acharya on October 21st, 2014

The word Swedana is derived from the Sanskrit word, meaning to sweat or perspire. Swedana Karma is a group of procedures used to induce sweating. Swedana helps in relieving stiffness, cold, heaviness in the body and produces sweat. Swedana also refers to internal excreta of the body.

According to Ayurveda, Swedana Karma is instrumental in helping to liquefy the sticky and adherent doshas that have lodged in the peripheral tissues. Swedana will help soften and melt the toxins, opens up the pores of skin and help in expelling them from the body in an efficient manner.

In the Swedana Therapy, sweat is produced with or without use of fire. Fomentation therapy is either applied to entire body or to a particular area. It is classified into wet or dry fomentation, with the intensity of fomentation being mild, moderate or strong.

Methods of Swedana Therapy:

Sankara Application – It includes application of hot herbal bolus to a clothed or unclothed patient. The bolus is used for fomenting or massaging the body. After several rounds of bolus, the cloth is unwrapped and the paste is rubbed all over. The process ends with a warm water bath, followed by rest at room temperature.

Prasthara – The patient is made to lie on a bed of leaves of Ricinus Communis, and corn, Calotropis gigantean, pulse, ginger, pippali, maricha, ghee, paayasa and krushara are also added. The patient is covered with silk or wool blankets.

Nadi – Nadi or medicated steam is directed through a hose or tube (nadi) to the entire body or to specific areas of the body.

Parisheka – In Parisheka procedure, hot herbal decoction is showered over the body from a pitcher, pot or pipe with several holes on it.

Jentaaka – The patient will be seated in a circular room near a pond or small lake, which has an oven burning special herbs to heat it.

Some other methods of Swedana Therapy without use of fire are:

Vyaayaama (exercise), Ushnasadana (being inside a warm chamber), Gurupraavarnam (wearing of heavy clothing), Aataapa (exposure to sun).

Steam Chamber treatment – This is a popular mode of treatment in Swedana therapy. Full body steam cabinet is used and is done using aroma oils based on individual needs.

Some plants like ginger root, punarnava, castor root, sesame, barley, black gram, kulattha, jujube, black gram and drumstick plant that encourage easy sweating of the body are used in Swedhana Therapy.

Benefits of Swedhana Therapy

Swedhana Therapy has several benefits as it purifies tissue and eliminates toxins, helps in detoxifying the kidneys, liver and respiratory system, and improves circulation, relieves stiffness, improves digestion, and removes blockage of strotas if any.

Swedhana can also remove excess body heat, clears the channels of the body to improve circulation, helps in easy breathing, reduces water retention, and excess weight can easily be reduced using this therapy.

Note: Swedhana Therapies are not given to pregnant women, people with bleeding disorders, alcoholics, people who are very thin or fat, people with diarrhea, anaemia, jaundice, dizziness, fever and other such ailments.

acharya on October 14th, 2014

Ayurvedic treatments largely depend on your unique body constitution, your primary dosha and balance between all three of them. The main goal of these treatments is to cleanse your body of undigested food which is the cause of toxin accumulation, in turn leading to various ailments.

Ayurvedic Treatments are classified broadly into two main categories – ‘Shodhan Therapy’ and ‘Shaman Therapy’.

Shodhan Therapy

‘Shodhan Therapy’ is one of the basic Ayurvedic treatment methods adopted for treatment of various diseases. It is one of the main treatment methods in Ayurveda. The Shodhan Therapy includes various procedures that are applied to clean the body of toxins.

In Ayurveda, Shodhan Therapy is a procedure adopted to eradicate diseases from normal body system. This therapy is an excellent method to reduce body toxins and restore the imbalanced doshas to their balanced state. Shodhan Therapy is also known as Panchakarma, wherein the root cause of the disease is also eradicated. Hence, Shodhana Therapy is considered as being superior to Shaman Therapy, as it not only treats diseases, but removes its root cause too. Shodhana is a harsher treatment method in comparison to Shaman Therapy, but more effective than Shaman. Shodhana is strictly an elimination process.

Shodhan includes into five methods of elimination processes. They are:

  • Vaman – Ayurvedic practitioners use Vaman therapy (therapeutic vomiting) to eliminate the kapha (excess mucus) present in the body. This helps from recurrent attacks of colds, cough, bronchitis or asthma which is due to fluid accumulation in the lungs.
  • Virechan – The virechana therapy (purgation therapy) is done to remove the excess pitta or when the body secretes bile in large amount due to some imbalances, and the deposits in liver, gall bladder, liver and small intestine. This leads to persistent attacks of fever, nauseated feeling and jaundice. The Virechana therapy helps in stabilizing body activity in such condition.
  • Basti – In Basti therapy (enema therapy), herbal preparations like sesame oil and the like are administered into the body through the rectum. This helps relieve the body from chronic fever, constipation, cold, sexual disorders, backache, sciatica, kidney stones, and other joint paints. Basti is also a cure for headaches and muscle spasm.
  • Nasya – Administration of medication through nasal passage is called nasya. The body doshas in the sinus, nose, throat or head areas are cured by Nasya.
  • Rakt Mokshan – Toxins entering the blood produce skin disorders. In such cases, internal medication alone is insufficient and purification of blood is necessary. In Rakt Mokshan (also known as blood-letting) leech is applied on the affected part. It helps in conditions like enlarged liver, spleen and gout.

Shaman Therapy

Shaman Therapy (also known as palliation or suppression) is a milder treatment method aimed at restoring balance in the body through medication. It is used when the patient is not fit for shodhan (the harsher body purification methods). Other reasons for using this therapy are lack of time, or apprehension of the patient towards deep cleansing methods. Unlike in Shodhan, the Shaman method requires efforts from part of patient to retain the positive results of Shaman. Some methods employed in administering Shaman Therapy to the patient are:

  •  Deepan – Deepan means ‘illumination’. It implies empowering agni (digestive fire) to create appetite. In this process, medicated ghee and spicy and fat-rich food is administered to subside the aggravated dosha to achieve a balanced state.
  • Paachan – This is a method of digesting toxic wastes or ama. Various herbal combinations administered help in digesting these undigested toxins.
  • Kshudha Nigrah – This is a fasting technique, which literally means killing of appetite. Total or selective fasting is employed until the doshas are balanced in the body. Sometimes to balance a particular dosha, certain food or lifestyle activities that promote the dosha are to be given up. This practice aims to restore tridosha balance, and is particularly beneficial for diseases associated with digestive tract.
  • Vyayaam – This means ‘physical exercise’. Certain specific exercises are suggested in curing conditions such as obesity, diabetes, digestive problems etc. For optimum results, it is combined with medication for optimum results.
  • Aatap Seva – This method is also known as Atap Seva. It includes sunbathing for skin diseases, rheumatism, or arthritis related conditions. This treatment also pacifies vata dosha.
  • Marut Seva – This method is also known as Wind Service and is the therapy which includes administration of fresh air, mostly to treat asthma, tuberculosis-related conditions. According to Ayurveda, breathing air is ‘prana’ or life. It is a method of pumping life into the body system.
acharya on September 22nd, 2014

Ayurveda believes that a healthy person is one who has balanced doshas (vata, pitta and kapha). Other ‘must-haves’ in this list are:
The Individual should have balanced Digestion power (Agni), Balanced Tissues (Dhaatu), Balanced Excretions (mala), a Happy Mind, a Happy Soul or Spirit (prasann aatma), Happy Senses (prasann indriya), and balanced senses objects (indriya artha).

A person who has all of the above in order is considered as being ‘Healthy’.

Pillars of Health:

The main pillars of health according to Ayurveda are Aahaar (diet), Vyayaam (exercise) and Nidra (Sleep).

A person who wishes to be healthy should maintain a balanced diet, exercise regularly including practice of yoga, and have a balanced full sleep. Any increase or decrease in diet, exercise and sleep will make our body a prey to diseases. A balance of these three factors is essential for good health, and hence, they are terms as ‘Pillars of Health’ in Ayurveda.

Ayurvedic tips to remain healthy:

Ayurvedic experts detail the following course to stay healthy for a long time:

  • Just as the popular adage goes ‘Early to bed and Early to rise makes one healthy’, Ayurveda truly sticks to this principle. Getting out of bed before sunrise is considered to be auspicious as there is already fresh air and minimum noise in the atmosphere at this time. Before getting down from bed, it is good to offer prayers to one’s own religion and then go on with daily chores.
  • It is best to clean the face with lukewarm water in the morning. Sprinkling cold fresh water over the eyes is useful for preserving and promoting eyesight. Thereafter, gently rub the eyelids and a tender massage can be given to eye-balls.
  • First thing to do on waking up in the morning is to drink two glasses of lukewarm water, as this helps in easy bowel movements. Ayurveda suggests avoiding intake of tea in the morning as the hot tea stimulates the intestines so strongly that the stimulating effect loses its significance leading to constipation later on. Also, evacuation of bowels in the morning should be made a regular habit.
  • Ayurveda recommends ‘Til oil (sesame oil)’ gargling rather than simple water during brushing teeth, as til oil gargling is considered beneficial for jaws, depth of voice and good taste for food. Also, this protects from cracked lips, bad odour, sore throat and tooth-ache.
  • Even when bathing, a gentle body massage with til oil is considered beneficial to the skin, and one who practices this regularly enjoys a good physique and becomes strong. Oil application to the head and body plays an important role in maintaining good health, according to Ayurveda. Applying til oil on head regularly is considered to prevent headaches, baldness, greying, etc.
  • Physical exercise, particularly yoga asanas, brings lightness to the body, improves its stability, and stimulates digestion. Yoga asanas can be done daily for better blood circulation and to gain extra strength. Ayurveda considers ‘Sheershasana’ to be most beneficial for humans.
  • Maintaining hygiene in aspects such as dressing and grooming not only adds to beauty and appearance, but also is vital part of remaining healthy.
  • Food intake should be in proper quantity, depending on the power of one’s digestion. Proper amount of food gets digested in proper time. Avoid over-eating and drink sufficient quantity of water. Ayurveda recommends vegetarian foods which nourish the body than the non-vegetarian foods, as animal meat, fish and eggs are thought to disturb digestion systems and harm the body leading to diseases. Therefore, Ayurveda recommends simple food like rice, bread, leafy green veggies, oats, milk or ghee during a meal.
  • Simple food makes a body strong, keeping it away from diseases. Food should not be taken in a hurry and a 10 minute rest after food is essential. Ayurveda suggests that food need to be taken only twice a day at 10am and 7.00pm, and in between fresh fruit may be taken in limited quantity. Having an early dinner (by 7pm) is essential. There should be enough gap between intake of food and bed time to ensure proper digestion of food and a sound sleep.
  • Finally, a good seven to eight hours of undisturbed sleep is very essential to recharge the mind and body and prepare for the day ahead.

Ayurveda believes that any disturbance to these routines physical or mental can manifest itself in both somatic and in the psychic spheres through vitiation of doshas, thereby leading to ailments. Hence maintaining physical and mental balance is essential to lead a healthy life.

acharya on September 8th, 2014

Mucuna Puriens for infertilityInfertility is growing to be a common phenomenon in today’s hectic and stressful lives, owing to our present lifestyle taking its toll on overall health.

According to Dr.Jaydeep Tank, an IVF expert, infertility is a medical condition affecting at least one in ten couples trying to conceive, with male fertility issues being one of the primary diagnosis in 25 percent of cases, contributing to 15 to 25 percent of the remaining cases.

The common issue is often the inadequate production of sufficient normal, motile sperm. Although there are several other factors leading to male infertility, a precise diagnosis is elusive in most cases.

Dr. Anil Patil, a yoga guru, who works with integrated medicines is of the opinion that ayurvedic remedies have been used to address infertility problems since ancient times.

Mentioned below are the ayurvedic treatments available for male infertility according to experts:

Mucuna Puriens (Kawach) – This medicinal plant has been mentioned in ancient Indian texts of Ayurveda ‘Charaka Samhita’ and ‘Susrutha Samhita’. Known as Kawach, the plant is a climber, bears purple or white flowers and has turgid S-shaped pods. The medicinally valuable parts are the seeds, although studies have revealed that there are active compounds in stems and leaves of the plant too.

Shilajit – This is an excellent rejuvenating tonic which ensures good physical performance for the individual, and helps achieve balanced harmonious health. Shilajit, also known as sex tonic in India increases the core energy responsible for libido, while also balancing debility, general fatigue and offering strength to muscles and bones.

Safed Musli: Safed Musli, also known as asparagus are used in Ayurveda as an aphrodisiac. Its tubers are used in Ayurvedic medicinal preparations. White Musli, also known as Safed Musli is mainly used as a tonic to rejuvenate the reproductive system. Regular use of the herb is vital in treating impotency, premature ejaculation, and low sperm count in men, due to the presence of high glycosides.

Ashwagandha: This is an effective medicine for male infertility. Being a digestive, it corrects metabolism and helps proper nutrition. It also helps treat mental disorders. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is a tonic for the nerves and helps in neuritis. It is helpful in sexual disorders like erectile dysfunction and oligospermia.

Other generic preparations like Chavanprashavaleha, Brahmi Ghattal and Agatsya Haritaki Ayaleha are prescribed for gain and maintenance of strength and vigour.

Some foods that nourish all the seven dhatus according to ayurveda are : Fresh organic fruits and vegetables, almonds, nuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, dried fruits like dates, figs and raisins, herbs like Ashoka, Piper all being proven rejuvenators.

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BKS AyankarWorld-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.

acharya on August 18th, 2014

joint painSciatica 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.

Symptoms:
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.

Causes
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.

Insulin PlantInsulin Plant’, ‘Siriyanangai’, and ‘Medar’ for diabetes

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

mexican mintAlthough 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.

acharya on July 24th, 2014

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.