. Virya (heating or cooling)
3. Vipaka (after taste)
4. Guna and Karma (Qualities and action)
5. Prabhava (ultimate effect)

Rasa

The six tastes are called the rasas

sweet-amchur (dry mango powder)
sour-Amalaki
salty-shilajit
astringent-haritaki
pungent-ginger
bitter-kutki

Virya

The heating or cooling quality of a dravya is called virya.
Heating: Ginger
Cooling: Cardamom

Guna and Karma

Here are examples of some karma or action based on their qualities.

1. Dīpana action stimulate the main Agni in the small intestine.
They may help in metabolism of ama. Examples: Trikatu, and chitkrak.
2. Pācana action digest ama and strengthen agni. (As long as it is not fat soluble ama). Examples include muśta, kutaja, garlic, ginger.
3. Śamana action pacify doshas. Honey is best shamana for kapha, haritaki for vata and amla berry for pitta.
4. Śodhana action cleansesand remove aggravated Doṣas from the body. Examples include Castor oil and Madanphala.
5. Staṃbhana action that absorb excess water. Examples include Dravya with astringent tastes such as Kutaja and Pomegranate.
6. Grahi action add bulk and solidify stool.
7.Anulomana action works as mild laxatives. Examples include warm organic milk (non homogenized), ghee, haritaki and triphala.
8.Sraṁsana acts as a mild purgative. (virechana)
9. Bhedana act as stool softeners. Examples Aloe.
10. Lekhana These dravya have a scraping action on the Dhātus, Dośas and Malas. Examples include Guggulu, and turmeric.

History of Ayurveda and Herbalism

By Lori Black

It appears to me that in the early sixties and seventies, Western Herbalism was viewed as somewhat bizarre and like mysticism or voodoo. I believe much of this was due to the lack of tolerance for all of the varying ethnic groups, religious groups and the overall pride of "The West".

It was at this time when Western medicinal philosophies seemed to be routed in "scientific" data and analysis. In a 2006 article penned by current Western Herbalist Matthew Wood, Registered Herbalist (AHG) cites the following quote: "Widespread persecution of folk healers and unconventional physicians was initiated in the United States including imprisonment and book burning, physicians were not allowed to practice homeopathy or herbalism without losing their licenses, and unlicensed practice by others was considered illegal in all but a few states (Milton, 1996)".

This quote appeared an article entitled "An Exploration of the Conceptual Foundations of Western Herbalism and Biomedicine". Wood holds a Masters of Science degree in Herbal Medicine from the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine from the University of Wales. I think this is truly an acknowledgement for the vast intricacies which were already known from Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine and many Native American healing systems. Wood states that initially when Western eyes viewed medicinal purposes of a plant, they viewed it solely on the chemical properties; once extracted the specific essence of what they found useful, the rest of the plant was thrown out.

Ayurveda is a way of life. The Herbalism in Ayurveda is truly its own science brought forth from Divinity through Vedic writings. While the Western world was busy extracting molecules and cells from possibly useful and beneficial plants; and finding the value in such it became yet another money making industry. Now, seeing the inherent benefits to be obtained from Mother Nature and seeing that aside from a plant's "chemical composition" there was so much more to understand. The dynamic of the plant from seedling to growth, maturity, reproduction and how the plant interacted within the human body was something Ayurveda has been doing - forever.

Now in the Western world, our ever increasing litigious society, our lack of respect for the environment - our lack of respect for each other! we are depleting and destroying much of what Mother Nature has provided us. I think now many Western Herbalists have developed level of standardization in which they can be better recognized and valued. Many Western herbalists who see the value beyond the laboratory or the pharmacy and how much a prescription can make them money have turned to those previously thought of as "witchy concoctions" to see how they have been healing for so long.

I think now many Western Herbalists are looking to the expertise and refinement that say an Ayurvedic Herbalist can offer while keeping dignity, sourcing and society as a whole in mind. It comes down to ethics and understanding why we are doing things. Once we separate out big business and begin to remember what matters, we look to the humbleness of that which has worked for centuries upon centuries.

Lori Black is a student of Ayurveda Counselor Program

Essential Guide to Ayurveda: A book by Monica B Groover

A Textbook called Essential Guide to Ayurveda: A Textbook for Students and Counselors , is soon being released by me. Here is an excerpt.

Essential Guide to Ayurveda is a culmination of twelve years of teaching Ayurveda for me. I have been in the business of Ayurvedic Education for quite some years.

As the director of a school as well as a teacher, I get constant feedback from my clients and students.

My regular clients who had been practicing Ayurveda for many years wanted more depth in their Ayurvedic informational material. Many people who practice Ayurveda as a lifestyle want to dive in deeper as a student of Ayurveda.

We found that there was a lack of a beginner textbook specifically for Ayurveda Health Counselors. Many of my students plan to take the Certification exam and are not able to find Counselor-focused Ayurveda resources to help them study.

As an Ayurvedic Counselor, you are expected to serve the community with support and counsel using Ayurvedic concepts. A consultation provided by an Ayurveda Counselor may focus on dosha pacifying diet and lifestyle interventions which can be be adjusted seasonally. You may need one or two credits of college-level anatomy and physiology or equivalent to take your Counselor exam.

This book can be used as a reference guide to learning the essentials of Ayurveda Counseling, not how to become an Ayurvedic Counselor. To become an Ayurveda Counselor you would need to study and graduate from an Ayurvedic school.

You will be learning the ancient principles of Ayurveda from teachers that have mastered these teachings in your school.

However, this book contains some time-tested effective strategies, authentic knowledge, tips, and foundational tenets. These are essential to an Ayurveda Counselor, & or any counseling or coaching profession that integrates principles of Ayurveda.

In the last twelve years, I have found myself continually writing curriculum, then updating it again to fulfill the changing needs of my students.

In 2017, we released Essential guide for Ayurveda Part 1 as a beta version to our students. This beta test version enabled us to get very direct and personal feedback from my students about what other information they wanted and needed in a counselor specific textbook.

We will be offering this textbook in a Kindle format, making it easier for my international students to obtain the information without having to pay for shipping costs. We will also be providing a Soft Copy paperbook.

If you are an Ayurveda Enthusiast, then this book is for you too. The book should benefit both the Ayurveda Enthusiast, as well as a potential or current Ayurveda Counselor Student. It can also be suggested for someone practicing an Ayurveda lifestyle who wants to dip their feet in the water, before committing to a school which can be a big chunk of time and finances.

This book should give you an idea of the informational content you would be learning if planning to enroll in an Ayurveda school, or have already done so.

Be prepared to dive in deeper. Open your heart to the philosophy and tenets from inside out. There is a Sanskrit glossary section in each chapter, followed by a review section by popular demand. My students love the breakdown and etymology of where the Sanskrit is coming from.

If you are interested in PRE-ORDERING, simply add your name to the EMAIL List.

Preface-Essential Guide to Ayurveda
Copyright@2020 Monica B Groover

Monica Groover is the author of Ayurveda and the Feminine, and, Essential Guide to Ayurveda, A textbook for students and Counselors. Ms Groover is the director of Narayana Ayurveda and Yoga Academy in Austin, Texas.

Creation of Dhatus in Ayurveda

By Cagan Cinmoyii Gun Isikli -

We need to eat food everyday to grow, to be strong, to be healthy and to live a long life. Whatever we eat, it can be helpful for the creation of our dhatus in a positive or negative way in the body. Dhatu means construction elements as tissues for the structure, and growth of the body. There are 7 types of dhatus (Sapta Dhatus) in the body ; rasa, rakta, mamsa, meda, ashti majja, and sukra . All these need time to be formed respectively. Each of them takes 5 days. For instance, the food that we eat becomes ahara rasa and it can transform as the last dhatu, i.e. reproductive tissue after 35 days.

Digestion process starts in Bodhaka kapha in oral cavity. Then Udana Vata helps to masticate and Prana Vata sustains to swallow the food. Kledeka kapha provides moisture in Amasaya (stomach). Pachaka pitta also helps and Samana vata press and sustain agni to function properly. They work together to continue breaking ahara rasa down with digestive enzymes. Now, jatharagni on duty to break down the Ahara rasa into Chyle for digestion which is a milky white fluid including lymph and fats.

In the meantime, to clarify the object in a better way, I should cite that there is 3 stages of Gross Digestion. Briefly,

1-Madhur Avasthapak (Sweet Stage) with the symptoms of reduction in activity, having earth and jala mahabhuta, started in mouth and stomach and related with the Kledak Kapha Dosha.

2-Amla Avasthapak (Sour Stage) with the symptoms of thirst and perspiration, having fire mahabhuta, located in small intestine and related with Pachak Pitta Dosha.

3- Katu Avasthapak (Pungent Stage) with the symptoms of desire for movement, having Air and Ether mahabhutas, placed in large intestine and directed by Saman Vayu.

After processed through gross digested, food is divided into 2 parts; one is Sara (essense), which will form different dhatu elements later and other is Kitta (refuse) which will be divided as urine and stool as mala, waste product of the body.

The nourishment of dhatus occurs with Sara in stages. Sara is pure essence and the pure stabilized mature tissue. Each of the tissue functions properly. Every dhatu is precursor of the next dhatu working with their own Dhatu Agni. In other words, unstable dhatu is always digested by the next dhatu agni. As a result of this, each dhatu has a potency to receive its nutrients properly. At this point Acaryas have put to subject into the light to understand thoroughly with the help of 3 different laws.

1- Kshir -Dadhi Nyaya -Law of Transformation –Milk curd theory

Kshir means milk and dadhi means yogurt. Milk has a great potency to transform step by step from inside to out. In this example first milk could be transformed as yogurt, then buttermilk, butter and ghee. To succeed this, physical and chemical changes take place when turning milk into yogurt, cheese, butter, ice cream, whip cream and other dairy products. The processes for making many dairy products can only start with milk “curdling”. Although there are different ways to start milk curdling, the simple technics are to add some previous yogurt or specific acid or to heating as well as by letting the milk age long enough, with specific enzymes (which are proteins that perform a specific chemical reaction).

With the help of this perspective we can imagine that how ahara rasa and chyle transform as different dhatus in the body. At first Ahara rasa completely changes to Rasa Dhatu, following this is the changing of Rasa Dhatu to Rakta Dhatu and so on. This is one of the ways of nutrition of different Dhatus.

2- Kedar -Kulya Nyaya - Law of Irrigation / Transmisson

Kedar means parts of lands and kulya means drain. Crops in the field get irrigated by creating Kulya (drain) and Kedar (small pieces of land). The Kedar get irrigated one by one through Kuliya in sequence. Like wise different Dhatus of the body get nutrition one by one in sequence through vessels.

3- Khale – Kapot Nyaya - Law of Selectivity- Pigeon Picking Theory

Based on requirement each dhatu get nourished through Chyle. They pick from Chyle according to their need. Chyle, milky alkaline product is the precursor of all dhatu formation. It is carried from the intestine through the lympatic system and in the blood stream.

Food Processing and Prana

By Veero Kanda (Student Post)

When I think about Western nutrition, what first comes to mind are nutrition labels, which break down the food into scientific parts, including the percentage of fat, carbohydrate, and caloric content, which are heavily underlined in our society. What I’ve come to notice, growing up in the Western world, is that traditional scientists and doctors alike, tend to focus their energies on breaking things down and isolating them from the rest of the unit in attempts to understanding the whole.

Allopathic doctors want to isolate and treat a specific organ vs. looking at an individual’s whole body and health. Traditional scientists, like a nutritional scientist for example, will break down foods to their vitamin, mineral, fat, and caloric content. They then use a combination of these parts to determine the nutritional value of the food, rather than looking at it from a holistic perspective.

A famous quote by Aristotle once said “the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts”, and I believe this wholeheartedly to be true. I believe that traditional Western doctors and scientists have inadvertently done humanity a disservice by not acknowledging this to be true through the work that they do. Western nutrition approaches food as being equal to the sum of it’s parts, similar to the way that many Western practitioners approach the human body to be equal to the sum of it’s parts.

The truth is, that everything in the universe is energetically and spiritually more than the sum of it’s parts. Ayurvedic medicine emphasizes the importance of holism, looking at the entire picture, whether it be the human body or the food that we eat.

Ayurvedic nutrition seeks to achieve balance and heal your body, mind, soul, and karma. Those who study, and practice Ayurvedic medicine, whether familiar with Aristotle or not, recognize that the whole is more than the combination of it’s parts. The more, in Ayurveda refers to prana, which is life force energy, known also as chi or qi in Chinese Medicine.

In the human body, “the seat of prana is in the head and prana governs all higher cerebral activities. The functions of the mind, memory, thought and emotions are all under the control of prana. The physiological functioning of the heart is also governed by prana, and from the heart prana enters the blood and thus controls oxygenation in all the dhatus and vital organs” (Lad, 1984, p. 109).

It is not just us as human beings that have this life force energy, but all living organisms have prana. In Ayurveda, the nutritional value, quality, and health benefits of foods are based first and foremost on the prana they contain.

“Prana in food is a concept of life, vitality and qi in plant based foods” (San Diego College of Ayurveda, Ahara 101, p. 8). Foods vary on the amount of prana that they contain, so we seek to eat those that have the most prana, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, especially ons that are grown locally and organically, without the use of chemicals. Food that is freshly cooked, as well as whole grains and fresh dairy products and foods that are not highly processed have more prana.

The second major consideration in Ayurvedic nutrition is on how foods are processed, both during the preparation of the food, and once they enter our bodies. How foods are processed and prepares can greatly affect the prana of a food.

Some examples of food processing are cooking, drying, freezing, canning, pickling, refining, fortifying, pasteurizing, and adding preservatives or chemicals.

Foods that are highly processed, especially those that are frozen, canned or microwaved foods, foods that have been refrigerated for a long time, foods that are not grown in our area, and foods that are grown using pesticides, chemicals or that are genetically modified do not contain much if any prana after these processes take place. We should avoid foods that are processed in this way, in favor of higher prana options.

Ayurveda seeks to process and preserve foods in ways that simultaneously preserve the prana of the food. This is often done by preserving the food with sugar, salt, or ghee, or pickling and sun drying foods, as opposed to preserving them while chemicals or by freezing. Additionally, those seeking to maintain the prana of their foods should cook them over a woodstove or in a natural oven, as opposed to less natural cooking methods such as the use of microwaves and other electric appliances.

Ayurveda seeks to view the foods we are eating, as well as our bodies, in their entirety, in order to determine what will most benefit our health and well being. Western nutrition may say, for example that microwaved conventionally grown vegetables are healthy for us, based on it’s vitamins, minerals, and low fat and calorie content. Ayurvedic nutrition, however recognizes that that those vegetables were grown using pesticides and chemicals as well as prepared in a manor that greatly reduce it’s prana and thereby it’s health benefits. I think that it is definitely worth taking a closer look at some of our dietary and nutritional choices, to view the foods we’re eating more holistically, and discern how much prana remains in the foods we are choosing to nourish ourselves with.

References:

Lad, V. (1984). Ayurveda : the science of self-healing : a practical guide. Santa Fe, N.M: Lotus Press.

San Diego College of Ayurveda. Ahara 101: workbook.

Ayurvedic Perspective-Food Allergies

By Veero Kanda (Student Post)

An allergy is a hypersensitive reaction of the body when it comes into contact with a substance. An individual may experience a slightly uncomfortable feeling to a fatal anaphylaxis in an allergic reaction.

The most common allergens causing allergies are dust, pollen, foods, certain medications, cosmetics etc. every individuals’ immune system reacts differently to the allergens causing these sensitivities. Therefore, for example an allergy causing allergen for one person, maybe completely normal for another individual.

Ayurveda considers allergic reactions as the imbalance of the doshas, with in particular the Vata dosha. A weakened Vata leads to a number of systemic and local hypersensitivities. Vata and Pitta weakened can cause for example rashes, hives, burning, and fever.

An imbalanced Vata and Kapha causes blockages in the bronchi, excessive secretions and asthma attacks.

From an Ayurvedic perspective each person has a unique constitution. Ayurveda describes how certain diets that are not compatible with our Ayurvedic constitution are more likely to result in reacting with out body, thus resulting in an allergy.

This is primarily due to poor digestion and elimination lead to the buildup of ama- undigested food particles. The accumulation of ama (undigested food particles) further leads to toxin buildup and impurities in tissues, which predisposes them to an excessive allergic response.

Moreover, Ayurveda also gives an emphasis regarding the seasonal and daily regimen and lifestyle. For example, an Ayurvedic practitioner will not only take into consideration the individuals Ayurvedic constitution, but also seasonal environment, lifestyle, and person’s emotional, mental and spiritual well being. Moreover an Agni assessment would determine the Digestive Fire imbalances that may possibly lead to ama formation. By following these recommendations one can avoid allergies and learn to prevent them. Therefore, following this holistic approach and eating a diet compatible with your Ayurvedic constitution that is natural, organic and full of prana is ideal and important to avoid and prevent sensitivities.

Eating fresh, organic, full of prana, seasonal fruits that are appropriate for the season is preventative for allergies. A lot of the foods that are processed, canned, not natural, consisting of preservatives, dyes or other chemical additives are a cause of allergic sensitivities.

Thus they should be avoided. According to Ayurveda, Yoga and Pranayama strengthen the natural defense system, thus being an excellent way to prevent allergies. Mothers who breastfeed, should avoid foods with chemicals, preservatives, and additives to avoid the transmission of such chemicals to the child.

Children breastfed from mothers who eat a diet primarily consisting of chemicals, additives and preservatives are more likely to pass on these harmful substances through their breast milk, thus leading to the development of sensitivities in the child.

In conclusion, following a diet that is compatible with our ayurvedic constitution, seasonally compatible, full of prana, natural, organic is the ideal way to prevent food sensitivities.

Agni should also be strengthened to aid in optimum digestion and avoid the accumulation of ama (undigested food particles) that can lead to buildup of toxins.

References

http://www.ayurvedainstituut.com/en/allergie-basis-ayurveda

http://www.muditainstitute.com/articles/ayurvedicnutrition/dairyfree.html

Note: These statements are for informational purposes only. These statements have not been reviewed by FDA. Ayurveda is a complimentary medicine system and not meant to treat, assess or diagnose any disease.

Ayurvedic Food Rules

Food Rules by Laurel Byrne (Student)

Here in the United States, we’re inundated with a wide variety of dietary protocols and food rules. These diets and rules often contradict each other, and it seems like almost every time you turn around there’s a new “best diet” fad taking the place of the last. From 3 meals a day to 6 meals a day, from low fat to low carb, It can get confusing. If you’re anything like me, you may have found yourself wondering, how should I actually be eating to optimize my health and wellbeing?

Many of us grew up hearing mainstream statements telling us things like “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” and that in order to be healthy and lose weight, that you should opt for low-fat and non-fat options whenever possible, and that your main energy source should be through carbohydrates. However, over the years, we’ve been introduced to various diets that have conflicted with what we were originally taught about healthy food choices.

Some of us may have recently be introduced to some of the latest popular dietary protocols, the Ketogenic and Paleo diets. Both of these diets emphasize the restriction of carbohydrates, and but the Ketogenic diet emphasizes the consumption of more high quality fats while Paleo emphasizes the consumption of more high quality protein.
Another popular dietary protocol touts the benefits of utilizing intermittent fasting to promote health, as well as weightloss. Many promoters of dietary protocol recommend skipping breakfast in order to put your body into a fat-burning state. This was a stark contrast to everything that I was originally taught about what and how I should be eating.

So, should we be eating high carb, high fat, or high protein diet, or something else entirely? Should we be eating a square 3 meals a day, 6 smaller meals, or implementing intermittent fasting and skipping some meals altogether? Lets get back to the core question, what food rules best promote optimal health and wellbeing?

To answer this, let’s take a step back from the diet centered approach of the Western world, and venture East, to uncover the wisdom of Ayurveda. For anyone who is unfamiliar, Ayurveda originated in India, and is the multi-modality approach to health and wellness which holistically seeks to balance the mind, body, and spirit of the individual through understanding their unique constitution.

The food rules of Ayurveda have two specific considerations. First, what I will be discussing here, are specific rules and guidelines for meals that are recommended to be followed by everyone, as they take the basic science of our human bodies into consideration. Secondly, there are a great number of additional food rules recommended for your specific constitution and body type, so the full scope and emphasis of your dietary recommendations based on Ayurveda are not a one size fits all approach.

The basic Ayurvedic Rules for meals are in alignment with the natural rhythm of our bodies. There is just as much consideration into how we are eating as there is into what we are eating. Eating should be considered a ritual that you bring your mindfulness and attention to your meal and nourishing your body. It is recommended that you do not eat while you may be distracted by conversations or by watching tv. (Svoboda, 2003, p. 55) It is recommended to chew each morsel slowly and many times as this “allows the digestive enzymes in the mouth to their work properly and, in addition, it gives the stomach time to prepare for the arrival of the masticated food” (Lad, 1984, p. 85)

Rather than following a rule for eating a certain number of times per day, Ayurveda recommends that we should eat when we are hungry. We have different rates of digestion and metabolism, so it is important to be in touch with our bodies and nourish it when we are hungry. If we eat when we are not hungry, our previous meal may not have had time to digest yet. Subsequently, not eating if we are hungry can cause imbalances in our doshas. It is recommended that we eat until we fill satiated but not overly full. It is also recommended to not drink a lot of water, especially cold water during a meal, as it can decrease the body’s agni, or digestive fire.

Ayurveda recommends that lunch be our heaviest meal, around noon, as our energy is higher at this time of day, and that we have a lighter dinner, as our energy for digestion is lower as we approach nighttime. Ayurveda does not recommend that raw and cooked foods be eaten together in one meal, as they require different digestion processes. For example, Ayurveda recommends that most melons should be eaten alone. This is because “in combination with other foods, they create clogging and may prevent absorption by the intestines” (Lad, 1984, p. 81) This can create imbalances within the doshas, and therefore within the body.

I hope that these Ayurvedic food rules help you to be begin to understand how the way you eat affects all levels of the self. However, this is just a starting point, and I would strongly encourage you to learn more about your own unique Ayurvedic constitution, as that understanding can help you truly optimize your health and wellbeing through your food and dietary choices.

References:

Lad, V. (1984). Ayurveda : the science of self-healing : a practical guide. Santa Fe, N.M: Lotus Press.

Svoboda, R. (2003). Prakriti : your ayurvedic costitution. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus

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