Sunday, October 5, 2008
1.What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is an Indian traditional system of medicine which aims at maintaining health by following proper dietary and lifestyle related guidelines. It concentrates equally on prevention as well as cure of a disease. With the increasing awareness about the safety and efficacy of natural medicine, Ayurveda is gaining worldwide acceptance.
2. What are the diseases where Ayurveda can help?
Ayurveda is effective in treating all disease conditions and the physician will be able to tell you the probability of relief or cure of a disease based on the stage of the disease. I always emphasize that Ayurveda provides good relief when the patient approaches the practitioner in the early stages of the disease itself instead of trying it as a last resort. For e.g Ayurveda provides good relief to patients suffering from knee joint pain due to degenerative changes in Osteoarthritis. The patients who opt for treating the pain during the early stage itself through Ayurvedi get excellent results whereas those who come at later stages when there is excessive damage done to the Joint take time.Sometimes I have to tell them that the condition of the disease is beyond my treatment and the chance of positive response to the treatment is less. At the end of this document you will find a table giving an idea about the ailments successfully being treated by Ayurveda.This table is intended for information only and not exhaustive. The best person to tell you is your Physician.
3. How Ayurveda can help in health maintenance?
Ayurveda places great stress upon health maintenance and health preservation principles. It advocates specific routines such as daily regimen(dinacharya) and seasonal regimen(ruthucharya) and several do’s and don’ts related to diet, sleep etc. Ayurveda advocates shodhana or purificatory panchakarma procedures such as Vamana(Emesis or medicinally induced vomiting), Virechana(Medicinally induced purgation) for cleansing the body. Ideally in every treatment the administration of medicine should follow the purification procedures i.e. panchakarma. The particular treatment process to be adopted is decided based on the dosha aggravation and the stage of the disease.There are excellent medicines to boost immunity in Ayurveda.
4.What are the evidences to show that Ayurveda is effective?
Everyone of us would like to be reassured that the system of medicine we have chosen for the treatment of our problem has enough evidence to prove its efficacy.Ayurveda is a time tested system of medicine and the diagnosis and treatment guidelines have been elobarately described in it. Clinical studies of the different treatment procedures such as panchakarma and the medicines indicated in particular diseases are being regularly carried out by doctors in colleges and universities during the master’s and Phd work. Apart from these documented studies, several physicians have demonstrated the efficacy of Ayurveda treatment in the different fields of medicine. For e.g. in the field of Ophthalmology there is a separate institution called Sreedhareeyam functioning in Kerala and they are treating several eye diseases which have failed to be treated by mainstream systems of medicine.The number of clinical trials to study the efficacy of Ayurveda treatment for diseases such as Sciatica, backache,paralysis,facial palsy, osteparthritis, rhuematoid arthritis,eczema,Psoriasis,leucoderma,bronchial asthma have been conducted by Govt funded Institutions and they have published the results in reputed journals.With my 13 years of experience in the field of Ayurveda I can say with certainty and confidence that this traditional system of medicine can provide safe and sound relief from Acute to chronic conditions.
5. What are the usual modes of therapy in Ayurveda?
The basic concept of Ayurveda is the theory that health exists when there is a balance between three fundamental body components/doshas which are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. When there is any imbalance in these three doshas it results in disease. The cause of imbalance can be food, environment, injury etc. The physician tries to heal the illness by restoring the balance in the doshas.
Shodhana(comes from the word shuddhi or cleansing) and shamana are the two major approaches of Ayurveda in treating any illness.Shodhana involves usage of Panchakarma for elimination of the disease causing factors and shamana involves using herbs and purified minerals to restore normalcy of the doshas and bringing them back to their normal physiological state.
Along with the use of Panchakarma and medicines prepared out of selected herbs and purified minerals,Ayurveda lays a lot of emphasis on diet and lifestyle changes for complete recovery from diseased state and also to prevent the recurrence of the illness. For e.g. in the condition of gastritis the treating physician will guide you to avoid or reduce sour and spicy food along with the intake of medicines. This will help in quick recovery from the problem.
6. Are Ayurvedic medicines costly?
Few of the medicines used in Ayurveda are prepared using minerals such as Gold and Silver. But these are not regularly prescribed. The cost of treatment is higher only in cases where Panchakarma has to be done. Since pathological investigations are rarely requested for and most of the diagnosis is done by the physician the patient saves good amount of money. This part of the savings can be used to invest in the medicines by the patient.
If you are very particular about the cost of treatment and your affordability is low, do frankly express the same to the doctor so that he can prescribe an affordable medicine.
7. Are Ayurveda medicines are slow in their action?
Generally all diseases can be classified into Acute and Chronic. Chronic diseases are those which have not been treated successfully and have been troubling the patient since a long period of time. Since the illness is more deep rooted in these conditions it will take a longer duration for the problem to be eliminated completely. Problems which are of Acute or of recent origin definitely respond quickly and easily to Ayurvedic medicines. For e.g.Diarrhoea,Urticaria etc respond quickly to Ayurveda medicines.
8. Do Ayurveda medicines cause heat and should they be avoided in summer ?
This is a frequent query raised by people who opt for Ayurveda and some people even avoid taking resort to Ayurveda citing this reason.Ayurveda uses both cold potency (Sheetha) and hot potency (Ushna) medicines to treat diseases. It uses cold potency medicines to treat diseases arising due to excess of heat in the body and hot potency medicines to treat diseases arising due to excess of cold in the body. There will not be any problem when the medicines are administered by a well learned and experienced Ayurveda physician who has the ability to diagnose a disease based on the basic principles of Ayurveda. Most of the problems arises when people take Ayurveda medicines from quacks who are ignorant about the basic principles of Ayurveda.They cheat gullible people looking for relief from chronic illnesses by promising quick cure or permanent relief.I always emphasize to my patients that there are no shortcuts to recovery and that they have to persevere to get good results from the treatment.
9. Do all Ayurveda medicines taste bitter and are they unpalatable?
There are more than 10,000 Ayurvedic formulations and these are in different forms such as tablet, pill, liquids, ghee, oil, powder etc. Not all are bitter in taste and some of them are very palatable. For e.g. Draksharishta, chyavanaprash, Kooshmanda rasayana etc. With the adoption of modern pharmaceutical methods in Ayurveda industry the dosage forms are available in capsules and syrups too. If the disease condition demands the usage of a bitter or unpalatable medicine the doctor may advice the use of the medicine along with honey for easy palatability. If you strongly feel that you will be unable to take unpalatable medicines do frankly express the same to the doctor so that he can prescribe you some alternative if any exist.
Some examples of Diseases successfully treated:
Arthritis,Acne,Asthma, Anemia, Alopecia
Osteoarthritis,Osteoporosis,Obesity, Oral Ulcers
Bronchitis, Backache, Baldness
Paralysis, Benign Prostate Hypertrophy, Psoriasis, Piles
Premature greying of hair
Cervical spondylitis, Chikungunya, Chronic cold.
Insomnia, Impotency, Irritable bowel syndrome
Rheumatoid arthritis, Recurrent Tonsillitis, Respiratory infections and allergies
Chronic diarrhea, chronic dysentery, Depression, Dandruff
Sinusitis, Spondylitis, Sciatica, Stomatitis, Chronic Skin diseases
Leucoderma, Loss of libido
Frozen shoulder syndrome
Migraine, musculoskeletal pains
Obesity, Oral Ulcers
Monday, September 29, 2008
India is home to 32 indigenous Cow breeds out of which some are already nearing extinction. This has happened because of our callous attitude and our ignorance of their value. Every part of India has its own distinct breed like for e.g. Tharparkar from Rajasthan, Gir,Kankrej and Kathiawadi from Gujarat, Dangi from Maharashtra, Ongole from Andhra, Sahiwal from U.P, Hallikaru,Krishna Valley and Javari from Karnataka,Umblachery and Kangayam from Tamilnadu etc.
Cows are a source of strength, immunity and spirituality to humans, fertility to the soil and energy to the farmer. They also help in rural transport and provide fuel in the form of gobar gas. In this article we shall look at the contribution of cows to human health and strength.
Find the complete article in the link below
Ayurveda, the “Science of life” has emphasized equally on the preventive and treatment aspects. It advises the adoption of a good diet and lifestyle for complete health. The central philosophy of Ayurveda is that the mind and body are closely linked, and that physical health can't be achieved without emotional, mental and spiritual health.
Ayurveda is the ancient art of healing that deals with all aspects of a person’s life as an entity. It states that the basic constitution of a human being is determined at the time of conception of the fetus. This unique aspect of a human being is called Prakruti. It is the natural constitution of a human being and this is unique to each individual.Prakruti is like your fingerprint which is also unique. The Prakruti of an individual remains the same from the time of conception to death.
Illness happens when we resort to diet and lifestyle which does not match our Prakruti and health results when we adopt diet and lifestyle which do not contradict or go against our prakruti. It is as simple as that. But to be able to determine what is good and what is bad to each individual, the firsthand knowledge of individual Prakruti is very important. Prakruti is the physical and psychological constitution of the individual, which is determined on the basis of three doshas. So there are basically three constitutions namely Vata constitution, Pitta constitution and Kapha constitution and their combinations. Ayurveda aims to provide detailed guidance regarding food and lifestyle so that healthy people can stay healthy and persons with health challenges can improve their health. Once we know what we are the rest of the management becomes cakewalk.
This unique workshop will provide insights into the individual Prakruti concept and will be useful to all health lovers. The workshop can be planned & structured based on the need of individual organizations/institutions. In the workshop an initial talk regarding preventive aspects and basic principles of Ayurveda will be followed by individual one to one diet and lifestyle counseling. All the participants will be required to fill out a detailed questionnaire to determine the Prakruti prior to the individual counseling.
Benefits of the workshop:
- Understanding regarding the basic principles of Ayurveda
- Understanding about individual prakruti
- Guidelines regarding healthy diet
- Guidelines regarding health lifestyle
- Individual medical consultation if required
If you are interested in such a unique preventive health care workshop, please write to or contact:
B.A.M.S, P.G.Dip In Yoga
Ayurveda Physician & Yoga Consultant
AGASTHYA AYURVEDA CLINIC
Sunday, September 28, 2008
- Increase fibre intake in the form of good quantity of fruits and vegetables
- Drink adequate quantity of water
- Drink a glassful of milk at bedtime and a glass of warm water early in the morning
- Simple exercises, yogasana and walk also help
Loss of memory or deficient memory
Single drugs: Brahmi, shankapushpi, kushmanda
Formulations: Brahmi ghrtha, Saraswatharitishta
Saptamrutha Lauha, Tiphala Ghrtha
Vaanari Gutika, Ashwagandha Rasayana, Ashwagandha Choorna
Swadishta Virechana Choorna, Abhayarishta, Eranda Taila
Arthritis, painful joints
External use of medicated oils such as Mahanarayana Taila
Internal use of Guggulu based medicines
Tremors, unstable gait
Powder of Mucuna pruriens, Vidaryadi Kashayam and ghrtham
Hair loss, graying of hair
External use of medicated oils such as Bhrngaraja Taila and Neelabhrngaraja Taila
Internal use of pills of Saptamrutha Lauha
General debility and loss of stamina
Vidaryadi Kwath, Chyavanaprash, Kushmanda Rasyana
- Understanding and empathy
- Emotional support
- Somebody to talk with them, even for a few minutes will make a difference
- A sense of security
- A sense of self respect and that an assurance that they still matter
- Sparing some of your valuable time to be with them and pep them up with some news, jokes etc
- Playing a game of chess or whatever they know
- Provide them with some regular reading material such as papers, books, magazines etc.
- If they are not able to read because of poor vision you can read a story or a news item
- Accompanying them occasionally for a walk, encourage them to make friends with elderly people in the neighborhood so that they have some company
- Encourage your children to talk and play with them
- If an elderly member is ill or bedridden explain to the whole family including the children and servants about their condition and train them to attend to their needs. A spittoon near the bed, a jug of water at hand will be of help. Ensure cleanliness and hygiene in the room as well as adequate light and air.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Are there any answers or will there be only questions?
Usually when we need answers to things which are perplexing or beyond us, we take resort to our elder's advice.So let us explore what our elders, our ancestors have told on prevention of illness.
In one of the greatest medical treatises ever written, the Charaka Samhitha, the author says on prevention of illness as follows:
Naro Hithahara Vihara Sevi Sameekshyakaari Vishayeswaskthah
Dhatha Samaha Sathyaparaha Kshamavaan Aapthopasevi Bhavathyarogaha
The explanation to the above sanskrit verse is as follows:
To be free from illness and to maintain a disease free state(AROGYA) , aperson has to follow the guideleines as given below:
1. Hithahara Viharasevi: One should consume food which wholesome and good to the individual personality or prakruti and also follow a disciplined daily regimen.
What is healthy food(Hitha Ahara) and what is a healthy regimen?Unless we know these details, we will be nowhere.Food which is prepare adhering to good hygiene, properly cooked, taken in moderate quantity is good for health. The food articles selected should match the prakruthi of the person. For e.g. A pitha prakruti person should not consume too much of spices and salt.
What is Hitha Vihara? Vihara includes sleep, work, excercise etc.
Adhering to the saying "Early to bed and early to rise" is the most healthy Vihara. Going late to bed aggravates the nervous system and getting up too late in the morning makes you sluggish and lazy since it aggravates the Kapha Dosha in the body.
I know that with the changing workschedules such as shifts,call center work etc it is difficult to adher to this guideline. But atleast during the weekends try to catch up with your regular sleeping hours instead of chilling out in the clubs and dance bars!
Some amount of excercise will do a world of good to all the systems in the body.It may be in the form of going to a gym or yoga or jogging. Whatever it may be, excercise regularly.
2. Sameekshyakaari: Think well before you act is the meaning. This is self explanatory. It is better to swallow your words rather than be made to eat it goes a saying.
3.Vishayeswaskthah: Be the master of your senses and not the other way round. The sense organs should be kept under our control for good health.For e.g.Control of the toungue is essential to have good eating habits. Vishaya is the subject and here it is that of the senses. Asakthi is have a desire over the objects of the senses. To have control over the senses is the meaning of this guideline.
4. Datha:Be a giver is the meaning.To be of help to somebody is an oppurtunity provided to you to relieve your tensions. That you have been useful to somebody is a factor which boosts your confidence and thereby boosts your relaxation level.Giving is an art.Giving makes you rich. Giving makes you reach higher levels. Look around you and you will find some beatiful examples of giving. for e.g. your beloved mother.She is an embodiment of giving.Who can be a better example.She always gives and feels happy when you recieve it.Look at Mother Earth-you sow one seed and she returns it in the form of a plant which yields 100 seeds. What you sow, you reap. If you spread sweetness, your life becomes sweet. What you give, you get. You are enjoying the fruits of the good work done by your elders and ancestors, do not break the chain. In case the chain is broken, the protective shield around you weakens. If you do not have anything material to give,does'nt mean that you cannnot give. Helping somebody having difficulty in crossing the road is also a form of giving.You do not spend anything from your pocket to do that simple task.
5. Samah: Practice equality is the meaning. Mahatma struggled througout his life to bring a sense of equality among all the citizens of our country. Do not look at people as haves and have nots. Treat everybody in the same way you would like to be treated.Do not be haughty and ill behaved with people who are poor and do not bend your back in front of the rich.
6. Sathyaparah: Be truthful is the meaning. True to your conscience. It is easy to lose confidence in the saying "Truth alone triumphs-sathyameva Jayathe" looking at the happenings in today's world.But we can take heart by looking at history. History does not lie. Falsehood creates lot of pressure on the brain and the heart, the two most important organs in our body leading to dangerous illnesses. Just because the modern day medical texts do not mention it as the cause of any disease does not mean it does'nt lead to any disease. Truth is reflected on the face of a person. His face will be radiant and shining since there are no blocks in him which prevent the inner glory from expressing outside.
7.Kshamavaan:The sixth guideline to remain healthy is forgiveness. Forgiving somebody, even though they may have committed a mistake is magnanimity. This comes to only a chosen few. The burning fire of retribution burns your own body, causing irreparable damage and endless diseases.To believe this advise, start practicing it. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Look how things start changing for the better.Where earlier,you were feared , now you will be respected. Where earlier your arrival was resented, now you will be welcomed.The changes are to be seen and experienced to be believed.
8. Aapthopasevi:This is the most important of all. Aapthas are those who have dedicated their lives for the service of others,do not have any selfish motive behind their words and activities and are free from raja and tamo gunas. These are purely sattvika people. To stay healthy Charaka recommends that we have to serve such people. They may be your parents, who have struggled throughout their lives to bring you up and sacrificed their needs to meet yours. They may also be your Guru, teacher,friend , guide etc.
Dedicate part of your time and energy to service .Give a part of what you earn to the eligible and the needy. To serve or rescue an abandoned animal is also service. What do these actvities do to you? They initiate a series of positive thoughts and vibrations in you which have the power to heal.
There are innumerable ways to serve. The first and foremost requirement is the mental makeup. To do this you may have to sacrifice some of your time and some of your comforts. So be it. This way your happiness will increase and the protective shield around you will strengthen further.
These are the eight guidelines laid out by the great Rishi Charaka, the proponent of Ayurveda, for prevention of illness and maintenance of health. So start thinking beyond popping pills and taking immunization shots. There are things which are invisible to us but play a more vital role in our being free from illnesses. Listening to our elders advice makes sense and going against their advice will be at our own peril.
What we have learnt is a fistful and what we still need to know is as big as the ocean or the mountain goes a Tamil saying.
People are running from pillar to post for a remedy to the disease. Ayurvedic system of medicine is ideally suited for treating this disease. Based on my clinical experience this disease matches the classical Vataraktha disease explained in the classical text of Madhava Nidana.
The major plants useful in treating this disease are Amrutha and Kokilaksha. A combination of these two plants is available in the market with the brand name Kokilakshadi Kwath and the dose if 15ml twice a day to be taken on empty stomach.
Diet I advice to my patients:
Avoid or reduce sour,spicy and excess salt in your food.
Avoid alcohol and completely stay vegetarian till you get free of the disease.
Other medicines useful are:
Kaishora guggulu and Amrithadi guggulu.Dose is t pills thrice a day fro adults.
For applying over the affected area use Pinda tailam and Balaguluchyadi Tailam.
For more details the readers should contact an experienced Ayurvedic physician in their neighbourhood.