Monthly Archives: November 2014

Let our Food Be our Medicine

Some simple Home Remedies

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Presently it is the Winter Season or the “Vata” Season as we call in Ayurvedic parlance. The weather is cold and dry during this time of the year. This drop in temperature causes an effect on our respiratory tract as the mucociliary clearance is reduced and the respiratory tract is in general susceptible to infections. Some of the common infections that peak during winters are: Common cold, Cough, pharyngitis, laryngitis etc.

Cough

Cough is the most common respiratory infection and with almost everyone being found suffering from this ailment during winters. Acute cough is less than 3 weeks, but chronic cough is for a much longer duration and hence deserves medical supervision. So for an acute nagging cough – try one of our home remedies mentioned below before hopping on to the chemist for an Over the Counter Solution.

1. Ginger , Tulsi and Honey : Particularly useful for treatment of dry cough

a. Ginger juice

b. Tulsi Leaves

c. Honey

d. Black pepper

e. Turmeric

Preparation: Crush about 10-12 leaves of Tulsi along with juice extracted from a small piece of ginger. To this add an equal quantity of honey. Further add in some black pepper powder and little turmeric to this mixture. Consuming this paste at least thrice a day has a very soothing effect on the throat as it reduces congestion and thus helps in cough.

2. Flaxseeds and honey preparation: For nasty incessant cough

a. Flaxseed- 2 to 3 tablespoons

b. Honey – 2 to 3 tablespoons

c. Lemon juice – 2 to 3 tablespoons

Preparation: Boil about 2 to 3 tablespoons of flaxseeds in 1 cup of water. The water will start thickening slowly. At this juncture strain the liquid and add the same quantity of honey and lime juice to this mixture. Consume this mixture whenever there is a severe bout of cough.

3. Warm liquids with honey and turmeric

a. Hot milk or water

b. Turmeric power

c. Honey

Preparation : Boil a cup of water or hot milk. Add a tablespoon of turmeric power and honey into this cup. If you have a busy schedule then this is probably the simplest and easiest thing to do – just consume the above once before going off to bed at night. Turmeric has an antibacterial effect while honey helps in soothing the cough receptors.

Find out more about what’s in your cabinet!

Turmeric: Curcuma Longa turmeric-spice-with-amazing-health-benefits Turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native in southeast India, and needs temperatures between 20 °C and 30 °C (68 °F and 86 °F) and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive.[3] Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes, and propagated from some of those rhizomes in the following season. Turmeric powder is a bright yellow powder made by dry grinding of mature turmeric rhizomes. It is used as a spice in Indian cuisine and curries, for dyeing, and to impart color to mustard condiments. Health Benefits of Turmeric One active ingredient in it is curcumin. It has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavor and a mustardy smell. This widely researched component of turmeric is highly therapeutic and is used in various drugs and pharmaceutics mainly because of its immunity boosting and anti-oxidant properties. 1. Curcumin is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory Compound Curcumin down-regulates certain inflammatory transcription factors such as kappaB, enzymes such as cyclooxygenase 2 and 5 lipoxygenase, and cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF), interleukin-1 (IL-1) and interleukin 6 (IL-6) and hinders the development of these diseases such as cancer, atherosclerosis, and neurodegenerative diseases 2. Curcumin significantly increases the anti-oxidant capacity of the body  Oxidative damage leads to generation of free radicals in our body which tend to react with important organic substances, such as fatty acids, proteins or DNA.This is one of the main reasons behind ageing. Curcumin is a great anti-oxidant that not only neutralizes these free radicals but also triggers the activity of our body’s anti-oxidant enzymes. Thus it helps in delaying ageing and fighting age related diseases. 3. Turmeric is also known to be reducing the occurrence of various lifestyle related diseases like heart diseases and obesity. 4. Turmeric and honey in hot water is a useful home remedy for treating cough and cold 5. Turmeric for a glowing skin  Women in India use turmeric scrubs or and creams as curcumin acts as a potential anti-oxidant and provides a beautiful glow to the face.

Did you know?

Drinking turmeric tea daily may well increase your life span

Adding one teaspoon of turmeric powder to 4 cups of boiling water, simmering it for 10 minutes and adding honey to taste can do the trick.

Other benefits of Turmeric: Turmeric is considered a symbol of purity, prosperity, and fertility. Turmeric water is poured / offered to the gods in the temples as a part of Hindu ritual called Abhishekam. Turmeric has an important place in Indian weddings. Turmeric paste is applied to the bride and the groom as part of the haldi ceremony just before the wedding to give them fresh glowing skins and to ward off the evil eye. Thus, we see that a simple powder like Turmeric so commonly found and used in our daily lives is a powerful element that can be beneficial to us in so many ways.

Ayurveda – The Science of Life

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Neena is a 37 year old gainfully employed mom with a multinational company. She is a busy hands-on mom at home and works 8-10 hours on her computer in office .With all the hard work she is slowly but steadily scaling the heights of success. She has her hands full and what this essentially means is that there is very little time with her for any physical activity. This further leads to irregular unhealthy eating habits, irregular sleeping hours and a very sedentary lifestyle.

Of late she has been experiencing discomfort – she was experiencing digestive distress during the day and a feeling of bloating whenever she ate anything. Nights would be spent lying awake and therefore her mind just kept racing in the dark. Through her past visits to an allopathic doctor she knew the tablet to be taken when the condition was bad, but the constant discomfort had become a way of life for Neena.

I am sure many of us will be able to relate with this way of life. Popping a pill only provides symptomatic temporary relief without addressing the core problem. But fortunately for our friend Neena – she came across Ayurveda.

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is a holistic Indian system of medicine that uses a constitutional model. It works to provide a flexible guidance to attain a state of positive health. Ayurveda is derived from two Sanskrit root words: Ayu, which means Life, and Veda, which means the Knowledge. Thus Ayurveda refers to the Science of life and it refers to a constitutional model of health used in India for more than 5,000 years.. Ayurveda is a fine blend of Science, Religion & Philosophy as well. Through its scientific approach to human life, Ayurveda works to harness the intricate abilities of human body and mind.

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How Ayurveda works?

The physiological and pharmacological concepts of Ayurveda are structured in “whole- someness”. Therefore, the Ayurvedic description of “human body” and the “drugs” are dealt from a holistic plane. Its guiding principle is that our constitutions (or prakuti) usually fall into one of three categories, called doshas, which correspond to combinations of the elements air, fire, water, ether (space) and earth. And this forms the basic premise for Ayurveda treatment – that all human body is made of the same elements as all of nature, and that most individuals’ bodies express a predominance of one element. This results in a particular physical build, appetite and set of personality qualities that constitute one’s dosha.

The three doshas are Vata (air), Pitta (fire) and Kapha (earth).

Vata consists of the elements air and ether, which give us movement and activity. Pitta includes the elements fire and water, which are responsible for heat, appetite and digestion, and Kapha is characterized by the elements earth and water, which are responsible for water and other bodily fluids. Most of us have one or two primary doshas, but everyone contains all three in some measure. When the three body states are in perfect harmony, the individual enjoys good health, whereas an imbalance in the states causes disease. Ayurveda seeks to address this state of imbalance through a process of holistic healing.

Herbs are at the heart of Ayurvedic medication. Whole flowers, roots, stems and leaves are manually processed in various ways to discover their optimal potential. Over 15,000 herbs are mentioned in the scriptures of which only around 850 are commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine today. This ancient Indian medicine – is generally accepted to be the forerunner of all the great healing systems of the world.

Ayurvedic text, mentions nine branches in Ayurveda-general medicine, surgery, ear, nose and throat (ENT) and eye disease, toxicology, psychiatry, pediatrics, gynecology, sexology and virility. Some texts also reveal that ancient natural healers delved into plastic surgery. The physicians also study six systems of philosophy: logic, evolution and causality, yoga, moral behavior, pure knowledge and even the theory of the atom. Thus they gain a thorough grounding in such a broad spectrum of disciplines.

Each of the doshas mentioned above have unique characteristics and can be balanced with a few measures adopted in our lives. While we will delve about this in more detail in our subsequent issues, I am sure you would be keen to hear – what happened to Neena?

Evidence that it works

For Neena, taking an Ayurvedic view provided immediate relief from her most chronic symptoms and helped her form a healthier, customized set of habits. She avoided cold and raw foods (which had always made her feel ill) and began eating warm, cooked meals at regular times: hot oats and fruit in the morning; a hearty meal of cooked greens, grains at noon; and roasted root vegetables like beets and squash for evening meals. Her physician advised long walks and simple exercises to soothe her racing thoughts. Changing these aspects of her daily routine soon allowed her to fall asleep with ease, and her gas and bloating disappeared.

To conclude – Ayurveda essentially provides us a tool box which we can use to get out of our own body imbalances. The ingredients of this box are all around us and we just need to be conscious to absorb them into our lives and systems. In the next section let’s take a closer look at one such herb –so commonly found in our kitchens.