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 302017

Let me tell you the truth.

One of these Ayurvedic hair oils is certainly going to rescue your hair!

Hair loss and thinning hair, baldness, dandruff and scalp problems, split ends and premature graying of hair are common hair problems. If you suffer from any of these woes, then it is time to reconsider your regular hair oil for an ayurvedic hair oil.

Coconut oil is known to be the best for hair. And herbal infused coconut oil? Even better! If you are wondering what exactly is an Ayurvedic Hair Oil, then I am going to tell you exactly that. For that, let me address your queries one by one.

 What might be the reason for your hairfall?

  • Stress: stress relates to about 30% of the total causative factors of hairfall. This can be temporary unless you take a serious step in managing your stress levels. “When you have a really stressful event, it can shock the hair cycle, (pushing) more hair into the shedding phase,” explains Marc Glashofer, MD, a dermatologist in New York City.
  • Genetic factors: Genes play a role in the hair fall as well. This is likely to happen in the middle age or later years.Unlike men, women don’t tend to have a receding hairline, instead their part may widen and they may have noticeable thinning of hair. But this can be kept in control if one applies oil on the hair and takes care of the roots.
  • Hormonal changes : This might be a major issue especially if you are a female. Generally women with PCOS, Hypothyroidism. Hair fall is also very common during pregnancy as there is a shift in the normalcy of the hormones. Also hair fall is reported with the women using oral contraceptives and the reason is hormones again!
  • Nutritional deficiencies: Anemia and deficiency of vitamin E and B are known to cause hair fall and it is reversible.
  • Chemotherapy and other drugs: Some of the drugs used to beat back cancer unfortunately can also cause your hair to fall out. “Chemotherapy is like a nuclear bomb,” says Dr. Glashofer. “It destroys rapidly dividing cells. That means cancer cells, but also rapidly dividing cells like hair.” Certain other classes of medication may also promote hair loss. More common among them are certain blood thinners and the blood-pressure drugs known as beta-blockers. Other drugs that might cause hair loss include methotrexate (used to treat rheumatic conditions and some skin conditions), lithium (for bipolar disorder), non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including ibuprofen, and possibly antidepressants.
  • Styling products: This is an inevitable cause indeed. Hair fall and dandruff occurs to the harsh chemicals in the shampoos, hair dyes, serums, styling products and chemicals used for smoothening or rebonding the hair.

How does Ayurveda explain hair loss?

According to Ayurveda, hair loss (fall) occurs due to excess of Vata. This vata aggravation is in the site of kapha (as head is the site of kapha). The treatment principle therefore adopted is to regulate Vata and strengthen Kapha. It can also occur due to rasa vaha srotodushti which is blockages in the channels carrying the rasa/lymphatic fluid leading to undernourishment of the hair follicles. (I know that’s a bit of techy! But that’s how serious Ayurveda is about hair loss.) A hair oil is selected depending on the root cause of hair fall.


  • Loss of clumps of hair from your scalp
  • Excessive thinning of your hair/ receding hairline – you may confirm this from your past photographs.
  • Unexplained loss of hair from any part of the body
  • Incomplete hair loss on the scalp and/or eyebrows
  • Flakes or skin on the scalp
  • Dry scales or dust falling to your shoulders
  • Acne on the fore head region
  • Itchy scalp.
  • Unusual change in the colour of the hair.
  • Splits at the end of the hair giving it a rough and shabby look


Do’s and Don’ts for a healthy hair


  • Use a mild herbal based shampoo
  • Prefer a natural hair colour such as henna or Bringaraj to synthetic hair dyes.
  • Take nutritious diet and drink enough water
  • Make oiling your hair as a part of your routine
  • Keep your stress levels down
  • Identify and treat your underlying health issue.


  • Tying the hair tight for a long time. This might damage the shaft of the hair
  • Rubbing your hair when it is wet because wet hair is the most vulnerable to damage
  • Using a lot of hair styling products and creams
  • Overuse of blow dryers and straighteners
  • Alcohol, soda and smoking
  • Usage of oral contraceptives
  • Using combs or hair brushes used by another person.

Recommended diet for a healthy hair

A balanced diet with carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and fats is essential. Some food stuffs that are beneficial include

  • Amla
  • Curry leaves
  • Eggs
  • Walnuts, Almonds and Raisins
  • Lentils
  • Spinach
  • Yogurt
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Bananas
  • Guavas
  • Green tea

Foods to avoid:

  • Sugary drinks/soda/alcohol
  • Strong tea and coffee
  • Fast food
  • Low carb/Low protein/ Low fat diet

Recommended Lifestyle changes

  • Get enough sleep of around 6-7 hours preferably during the night.
  • Regular exercise and healthy sleep habits will increase circulatory and overall health, promoting healthy hair.
  • Take measures to beat the stress.
  • Make oiling the hair a routine and wash it with a very mild herbal based shampoo.
  • Use natural dyeing products like Bringaraj, Amla, Hareetaki and henna.
  • Limit grooming. Do not over brush your hair.
  • Avoid exposure to chlorinated or excessively salty water.
  • Protect your hair from pollution and the sun when you step out.
  • Don’t smoke. According to one report, smokers were four times more likely to have grey hair than non-smokers and were more prone to hair loss.
  • Practice Bhramri pranayam, Uttanasana, Pavanamuktasana, shirasasana, Vajranasana and Ushtrasana helps in increasing the blood circulation to the scalp and helps in hair growth.
  • Love your hair. Gently massage the cuticles, hair shaft and the roots with your finger tips to improve blood circulation and to maintain a healthy hair.

What should you look for in an Ayurvedic hair oil if you have hair problems?

Bhringaraja (Eclipta alba), Amlaki (Emblica officinalis), Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellerica), Aswagandha (Withania somnifera), Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) and daruharidra (Berberis aristata),  are the main herbs used in most of the Ayurvedic oils.

  • Bhringaraja– Also known as Kesharaja or kesharanjan due to its unique quality to strengthen the hair roots and to impart colour to the hair at the same time. Tis herb helps prevent hair fall, rejuvenates the hair and restores the natural colour of hair. It is known to prevent split ends. It also makes hair more manageable and brings damaged hair back to life.
  • Amla(Amlaki/Indian gooseberry) reduces all the aggravated doshas by balancing them. Amla is a rejuvenator to the body so it does the same to the hair as well. It strengthens the hair follicles and reduces the inflammation of scalp. The juice of amla fruit reduces the burning sensation of the scalp.
  • Yastimadhu also balances the tridoshas, (mainly Pitta).  Yashtimadhu prevents baldness, greying and reduces hair fall.
  • Daruharidra – Aqueous extract of this drug called as ‘anjana’ is known to promote hair growth and impart colour to the hair.
  • Ashwagandha(Indian ginseng) pacifies vata dosha. It is indicated in various problems like stress,insomnia,which results in hair loss.
  • Bibhitaki is a rejuvenative to aid hair growth and acts as a natural hair dye to reduce premature graying of hair.

What are some classical Ayurvedic hair oils for hair problems?

You cannot make a choice of hair oil by looking at these herbs alone. Hence I am providing you with some top rated classical hair oils and combinations for a healthy hair.

  1. Kayyunyadi Tailam & Amla powder : A very popular hair oil, Kayyunyadi tailam is made of coconut oil using herbs like bhringaraja, guduchi, amalaki, yastimadhu, daruharidra and cow milk. This is right for you if you have split ends, grey hair and hair fall. This combination balances all the three doshas  and rejuvenates the dry and unmanagable hair.
  2. NeelibhringadiTailam & Bhringaraj powder: Another favourite of women, Neelibringadi oil is contains the extract of neeli (Indigofera tinctorea), bhringaraja, amla, liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) and daruharidra. It would surprise if I am to tell you that Neelibringadi contains not only the essence of coconut milk but also of the milks of cow, goat and buffalo. You should try this if you have itchy scalp, scalp related disorders, alopecia, premature graying, hair fall, and dandruff. This oil promotes hair growth and has cooling effects, best for pitta kapha doshas.
  1. Bhringamalakadi tailam & Brahmi Tablets: This is excellent for scalp problems and insomnia. With bringaraja and amla as the main ingredients, Bringamalakadi is soothing for the head and the eyes. It is also used in the treatment of eye disorders and head aches. Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), deservedly called as the Herb of Grace, is used in traditional Indian medicines for centuries for the treatment  blood cleansing , chronic skin conditions, constipation, hair loss, fevers, digestive problems, depression, mental and physical fatigue and many more.
  2. Durvadi kera tailam: Itchy head and dandruff? Durvadi it is! Prepared in coconut oil (or sesame oil), Durvadi relieves dandruff with the potent effects of durva leaves (Cynodon dactylon).
  3. Dhurdhurapatradi Thailam & Triphala Tablets : If you prefer sesame oil to coconut oil, then you can use Dhurdhurapatradi tailam to treat hair fall and dandruff. It is made of the juice extract of dhurdurapathra (Datura metel) and is good for itching of the scalp and dandruff. Just note that some companies do prepare this oil is coconut oil base too. This combination balances kapha and vata, dandruff, itching of the scalp, hair fall due to dandruff. Triphala is known to relieve digestive issues, constipation and increases the absorption of nutrients after digestion. Triphala contains gooseberry and hared that are beneficial for the hair.
  4. Chemparathyadi Thailam: I love this! My mother prepares a variation of this at home. Chemparathyadi is made of ingredients including the juice of hibiscus, leaves of bilwa (Aegle marmelos), paranti (Ixora coccinia), betel leaf, tulsi leaf, neeli, vasini, tamalaki, paste of jeeraka (cumin/ Cuminum cyminum)) and krishnajeeraka (Carum carvi). This is very effective for skin and scalp conditions like eczema, scabies, pruritis and dandruff. You may without doubt use this as your regular hair oil to prevent scalp problems and to promote hair growth.
  5. Malatyadi keram: Malatyadi is coconut oil infused with the extracts of malati (jasmin), naktamala (Pongamia pinnata), karaveera (Nerium indicum) and Chitraka (Plumbago zeylanica). It is very effectively used not only in hair fall but also aloepecia, dandruff and premature baldness. It promotes hair growth.
  6. Kunthalakanti Tailam: This is a highly cooling and soothing hair oil that mainly treats dandruff and premature graying of hair. The ingredients include vibhitaki, bhringaraja, amalaki, jambeera taila, neeli panchagandha and milk.

There are so many hair oils in the market. How to know what is genuine and what is not?

Every day there is a new product in the market and an exciting commercial to promote it. You are not going to get carried away by the words of your favourite celebrity talking about the product. You are going to look at the labels, identify the ingredients and consider the authenticity of the product. At best what you can do is to buy from a trusted dealer and of a known brand.

I feel you should opt for a classical Ayurvedic hair oil rather than follow the latest commercial.

Listen, your hair is waiting for you.

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Nov 282017


Digestion is the process by which the food you ingest is broken down into a simpler and absorbable form. According to Ayurveda, Agni is considered as the key factor for digestion and it is responsible for good health of an individual and Ayurvedic medicine for indigestion aims at correcting the agni.

The definition of health in ayurveda goes like this “Samadosha, samagni, samadhatu malakriyah Prasannatma indriya manah swastha ityabhidhiyate”- Sushruta.

A person is said to be healthy when there is balance in his doshas (Vata, pitta and kapha), metabolic factors (agni),  tissues(dhatus), excretory products (malas) and harmony in mental factors like senses  (indriyas), mind (manas) and the soul (atma). This signifies the role of agni in maintenance of normal health.

What are the different types of digestive fire or Agni?

In Ayurveda, there is description of 13 types of agni in the human body:

  • Jatharagni – Jatharagni is the biological fire in the body which is responsible for digestion of food which you eat. It is only one and is present in the abdominal region.
  • Bhutagni – Bhutagni refers to the agni attributed to each panchamahabhutas ( Akasa, Vayu, Agni, Jala and Prithvi). The food we eat is made up of five elements and even our body, this bhutagni transfers the energy from the food to your body into simplest form and support the panchamahabutas in your system. .It is five in number.
  • Dhatvagni – Dhatvagni refers to tissue metabolism. According to Ayurveda, our body is made up of seven dhatus- Body fluids like lymph (Rasa),Blood and its components (Rakta ), Muscular system (Mamsa), adipose or fat tissue (Meda),Skeletal system ( Asthi), Bone marrow(Majja ) and reproductive system(Shukra Dhatu). The nutrients absorbed from the intestine is processed in each of these system by respective dhatvagnis for their nourishment, proper functioning and development. It is seven in number.

Jatharagni is further divided into 4 types according to the dosha dominance and intensity of  agni:

  • Vishama Agni Dominance of vata dosha manifests vishamagni in an individual. It is characterised by varying or irregular digesting capacity. Sometimes the digestion will be fast and good, sometimes it will be slow and weak.
  • Teekshna Agni– Dominance of pitta dosha manifests teekshna agni. It is characterised by intense and quick digestive capacity. Whatever you eat gets digested very soon and it starts burning the body tissues leading to weakness.
  • Manda Agni- Dominance of kapha dosha results in mandagni. Majority of the diseases are characterized by mandagni. In this digestion is very slow and sluggish.

Ayurveda quotes that “sarve rogaapi mandagnau sudaraamudarani cha”  which means all the diseases are due to the mandagni and it starts from the abdominal region. Thus agni plays an inevitable role in the ayurvedic treatment and those herbs that have the property of agni deepana and pachana (appetizing and carminative -metabolic properties) are included as ayurvedic medicine for indigestion.

  • Sama Agni- Balance in all the doshas manifests sama agni. It is responsible for healthy development and normal functioning of the body. In this the digestion is neither slow nor fast.

How do you identify that you have indigestion?

Sounds silly! But one may neglect any of these symptoms usually:

  • Acidity, sour belching
  • Bitter or sour taste in the mouth.
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • The smell of food while burping.
  • Bloating or gas in the abdomen.
  • Stomach pain/pricking sensation
  • Discomfort or fullness in the upper part of the abdomen.
  • Fatigue.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea / vomiting.

What causes indigestion?

Before anybody takes any Ayurvedic medicine for indigestion one should know the cause.

    • Are you Skipping breakfast,eating a late night dinner or taking food at irregular timing?
    • Are you over eating or eating before the previously consumed food is digested?
    • Are you a drinking large amount of water or juice immediately after food?
    • Do you drink a lot?
    • Do you take leftovers, refrigerated or frozen foods?
    • Do you Eat too fast or slow, eating while driving, standing, just before going to shower?
    • Do you consume either dry or oily (deep fried) foods very often or foods prepared after soaking for longer duration in water and very spicy foods?
    • Are you emotionally disturbed?
      • “The food you eat can be either the safest medicine and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison”– Ann Wigmore.

What are the different types of indigestion (Ajirna)?

    • Vistabdha ajirna caused due to vitiation of vata dosha. It is characterized by pain abdomen, bloated stomach or gaseous distension, pain all over the body, fatigue, non elimination of stools and flatus.
    • Vidagdha ajirna caused due to vitiation of pitta dosha. It cause burning sensation in the chest and throat region, different kinds of pain, increased feeling of thirst, sour eructation or belching, tiredness, fainting and giddiness.
    • Ama ajirna caused due to vitiation of kapha dosha. The feature of this are puffiness of around the eyes and face, frothy and increased salivation in the mouth, nausea, repeated belching having the smell of the food you ate and feeling of heaviness in the body.
    • Vilambika – caused due to vitiation of kapha and vata along with accumulation of ama. Person suffering with this, feels very lazy and discomfort in the chest region.
    • Rasa sesha ajirna This is caused due to heavy and late night dinner. In this, you will feel that the food consumed last night is not digested when you wake up in the morning.

What is ama according to ayurveda?

In Ayurveda there is a concept called Ama, which is considered as the main reason for majority of the diseases. Ama is a toxic substance formed due to any of the above said ajirna. This ama is circulated all over the body through minute channels and gets lodged in different parts of the body causing diseases.Constipation is common for all types of ajirna and it is the sign of weak digestion. Ama pachana (metabolising the toxins) is the first step in Ayurvedic treatment for indigestion.

What are the Characteristics of good digestion (Jeerna ahara lakshana)?

  • Clear belching without any smell or taste of the food.
  • Feeling energetic devoid of heaviness and lethargy.
  • Proper and timely elimination of waste products devoid of constipation and loose stools.
  • Sense of lightness.
  • Feels hungry and thirsty after stipulated time.

How to manage indigestion at home?

Ayurvedic treatment for indigestion with home remedies:

  • The first line of treatment for all types of indigestion is fasting (Langhana) . Skip the meal if you feel your previous food is not digested and eat only when you feel hungry.
  • If you are feeling nauseous or vomiting, vomit it out. Never suppress the sensation by taking antiemetic drugs. To ease vomiting, you can drink 2 large glasses of lukewarm water with ½ spoon of rock salt.
  • A pinch of sendha salt with a spoon of lemon juice and ginger juice taken together cures indigestion and increases appetite and taste perception.

Home remedies for Abdominal Pain

  • If you are having pain and gaseous distension of the abdomen, keep hot water bag on your abdomen for few minutes.
  • Chew ½ tsp of jeera with pinch of salt and asafoetida, followed by cup of hot water.
  • Dry roast equal quantity of fennel seeds, coriander seeds and jeera. Grind to a fine powder and take ½ tsp of this powder with warm water thrice a day.
  • Boil 1 tsp of ajwain in 1 liter of water, fill it in a flask and keep sipping this water often.

An ayurvedic medicine for indigestion is not required will not be required for a person who consumes cumin seeds, asafoetida and ajwain on a daily basis.

5 Important must Do’s for a good digestion:

  1. Chew food properly while eating.
  2. Always prefer light food and in moderate quantity. It is advisable to eat only 3/4th of your stomach capacity, never eat full stomach.
  3. Regularly use jeera, pepper, asafoetida, garlic and ginger in your cooking.
  4. Drink water sip by sip along with the meal. Always luke warm water is preferred if you have weak digestion.
  5. Chew a small piece of fresh ginger with pinch of salt just before meals.

How to Naturally Improve Your Appetite and Digestion? Read here

6 Important Things you should NOT DO for Improving Digestion:

  1. Do not take the food stuffs that are incompatible to one another (viruddhahar). See the infographic below on viruddhahar to know about the incompatible food combinations. None of the ayurvedic medicine for indigestion works if a person is continuously taking viruddhahar.
  2. Do not indulge in raw salads. Uncooked foods are difficult to digest. Take soups instead.
  3. Do not eat food if you are not hungry.
  4. Do not consume cold food or reheated food.
  5. Do not take curd  if your digestion is weak. Opt for buttermilk instead.
  6. Do not eat with an anxious, fearful and depressive mind.


Ayurvedic medicine for indigestion (Ajirna)

  • Churnas – Hingvastak churna, trikatu churna, vaishvanara churna.
  • Vatis – Chitrakadi vati, agnitundi vati
  • Kashayas – Usually in weak digestion kashayas are not preferred. one may be given Gandharvahasthadi kashayam, Indukantham kashayam according to the nature of indigestion.
  • Arista –  Dasamoolajeerakarishta,, pippalyasavam and ajamoda arka. In children, Aravindasavam is ideal choice as an ayurvedic medicine for indigestion.

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Nov 202017

By Dr. Jeevan Sampat Jadhav , Ayurveda

Ayurveda is an ancient field of medicine that was founded in India many centuries back. The various measures of treatment in this form of medicine include lifestyle changes when it comes to one’s diet and routine, coupled with herbal medicines, Yogic postures as well as oil massages. Bleeding gums are also one such ailment that can be cured by Ayurveda. Bleeding gums may occur for a variety of reasons including cavities, poor oral hygiene and as a side effect of other, more complicated conditions. Let us find out the Ayurvedic remedies for the same.

– Pitta Dosha: In Ayurveda, bleeding gums are considered an ailment that occurs due to an imbalance of the pitta dosha. It may occur due to the deficiency of vitamins like Vitamin K and other nutrients, as well as a side effect of too much dependency on painkillers like aspirin. Also, it may occur as a side effect of blood cancer and other such fatal diseases. For women, the cause of bleeding gums may also be down to an imbalance of the hormones. Bleeding disorders are usually considered a part of the pitta dosha, as per Ayurveda.
– Shodhana: This is a method of treatment which seeks to purify the body with the help of vamana or emesis. With this purification process, the body is gradually rid of its toxins which can create such bleeding disorders. This does not merely help in the treatment of the symptoms and temporary relief, but it also helps in resetting the body so that the toxins are eliminated along with the problem of bleeding gums.
– Kavala and Gandusha: In these two methods, the patient will be asked to gargle using various ingredients that may be bitter and also those that have astringent properties. Herbal drugs will be prescribed for this purpose so that the base and general health of the teeth are also taken care of. These processes will generally help in strengthening the teeth and gums. In this way, the blood will also be purified locally. One must do regular gargling with the right doses as per the directions of the Ayurvedic doctor, so that the bleeding may stop eventually.
– Stambhana Drugs: In Ayurveda, Stambhana drugs are those which have a blocking effect so that the bleeding may be stemmed. There are various kinds of ingredients that may be used for the same including Amla, Hareetaki, Raisins, Mushta, and others.
– Nasya: As per the chronic state of the condition and the complications involved, the doctor may also prescribe the oil of the Triphala herb which is known for its powerful medicinal properties. A massage with the same or the application of this ingredient in a paste form will help in giving relief.

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Nov 202017

By Dr. Santosh Rayabagi , Ayurveda

Hair fall and baldness are common problems with advancing age. Young people may also lose hair due to hormonal disorders, protein deficiency or prolonged exposure to pollution. Instead of going for complicated chemical treatments you can try traditional and natural remedies.

Ayurvedic remedies do not have any side effects and that is why people often prefer them over other types of treatment.

Some Ayurvedic tips for hair growth are as follows:

1. Methi: Methi is an excellent herb for hair growth. You can dissolve some methi powder in water and apply it on your hair. Wash your hair with cold water after 20 minutes.

2. Bhringaraj: Bhringaraj is considered to be the king of herbs for treating hair related problems. Make a paste out of its leaves, apply it on your scalp and wash it off after 20 minutes.

3. Amla: Amla is rich in Vitamin C. It helps to strengthen the roots of hair. You can simply dry some amla and convert it into powder. Mix this powdered amla with water, apply it on your head and wash your hair after half an hour. Amla also helps to make your hair darker and thicker.

4. Jatamansi: Jatamansi is an excellent herb to treat hair fall. You can either apply it directly on your scalp or you can take capsules made from the herb.

5. Hot Oil Massage: You can take coconut or almond oil and warm it a little. Use it to massage your scalp for some time. This helps to rejuvenate your hair follicles. This also results in better circulation of blood at the roots.

6. Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is an anti oxidant herb that helps in removing toxins from the body and promotes hair growth.

Apart from these herbs and natural ingredients you can also follow some of these tips:

1. Drink plenty of water.

2. Avoid combing your hair when it is wet.

3. Good sleep is necessary for healthy hair growth.

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Nov 152017

According to Ayurveda, fruits are super foods. Everyone knows fruits are healthy foods. There are more to it in Ayurveda. Ayurveda describes a set of rules about what to eat, when to eat and how to eat. Accordingly, eating fully ripen and fresh fruits at appropriate season makes it pure nectar.

Fresh and organic produce are listed as foods with life and vitality.  Eating ripened fruits instantly convert into a nutritional fluid called Rasa in Ayurveda. This forms the base of the seven body tissues. Fresh fruits don’t undergo a strenuous digestive process. It is fresh, light, and full of energy. It naturally increases the ojas (energy and vitality), boosts immunity, enhances the strength and makes you happy.

Every fruit, which is a natural produce count as an Ayurvedic superfruit, with a few restrictions. Fruits are best eaten separately as a meal or snack, not together with any meal. Always buy organically produced fruits, preferably from farmers, local orchards, and vegetable markets. Avoid buying from the supermarkets as they may contain artificially ripened fruits and may turn toxic.

Let’s take a look at the top 10 Ayurvedic super fruits.

1.     Mangoes

Mango is the king of Ayurvedic super fruits. It is one of the three fruits listed as top three energetic foods, where other two fruits are Jackfruit and Bananas. You can find innumerable varieties of mangoes.

Raw or unripe mango increases Vata and Pitta i.e the air and fire element in the body. Fully ripened fruit balances these elements. Ripened mangoes helps to build nutritional fluid in the body. You can eat sweet mango raw or mix with milk.

2.     Pomegranate

Pomegranate is one of the super fruits, not just in Ayurvedic perspective. It is packed with all essential nutrients to build a balanced system. It tastes sour and carries astringent properties. It helps balancing the pitta in the body. Pomegranate is a boon for women. It rejuvenates the cells and flushes out toxins. It supports uterus health.

3.     Bananas

Banana is a high fibrous fruit. It has numerous varieties. It is sour in taste. Eating a banana gives instant energy, adds to ojas. Banana helps in digestion and eases passing stool. It helps to balance Kapha and reduces water retention. In Ayurvedic point of view, Banana is sour in taste. So, you should not have bananas with milk.

4.     Amla (Indian Gooseberry)

Amla aka Indian Gooseberry is nectar. It is full of prana called life. Eating an amla a day keeps you healthy, energetic and youthful. Amla is crowned as Rasayana, a secret of staying youth. Amla balances all three doshas in the body. You can preserve amla in honey, jaggery, sugar or spice and consume daily.

5.     Apple

Apple is a super fruit across different cultures. In Ayurveda, apple helps to balance the Kapha dosha. Apples aren’t too sweet. Sour apples lead to vata and pitta imbalance. Always go for sweet apples. Besides, cooked apple creates Ojas.

6.     Pears

Pear is not a very popular fruit. Pear helps to balance the hormones and create energy. This super fruit is very light, not too sweet and fully balancing. Fresh, juicy and sweet pear gives a boost to feel good emotions. Pear is a versatile fruit; you can eat in any form. You can eat it fresh, bake it, sauté in ghee or make a stew with spices.

7.     Grapes

While grapes are considered sour, Ayurveda highly regards sweet grapes and dry grapes. Ancient texts of Ayurveda crowns grapes as one of the best ayurvedic super fruits. Raisins are good for constipation. Grapes nourish the body and help to balance the system. Sweet raisins make the best add-on to desserts, kheers and puddings.

8.     Watermelon

Watermelon is the blissful summer fruit. Ayurveda celebrates watermelon for its ability to balance Pitta. Needless to say, watermelon forms an essential super fruit in daily diet during summer. It easily quenches thirst and prevents dehydration.

9.     Papaya

Papaya is very light, but intense and a hot potency super fruit. While it tastes sweet, the aftertaste is bitter. Papaya helps to balance kapha dosha. Papaya eases digestion and creates a equilibrium in the body.

10.    Bael

Bael is popularly known as “Bilva” or “Vilvam.” It is more inclined as spiritual fruit, offered for Lord Shiva. Ayurveda crowns Bael as one of the super fruits. Bael has the hot potency and reduces aggravated kapha dosha. It is essentially good for cold, congestion and sinus.

These are the list of Ayurvedic super fruits. Eat these seasonal fruits in appropriate seasons and at right time. Increase your vitality and stay healthy.

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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 012017

We all love the monsoons or winter after the hot summer. But not to forget are the diseases and infections that come along with winters. Most of the people are more prone to diseases and infections while in winters due to increased fungal and bacterial activities. Let’s not let these infections or diseases spoil the serene beauty of the winter! Right? So here are some Ayurvedic tips that’ll help you remain healthy this winter! Let’s begin!

1) Good foot care

Foot region is more prone to fungal infections in the winters. Make sure you keep your foot dry always. Try not to wash your foot too often and use socks which will help you in keeping your feet clean and dry. You can also dusting foot powders to ensure that your foot dry all day long.

2) Take warm water oil baths

It’s very important to use oils to massage your body in winters as your skin is prone to lose its moisture content. The best oils recommended are the neem oil and coconut oil. Take a good massage from these oils and bathe in warm water.

3) Consumption of multivitamin capsules

By taking the recommendation of your Ayurvedic specialist, consume multivitamin capsules as these are going to help you in retaining all the necessary vitamins your body would need. We may not to be able to consume these vitamins directly. Thus, we have to consume by way of eating capsules.

4) Drink herbal teas

Herbal teas that consist of Tulasi leaves and other spices like cloves, cinnamon are going to keep your digestion in tact. Adding some drops of lemon juice to your regular hot beverage can do wonders for your digestion.

5) A tablespoon of Chyawanprash before meals

One tablespoon of Chyawanprash before or after meals can help in better absorption of essential nutrients and minerals and also boosts your immune system. You can also eat this whenever you feel fatigue as it instantly helps in providing energy.

6) Keep your body hydrated

Just because it’s winter, it doesn’t mean you must drink less water. Water always remains most essential to your body. You have to drink at least 2 to 3 litres of water everyday. You can also use cold creams to get rid of dry skin.

7) Warm lemon juice

Drinking a glass of warm lemon juice is a great way to begin your day in winters as it boosts your metabolism and helps you get rid of your tiredness when you wake up! If not for lemon juice, you can also drink a glass of buttermilk with crushed ginger and garlic in it.

8) Say no to uncooked food

It’s always a best idea to only eat cooked food in winters. Unwashed fruits and vegetables or unboiled fruits and vegetables can have numerous bacteria in them especially in winters. To avoid infections, cook these food well before eating.

They were some Ayurvedic tips for this winter! Follow these tips and experience a disease free winter!

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Feb 112017

The statistics are frightening. Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. Every 20 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack. One in four Americans has some form of heart disease. Every 34 seconds someone in the United States dies of heart disease. Heart disease takes more lives than the next seven leading causes of death combined.

Yet, both modern medicine and Ayurveda agree, there are things you can do every day to keep your heart healthy. Here we offer some suggestions to get you started. Pick one or two and start with those if you like, then add a couple more every few weeks until you are naturally living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Bonus: not just your heart, but your entire physiology will thank you.

According to Ayurveda, a holistic approach to heart health requires you to nourish the emotional heart as well as the physical heart. The heart is not just a pump — it’s the fountainhead of all emotions, whether it’s joy and exhilaration or sadness and frustration. Mental and emotional stress can disrupt the emotional heart. Practicing the Transcendental Meditation® technique twice daily has been shown in research studies to help in lowering blood pressure, reversing arterial blockage and enhancing resistance to all types of stress.

Maharishi Ayurveda herbal supplements Worry Free and Blissful Joy nourish the mind and emotions and contain herbs like Ashwagandha and Arjuna, renowned for their positive influence on the mind and emotional heart.

While warding off excess stress is essential to prevent the emotional heart from wasting away, actively seeking mental and emotional well-being can help the emotional heart flourish. Ayurveda talks about ojas, the substance that maintains life.

The finest by-product of digestion and the master coordinator of all activities of mind and body, ojas leads to bliss, contentment, vitality and longevity. Inner strength and poise and the cultivation of positive attitudes and emotions increase ojas. Spend time every day on those activities that give you this contentment and happiness. Listen to soothing or uplifting music, enjoy serene natural beauty, practice uplifting aromatherapy and sip relaxing herbal teas. Maintain a positive attitude and walk away from situations that distress or anger you.

Arguably the most critical step you can take towards heart health is to eat a heart-friendly diet. For a society used to fast food and eating on-the-go, this is also arguably the most difficult step to take and maintain. But there are small things you can do to make your diet more heart-healthy. Eat more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables; start your day with stewed apples or pears; include soaked blanched almonds in your diet; dress your veggies with fresh lime juice; and eat heart-friendly spices such as fresh-ground black pepper and the antioxidant power-spice turmeric.

Choose fresh foods over processed foods or leftovers; light foods over rich, deep-fried ones; and warm, cooked foods over cold, heavy foods. A balanced antioxidant Rasayana such as Amrit from Maharishi Ayurveda is excellent nutritional support, and published research confirms that Amrit helps reduce LDL cholesterol, which has been implicated in plaque build-up.

How you eat is as important for heart health (and overall health) as what you eat. Eat moderately. The ideal Ayurvedic “portion” is what fits in your two cupped palms. Don’t skip meals, because eating three meals at regular times each day “trains” your digestion to anticipate and digest your food.

Stimulate a sluggish digestion with ginger, salt and lime. Have lassi, made by blending one part fresh yogurt with three parts cool water, with lunch. Spike it with roasted ground cumin and fresh cilantro for flavor. Don’t tax your digestion by eating late at night or eating a heavy meal at dinner.

Arterial plaque is ama — toxic matter that builds up in your blood vessels because your physiology cannot get rid of it efficiently. Ayurveda recommends a program of internal cleansing with every change of season to help your body flush out ama.

The Elim-Tox or Elim-Tox-O herbal supplements are formulated to cleanse the fat tissue (medha) of ama. Other things you can do to clear out ama: drink lots of warm water through the day; go to bed by 10 p.m. to help the body cleanse itself during the natural purification time; eat a lighter diet high in fiber and antioxidants from fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts; and avoid drugs, alcohol and smoking.

You don’t have to do a strenuous workout five times a week. The key is regularity. If you follow the Ayurvedic principle of balaardh — exercising to half your capacity — you can exercise every single day without straining your muscles. Walking is excellent exercise for everyone and excellent therapy as well. The early morning is ideal for taking a 30-minute walk. It will not only help your heart; it will prepare you for the day by charging up your circulation and your metabolism.

Research studies have linked sleep deprivation to blood pressure problems, depression and other factors that increase the risk of heart disease. Ayurveda considers sleep just as important as diet in maintaining health. Practice good bedtime habits — favor restful, calming activities as bedtime draws near to help disconnect the mind from the senses. Keep your bedroom clear of distractions — television, computers, other work-related material. Maintain a temperature that’s comfortable. Wear comfortable, organic cotton pajamas. Stay away from stimulants in the evening. Go to bed by 10 p.m. — early to bed and early to rise still work to keep you healthy and energetic through the day.

From the Ayurvedic perspective, the heart is the seat of prana (life energy), which is maintained by a delicate balance of agni (the solar energy element) and soma (the lunar energy element). Excess mental and emotional stress wastes away soma in the heart. The heart, as we said earlier, is also the seat of ojas, the substance within us that maintains life and promotes bliss and longevity. To protect and nourish the physical heart and the emotional heart, it is essential to promote both soma and ojas. Heart health is governed also by three sub-doshas: Sadhaka Pitta (emotional balance), Avalambaka Kapha (stability and strength) and Vyana Vata (blood flow and beat), which, though present everywhere in the body, has its seat in the heart.

Cardio Support nutritional supplement from Maharishi Ayurveda is formulated to balance all these ayurvedic factors. The combination of Corallium rubrum (Coral), Indian Tinospora and Sacred Lotus promotes soma. Shilajit (Mineral pitch), Zinc, Mica and Licorice promote ojas. Arjuna, Cabbage Rose, Licorice, Mica, Indian Tinospora, and Corallium rubrum (Coral) pacify Sadhaka Pitta. Avalambaka Kapha is supported by Shilajit (Mineral pitch), Guggul, Zinc, Ostrea edulis (Oyster), Turbinella rapa (Conch), Cypraea moneta (Cowrie) and Hemidesmus indicus. Vyana Vata is balanced by Guggul, Boerhavia, Mica and Licorice. In particular, there are two star health herbs in this formulation — Arjuna, renowned in ayurveda for its ability to pacify Sadhaka Pitta and to nourish both the physical and the emotional heart; and Guggul, which has been shown in research to help lower cholesterol.


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Feb 092017

Infertility is usually defined as the inability to conceive despite regular sexual intercourse for more than 12 months. This article will address primarily female infertility or “female-factor” infertility.

In the conventional Western medical paradigm, a woman’s advanced age, hormonal abnormalities, tubal-, uterine-, or endometrial-related conditions are common causes of female infertility. In men, infertility is seen to occur due to poor sperm quantity and/or quality and spermatogenesis as well as erectile dysfunction.

In both sexes, psychosomatic aspects and stress levels are important but rarely addressed. Ayurveda would add another unique aspect as well which impacts fertility–karmic effects. Frequently we see infertile couples in whom standard investigations including hormonal levels, semen analysis, ovulation testing, and tubal patency are normal. This accounts for 25-30% of all couples seeking help.

The complete evaluation for female infertility includes patient history, gynecological examination, record of basal temperature, vaginal and cervical cultures, ultrasound studies, hormonal analysis [i.e. follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), prolactin, testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)], hysterosalpingogram with dye to visualize the fallopian tubes, and semen analysis of the partner.

Depending on the presumed cause(s) of female infertility conventional drug treatment can include any of the following:

  • Gonadotropins in the case of hypogonadotropic ovarian failure
  • Selective Estrogen Receptor Modifiers (SERMs) like clomiphene
  • Prolactin inhibitors in the case of hyperprolactinemia
  • Metformin in the case Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Progestogens, surgical measures to lyse adhesions in case of endometriosis
  • Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) in case of hypothalamic ovarian failure

However, the most common treatment offered for most women is in vitro fertilization (IVF) with or without intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

In Vitro Fertilization is a very recent and still evolving treatment. The first pregnancy using it was in 1973, however it ended after a short time in a miscarriage. Back then it was making a great deal of news and controversy and the phrase “test-tube baby” was in the headlines. A second pregnancy was recorded in 1976, however, the embryo was embedded in the fallopian tubes and had to be surgically removed. In 1977, a study with 68 women was conducted, resulting in only two pregnancies: one woman having a deformed, still-born child, and another woman requiring an abortion. Altogether, up to the birth of the first successful IVF child, only about 200 embryos transfers were attempted.

In 1978, the first child was born using IVF in England (Louise Brown, age 38 today). In the U.S. it happened in 1981. I recall at that time the news was met with both amazement by some and revulsion by others.

Today the procedure has changed greatly from those early days, but it’s certainly not a simple or natural process. First, a medication is given to suppress the woman’s LH surge and her ovulation until the developing eggs are ready. This drug is commonly a GnRH-agonist (gonadotropin releasing hormone agonist) such as Lupron. Next an FSH analog (follicle stimulating hormone) is given to stimulate (hyperstimulate, in my opinion) development of multiple eggs (Gonal-F and Follistim are the most common).

Finally HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in a usual dose of 10,000 mIU/mL is given to cause final maturation and ovulation of the eggs. The eggs (oocytes) are collected and assessed for their health and degree of maturity. Following preparation of the ejaculate, insemination takes place by mixing the eggs and sperms. A maximum of 3 embryos are transferred to the uterus. The embryo, at this point, is in the four- to eight-cell stage.

In addition to IVF, ICSI has also been introduced in cases of more complex male subfertility (insufficient sperm count or motility). In this procedure a single spermatozoon is injected directly into the cytoplasm of the oocyte using a micropipette.
After 48-72 hours the embryo is transferred into the uterus. After transferring the embryo, implantation is no longer controllable, and everyone waits and hopes. The ensuing 2-week luteal phase is supported with medication (commonly progesterone injections every day!). Using IVF with intra-cytoplasmatic sperm injection and subsequent embryo transfer, most Reproductive Medicine centers around the world claim their rate of successful pregnancy is around 60%; the “baby take home” rate depends on the age of the mother ranging from about 40% for women under 35 to about 10% if over 40.

The physiology of the reproductive system as a whole is governed by sadhaka pitta, prana vata, and apana vata, yet the reproductive organs themselves are endowed with the qualities of kapha. Kapha is the growth-promoting (anabolic), structure-forming dosha that generates and sustains creation. Together with ojas (life force) and rasa dhatu (plasma tissue), kapha dosha organizes the nourishment required to build and re-build the endometrial lining during a lifetime of artava (menstruation) and has an unctuous quality that lubricates the uterus and its ‘sister’ organs (e.g. ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, vaginal canal). Kapha also confers stability and strength to the reproductive tissues helping maintain ovarian structure and uterine shape, tone and ability to contract.

A woman whose artava is exhausted, is called vandhyatva (vandhya-barren, childless). This disease entity—vandhyatva—is the condition closest to infertility in the Ᾱyurvedic classification of diseases. Detailed diagnostic and therapeutic strategies were already described as early as 200 AD in the authoritative Ᾱyurvedic text Caraka Samhita (chapter Cikitsa-sthana, Yonivyapat).

In the centuries that followed, specialized texts on gynecology evolved, including the Kashyapa-Samhita which contains detailed descriptions of various diseases and dedicates a complete chapter to female infertility. As we shall see below, both samshamana (gentle) and samshodhana (strong) therapies are advised for the treatment of infertility in Ᾱyurveda.

The main Ᾱyurvedic treatment goals are (1) the purification and (2) the functional optimization of reproductive tissues (artava- and shukra-dhatu) of both sexes. According to Ᾱyurveda, reproductive health is primarily determined by the health of tissue metabolism and tissue nutrition, both being ultimate requirements for conception. The presence of any accumulated tissue toxins will hamper treatment.

Therefore, general panchakarma purification measures must almost always be the initial step in the treatment sequence. Depending on the Prakriti (unique constitution) of the individual these purification measures may include emesis, purgation, medicated enema, blood purification, and several other specific procedures pertinent to reproductive health. One such example is uttara-basti, intrauterine douche with medicated oils or decoctions. A description of the complete range of these specialized treatment options is beyond the scope of this article.

As Ᾱyurveda is a holistic science, it is important to always consider the patient’s overall health condition, including her mental health and living environment. Importantly, the unique feature of the Ᾱyurvedic approach to fertility is that it emphasizes improving the overall health of both the prospective parents. Fertility therefore may ensue partly due to improved overall health. This approach contrasts with the biomedical approach, which does not directly consider overall health and narrowly focuses on the reproductive tissues.

After thorough patient history taking (prashna) including modern and Ᾱyurvedic parameters, the eightfold and tenfold diagnostic processes (ashtasthana– and dasha vidha-pariksha) are performed according to traditional diagnostic principles of Ᾱyurveda (see below). Patients are understood by Ᾱyurvedic diagnosis as having a particular sub-type of vandhyatva based on their doshic constitution (prakriti).

The most obvious and relevant pathological findings in all cases of infertility from the Ᾱyurvedic perspective are: (1) an overall imbalance of all of the 3 doshas (sannipata-prakopa of vata-, pitta- and kapha-dosha), but usually with dominating kinetic and metabolic principles (vata and pitta) and (2) an irregular functioning of the digestive principle (agni) at both the organ and cellular levels, (3) srotodushti, obstruction or blockage of the channels for both gross and subtle nutrients and energies.

According to the Ᾱyurvedic explanatory model for etiopathogenesis/disease staging (samprapti), most woman, by the time they are aware of any problem, are in the fifth stage of the disease sequence (manifestation or vyakti) or the sixth and latest stage (chronic disease or bheda).

Ashtasthana Pareeksha (Eightfold Examination)
Nadi – Pulse diagnosis
Mutram – Urine examination
Malam – Fecal matter examination
Jihwa – Tongue and taste assesment
Sabdam – Voice and speech of the patient; heart, lung and abdominal sounds
Sparsham – Touch, skin and tactile sense
Driksha – Eyes and vision
Akriti – General physique (i.e. lean, muscular, etc.); general complexion

Dasavidha Pareeksha (Tenfold Examination)
Dushyam- Regarding the structural and functional abnormalities of the body
Desham -Geographical situation of the place where patient lives (eg: marshy)
Balam -Physical strength
Kalam- The season and climatic conditions
Analam -The digestive system of the patient
Prakriti- The natural Tridosha constitution of the body
Vayas -Age of the patient.
Satvam- Psychological strength of the patient
Satmyam- General and personal habits of the patient e.g. tobacco use, regular exercise, yoga asana practice, napping, etc.
Aharam- Nature of food (e.g. vegetarian or non-vegetarian)

Although there are usually strategies to neutralize the negative effects of most conditions, one should be aware of the influence of all aspects of health on female fertility. Here I will mention a few of the more common ones. Chronic menstrual irregularities and associated symptoms like excessive bleeding and severe cramping represent signs of imbalanced gynecological functions (apana vata prakopa and artava dhatu-dushti); anatomical abnormalities (ovarian cysts, retroverted or T-shaped uterus, etc.) also have significance (vata-kapha prakopa). Previous Caesarian section, curettages, miscarriages, intramural pregnancy with iatrogenic abortion, and IVF procedures represent traumas to the reproductive tissues (vata, particularly apana-vata, rakta dhatu-dushti, etc.), leaving scars and leading to a ‘channel obstruction’ (sroto-rodha) of apana-vata, the subdosha regulating gynecological functions; ovarian cysts (artava-dhatu-vrddhi and vata-kapha-prakopa) interfere with implantation. The ovarian hyperstimulation with FSH drugs which is casually recommended by doctors certainly causes significant Vata aggravation (vata-prakopa).

Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto thyroiditis, allergies, obesity, anorexia, irritable bowel syndrome as well as any other low-grade chronic inflammatory condition are indicators of a generally disturbed immune system (rasa-kshaya, rakta- and majja-visha and ojovyapat (loss of vitality) with vata as dominant active factor) – creating a suboptimal environment for implantation and conception in general. Any history of drug intake or environmental exposures is another inhibiting factor for natural fertilization according to Ᾱyurveda, which is why Panchakarma is so vitally important. Sleeping disorders engender mental stress weakening both physical and emotional stability. Furthermore, there can be any number of other factors which create imbalances (e.g., excessive traveling, job stress, relationships, moving to a new home, illnesses in the immediate family, etc.).

Except for acute causes such as the various traumas listed above, female infertility is almost always a result of a gradually-incremental, slowly developing disease process. The holistic Ᾱyurvedic treatment to any disease or condition, including infertility, utilizes a multimodal approach. Both samshodhana (strong; purifying) and samshamana (gentle; balancing) treatments are always used.

Ᾱyurvedic treatments are not merely a series of single and autonomous treatments, but on the contrary, are a carefully formulated highly-individualized and complex arrangement of treatments whose functioning can only be understood if viewed as an integrated whole. A defining feature of the holistic-oriented Ᾱyurvedic strategy is the therapeutic integration of the physical (e.g. purification through Panchakarma, dietary recommendations, herbal medicines, etc), psychological, and spiritual realms (e.g. mantra recitation, use of gemstones, placement of sacred objects in the home, prayer, etc). In Ayurveda, female infertility is understood as a somato-psycho-spiritual disintegration with a tendency to somatize unresolved emotional and mental conflicts; these conflicts are either wholly or partially causative or they further aggravate co-existing epigenetic, traumatic, and biochemical causes.

The selected purification methods (most commonly purgation, enemas, intrauterine enemas and nasal irrigation) are delivered to restore balance to the kinetic vata principle, according to Ᾱyurvedic theory. The far-reaching therapeutic benefits for this are difficult to explain through conventional modern pathophysiological principles. A detailed explanation of Ayurvedic theory and energetics though fascinating and compelling is beyond the scope of this article.

However, what can pragmatically be said here is that these methods optimize mucosal transport and general function, regulate and stabilize the intestinal microbiome, restore hormonal homeostasis to the interior milieu, enhance intestinal digestion, metabolism and excretion, and counteract side effects of both endogenously-produced and environmental toxins. These effects are augmented if the individual is concurrently observing an appropriate individual dietary approach, receives the appropriate herbal medicines, and also follows the other prescribed Ᾱyurvedic principles.

Here is a brief description of some of the Ᾱyurvedic approaches used and the reasoning behind them. Not every therapy is used for every woman and they are always modified according to the individual constitution.

Virechana (purgation): This procedure involves several days of internal oleation by taking either pure ghee or a specially prepared medicated ghee followed by a gentle herbal purgative. Purgation acts on aggravated and accumulated pitta and kapha doshas. It decreases the heat (ushna guna) of pitta and increases coolness (sheeta guna) required for formation of shukra dhatu (ovum and sperm). Impaired agni due to disturbed pitta is also rectified by the virechana procedure. A strong and balanced dhatvagni (tissue agni) is required for dhatnirmiti of shukradhatu (creation of reproductive tissue). Obstructing kapha dosha is removed through virechana and the blocked apana vata obstructed by kapha dosha is also relieved by virechana. Common virechana dravyas: mahatiktaghrit, trivrit (leha or churna).

Anuvasana and Niruha Bastis (medicated enemata): These are two different types of medicated enemas. The reproductive system present in katisthana (hip and loin region) which is a region chiefly regulated by of apana vata. Action of basti is predominantly on vata dosha and pakvashaya (large intestines). The uterus (garbhashaya) is made up of vayu and akasha mahabhuta. In basti, mainly tiktarasadravya (vayu + akasha mahabhutas) despite being potentially vatavardhak (vata-increasing), are useful because they act as a vehicle and catalyst to deliver medicines to vatasthana (vata regions). Sneha in basti promotes trans-membrane absorption of herbal medicinal components. Since Basti is targeted at regulating the apana vata, it facilitates the well-timed release of ovum and also normal motion of sperms.

Uttar Basti (medicated intrauterine enema): Uttar basti plays a very prominent role in treating female infertility because it has a direct local action upon the reproductive tissues. The ovaries contain receptors which receive hormones secreted by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. The herbal medicines used in uttar basti stimulate and sensitize these receptors, so that proper ovulation occurs in each cycle. It also helps to increase the receptivity of the genital tract to the entry of sperms.

In addition, uttar basti relieves artava srotosanga (congested channels of menstrual flow) and corrects artava dhatvagni (reproductive metabolism). Because selected medicines are administered directly to affected areas, it can help clear tubal blockage by direct lysis of adhesions. Finally, altered cervical pH can be corrected by uttar basti. Depending on the specific issue identified, different uttar basti dravyas are used. For example: in ovulatory disorders: shatavarighrita, balaguduchyadi taila, phalaghrita; in tubal obstruction: kshar taila, bhallataka taila, til taila; in uterine fibroids or PCOD: dashmoola taila, panchatiktaguggulghrita, varunadi kwath, hapushadi ghrita.

Nasya (administration of nasal medications): All Ᾱyurvedic students learn the sloka: “nasya hi shiraso dwaram,” which means “the nostrils are the gateway to the brain.” Therefore any substance introduced intranasally (even smoke) acts directly on the brain and specifically in this context, the hypothalamus and pituitary glands.

Today we know that the olfactory nerve fibers literally enter the back of the nasal passage through the cribiform plate and conveys stimuli directly to the brain. The mucosal epithelium is sensitive to a variety of stimuli including various herbalized ghritas and tailas which are easily absorbed through mucosal epithelium. Nasya medications may help to stimulate the hypothalmal- pituitary axis to secrete FSH & LH hormones. We often use chandanbala taila, shatpushpa taila, and phalaghrita.

Adjuvant Panchakarma Treatments: The specialized physical therapy techniques, including Shirodhara (forehead-dripping therapy), Shirobasti (oil-crown), and Lepa (herbalized mud) with precisely selected medicated oils and other substances, further facilitate the stabilization of the overall constitution by balancing the impaired vata and pitta doshas.

Oral Herbal Medicines: While it is beyond the scope of this article to describe the many individualized formulas which can be used as part of the treatment for vandhyatva, it can be stated that Ᾱyurvedic herbal formulas used in these patients primarily target adaptogenic, rejuvenative, aphrodisiac, and general strengthening (ojo vardhana) as well as strengthening of the reproductive tissues; they also are designed to enhance digestion and cognition as needed and have mild anxiolytic and antidepressant properties.

That being said, some of the more common plants used include Ashwagandha (W. somnifera), Shatavari, (A. racemosus), Guduchi (T.cordifolia), Brahmi (B. monnieri), Yogaraj guggulu, Krishna Jeeraka (N. sativa), Shatapushpa (A. graveolens), Atibala (A. indicum), dashmoolarishta, maharasnadi kwath.

Lifestyle Factors: In a similar way to everything mentioned above, yoga, meditation, and mantra recitation address the physical and mental stress caused by the often numerous futile fertility attempts with conventional therapy. One other interesting practice is to have a woman simply place a stone shiva linga of any size under the foot of her bed. The connection between detoxification, stress and infertility is not yet well understood. However, in my more than three decades of Ᾱyurvedic practice, it is not uncommon to see patients finally give up IVF, undergo Panchakarma and Ᾱyurvedic protocols–and then become pregnant shortly thereafter. Once the stress, expectations, and adverse physiological effects of IVF treatment subside, the body is sometimes able to function normally again. That is why from the Ᾱyurvedic perspective, these seemingly gentle mind-body recommendations are effective; they also target the regulation of vata, in this case on the level of manas (i.e. the mind).

Despite the many successful case reports in India and other Ayurvedic clinics around the world, it remains an open scientific question whether the Ᾱyurvedic approach exerts any specific fertility-promoting effects. Besides my own U.S.-based medical practice, the effectiveness of Ᾱyurvedic interventions is based primarily on numerous case studies and rather small and mostly preliminary clinical trials conducted in India. From the perspective of modern scientific research, given the many successes documented and despite the lack of well-designed randomized controlled studies, further research is warranted. In particular, the integration of Ᾱyurvedic treatments into modern medical strategies for fertility has the potential to improve patient outcomes with little to no downside.


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