World-renowed yoga guru BKS Iyengar, the Founder of Iyengar Yoga, passed away last week at the age of 95. The internationally-acclaimed yoga guru introduced ‘Iyengar Yoga’ to the world, which emphasizes on physical alignment of the body when performing various asanas.
BKS Iyengar systematised more than 200 classical yoga poses and 14 different types of Pranayama ranging from basic to advanced. He opened classes throughout the world to help students learn this technique which involves physical unity which will later be reflected in the mind. Eventually Iyengar Yoga evolved as a brand.
Mr. Iyengar has been awarded the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan. He exposed yoga to the West, and has taught such luminaries like violin maestro Yehudi Menuhin and author Aldous Huxley. He has also authored several books on yoga practice and philosophy, which are considered as authoritative texts used by practitioners, young and old.
About Iyengar Yoga
Iyengar Yoga is a form of Hatha Yoga created by BKS Iyengar, which was introduced to the West in 1950s. It is considered to be a blend of art and science. It focuses on physical side of the discipline and emphasizes asanas and breath control. Iyengar yoga is based on traditional eight limbs of yoga as explained by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras.
Iyengar yoga involves safe and systematic progression of yoga postures to develop the ability of each student. It involves sequencing of poses that develop strength, flexibility, concentration, stamina, and body alignment. Iyengar yoga depicts integration of yoga philosophy with practice of asana and incorporation and relevance of its practice into daily life. It shows ways in which yoga can be used to ease various ailments and stress.
Now, Iyengar yoga is taught in more than 70 countries and the books have been translated into 13 languages.
Iyengar Yoga and other yoga styles – difference
Iyengar Yoga is different from other forms of yoga mainly because it involves three different elements, namely, technique, sequence and timing. In this form of yoga, technique refers to body alignment when performing various pranayams, sequence refers to the order in which asanas and breathing exercises are practised, and timing refers to amount of time devoted when performing each pose.
Iyengar Yoga also uses ‘props’ which could be ropes, cushions, belts, gadgets, blocks etc., which helps beginners to experience asanas more easily and attain ideal alignment. Iyengar used around 50 props including mats, ropes, blocks and chairs to align and stretch the body.
The Iyengar yoga method develops endurance, strength and optimal body alignment, apart from flexibility and relaxation. The Iyengar method develops self-awareness, intelligent evaluation, and profound inward reflection.
Standing poses are emphasized at the beginning to build strength and ease of movement, which help in increasing vitality, improving circulation and balance. The postures for deep relaxation are introduced from the beginning. The sitting, reclining, forward bending and backbend twists, are introduced gradually.
Benefits of Iyengar Yoga
Iyengar Yoga has proven itself in helping patients suffering from back pain, hypertension, depression, menopause and myocardial infarctions.
Since Iyengar Yoga makes use of props, it helps practitioners to gain sensitivity to the use of effort and receive the deep benefits of postures over significant period of time. Apart from allowing students to practice asanas and pranayams with better ease and stability, the props offer support to the body and allows mind to relax and receive the benefits of yoga more profoundly.
Iyengar yoga is particularly ideal for people with back problems and for those who suffer from stress. As excellent posture, balance and relaxation form major aspects of Iyengar yoga, anyone can benefit from this type of yoga.
Iyengar Yoga is particularly good form of yoga for beginners, as it emphasizes on best possible alignment of the body for all asanas. Body alignment and symmetry are as important as the asanas themselves in this form of yoga. The poses are done with great attention to detail, and each student achieves the pose to the best of their ability.
“Regular practice of yoga can help you face the turmoil of life with steadiness and stability,” says a popular quote by the great yoga guru.
Sciatica is a common form of neuralgia or pain in the nerves. It generally affects the sciatic nerve that emerges from the pelvis and runs down to the back of the thigh, ending up to feet. Sciatica is mostly associated with the symptom of leg pain accompanied by a possible tingling, numbness or weakness that originates in the lower back and travels through the buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of the leg. Often the pain is in only in one leg, and rarely affects both sides. Sciatica is also often referred to as ‘hip-joint’ disease.
Pain in one leg starting from the hip-joint and radiating to the toe, accompanied by numbness and sore pain.
Lying down on the bed on the painful side becomes difficult.
Touch such as jerk, shock, increases intensity of pain.
Sometimes the symptoms are also accompanied by chronic constipation.
A sharp pain that may make standing up or walking difficult.
Usually symptoms clear up within six weeks.
Common cause of sciatica could be a herniated disc, which develops a tear or crack and bulges into the spinal canal. This can pinch the sciatic nerve.
Generally, the pain is caused due to pressure on a nerve caused by prolapsed inter-vertebral disc between the lumbar vertebrae. Sciatica is often caused due to exposure to cold and damp. Any pressure on the nerve within the pelvis, such as those produced by a tumour, may also trigger an attack of sciatica. The pain is felt a little behind the hip joint at first, and gradually increases in severity and extends along the course of the nerve and its branches. The painful points are the places from which nerve emerges like from the pelvis at the lower margin of the buttocks and around the knee and ankle joints.
According to Ayurveda, the disease is caused due to the onset of vayu (wind, air) aggravation. Sometimes, vitiation of kapha and vata is also responsible for the onset of attack. Sometimes, constipation is responsible for the attack of sciatica.
Treatment of Sciatica
The first step that you could try at home is to keep a folded pillow/sheet underneath your hips, and keep a pillow under the affected foot, so that pressure is reduced on the great nerve. Cover the painful portion and apply hot fomentation.
Eranda (Ricinus commumunis) is the drug of choice for sciatica. This is given with two teaspoonfuls at bed time with a cup of warm water or milk. Eranda also acts as a laxative, and helps patients.
Yogaraja Guggulu is another medicine administered in the form of tablets (2 each) four times a day with water or milk.
Guggulu Tiktaka Ghrita (50ml) and honey (10ml) may be administered as retention enema.
For external massage in the affected part, ‘Saindhavadi Taila’ or ‘Mahavishagarbha Taila’ is administered, after which, hot fomentation need to be applied. The limb should be covered with warm cloth to maintain the heat. Hot fomentation with a bag of salt is also useful in alleviating pain of sciatica.
Mix 240g of Vataganjakusha and 3gm of Vaishwanara Churna and take twice daily after meals with warm water or decoction of Manjishta.
Tryodashank Guggul 1gm should be mixed with Mritasanjeevani Sura/hot milk/hot water and had thrice daily.
Vrihat Vata Chintamani Rasa (100-125mg) is an excellent remedy when mixed with other medicines referred to above or given independently. It will hasten quicker relief.
Diet: Avoid fried foods, pulses, beans, curds, whey and sour substances. Mix saffron in small quantities with milk and drink regularly. It is said that intake of magnesium-rich foods may be beneficial, as it helps release muscle contractions. Therefore, dairy products, fish, meat, apples, apricots, brown rice, may be a good inclusion in your diet.
Lifestyle and yoga – Avoid cold and damp weather conditions. If health permits, do some light exercises that do not cause a jerk or trauma. When walking, support a lumbar-sarcal, but, belt should not be used at night as it would retard blood circulation.
As for yoga, gentle forms are beneficial, as it helps strengthen muscles and improve flexibility. Yoga practice helps sciatica patients to move and function better so that they do not fall into a posture that aggravates the sciatica. Bhujangasana or Sarpasana, Halasana or Shalabhasana, can be practised under the supervision of a yoga teacher.
Having realized the value of medicinal herbs, several households are now growing medicinal plants in their gardens to prevent or cure several diseases. Latest media reports have confirmed that chewing on a few leaves plucked from certain medicinal plants in your garden can even cure lifestyle diseases like diabetes and hypertension. According to experts, there are hundreds of such herbal plants that could be grown at home. They are of the opinion that creating herbal gardens for medicinal purposes is a healthy trend. The trend of growing herbal plants on terraces and backyards is catching on in many cities now. Here are some medicinal herbs that are worth growing in your garden.
Did you know that frequent chewing of two leaves of the ‘Insulin Plant’ could keep diabetes away? The ‘Insulin Plant’, particularly is in high demand as it helps cure diabetes. The healing property of insulin plants for diabetes is proven. If you take two insulin leaves a day, it can cure diabetes, say experts.
Siriyanangai (kariyat) plant has been found to treat diabetic conditions, and the hypoglycaemic and anti-hyperglycaemic activity of this plant has generated considerable interest. Apart from this, it is already proven to be an effective antibiotic, anti-parasitic, anti-viral and immune system stimulant. It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour properties. It helps treat liver disorders, reduces diarrhea, treatment of jaundice, sinusitis, torbid liver, viral hepatitis, children’s bowel complaints and flatulence and kills intestinal worms and supports intestine.
Few other such herbal cures are ‘Calotropis gigantea’, a shrub which has clusters of flowers white or lavender, and are grown widely in Singapore, Thailand, China, Malay Islands and in India. They are also known as ‘Medar’. This is a popular herb used to cure bronchitis. It also cures intestinal worms, stomach ulcers, rheumatic disorders, nerve and skin disorders, and latest in line is that it is now known to help manage diabetes too.
‘Karunochi (Black Vitex Nigundo)’ for urea stones
‘Karunochi (Black Vitex Nigundo) – This plant has many medicinal uses, but mainly cures urea stones. It can also help cure cholera, colic, catarrh, diarrhea, dyspepsia, ear disorders, common fever, fibrocystic breast, and colic. A decoction of the leaves with pepper is sometimes used as a specific in Malaria.
‘Hibiscus’ – for heart ailments
‘Hibiscus’ – Helps cure heart ailments. An extract from the flower of hibiscus plant prevents oxidation of LDL cholesterol that leads to hardening of blood vessels and heart diseases, according to research from Taiwan. Hibiscus has also been found to effectively lower high blood pressure.
‘Kandankathiri (Solanum Xanthocarpum)’ – for Asthma and headche
Solanum Xanthocarpum is a plant that bears globular drooping berries as fruits, with green veins. The plant is cultivated throughout India and is known by the name ‘Kandankathiri’. It is useful in treating worms, cold, fever, dysuria, liver enlargement, spleen and stone in urinary bladder, and is particularly beneficial in treating asthma and headache.
Mexican mint (‘Oma valli’ or ‘karpoora valli’) – for indigestion
Although Omavalli’ or ‘karpooravalli’ is considered particularly beneficial for indigestion and gastric problems. It also has numerous other medicinal values. For instance, the leaf is an excellent cure for cold and cough, wheezing, bronchitis, urticaria and other allergies, toxin elimination through perspirations, regulates female menstruation and promotes longevity.
‘Pirandai (Hadjot)’ for knee and joint pain
Pirandai, also known as ‘Hadjot’ in Hindi and having the botanical name ‘Cissus quadrangularis’, is a plant that grows wild on fences. It is a strange-looking creeper, native to India, and has been used in Siddha and Ayurvedic stream of medicine. One method of having this herb is to make a chutney choosing tender stems after removing the angular edges and nodes, cut the stem into small pieces and sauté it in the ghee. For about two tablespoons of cut pieces, add two tablespoons or urad dhal and about three tablespoons of grated coconut, few peppercorns, red or green chilly and salt. Grind the mixture coarsely. Have this chutney regularly for 10 days, and joint pains would reduce considerably. This is also used as painkiller in Ayurveda and Siddha medicine.
Thulasi (The Holy Basil) – for cold, cough, fever, kidney stone and cardiac ailments!
Last, but not the least, the medicinal value of the Holy Indian Basil is inevitable. The leaves of tulsi plant promote removal of the catarrhal matter and phlegm from bronchial tube, is good for common cold and fever, sore throat, respiratory disorders, kidney stone. Lately, basil has been found to have a beneficial effect in treating cardiac ailments, and the associated weakness. It helps reduce high blood cholesterol levels. Children have responded favourably to juice of basil leaves in cases of common paediatric problems (cold, cough, fever, diarrhoea). The leaves also help treat mouth ulcer and infections, insect bites, teeth and skin disorders.
Every house should have at least one herbal plant. Just as our forefathers realized the benefits of these plants, and used them as natural home remedies for common ailments, the trend has to catch-up with present generation too. These plants can be easily obtained for cultivation from nearby nurseries or botanical stores.
Ayurveda has advocated certain diets and detoxifying recipes for specific problems including weight loss. There are plenty of drinks that help in maintaining good health. Herbal tea is an important and inevitable part of Ayurveda, and is prepared with various herbs and spices, aimed at treating specific illness and to keep up overall health and immunity.
Here are few such tea recipes. Have them based on your specific needs and body conditions:
For Digestion: Boil three cups of water and add a teaspoon each of cumin seeds, coriander seeds and fennel seeds. Remove from flame and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Strain, add honey and drink.
For sore throat: The leaves of tulsi (basil) help to fight off germs and natural ingredients like tulsi and lemon are a good combination for soothing the throat. Add 10-15 tulsi leaves (Indian basil) to one-and-a-half cups of water and boil for 10 minutes. Strain and add a tablespoon of lemon juice and drink warm. Add honey for sweetening, if required.
For allergies: A warm ginger tea can give you relief from allergies. Boil a cup of water in a teapot, by adding 1/8 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger and half freshly squeezed lemon. Stir well, strain. Pour into a cup, and when warm, add a tablespoon of honey and drink. This tea can be had at least three times a day for relief from allergies.
For cold and cough: Boil a cup of water, add a bit of clove powder, one-half teaspoon each of fennel seeds, ginger powder and cinnamon. Allow to steep for about five minutes after removing from flame. Drink through the day.
For Asthma (wheezing): Prepare Licorice tea by boiling the licorice root in a cup of water for about 2 minutes. Add 5 to 10 drops of mahanarayan oil into this before use, and drink this once every five to 10 minutes during an attack of asthma. Sometime, this may induce vomiting, but it is beneficial as it removes excess kapha and reduces bronchial spasm, and the well-being improves immediately.
For kidney stone: Boil 26gm Hauber, 24gm Gokshru, 25gm Varun and 25gm Punernava (all in powdered form) in water. Strain and drink. Being a diuretic, this increases volume of urine excreted, prevents stone formation and dissolves the kidney stone.
For relief from constipation: Grind together 90gm herb senna and 10gm corriander seeds, boil the mixture in water and drink regular. This relieves constipation.
Tea for vata dosha: Boil ¼ teaspoon each of freshly grated ginger, ground cardamom, cinnamon, ajwan seeds in a cup of water. Steep for five minutes, strain and serve. This balances vata dosha.
Tea for pitta dosha: Boil ¼ teaspoons each of cumin seeds, corriander seeds, fennel, fresh cilantro, and rose petals in a cup of water. Strain and add the herb mixture to it. Steep for five minutes, strain and serve.
Tea for Kapha dosha: Boil ¼ teaspoon each of dry ginger, fenugreek seed, dil seed, one clove, and a cup of water. Steep for five minutes, strain and serve.
For detoxification: Boil 4 to 5 cups of water in the morning. Continue to boil for five minutes with lid on by adding half-a-teaspoon each of whole cumin seeds, coriander seeds and fennel seeds. Strain the seeds and pour the tea into a thermos. The tea has to be made fresh every morning, and it is best to drink it warm.
Ayurvedic / herbal teas, apart from their cleansing and purifying effects, also help your body to recover from several maladies. Drinking ayurvedic tea is a great way to make you feel more energetic and healthier.
Irregularity in menstruation can be due to various causes, including anaemia, constitutional diseases, tuberculosis, or underdevelopment or congestion of genital organs. Many other factors like endocrinal disorders including hypothyroidism, toxic goiter, Poly Cystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) and other hormonal disturbances, could be some of the reasons. The best way out is to consult a gynaecologist and find out the root cause of the problem after a thorough check-up.
Ayurveda believes that one of main reasons for menstrual imbalances is bad diet and lifestyle habits, which leads to inefficient digestion. Improperly digested food could lead to formation of toxins in the body, which are then circulated by the blood to the deep tissues and channels causing blockages and stagnation.
Ayurveda recommends various types of treatment for menstrual disorders including herbs, rejuvenation therapies, incorporation of massages, meditation and yoga for permanent cure to the problem.
When talking about food intake, some of the factors that are responsible for this condition are increased intake of salty, sour, hot, pungent, heavy and fermented food, excess intake of non-vegetarian food, alcoholic beverages, eating before the previous meal is digested, psychological conditions such as anger, grief, lust and anxiety all aggravate menstrual problems.
Some ayurvedic medicines generally recommended for menstrual disorders are Shudha Tankana (250mg), Rajapravartini Vati (500mg), Kumaryasava (20ml to 25ml after meals), Praval Pishti (75mg four times a day), Ashoka and Lodhra, Pradarantaka Lauha (240mg), Chandraprabha (500mg) etc. The medicines are prescribed depending on the general condition of the patient, and the nature of menstruation, which varies from one patient to another.
For scanty period, drink a decotion of Manjistha (Indian madder roots) daily to correct anaemia. It is available in Ayurvedic pharmacies.
Make a decoction out of aerial roots of banyan and consume it with half a glass of cow’s milk at bedtime for atleast three menstrual cycles.
Make hot infusion of neem bark and take a cup in the morning, noon and evening until cured.
A piece of fresh ginger can be ground and boiled in a cup of water and the infusion can be taken thrice a day after meals, sweetening with honey, as this even helps painful periods.
Some effective home remedies:
Take ½ a teaspoon of finely ground cinnamon dissolved in a cup of warm milk every night.
Green unripe papaya can help in correcting a late or delayed period. Just eat half a bowl of papaya pieces or make a simple salad from papaya and have it.
Drinking aloevera juice is a very effective home remedy in correcting irregular periods. You can start by having half a glass of pure juice on an empty stomach in the morning and another half a glass in the evening. But, have it regularly for effective results.
A decoction of cumin and sesame seeds, sweetened with jaggery, helps set off menstruation. To prepare the decoction, add a tablespoon each of cumin and sesame seeds in water and boil till the quantity of water reduces to three-fourths. Then add jaggery to taste.
Indian gooseberry (amla) is an effective remedy. Just chew on some fresh, ripe gooseberries early in the morning. If you do not have fresh ones, you can get amla juice or amla powder from any ayurvedic pharmacy or organic store. However, do not eat anything for at least once hour after that.
Fenugreek (methi) can be had regularly on empty stomach. For this, soak one-and-a-half teaspoon of methi seeds in water the previous night and in the morning drink the water on empty stomach. Do this regularly. Else, have fenugreek tea. The tea is particularly beneficial to those who have been diagnosed with PCOD (Poly cystic ovarian disease), as it helps regularise blood sugar levels.
Tips on diet and lifestyle:
Apart from trying to avoid all the causative factors mentioned above, any kind of psychological and physical stress need to be strictly avoided. Additionally, try to incorporate the following in your life:
Avoid tea, coffee and icy cold drinks, and instead have drinks at room temperature and those with cooling properties, like peppermint tea.
Eat plenty of leafy vegetables, raw vegetables, potatoes (only baked not fried), cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, spinach in uncooked form, pineapples, musk melons and mangoes can be the mainstay.
Avoid refined flour products, milled rice and sugar. Substitute sugar with dates, gur, figs or raisins.
Milk and milk products can be taken in plenty.
Walk regularly, exercise to shape-up the abdomen, hot and cold hip baths can help.
Get that 8 hours of sleep, and do not over-strain yourself mentally or physically.
Yoga poses recommended
Some effective yoga poses that helps to rectify the irregularity in menstruation are Shoulder Stand pose, Half wheel, Kapalabhati Pranayama, Agnisara Kriya, Padahastasana, Trikonasana, Shalabhasana, Cobra pose, butterfly pose and surya namaskara.
Although dysuria often indicates the presence of a urinary tract infection, there are several other causes for dysuria. Dysuria is not a disease by itself, and is only an underlying symptom of other health conditions. Therefore, dysuria should always be treated after evaluation and diagnosis by a health-care professional.
Some common causes of dysuria apart from urinary tract infection are bladder infection, kidney infection, prostate infection, inflammation of the urethra (urethritis), sexually transmitted diseases, venereal diseases like gonorrhoea, genital herpes, vaginitis, excessively acidic urine etc. Sometimes, diabetes, enlarged prostate, kidney stones, pregnancy, depression or advanced age may also cause this condition.
The usual symptoms of dysuria are pain during urination, always feeling the urge to urinate or having the feeling of incomplete urination, scanty urine, pain in sexual organ in men and in lower abdomen in women, presence of blood in urine, feeling of heaviness in the renal region and scrotum, etc.
Ayurvedic perception of dysuria
Ayurveda recognizes eight types of dysuria – three of which are caused by vitiation of different doshas of the body, one caused by vitiation of all three doshas, one caused by failure of the system in expelling waste matter, and others due to presence of stones in the bladder.
If dysuria is caused due to the presence of stones in the kidney or bladder, it is of vata origin, as the vitiation of vayu leads to accumulation of biochemical substances around nucleus of urinary salts, which take the shape of stones.
Treatment and medicines
Pashanabeda: It is the drug of choice for treatment of stones in the kidney or bladder, as unless the condition is treated, dysuria cannot be relieved. A teaspoonful of the powder of the root of this drug can be consumed thrice a day. If taking as a decoction, take in 50ml doses thrice a day.
Varuna: The bark of varuna is useful in treating this condition.
Gokshuradi Guggulu: If the urine is obstructed by a stone in the urinary tract Gokshuradi Guggulu is the drug of choice.
Shilajit and Chandraprabha Vati are other important drugs used in treating this condition.
Some other prescriptions for painful or scanty urine are:
Mix 1gm each of Eladi Churna, Shweta Parpati and ½ gm of Yavakshara with decoction of Pashanabhedadi and consume four times a day.
In case dysuria is caused due to vitiation of Pitta or Kapha, some useful drugs may be 240mg of Trinetra Rasa and Chandrakala
Rasa and 2gm Sheetala Parpati to be given thrice with Trinapanchamula Quath.
500mg of Shilajita and 500mg of cardamom seed powder to be mixed together, and given thrice daily with honey.
Diet and other lifestyle modifications
Ayurveda advises patients to desist from eating pulses and beans. However, certain variety of pumpkin and gourds are said to be useful in treating this condition. Vegetables like tomatoes, spinach and lady-finger may be avoided.
Increase intake of liquids particularly water.
The patient should be asked to give up a sedentary lifestyle and take up walking as an exercise daily.
Constipation should be avoided through proper diet and if necessary mild laxatives can be used.
Fomentation of the renal region with hot pack may be helpful in relieving pain associated with dysuria.
During summer months, skin tanning and excessive sweating can make your hair dull and lifeless. Several easy home remedies with natural ingredients and aromatherapy sessions can help alleviate such troubles.
Talking of aromatherapy, its effect involves around use of Essential Oils (EOs). EOs helps your hair to grow fast, reduce dandruff and hair loss and also minimizes alopecia symptoms.
Aromatherapy shows positive results as it works on your whole system. Usage of essential oils and aromatherapy-based nature derived products, following a proper diet pattern, remaining stress-free, exercising and staying fit all contribute to having healthy hair.
For instance, excess sweating can result in limp, flat and brassy hair. This can be cured by washing with mild shampoo as soon as possible. Over exposure to sun strips hair of moisture. Humidity is one of the main reasons for frizzy uncontrolled hair. Hence, moisturizing it with essential oils is a must.
EOs are useful in homemade hair care products too, majority of them being good to treat scalp conditions such as tea tree oil for dandruff, rosemary that helps hair to grow faster, lavender for dry scalp, peppermint which treats itchy scalp and promotes hair growth.
Essential Oils beneficial to hair:
Apart from its gorgeous scent, the lavender oil has proven hair benefits and is good for all hair types. Lavender oil, extracted from flowers of lavender plant helps treat dandruff, resolves itching, helps control hair breakage and stimulates hair growth. Lavender oil blends well with jojoba, rosemary and tea tree oils.
Chamomile is known to soothe nerves and hair and scalp. Chamomile helps to retract skin cells which have been inflamed from chemical procedures, and harsh weather conditions, and soothes itchy scalp and dandruff.
Helps stimulate blood flow to root of the hair. This is important for hair as it helps receive proper nourishment. This, in turn, will lead to hair growth.
The oil doubles as a fragrant essential oil. It is useful for dandruff problems and flaky itchy scalp. Rosemary oil stimulates hair follicles, helping them to grow stronger and longer.
This is a great moisturizer for hair. It helps in keeping the scalp free of bacteria, and fungal problems. It unblocks the sebaceous glands and promotes flow of scalp’s own moisturizing oils and clears away dead skin cells. When mixed with other essential oils, it also helps relieve dandruff.
This oil is good for dry hair. It helps with treatment of dry scalp and dandruff problems and under-active sebaceous glands.
Speaking specifically of dry hair, it tangles easily and is prone to split ends. Hence, essential oils are a must to stimulate the sebaceous glands in the scalp to produce more oils. The oils to be used are lavender essential oil, sandalwood essential oil, rosemary essential oil and geranium essential oil. The top base or carrier oils to be used are almond, jojoba, borage, cocoa butter or avocado.
There are various other essential oils that can be used for various hair and scalp conditions. Once you find the one that is good for your hair, you can stick to it and you will continue to get good results.
Tip: When using pure essential oils, it is better to dilute it with carrier oils, as the essential oil by itself would be concentrated. Some good carrier oils are jojoba oil, olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, vitamin E oil, Avocado oil.
Usage: Put 3-5 drops on your fingertips and lightly massage into scalp. Or, you can also put few drops on your comb or in your final hair rinse water or in your favourite carrier oil.
Natural home remedy
If you are somebody who believes in natural home remedies, here are a few:
- Take a cup of coconut milk. Add two tablespoons of gram flour, and one teaspoon of shikakai. Apply on the scalp and hair and massage gently. Rinse it out after five minutes. Doing this every week, can help you keep off the heat.
- Beat two eggs and add 2tbsp lemon juice, 2tsp olive oil or almond oil, and mix well. Apply on hair and scalp, and gently massage the scalp. Leave it for 15min. Wash hair with mild shampoo.
- Add few curry leaves to two tablespoon of coconut oil. Heat this for 2-3 minutes and wait until it turns lukewarm. Massage the scalp with lukewarm oil. Immerse a towel in warm water, squeeze out the water. Wrap the towel around your hair for about an hour, before washing off with a mild shampoo.
Finally, our hair reflects our general health. It is the output of what we eat and drink. Eat healthy and drink lot of water, at least ten glasses minimum. Do not forget to cover your hair when going out in the sun for long time.
Teeth sensitivity is an increasingly common problem faced by one and all these days. Teeth sensitivity causes a feeling of sudden discomfort when teeth comes into contact with hot, cold, sour or sweet food items. The pain can be excruciating and can be felt in the nerves of the teeth.
A recent study in Washington’s School of Dentistry revealed that teeth sensitivity was highest among 18 to 44 year olds, and among those over age of 65. The study also revealed that teeth hypersensitivity is more common among women.
Lack of protective enamel of the teeth, lack of calcium, exposure of dentin layer, gum recession, improper dietary habits, are some of the causes of sensitive teeth. Excessive use of sugar, carbohydrates, eating too hot or cold food items, frozen, spicy or fried food, can all lead to teeth sensitivity.
Listed here are some natural herbs that may be of help to those with sensitive teeth.
Arnica: Arnica helps reduce inflammation and pain, providing instant relief. It is very effective for sensitive teeth, cures wounds of mouth and soothes gums and inflammation. Hence, apply arnica gel, extracted from the plant, on affected parts.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon helps kill harmful bacteria in the mouth, and when consumed with cloves, is the best remedy for sensitive teeth. A home remedy would be to boil cinnamon and cloves, and use the water to gargle twice a day. Else, just consume 2gms of the bark daily, to prevent tooth decay and pain.
Onion: If you love chewing raw onion, consume one raw onion daily by chewing it, as it protects one not only from sensitivity, but a host of teeth disorders.
Bay Berry: Make a paste of bark of bay berry with vinegar and apply on the affected tooth. Additionally this also helps strengthen gums.
Pepper: A mixture of pinch of pepper with a quarter teaspoon of common salt makes an excellent dentrifice. When used daily, it prevents dental caries, foul breath, painful gums, toothaches and increased sensitiveness. When prolonged sensitivity takes the form of toothache, apply a pinch of pepper powder mixed with clove oil on the caries for immediate relief.
Thyme: Thyme, apart from improving immune system, the herb when consumed as tea is also beneficial for teeth disorders. When Thyme is mixed with sage, and brewed to make tea, it kills germs in the mouth and refreshes breath, while also reducing teeth sensitivity.
Indian Propolis: A study from the Department of Public Health Dentistry of India revealed that an extract of Indian Propolis (bee propolis), significantly reduced sensitivity of teeth. So this may be worth considering.
Tips to maintain strong healthy tips:
Ayurveda suggests some simple practices to maintain strong healthy teeth, and thereby prevent onset of teeth sensitivity:
- Brushing teeth at least twice a day is a must. Ayurveda suggests use of various herbs to clean the teeth, as special formulas of tooth paste and powders are now available in the pharmacies. You could choose one on discussing with an Ayurvedic expert.
- Avoid drinking tea or coffee early in the morning, as this increases pitta dosha, leading to acidity and constipation. Instead drink a glass of warm water with lemon and honey, as honey is very beneficial to the teeth.
- Ensure that you gargle 4-5 times after each meal.
- Do not mix hot and chilled items together, like having an ice cream just after a cup of hot coffee or teeth, as such habits will surely aggravate sensitivity.
- Avoid excess consumption of sweets and foods containing sugar, and rinse mouth immediately after eating such items.
- Avoid very hot, spicy and sour fried foods.