Saturday, January 10, 2015

Health Management-7 Foundational Principles of AYURVEDA

Nourishing Majja: Brain Food
In Ayurveda, the nervous system is not considered separately but is seen as part and parcel of majja, the bone marrow. Ayurveda has accurately recommended those foods and herbs that are medhya, that is, support the memory and intelligence. In this article, we will look at some medhya foods and herbs.
Cow’s Milk
There are several reasons why cow’s milk is regarded in Ayurveda as an excellent brain food. First is the lipid content of milk. Glycophospolipids, known as gangliosides and found in full-fat milk, play an important role in brain development. In addition, milk protein, or casein, is an important source of precursors of all the main neurotransmitters. Whole milk and in particular, raw milk, is an outstanding source of phenylalanine, a precursor of dopamine and noradrenaline.5 Milk is also a source of tryptophan, a precursor of serotonin.  An important brain food, tyrosine, precursor of dopamine and noradrenaline, is found in high amounts in milk protein.  Milk is a great source of glutamic acid, precursor of the neurotransmitter GABA  as well as of the acetyl choline precursor, choline.  Another important neurotransmitter precursor is folate, a vital brain food, necessary for mental acuity and also for proper growth of the fetal neural tube. Here too, milk and fermented milk products are an important source.
For similar reasons to those discussed in the section on lipids in milk, ghee is an excellent medhya substance. In addition to the gangliosides mentioned above, ghee is an important source of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, essential for brain function.
Another important food that promotes ojas and has medhya properties is almond . Like milk, almond contains phenylalanine, precursor of dopamine and noradrenaline. This highlights the value of combining almonds and milk for a brain-boosting beverage. Indian researchers studied the effects of almond in amnesiac rats, with positive results on memory. “The memory-improving activity of PA (prunus amygdalus or almond) may be attributed to the anti-AChE, procholinergic, cholesterol reduction, neuroprotective and nutritive properties of the PA nuts.” 12 Almond oil will have many of the same benefits, while combining almond and milk has a synergistic effect.

Ojas Drink 
Almond Restorative Drink, Serves 1, Sattvic, V-P-K+
·         10 raw almonds
·         1 cup pure water
·         1 cup milk (unhomogenized if possible) (milk is highly rejuvenative when digested)
·         1 Tablespoon organic rose petals (optional - rejuvenative)
·         1 tsp ghee (rejuvenative)
·         1 pinch saffron (increases digestion & rejuvenative)
·         1/8 tsp ground cardamom (increases digestion)
·         Pinch of black pepper (helps control the K)
·         ½ tsp of sweetener (increases lactose digestion)
1.      Soak almonds and water together overnight.
2.      In the morning, drain off the water and rub the skins off the almonds.
3.      Bring the milk to a boil.
4.      Pour the milk in the blender with the peeled almonds.
5.      Add rose petals, ghee, saffron, cardamom, black pepper, and sweetener.
6.      Blend until smooth.
7.      Drink 3-4 times a week as directed.
Among its many properties, shatavari is a brain tonic or medhya herb. It is heavy, sweet, and bitter with cold energy. As a brain tonic, it can be taken at bedtime with warm milk or can be made into a medicated ghee. Either method will employ the synergistic medhya effects of milk or ghee.
Ashwagandha is a sleep-promoting nervine herb. It is bitter and astringent with a hot energy. As a nervine, it can be taken at bedtime with a cup of warm milk and a pinch of nutmeg to promote sound sleep.
 Bacopa Monnieri
This important medhya herb is known as brahmi according to Bhavprakash (Bacopa in the Banyan catalog). It is also referred to as somavalli or as sarasvati. It has a cold potency and is bitter, astringent and sweet. As a brain tonic, it can be made into a tea and drunk three times daily, or used orally in the form of a medicated ghee. The medicated ghee can also be used in the form of a nasya, and will then pass directly across the cribriform plate and enter the cerebral circulation to be transported across the blood brain barrier.
 Centella Asiatica
This key medhya herb is known as brahmi and also as Mandukaparni, according to Bhavprakash.13 It may be used similarly to Bacopa, being made into a tea, medicated ghee for oral use or nasya. It can also be made into a medicated milk and drunk at bedtime.
Shankhapushpi is a revered brain tonic. It has an astringent taste and hot virya and is said to boost memory power. It contains shankhapushpine, sitosterol and kaempherol. It is used as a paste of whole plant for medhya purposes.
Licorice is known in Sanskrit as Yasti Madhu or Yasti Madhuka. It is cooling and heavy with a sweet taste.14As a brain tonic, it is used as a powder mixed with honey. It can also be prepared as a medicated ghee and taken orally. Its medhya effects can also be harnessed by using it as an ingredient in nasya oil.
An invasive weed across much of the Western U.S., Gokshura is known as Puncture Vine. It has a sweet taste and cold potency and is an ingredient in dashamula.  Its action is interesting in that is acts as a mild monoamine oxidase inhibitor,  thus increasing the concentration of dopamine and serotonin available at the synapse. Thus it has a synergistic action with other medhya herbs, particularly kapikacchu, which increases dopamine production. These and other medhya foods and herbs can be effective at all stages of life, from optimal brain growth in infancy to optimal memory function in old age, nurturing the ongoing cognitive development of humans from the cradle to the grave.


Black gram or black lentil is known as urad dal in Hindi. In texts of ayurveda this bean is known as “MASHA”. Black gram is a bean grown mainly in south Asia. The plant of this bean is erect and hairy. It is an annual herb. It has a tap root which branches to form branched roots. The cylindrical pod of this plant contains seeds. The pods are usually six cm long.

Nutritional facts: Black gram is rich in vitamins, minerals and devoid of cholesterol. It is store house of calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese etc. Urad dal contains vitamins and dietary fibers. Due to high potassium content urad dal acts as an aphrodisiac. (High blood pressure occurs due to high sodium level and low potassium level. Black gram contains plenty of potassium. This helps to balance sodium potassium level and reduce hypertension or high blood pressure. There is a strong link between hypertension or high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction. As potassium helps to reduce high blood pressure, it also helps in erectile dysfunction. )

Ayurveda Medicinal properties of Black gram or urad dal:

According to texts of ayurveda this bean is heavy to digest and increases the moistness of body tissues. It is sweet to taste and hot in potency. All these properties help to normalize or calm vitiated vata. Consumption of this bean increases kapha and pitta.  Imbalanced vata dosha causes many diseases and also leads to men health problems like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, low sperm count and motility etc. Hence Ayurveda acharyas recommend use of “masha” in many health conditions. Anti inflammatory properties: According to principles of ayurveda vitiation of vata causes inflammation of tissues and initiates the sensation of pain.“Masha” or urad dal normalizes vata and hence has anti inflammatory properties. Usually a hot poultice of black gram is used in inflammation of joints and muscle pain. Massaging with herbal oil processed with this wonderful herb helps to reduce pain and inflammation

Nervous system disorders:  This herb strengthens nervous system. Ayurveda acharyas recommend preparations of this herb in nervous debility, partial paralysis, facial paralysis and other disorders which involve nervous system.

Disorders of digestive system: “Vigna Mungo” or masha helps to increase bulk of stools. The moistness increasing property coupled with bulk increasing quality helps in easy movement of bowel.  Therefore usage of this bean is recommended in conditions like constipation, piles and colic. This herb is a very good liver stimulant.

Shukra Dhatu

Shukra means bright, pure and radiant. It can also mean the “essence” of something. In Ayurveda, the term is commonly used to describe both the male semen and the female egg, as they contain the essence of all of the other dhatus (tissues) of the body. Shukra is the seventh and final dhatu in the dhatus formation cycle.  A person who has healthy shukra has a brightness of confidence with eyes and skin that seem to radiate light. A sensitive individual can perceive this light.

             If the dharma of a person lies within the world as a householder—one who gets married and has a family—then sexual expression is a natural and healthy part of a relationship. Two partners who are healthy should engage in sexual activity for the purposes of producing offspring and for the purposes of opening their hearts to each other and the divine. Care should be taken that the sexual activity does not become excessive. If the dharma of a person lies outside the world as a spiritual monk, then sexual expression is forbidden. This is not an issue of morality but practicality. For the monk, building up one’s shukra is necessary for its transmutation into ojas. High levels of ojas are necessary for performing intense spiritual practices. 
              The most common question I am asked is how much sex is appropriate for the householder. The answer lies in the state of a person’s shukra. When shukra is abundant and the resulting ojas is strong, and one is involved in a loving relationship, healthy sexual expression brings great joy and intimacy as well as offspring. Excessive sexual expression is that amount in which the signs of low shukra or low ojas become apparent. There is exhaustion, a loss of luster and a lack of creativity or an ability to sustain creative endeavors. Those with low shukra should refrain from sexual activity until the shukra is restored. There is no magic formula for the restoration of shukra. It is always being produced as a part of the digestion of the foods we eat. For restoration to occur, it must be produced faster than it is expelled.

Shukra kshaya Laxanas:(Symptoms of decreased shukra dhatu )

Dourbalayam mukhasoshascha paandutwam sadanam sramah
klaibyam sukraa visargascha ksheenasukrasya lakshanam

Difficulty in ejaculation of semen.
Ejaculating little quantity of semen after a painful coitus.
Early ageing symptoms with dry skin and wrinkles on face and body
Weak muscles
Getting tiered easily even after little exertion
Impotence or erectile dysfunction
Absence of semen ejaculation.

Erectile Dysfunction:
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability of a man to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for his sexual needs or the needs of his partner. Erectile dysfunction is sometimes called as “impotence”.
Erection happens when apaanavayu gets stimulated through various factors like sparsha (touch), gandha (pleasant scent), erotic talks etc. It gets associated with tejas (heat of pitta) to cause erection. Erectile dysfunction appears when apanavayu and pitta get vitiated.

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