For the past few decades, the field of medicine has been largely influenced by the medical philosophy of the Western world.
The emphasis of Western medicine has been predominately curative, relying on chemical preparations and invasive surgery as means of treatment.
In contrast, Eastern medical and therapeutic philosophy focuses on the more metaphysical side of human illness and treatment.
Ayurveda, a healing system native to India, is a centuries-old practice that has recently been given attention by Western science.
Its practice is hinged on the use of a variety of methods ranging from the use of medicinal plants and herb, massage, acupuncture, aromatherapy, pulse reading, and other alternative healing methods.
These methods are now gaining acceptance even in modern societies, in a large measure, due to the increased awareness about the healing arts of China and India.
There are volumes of literature on traditional Chinese medicine.
But what also deserves wide recognition is the folk remedies and traditional practices in India which are also ancient and effective, at least, according to those who have tried them.
Like traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda practitioners adhere to a particular medical philosophy that regards illness as an imbalance in the body and influenced by internal and external factors, similar to the Chinese principles of yin and yang.
Ayurveda also takes into consideration a patient’s emotions and state of mind alongside the study of infections that make the body sick. It places a high importance on the patients sense of taste and diet.
In Ayurveda, it is believed that the healing of a person must take into consideration three elements found in nature: air, water, and fire.
Each of these elements has a deep philosophical background.
These elements also govern the major functions of the body.
Ayurvedic theory rests on the belief that the balance of the three elements is the basis of health. Any imbalance, blockage, or weakening in these elements causes illness.
It is the task of the Ayurveda practitioner to determine and restore the patients elemental harmony.
In other words, an infection or ailment is the result of an imbalance in the patient’s natural internal or elemental harmony.
These imbalances can be caused by internal or external factors, and may be aggravated or alleviated by the patient’s emotional state and, in some cases, mental health.
The primary concept of Ayurveda is that the restoration of imbalances in the body requires a very personalized concept.
Treatment can involve the use of natural oils, minerals, herbs, metals, and even animal ingredients.
Similar to how herbal medications are administered in traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda medications are given base formulas that are modified by the physician according to the patient’s needs.
This process makes getting a treatment for an infection different from Western medicine, where the formulas are constant and only the dose is altered based on the patient’s metabolism and constitution. As mentioned earlier, diet and taste play a central role in Ayurveda.
However, unlike Chinese medicinal doctrine, the taste and quality of the food plays a much larger role in traditional Indian healing arts.
Different tastes correspond to different conditions in the body.
These tastes are taken into account by an Ayurveda physician before prescribing an appropriate treatment.
For example, food with a bitter taste is generally considered to cool the body, dry out moisture, and work to remove toxins.
This concept also extends to the herbal and animal ingredients that are used in Ayurveda medication.
Ayurveda also prescribes a particular form of massage known as Panchakarma for the treatment of emotional distress.
This practice is highly similar to acupuncture except that no needles are used.
The strokes, presses, and body manipulations used in Panchakarma supposedly stimulates energy flow throughout the body, a process that is necessary to ensure good health.
Problems arise when the energy flow is disrupted, clogged, or stalled.
Massage is often prescribed in conjunction with a diet plan and herbal remedies to relieve problems such as sinusitis, conditions associated with stress and anxiety, and other problems that Ayurveda practitioners see as symptoms of emotional disharmony rather than just purely physical ailments.
Ayurvedic Medicine for Diabetes
Diabetes is a serious disorder of the glands, of pancreas to be exact, called Madhumeha in Ayurveda. It is one of the most insidious disorders of the metabolism and, if left undiagnosed, may lead to rapid emaciation and ultimately death.
Diabetes and Its Management
Diabetes Mellitus is one of the most costly burdensome chronic diseases of our time and is condition that is increasing in epidemic population in the whole world.
The complications resulting from the diseases are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality and are associated with failure of various organs such as the eyes, kidneys and nerves.
Diabetics are also at a significantly higher risk for coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease and stroke and they have a greater likelihood of having hypertension dyslipidemia and obesity.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a serious disorder of the glands, of pancreas to be exact, called Madhumeha in Ayurveda.
It is one of the most insidious disorders of the metabolism and, if left undiagnosed, may lead to rapid emaciation and ultimately death.
What are the types of Diabetes?
According to Ayurveda Diabetes is of two types: Diabetes Mellitus- Insulin dependent Juvenile Diabetes (IDDM-Type I) in which the body is unable to produce insulin and Non Insulin Dependent Adult Onset Diabetes (NIDDM-Type II) in which the pancreas produces insulin, but it is insufficient for reducing the blood glucose to normal levels.
What are the common symptoms of Type- 1 Diabetes?
Some of the common symptoms of Type- 1 Diabetes are:
Excessive Thirst Frequent urination Unexplained weight loss Irritability Weakness Fatigue
What are the common symptoms of Type- 2 Diabetes?
Some of the common symptoms of Type- 2 Diabetes are:
Loss off weight Numbness in hands or feet. Uncontrolled infections Pain in the limbs Inflammatory chest infections Dimness of vision, contrast Excessive thirst Body weakness
What are the different tests for Diabetes?
Urine Test: Some chemicals are added to a few drops of urine. Colour change indicates presence of glucose in urine.
Blood Test: In this, blood is taken to test the glucose level.
This is more accurate test to confirm diabetes
Which parts of my body are affected by Diabetes?
Blood Vessels: Higher level of glucose damage the blood vessels. As a result of this most of the diabetic complications occur in blood vessels.
Heart: Diabetes affects the heart by: Increasing the amount of fat in blood and increasing the amount of homocysteine in blood.
Kidney: In diabetes because of increased levels of glucose, kidneys have to do extra work to retain essential substances and separate waste products to produce urine. This affects the small blood vessels and their capacity to filter. After many years of work, it leads to kidney failure.
Eyes: Diabetes affects blood vessels of the eyes. Damage to these blood vessels leads to eye problems like: Damage to retina, Cataract or total loss of vision
Foot: Damage to blood vessels reduces blood flow to the feet and increases risk of developing foot ulcers and infections.
Nerves: High glucose level for a long time damages nerves. Nerve damage reduces sensation in some parts of body which may lead to: Numbness and tingling, Fainting and dizziness
Home Remedies for Diabetes:
The best remedy for this disease is the bitter gourd, better known as karela.
Eat this vegetable as often as you can or have at least one tablespoon of karela juice daily to reduce blood sugar levels in your blood and urine.
Amla, due to its vitamin C content is effective in controlling diabetes.
A tablespoon of its juice, mixed with a cup of fresh bitter-gourd juice, taken daily for two months will secrete the pancreas and enable it to secrete insulin.
Take ten tulsi leaves, ten neem leaves and ten belpatras with a glass of water early morning on an empty stomach.
It will work wonders in keeping your sugar levels under control.
The leaves of Butea tree are very useful in diabetes.
They reduce blood sugar and are useful in glycousia.
Take two teaspoons of powdered Fenugreek seeds with milk. Two teaspoons of the seeds can also be swallowed whole, daily.
Eat 10 fresh fully grown curry leaves every morning for three months. It prevent diabetes due to heredity factors. It also cures diabetes due to obesity.
Win the Winter
The winter season is marked as Hemanta ritu and Sisira ritu in ayurveda. Hemanta ritu starts from mid November and ends in mid January.
Long nights, short days, sparkling snow flakes and people dressed in warm clothes are the images evoked for the word winter.
The winter season is marked as Hemanta ritu and Sisira ritu in ayurveda.
Hemanta ritu starts from mid November and ends in mid January.
This falls in southern solstice which is called as visarga kala or dakshinayana in ayurveda.
Sisira ritu starts from mid January and lasts till middle of march.
Sisira ritu falls in Northern solstice which is called as Aadana kaala or uttaraayana.
Winter causes health problems when adequate precautions and safety measures are not taken.
But winters can be enjoyed to full extent when we alter our diet and lifestyles a little as nature desires.
As we are part of nature these changes help us to face the seasonal changes without much serious health problems.
Beat the winter time Blues
Few experience a condition called Winter Time Blues.
This condition precipitates symptoms like increase in appetite, craving for sweets, chocolates or starchy foods, weight gain, mild depression, irritability and short temper.
This condition is well marked in persons who live in places which experience long severe winter.
In winter the agni or body fire increases with the support of vata .
Hence there will be a marked increase in appetite. The frequency of food consumption increases. We should keep a watch on the type of food we consume to satisfy our appetite during winter. Avoid consumption of junk foods, too much of sweets and oil food as these lead to weight gain.
Simple remedies for this condition are exposing our body to sunlight, exercising for 30 minutes and using bright light when you are indoors
Pamper your skin during winter
During winter skin can not replenish its moisture naturally due to less humidity in air. Low humidity due to indoor heating, hot showers and bath exaggerates this condition and skin is bound to become dry and irritated. Dry skin tends to crack and bleed. Cracked skin looses its ability to protect the body and increases the risk of infection. The best ways to keep the skin soft, healthy and moisturized are
Avoid long hot showers and bath.
Quick three minutes bath is advisable.
Use moisturizing body wash.
Apply petroleum jelly on tough areas like knees, elbows and heels .
Apply lip balm to prevent cracking.
Twenty to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week can give your skin a healthy glow
Ayurveda stresses on massaging body with oil during winter
Special care for your face
Avoid washing your face repeatedly. This washes off natural oils from our skin and makes the skin dry, scaly and wrinkled. Use luke warm water instead of hot water to wash face. Apply moisturizer lotion if you feel dryness on skin. Apply sun screen lotion to exposed parts of body and face when you go out in sun.
Preventing cold and cough in winter.
Consume well balanced good nutritious food, exercise thrice in a week and sleep well to keep up natural resistance. Avoid direct contact with those who have colds and wash your hands frequently.
Hypothermia is a drop in body temperature to 95 degrees Fahrenheit or less than this. This can be fatal if not detected promptly and treated properly. Any body can be the victim of hypothermia. The elderly are at the highest risk as their bodies do not adjust to the changes in temperature quickly. This condition takes few days to few weeks to develop. A temperature of 60F to 65 F can trigger this condition. A drop in body temperature triggers fatal responses from body. The blood vessels near the body surface narrow to prevent heat loss. Muscles tighten to generate heat. Person affected by hypothermia will be having symptoms like shivering, drowsiness, slurred speech, week pulse, slow heart beat, slow and shallow breathing. If the body temperature falls down below 86 F he may slip into coma.
Do not try to treat a person with hypothermia at home. Immediately shift him to hospital as soon as you notice the symptoms. Do not give alcoholic beverages and do not give him hot water bath.
In ayurveda it is advised to drink hot water, wear warm clothes and to stay near fire place at indoors in winter to prevent this condition
The exposed areas of body like face, feet, wrists and hands are affected by frost bite. The skin on the affected part becomes white, stiff and feels numb.
Warm the affected parts gradually. Wrap the area with warm clothes or keep the affected hands under arm pits and seek the medical attention immediately. Do not rub the affected areas as it may damage the underlying tissues.
Protect your tiny tots from cold.
Children are usually thrilled to go outside irrespective of weather conditions. To ensure that these tiny tots have a safe and fun winter, take some simple measures to keep them warm and unharmed both inside and outside. Ensure that they stay warm while waiting for school bus in low temperature conditions. Keep them as dry as possible in cold weather and make them to wear properly fitting warm clothes. Cover their head, face and neck as much as possible. Inadequate head protection lead to loss of almost half of body heat . Dont allow them to overexert and sweat. Sweating cools the body which is hazardous in winter and it becomes difficult to warm up again. Keep them well hydrated as they may not drink sufficient water in winter due to less thirst.
Other general precautions by Red Cross for winter.
Dress in layers so you can adjust to changing conditions. Avoid overdressing or overexertion that can lead to heat illness.
Most of your body heat is lost through your head so wear a hat, preferably one that covers your ears.
Mittens provide more warmth to your hands than gloves.
Wear waterproof, insulated boots to help avoid hypothermia or frostbite by keeping your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice and snow.
Get out of wet clothes immediately and warm the core body temperature with a blanket or warm fluids like hot cider or soup. Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol if you expect you or someone you are trying to help has hypothermia or frostbite.
Recognize the symptoms of hypothermia that can be a serious medical condition: confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.
Recognize frostbite warning signs: gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, waxy feeling skin. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.
Daily routine for winter
1.Tickle your taste buds with sweet, sour and salt tastes.
2.Satisfy your appetite with hot soups, milk and balanced food.
3.Pamper your body with mild oil massage.
4.Always wear warm clothes.
Home made natural scrub for winter.
Mix yellow gram (channa), green gram (moong) , fenu greek seeds (methi) in equal proportion. Get this mixture floured. Use this flour as scrub while taking bath instead of soap and body washes.
Mix few drops of coconut oil in little water. Rub this all over body at the end of bath or shower. Dab the body with towel. This helps to increase the moisture of skin naturally.
We wish you a healthy winter. Have a great winter
Acne Free Skin Through Ayurveda
Acne is a very common skin problem which affects young people at their puberty and few adults till they reach 45. Acne are referred as Youvana pitikas (which means the eruptions of youth) in ayurveda.
Acne is a very common skin problem which affects young people at their puberty and few adults till they reach 45.
Acne are referred as Youvana pitikas (which means the eruptions of youth) in ayurveda.
This shows the prevalence of acne from ages. Ayurveda has described the causes of acne and recommends the best natural herbal acne remedies too.
What causes acne?
A large number of oil producing glands called sebaceous glands are present under the skin on face, back, chest and shoulders.
During puberty or menopause due to the influence of the sex hormones, which are produced in male and female, these glands become more active and produce an oily secretion called sebum.
The sebum makes the skin more oily .
The excessive sebum clogs the skin pore or the pit of the hair follicle forming acne.
The blocked pore or acne acts as an excellent habitat for bacteria.
The bacterial infection causes inflammation (red, painful swelling of the infected area) of the clogged pore or hair follicle leading to eruption of pimples.
Vata and Kapha are two main doshas, which are involved in eruption of acne and pimples.
Rakta dhatu or blood also plays an important role in formation of acne.
Vata when gets vitiated due to unhealthy diet and lifestyles affects other two doshas (kapha and pitta) to aggravate them.
Aggravated pitta affects rakta dhatu or blood.
The vitiated blood affects the skin and causes excess secretion of oil from sebaceous glands.
Kapha has sticky property.
The aggravated kapha imparts the stickiness to the oil produced by sebaceous glands of skin.
Thus the thick sebaceous plugs are formed in skin pores and hair follicles leading to eruption of acne.
Acne worsens when:
1. grease, dirt or other harsh chemicals accumulate on skin.
2. you have Increased stress levels.
3. you indulge in Squeezing or pinching of acne.
4. when there are hormonal imbalances during menstrual cycle, menopause and puberty.
5. you are under medications like steroids or hormonal therapy.
Precautions to be taken to avoid exaggeration of acne eruptions:
Avoid foods which are spicy, dry and oily. These may cause indigestion and lead to vitiation of vata.
Keep a habit of emptying bowels regularly this always normalizes vata.
Avoid fast foods and soft drinks.
Wash your face twice daily with mild cleanser.
Put a hair band to avoid falling of hair on face.
The sweat and dirt accumulated on hair may fall on facial skin through hair strands
Avoid application of scrubs.
Wash your hair regularly with mild shampoo to keep it clean and avoid dandruff.
Squeezing and pricking of pimples cause scaring. Hence avoid this
Avoid exposure of skin to severe climatic conditions.
Avoid oil based moisturizers. Water based moisturizers are always beneficial.
Drink plenty of water.
Practice a regular exercise regimen
Natural Herbal acne Home remedies :
Wash your face with lukewarm water and mild soap twice a day.
Wash fresh methi leaves (fenu greek leaves) and grind it to make a paste.
Apply it on face and wash it off with lukewarm water after 10 minutes.
Grind juicy tender neem leaves with turmeric to a consistency of paste.
Apply this paste on acne and pimples. Wash this off after it dries.
Apply a face pack of ripe tomato pulp and wash it off as soon as it dries naturally (preferably after 45 minutes) .
Do not keep the make up while sleeping. Cleanse it with a mild herbal cleanser.
Mix besan flour (gram flour) with rose water and apply a face pack.
Consuming fresh vegetable salads and fresh fruits keeps the skin healthy and resistant to blemishes.
Drink plenty of water (15 glasses a day)
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