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

Frankincense in Ayurveda and Aromatherapy

Since ancient times, frankincense has been highly valued as a sacred incense and herbal medicine. It is an aromatic resin from trees of the Boswellia species that has been burned as an incense to purify the atmosphere since time immemorial in temples, churches, and for sacred rituals. Its smoke is also believed to ward off bad spirits and sickness, and to carry prayers to the Divine. A secondary benefit to burning the resin is that it acts as a natural insect repellent.

Frankincense in Ayurveda and Aromatherapy Ayurveda Medicine

Frankincense

Boswellia serrata, a species found in India’s states Rajastan and Madhya Pradesh, is known as salai guggulu. It is traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat arthritis, promote circulation, and prevent the degeneration of cartilage in the joints. It is frequently combined with other herbs such as turmeric and ginger as a general anti inflammatory for muscles and joints. Modern research shows that it contains boswellic acid and in moderate doses has anti inflammatory, anti-cancer, and hepatoprotective properties, and therefore may be helpful in the treatment of rheumatism, colitis, asthma, and cancer.

It has a sattwic, or purifying effect on the mind and nervous system, and helps to burn impurities from the nadis (subtle nerve channels). It can be used in herbal formulas along with other herbs that have an affinity to the mind and nervous system like gotu kola and calamus root as an aid to meditation.

The essential oil has a woody, sweet, and slightly citrus or

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

Ayurvedic Tips for Insomnia

From an Ayurvedic perspective, insomnia is caused primarily by an imbalance of vata dosha. Vata is comprised of both air and ether, and has both light and mobile/irratic qualities. When these qualities accumulate and become excessive, they can cause difficulty either falling asleep or staying asleep. Pitta dosha also shares this light quality and pitta predominate individuals have a tendency for overworking, and burning the midnight oil, which eventually interferes with good restful sleep.
Kapha dosha can interfere with sleep mainly due to sleep apnea. This condition is complex and is best addressed through ayurvedic diet and lifestyle counseling as well as herbal treatment.

In ayurveda, dinacharya (healthy routines), can be used to treat insomnia very effectively. One of the most important routines to balance vata is to go to sleep by 10 pm, if this is difficult, work towards it to the degree your life allows. Also, try not to eat dinner much later than 7 pm. This allows us to fully digest our meal, so the digestive process doesn’t interfere with our sleep.

Below is a list of home remedies for improving the quality of sleep and restore depleted energy cause by the lack of needed rest. Note that these remedies are mainly for high vata and pitta.

Ashwagandha Siddha Milk-
Add 1 tsp. Ashwagandha powder to one cup of whole milk and a half cup of water and boil lightly for 5 minutes in an uncovered pot until one cup of liquid

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

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.

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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,