Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

Eczema, Contact Dermatitis, Atopic Dermatitis, or Psoriasis?

Skin conditions are often affected by the seasons and can become increasingly worse at different times depending upon the individuals constitutional trends and the qualities of condition itself. Eczema is a broad term for several types of skin disorders, also known as dermatitis. The most common form is atopic dermatitis, which affects people of all age groups and is often due to an allergic reaction. Its sufferers may also have a predisposition to various allergies, hay fever, and asthma. Infantile eczema occurs in babies under 3 years old, but usually clears up within few years and it is best to not treat them with steroidal creams and internal medications if at all possible. Adult seborrhoeic dermatitis is associated with yeast and fungal infections and occurs mainly between the ages of 20 to 40 years of age. There are several other classifications, such as xerotic eczema and contact dermatitis, which are related to allergic skin reactions, and so on. Some people notice that exposure to the sun, humidity, or ocean water helps tremendously, while other not. Areas affected in adults are mainly the face, elbows, hands, knees and ankles. In infants it mainly manifests on the face, neck, scalp forearms, and legs. Of course, simply labeling the condition doesn’t help much in the long run if the underlining causes are not identified and addressed.

In conventional medicine the root cause of eczema is not clearly understood, but autoimmune function and hereditary factors are thought

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

An Ayurvedic Perspective on GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) 

GERD occurs when digestive juices moves upward from the stomach into the esophagus causing acid reflux,An Ayurvedic Perspective on GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) Ayurveda Medicine which over time can damage the lower esophageal lining and an increase the risk of precancerous Barrett’s esophagus. The causes of GERD can vary from diet and lifestyle factors to obesity, pregnancy, hiatal hernia and the relaxing of the lower esophageal sphincter. Factors such as smoking tobacco, eating too late at night and certain common trigger foods such as coffee, tea, alcohol, chocolate, spicy foods and tomatoes can also play a role in the worsening of symptoms.

 

Common Symptoms of GERD

  • Acid reflux
  • Heart burn
  • Esophageal spasms
  • Chest pain (retrosternal)
  • Regurgitation of food
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Asthma
  • Chronic cough

An Ayurvedic Perspective on Digestion

To understand GERD and other related digestive disorders, lets first explore the Ayurvedic concept of Agni, the power of digestion. Agni is present within saliva, stomach acids, bile, and enzymes of the pancreatic and small intestine. When Agni is strong it supports robust appetite, optimal digestion, energy, satisfaction and overall vitality. Below is a list of various classifications of digestion according the classical Ayurvedic text on pathology and etiology- Madhava Nidana.

4 Clinical Varieties of the Digestive Fire

  1. Manda Agni occurs when the slow and sluggish nature of kapha dosha impair the digestive fire. This results in symptoms such as low appetite, slow digestion, heaviness in the stomach, food stagnation, acid reflux, sluggish bowels (not dry) and phlegmatic disorders.
  2. Tikshna Agni

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

Dandelion
Taraxacum officinale; Asteraceae
Dandelion Ayurveda Medicine
Effect on Dosha: PK- V+
Rasa: bitter
Virya: cold
Vipak: pungent

Part used: leaf, root
Tissues: plasma, blood, fat
Systems: urinary, circulatory, hepatic, digestive, lymphatic
Properties: diuretic, alterative, hepatic, bitter tonic, chologogue, laxative.
Indications: liver disorders, sluggish gallbladder, water retention, urinary infections, indigestion, tumors, abscesses, boils, high cholesterol.
Precautions: high vata
Root dosage: Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of the root to a cup of water, bring to boil and then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain and drink up to 3 times daily.
Leaf dosage: To make an infusion, steep 2 to 3 rounded teaspoons per cup of boiling hot water for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain and drink up to 3 times daily.
Tincture dosage (root and leaf): Take 30 to 40 drops in 2 ounces of water, 3-4 times daily.

Dandelion leaf is rich in potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamin A and C. The whole plant has a bitter taste, cold action, and is balancing to both pitta and kapha dosha. The leaves have an affinity to the urinary system, and help to eliminate excess water, metabolic wastes, and to treat infections of the kidneys and bladder. Both the root and leaves can be used to clear excess heat and toxins from the liver and blood. As a cooling digestive stimulate, it helps to improve digestion, especially of fats, and can help to promote healthy cholesterol.
The root is also a mild purgative,

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

Triphala, Ayurveda’s Wonder Formula

Triphala is probably one of the most popular Ayurvedic compounds, and it can be found nowadays in almost every health food store and Indian grocery store. It is well known for being a mild laxative and lower bowel tonic. Triphala literally means ‘three fruits’ and contains equal parts of the amalaki, haritaki, and bibitaki fruits. These fruits come from the various Myrobalan trees found in India and have particularly balancing effects on each of the three doshas.

Amalaki

Triphala, Ayurveda's Wonder Formula Ayurveda Medicine

Amalaki or amla is regarded as a sacred tree in India. The tree was worshipped as Mother Earth and is believed to nurture humankind because the fruit is very nourishing. Amalaki fruit is well known for its cooling, pitta pacifying properties, and is rich in iron and vitamin C. It is strengthening to the blood, bones, liver, and heart. It is used alone or with other herbs to treat a variety of inflammatory types of disorders related to excess pitta. Even though it is sour to the taste, it has a special cooling quality that helps balance pitta.

It is also nourishing to all the bodily tissues and a tonic to the immune system, and it is the basis for the herbal jam known as Chyavanaprash, which is a general rasayana (rejuvenative tonic) used in Ayurveda. It reduces the toxicity of environmental pollutants, normalizes cholesterol, sheds unwanted fat, cures ulcers, prevents cancer, detoxifies the body, and regulates digestion.

Haritaki

Triphala, Ayurveda's Wonder Formula Ayurveda Medicine

Haritaki fruit rejuvenates vata dosha; it is

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

Medhya Rasayana – Mental Rejuvenation

In Ayurveda, herbs that rejuvenate the mind and nervous system are known as medhya rasayanas. In Western herbalism, many of these herbs are classified as nervines. Medhya rasayana herbs help to calm the mind, relax the body, and even replenish and regenerate the nervous system. These herbs are great allies against the oxidizing effects of stress and the depletion of our vital energy and immunity. Some are heavy, grounding and sedating like valerian, hops, poppy or kava kava. Others are still calming, yet have lighter energy such as passion flower, gotu kola or skullcap. Nourishing tonic herbs, most notably ashwagandha, also have calming qualities, but can also provide strength and energy where and when needed.

Herbs are Broad Spectrum

It can often be hard to make a clear distinction between one category of herbs and another, since a single herb can possess several actions. For instance, I have frequently given laxative herbs to promote intestinal cleansing, and the person will report back that they are sleeping better and thinking clearer. This shows the connection between our digestive function, the mind, immune system and so on, because all our bodily systems work as a whole.

For example, herbs that clear excess heat and toxins from the liver like bhringraj (eclipta alba), brahmi (gotu kola and bacopa monnieri) also have properties that are seen to improve mental function. Others like dandelion leaf of punarnava help to clear heat from the liver as well as through

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

Seasonal Effects on Immunity

In Ayurveda, the fall season is related to vata dosha, the bodily humor comprised of air and ether element.  During this time, vata becomes increasingly unstable as the cold, dry, and erratic qualities increased in the environment. This can be observed in cold, windy, and shifting whether, as well as in the drying up of leaves and plants. From the winter until early spring, kapha dosha, the earth and water humor, increases and can causes damp, heavy, and stagnating qualities to accumulate in the body. One of the most immunologically vulnerable times is during the change of season, especially from warm to cold whether. Here, it is important to follow healthy habits to protect your immune system.

Below are some helpful tips to help prevent getting in the weeks leading up to fall or winter.

Tips for prevention:

  • Dress warm and cover your chest and neck in cold weather.
  • Drink a glass of warm lemon water first thing in the morning.
  • Drink sufficient of water throughout the day.
  • Avoid damp forming foods, such as excess dairy products, sweets, baked goodies, cold foods and drinks.
  • Avoid eating cane sugar when possible.
  • Get plenty of rest, and avoid staying up late.
  • Get daily exercise, everyday.
  • Taking 1000-2000 mg. of high quality Vitamin C daily
  • Adding herbs and spices like turmeric, fresh ginger and raw garlic to your food.
  • Infuse citrus essential oils in you living space.

Tips for Treating the Common Colds and flu.

  • Stay hydrated by

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

There is no doubt that low libido is a serious concern nowadays, as it is made obvious by the increasing amount of erectile dysfunction drugs surfacing on the market. Yet the conventional approach of these drugs tends to focus on providing a quick fix without looking at the bigger picture and finding the root cause of the problem. Another concern related to male reproductive health is sterility. Ayurveda can certainly help us get a deeper understanding of these complex issues and deal with them in a holistic manner with the use of herbs along with diet and lifestyle guidelines. A unique aspect of this approach is that it aims to resolve the underlying factors that caused the imbalance in the first place.

Low libido can manifest as a lack of sexual energy or desire, as sexual debility or as the inability to perform properly. Symptoms of sexual debility may include lack of interest, erectile weakness, premature ejaculation, nocturnal emission and spermatorrhea, or the involuntary discharge of semen. Male sterility is a condition where the quality or quantity of the semen is low or altogether absent. This problem can easily go undetected, as it doesn’t necessarily affect the sexual desire.

All these symptoms are clearly expressing that one of the most powerful energies in the body is depleted, and this can be basically related to factors including lifestyle and dietary choices, habits, level of daily stress, family history, parents’ habits, and genetics. To understand how Ayurveda and Ayurvedic herbs can help

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

 

Agni Fire element, digestive fire.
Agni dipana Increases digestive fire.
Ahamkara Sense of separate self or ego. Literally, “I former.”
Alochaka Pitta Sub-type of pitta which governs visual perception.
Alterative Blood purifying substances that gradually restores healthy bodily functions.
Ama Toxic residue of improperly digested food that can become the source of disease.
Ama pachana Promotes digestion and the destruction of toxins
Amenorrhea Absence or suppression of menstruation.
Anabolic Constructive or building phase of metabolism.
Analgesic A substance that relieves pain.
Anthelmintic Destroying and dispelling parasites (including bacteria, yeasts and fungus).
Antibacterial Inhibits or destroys bacteria.
Antibiotic Inhibits or destroys bacteria and other microorganisms.
Antiemetic A substance that prevents or relieves nausea and vomiting.
Antifungal A substance that prevents and inhibits the growth of fungi.
Antipyretic Dispels heat and reduces fever.
Antispasmodic Relieves muscle spasms and cramping.
Antiviral A substance that inhibits viruses.
Anupana A Substance that serves as a medium of intake for herbs, such as honey, aloe vera juice, etc.
Apana Vayu Downward moving sub-type of vata, responsible for elimination of waste products, gas, menstruation and child birth.
Aphrodisiac Substances that stimulate and/or revitalize the reproductive system.
Arishta/Asava Traditional medicated herbal wines used in Ayurveda.
Aromatic Herbs containing volatile, essential oils that aid digestion and relieve gas.
Artava Female reproductive tissue.
Asthi dhatu Bone tissue.
Astringent Substances that firm tissues and reduce discharges and secretions.
Avalambaka Kapha A sub-type of kapha located in the chest region, mainly in the lungs.
Ayurveda “Science of

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

Elderberry Sambucus nigra

Part used: berries, flowers
Effect on Dosha: VPK=
Taste: berry-sweet, sour, bitter/flower-slightly bitter, pungent
Energy: berry-neutral to cooling/ flower-cooling
Post Digestive Effect: berries-sweet/flowers-pungent

Tissues: plasma, blood, muscle, fat
Systems: respiratory, immune, digestive, circulatory, urinary
Properties: antioxidant, immune tonic, astringent, expectorant, diaphoretic, digestive, carminative, relaxant.
Indications: coughs, colds, sore throat, tonsillitis, congestion, respiratory infections, asthma, fever, flu, gas, allergies, abdominal discomfort, inflammation, high cholesterol, poor eyesight.
Preparations: infusion, tincture, syrup, winter cordials, medicated wine, food preparation.
Precautions: None for flowers. According to the Botanical Safety Handbook* the unripe and raw fruit contains sambunigrin, which may cause nausea, vomiting or severe diarrhea. Avoid elderberries that are red in color. The fruit is commonly cooked to avoid digestive upset and possible toxicity or the fresh fruit. Sambucus nigra is the variety most commonly used in herbal medicine and is considered to be relatively safe, especially when cooked.

Profile
The most common variety of Elderberry used is the purplish-black berries of Sumbucus nigra. They are sweet, sour and slightly bitter to the taste. The ripened fruit is purple/black in color and the sweetest berries are the best to harvest for medicine making.

Elderberries have long been used in in folk herbal traditions of North America and Europe. In recent years, Elderberry has regained popularity and this increased interest has spurn research that seems to confirm much of its common folk uses. They have antiviral and antibacterial properties and are used to bolster the immune system in the treatment of common colds,