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Saturday, September 09, 2017

Rice - The ayurvedic perspective


Ayurveda celebrates rice as the symbol of health, prosperity,auspiciousness and fertility and that's why,from newborns to newly-weds to new acquisitions, everything gets showered with rice.Rice is the first grain that you get introduced to.You get off an exclusive breast milk diet and you get on to rice either in the form of kanjee (rice soup) or really diluted rice itself.

Rice is suitable for people of all kinds of constitutions,doshas - vata, pitta and kapha.Rice has non-allergen, gluten-free and high on the protein digestibility score.That's exactly why big or small, man or woman, happy or angry, constipated or loosies, rich or poor, rice is everybody's comfort food.

In Sanskrit there are myriad words for rice describing their many states of being, presentation, and consumption. One common word is अन्न, “anna”which can translate to mean rice that is ready to eat.Not only is rice important as food, it is also undeniably integral to indian religious ceremonies and our social framework.Present in most prayer rituals, served to God and devotees alike, more or less every regional food culture in India counts rice as important.

In Ayurveda food is considered medicine.Foods are categorized according to their taste, their effect on the doshas,as well as their effect on the tissues.This is why when choosing foods it is important to understand ayurvedic properties of food.

          Ayurvedic view of rice
  • Rice builds ojas.Of all the rice varities,Basmati is the most sattvic and aromatic. 
  • Rice is nourishing and easy to digest giving more 'bang for the buck'.There are a few foods that Ayurveda has established as good for everyone(satmya),year round, and rice is number one on the list.No matter what your prakriti(constitution, as everyone is unique) and no matter what season, rice has a place in the diet.
  • Like moong(green gram),rice is sweet,cooling and light.This is a rare combination.Usually foods that are sweet and cooling are also heavy. So, like moong rice has the special quality of being nourishing for the tissues and immune system (due to its sweetness) but also light and easy to digest.It is also considered a Sattvic grain which means it helps to directly cultivate peace, clarity and contentment in the mind.
          Rice has the following qualities according to ayurveda...
  • Rasa (Taste): Sweet
  • Virya (Potency): Cooling
  • Vipaka (Post digestive effective): Sweet
  • Guna (Qualities): Unctuous, nourishing and Strength promoting. 
  • Brown rice is light to digest and white polished rice is slightly heavy to digest.
  • Actions on the doshas: Balances Vata and Pitta and increases Kapha.But old rice does not increase Kapha.Hence aged rice can be considered as tridoshic which balances Vata, Pitta and Kapha
  • Action on the mind: Sattvic
          The Western viewpoint.
  • White rice has a bad rap in the western countries.So much of the world depends on it as a core part of their diet,but somehow it’s been rumored as unhealthy with a stigma of little nutritional value and a cause of weight gain.Ayurveda believes otherwise.Ayurveda doesn’t judge rice simply on its fiber content and calorie count,as a Western perspective might, but takes into account who is eating it, when they’re eating it, and what happens to the rice throughout digestion.
  • Research in the West gives high scores to brown rice compared to white rice for its bran and fiber content.From a western perspective,rice has a neutral pH and a medium GI which makes it a better choice for people with diabetes.Red basmati rice is even better from a GI perspective.
          Panchamahabhutas in rice
  • According to Ayurveda, the Sweet taste (madhur rasa) is composed of the elements Water and Earth(Jala and Prithuvi).Rice is comprised of Water and Earth element.It is sweet inherently.Anything that is madhur is made for building, sustaining, and absorbing all the qualities that are present in Earth and Water as we see them in Nature.

          Effect of rice on tridoshas 
  • All of us have our own specific balance of Vata (movement, air/space),Pitta (transformation, fire/water) and Kapha (structure, earth/water), and when that balance is maintained, we experience health.
  • Some foods have more inherent heat and they add their Pitta heat to our body.Some foods are inherently cold and wet and increase our Kapha element.
  • In Ayurvedic terms rice is said to be very balancing to the three Doshas, or elements, that underlie our body and our health – Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
  • Rice is lighter than many other grains, so can be eaten by Kapha; it’s cooling, sweet and moist nature work for Pitta; and sweet moist attributes balance Vata. 
  • It is rare to find a food that balances all three Doshas and this is one reason rice is so highly valued.(If eaten in excess it will increase Kapha Dosha though).

          Should anyone avoid eating rice?
  • No. Anyone and everyone can and should eat rice.You would only avoid it if you were put on a very specific Ama-reducing fast by your Ayurvedic Practitioner and were instructed to avoid all grains (but this would usually only be for 3-10 days at a time).If you have diabetes you may be advised to eat more of the red variety, along with other low GI grains.
          Dry roasting rice
  • With respect to the preparation of rice, the Ayurvedic texts explain that dry roasting (i.e. drying over heat)rice can make them “light” to digest and hence beneficial when the digestive fire is low. 
          Pre-soaking Rice 
  • Pre-soaking rice is a fairly common practice, which can save fuel by decreasing cooking time(the grains begin the process of expanding as they absorb water during soaking).
  • Opinions vary on the effects on taste,texture and nutritive value. If the same water used for soaking is used for cooking rice then this would result in preventing the loss of water-soluble nutrients.
  • Soaking the rice for at least 1 hour prior to cooking them will make it lighter for digestion as well as cooks rice in very less time and consumes less power.
          Older the better 
  • According to Ayurveda, old rice has proved to be a great healing food and hence it is recommended to every human being. New rice(Freshly harvested rice) is hard to digest,whereas 1-year-old rice(1 yr maturity after harvesting)is lighter and two-year old rice is even more excellent in quality.Ayurveda texts explain that old rice is wholesome in diabetes and obesity too.Ayurveda recommends storage of rice in moist free airtight containers.Now-a-days we are eating newer and newer rice which is becoming harder and harder for us to digest thus leading to health issues.
          Cooking rice 
  • Rice is normally prepared by boiling or steaming(or some combination of these) and it absorbs water during this process.Long-grain rice tends to remain separate or ‘fluffy’ after cooking while short and medium grain rice will tend to stick together more. After standard boiling or steaming,rice can be eaten directly with side dishes, added to soup, combined with other ingredients in a wok to make ‘fried rice’, used to stuff vegetables or vine leaves, or used for forming various types of sushi.I personally use filteration method to cook rice.My goan friend Neelam dutta has included all the goan rice cooking methods in detail in her post,you can click here for the link.
          Boiling in excess water/Filteration method 
  • Rice can be boiled in excess water.When the rice is almost fully cooked, the excess water is drained off.This procedure has lot of signifacance when we think of health.Firstly,the most soluble carbohydrates are removed from the rice, so sugar loading is decreased and thus cause less impact on blood glucose levels. Reduction of easily available carbohydrates decreases tendencies to constipation, and improves elimination.This single procedure therefore has health promoting and preventative value for many conditions.Decrease in sugar loading will reduce tendencies to obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 Diabetes. The reduced constipation will tend to improve long term colon health, and all conditions involving ama(toxic substances)
          Absorption method to cook rice
  • In a covered pot/Pressure cooker/Rice cooker,the right amount of water can be measured and added to the raw rice before cooking and this water will be completely absorbed into the rice. The recommended ratio of raw rice to water varies from about 1:1.5 (firmer result) to about 1:2 (softer result), depending on preference.After coming to the boil, the heat should be reduced to simmering until the rice is cooked (and all water absorbed).Microwave can also be used to cook rice in absorbtion method.
          Steaming rice
  • This is similar to the absorption method, but after simmering for 8-10 minutes, transfer the rice to a basket or steamer over a steaming pan, cover and continue cooking for 10 minutes.
          Stir-frying in oil or fat before boiling
  • This method is used when making dishes like risotto, paella, saffron rice, spanish/mexican rice, pilaf or biryani.Generally for these dishes, the raw rice is stir-fried with selected spices and/or other ingredients for the dish (meat, seafood, vegetables), before adding the right amount of water and covering the pot.
          Germinated brown rice

  • Germinated brown rice (GBR) is unpolished brown rice that has been allowed to germinate to improve the flavor and texture, and to increase levels of nutrients such as γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It has been found that germinated grains in general have nutritional advantages. The rice is used in Japanese and Korean cuisine.
          Compressed rice
  • This is another method that involves boiling or steaming rice.Compressed rice is popular in Indonesia(known as ketupat or lontong)and Malaysia (nasi himpit). Traditionally, the raw or partially cooked rice is placed inside a woven or rolled coconut leaf or banana leaf pouch or cylinder, and then boiled or steamed. When cooked, the rice will have formed a solid mass,having been compressed by the pouch containing it.While still hot or after cooling, it is then cut open, sliced and served with side dishes, sauces and soups.Compressed rice packets can also be cooked with vegetable or meat fillings as a snack. 
          Do I need to add salt to rice?
  • If the rice will be served with curry/ flavoured dish/dal,don’t add salt as the rice is designed to provide a bland contrast.Salt is added to rice in the preparations like Pulao, Biryani etc.

          Washing Rice before cooking and Tandulodaka(Rice washed water)
  • Rice is exposed to dust and other contaminants during storage hence washing rice is a must before cooking it.Rinsing rice multiple times,results in the loss of water-soluble nutrients,including starch, protein, vitamins, minerals so i would recommend to wash rice just once or twice before cooking. 
  • In ayurveda Rice wash water(Tandulodaka)is also mentioned as anupana(after drink) with medicine in many disorders like bleeding hemorrhoids,leucorrhoea, etc.For preparing tandulodaka(rice washed water)coarse powder of one part of rice  is soaked in 8 parts of water,macerated well for five minutes and then filtered.
          Parboiling of rice 
  • Parboiling rough rice before milling, as is common in India and Bangladesh, allows a portion of the vitamins and minerals in the bran to permeate the endosperm and be retained in the polished rice.This treatment also lowers protein loss during milling and increases whole-grain recovery.
          Highly nourishing yet easy to digest
  • There is often a trade off between nourishment and digestibility.Usually, the most nourishing foods, such as meat and dairy products,demand a lot of digestive power to extract their nutrients.Rice is one of those rare foods as it is both highly nourishing and easy to digest.In other words, from the point of view of our digestive tract, it offers more calories with less effort.Ayurveda says that rice is good for building our body tissue and is a rich source of Prana, or life-force.It is especially valuable when you are recovering from an illness.
          White rice v/s Brown rice
  • Mostly we think of rice as either white rice or brown rice.What are the differences between them?In general, brown rice contains the external bran, or husk.This external layer is sweet and rich in oil, fiber, and minerals.When the bran is removed through milling the rice is white.
  • Inevitably white rice has less fiber than brown, but it still has nutritional value and provides protein and energy.And since its outer shell has been removed, it is much easier to digest.For this reason white rice is recommended when digestive ability is low.
  • According to Ayurveda this naturally occurs in the summer and warm months. At this time of year our agni(digestive fire)is at its weakest.We should adjust our diets accordingly,choosing lighter foods that are easy to digest.This makes white rice a better choice than brown in the summer.
  • Since brown rice is somewhat heavy to digest it is best consumed in the cooler and winter months.This is when agni is at its strongest.The digestive system can handle heavier foods like brown rice better than it can in summer.
  • Ayurveda takes into account not only the season but also the individual.For those who always have very good digestion and a strong agni, brown rice is generally a good choice.For those with more sensitive digestion and weaker agni,or in the case of illness,white rice is the way to go.
  • In terms of the dosha, white rice is often recommended for those who struggle with issues of Air and Space(Vata).This is because external bran of brown rice, though full of fiber and more whole can be difficult to breakdown for those who have irregular digestion.
  • Brown rice can take up to 45 minutes to cook however,white rice  can be completely cooked in 15 minutes.This is important because rice that is eaten without completely steaming,or is removed from the refrigerator without warming, can add to the complaints of Vata-gas, bloating, and constipation to name a few.
  • If you’re one of those people who can practically digest rocks(has very good digestion)then yeah,take advantage of brown rice’s nutritive value year round.If digestion is a little slower,go with white.
          Different forms of rice
  • Rice roasted directly in fire (Dana/Bhuja) is consumed with salt or spices.
  • Rice flour (Pisht) Rice flour is made from ground raw rice.It can be used as a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour. Rice flour is commonly used in countries where rice is the staple food to make other food products, including certain types of bread, cakes, biscuits, pancakes and dumplings.It is also used to thicken soups and sauces and to make batter for deep frying crispy snacks(such as for Japanese tempura or fried bananas).Rice noodles and extruded round noodles are made from wet-milled rice flour.These are eaten with side dishes or in soups. Glutinous rice flour is commonly used to make many types of sweet and savoury cakes in Asia, including Japanese mochi and Indonesian layered rice cakes (kue lapis). 
  • Rice pop (Murmure/Lava/Khil) is used to make namkin or used directly for consumption.
  • Pressed/Flattened rice (Poha) is used for making Indian breakfast like poha.
          External use of rice in panchakarma 
  • This particular  treatment is a special gift from Ayurveda to the ailing world and it is called Shashtika Shali Pinda Sweda in Sanskrit and Njavarakizhi in Kerala ayurvedic practice.
  • Process involves fomentation of the body with a bolus of cooked rice.Njavara is a particular kind of rice known for its nutritional and therapeutic value.
  • Rice is cooked with milk and a herbal decoction.
  • Four boluses are made of this cooked rice and tied up in linen bags.It is a procedure by which the whole body or any specific part thereof is made to perspire by the Njavarakizhi application.
  • Treatment (massage) is started by application of oil to the body and a piece of cloth is tied around the head. 
  • The two attendents on each side of the patient massage by the prepared boluses and the process will be continued in seven standard postures such as sitting,lying (supine or prone position) etc. 
  • The movement of the hands during both fomentation and massage should always be downwards.
  • After the massage, all the linen bags are opened out and remaining pudding is taken and applied to the body of the patient and rubbed by the hands. 
  • After 5 minutes, the paste is wiped off with palm leaf scrapers. Patient is given bath after some time.
  • The course of treatment is for about 60 to 75 minutes per day for a period of 7 to 21 days.
  • The fomentation and soothing effect of this Potli is effective in various neuro-degenerative conditions,weakness, muscle wasting, low back or neck pain, Sciatica, Removes joint stiffness due to vata,Prevents premature  ageing, Rejuvenates skin,Chronic rheumatism,Limb emaciation.
  • Basically this therapy is  used to improve muscle strength, rejuvenate and re-energize body.This treatment also provides strength and nutrition to the body tissues, especially bones, muscles and other soft tissues.
          Some Interesting Facts about rice
  • Glycaemic index, or GI, is the measure of how quickly your blood glucose level (blood sugar) rises after eating a particular food.If you have a diet that has a high GI level, you more are at risk of diabetes, heart disease and a variety of other diseases.Rice is normally consumed with dal and some ghee.Rice has mediun GI index and by eating it with daal/dahi we bring its GI index further down and if we take some ghee over this daal rice then the GI INDEX is brought down further.
  • Khichadi made of old rice and mung is beneficial to a person suffering from fever or stomach disorder.
  • Rice gruel mixed with ghee or butter is advised throughout pregnancy. As rice, ghee and butter are cooling and anabolic, they nourish the mother to be as well as help in proper growth of the fetus.
  • Rice has their unique nutritional value.It includes high in minerals such as calcium and iron, vitamins, such as niacin, vitamin D, thiamine and riboflavin and a good source of fiber and therefore, improves digestion.
  • Old rice is beneficial in diabetes and obesity.
  • It promotes growth of pro-biotic bacteria, eases bowel movement and rids you of bloating.
  • Rice contains very low amount of saturated fats,sodium and fat and it's free of cholesterol making it heart healthy food.
  • It prevents premature wrinkling.
  • It has essential amino acids like methionine, which when consumed with dal, for example, completes the amino acid profile of the meal. (They are limiting factors of each other).
  • Has inositol, which has fat burning, anti-anxiety, and irritability reducing properties.
  • It allows for better assimilation of Vitamin D and calcium.
  • More than half the world's population virtually lives on rice.
  • In Japan,the words for rice and meal are the same.An average Japanese eats 200 pounds of rice a year. Needless to add, Japan has one of the highest longevity rates in the world.
  • Rice crop takes up a whopping 150 million hectares of land worldwide.
          Pathya kalpana(Ayurvedic dietetics)
  • Ayurveda prescribes specific diet patterns in the diseased conditions which are known as Pathya kalpana.According to ayurveda, derangement of the digestive power(Agni) occurs in many diseases which is the prime reason for the formation of vitiated dosha,Ama (toxic substances) and malformation of Dhatus(body tissues).
  • The word Pathya derives its origin from root word Patha which literally means a way or channel.Pathya not only advocates intake of wholesome food and fasten the process of recovery from the diseased state but it mainly helps to regain the strength of agni(digestive power).
  • Some pathya kalpana like manda, peya, vilepi, yavagu etc are explained in ayurveda.Table below explains in short about pathya kalpana, their preparation method and uses in therapeutic diet.
  • Various rice preparation given below are also suitable for weaning babies who are being introduced to foods apart from mother’s milk.
          Manda Kalpana
  • Manda means rice water which is the clear supernatant watery portion in which rice is boiled. This Kalpana is prepared by using rice and water in 1:14 proportion.The rice is cooked in said proportion of water and then only water content of the prepared formulation is collected as Manda(watery portion of rice gruel).It should be served with a pinch of table salt.
  • Properties: Laghu (light in digestion),Sheeta( cold)
  • Actions: Deepana (increase in appetite),Pachana (increase in digestive capacity),Grahi( reduces water cotent in feaces),Vatanulomaka(maintains normal functioning of vata humour),Kaphaghna( pacify kapha humour).
  • Indications: Jwara(Fever),Atisara(Diarrhoea),Trishna(Excessive Thirst).
  • The same procedure can be used to prepare laja(puffed rice)manda.
  • Peya Kalpana
  • This Kalpana is prepared by using rice and water in 1:14 proportion.The rice is cooked in said proportion of water and then maximum watery content of the prepared formulation is collected with few grains of cooked rice.This is knownas Peya(rice gruel).It can be served with little amount of table salt and pinch of pepper powder
  • Properties: Laghu(light in digestion)
  • Actions: Deepana,Pachana,Vatanulomaka,Dhatupushtikara(nourishing)
  • Indications:Jwara(fever),Atisara(Diarrhoea),Shwasa (asthma) Kasa(cough)Kaphodara(Ascites),Trushna(excessive thirst)
          Yavagu kalpana
  • Yavagu is a type of gruel prepared with 6 times water to nearly thick or semisolid consistency. Only solid rice part is taken.You can add ¼ tea spoon of grated ginger, pinch of pepper powder and required quantity of table salt and churn it well before serving.
  • Properties -Laghu(Light in digestion,Grahi(reduces water cotent in feaces),Bastishodhani(Capable Of Removing Provoked Humors In Basti)
  • Indications: Before Siravedha(blood letting),Garbhini(pregnancy),Unmaada (schizophrenia),Mandagni(loss of appetite),Trushna(excessive thrist)
          Vilepi kalpana
  • This is thick rice gruel prepared by cooking rice with 4 times of water.Maximum solid portion with little liquid is taken. Add required amount of table salt, a little fresh ginger, turmeric, cumin seeds, coriander, fennel,pepper and small amount of ghee can be added for taste and digestion.
  • Properties: Madhur (sweet),Laghu (light in digestion).
  • Action:Deepana,Rochaka (Enhances taste),Grahi(reduces water content in feaces),Vrushya(Aprodiasiac).
          Odana kalpana 
  • In this preparation  cooked rice and has the consistency of normal, soft, cooked rice.It is made with 2 parts of water to 1 part of rice.It should be served with some gravy vegetable curries for providing fast and instant energy.
  • From birth to death, rice shadows us in every big and small moment of our life and then suddenly rice becomes our enemy and by following some modern trends we try to eliminate it from our diet chart,it is actually the biggest mistake which we do.
  • We should rather value everything (like rice), that is easily available in local market, instead of chasing after food items, which is difficult to avail and expensive to afford.Eat your rice the way you like it,as you want and eat it in quantities which will leave you feeling light and energetic, and enjoy the wonders it will have on your body.
  • Rice is the superfood and we all can have it  all round the year,but we must not eat it in too much quantity,we must trust our tongue and stomach to guide us.I would like to conclude my post by very good advise from famous nutritionist Rutuja diwekar madam that as far as quantities are concerned,if a human being pays attention to what he/she is eating and doesn’t rush through his/her meal,he/she will know exactly where to stop eating.We are born with the ability to self-terminate eating;we do not need a dietitian or a doctor to tell us where to stop.Some things are worth doing yourself; this is one such thing.
          Stay healthy !

Friday, August 04, 2017

Use kajal daily let your healthy eyes speak...


  • Our eyes are the most important sense organs we have in relating to the world around us.They  are the connection between outer and inner worlds.In fact it isaid that our eyes are the mirror to our soul.
  • We must protect and take loving care of these delicate organs.So to protect it one should apply anjana(Collyrium/kajal) everyday.It's a traditional ayurvedic formulation for healthy eyes.It is highly effective in maintaining the health and shine of the eyes.Kohl or Kajal is one of the first make up product that most girls learn to use.
  • In a world more and more polluted by gas emissions,also by pollen, by dust, by the lack of humidity in some work or living places, and more and more screens to look at, Kajal appears to be a wonderful ally to your eyes.It is very useful in young children as well.For thousands of years women have been using kajals as a natural eye care cosmetics.
  • Eye kohl is one of the oldest fashion accessories found in every woman’s vanity.It is ethnic and followed by every tradition.When you put on a kajal,you bid for a new smoky look, to be in the spotlight.Your dazzling eyes build up a confidence in you to fight against pickles of your life.Beyond shadow of any doubt Kohl serves your eyes with a glamorous look.Apart from dazzling eyelooks,today we will see neumerous health benefits of kajal.

          Synonyms of Kohl/collyrium
  • Kohl is known by various names in South Asian languages, like surma in Punjabi and Urdu, kajal in Hindi, Bengali and Gujrati, anjana in Sanskrit, kajalh in Marathi, kanmashi in Malyalam, kaadige in Kannada, kaatuka in Telugu and kan mai in Tamil.
          History and cultural importance of kajal
  • Kohl is an ancient eye cosmetic.It is widely used in South asia, the Middle east, the Mediterranian, Eastern europe, North africa, the Horn of africa, and parts of West africa as eyeliner to contour and darken the eyelids and as mascara for the eyelashes.It is worn mostly by women, but also by some men and children.Kohl has also been used in India as a cosmetic for a long time. In addition, mothers would apply kohl to their infant'seyes soon after birth.Some did this to strengthen the child's eyes,and others believed it could prevent the child from being cursed by the evil eye.
  • Egyptian and africa culture-Kohl was originally used as protection against eye ailments.There was also a belief that darkening around the eyes would protect one from the harsh rays of the sun.Women have long applied kohl  for cosmetic purposes, as well as to cleanse the eyes, lengthen eyelashes, and to protect the eyes from the sun's rays.
  • In India, it is used by women as a type of eyeliner that is put around the edge of the eyes.In many parts of India,women of the household prepare the kajal.Local tradition considers it to be a very good coolant for the eyes and believes that it protects the vision.
  • In Punjabi culture, surma is a traditional ceremonial dye, which predominantly men of the Punjab wear around their eyes on special social or religious occasions.
  • Some women also add a dot of kajal on the left side of the foreheads or on the waterline of the eye of women and children to ward off "buri nazar".Buri nazar literally means 'bad glance' and is comparable to the 'evil eye',although it can be interpreted as ill-wishes of people or even lustful eyes,in the sense of men ogling women.It signifies that the person is not perfect, with them having 'black mark',and hence, people wouldn't be jealous of their beauty.
  • In the centuries-old Indian Bharatnatayam dances,the dancers apply heavy kohl to their eyes so as to draw attention to their eye gestures and movement.The kohl is then applied to eyebrows and eyelids to add further enhancement to the dancers.
  • The Prophet Mohammed used kohl and recommended others to use it because he believed that it was beneficial for the eyes and it is used by Muslim men today during ramadan as a sign of devotion.
          Anjana in ayurveda
  • The preparation and benefits of Kajal are written in the ancient Ayurvedic treaties dating back to more than 5000 years ago.It is used as a beauty treatment by indian women since that time.
  • Anjana in simple words means a thick honey like consistency medicinal substance to be applied in the eyes for maintaining their health and prevent diseases.There are two types of it, first is called as "Souviranajana"i.e. it should be put daily.It’s our own lovely kajal or Surma that we apply every day. 
  • Second type of Anjana is the Rasanjana i.e. prepared with honey, berberis aristata and goat’s milk.This is a little strong type and is put in the eyes only during night time.This is available in the ayurvedic pharmacy or one can try putting one drop of pure honey in the eyes at night.This stings the eyes a bit and eyes start watering.Due to this any redness, impurities or foreign bodies are washed away and in just few minutes one realizes the eyes are cleaned up.Also it imparts good sound sleep.This Anjana is told to be used only for 5 to 8 nights continuously every month and not to be exceeded above that.Only that one should not see bright light or watch tv, computers after this is done. So one should put it just before going to sleep.
          Types of anjan in ayurveda 
  • According to charaka -Sauviranjana and rasanjana
  • According to susrutha-Prasadana,lekhana,ropana
  • Depending on the form of medicine -Gutikanjana, Rasanjana, Churnanjana
  • Depending on action-Mridu and tikshna
  • (We need not go in detail of every type of anjana as they are to be practiced under guidance of ayurvedic physician,in this post we will only focus on souviranjan which is the kajal/kohl  which we put daily.)
          Doshas present in  our eyes
  • Ayurveda explains that Pitta dosha,the element of fire and light governs our eyes.Specifically, the sub-dosha “Alochaka Pitta”lives in the eyes.Alochaka pitta absorbs images and colors, allowing us to take in and digest all of the visual impressions coming to us.When Alochaka pitta is in balance,eyes are healthy, bright, clear, shiny, luminous, and we enjoy sharp vision.
  • Tarpaka Kapha is responsible for keeping the eyes lubricated, moist and cool. 
  • Prana Vata is responsible for the life force that runs throughout the head region, for movement of the eyes, blinking, and sensory perception.
          Uses of putting kajal/kohl daily
  • Collyrium helps remove dirt and dust, and relieves watering and burning of eyes due to strain.
  • While applying kajal, the underside of the eyeballs gets a massage, which improves the blood circulation of eyes and hence, improves eye sight.
  • Kajal protects the eyes from sharp rays of sun.
  • It helps to make the little red vessels in the eyes disappear so that they remain     white.               
  • It helps to protect from bad luck/evil eye (particularly little kids)
  • The organic and natural soot we use in form of kajal has refreshing,astringents and disinfectant properties.
  • It moisturises the eyes and evacuate tear fluid faster.
  • Regular use of kajal also helps to avoid cataract to some extent.
          Need for making our own homemade kajal
  • Kajal/kohl/surma had been used for centuries in most South Asian and Arab nations, multi-tasking as an eye cosmetic and evil eye-fighter.But its reputation has suffered recently,when investigations had revealed that the products contain dangerously high levels of lead sulphate which can create several problems.
  • The commercial production of kajal today,on a large scale,has bought its own share of problems.Some of the most commonly found impurities in kajal are charcoal which is added for its dark colour, and silver nitrate,which gives the kajal its lustrous glow.If the silver nitrate content in the kajal is more than two per cent, it can cause irritation, burning and redness of the eyes.
  • Where does that leave our homegrown kajal? The process by which it has been traditionally made is painstaking and as delicate as the body part to which it is applied.Kajal has been used for hundreds of years by us is proof enough that it does not have harmful effects on the eyes,so the best decision would be to make kajal at home as grandmother used to make/or depend on reliable organic brands.
          Recipe for making kajal
  • Copper panel or plate with up edges
  • Silver box/airtight clean box
  • Pure castor oil
  • Pure cotton filaments 
  • Some ghee
  • 1 spoon
  • A bronze/earthen oil lamp
  • Camphor
  • (Another version of home-made ayurvedic kajal is made using almond oil. Almonds have natural oils that are very beneficial for the eye and is also known to improve eyesight.)
  • Fill the Bronze/Earthen oil lamp with approximately 100 ml of castor oil,put a wick and light the lamp.
  • Place the copper plate on top of the lamp in such a position that the flame touches the plate.Fix the position of the plate with the help of a stand.
  • Place this lamp in a place with no wind blowing, let the lamp burn over night,or as long as the oil burns.This will approximately take 8-10 hours.
  • When the oil is burnt, you will see a thick powdery black residue on the copper plate.This is the base of your kajal.
  • Gather as much soot as possible and put it in the container.Take a small amount ghee and mix it into the collected soot.
  • Add a few small beads of camphor and mix well for minute or two.
  • Make the kohl as consistent as you want it. Ideally, it should have the consistency of eatable butter.Too thin and your kohl will smudge, too thick and it will be in lumps.
  • Kohl is ready to use.Put the kohl in an airtight box/silver box.
  • Apply on your eyes once in a day.
          Benefits of ingredients used
  • Rich in Vitamin E-Pure castor oil is the richest form of vitamin E.It helps heal the eyes,makes your eye lashes thick and blacker and known to relieve stress.
  • Anti-Bacterial-Copper is well-known for its healing properties and is considered a purifier.You will get a very minute amount of copper in the kohl because of the heated copper plate where your soot gets collected.Copper helps keep your eyes free from external and makeup infections.It also helps in lens and strengthening eye muscle and relaxing.
  • Relaxes Irritated Eyes-Bronze and silver are known for their regenerating properties. They also help in healing allergies, relaxing irritated and swollen blood vessels because of over rubbing.
  • Provides Coolness To Eyes-Camphor helps for providing coolness and gives stress relief.It helps subside minor eruptions in the eyes.Camphor comes from the resin of the camphor tree, it has refreshing, astringents and disinfectant properties.
  • Keeps Dark Circles Away-Ghee keeps your dark circles at bay by relaxing them if you are an electronic person who uses laptops, computers, and phones constantly.It cleans your eye of salt deposits from tears.Also removes your minute makeup residue trapped under the upper and lower eye lids.
  • Cotton being the most natural fibre available anywhere in the world.
          Storage of  kajal 
  • The container is very often not sterile and can cause eye infections like conjunctivitis and corneal ulcers.So keeping the kajal/surma stick well covered, away from dust and other dirt, is very important.
  • kajal once prepared at home easily lasts  for 8 to 11 months if used only by one person and one time application.It doesn’t expire but it should not be kept near water.Homemade kajals usually have a good shelf life even though no preservatives are used.
          Application of kajal
  • Wash your face and hands.Take very little kajal/kohl on your(right hand) finger,widen the eyes with left hand and apply collyrium using the right hand.Always it should be applied from inner canthus to outer canthus. 
  • The other way to apply kajal is by using shalaka(applicator), start off by cleaning the probe(applicator) with the help of a clean dry cloth.Dip the probe into the bottle and twist a little and shake.Take out the probe and tap it gently to remove the excess material so that only a fine film will remain on it.Apply the probe carefully along the lower eyelid, while closing the upper eyelid and softly slide out the probe side ways up till its end.Clean the probe again with dry cloth prior to repeating the same procedure for the other eye.
  • Home made kajal is very dark, so one of the ways to use it is, put heavily on eyes at night before going to sleep, wash your face in the morning/after bath, the remaining kajal leaves a beautiful,natural tint on your eyes,which no makeup artist can replicate.
          Indications and Contraindications 
  • One should apply collyrium everyday for protecting the eyes.Eyes are dominant in tejo mahabhutha,so there is fear of it being afflicted with kapha.Hence process which alleviates kapha is good for eyes.
  • One should not apply collyrium in conditions of tiredness, Udavarta, crying, after intake of alcohol, anger, fear, fever, suppression of natural urges and diseases of head.It is also contra indicated in ocular conditions like redness of eyes, pain,blindness,excessive lacrimation,pain and swelling.
          Features of proper collyrium application
  • Clear vision, lightness, no excessive lacrimation, proper functioning, purity of eyes are features of proper action of collyrium.
  • Gold ornaments are cleaned by means of oil, cloth and hair brush,similarly application of collyrium cleans the human eyes which makes them shine like bright moon in clear sky.
           Stay healthy !

Monday, February 29, 2016

Healing power of clay pot water...


  • Water is the universal elixir of life.It makes up more than 70 percent of our total body mass and covers the same proportion of the Earth’s surface.We can live without food for a month or more; but we will perish in a matter of days without water. We imbibe this vital power or Prâna from water that gives more energy, health and immunity. Water is essential for our existence and we should have access to clean water for our daily activities. 
  • When you talk about drinking water, you need to be extra cautious. Nowadays most of us drink mineral water or the one from the RO purifier and store it in plastic bottles. In olden times everybody used to drink from the clay pot or earthen pot and they were a way lot healthier than us.Can you believe that by just changing the way the water is stored, you can make it healthy!
  • In this virtual world, where everyone is behind technology and advancement, there are people who still rely on the traditional methods of water purification. This makes earthen pot sustainable. It has the values and believes attached to its form and function. Moreover, the material decomposes back to nature without polluting the environment. Functionality causes zero percent exploitation of resources indeed! It is a refrigerator which doesn’t require electricity.
  • It’s widely known that drinking enough water each day is an essential key to health. The quality of the water we drink, however, often gets overlooked. Today, we are blessed with remarkable convenience in obtaining the water we drink. While some people still hike for miles to find fresh water, we simply turn on a faucet or run to the nearest store. Such convenience, however, also breeds less care regarding the quality of water we drink.
  • Have you ever had water from clay pot?  Well, if you haven’t, then you are missing out on countless health benefits. Using a clay pot for water is not just a traditional alternative to the steel, glass and plastic containers, but it’s a healthy alternative as well.

        How cooling takes place in the pot?
  • As per the science behind the way of cooling water in a clay pot, the clay pot absorbs some of the water that is poured into it, which makes the clay pot well moist. The outside temperature evaporates the humidity on the pot and this cools the kept water at a comfortable temperature, whose effect lasts until the wall of the pot is moist. 
  • This earthen pot (used for storing water in the olden days), that we have so merrily traded for plastic, stainless steel and other synthetically manufactured materials, has tiny pores all over its body that gives it passive cooling properties. It allows water to evaporate from its surface, similar to the way a human body functions, keeping the stored water cool.

        Benefits of drinking clay pot pot water
  • When it comes to storing water, the earthen pots occupy the primary position. Storing water in an earthen pot is the best method. Earthen pot not only makes the water chilled during summer but also provides healing elements of Earth. More importantly the earthen pot transfers the coolness to the water according to the climatic conditions; which is the special quality of earthen pot that no other container has. The chilled water of earthen pots during summer has no other replacement in quenching the thirst and satisfaction of drinking water.
  • Naturally cooled water from clay pots is readily absorbed by the body and is brimming with micro-nutrients that it soaks up from the kiln fired earthen pot.
  • In the scorching summer heat the clay pot water is good as compared to fridge water to avoid sunstroke also the other reason could have been that the sudden temperature change could make us sick. What we did not realize though, is that the water stored in an earthen pot is gentle on the throat. It is an ideal drink for people suffering from cough or cold. It is assumed that people, who drink water from an earthen pot, have less chances of developing throat infection compared to those, who drink chilled water from the fridge.
  • Storing water in plastic containers is not safe as harmful chemicals such as BPA in plastic, pose a health hazard by clinging to the water molecules. The traditional clay pot is the best way of storing water. Drinking water from the clay pot helps in improving the body’s metabolism and is devoid of harmful chemicals like BPA. Clay pot water tastes very natural, is pleasantly chilled and is good for health.
  • Another benefit of clay water pots is the alkaline nature of clay. The alkaline clay interacts with the acidity of water and provides the proper pH balance. This water can help curb acidity and in turn provides relief from gastronomic pains. This nature of clay is quite useful and is one of the few well-documented benefits of drinking water from an earthen pot.
  • Clay pot water drinking can very well improve the level of testosterone in your body when compared water stored in plastic.
  • After breaking the clay pot  it depletes into the ground. Indeed it can be reused and recycled. The design value of earthen pots makes it hundred percent Eco- friendly.
  • Earthen pots can cool water without electricity. In fact, most of the people in Rural India rely on earthen pots as natural refrigerators as it doesn’t require electricity as electricity isn’t available in these places and the temperature is just apt for the throat.
  • Drinking water from natural filtration is better than chemically treated water as human body would need few bacteria to develop immunity within the body.
  • Earthen pots results in no harmful by-products during the production of pottery. Clay scraps and imperfect pieces produced off the jiggering machine or from slip casting may be re-mixed and re-used.
  • There are health risks involved with consumption of demineralized water such as it direct effects on the intestinal mucous membrane, metabolism and mineral homeostasis or other body functions. Little or no intake of calcium can lead to weaker bones and frequent tooth bleeding. Moreover, it may also lead to loss of body immunity to fight against diseases. Earthen pot sustains these minerals in the water and makes it healthy for drinking as compared to distilled water
        Ill effects of water stored in plastic,aluminium containers etc
  • If the water is stored in glass vessels there is no harm; and there is no benefit either. Also, Water should neither be stored nor used from an aluminum vessel. The Aluminum mixes with water, goes in to our intestines and the body leading to various diseases. Water stored in plastic containers contain harmful chemical like Bisphenol A which poses a health hazard.
  • The chemicals added to sanitize water have also raised concerns in recent years. These include chlorine, phosphate, lime, soda ash, fluoride and aluminum phosphate. Chlorine, in particular, has attracted considerable attention. Studies have shown that chlorine forms carcinogenic chemicals when interacting with organic matter commonly found in water. Ingesting small amounts of chlorine over time has also been shown to drop vitamin E levels in the body and destroy beneficial intestinal flora.
  • Water is usually stored in plastic bottles in the refrigerator which contains CFCs or chlorofluorocarbons. They are organic compounds that found large scale application in refrigerants few decades ago. However, it was found out that CFCs react with the ozone gas in our atmosphere and leave us vulnerable to harmful effects of ultraviolet radiations of sun.
  • As awareness of water quality has increased in recent years, bottled water sales have boomed. Relying solely on bottled water, however, is more costly and less environmentally friendly than investing in a quality filtration system. Chemicals from plastic bottles can also leach into the water, particularly if bottles become hot.
  • Bottled water can last only for a couple of days and then starts emitting bad odor. Studies show that the plastics used for bottles contain chemicals having estrogenic activity.
  • The new technology based water purifiers are sleek and contemporary. The material used in its construction is unbreakable and assures prolonged storage. The additional filters bring to us more clean and purified water. Since, the water treated can be stored for a couple of days. These purifiers are made from unsustainable materials and are not decomposable. This in turn results in releasing harmful products in nature.

        How to store water in clay pot ?
  • For generations, earthen pots have been used to store water and keep it cool as water stored in matkas or surahis for a few hours gets cooled at about 10⁰C and 14⁰C. The water kept in clay pot is said to have a refreshing flavor and is just at the right temperature not too warm and not too chilled. 
  • You can boil water for about 20 minutes, let it cool down to room temperature and then put it in a clay pot.
  • If you already have a water purifier you can take filtered water and store in clay pot to make it cool instead of keeping it in fridge.
  • Bunch of vetiver roots can be put in the clay pot to enhance the cooling effect of water. For more information you can visit 
       Some precautions to be used while using clay potwater.
  • Keep your earthen pot germ-free, by scrubbing, cleaning and then drying the clay pot after each use prior to restocking it. You should make sure that you change the water stored in it regularly and clean the earthen pot once in 3 days.
  • Different types of clay pots are available in the market – a small clay pot is easy to handle while the big one is hard to move around. Select the clay pot which best suit your needs and your comfort.
  • The breeze will help keep your water cool, so put the pot on a sturdy table near the window and wrap a clean moist cloth around the clay pot for faster cooling.
  • Keep the clay pot covered at all times to prevent insects, dust and other contaminants from falling into it.
  • Don’t put a glass directly in clay pot to take out water as it could contaminate the water, instead use a clean, long-handled ladle.
  • Check clay pot properly while buying that there is no crack, otherwise water can leak out. A cracked clay pot cannot cool the water effectively.
  • Water storage in earthen pots was easy, but soon people realized it’s difficult to pour out water by tuning the heavy water filled pots. Even as the water level goes much deeper, the water cannot be taken out easily .To avoid this problem the earthen pots with attached tap can be used for  easy water pouring and saving each drop wisely.

  • A grassroots alternative to hi-tech filtration systems is earthen pots. It is important to understand that the innovation and technology have their roots inspired from the ancient practices and equipment. Like the concept of current water purifiers is nothing put an inverted pot with a stopper. The slight innovation in the design has increased its function multi fold. Even though the current water purifiers can serve the purpose perfectly, there are few moments when human realize that their made technology fails in many situations and the need becomes to switch back to the tried and tested old methods.
  • Most of us have grown up on  soothing coolness and earthy flavor  of clay pot water that would quench our thirst on hot summer days, like nothing else could. But with refrigeration taking over, out went this very healthy practice! This article focuses on the unceasing existence and usage of earthen pots despite of the new advancement in technologies. After reading this post you may be tempted to get a clay pot right away! Well, what are you waiting for?
       Stay healthy !

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Ashtang Ayurveda ( eight wings of Ayurveda)

                                                     Ayurveda, is very vast hence it’s divided into eight branches, which are collectively called as Ashtang Ayurveda. Like any other modern medicinal therapies, Ayurveda believes in specialized treatment for different body parts. Thus, the medicinal art have been categorized under branches that deal with psychiatry, internal medicine, treatment of eyes, ears, nose, throat and head, toxicology and gerentorology separately. Ayurveda is a very elaborate and vast medicinal science. It deals with several kinds of complex ailments and surgeries. The science of Ayurveda is divided into eight different categories in order to clearly demarcate the treatment of one ailment from another. That is why the science of Ayurveda is often referred as Astang Ayurveda i.e. the life science with eight branches.
Ayurveda is an ancient medicinal science. It originated in the Indian subcontinent about 5000 years ago and is considered to be one of the most advance medical therapies existing in the world till  now.Ayurveda is the first ever medicine system to categorize pediatrics, aphrodisiacs and surgery as the branches of any medicinal science.
"Kaaya baala graha urdhvaanga shalya damshtra jara vrshan Ashtau angaani tasyaahuh chikitsa yeshu samsthitaah."
-Ashtanga hrdayam

Which are 8 branches?
1. Kaaya Chikitsa (Internal Medicine),
2. Baala Chikitsa (Treatment of Children/Pediatrics),
3. Graha Chikitsa (Demonology/Psychology),
4. Urdhvaanga Chikitsa (Treatment of eyes, ears, nose, throat and head)
5. Shalya Chikitsa (Surgery),
6. Damstra Chikitsa/Agad tantra (Toxicology)
7. Jara Chikitsa (Geriatrics, Rejuvenation),
8. Vrusha Chikitsa (Aphrodisiac therapy).

         Description about 8 branches

       Kayachikitsa( Internal Medicine)

  • Ayurveda is the holistic approach, which is mainly concerned with the treatment of the body kayachikitsa, is the first branch of Astanga Ayurveda or eight-branched Ayurveda that deals with general medicine. The total treatment procedure is called Kaya Chikitsa (or internal medicine), wherein kaya means 'body' and chikitsa means 'treatment'. Kaya Chikitsa mainly deals with the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of general diseases, such as skin disorders, diabetes, tuberculosis, rheumatoid arthritis and many other disorders.
  •  Charaka Samhita is the most important scripture on kayachikitsa. It discussed the basic principles of treatment, various types of therapies and purification or detoxification methods. According to this natural treatment, the body of a person is product of the constant psychosomatic interactions and diseases caused are due to the imbalance caused in the trishods of the body. This imbalance caused in the three doshas of vata-pitta-kapha is sometimes, caused by the mind and occasionally by the body's dhatu (tissues) and mala (toxin deposits). It is then that the kayachitikitsa branch of ayurveda comes to assistance.
  • Kayachitikitsa is the branch of herbal and holistic medicine, which delves deep into ascertaining the root cause of the illness. The entire Ayurvedic therapeutics is based on the concept of Agni. The concept of Kaya (Agni) is unique and is responsible for bio- transformation. As it is known that energy can neither be created nor can it be destroyed. In human body, Kaya provides the necessary energy for all bodily activities. The energy provided is derived from the food we eat and the air we breathe. The biological system of the body transforms this energy to one, which is utilized by the cells. The Treatment There are six stages of the development of disease are enumerated as aggravation, accumulation, overflow, relocation, build up in a new site and manifestation into a recognizable disease.
  •  In kayachikitsa, there is always an opportunity to stop the disease at each stage, thereby preventing its full manifestation. One of the significant methods of treatment under kayachikitsa is panchakarma. In this procedure, the body is purified and cleansed from the vitiated dosha to achieve the state of homogenizes and happiness. In short, this method mainly deals with reversing the disease path from its manifestation stage, back into to its site of original development, through special forms of emesis, purgation and enema.
  • Panchakarmas means five treatments—Vamana (Emesis), Virechana(purgation), Basti (Enema), Nasya(Nasal Medications), Raktamoksha (Different forms of bloodletting)
  • In the kaya chikitsa ‘Agni’ – the digestive fire in the body is given utmost importance. It is responsible for the metabolism in the body. The imbalance to this ‘Agni’ is the cause for many diseases. Kaya chikitsa deals with the treatment of general ailments, by regulating the digestive fire. Basically Agni is responsible for conversion of food into the body elements. Diseases emerge due to malfunctioning of the Agni and hence if the Agni is set right again, then the patients get cured. Hence the whole treatment in Ayurveda is based on the concept of Agni.
  • Modern equipment and diagnosis can mostly detect a disease during the fifth and sixth stages of illness.Áyurvedic physicians can recognize an illness in the making before it creates more serious imbalance in the body. Health is seen as a balance of the biological humors, whereas disease is an imbalance of the humors. Áyurveda creates balance by supplying deficient humors and reducing the excess ones. Surgery is seen as a last resort.

       Baala chikitsa /Kaumára bhritya ( Paediatrics)

  • Kaumarabhritya or Bala Chikitsa deals with all diseases of the infants. According to Acharya Susruta it deals with diseases of Kumara or child, qualities of a wet nurse, causes of vitiation of breast milk and its mode of purification, diseases due to intake of this vitiated breast milk, its treatment and the influence of grahas on the child which leads to diseases or can be said as the infections and its treatments and affections of childhood. According to Acharya Harita antenatal care and management of Puerperium also come under this branch.
  • Kaumarabhritya literally it means nurturing a child from pregnancy to adolescence. The modern branches Obstetrics, Gynecology and Pediatrics come under this branch. This branch deals with diseases of children. There are three aspects that must be remembered while treating children-they are Children cannot explain their complaints, the dosage of medicine is different for them, the medicines given to them must be palatable to them. Due to these conditions, treating children is done in a different manner. Hence a separate branch is devoted for them.
  • There is another peculiarity of Ayurveda that it emphasizes on breast milk for feeding the babies and yet another important factor is, if the breast milk is not proper in quality it may also produces diseases in baby and hence needs to be purified by certain herbs for treating the child.

       Graha chikitsa /Bhúta Vidyá (Psychiatry)

  • Bhuta Vidya is defined as a science of spiritual healing.  It deals primarily with the mental diseases, children’s diseases, and diseases that do not follow the theory of Tridosha balance.  This subject does not have a specific text.  Rather it is directly linked with the Atharva Veda and other religious texts.  The theory of spiritual healing, in general, is based upon chanting or sound therapy, called Mantra in Sanskrit.  Mantras are composed using specific vowels and consonants.  Hindu and Buddhist religious practitioners believe that the repetition of mantras links them with deities, and yields supernatural powers that can be used to cure many diseases.
  • It dictates the diagnosis and treatment of mental diseases. This branch of Ayurveda deals with diseases like insanity, epilepsy and diseases caused by affliction of external factors such as evil spirits. In other words it may be known as the branch that deals with the treatment of psychosomatic diseases. It treats the conditions like Insomnia, Depression and stress etc.

       Urdhvangachikitsa/shalakyatantra(ENT andOphthalmology)

  • According to Acharya Susruta it includes all the diseases pertaining to Urdhvanga – Area above the clavicle i.e., eyes, ears, nose, mouth, throat,teeth and head etc and its treatment. It comprehends the faculties of Ophthalmology and Otorhinolaryngology. The branch is also called “Shalakaya Tantra.” Because of the use of special kind of instrument called as “Shalaka” (probe).Following are the sub branches of shalakya tantra Netrachikitsa(ophthalmology),karnachikitsa(otology),Mukharogachikitsa( oral health,dentistry and laryngology),and Shirorogachikitsa( diseases of cranium)
  • Shalakya Tantra deals with the etiology, diagnosis, prognosis, prevention and treatment of diseases that are located above the neck region such as the head, ear, nose, eye and throat. Sushruta reveals approximately 72 eye diseases, surgical procedures for all eye disorders (e.g., cataracts, eyelid diseases), and for diseases of the ears, nose, and throat.Acharya Nimi is considered as father of this branch.

       Shalya chikitsa (Surgery)

  • Salyatantra analogous to Surgery of Modern Medicine. Surgical methods of Ayurveda existed long before they were invented in the west. Ancient texts of Ayurveda describe many details on surgery.Acharya Susruta is considered as the father of Surgery. In the ancient India, surgery was principally pioneered by Ayurveda. Shalya Chikitsa is a significant branch of Ayurvedic science. The name of the sage-physician, Susruta, is synonymous with surgery. From his treatise Susruta Samhita, we have become aware of the thousands of years ago sophisticated methods of surgery that were practiced in India.
  • This branch deals with various surgical and orthopedic procedures. Removing foreign bodies either of exogenous (Sand, wood, stone, arrow,sword,warfare materials etc) or endogenous origin (pus, dead fetus, extravagated blood etc.)From the body. It also deals with the diagnosis and management of inflammatory  swellings and description of various uses of surgical instruments. It also explains the mode of preparation, properties and applications of various cauterizes (alkalis, fire etc.)It is carried out only for diseases, which cannot be cured by medicines. It explains the management of the conditions like trauma and Fracture, Ano-rectal diseases, Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis, Joint dislocations etc.The ancient Ayurvedic knowledge of surgery was well developed in the time of the rishis and munis, and was prestigious and well known throughout the ancient world.  The medieval healers, however, did not preserve nor develop this tradition, because they had little time to study and practice surgery with all its complex knowledge and specialized manual skills.
  • The elaborate description about various kinds of instruments such as scissors, scalps, holders, etc., is really amazing. Sushrutacharya also described various operations such as urine stone, piles, fistula; cataract, even perforations of abdomen. Sushruta has been accepted as the father of “plastic surgery”. A different kind of surgery is very effective known as ‘Ksharsutra’ which is used in ‘fistula in ano’.

       Visha chikitsa/Damshtra chikitsa (Toxicology)

  • This particular branch deals with the treatment of poisons. Poisons may be animal oriented, plant oriented or derived from ores. Texts give elaborate description about various snake bites; scorpion bites etc. with their symptoms and treatment. Topics include air and water pollution, toxins in animals, minerals, vegetables, and epidemics, as well as keys for recognizing these anomalies and their antidotes.
  • The traditional practice of toxicology is still practiced by different families of vishavaidyas (poison doctors) who claim to be specialists in toxicology.  In fact, their knowledge is quite limited compared to earlier physicians, but people in the villages still benefit from their ability to deal with poisonous bites.  In ancient times, it was the job of Vishavaidyas to protect members of the royal families from being poisoned, as well to poison enemies of the kings.  One method was to use vishakanyas (poison girls).  These women would begin to take poison in small doses starting in childhood, developing immunity as snake handlers or beekeepers do now.  Later on, when they were grown, their kiss or bite could poison enough to paralyze or kill. Nowadays vyavaharayurved (jurisprudence) is an integral part of this branch.

       Rasayana chikitsa/Jara Chikitsa(Rejuvenation)

  • Deals with the methodology and medications to preserve youth or maintain lifespan even prolong it, promote intelligence and strength and give immunity to resist diseases. This branch deals with the diseases associated with the aging process. It actually provides ways to prohibit the aging process to some extent. Rejuvenation of body tissues is possible according to Ayurveda by using this branch. This branch needs to be emphasized more for increasing longevity of and quality of life.
  • Rasayana Tantra is defined as the science of practices promoting long life and good health.  It deals with the problems of untimely old age and poor immunity. It suggests measures to check aging and to increase lifespan and brain health. It deals in rejuvenation and restoring the youthfulness of an individual and deals with various therapies and herbs that have to be taken to restore the youth & vitality. They are anabolic, adaptogenic, immune modulators, Neuro endocrine modulators and Free radical scavengers.Rasayana is the one used to promote rasa and allied tissues (saptadhatu)
  • Rasayana Chikitsa deals with various aspects of preventive health care. This branch of Ashtang Ayurveda aims at achieving a long and healthy life. It includes longevity, improved memory, health, youthfulness, glow, complexion, generosity, strength of body and senses.


  • Vaji actually means horse and karana means to follow. This part deals with remedies for increasing the quantity of Semen when it’s scanty, methods for purification when vitiated, replenishing its losses and methods for improving virility. Vajikarana Tantra is defined as the science of purification of male and female genetic organs. 
  • As per ayurveda  sex is one among the essential component of human life that enhances his health and grants him the endurance and the power to pave way for his future generations. This branch is also known as Vajikarana and it deals with the aphrodisiacs therapy for being paid with good descendants and virility. Vrishya Chtikitsa is a branch of Ayurveda that explains the art of producing healthy progeny for the creation of a better society. It deals with various diseases like infertility and conditions relating to weak shukra dhatu or the vital reproductive fluids of the body. Vrishya Chtikitsa is also known as Vajikarana, which means the medicine or therapy by which a man becomes capable of copulating with a woman  
  • It washes away the problems related to infertility in men and women. In this branch there is a mention of variety of aphrodisiac medicines and even food material. To produce best progeny is also an important aspect of life.This section deals with two aspects: infertility (for those hoping to conceive) and spiritual development (for those eager to transmute sexual energy into spiritual energy).


  • Globalization in the world has led to attract more n more people around the globe to show interest in the eastern medical system Ayurveda. This ancient system has eight branches called “Ashtanga Ayurveda”. Ayurveda is age-old and time tested. Since times immemorial this system of medicine has been in use and has proved to be result oriented and justified. It would be of good concern to ponder over the fact that the same herbal drugs and formulations that had been used hundreds of years ago are still in use. There have been little or no replacements whatsoever.
  • Although the system has eight branches of treatment, the basic mode of all these eight disciplines is the same. They are used in two ways. They are preventive and curative. Ayurveda gives more importance to the preventive aspect of medicine. It insists more on the the positive side of regular daily  practices (Dinacharya) to prevent diseases than treating the negative side of health, the diseases.
  • Though this life science is  divided into eight branches for simplification of our understanding, yet it is so vast and explanatory that each of these branches takes years and years for mastering.