acharya on April 10th, 2015

Manjistha, scientifically known as Rubia cordifolia, also known as Red Madder Root, grows in hilly districts. The dried root of the plant has excellent medicinal properties, and is cooling, astringent and has affinity for blood.

ManjisthaManjistha herb is a valuable herb in Ayurveda. Ancient physician and sage, Charaka, categorized the herb as ‘varnya’ or the one that improves complexion, reduces fever, and as a detoxifier. In other words, it is also a popular ‘rasayana’, or a ‘rejuvenative’.

Another great sage of Ayurveda and ancient Indian surgeon, Sushruta, referred Manjistha for pacifying pitta dosha. In Ayurveda, it is believed that the three life energies or doshas (vata, pitta and kapha), should remain in perfectly balanced condition always, for a person to enjoy good health. Hence, Manjistha helps in maintaining the balance of pitta dosha effectively.

Kerala, in India, has been practising Ayurveda for thousands of years now, and the physicians here have always recommended Manjistha as part of their treatments from times immemorial, due to its blood purifying and anti-oxidant properties.

The bright colour of Manjistha is evident in oils like ‘Mahanarayan oil’ and ‘Pinda thailam’, with the bright red colour depicting healthy blood. Manjistha is thought to have affinity with capillary system, and its slow action helps to detoxify and repair the fine structures that interface with lymph system.

Ayurveda believes that Manjistha is a popular herb for lymphatic support, as it facilitates cell nutrition and removal of toxins from the body.

External use of Manjistha

Manjistha is often used with equal quantities of Haridra for balanced thermal effect during skin disturbances like boils, rashes, eruptions, and stagnations. When wounds are washed with decoction of Manjistha, and are dressed with its solid extract, it quickens healing. Chronic, non-healing and oozing wounds particularly heal effectively with Manjistha. It also helps in treating varicose veins, eczema, bruising, psoriasis and bleeding disorders. During fractures too, an external splint of Manjistha is beneficial.

Apart from these, it keeps the skin glowing, removes pimples, freckles and discoloration. When externally used as a paste either alone or with honey, Manjistha helps heal inflammation and renders a smooth and an even tone to the skin. As a beauty aid, 100gms of dried and crushed orange peels, and 50gms each of sandal powder, turmeric and manjistha are combined to make a face pack.

The plant is widely used as a rejuvenative herb, in treating pigment disorders of the skin, and is used in general debility.

Manjistha as internal medicine

Manjistha is used as medicine to treat hepatitis, diabetes and urinary calculi. Manjistha works well during diarrhea and when combined with lodhra skin powder. The herb is beneficial in gastrointestinal ailments like dyspepsia, loss of appetite, worm infestations, an appetizer, aids digestion, and kills toxins and is also a vermicide.

Manjistha acts a blood purifier, and acts mainly on rasa and rakta srotasas, it controls irritation of nerves, pacifies mind, is salutary in epilepsy cases, particularly of pitta type. The decoction of manjistha is also beneficial in treating gout, when combined with other herbs.

Manjistha has a vital role in supporting heart health. Studies have shown that it regulates blood pressure, blood vessel constriction and reduces tendency of blood to form clots.

Manjistha also has a visible effect on female reproductive organs, and hence is used to treat gynaecological problems like irregular menstruation, white discharge. The col infusion of Manjistha improves menstrual bleeding disorders and relieves pain in dysmenorrhea. It also stimulates and cleanses uterus, is useful in postnatal ailments, oligomenorrhea and amenorrhea.

Manjistha is also an excellent anti-diabetic and is useful in treatment of urinary calculi.

Hence, on the whole, this wonder-herb heals, cures, and beautifies, and therefore is considered as the ‘herb of choice’ in Ayurveda.

acharya on March 30th, 2015

ayurveda tipsMaintaining the equilibrium of body elements and the procedure of maintaining the equilibrium of the body elements is the main objective of Ayurveda. Based on these objectives Ayurveda suggests a healthy man’s regimen to be followed. The following are some basic tips from Ayurveda, which, if incorporated in your regimen, will help you to lead a healthy life.

  •  Always follow the systematized daily routine, and keep yourselves in-tune with change in seasons, following a well-planned diet and exercise schedule.
  • Ayurveda emphasizes on maintenance of personal, social and civic hygiene, which is a must for positive health.
  • Never sleep during the day as it leads to indigestion.
  • Drinking buttermilk is excellent as it is easily digestible, kindles hunger, instigates vata and kapha and cures dropsy, haemorrhoids, enlargement of abdomen, abdominal tumour, duodenal diseases, dysuria, enlargement of spleen, loss of appetite, and anaemia.
  • Ayurveda recommends vegetarian foods that give more nourishment to the body than non-vegetarian foods.
  • Always try to eat fresh lukewarm food and in limited quantities. Food should be taken at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime, as it helps in ensuring proper digestion and a sound sleep.
  • Make oil massage a part of your daily routine.
  • Physical exercise should be an inevitable part of your daily routine. Apart from this, yoga practice will help in bringing lightness to the body, stability, ability to work, resistance to discomfort and will stimulate digestion.
  • Coconut water is sweet, coolant, easily digestible, relieves thirst, is an aphrodisiac, improves hunger and cleanses the urinary bladder.
  • Periodic use of rejuvenation therapy is considered important in maintenance of positive health, given, its therapeutic potential to delay the ageing process and improve quality of life.
  • Ayurveda also believes that mind is a very powerful tool in both causing and curing any disease, and hence, mental discipline and adherence to moral values are considered a pre-requisite for health. Hence, ethical basis of life is considered to be a vital health support system.

Ayurveda believes that a healthy body is the outcome of a healthy mind. Ayurveda therapies and treatment helps you to manage and reduce stress, depression and melancholy in an effective manner. It also has specialized programs to treat various psychosomatic disorders. Some such popular treatments that Ayurveda offers for psychosomatic disorders are:

Shirolepa

This is a special procedure involving application of a medicated paste on the head, or in other words, it is more like a head pack. It is the traditional Ayurvedic treatment, followed in Kerala Ayurvedic centres (referred to as Thalapodhichil’), which is effective in treating various psychosomatic disorders. Shirolepa is actually considered a cooling treatment and is useful in treatment of diseases related to scalp and skin. On the whole, it is considered to be a good rejuvenation therapy too.

The procedure involves application of a paste comprising various medicinal powders and herbs on the scalp. The scalp is then covered and tied with certain leaves to allow the herbs to interact with the scalp. This helps in nourishment of the scalp and the head. After about 60 to 90 minutes, the paste is removed and the oil is wiped off. Later, the head and body are smeared with medicated oils and the patient is bathed in warm water.

Apart from being a treatment for stress and psychosomatic disorders, it also helps in other medical conditions like migraines, hypertension, dry vision syndrome, and in better memory and concentration. It stabilizes the nervous system of the body, offers extreme coolness to head, leading to ultimate relaxation.

shirodhara

Application of herbal paste (Nellikka Talam)

A treatment known as ‘Nellikka Talam’ is used in Ayurveda in treating variety of ailments including insomnia, tension, stress, and other mental conditions. The treatment involves applying a herbal paste containing ‘Nellikka’ (Indian gooseberry or ‘amla’) on the crown or forehead. Various kinds of applications are done, based on the nature of illness.

Ayurvedic treatments are largely based on this ‘amla paste’. Ayurvedic practitioners use the paste in treating several other maladies too like fever, cough, asthma, stomach upsets and skin diseases. Amla paste is applied during a headache at the point of greatest pain. For anxiety disorders, apart from external application of amla paste, the juice of the fruit is squeezed from the pulp and mixed with 2 tsp. of the past, and 2 tsp. each of honey and lime juice. This is diluted in a cup of lukewarm water and given to the patient every morning.
Application of this paste, not only helps in psychosomatic disorders, but also helps in managing hair problems like grey or damaged hair, headaches, sinus infections etc, and improves the sense of sight, smell and hearing of the patient.

Shirodhara or Moordhanyadhara

Shirodhara treatment is also sometimes performed as a forerunner in the Panchakarma treatment procedure in Ayurveda. It has been practised by Ayurvedic practitioners for more than 5000 years now.This treatment is particularly helpful in treating fatigue, headache, nervousness, insomnia and stress. Shirodhara procedure involves pouring a blend of some medicinal oils, mixing it with medicated milk or pure ghee. It is poured on the forehead through a mud pot, hung from a specific height above the person for a specific time. A headband is tied above the ear level to prevent the oil from pouring on the eyes.

This treatment helps improve the functioning of the five senses, and beats insomnia, stress, depression, fatigure, vata imbalance and rejuvenates the person. Apart from these, Shirodhara also treats certain skin diseases and mental tension. Prior to performing this treatment, a 10 minute head massage is done.

Shirodhara primarily works on the mental sheath, and is generally used to calm the nerves, balance vata, restore the nervouse system, and purify the mind. It helps in dealing with fatigue, mental exhaustion, anxiety, headache, nervousness, excessive thinking, and other such conditions affection a common man.

mindfulness womenA new research has found that breathing exercises may help obese women reduce their stress and blood glucose levels.

The research developed by University of Massachusetts Medical School researcher Jon Kabatzinn revealed that Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) treatment has helped in reducing fasting glucose levels and to improve the quality of life in obese women.

The practise involves paying attention to one’s thoughts and feelings and bodily sensations in the present moment in a non-judgmental and non-reactive manner through mindfulness exercises like breathing.

The Assistant Professor of Medicine and Gynaecology at Penn State College of Medicine in the United States, Nazia Raja-Khan said MBSR reduces fasting glucose and improves quality of life considerably, without affecting body weight or insulin resistance.

Generally, obese women are more prone to increased diabetes due to stress and end up with higher rate of cardiovascular diseases. In this particular study, women who received at least eight weeks of MBSR treatment reported reduced stress levels and it was noticed that their fasting glucose dipped considerably.

Mindfulness breathing exercise simply focuses on being able to accept and be aware of your breath. However, on doing this perfectly, you are ultimately bound to receive the said benefits of stress reduction and reduced blood glucose levels.

It has also been proven earlier that mindfulness breathing helps the mind focus better by boosting concentration levels and therefore, boosting productivity.

The Procedure

Sit quietly in a chair with both feet on the ground and hands in your lap. Focus on your position, and bring your attention to the actual act of breathing. Just focus on the breath as it enters your body through nose and travels to your lungs. Notice the inward and outward breaths, and notice where the breath travels and departs.

Focus on your breath when inhaling through your nose and notice your lungs relaxing. You don’t have to actually do anything, but just pay attention and be aware of it. It really does not matter if your breathing is slow or fast, deep or shallow. Allow your body to do the act naturally.
You will also notice that each time you breathe in, your stomach will expand and when you exhale, your stomach will relax. Just be aware of these physical sensations when breathing. In case you are disturbed in between by some thoughts, just notice the thoughts, let them be, and again bring back your focus onto your breath.

To start with, do this exercise for five minutes, and you can build up daily. This exercise can also be done lying down in bed if you have difficulty sleeping. It helps you to be more aware of your body and surroundings, and the body’s capacity to relax. When our breathing relaxes, our muscles relax too.

Vasti is a major procedure among the Panchakarmas. The term vasti is derived from the fact that the apparatus used for introducing medicated materials is made of vasti (animal’s urinary bladder). The vasti procedure helps restore the balance of doshas. Apart from increasing weight in emaciated people, it decreases weight in the obese, prevents ageing process, improves vision, brings in strength, lustre and a healthy longevity. It is specifically used in treating vatic disorders.

Ayurveda has classified vast as two basic types – ‘Niruha vasti’, which makes use of decoction of appropriate drugs, and ‘annuvasana vasti’, which makes use of oily substances. In majority of cases, a combination of these two types of vasti is given.

A person with an adequate vasti will have proper passage of wind and urine, proper balance of doshas, feeling of lightness in the body, increased strength and appetite and a pleasant feeling in general.

The diet following vasti should be very light, and activities like sitting or standing for long duration, excessive talking, travelling, sleeping during the day, coitus, anxiety, anger, untimely meals, and an incompatible diet should be avoided.

vasti treatment in ayurveda

Urovasti

Urosvasti is a part of Panchakarma treatment in Ayurveda, involving introduction of herbal oils and decoctions into the colon. Urovasti is particularly recommended for pains affecting the sternum in the chest area. In the term Urovasti, Uro stands for chest and vasti stands for retaining something. Hence, this is a chest oil bath treatment. In this procedure, specially prepared warm medicated oil/ghee is placed on chest for a specific period of time. This procedure is also referred to as Hrid Vasti, with the term Hrid referring to heart. The heart is one of the the three major vital points in the body by Ayurveda, and hence it needs to be protected.

Urovasti is particularly recommended to people suffering from bronchitis, asthma, and respiratory issues, mild angina, Ischemic heart disease, cardiomyopathy and muscular chest pain.

Procedure: The Physician choses the type of medicated or herbal oil or ghee required, depending on the individual body constitution and doshic imbalance of the patient. The patient is made to lie down flat on back. A gentle oil massage is first given all over the body. A dough made of black gram flour or whole wheat flour is prepared and rolled into a small ring of four to five inches in diameter and placed over the chest region. The edges of the dough are glued to the skin using a little water. The Urovasti treatment is performed by filling in medicated oil/ghee into this ring by pouring or squeezing in the medicine with cotton gauze. When the oil cools down, it is squeezed out and replaced with more warm ones. The whole process takes about 30 to 45 minutes.

The benefits of this procedure is that it corrects the imbalance of vata dosha, reduces sadness, frustration, improves circulation, boosts neuromuscular system and connective tissues nourishes and strengthens and balances heart functions, and makes the muscles and connective tissues stronger.

Shirovasti

Shirovasti is the head therapy, which is one of the major external oil therapy procedures in Ayurvedic treatment. The term ‘Shiro’ means head and ‘vasti’ means container holding liquids. Th medicated oil prescribed, is warmed and poured into a hollow cap placed on the head, and is allowed to stand for some time. The treatment takes about an hour.

The treatment is usually recommended for conditions like cataract, deafness, paralysis, earache and disorders of cranial nerves, dryness of scalp and itching, headache, certain skin conditions, insanity and other mental disorders.

Procedure: Shirovasti requires massage oil based on requirement, ‘Rasnadi choornam’ and medicated oil (1.5 litres). The list of medicated oils used generally in Kerala are Chandanadi tailam, bala tailam, Dhanwantara tailam, karpasashyadi tailam, ksheerabala tailam and narayana tailam. Before beginning the procedure, the head is massaged with medicated massage oil. Cotton swaps are placed in both the ears to prevent oil from moving into the ears.

Make a poultice of black gram flour, adding warm water in the flour. Dip a cotton ribbon into this and tie around the head above the eyebrows, so that the oil does not leak out, and the patient does not feel any discomfort due to tightness of the strip. Fix a leather cloth or cap on its lower part, and seal both junctions of the strap with black gram poultice. It is made to look like a hollow vessel, fit enough to pour in oil.

The oil is warmed more than your body temperature, and is poured into the cap, upto to 2 to 3 cm above the hair roots. The temperature of the oil is checked thoroughly. If the oil cools down, again reheat the oil taken from the cap, and reuse it to warming the oil repeatedly.

Rub ‘Rasnadi choornam’ over the head and ask the person to rest for about an hour. Thereafter, the patient can take bath in warm water.

acharya on March 5th, 2015

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, the organ located deep within the abdomen, about six inches long, and surrounded by stomach, liver, small intestine and spleen. Pancreas play a vital role in digestive and endocrine systems and aids in digestion of food. It also regulates the production of insulin hormone, which controls the level of sugar in the blood.

Causes

Acute Pancreatitis is often caused due to gallstones that block the duct of pancreas, while chronic pancreatitis is mostly due to excess alcohol consumption. But, repeat cases of acute pancreatitis may lead to chronic pancreatitis. Other known causes of pancreatitis are abdominal surgery, smoking, medications, hypercalcemia, high triglycerides, family history of pancreatitis, hyper para-thyrodism and cystic fibrosis.

Pancreatitis treatment in Ayurveda

Symptoms

Some symptoms of acute pancreatitis are upper abdominal pain that radiates into the back, swollen and tender abdomen, fever, nausea and vomiting, coupled by an increased heart rate. When the disease gets chronic, weight loss is also observed due to mal-absorption of food.

Role of Ayurveda in treating Pancreatitis

In Ayurveda, Pancreas are also known as ‘grahani’ and is considered as the special seat of agni (fire) in the body. Pancreatitis in the initial phase is Vata-Pita (air & fire elements) leading to aggravation in digestive fluids situated in pancreas, and in chronic stage there is degenerative changes observed.

Ayurveda basically rejuvenates the pancreas and restores its functioning, i.e., its role of producing insulin. When pancreatitis has progressed to a chronic stage, it is managed with medicines and dietary guidelines. Medicines vary from one individual to another depending on age, body constitution and on how far the disease has progressed. Doctors assess all these aspects before deciding on the course of treatment. Ayurveda aims to balance the air and fire elements.

Ayurvedic treatment and remedies

The duration of treatment in Ayurveda may be 2 to 6 months. The patient will begin to experience a better digestion, although the pain will come. After a few weeks, the intensity and frequency of pain will decrease. However, during the course of treatment, it is essential to adhere to dietary regimen, else, the symptoms may reappear.

One of the main herbs that Ayurveda uses to treat pancreatic disorders is ‘Turmeric’, which is now being studied by conventional physicians due to its role in treatment and prevention of pancreatitis.

Another useful herb for this condition recommended by Ayurveda is the ‘Indian Gooseberry’. Apart from powerful antioxidant properties, it is also one of the richest sources of vitamin C. The antioxidants of gooseberry help the body to neutralize free radicals that are thought to play a role in pancreatitis and other health conditions.

Another particularly good herb to treat this condition is ‘dandelion root’ as it improves digestion of fats by improving bile production. Also, ‘licorice’ is an excellent anti-inflammatory. ‘Cramp bark (Viburnum opulus)’ will help ease inflammation, cramping and pain.
Among the other remedies recommended by Ayurvedic physicians are: Chebula, Behada or Terminalia, Yashtimadhuk, Haritaki etc., which form the main stay of treatment for his condition.

It is also said that antioxidant-rich foods like blueberries are a traditional pancreatic remedy, due to their high antioxidant content. An even stronger anthocyanosides present in bilberry fruit is also available as a supplement now.

Diet and Lifestyle

One of the most important ways to tackle this condition and maintain proper functioning of pancreas are modification of diet and lifestyle. Include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, veggies, nuts, cereals, beans, and fruit, which help protect against diseases and disorders of pancreas.

Follow a Satvik diet and totally shun refined items. Limit meat consumption and have only low fat foods. Drinking plenty of water is essential, as pancreatitis cause dehydration. It is also essential to cut out sugars, tobacco and alcohol completely.

However, among all, buttermilk and Indian Gooseberry are the best of foods suggested by Ayurveda for chronic pancreatitis.

In general foods having a pungent and sour taste are to be avoided, apart from avoiding refrigerated foods like ice cream, refined sugar and wheat flour, fried food, fast food, raw onion, garlic, hot spicy food, etc.

As for lifestyle modifications, specific yoga poses (particularly Vajrasana), practiced under expert guidance may be helpful. Daytime sleeping has to be avoided. Dinner should be kept very light, and preferably stick to soups. Finally, it goes without saying that alcohol and smoking has to be avoided at any cost.

acharya on February 26th, 2015

aromatherapy for childrenAromatherapy can be used as safe natural remedy for minor ailments of children, as apart from providing the comfort of healing without the worry of unknown side effects of over-the-counter medications, it has been noticed that the natural vigour and powerful immune response of children makes them highly responsive to aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy treatment methods can come in handy on minor day-to-day issues concerning children, like using Lavendar sitz bath to heal baby’s diaper rash, cider vinegar and lavender to improve healing of swollen bruised knees, and tea tree oil to save the day when mosquitoes attack during an outing.

However, the natural remedies work best when used at the start of an illness. Some of the popular essential oils that help treat children’s ailment are tea tree oil, lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, sandalwood, chamomile, bergamot, bergamot, mandarin, and St. John’s wort usually sold in form of herbal oil.

Method of use of essential oils

It is best to use essential oils diluted in carrier oil (the exceptions being tea tree and lavender). The dosages and formulas for children should be only half of those for adults, depending on child’s body weight and constitution. For young children, this implies that 1 to 3 drops of essential oil should be added to 1 ounce of carrier oil.

Initially, allow the child to sniff the oil. A patch test can be done before use to check for sensitivity or allergy. Lavender or chamomile can be used even on a sensitive child.

Uses of essential oil for children

Diaper Rash

Diaper rash is often the result of yeast overgrowth. A daily lavender sitz bath can help in rapidly eliminating candida and soothe irritation. Add 1 to 3 drops of lavender oil to the bath tub filled up to the level of baby’s hip with tepid water, and agitate the water to disperse oil. Allow the baby to sit in the tub for five to fifteen minutes.

Teething

Chamomile is beneficial for teething and also soothes pain and calms baby’s nerves. Prepare a blend of 1 ounce of carrier oil with 6 drops of chamomile. Warm the oil and massage the blend along baby’s jaw and around the ears.

Wounds

You can make a wound cleaner by adding a part of tea tree oil to 16 parts of water and shake vigorously. Wash the wound with this solution. Even when you are in the woods and no sanitary facility is available, the mixture serves as an effective disinfectant.

For skinned knees and bruises, fill a bowl with equal parts of cool water and apple cider vinegar and put 6 drops of lavender. Dip in a diaper or flannel and wring out excess liquid and apply to bruised area.

Insect bites

Lavender oil offers immediate and effective relief from sting of insect bites. For bites and stings, the oil can be used directly by dabbing the lavender onto the bite as required.

Burns

Lavender oil is very popular in healing burns. Apply undiluted for emergency care of burns. Add 6 drops of lavender in to a lukewarm tub and allow the child to sit in the tub for some-time.

Cold and fever

Add 2 drops of eucalyptus or tea tree oil to bath water when you bathe your child. Also, six to eight drops of eucalyptus oil can be added to a diffuser or warm-air vapourizer and used in your child’s bedroom to cleanse and purify the air.

Peppermint and eucalyptus are helpful cooling oils that can render comfort during fever. However, peppermint oil should be used only 1 drop at a time, as too much can be stimulating. To cool fever, add 1 to 2 drops of peppermint oil to a bowl of cool water and apply with a sponge or forehead compress. However, remember not to use peppermint oil on an irritated skin.

For respiratory tract infection, place the child in a full bath with 3 to 6 drops of eucalyptus oil. For sore throat, steam inhalation with eucalyptus oil is good.

To one ounce of carrier oil, add 2 drops of lavender, 1 drop of eucalyptus and 2 drops of chamomile and give a gentle warm massage on the areas of most discomfort during a cold. When massaged onto chest and back, these oils apart from loosening mucus also helps the child to get well due to anti-infectious properties of the oil.

Stomach ache

Tuck the child into bed and massage gently with an ounce of carrier oil added to 4 drops of chamomile. Use a warm flannel or heating pad.

Ear pain

At the onset of ear tourble, mix 3 drops of chamomile to a bowl of hot water and apply a warm compress over the ear. Reapply as it cools, and adding more chamomile may be needed. Dab a cotton ball with 3 drops of chamomile, 3 drops of lavender and an ounce of carrier oil, and gently place the cotton ball in the ear and replace it with fresh cotton ball thrice a day. Continue until the pain is gone. Moreover, if your child is prone to ear infections, a massage with St. John’s wort herbal oil is worth trying as maintenance care.

acharya on February 10th, 2015

The super seeds mentioned below may be tiny, but, they are huge in their nutritional value. Let us take a look at the multiple health benefits of these common super seeds and their ayurvedic uses, and determine how best we can incorporate them in our regular diet.

healthy seeds

Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds, also known as linseeds, are a rich source of dietary fibre, Omega-3 fatty acids, rich in antioxidants, helps increase good cholesterol levels (HDL) and lowers bad cholesterol (LDL), apart from promoting fertility, relieving constipation, improving immunity and preventing cancer.

Flaxseeds are being used in Ayurvedic preparations for ages now, due to their therapeutic properties. Seeds and oil of the plant are used for their medicinal value. Flaxseeds are known to increase volume of urine, are beneficial in treatment of respiratory disorders, useful for colds, coughs, sore throat, and pulmonary complaints. Ayurvedic treatments suggest infusion made by soaking 30gms of powdered seeds overnight in a glass of water, and can be given with limejuice to treat tuberculosis with beneficial results.

Ayurveda also suggests that the seeds are helpful in treatment of gonorrhoea, irritation of genito-urinary organs, cystitis, nephritis, when taken in the form of tea repetitively. Ayurvedic physicians recommend hot poultice of flaxseed oil in treating eczema and other skin disorders.

However, it is to be noted here that flaxseeds are heat producing, and hence it should be used under the guidance of an Ayurvedic physician.

To include them in your diet, ground flaxseeds are the best, as they are easily digestible. You could grind them in small quantities and store in an air-tight container and consume them quickly, as they have a short shelf life. They can be added to yogurt, oatmeal, whole wheat flour, desserts or shakes.

Sesame Seeds

The sesame seeds possess nutritive, curative and preventive properties. The copper content present in them offers relief from rheumatoid arthritis, while magnesium present in the seeds improves cardiovascular health and lung functioning, prevents migraines and osteoporosis.

Sesame seeds are used in the treatment methods and therapies of Ayurveda. From an Ayurvedic perspective, the sesame seed is sweet, astringent, pungent, bitter, and has heating effect. Sesame seed oil form a fundamental part of Ayurvedic massages, due to their calming, nourishing and warming effect. A self-massage with sesame oil promotes physical strength, nourishes muscles and bones, helps better joint movement. In Ayurveda, Sesame seed oil is an inevitable ingredient for Panchakarma therapies. Further, according to Ayurvedic physicians, it helps promote sound sleep, strengthens intellect and nervous system, thereby nourishing hair and skin.

Sesame seeds can be consumed by adding to dips. They can also be added to vegetables, chicken, garlic, ginger and soy sauce or included in bread and muffins.

Sunflower Seeds

They are an excellent source of vitamin E, neutralises free radicals and prevent asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis. The high magnesium content in them helps in blood pressure management, headaches and migraines, and promoting healthy teeth and bones.

The benefits of sunflower seeds are plenty including controlling cell damage, thereby preventing cancer, due to the presence of selenium. Ayurveda says, sunflower seeds help reduce inflammation, helps in cholesterol management, and improves detoxification.

Sunflower seeds are best stored in refrigerator. They can be added to salads, scrambled eggs, or in hot or cold cereals. Grinding a cup or two of sunflower seeds in a food processor with lemon juice and garlic, creates a delicious nutty spread to boost your immune system. They say, quarter cup of sunflower seeds a day, keeps heart troubles away.