Apr 122019
Gokshura benefits

‘Nerinjil’, also known as ‘Gokshura’ or ‘Devil’s weed’ is a plant that is covered with thorns, comprising small leaves flowers that are yellow in colour. It is the thorns of the herb that are used for medicinal purposes in Ayurveda. The thorn is actually its fruit. Gokshura is commonly found in India and China and is largely used to treat infertility disorders and urinary problems. However, this herb has a host of other health benefits too. Read on to know more about the medicinal values of Gokshura.

Treats female infertility

Polycystic Ovarian Disease/Sydrome (PCOS) is the main cause of female infertility. PCOS may also bring about other health issues such as glucose intolerance and water retention. Glucose intolerance leads to diabetes. Gokshura has the ability to reduce water retention in the body, and the size of cyst can be reduced too. The herb rejuvenates the uterus, is also used as a treatment for low libido, and it helps strengthen reproductive tissues. The herb eases menopausal symptoms too.

Helps boost testosterone in men

Gokshura helps increase testosterone hormone levels, improves libido, helps improve erectile dysfunction and low sperm count. Overall, it helps with a healthy reproductive system in men. The herb is also useful in treatment of prostate-related issues by preventing prostate enlargement, due to the presence of stigma, sterols and beta-sitosterol.

Treats urinary stones / kidney stones

According to reports by Ayurveda researchers, Gokshura seed infusion is useful in treatment or elimination of urinary or kidney stones. For this, the decoction of the fruits and roots of the herb are used thrice a day for a week as medication. The roots of the herb are sweet, cooling, diuretic, lithontriptic and are useful in renal and vesicle calculi, dysuria, and in vitiated conditions of vata and pitta. All parts of the plant are beneficial in treatment of urinary retention, kidney stone, and fever.

Has Diuretic properties

Gokshura is effective in curing urinary diseases, and on regular consumption, the herb easily helps a person find relief from bladder problems and other diuretic ailments. Due to its diuretic activity Gokshura is used through a lot of formulations. It has a cleansing effect on urinary bladder. It is due to the lithotryptic property of the herb that it helps regulate the functioning of urinary system.

Used as aphrodisiac

Since ancient times, Gokshura has been used as an aphrodisiac in different cultures. The herb boosts ovulation in women and sperm production in men. Both men and women dealing with issues such as infertility and wishing to start a family can consume Gokshura. It also improves sperm quality and quantity in men.

Beneficial in treating skin ailments

Gokshura is largely used in Ayurvedic medicine as an internal skin cleanser. Teenagers and adults suffering from acne and break-outs can use this as treatment and to prevent recurrence. With constant use, the healing properties of Gokshura can help lend a clear skin, apart from helping with treatment of wounds, skin inflammations, skin eruptions, itchiness and hives.

Is a good anti-aging agent

With regular use, Gokshura can make your skin appear younger, slowing down the aging effects. This is due to its effectiveness in fighting fine lines, wrinkles and cell degeneration. It also improves the muscle power when consumed regularly.

Prevents cardiac ailments

Gokshura is popular for the major role that it plays in improving cardiac functioning. It is ideal for curing heart ailments like angina, while also reducing the susceptibility of heart attacks. It lowers high cholesterol in the body, and has been proven to reduce blood sugar, hypertension and blood pressure levels.

Helps build body muscle

Gokshura can be of help to men who wish to build their muscles. Rather than opt for supplements and steroid injections, this little herb is a natural way to achieve strong muscles, as Gokshura helps with body building, while the minerals present in this herb helps improve body composition and muscle strength.

Helps improve mental health

The presence of MOA inhibitors makes Gokshura effective in regulating the hormone serotonin, which influences emotional and mental well-being. When consumed on regular basis, it is effective in treating psychological imbalances, relieves tension and stress, calms headaches, and helps manage psychological imbalances.

Other uses of Gokshura:
The herb is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal, and hence is useful as a general tonic and revitalizer for kidneys, liver and urinary tract. The herb is also beneficial in treating a variety of other issues such as hair fall, rheumatism, weak nervous system, obesity, piles, bed wetting, abnormal menstruation, headache / stress, and eye problems.

How to use Gokshura?
Here are some simple ways to use the powdered form of the herb:

  • Powder the fruit, and boil 30g of it in 300 ml water, and reduce it to 150ml. This can be consumed twice a day for relief from kidney stones.
  • Boil a cup of water by adding a large spoonful of barley powder and one spoon of Gokshura powder.
  • The leaves of Gokshura can be added to water, boil it well, and drink it through the day during summer months, to prevent recurrent urinary tract infections.
  • Drinking water boiled with Punarnava root and Gokshura (in powdered form), can have diuretic, laxative and expectorant properties.
  • Apart from adding to water, Gokshura powder can be mixed with a teaspoon of honey and consumed at bed time.


Although Gokshura is an otherwise safe herb, it should be used only under supervision of a medical professional. People with high blood pressure and diabetes should use it cautiously under supervision of an Ayurvedic physician. Breast feeding women, pregnant women, and children should avoid use of this herb.

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Mar 252019
constipation remedies

With modern lifestyle and living conditions, constipation has emerged a major disease in every household, affecting children and adults alike.  Constipation is generally considered to be a condition wherein there is difficulty in emptying the bowels, usually associated with hardening o faeces, involving high level of constraint.

But, did you know that constipation is not just associated with bloating and the inability to pass stools? It has several other associated symptoms too, such as headaches, bad breath, acne, loss of appetite, irritability haemorrhoids, acidity, ulcers in the mouth, disturbed sleep, mood swings, dullness and lack of enthusiasm. Though all of these symptoms may not appear together, constipation is associated with most of these symptoms.

Causes of constipation

Ayurveda believes that constipation is the result of indigestion, which leads to accumulation of faeces in the intestine. Vata (air element) is produced, its dry and cold quality interferes with the functioning of colon, and manifests in the form of heaviness, stomach pain and increased thirst.

As for cause, most of the causes are lifestyle-related. Once you make specific lifestyle tweaks, you can regain a clean colon. Some other causes could be pregnancy, age, and travel.

Insufficient water intake is the primary cause. The food in your intestinal tract needs water to move and reach its final destination. Therefore, with less consumption of water, you are likely to feel constipated. Drinking sufficient amount of water is the best natural remedy for constipation.

Having processed food, meat, alcohol, and excessive dairy intake, involving a diet with nil fibre content, is the most common cause of constipation. Drinking excess tea and coffee can aggravate the problem and cause chronic constipation.

Finally, the sedentary lifestyles that we lead today are a major cause for constipation. So, ensure that you including walks and any form of exercise in your routine.

Few Ayurvedic Remedies for relief:

Listed below are some Ayurvedic remedies that can help you find relief from constipation. Most of these are practical tips and remedies that can aid you in your journey of finding relief from constipation.

A teaspoon of ghee at bedtime can help

Ghee is an excellent lubricator. Ayurveda uses ghee in most of its medications. Ghee helps by lubricating your intestinal tract and helping with smooth passage of faeces. Although oil also works on the same principles as ghee, the latter is the healthier option. A teaspoon of coconut or olive oil may also do the trick. You can also add ghee to warm milk and consume at bedtime.

Pay attention to diet

The nutrients in leafy veggies help in muscle contraction, while the fibrous fruits increase the bulk of the faeces. One best way out is to follow a vata-pacifying diet, by keeping away from cold foods and drinks, dried fruits, salads and most beans. Instead, go for warm foods and drinks and well-cooked veggies.

Triphala is the best Ayurvedic remedy

Triphala is one of the most trusted and effective remedies for curing constipation. Have it in the form of tea. Else, grind together quarter teaspoon each of triphala, cardamom seeds and coriander seeds and have twice a day. The glycoside present in Triphala has laxative properties, while coriander and cardamom seeds help treats flatulence and indigestion.

Liquorice root promotes bowel activity

On consultation with your Ayurvedic physician, you can take a teaspoon of powdered liquorice root, and mix it up with warm water, adding a teaspoon of jaggery to it. This helps in improving bowel activity.

Figs soaked in warm water may be beneficial for kids

The high fibre content presence in figs makes it the ideal remedy for constipation, particularly in kids. Figs also helps keep your digestion strong. They could be included as part of daily diet.

Replace regular tea with ginger / mint / dandelion tea

Ginger, being a warming herb can help generate more internal heat, thereby activating the process of digestion. The menthol present in peppermint has an antispasmodic effect that helps relax the muscles in digestive tract, making it easier for the stool to pass through. Dandelion tea has a mild laxative effect too.

Castor oil is a natural laxative

Since ancient days, people have believed in the power of castor oil, which is a popular natural laxative. This oil stimulates small and large intestine. On consuming 1 to 2 teaspoons of the oil on an empty stomach, one can pass stool within 8 hours.

Water for hydration and moderate exercise is a ‘must’

Drinking sufficient quantity of water is a remedy by itself, as water hydrates the body and helps the food move along digestive system. It helps soften the stools too. Ideally you should drink a minimum 8 glasses of water a day. However, do not replace it with any other artificial or sweetened beverage. There is really no substitute to clean and pure water. Also, ensure that you exercise at least half an hour a day to stimulate bowel activity.

Try inverted yoga postures

As mentioned earlier, Ayurveda believes that excess vata disrupts the downward energy that supports elimination and stability. So what is the solution, you ask? Go upside down with inverted postures! Postures such as ‘viparita karani’ (legs up the wall pose) can help reverse the flow of ‘prana’ in the body, and aids better integration. They stimulate the lower belly and helps settle the pelvic organs that may have been disrupting the whole process.

If these simple measures do not work for you, discuss with your Ayurvedic physician if you need to take any internal medications, and the appropriate dosage and course of treatment to help you find relief from constipation.

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Jan 162019

There is an increased demand among the general public for the combined therapy, including Ayurveda, Yoga, Siddha and Homeopathy, for treating Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), said recent reports.

The combined therapy for ASD was initiated at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital (MGMGH) in Tamil Nadu, India, last September, and it has witnessed high demand among the general public ever-since, as at least 25 children with developmental disorders are being treated here every day.

Combined Therapy is a combination of therapies from Ayurveda, Siddha, Yoga, Naturopathy and Varma, and is a one-of-a-kind initiative in Tamil Nadu.

According to officials from AYUSH, the success of integrated therapy is the main reason for the increased demand and acceptance among people. According to the District Shiddha Medical Officer, Dr. S. Kamaraj, if a child with ASD is subjected to this therapy at a very young age (under three years of age), the chances of improvement is very high, and the child will be able to attend normal school by the age four or five, rather than having to go to a ‘special’ school.

When a child is brought for this integrated therapy, the procedure followed is that the child would be taught yoga, followed by mud therapy (using mud pack in eye and abdomen). This is done for improving blood circulation and strengthening of limbs. Thereafter, the child would be provided colour therapy, massage therapy and varma therapy for sensory stimulation.

After these therapies, the child would receive ayurvedic external therapies such as Panchakarma and Shirodhara for improving attention skills. These ayurvedic therapies are provided towards the end of treatment, as it requires a great deal of patience, and this needs to be taught to children with ASD.

Apart from Yoga and Ayurveda, medicines from Siddha and Homeopathy are also included during the course of therapy, as these together may help better the condition of the child, although this cannot be a permanent cure, experts said.

Meanwhile, according to doctors, one major challenge that they face here is that the children with ASD are brought for treatment only after the age of eight, as they refuse to admit that their children have ASD. But, it is important for parents to realize that the more they delay the treatment, the effectiveness of the therapy would also decrease considerably, said Yoga and Naturopathy doctor at MGMGH, Dr. Isai Amuthu.

Delay in speech is commonly seen in children with ASD, and therefore, if the right therapist is hired to provide this therapy too, the results would be best, he said.

Benefits of Ayurveda and Yoga for autistic children

Ayurveda believes that a child, diagnosed with ASD has an increased vata dosha, as the child exhibits symptoms such as difficulty focusing, restlessness, anxiety and trouble learning. Therefore, as part of ayurvedic treatment, a massage (preferably ‘Abhyanga’ or oil massage) is included as a morning routine, before a shower or bath, as it helps reduce excess vata and calms a restless child. When the oil is applied with long brisk strokes, it supports the brain functioning and sensory information. Through the touch and application of oil, the child becomes conscious of the position of his own body.

Although the research on benefits of yoga for those with ASD is still in progress, there are quite a few promising studies that are worth noting. One such study was published in the ‘Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine’.

The study examined the effect of yoga therapy for two months on children in the age group 8 to 14 years. While one group received daily yoga classes, in contrast to the control group. The yoga group showed positive changes in several areas including emotional sensitivity, social interaction, awareness and ability to self-regulate. The other positive change was improved eye contact and verbal communications that helped in interactions with other children and family members. Throughout the session, students were given a sense of safety and relaxation. The therapy sessions used strengthening poses like Trikonasana, Virabhadrasana, Sukhasana, and ‘om mantra’.

Postures such as ‘Shavasana’ help children to self-regulate and calm emotions. Towards the end of study, the yoga group children showed better posture, improved imitation skills and reduced self-stimulatory behaviors.

As children with ASD find it difficult to express themselves, and face problems with communication, majority of them are naturally aggressive, stressed and violent. Research on yoga and Ayurveda have shown that it helps such children considerably by reducing their anxiety levels and aggression. This is a unique mode of treatment, as it is not only effective in modifying their behavioural pattern, but, also helps channelize the extra energy in the right direction. In fact, it is a new mode of healing, as it totally springs out of Indian medicine, and the whole process, although it takes time, has shown effective results, suggest experts.

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Jan 092019

A recent study by Gujarat Ayurveda University in India has concluded that consumption of the ayurvedic shrub ‘Giloy’ (heart-leaved moonseed) increased the lifespan of the common fruit fly. The Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) in India plans to extend the research to humans.

A Study by the University concluded that the flies (Drosophila melanogaster) are among the most extensively studied animal models for understanding the ageing process and longevity.

Generally, the lifespan of flies are not more than 30 days. But, this increased to about 85 days after they were fed concentrations of Giloy powder for 30 days, the study claimed.


The study has been published in the Netherlands-based ‘Wolters Kluwer’, a popular healthcare journal.

The Study has also been approved by the Indian government, due to the results indicated by the primary study, and the need to extend the scope of research to humans.

The Secretary at Ministry of AYUSH, Rajesh Kotecha, revealed plans to tie up with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the largest medical research body in the country, to further expand the scope of the study.

A major research project is further being planned to validate these findings at various levels, Kotecha said.

Research details

For the study, researchers from the Institute for Post-Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Gujarat, said that regular food of flies was mixed with Giloy powder in various concentrations. The flies were exposed to these concentrations for 30 days.

The observation group was fed with 0.25g of Giloy per 100ml concentration, and it was observed that the lifespan of male flies were 83.2 days and that of female flies were 84.8 days respectively. In 0.50g per 100ml concentration, the lifespan of both flies were 33 days. Generally, the lifespan of flies is not more than 29 to 30 days.

Therefore, the study concludes that there is an ideal concentration of the powder that contributes to significant increase in lifespan. This indicates that there is something like a particular concentration level, which causes maximum lifespan extension, the research paper points out.

The concentrations beyond that limit however do not increase the lifespan, and this could be due to the absorption threshold of the powder.
The increased lifespan in flies may be attributed to the high antioxidant properties of the Giloy powder.

Giloy Powder (Guduchi churna)

Giloy powder, known as ‘Guduchi churna’ in Ayurveda, is considered a herb that promotes longevity.

Although the exact mechanism of the action of the herb on enhancing the survival ability of the flies could not be ascertained, it has validated the concept of ‘Vayasthapana’ and ‘Rasayana’ effect of Giloy powder, the paper pointed out.

Rasayana is referred to as a rejuvenation therapy, and it is one of the vital branches of Ayurveda that deals with a group of medical preparations that boost immunity and prevent the cause of several ailments including premature ageing.

Apart from imparting longevity and boosting immunity, Giloy helps treat chronic fever, improves digestion, treats diabetes, reduces stress and anxiety, fights respiratory problems, treats arthritis, reduces symptoms of Asthma, improves vision and given its anti-aging properties, it helps reduce pimples, fine lines and wrinkles and adds a glow to your skin.

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Dec 032018
yoga for cancer treatment

The preliminary results of a recent study, the largest ever multi-centre randomised trial on ‘cardiac rehabilitation and health benefits of yoga’, have revealed that yoga is safe, and offers ‘similar’ benefits as cardiac care that is typically prescribed after surgery.

The study was done in 24 centres across India, and about 4000 patients who were discharged following a heart attack, were monitored. The patients were randomized to undergo a structured ‘Yoga Care’ programme that included meditation, breathing exercises and selective heart-friendly yoga poses, apart from lifestyle advice. The control group were just given conventional lifestyle advice.

Cardiac rehabilitation is usually prescribed for patients following a heart attack and cardiac surgery, to get them back to normal activities. The study lasted for five years, and ended in September 2018.

Funded by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and the Medical Research Council, UK, the results were presented at the meeting of American Heart Association in Chicago last month.

The prevalence of ischemic heart disease in India has grown by more than 50 percent, from 10 million in 1990 to 24 million in 2016. The trial is the largest so far in yoga and cardiac rehabilitation, and has shown that yoga can be an alternative to conventional cardiac rehabilitation programmes. It also meets the needs of cardiac rehabilitation for patients falling into the low income and middle income brackets.

Patients who attended at least 75% of the sessions received the benefits. The results indicate that yoga is safe, comparatively inexpensive and does not require any elaborate infrastructure. It is culturally acceptable and improves quality of life. In fact, independent doctors say that there is also scientific evidence that suggests yoga as being equivalent to conventional cardiac rehabilitation. According to experts, this trial transcends yoga from belief to science-based intervention.

Most people now go on to survive a heart attack, and hence, they can readjust better after such a catastrophic event and make maximum contributions to the society. This is particularly true in India, where heart attacks are seen occurring at a young age, says Prof. Sanjay Kinra, Head, Epidermiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

In recent times, yoga has gained good popularity nationally and internationally as a tool for health promotion, with the United Nations having declared 21st June as International Yoga Day.

Benefits of yoga postures for heart

Cardiac Rehabilitation programs usually combine strength and aerobic exercises with patient education and stress management to improve risk factors and reduce mortality. Such programs can reduce mortality rates by 20% to 25% given their widespread acceptance and adoption to several national, professional management guidelines.
Yoga, on the other hand is the art of relaxing in various postures, while focusing on breathing. This has a positive effect on respiratory system, and hence, affects the heart as well. Yoga is known to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, increase lung capacity, improve heart rate and boost blood circulation. Apart from this, yoga is most effective in dealing with stress, as dealing with stress is vital, particularly, for patients with incidence of heart ailments.

Some beneficial simple yoga postures for good heart health includes Tadasana, Vrikshasana, Hastapadasana, Trikonasana, Veerabhadrasana, Utkatasana, MArjariasana, Adho Mukho Svanasana, Bhujangasana, Dhanurasana, Setubandasana, Salamba Sarvangasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana, Paschimottasana, Shavasana and Anjali Mudra.

Fast paced lifestyles, irregular sleep schedules, and unhealthy food habits have increased the incidence of heart ailments. Therefore, customized yoga exercises for heart patients are natural and desirable. There are specific yoga asanas for heart problems. So discuss with your doctor and yoga practitioner and choose the safer alternative that does not come with any associated side effects. Practice yoga for a healthy heart and live a healthy, hearty life to the fullest.

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Nov 232018
punarnava thazhuthama hogweed

Punarnava (Hogweed) also referred to as Thazhuthama is a popular ayurvedic herb that has been used since time immemorial for its rejuvenating and purifying properties.

Being indigenous to India, the plant grows wild all over the country as a common creeping weed, and is abundant during the rains. The plant grows nearly 2m in length, with the leaves being simple, broad, thick and brittle. The flowers are either purple or white. However, medicinally, the root is the most important part of the herb. It is a bitter, cooling, astringent and purifying herb, but, is highly beneficial in treating various common ailments. The medicinal value of the herb makes it a priceless herb that is capable of rejuvenating the whole body.

Punarnava or Thazhuthama is an ayurvedic remedy, traditionally used in treatment of several diseases, including those of the gastrointestinal tract. Let us take a look at some of the major healing properties of this medicinal herb:

1. Prevents fluid retention

Punarnava is diuretic in nature, which makes it great in curing urinary tract infections. It increases the secretion and discharge of urine. Hence, the herb is a good cure for the treatment of ‘dropsy’, a condition marked by excessive collection of watery fluid in tissues, cavities or natural hollows of the body. Hence, the herb prevents fluid retention in the body. Freshly boiled herb is administered for the treatment of the disease. A liquid extract of the fresh or dry plant can also be administered in doses of 4g to 16gms.

2. Supports respiratory health

Punarnava promotes removal of blockages in mucous membranes and phlegm from the bronchial tubes. Hence, it is beneficial in the treatment of Asthma. The powder of the root can be taken in small dosages thrice a day. It supports overall lung functioning and respiratory health.

3. Aids weight loss

Punarnava is beneficial in treating obesity. Most of the herbal anti-obesity medications have punarnava as an ingredient. The herb aids excretion and removal of excess fluids from the body, without compromising on other electrolytes that are otherwise required by the body. Hence, it is beneficial in your weight loss efforts too.

4. Boosts liver health

Punarnava is helpful in treating certain type of liver diseases caused by ‘Ascites’, thereby helping in maintaining liver health. Ascites is a disease characterised by accumulation of fluid within the peritoneal cavity of the abdomen. It is particularly powerful on the types of ascites that are caused due to liver cirrhosis and chronic peritonitis. It also stimulates secretion of bile, which is vital in keeping the liver healthy.

5. Treats stomach disorders

Punarnava is useful in strengthening the stomach and improving its functioning. It treats several intestinal disorders, including intestinal colic. The powdered root of the herb is administered in dosages of 5grams thrice a day. Furthermore, it kills and expels intestinal worms. Moreover, given the fact that it is a mild laxative, it helps prevent constipation, thereby helping in overall purification of the body.

6. Maintains efficient kidney functioning

Punarnava helps kidneys do their job, as it helps in getting rid of excess toxins, water and fat from the body, thereby ultimately ensuring that all organs are functioning as smoothly as possible. Being a diuretic, there is increased urine output when the herb is used, and hence, it helps in keeping the body clean. Further, regular urination also helps in flushing out the calcium accumulated in the kidneys, thereby preventing formation of kidney stones.

7. Good remedy for urinary tract infections

Urinary Tract Infections are a common condition, experienced by both men and women, particularly seen in women. It is associated with discomforts such as burning sensation when urinating. Punarnava, being anti-microbial, anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory, works as a cure for UTIs clearing infection effectively.

8. Cures certain eye diseases

Our eyes, being extremely sensitive, are susceptible to various diseases and infections at any point of time in our life. Hence, it is necessary to protect them and administer the right cure as and when required. Punarnava plays a major role in protecting our eyes from several types of infections and diseases, including conjunctivitis and night blindness. A few drops of the herbal extract are administered ayurvedic physicians, depending on the eye condition of the patient.

9. Beneficial in managing arthritis

Punarnava is also ideal for managing arthritis, as the herb offers relief from joint pain and muscle inflammation. For this, the herb should be ground into a paste and applied topically. Allow the paste to sit on your skin for as long as you can, as it is unlikely to cause any side-effects on your skin.

10. Treats skin diseases

The root of the herb is an effective remedy for various skin diseases. A paste of the root can be applied topically as dressing for oedematous swellings. The root can be applied as a hot poultice with satisfying results to abscesses, ulcers and other skin diseases. It is also used as an ointment for other skin diseases.

Other uses of Punarnava

Apart from the above-said major health benefits, the uses of this wonderful medicinal herb are plenty. The seeds of Punarnava are beneficial to those suffering from impotence, as it helps increase libido, and revives male reproductive organ, making it a good home remedy for erective dysfunction too. The herb is also helpful in treating general fever, insomnia, tuberculosis, colic, worms, fibroids in women, and being rich in iron, it is beneficial in treating anaemia too.

Note: The herb is administered in various forms depending on the need of the patient. Therefore, it may be effective only if used in the right proportions as specified and guided by an Ayurvedic practitioner.

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Nov 152018
control blood pressure

Diseases can be classified as infectious or lifestyle diseases. While the former is largely due to involvement of external pathogens, lifestyle diseases are often considered preventable, as they are often the result of our own faulty dietary and lifestyle habits. Hence, they are also referred to as lifestyle diseases.

Hypertension belongs to the category of lifestyle diseases. Often referred to as a ‘silent killer’, it is important that you get your blood pressure checked often, and keep it under control. High blood pressure is the result of increase of arterial blood pressure, causing the heart to pump blood into the arteries at a quicker rate and it is detrimental to the overall health of a person.

Ayurveda considers high blood pressure as a result of imbalance of two doshas – vata and pitta. The Ayurvedic treatment for high blood pressure aims to balance these doshas. At times, an imbalanced kapha can also cause high blood pressure.

High blood pressure requires a calculated approach of treatment, and Ayurveda helps you with that. If you are already hypertensive, Ayurveda suggests the following simple lifestyle modifications that may help you in managing your blood pressure in an effective manner.

1. Importance of Dinacharya

Maintaining a proper daily routine (dinacharya) is vital to balance your blood pressure levels. Therefore, remove all unnecessary distractions that come in the way of following a healthy daily routine. Fix a proper sleep-wake schedule, a definite time slot to work-out and meditate. Have a gadget-free time at least one to two hours prior bed time, and sleep early. Also, make it a habit tow ake up early and do any form of mild exercise or yoga. Such a schedule ensures that your body’s natural biorhythm remain balanced and ensure normal blood pressure levels.

2. A good night’s sleep is crucial

A good night’s sleep is vital to ensure that all our body parts are well-rested and ready for the activities of next day. Sleep rejuvenates the tissues of the brain and all parts of the body. Ayurveda believes that a good sleep pattern helps in balancing doshas and also helps in formation of ojas (energy). This is the reason that when you do not get enough rest at night, you may feel more weak or fatigued the next morning. Applying a little sesame oil on your head and soles of the feet during bedtime, can help you have a relaxed sleep. Similarly drinking a cup of lukewarm milk with a pinch of turmeric during bedtime is considered to be beneficial for a good sleep.

3. Avoid stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety are associated with hypertension. Meditate every morning for 15 to 20 minutes, apart from practicing controlled breathing techniques like ‘Bhramari’ and ‘Anulom-vilom’. Meditation fills your mind with positivity and brings peace of mind and calms your body and soul.

4. ‘Abhayanga’ can help

Vitiated vata dosha can cause hypertension. Therefore apart from doing gentle exercises in the morning, practice ‘Abhayanga’ (self-massage) with sesame oil, as it helps in balancing the doshas in the body. Abhayanga is also good in improving circulation in the nervous system and lymphatic vessels. You can do self-massage at home, and once in a few days, get a massage done at a good panchakarma centre.

5. Focus on diet to maintain ideal body weight

A balanced body weight plays a key role in keeping diabetes and blood pressure at bay. To achieve this, avoid eating junk food, packaged and processed foods as they do not have ‘prana’. Substitute them with fresh vegetables and fruits cooked in a healthy manner.

Some dietary modifications to rebalance the vitiated doshas in case of a person with high blood pressure, as suggested by Ayurveda are staying away from triggers and intake of food that helps the body achieve a state of equilibrium. The best way to do this is to follow a vegetarian diet.

Include vegetables such as bitter gourd, parsley, garlic and drumstick, and fruits such as watermelons, guavas, bananas and grapes. Dairy products such as milk, cottage cheese and butter are good additions too.
However, take care to cut down on caffeine, as it is believed to further irritate the system and shoot up the blood pressure.

Similarly reduce intake of salt in the diet, and reduce the amount of cereals and pulses. Also, remember to completely avoid eggs, red meat when trying to balance the doshas and reduce the incidence of high blood pressure attacks.

6. Exercise is a ‘must’

Regular exercise helps in keeping your mind and body healthy, and keeps all diseases at bay. Apart from contributing to the overall wellness of your body, it also helps reduce high blood pressure.

Practice gentle exercises such as brisk walking for 30 minutes. Also include yoga and meditation as part of your morning routine. While breathing techniques and meditation helps by keeping you stress-free, walking has shown to reduce blood pressure and improve heart health.

Apart from recommending these lifestyle modifications to alleviate symptoms of hypertension, there are several herbs prescribed by ayurvedic experts to manage hypertension and protect the internal organs of the body. Some of recommended ones are ‘Gokshura’ (a diuretic and ACE inhibitor), ‘Sarpagandha’, and ‘Gulkand’ (uplifts mood and keeps tension at bay).

Note: Although hypertension is common among people over 50 years of age, the in the present generation several youngsters are seeking treatment for hypertension. Apart from following the suggested lifestyle measures, consult a doctor if you have a blood pressure reading of 140/90 or higher.

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Nov 092018
hair mask

When it comes to hair care, natural is always the best. Herbs help protect the natural texture and sheen of hair when the ingredients are blended in a balanced way, so that they can address specific concerns while also protecting your hair from damage.

With each passing day, our hair comes in contact with several negative triggers, leading to dryness, breakage and damage, and therefore, it becomes essential to restore the moisture and strength of our hair. Dry hair is the root causes of most hair concerns, including dullness and frizz.

Therefore, a nourishing, hydrating hair mask that helps in softening, strengthening and restoring dry, damaged hair becomes essential. Nourishing hair masks can make a huge difference, adding shine and strength to your hair, while also protecting hair from harsh external environment. And, what more can you give your hair, than hair masks with well-formulated ayurvedic ingredients?

In Ayurveda, hair fall or damaged hair occurs due to Pitta imbalance, and hence, several cooling oils and herbs are used in Ayurvedic hair masks. Ayurveda makes use of herbs, flowers, fruits, oils, and nuts in the masks. Further, most herbs used in Ayurvedic hair masks are also good for overall hair health, brain health, memory etc.

Here are a few beneficial Ayurvedic hair masks that may do wonders in adding life to dull or damaged hair:

1. Shikakai , Amla, coconut oil hair mask

The combination of Shikakai and Amla (Indian gooseberry) could be the ideal go-to solution to protect your hair from split-ends and breakage. Both these ingredients are rich in anti-oxidants. While amla helps in keeping your hair healthy fighting off the damage, shikakai, being a rich source of essential vitamins, promotes hair growth by nourishing hair follicles. Coconut oil, strengthens, fortifies, moisturizes, and repairs dry, damaged hair.

How to use:
Mix together a tablespoon each of shikakai and amla powder. Add two tablespoons of heated coconut oil to this and leave the mixture for three hours. On cooling the mixture, strain the oil and directly massage it onto your scalp and leave it on for 30 minutes before rinsing with water. This can be done on weekly basis, and works as a great tonic to maintain a healthy scalp and good hair texture.

2. Bhringraj hair mask

Popularly known as ‘the King of Herbs’, the Ayurvedic herb Bhringraj is beneficial in promoting hair growth. Apart from preventing premature greying, and other hair issues such as alopecia and baldness, Bhringraj reduces hairfall and increases volume of hair.

How to use:
Grind the leaves and extract the juice that is blackish green in colour. Alternatively, you can also purchase the dried Bhringraj leaves available in the market, but, soak them in lukewarm water overnight and use it on the hair next day as a mask. Massage this on your hair, leave it on for 20 minutes and wash off.

3. Amla and Neem hair mask

It may be a good idea to include neem into your hair mask if you need to address issues such as hair lice, boils, dandruff etc. While amla nourishes your hair, the antibacterial properties of neem can help get rid of boils, dandruff and hair lice.

How to use:
Make a paste of fresh neem leaves that has been soaked in lukewarm water overnight. Mix powdered amla to this, and use this as a mask on hair and scalp, leaving it on for 20 minutes before rinsing. Notice the results yourself.

4. Fenugreek and Amla hair mask

Since ancient times, fenugreek has been used for hair growth. It helps in keeping your hair well nourished, apart from keeping the scalp cool, preventing the occurrence of dandruff and dry hair. Together with amla, this can form an effective hair mask.

How to use:
Roast fenugreek seeds slightly, powder it and store in an air-tight jar. To use, soak a cup of this powder together with equal quantity of amla powder in lukewarm water and leave overnight. The next day, use this as a hair mask, leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing off.

5. Hibiscus and fenugreek mask

Hibiscus is amazing for hair health, irrespective of whether it is used fresh or dried. They have high levels of Vitamin A, C, iron, apart from being anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antioxidant in nature. Therefore, preparing hair masks with hibiscus paste, or hibiscus-infused oil, can help prevent dandruff, hair loss, add shine to your hair, conditions hair and promotes hair growth.

How to use:
Both flower and leaves of hibiscus can be used for making a hair mask, although flower may have more nutrients. Make a paste of hibiscus, add in a tablespoon of fenugreek powder or two tablespoon of yogurt and combine well. This mask combats dandruff and prevents premature greying of hair.

6.Reetha (soapnut) hair mask

Reetha has always been considered as natural shampoo, cleanser and conditioner. It helps arrest hair fall, and adds volume and shine to hair. Reetha is also effective in fighting dandruff and dry scalp, while its anti-microbial properties make it effective in fighting head lice too.

How to use:
Take equal parts of Ritha and Shikakai and make a paste. Use this as a mask for 20 minutes and rinse off. Alternatively, take 100gm each of powdered Reetha, Amla and Shikakai and boil in two litre of water, until the quantity reduces to half. Strain this water and use it as shampoo.

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Oct 172018
control blood pressure

Ayurveda and Yoga can help in lowering your blood pressure naturally and quickly, according to latest study.

According to experts, some tweaks in diet, lifestyle and exercise can go a long way in managing blood pressure levels.

In case you are a hypertension patient, with symptoms of high blood pressure, you should take measures to bring it down. The latest figures by the National Family Health Survey states that at least one in eight Indian suffers from high blood pressure in Indian. This lifestyle disease, also referred to as a ‘silent killer’ is rightly named so, as its symptoms can go unnoticed until it gets too late.

Just as is the case with other lifestyle diseases, you need to make a few changes to your lifestyle to protect yourself from this disease. Experts suggest that it is possible to reduce high blood pressure naturally at home. Ayurveda has effective treatments for high blood pressure and its management.

Ayurvedic Medicines

The Senior Director at Birla Ayurveda, Dr. Priyanka Sampat, suggests that Ayurvedic medicines like Sarpagandha, Jatamanasi and Amalaki can be helpful in high blood pressure regulation.

Dry ginger would be a good option if the shoot up in blood pressure is due to untimely food or eating refrigerated food. Herbs such as Malabar Nut (vasa), green potato (Parol) and Silk Cotton Tree (Katankari) can help in combating high blood pressure if it is caused due to poor diet.

In case of associated anxiety or stress, or acidic food intake, Shatavari, lotus and Sandalwood can help immensely.

According to Dr. Sampat, Panchakarma (the five therapies) that helps in clearing body off toxins, can be of great help.

Several psychological and somatic factors need to be taken into consideration when arriving at a treatment method for hypertension, said experts. Milk together with garlic, moringa (drumstick leaves) with honey is advised, similarly, a combination of gokshura, amla, arjuna bark powder decoction or milk preparation, Brahmi, Sarpagandha preparations and Giloy Shankapushpi are said to control blood pressure.


Along with medications, diet is essential to reduce hypertension. Ayurvedic doctors advise patients to avoid excess spicy, sour and salty foods as it can elevate high body temperature, Similarly, ready-to-eat preparations, breads made of refined flour and pickles should be avoided. Untimely food habits, excessive eating after sunset, and eating refrigerated food items should be avoided.

Include whole wheat, moong, fruits, ghee, garlic and milk into your diet. Consume only warm and fresh food and avoid over eating. Have an early dinner, and try and include sweet, bitter and astringent foods as they help in clearing pitta and reducing pitta impurities.

It is best to adhere to fat and oil-free diet, as it may aggravate vata and kapha in the body. Drink sufficient water at specified intervals, include more greens in your diet, consume plenty of drumsticks, tomatoes, flaxseeds, carrots, watermelon, red cabbage, beetroot, apple and water melon.


Some specific yoga postures can help you greatly in maintaining normal blood pressure levels. These include Pranayama, Anuloma Viloma, Shavasana, Veerabhadrasana, Vajrasana, and Bhujangasaa. Among these, Pranayama and Meditation play a major role in managing hypertension.


Simple meditation techniques such as Kevala Kumbhaka, or breath awareness helps in reducing high BP.

Make some lifestyle modifications for a healthy life and avoid hypertension. Among these are avoid staying up in the night, sleeping just after meals, bingeing, having late night meals, consumption of tobacco and alcohol, getting angry easily, and excessively exerting yourself.

Finally, an inevitable part of ayurvedic treatments for any skin condition is daily and seasonal routines of managing hypertension, waking up before sunrise, drinking 4 glasses of water at room temperature, gargling with sesame oil, doing exercises and yoga in the morning and continuing with meditation.

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Oct 052018
frozen shoulder treatments ayurveda

More often than not, we tend to shrug off shoulder pain and stiffness by popping a painkiller. But, it is important to be aware that a frozen shoulder can gradually advance to make it impossible for you to carry on with your routine tasks. Therefore, it is important to take any shoulder discomfort seriously in the budding stage, to prevent major problems later on. Repeated self-medication for a minor shoulder pain can ultimately make you land at a point that is something more serious, such as a frozen shoulder.

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen Shoulder is a chronic painful stiffness of the shoulder joint. Generally, it involves pain and stiffness that develops gradually, gets worse and sensitive. Frozen shoulder is sometimes mistaken for arthritis, but, these two conditions are unrelated. While frozen shoulder involves specifically the shoulder joint and surrounding tissue, arthritis refers to multiple joints.

A Frozen shoulder can occur in any one shoulder or both. Frozen shoulder usually develops in three stages, with each stage lasting several months. In the initial state, any movement of your shoulder could cause pain, with the movement of your shoulder getting limited.

As it advances, the pain may begin to diminish, but your shoulder gets stiffer and it becomes increasingly difficult to use it. Even when the pain subsides, the stiffness could be disabling. This condition may stop you from reaching over your head to the side, or across your chest and from rotating your arm all the way, making it impossible for you to scratch your back etc.

Finally, in its final stages, the range of motion in your shoulder may begin to improve, but, you may experience worsening pain at night, disrupting sleep patterns.

What causes a frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder can occur to anyone, but commonly affects people in the age group 40 to 60 years, and is more likely in women than in men.

A frozen shoulder occurs when the connective tissue capsule around the joint thickens, restricting its movement. It can occur following an injury or a surgery, stroke, in people with diabetes, heart disease, thyroid issues or lung disease. In Ayurveda, it is believed to be caused due to aggravation of vata dosha and a vata and kapha imbalance.

What do experts say?

According to health experts, there are possibilities that frozen shoulder may seriously interfere with a person’s ability to perform daily tasks such as bathing or dressing.

Doctors, therefore, say that pain and stiffness in the shoulder should never be ignored. It may take anywhere between one year to three years to recover from the condition, depending upon its severity.

Ayurvedic approach to treating a frozen shoulder

In Ayurveda, frozen shoulder is referred to as ‘Apabahuka’. Ayurvedic doctors suggest several approaches to successfully treat a frozen shoulder. Ayurveda, being a personalized health science, the treatment for each case of frozen shoulder may be different. It is important to identify the root cause, and based on that, treatment is recommended which would be a combination of herbal concoctions, churnas, guggulu preparations and herbo-mineral rasa medicines that help pacify the aggravated vata dosha, which is believed to be the primary reason behind this condition.

‘Panchakarma Therapy’ is also believed to play a vital role in treating this condition, as it helps unlock the restricted movement of the shoulder through medicated lubrication and fomentation. The herbal enemas used in this procedure helps in bringing back the vata dosa to a balanced state.

Ayurveda has several effective internal medications and external treatments for frozen shoulder. However, it should be administered only after meeting a qualified Ayurvedic physician, as he will be able to prescribe the right therapies based on your particular body type and condition.

Ayurvedic home remedies and treatments:

  • Warm coconut oil or sesame oil with camphor and apply on affected area for pain relief, followed by warm compress. Although the result is slow-paced, it would be effective.
  • Add 3 to 4 crushed garlic cloves in half a glass of boiled milk, or consume a teaspoon of sesame oil with warm water every morning.
  • Add Epsom salt to warm water and use it for fomentation to relax shoulder muscles.
  • If your condition is caused due to increased blood sugar level, herbs such as ‘Haridra’ and ‘Amalaki’ powder may be helpful in controlling the sugar levels.
  • Turmeric and Alfalfa may help in relieving inflammation and repairing the shoulder tissue. Some specific Ayurvedic medicines such as ‘Varunadhi Kwatha’ decoction (30ml twice a day before food), ‘Simhanada Guggula (1 tablet twice a day after food) and ‘Lasunadi Rasayana’, may be suggested for effective pain relief, depending on your individual condition.

Some lifestyle measures to follow:

  • Avoid all vata-aggravating diets and lifestyle practices
  • Avoid use of any form of stimulant such as tea, coffee or alcohol.
  • Avoid frozen food, fast food, carbonated drinks, stale food, white flour and packaged food.
  • Avoid heavy exercises, heavy weight lifting, untimely sleep-wake hours and exposure to cold environments for too long.
  • Do not skip meals. Eat only fresh lukewarm foods.
  • Practice shoulder-strengthening exercises.
  • Drinking a powdered mixture of dried ginger, fenugreek and carom seeds, by mixing it in lukewarm water after meals is effective in offering relief.
  • Include Ashwagandha as a supplement, as it provides effective relief.
  • Massage the affected area with lukewarm oil twice a day.
  • Use ice pack on the shoulder 15 minutes at a time several times a day, as it helps decrease the pain.

Finally, remember, the onset of most diseases are due to faulty diet and lifestyles. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a healthy mind and body by eating nutritious food, sleeping on time, avoiding sedentary lifestyle and exercising.

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Jan 022018

‘Trataka’ is a Hatha Yoga method to develop concentration. It is a simple, yet powerful practice, which form part of the six purification methods in Hatha Yoga. The technique involves gazing or fixing the eyes on one point, either on an object or on a candle flame.

Scientifically, the practice of Trataka, involves the movement of eyeballs, which in-turn reflects our thinking process. When we concentrate on an object, our thoughts are focused on that alone, and everything else may vanish. The eyeballs too become steadier. There is a definite link between our eyeball movement and mental state. This is the principle that is applicable when practising Trataka. When we compulsorily fix our gaze on a particular point, we can induce a steady concentrated mind. Our thoughts become less turbulent, and our mind can be brought under control.


The practice is done with open eyes focused on an external object, which then progresses into internal practice, and to gazing the void. There are many types of Trataka. Practitioners use various objects for doing steady gazing. These may be ‘flame of a candle’, ‘a black dot on the wall’, ‘the crystal ball’, ‘the picture of your favourite diety’, ‘the sun or the moon’, etc. However, the most commonly followed technique is gazing on the candle flame.

  • Sit straight in a relaxed manner on the floor or on a chair.
  • Place a burning candle, or the object you wish to focus on, at a distance of one or two feet away from the eyes. However, ensure that the candle flame is at the same level as that of the eyes, so that you can gaze straight at the flame without having to tilt your head upwards or downwards.
  • Now keep your body steady and gaze at the bright spot of the flame just above the wick. Do not focus on the top of the flame, as the flame may flicker and you will lose focus.
  • Gaze at the flame without blinking the eyes. With practice, you can progress from few seconds to few minutes without blinking. With practice, you will notice that you are aware only of the flame, while the rest of the field including the body goes into oblivion. The practice time should only gradually build from few seconds to minutes.
  • When your eyes get tired, slowly close the eyes and relax. Sometimes the eyes may water. Keep the eyes closed till the strain is relieved. Try to see the image of the flame in the space in front of the forehead. View this internal flame as long as it appears.
  • Now, slowly open the eyes. You may blink a few times to relieve any strain.
  • • Repeat this process a few times.


  • A candle is the preferred object, as fire is like a magnet for eyes and mind. It leaves a clear after-image in the mind.
  • After practicing with a candle for a couple of weeks, you can break from the practice and swap to another object.
  • It is advisable not to practice trataka for more than 10 minutes, unless you have an experienced teacher to guide you.
  • Ensure that the object you are focusing on is at eye level and is clearly visible without any blurr. It can also be practiced wearing your glasses.
  • If practising this using a candle, make your room completely dark, and ensure that there is no wind. For other objects dim light is preferred. The source of light should be behind you.
  • Try not to blink, but don’t try too hard. Do not strain your eyes. In case you experience discomfort, then blink the eyes and continue the practice. But don’t move the pupils.

Benefits of Trataka

  • Through the practice of Trataka, the attention and power of the mind is channelled in a continuous stream. It is considered as a highly effective concentration technique. In fact, the ancient yoga manuals say that ‘Trataka’ destroys eye diseases and removes sloth.
  • Trataka is good for the eyes. It strengthens the muscles surrounding the eyes, helps in getting rid of mild eye problems like short sightedness etc.
  • Trataka prevents insomnia. Practice of Trataka a few minutes before sleep can actually improve the quality of sleep.
  • More than anything, Trataka completely removes distractions in the mind. It makes the mind calm, steady, and increases concentration immensely.
  • Trataka practice also helps improve memory. Therefore, it is highly recommended for school children.
  • It develops intuition, the ability to visualise and develops willpower.
  • Trataka is also believed to improve mental and nervous stability, improves cognitive functioning, calms anxiety, balances the activity of two hemispheres of the brain, improves vision in the dark, instils self-confidence and patience, and has a soothing effect on the cranial nerves.

This exercise is not suitable for people with psychic problems. Therefore, those who suffer from Schizophrenia or hallucinations should not practice Trataka. Also do not practice trataka on a candle if you have cataract, glaucoma, myopia, astigmatism or epilepsy.

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Dec 222017
ashwagandha herb

Do you suffer from insomnia or poor quality of sleep? A popular ancient herb, widely used in Ayurvedic treatments, often referred to as the king of herbs, namely, Ashwagandha, was used for centuries in Ayurvedic line of treatment to promote sound sleep, say Indian researchers.

Their study showed that an active component of Ashwagandha leaves, ‘Triethylene glycol (TEG)’, reduces sleep related disorders. According to Mahesh K. Kaushik from the University of Tsukuba in Japan, the research team investigated the effect of various components of Ashwagandha (somnifera) on sleep in mice and recorded the electroencephalogram and electromyography. It was noticed that Ashwagandha significantly induces sleep and may revolutionise the natural plant-based therapies for insomnia and sleep-related disorders.

A water extract of the leaf of the plant, rich in TEG increased non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and slightly changed rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.

On the contrary, the alcoholic extract containing active withanolides showed no impact on sleep, while the sleep induced by TEG was as good as normal sleep. Further, TEG which is commercially available increased the amount of NREM sleep.
Therefore, the researchers concluded that TEG is the active component that induces physiologically sound sleep. Sleeplessness and other sleep disorders like restless leg syndrome are common complaints among the middle-aged population.

Insomnia is one of the most common neuropsychiatric disorders with an estimated 10 to 15 percent seen in general population, and 30 to 60 percent seen in elderly population. Insomnia is closely linked to certain other diseases including cardiovascular diseases, obesity, depression, anxiety, mania deficits etc.

The otherwise available over-the-counter medications for synthetic drugs often show severe side effects.

On the other hand, Ashwagandha crude powder with significant amount of TEG can help immensely in better sleep, without any associated side effects, researchers concluded.

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Dec 012017

Winter is usually a difficult season for majority of our elderly folks. This is the season of the year when their Arthritis pain will be at its peak. Arthritis refers to joint pain or joint disease, due to inflammation of joints, affecting one or multiple joints.

Symptoms of arthritis are often seen in adults over 60 years of age. The cold weather further adds to excessive pain, stiffness and swelling in joints. Although there is no permanent cure to this condition, Ayurveda recommends some herbs that can help relieve joint pain. These herbs stem inflammation and help the body in its detoxifying efforts.

According to Ayurvedic experts, hot water fomentation is an excellent therapy to relieve Arthritis pain, as it soothes your joints and helps in better functioning. But, this may help only in mild cases. Although, the kind of medicines or herbs to be used may vary from one individual to another, depending on their severity and other health conditions, given below are some common herbs used by the majority for management of arthritis pain.


This is among the most common herbs used for relief from joint pain. The plant also helps in reducing inflammation and excess pain, as it has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-convulsing properties. The leaves of the plant carry medicinal value, followed by the stem and seeds. Nirgundi oil can be applied on joints. Or, make a paste of the leaves and apply, or make a decoction with the leaves. But, Nirgundi oil is the most effective form for arthritic pain. Apply the oil on affected area and leave it for 10 to 15 minutes before washing in lukewarm water. It is more beneficial to apply nirgundi oil before bath to reduce inflammation and pain.

Burdock Root (Arctium lappa)

Burdock contains fatty oils, apart from the presence of sterols and tannins, which makes it a good anti-inflammatory. You can add burdock in your stir-fry recipes, or make decoction (by adding the root to boiling water and allowing it to simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and drink this lukewarm water thrice or four times a day). The herb is also available in capsule form.


There is no herb, which is as effective as an anti-inflammatory herb, as turmeric. It is also a great pain reliever. It contains curcumin, which decreases inflammation. This anti-inflammatory effect is also the reason behind turmeric being often recommended for treatment of cancer, cataract and Alzheimer’s. However, to get the full medicinal benefits of turmeric, you will have to take it as a supplement, apart from adding to your daily diet. The herb can also be used topically to relieve pain.


Ginger, which is usually found in every household, has excellent antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps reduce joint pain and swelling. It improves blood circulation too. So it would do good to sip on ginger tea regularly. Also, its essential oil can be applied externally for relief from pain and inflammation.


Ajwain (carom seeds) is a natural aid to arthritis pain, as it has excellent anti-inflammatory properties. The presence of anaesthetic properties in ajwain helps in relieving excessive pain during winter. Add a spoonful of carom seeds into a tub of hot water. Soak your aching joints in the water and sit for 5 to 10 minutes. This will help ease pain and inflammation. This will help in cases of mild pain. Another option is to crush the seeds, make a paste and apply on the affected areas. You can do this, along with drinking ajwain water every day.


Dashmool is a mix of ten medicinal herbs that helps cure variety of ailments. Dashmool (also known as dashamoolam) is an effective anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, and sedative, and helps cure joint pain effectively. It is available in the form of oil and powder.


The herb keeps your joints strong and relieves pain and inflammation. It improves mobility too. It is used by Ayurvedic physicians as a substitute to pain killers. It is available in the form of essential oil and in the form of powder.


Eucalyptus oil is a popular herbal remedy for arthritis. The tannin, present in the leaves of the plant, helps reduce inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. Moreover, the aroma of eucalyptus oil has a calming effect on the brain, while the oil helps relieve the pain and swelling in the joints.


Due to the presence of Omega-3 in abundance in flax, it helps build immunity and fights inflammation. Include two tablespoons of flaxseeds into your daily diet. However, people with digestive conditions like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), should avoid it, as it may aggravate their condition.

Note: Although these herbs help in relieving pain associated with arthritis, it is important to consult your doctor before taking any ayurvedic medicines.

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Nov 232017

For those visiting Kerala, a new tourism programme, titled ‘AyurBodha’, a blend of tourism and information on Ayurveda, would be available. The programme was launched at the World Travel Mart (WTM) in London.

The programme was launched by the Tourism Minister of the State, Kadakampally Surendran. The new offering is from the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC), and those opting for this programme can stay at any of the KTDC resorts located in pristine parts of Kerala, and learn about Ayurveda, the ancient medicinal stream.

The focus would be mainly on basic home remedies and diet regimes, ayurvedic practices for rejuvenation of body and soul, secrets of pressure points, basics of Panchakarma treatment, and history and use of medicinal plants.
The visitors would also get a certificate for having gained the knowledge of Ayurveda.

Speaking on ‘AyurBodha’, the minister said, Ayurveda is a unique initiative and has the potential to increase visitor numbers to Kerala. The KTDC has some of the best ayurveda practitioners for the initiative.

The ‘AyurBodh’ is a 15-day package, priced at $100 per day per person. It includes accommodation and complimentary breakfast. The location is chosen based on one’s preference.

The WTM held from 6th to 9th November this year, was one of the largest of its kind events in the world, and it involves participation of more than 51,000 travel professionals and key industry buyers from around the world.

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Nov 142017

We often refer to certain foods as ‘superfoods’, not because they are exotic or out-of-reach, but because they carry immense health value and grow in our own backyards. Ayurveda suggests that watching what you eat is the first step to remaining healthy.

Ayurveda practitioner, Dr. Rahul Dogra of the Kairali Ayurvedic Group, an institution dedicated to Ayurvedic research and healthcare, says that as per Ayurvedic dietary habits, the food eaten should have at least one of the six tastes – sweet, sour, bitter, salty, pungent and astringent.

The right foods promote ‘sattva’(purity), helps in body detox and rejuvenates the body as well, thereby resulting in improved immunity, physical and mental strength and digestion.

If you wish to remain healthy by adopting such a diet, you should stop temporary crash diet, and ensure that you consume the Ayurvedic superfoods mentioned here. Here are five superfoods that can be used on a daily basis, and they can transform your health in a miraculous manner.

Ginger – Anti-inflammatory

Although Ginger is thought to be the best remedy for effective treatment of coughs and cold, it is much more than that. It is referred as a superfood, as it is one of the best anti-inflammatory in the world. In Ayurveda, it is referred to as ‘Vishwasbeshajam’ which means ‘universal medicine’.

Add ginger to anything you cook, or just boil a few chunks of ginger in hot water and sip it during the day to reduce body inflammation. In the current day, inflammation is the root cause of all disease. Inflammation could be due to various reasons including stress, modern-day lifestyles, junk food, and environmental toxins. Try increasing your intake of ginger and notice inflammation getting under control.

Pepper – for better absorption

This pungent spice often goes well with any dish. Apart from the usual health values of pepper well-known to all, did you know that pepper helps in easy absorption of any herb into the body? In fact, even turmeric does not get absorbed by the body, if not accompanied by pepper. Pepper contains several important minerals like manganese, iron, copper and calcium. It aids digestion and melts away fat that is accumulated in the body. The popular ‘Trikatu churnam’ in Ayurveda is a combination of ginger, pepper and long pepper, is safe for all to take. This churnam can even be sprinkled over salads, sandwiches or lemonade or hot water. This potent combination can prevent the body from inflammation, and does more good when taken with turmeric.

Amla (Indian gooseberry) – Antioxidant

Amla, better known as the Indian gooseberry, has carved its niche in the healthcare segment, owing to its powerful antioxidant properties. It is a digestive tonic, cleanses the colon, and removes excess heat from the body. It is a rich source of Vitamin C and calcium too.

The ‘Vamana Purana’ says that if we had absolutely nothing to eat, except the ‘Amla’, we can survive by drinking the fruit juice. It contains all six tastes, and can be used by people of whatever body constitution (vata, pitta or kapha), to balance the doshas in the body.

In Ayurveda, Amla is referred to as ‘Dhatri’, comparing to our Mother, due to its nourishing and life-giving property. It rejuvenates the body, tones up tissues and strengthens internal organs. It increases the life energy (Prana Shakti) in the body, due to its calming and soothing effect on the brain.

Amla can be included as part of daily diet by either eating it in its raw form, or added to any dish that we prepare, or just enjoy it in the form of a tea.

Turmeric – Immunity booster

The benefits of this wonderful spice are now well-known to all. Here, it is referred to as ‘superfood’, as it is an immunity booster, liver cleanser and is now found to be a good alternative herb for people undergoing cancer treatment. However, for better absorption, turmeric should be taken with black pepper. In case your immunity is low, or if you have poor liver functioning, or are undergoing treatment for cancer, then about 1000mg of curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) is necessary to derive its complete benefits. However, ensure that you add pepper along with turmeric when consuming.

Neem – for purifying blood

Ayurveda refers to neem as an excellent blood purifier, detoxifier and cleanser. Acne, dermatitis and other skin diseases are believed to be when the blood is acidic, but, neem makes the blood alkaline. Just take two neem leaves, crush between your fingers, put them in a cup of water, and infuse for two minutes in hot water and sip it. There are other complex ayurvedic preparations that contain neem elements. Neem also helps control various allergic conditions and skin infections, and imparts natural health to the skin. Neem also has plenty of medicinal properties.

It is used to combat tiredness, fever, cough, loss of appetite, worm infestations, vomiting, excessive thirst, reduces high blood pressure, reverses gum disease, treat arthritis, diabetes, liver disease, and malaria. Neem removes toxins from the blood, and prevents damages caused by free radicals in the body by neutralizing them.

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Nov 022017

Do you feel sleepy or sluggish all the while? Poor stress management and digestion are two major causes for your condition. According to Ayurveda, ‘digestive fire’ or ‘agni’ is the foundation for overall health, and your energy level is directly related to how strong or weak your ‘agni’ is.

Women are prone to suffer from low energy levels than men, due to various reasons like menstrual cycle, pregnancy, childbirth, lactation etc. Women also tend to develop disorders like anaemia, osteoporosis, thyroid problems etc. Ayurvedic herbs are a wonderful option for maintaining women’s health and stamina.
One of the first steps towards fuelling your digestive fire is to drink warm water with a dash lemon as your first drink of the day. But, when toxins get deeply lodged, ayurvedic supplements with the following herbs can play a major role in fighting fatigue and boosting energy levels. They also play a major role in improving immune system functions.


Ashwagandha helps to co-ordinate the main stress response axis in the body. This wonder herb is an adaptogen, implying, it helps your body adapt to stress. Ashwagandha helps by supporting the adrenal glands in response to stress. The herb brings back healthy hormonal balance. It promotes release of hormones that improve digestion and enable smooth absorption of nutrition. The hormones maintain healthy sleeping pattern, sharpen brain functions to improve over-all health of a person. For women, the herb helps in regulating menstrual cycle and curbs symptoms associated with menopause, helping them to maintain energy and stamina. Ashwagandha is one of the best ayurvedic herbs to increase energy levels.


Brahmi, literally means ‘energy’ or ‘shakti’. It helps in co-ordinating brain’s response to stress. Rather, it can help dampen the impact of stress on the brain, so that, the brain functions optimally. Brahmi is considered to be an energy food that helps us deal with tiredness, particularly, because it improves our mental clarity and alertness and other mental processes like attention, memory, and general cognitive function. Once mental clarity is achieved, people generally feel energetic and carry on with their normal day-to-day activities.

In fact, Ashwagandha and Brahmi, when taken together, can typically offer the best effect.


Triphala is one of the most commonly used digestive rasayanas or rejuvenating tonics that promote healthy digestion. Inflammation and toxins can form a barrier in your gastrointestinal tract, which makes absorption of nutrients difficult, leading to fatigue. Triphala reduces inflammation in the intestinal tract, and also removes toxins from your body, thereby improving nutrient absorption. Triphala can be consumed in the form of powder with warm water, or as a pill.


Shilajit is also known as a vitality enhancer and an anti-ageing herb for both men and women. It supplements a range of nutrients, increases frequency of energy producing reactions in body. The herb cures several disorders, helps in secretion of healthy hormones, and helps in management of healthy cholesterol and sugar levels. It protects organs from ageing, and boosts immunity. Due to its efficacy in improving energy levels, Shilajit is referred to as ‘queen of herbs’.


This women-friendly herb is a boon for women, as it rejuvenates the entire body and reproductive system. It increases the body’s healing power and maintains stamina and energy levels. Being a nutritive and an efficient hormone balancer, it provides sound physical and mental health. Shatavari revitalizes kidney functioning, and thus, straightens immune system. It flushes out toxins from the body, helps with energy flow and gives us a boost of fresh energy when consumed.

Apart from taking herbal supplements, do not forget to drink enough water, as this can help fuel the digestive fire in a natural way, giving you a natural energy boost.

(Note: Any of these ayurvedic herbs should be taken only on discussion with an Ayurvedic practitioner and in appropriate dosages.)

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Sep 222017

Hatha yoga is a combination of asanas, pranayams and meditation. Practise of Hatha Yoga for a minimum of 25 minutes daily, coupled with mindfulness meditation, boosts brain functioning and energy levels significantly, as per latest study.

The study showed that Hatha Yoga, together with mindfulness meditation improved the brain’s executive functions, cognitive abilities linked to goal-directed behaviour and the ability to control knee-jerk emotional responses, habitual thinking patterns and actions.

Hatha Yoga and mindfulness meditation, both focus the brain’s conscious processing power on a limited number of targets like breathing, and also reduces processing of nonessential information, said Peter Hall, the Associate Professor at Canadian University. These two functions help people to focus better on what they choose to attend in daily life.

Hatha Yoga is one of the most common styles of yoga practised in the west, which involves physical postures and breathing exercises, combined with meditation.

Mindfulness meditation, on the other hand, involves focusing on thoughts, emotions and body sensations with openness and acceptance.

In the study, the participants completed 25 minutes of Hatha Yoga, mindfulness meditation and quiet reading in randomised order. It was found that Hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation considerable improved their energy levels. However, Hatha Yoga significantly had more powerful effects than meditation alone.

Ayurvedic herbs to boost brain functioning

‘Shankapushpi’ is considered one of the best herbs for supporting brain and mental functioning. It improves memory, calms the mind and is believed to improve tolerance to mental stress. Therefore, this herb is often considered to be the giver of great mental power and bliss.

‘Brahmi’ helps in keeping the mind calm and balanced. Several scientific studies have shown that Brahmi can improve learning and memory, while also providing antioxidant support for the brain.

‘Gotu Kola’ is considered one of the best herbs in improving memory. Likewise, Gotu Kola also contains an acid that is a potent inhibitor for formation of amyloid plaques, otherwise seen in Alzheimer’s disease.

Some foods to boost brain functioning:

A handful of seeds and nuts, eaten daily increases brain power considerably. The pumpkin seeds, for instance, are loaded with zinc that play a vital role in sharpening your memory. Walnuts, which are a rich source of omega-3 also has essential nutrients for brain functioning and improving memory skills.

Black currants, citrus fruits, leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, peanuts, and all foods rich in vitamin C and B can boost your brain power.

It is said that berries when eaten regularly helps in delaying age-related memory decline. On consuming wholegrains, energy is released in the body in the form of sugar, which helps our brain to function properly.

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Sep 062017

Yoga can complement traditional therapies and help in reducing symptoms of depression, claims researchers at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Centre in the United States.

According to Lindsey Hopkins from the San Francisco Medical Centre, yoga is highly popular in the West, and majority of the new yoga practitioners have confirmed stress-reduction and other mental health concerns as the primary reason for practicing yoga.

In the study, presented at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association in Washington DC, the team of researchers explored the antidepressant effects of ‘Hatha Yoga’ and ‘Bikram Yoga’, in a series of experiments.

For this, 23 males participated in the ‘Hatha Yoga’ classes twice a week for eight weeks, while 52 women participated in ‘Bikram Yoga’ classes for eight weeks. Both the methods led to considerable reduction in depression symptoms and improved quality of life, optimism, cognitive and physical functioning.

With increased participation in yoga classes, the more the participants noticed the lowering of their depressive symptoms, the study showed, said Maren Nyer, PhD from Massachusetts General Hospital.

Further, the researchers also considered the potential of yoga to address chronic and/or treatment-resistant depression in two separate studies. The first study involved 12 patients, who had experienced depression for at least 11 years, who participated in nine weekly yoga sessions of nearly 2.5 hours each.

The second study comprised of 74 mildly depressed patients (university students), involving comparison of yoga with a relaxation technique. Results showed that yoga significantly lowered depression, anxiety and stress, the researchers said.

According to Nina Vollbehr, Centre for Integrative Psychiatry in Netherlands, studies suggest that yoga-based interventions have a promise for depressed mood and that they are feasible for patients with chronic, treatment-resistant depression.

However, Hopkins says that research on yoga as a treatment for depression is still in preliminary stages. Therefore, currently, yoga can be recommended as a complementary approach, which could be very effective in conjunction with standard approaches by a licensed therapist.

Although yoga cannot be a ‘cure-all’, it does have a lot of potential, Hopkins concluded.

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