सप्ताहार,(Saptahar) seven consideration for food intake in Ayurveda

According to Ayurveda the factors that depends upon food are  energy, long life, health, immunity, happiness and prana (life) . The food that we input in this natural engine helps to fire the Jatharagni (digestive fire) as a result output energy is expressed. Here are the thoughts of 7 consideration of food intake according to Vagbhat.

  1. Swabhav (स्वभाव) (Nature)- Food we take varies in nature. For instance, rain water, Oriza sativa  (रक्तचावल and साठी चावल), Phaseolus mungo, meat of Turvix sp. are laghu लघु (light) in nature whereas milk, Saccharum officinale, and Phaseolus radiates are heavy in nature. In this way dravya or any food have varieties of nature like, laghu-guru (light-heavy), snighDha-rukshya (oleaginous-dry), Sheeta-Ushna(Cold-hot) etc, which must be considered while taking a food.
  2. Samyog (संयोग) (Combination)Mixing of two or more food is a combination or samyog. The food may not retain the same properties when combined with the other foods. For example although ghee and honey are benifitial for health, it may take away the life if combined in same proportion by weight. So one should always keep in mind the effect of combination of any two foods. Food poisionig is due to wrong combination.
  3. Sanskar (संस्कार) (Purification)To get the best result of food that we take purification is essential. Purification of food or any medicinal drugs in Ayurveda is done through the materials and process like water, heating in fire, centrifugation, storage for long time, with aromatic matters and storage. Sanskar is not just purification, but it can also be helpful to change the properties of foods and drugs.
  4. Matra (मात्रा) (Quantity/Dose) Quantity or dose (esp. for drugs) is important factor. Good food that we take is beneficial only if we take in proper quantity, else it is going to be toxic.
  5. Desh (देश) (Region) Ayurveda has its unique thought in regional food behavior. The food that grow in one region is most beneficial for the living organism living in the same region or area. If the consumer consumes the food grown in the same region it will be most suitable according to Ayurveda.
  6. Kaal (काल) (Period of Time)The nature of food and the nature of environment should be matching. Like we don’t want ice-cream in cold winter, similarly our body donot accept the ushna(Hot nature food)(*hot nature food may be cold while touching, hot here refers to internal nature) food in hot summer season and cold in winter. Also Period of time refers that one should not take heavy food before the digestion of earlier food. One must understand is it the right time for me to eat right food?
  7. Upayog (उपयोग) (Consumption Procedure)- In simple while taking food one must clean hand and be hygienic. However In Ayurveda whole the procedure is described as follows:
    a. First take bath
    b. Pray the god through Mantra and puja
    c. Dedicate to god, agni, earth, water…
    d. Get the food only from Elder or teacher.
    e. Never have too hot or too cold food.
    f. Never intake food that contains flies, hair, nail etc.
    g. Always have meal with happy and jolly mind facing East.

In this way these are the consideration According to Ayurveda one should keep in mind before having food.

Pathya Ahara digestable food in Ayurveda

According to Ayurveda foods that we eat are basically categorized as Pathya (Which is digestable) and Apathya (that is not digestable). A pathya (digestable) diet for one individual may be apathy(undigestable ) for other and vice versa. Two types of diet are categorized  as pathya and apathy. However, daily inake or habitual dieting may alter pathya and apathy in indivisual. For example, a person have a glass of milk everyday can digest it easily and is Pathya for him, but one who had never had milk drank suddenly after long time cannot digest milk. So milk here is now apathy.

Now lets talk about general diet according to Ayurveda

And he knew that food was Brahman
From food all beings are born
by food they live and into food they return
Upanishad 3.2

Ahara/ Food has been worshipped since ancient times as the giver and sustainer of life
A statement by Charaka ”the self controlled man can life for a hundred years free from disease through the intake of hita ahara/ wholesome diet.
In Ayurveda the physical body is called Kaya. The sanskrit word Kaya can be translated that the body is a build up of food.
Already 5000 years ago Ayurveda has recognised that the body is the result or an outcome of the food we eat.

Food can be the cause (nidana) of a disease
Food can be the treatment (chikitsa) of a disease

Wholesome food and drinks have good colour, smell, taste and are pleasing to the senses and conducive to health, if taken in accordance with the ayurvedic rules.
According to Ayurveda – complexion, clarity, good voice, longevity, happiness, satisfaction, nourishment, mental/ physical strength and intellect are all conditioned by food.

Ayurveda recognises six different tastes

1.Madhura/ sweet
2.Amla/sour
3.Lavana/salty
4.Katu/ hot
5.Tikta/bitter
6.Kasaya/ astringent

The six different taste are important and should be present in the daily diet. The different rasa/ taste can be used to bring equilibrium to the doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha).

Some of the Ayurvedic rules for food intake:
1. Intake of food should be warm
2. Food should be unctuous
3. Food should be in proper quantity
4. Intake of food should only be after digestion of the previous meal
5. The food should not have contradictory potencies e.g sour and sweet food such as fruit and milk
6. Intake of food should be in a proper place and seated
7. Intake of food should be without hurry or worry
8. Intake of food should not be too fast or too slow
9. One should take the food while not talking or laughing

Want to know your body constitution and see what foods and taste is most beneficial for you.
You are welcome for a consultation at Lakshmi Ayurveda
Consultation price: 90 minutes ($85)
Private Health fund rebate!
For bookings call Karin 0406810547

Food Prayer

Brahmaapanam Brahmahavir Brahmaagnau Brahmanaahutam
Brahmaivatena Gantavyam Brahmakarma Samaadhinaa

Aham Vaishvanaro Bhootvaa Praaninaam Dehamaashritah
Praanapaana Samaayuktah Pachaamyannam Chaturvidham

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
Bhagavad Gita Ch. 4 verse 24

The act of offering is Brahman. The offering itself is Brahman. The offering is done by Brahman in the sacred fire which is Brahman. He alone attains Brahman who, in all actions, is fully absorbed in Brahman.

“I am Vaishnavara, existing as fire God in the bodies of living beings. Being associated with ingoing and outgoing life breaths, I will digest all the four different types of food
and purify them.”

Vata balancing diet in Ayurveda

Earlie posts were about vata . Now I am going to list of the diets that balance the vata.

• Favour warm, hearty, nourishing foods with added butter/oil – favour salty, sour and sweet tastes.

• Try and reduce light, dry, cold foods and pungent, bitter and astringent tastes

• Hot, milky, creamy cereals (wheat, oatmeal or rice), soups and stews are all very good for pacifying Vata.

• All dairy products are good (ideally organic and unpasturised) – milk should always be boiled first.

• Oils are good but favour ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, Udo’s oil, flax/pumpkin oil and sesame oil.

• Reduce your intake of light, dry, cold foods such as crackers, nuts, seeds and salads.

• Take nuts and seeds in small quantities only – they are best freshly ground with oil added.

• Reduce the intake of all bean products except tofu, mung beans, mung dhal and red lentils.

• The best grains are rice and wheat but you can take barley, corn, millet, buckwheat, rye and oats in moderation.

• Favour stewed and well ripened, sweet or sour fruits but reduce the intake of dry or light fruits such as apples, pears, pomegranates, cranberries, and dried fruits (if uncooked). Dried fruits are good if they are cooked after soaking overnight.

• Sweeteners are good (in moderation), especially jaggary, honey, maple syrup and algarve.

• Vegetables should be cooked and not raw. Peas, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, zucchini and potatoes are acceptable in moderate quantities if they are cooked, especially with Ghee or oil and Vata reducing spices but it is best to avoid sprouts and cabbage.

• Hot, nourishing desserts such as apple pie help pacify Vata.

• Eat a substantial breakfast to help improve energy levels throughout the day.

• Herbal teas (camomile, fennel, basil) with a few digestive biscuits are good for Vata energy slumps.

• Avoid stimulants such as coffee and alcohol.

• Sip hot water throughout the day to flush out impurities and balance Vata.

• Warm milk flavoured with ghee, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg is excellent before bed.

Now here are some lists that increase and decrease the Vata in the body

Vegetables that increase and decrease vata

FAVOUR REDUCE
Asparagus Leeks Artichoke Okra Beetroot Parsnip Olives Corn Butternut squash Green beans Peppers Radishes Carrots Courgettes Cucumber Green beans Leeks Pumpkin Sweet potatoes Turnip Broccoli Brussels sprouts Cabbage Cauliflower Celery Mushrooms Peas Peppers Tomatoes

 

Fruits that increase and reduce vata

FAVOUR REDUCE
Apricots Avocados Bananas Berries Cherries Raisins Pineapple Rhubarb Plums Peaches Oranges Lemons Grapes Kiwi Dates Figs Mangoes Melons Papayas Peaches Plums Dried fruit Un-ripened fruit Apples Pears Pomegranates Prunes Watermelon

 

Herbs increase and reduce vata

FAVOUR REDUCE
Basil Black pepper Cardamom Cinnamon Clove Cumin Fennel Ginger Liquorice Marjoram Mustard seeds Nutmeg Oregano Sage Thyme Coriander seed Fenugreek Parsley Saffron Turmeric

 

Vata and Pitta and Kapha types

Vata and pitta and Kapha all are of 5 types. They are as follows:

Types of Vata Types of Pitta Types of Kapha
Prana

Udana

Vyana

Samana

Apana

Pachaka

Ranjaka

Bhrajaka

Sadhaka

alochaka

Kledaka

Bodhaka

Avalambaka

Slesaka

Tarpaka

These five types of each dosha are very important in Ayurveda because Ayurveda is based on the tri-dosha theory. And these are the types of each tridosha.

 

Herbalist, use of Herb in Ayurveda

A herbalist is a person whose life is dedicated to the economic or medicinal uses of plants and one is skilled in the harvesting and collection of medicinal plants (see wildcrafter).Traditional Chinese herbalist are one who is trained or skilled in the dispensing of herbal prescriptions; traditional Chinese herb doctor. Similarly, Traditional Ayurvedic herbalist are one who is trained or skilled in the dispensing of herbal prescriptions in the Ayurvedic tradition.

Ayurveda is totally dependent on Herbalist. Ayurveda without herb is incomplete. The medicinal basis of Ayurveda is herb. According to wiki, Education of herbalists varies considerably in different areas of the world. Lay herbalists and traditional indigenous medicine people generally rely upon apprenticeship and recognition from their communities in lieu of formal schooling. In some countries formalised training and minimum education standards exist, although these are not necessarily uniform within or between countries. For example, in Australia the currently self-regulated status of the profession (as of April 2008) results in different associations setting different educational standards, and subsequently recognising an educational institution or course of training. Qualifications levels vary from Diploma to Masters degree, with Advanced Diploma level being regulated to some degree by the national Health Training Packages issued by the Australian National Training Authority.

Many herbalists, particularly those with ‘apothecary’ herbal backgrounds, become affiliated with or found commercial herbal products manufacturing companies for producing herbal products of varying kinds. Most ‘liquid’ herbal products companies hold the distinction of having been started by individuals who were already practicing herbalists and took their apothecary herbal skills onto full commercial endeavors.

Ayurveda And Allopathy

Concept of disease

In late 19th, and 20th centuary microorganisms were considered only, if not , the main cause of disease in allopathic medicine. That is called “germ theory of disease”. But lately the concept has beenchanged and broadened, now it is accepted that disease condition is a very specific stage of existence of all the three factors host, agent and environment at that time. This is explained as epidemiological triad or disease triangle. Avoiding the specific existence of even a single element of disease triangle may give us undesired condition. This theory is very close with Ayurvedic theory of causation of disease.

  1. Disease condition (The triangle is complete here): For the discare condition to be complete, agent should have weak host immune condition and favorable environment to grow and multiply. If host and environment factor are not in favor of agent, triangle will be incomplete and the disease will voccur.
  2. Allopathic treatment (The triangle is not complete here): Here the agent condition is made so weak that it cannot cause any disease i.e. allopathic medicine makes the agent either weak or kill it, thus the triangle will not be complete.
  3. Ayurvedic treatment(The triangle is not complete here): Here the host and environment factors are made unfavorable for the agent i.e. the host immune system is made so strong that the agent cannot cause any disease.

According to Ayurveda, the unbalanced stage of three physiological humors (Dosha) – Vata, Pitta and Kapha by any means will only be the cause of disease. And unbalanced dosha condition is brought about by improper Aahar (food habit) and daily activities i.e. environment factor of triangle Krimi (Pathogens and Parasite) i.e. agent factor of the triangle. Here Vata, Pitta and Kapha itself represents the host factor of triangle.

Treatment Approach in Ayurveda: In Ayurveda medicine are used to establish the balanced stage of the physiological unit (Vata, Pitta and Kapha), or it targets the other factors of disease triangle rather than microorganism (agent). For treatment simply the goal of Ayurvedic treatment is to make person strong immunologically, not to kill microorganism. It should be remembered that we all are exposed frequently to the pathogens but only few, and less frequently develops disease. Ayurveda believs that it is not the Krimi (microorganism) that is important to cause the disease but what is important is your tridosha condition. Though it regards microorganism as cause of disease but treatment approach is mainly towards the tridosha. This ultimately may work as an antimicrobial treatment. So a single Ayurvedic medicine can be used in much disease (which acts through dosha) seeing the strong adaptive capacity of pathogen, Ayurvedic approach of treatment seems very appropriate logically than the allopathic approach. It is not worthy that most of the present antibiotics may be resisted in coming 20 yrs according to WHO.

Virechana Indication and Contraindication

In Ayurveda Virechana is the administration of purgative substances for the cleansing of pitta through the lower pathways.This therapy is recommended basically for imbalanced Pitta Dosha and removes excess pitta through increasing bowel movements Give virechana 3 days after vamana, or directly if vamana is not indicated for a particular individual. In either case, it is necessary to firstly do 3 days of internal oleation, and preferably both snehana (oleation) and svedana (sweating), which are purva karma. Virechana cleanses blood toxins, the sweat glands, kidneys, stomach, small intestine, colon, liver, spleen, and rakta vaha srotas.

Indications for Virechana

Contraindications for Virechana

Most pittagenic disorders Childhood and Old age
Skin diseases Acute fever
Chronic fever Diarrhea
Hemmorroids (piles) Dehydration
Abdominal tumors (gulma) Debility and Weakness
Spleenomegaly Emaciation
Hepatomegaly and Jaundice

Bleeding from rectum or lung cavities

Worms Excess snehana or svedana
Erysipelas

Foreign body in the stomach

Gout

Immediately after vamana or basti

Glaucoma Low agni or indigestion
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) Prolapsed rectum
 

Severe, chronic constipation with hard stool

  Ulcerative colitis
Substances for Virechana  
Triphala  
Castor oil  
Senna (Sona mukhi)  
Sat Isabgol (Psyllium Seeds)  
Flaxseeds  
Prunes  
Raisins  
Bran  
Cow’s milk  
Cow’s milk and 2 tsp. ghee  
Aloe Vera  
Bhumi Amalaki  
Black Sesame Seeds  
Salt  
Dandelion root  
Nishottara (Jaipal or Croton seed)  
Yellow Thistle (Suvarnaskshiri)  
Kutki (Hellbore)  
Cow’s urine  
Mango juice  

Milk, best value in Ayurveda

Milk is considered an important part of the diet according to Ayurveda. In Sanskrit milk is described as Ksheer. The Astang Sangraha which is an ancient text of Ayurveda has a complete section, Ksheer Varga, which describes milk and milk products. Milk is valued because it is an important source of many of the nutrients essential for the proper development and maintenance of the human body. The main qualities of milk according to Ayurveda are sweet and unctuous.

People in world over often ask questions about milk and milk products, especially in the light of recent research that suggests milk is beneficial only for children. Although it is difficult to decide anything, as there is a lot of debate still going on, it might be appropriate to share the Ayurvedic view on milk and milk products. Also the modern researches are done on the cold milk, but In Ayurveda the properties of milk are described when it is warm. Ayurveda too prohibits one to have cold milk.

Among the different eight types of milk as described by Astanga sangraha, Cow’s milk called Goksheera is the best milk. It has rejuvenating properties called Rasayana in Ayurveda. It is instilled as nasal drops and can be used as body pack or face pack. Milk bath helps to rejuvenate skin. It is used in panchakarma treatment process to induce vamana (emisis) and virechana (purgation). It is also used in basthi (enema).

Qualities of milk

•        Milk decreases vata and pitta, but increases kapha.

•        Milk has a sweet taste (Rasa).

•        It increases the ojas, which is considered to be the essence of all the dhatus (tissues). So it also nourishes the seven dhatus.

•        Milk is a good vrishya (aphrodisiac), which means it strengthens the shukra dhatu (reproductive tissue).

 

•        Milk increases the kapha, and is heavy to digest; so, one should not take cold milk, as it tends to be heavier. Milk should always be taken hot or warm and after boiling.

•        Milk is cooling in nature (shita virya), which means it has a cooling effect on the body.

 

When milk is used during ayurveda a treatment session it alleviates vitiated doshas eliminates them from body. It acts as an appetizer. Milk helps to reduce the period of recuperation. People suffering from anemia, acid peptic disorders, diarrhea, fever etc are greatly benefited by consumption of milk. Milk is of great aid to persons who experience constipation. A quick recovery can be experienced in condition like genital organ infections (male and female), on consumption of milk. It is used in diet regimen for diseases which are caused due to vitiation of vata and pitta. Milk nourishes body and is believed to be a complete food. Daily consumption of milk increases libido, quality and quantity of semen and helps in erectile dysfunction. It helps to boost memory power and strengthens mind. Milk acts as an instant energizer and relieves thirst. The symptoms of bronchitis and cough get reduced by continuous use of milk. Persons suffering from gout are benefited by regular consumption of milk. Milk accelerates wound healing.

When to drink Milk?

Intake of milk is usually not advised in the morning hours, as it is heavy to digest.Intake of milk in the afternoon promotes strength in old people, improves agni in children, removes urinary calculi (krichra Asmari chedanam) and also alleviates kapha and pitta. Drinking of milk in the evening hours is good for eyes and alleviates vata and pitta. Drinking of milk at night is ideal. In daytime people happen to exert much and vidahi annam hence drinking of milk after food is essential at night to reduce tiredness and also good for eyes.

Asthi (Bone) in Ayurveda

Asthi (Bone) in Ayurveda
Asthi, the hardest tissue present in our body develops from asthi dhatwagni, by the action of Agni, Vayu and Prithivi mahabhoota. Asthi dhatwagni acts on Prithivi, agni and vata predominant portion of nutrients and digest this bringing hardness to it. From this, asthi Dhatu is formed. Asthi called bone in Modern concept is osseous connective tissue consisting of the osteocytes, osteoblast and osteoclast for the bone formation and its maintenance.
The number and name of the bone vary according to the various concepts and scholars as in charak Samhita, Sushruta Samhita etc. as well as modern medicine. Considering its structure, types of channels of nutrition, blood circulation etc, both by Ayurvedic and modern concept it is concluded that Asthi or bone is the main pillar or the base of the body that gives attachment to the muscles and tendons allowing movement of body as well as different organ due to which the position of various visceral organs are fixed, muscles are volunteered, the body being able to perform its various functions without which no organs, no muscles, no vessels and no nerves would have got their position.
Depending upon shape and size asthi are classified as nalakasthi, kapalasthi, balyasthi, ruchakaasthi and tarunasthi in Ayurveda which can be co-related in modern medicine as long bone, flat bone, ribs, teeth and cartilages.
Thus we can conclude that scholars in Ayurveda had proper knowledge about asthi, their formation, number and shape. But the knowledge was limited, since then no further research in Ayurveda has been attempted. So for the upliftment of Ayurveda the knowledge should be updated and the field should be elaborated in demand of time according to modern science and technology which would certainly provide a milestone for its worldwide recognition and implement to all people.

Aloe Vera for Cancer,AIDS in Ayurveda

Aloe Vera which is a cactus-like plant whose name means “shining bitter substance,”  is widely regarded as a master healing plant. The plant which can even be grown in vase has a lot of Ayurvedic herbal power.  In recent decades medical research has confirmed that Aloe Vera is a truly amazing plant with an incredible array of medicinal healing properties.

Aloe Vera has different uses. It is applied to wounds; aloe gel is a mild anesthetic, relieving itching, swelling, and pain. It is also antibacterial and anti fungal, increases blood flow to wounded areas and stimulates fibroblasts, the skin cells responsible for wound healing. It also helps relieve burns and psoriasis. It is effective for treating inflammatory bowel disease, detoxifying the bowel, neutralizing stomach acidity, relieving constipation and healing gastric ulcers. It has also been shown to reduce blood sugar in diabetics.

Aloe can help prevent arthritis and reduce the inflammation in joints already affected by arthritis. It can also inhibit the autoimmune reaction associated with certain forms of arthritis, in which the body attacks its own tissues.

Aloe could also provide nutritional support for HIV patients as it has properties which reduce occurrences of opportunistic infections, thrush, fatigue and diarrhea. Research indicates that aloe helps stimulates the body’s immune system, particularly the T4 helper cells – white blood cells that activate the immune response to infection. An extract of mannose, one of the sugars in aloe, has been shown to inhibit HIV-1 (the virus associated with AIDS).

Aloe has been found to significantly suppress the growth of cancer cells. It has been shown to help turn on the immune system by activating macrophages (white blood cells which “swallow” antigens), causing the release of immune-activating (and anticancer) substances such as interferon, interleukins, and tumor necrosis factor. In addition, aloe seems to also promote the growth of normal (non-cancerous) cells.

It is obvious that most Ayurvedic medicines have the Aloe Vera included in ingredient, not only that beauty products also use Aloe Vera as a major portion of ingredients. So Aloe Vera is really one of the best Herbs in Ayurveda.