Category Archives: Ayurvedic

Growing up is a process of dehydration

We should think it this way:..….when we are born, we are soft, squishy watery baby with liquids flowing in and out of us. As you grow up, our body gains more form, our skin is harder, our bodily fluids are more contained. As we continue to grow, our skin becomes dryer, joints lose their flexibility, and our body begins to lose strength.
As we grow old, we experience changes both in our life circumstances, our mind and in our body.

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Ayurveda explains it this way:-

According to Ayurveda, our life is deeply influenced or dominated by each of the  3 Doshas- Vata, Pitta and Kapha…….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Kapha, the combination of water and earth, dominates childhood. Moisture, stickiness, we are affectionate, emotional and carefree. We get attached easily, we cry quickly. We consume liquids- our digestive power is yet to be built.

As we grow older, we pass through the phase of Pitta, which is made up of water and fire. We are ambitious, energetic, at the prime of the strength of our faculties. You can eat and experiment with most foods, your digestion is fully developed.

And eventually, we enter the phase of Vata, which is made up of air and space. We are less fluid in our movements. We are spaced out more often, there are gastric issues. We cannot easily eat anything we like, for, our digestion is challenged. Feeling cold, dried, wrinkled skin, dry, painful joints, restlessness, forgetfulness and anxiety is Vata making its presence felt.

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Siddha

Introduction:
Siddha  is usually considered as the oldest medical system known to mankind.  Contemporary Tamil literature holds that the system of Siddha medicine originated in Southern India, in the state of Tamil Nadu. Siddha is reported to have surfaced more than 10,000 years ago.

“Siddhargal” or Siddhars were the premier scientists of ancient days.  Siddhars, mainly from Southern India laid the foundation for this system of medication. Siddhars were spiritual adepts who possessed the ashta siddhis, or the eight supernatural powers. Sage Agathiyar is considered the guru of all Sidhars, and the Siddha system is believed to have been handed over to him by Lord . “Agathiyar” was the first Siddhar,   and his disciples and Siddhars from other schools produced thousands of texts on Siddha, including medicine, and form the propounders of the system to the world.

The Siddha science is the oldest traditional treatment system generated from Dravidian culture. The Siddha flourished in the period of Indus Valley civilization.  Palm leaf manuscripts says that the Siddha system was first described by Lord Shiva to his wife Parvati. Parvati explained all this knowledge to her son Lord Muruga. He taught all these knowledge to his disciple sage Agasthya. Agasthya taught 18 Siddhars and they spread this knowledge to human beings.

The word Siddha comes from the Sanskrit word Siddhi which means an object to be attained perfection or heavenly bliss.  Siddha focused to “Ashtamahasiddhi,” the eight supernatural power. Those who attained or achieved the above said powers are known as Siddhars. There were 18 important Siddhars in olden days and they developed this system of medicine. Hence, it is called Siddha medicine. The Siddhars wrote their knowledge in palm leaf manuscripts, fragments of which were found in parts of South India. It is believed that some families may possess more fragments but keep them solely for their own use. There is a huge collection of Siddha manuscripts kept by traditional Siddha families.

Generally the basic concepts of the Siddha medicine are almost similar to Ayurveda. The only difference appears to be that the siddha medicine recognizes predominance of Vaadham, Pitham and Kabam in childhood, adulthood and old age, respectively, whereas in Ayurveda, it is totally reversed: Kabam is dominant in childhood, Vaatham in old age and Pitham in adults.

According to the Siddha medicine, various psychological and physiological functions of the body are attributed to the combination of seven elements: first is ooneer (plasma) responsible for growth, development and nourishment; second is cheneer (blood) responsible for nourishing muscles, imparting colour and improving intellect; the third is oon (muscle) responsible for shape of the body; fourth is koluppu/Kozhuppu (fatty tissue) responsible for oil balance and lubricating joints; fifth is elumbu (bone) responsible for body structure and posture and movement; sixth is elumbu majjai (bone marrow) responsible for formation of blood corpuscles; and the last is sukkilam (semen) responsible for reproduction. Like in Ayurveda, in Siddha medicine also, the physiological components of the human beings are classified as Vaadham (air), Pitham (fire) and Kabam(earth and water).

Concept of disease and cause:
It is assumed that when the normal equilibrium of the three humors — Vaadham, Pittham and Kabam — is disturbed, disease is caused. The factors assumed to affect this equilibrium are environment, climatic conditions, diet, physical activities, and stress. Under normal conditions, the ratio between Vaadham, Pittham, and Kabam are 4:2:1, respectively.

According to the Siddha medicine system, diet and lifestyle play a major role in health and in curing diseases. This concept of the Siddha medicine is termed as pathiyam and apathiyam, which is essentially a list of “do’s and don’ts”

Diagnosis:
In diagnosis, examination of eight items is required which is commonly known as “enn vakaith thervu”. These are:

1.Na (tongue): black in Vaatham, yellow or red in pitham, white in kabam, ulcerated in anaemia.
2.Varnam (colour): dark in Vaatham, yellow or red in pitham, pale in kabam.
3.Kural (voice): normal in Vaatham, high-pitched in pitham, low-pitched in kabam, slurred in alcoholism.
4.Kan (eyes): muddy conjunctiva, yellowish or red in pitham, pale in kabam.
5.Thodal (touch): dry in Vaatham, warm in pitham, chill in kapha, sweating in different parts of the body.
6.Malam (stool): black stools indicate Vaatham, yellow pitham, pale in kabam, dark red in ulcer and shiny in terminal illness.
7.Neer (urine): early morning urine is examined; straw color indicates indigestion, reddish-yellow color in excessive heat, rose in blood pressure, saffron color in jaundice, and looks like meat washed water in renal disease.
8.Naadi (pulse): the confirmatory method recorded on the radial art.

Drugs:
The drugs used by the Siddhars could be classified into three groups: thavaram (herbal product), thadhu (inorganic substances) and jangamam (animal products). The Thadhu drugs are further classified as: uppu (water-soluble inorganic substances or drugs that give out vapour when put into fire), pashanam (drugs not dissolved in water but emit vapour when fired), uparasam (similar to pashanam but differ in action), loham (not dissolved in water but melt when fired), rasam (drugs which are soft), and ghandhagam (drugs which are insoluble in water, like sulphur).

The drugs used in siddha medicine were classified on the basis of five properties: suvai (taste), gunam (character), veeryam (potency), pirivu (class) and mahimai (action).

According to their mode of application, the siddha medicines could be categorized into two classes:

Internal medicine was used through the oral route and further classified into 32 categories based on their form, methods of preparation, shelf-life, etc.
External medicine includes certain forms of drugs and also certain applications (such as nasal, eye and ear drops), and also certain procedures (such as leech application). It also classified into 32 categories.

Treatment:
The treatment in siddha medicine is aimed at keeping the three humors in equilibrium and maintenance of seven elements. So proper diet, medicine and a disciplined regimen of life are advised for a healthy living and to restore equilibrium of humors in diseased condition. Saint Thiruvalluvar explains four requisites of successful treatment. These are the patient, the attendant, physician and medicine. When the physician is well-qualified and the other agents possess the necessary qualities, even severe diseases can be cured easily, according to these concepts.

The treatment should be commenced as early as possible after assessing the course and cause of the disease. Treatment is classified into three categories: devamaruthuvum (Divine method); manuda maruthuvum (rational method); and asura maruthuvum (surgical method). In Divine method, medicines like parpam, Chendooragyhtyjm, guru, kuligai made of mercury, sulfur and pashanams are used. In the rational method, medicines made of herbs like churanam, kudineer, or vadagam are used. In surgical method, incision, excision, heat application, blood letting, or leech application are used.

According to therapies the treatments of siddha medicines could be further categorized into following categories such as purgative therapy, emetic therapy, fasting therapy, steam therapy, oleation therapy, physical therapy, solar therapy, blood-letting therapy, yoga therapy, etc.

Sidda education:
Siddha has lost its popularity after modern medicine was introduced, as a scientific medical system, even in Tamil Nadu. Still, there are a few ardent followers of the system who prefer Siddha for only a few diseases like jaundice. After some modern doctors, such as Dr. Ramalingam, IMPCOPS, president, Chennai, C.N. Deivanayagam, tried to popularize the Siddha system, a few modern doctors have started suggesting Siddha. In 2012, VA Shiva Ayyadurai, a Tamilian and MIT systems scientist, launched an educational program for medical doctors through the Chopra Center with Deepak Chopra which integrates concepts from traditional systems medicine such as Siddha, Ayurveda, and traditional Chinese medicine, with systems science and systems biology.

The Tamil Nadu state runs a 5.5-year course in Siddha medicine (BSMS: Bachelor in Siddha Medicine and Surgery). The Indian Government also gives its focus on Siddha, by starting up medical colleges and research centers like National Institute of Siddha  and Central Council for Research in Siddha. There has been renewed interest in Siddha, as many started feeling modern medicine is not complete and changing its stands/theories frequently. The health minister of Tamil Nadu in 2007 claimed that Siddha medicine is effective for chikungunya

Educational institutions:
Government of Tamil Nadu runs two Siddha medical colleges:

Government Siddha Medical College, Palayamkottai, Tirunelveli district
Government Siddha Medical College, Anna Hospital Campus, Arumbakkam, Chennai – 600106

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Government of India runs a Siddha medical college:

National Institute of Siddha, Grand Southern Trunk Road, Tambaram Sanatorium, Chennai – 600047

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Colleges available in Kerala:

*Santhigiri Siddha Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram
*Private Siddha colleges (approved by Dept. of AYUSH, Govt. of India and affiliated to TN Dr. MGR Medical University, Chennai):

*Velumailu Siddha Medical College and Hospital, No. 48, G.W.T. Road, Opp. Rajiv Gandhi Memorial, Sriperumbudur – 602 105
*Sri Sai Ram Siddha Medical College & Research Centre, Sai Leo Nagar, Poonthandalam, West Tambaram, Chennai – 600 044
*R.V.S. Siddha Medical College & Hospital, Kumaran Kottam, Kannampalayam, Coimbatore – 641042
*A.T.S.V.S. Siddha Medical College, Munchirai, Pudukkadai Post, Kanyakumari – 629171
*Sivaraj Siddha Medical College, Siddhar Kovil Road, Thumbathulipatty, Salem – 636307

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Government of Sri Lanka runs three… Siddha medical colleges offering BSMS degrees:

*Department of Siddha Medicine, University of Jaffna, Kaithady, Jaffna, Sri Lanka
*Unit of Siddha Medicine, Trincomalee Campus, Eastern University, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Resources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siddha_medicine

Garlic can be a remedy for cough & cold,flue etc.

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After breakfast, swallow a small clove of garlic. Don’t chew, just swallow. This improves your immunity and keeps you ready for seasonal upheavals.

– Chop some cloves, fry it in ghee, add to your food. Not only does this make food tastier, it also boosts digestion.

– Heat sesame oil to smoking point and put a few cloves of garlic in it. Bottle this, rub a few drops oil on your chest and on the soles when you have cough or cold. It relieves congestion and cures cold.

– Roast a clove of garlic and have it with a spoon of honey before going to bed. This provides you relief against cough.

Click to see : A garlic a day for good health

Click to see different benefits of garlic

Source: The Times Of India

Propolis

 

Defenition:
Propolis is a resinous mixture that honey bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. It is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive. Propolis is used for small gaps (approximately 6 millimeters (0.2 in) or less), while larger spaces are usually filled with beeswax. Its color varies depending on its botanical source, the most common being dark brown. Propolis is sticky at and above room temperature (20° Celsius). At lower temperatures it becomes hard and very brittle.
Clic k to see the picture
Propolis is a sticky resin that seeps from the buds of some trees and oozes from the bark of other trees, chiefly conifers. The bees gather propolis, sometimes called bee glue, and carry it home in their  pollen baskets.  They blend it with wax flakes secreted from special glands on their abdomens. Propolis is used to slickly line the interior of brood cells in preparation for the queen’s laying of eggs, a most important procedure.  With its antiseptic properties, this propolis lining insures a hospital-clean environment for the rearing of brood.

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Purpose:-
For centuries, beekeepers assumed   that bees sealed the beehive with propolis to protect the colony from the elements, such as rain and cold winter drafts. However, 20th century research has revealed that bees not only survive, but also thrive, with increased ventilation during the winter months throughout most temperate regions of the world.

Click to see the picture

Propolis is now believed to :

1.reinforce the structural stability of the hive
2.reduce vibration
3.make the hive more defensible by sealing alternate entrances
4.prevent diseases and parasites from entering the hive, and to inhibit bacterial growth
5.prevent putrefaction within the hive. Bees usually carry waste out of and away from the hive. However if a small lizard or mouse, for example, found its way into the hive and died there, bees may be unable to carry it out through the hive entrance. In that case, they would attempt instead to seal the carcass in propolis, essentially mummifying it and making it odorless and harmless.
Click to see the picture
Constituents:
Chemically speaking, propolis is a very complex mixture. Its chemical elements vary according to its source.  Colors range from golden brown to brownish green to reddish brown to blackish brown.  A broad analysis reveals approximately 55 percent resinous compounds and balsam, 30 percent beeswax, 10 percent ethereal and aromatic oils, and 5 percent bee pollen.  Many flavonols contribute to propolis.  Other components include cinnamic acid, cinnamyl alcohol, vanillin, caffeic acid, tetochrysin, isalpinin, pinocembrin, chrysin, galangin, and ferulic acid.

The composition of propolis varies from hive to hive, from district to district, and from season to season. Normally it is dark brown in color, but it can be found in green, red, black and white hues, depending on the sources of resin found in the particular hive area. Honey bees are opportunists, gathering what they need from available sources, and detailed analyses show that the chemical composition of propolis varies considerably from region to region, along with the vegetation. In northern temperate climates, for example, bees collect resins from trees, such as poplars and conifers (the biological role of resin in trees is to seal wounds and defend against bacteria, fungi and insects). Poplar resin is rich in flavonoids. “Typical” northern temperate propolis has approximately 50 constituents, primarily resins and vegetable balsams (50%), waxes (30%), essential oils (10%), and pollen (5%). In neotropical regions, in addition to a large variety of trees, bees may also gather resin from flowers in the genera Clusia and Dalechampia, which are the only known plant genera that produce floral resins to attract pollinators. Clusia resin contains polyprenylated benzophenones. In some areas of Chile, propolis contains viscidone, a terpene from Baccharis shrubs,[8] and in Brazil, naphthoquinone epoxide has recently isolated from red propolis,  and prenylated acids such as 4-hydroxy-3,5-diprenyl cinnamic acid have been documented. An analysis of propolis from Henan, China found sinapic acid, isoferulic acid, caffeic acid and chrysin, with the first three compounds demonstrating anti-bacterial properties. Also, Brazilian red propolis (largely derived from Dalbergia ecastaphyllum plant resin) has high relative percentages of the isoflavonoids 3-Hydroxy-8,9-dimethoxypterocarpan and medicarpin.

Occasionally worker bees will even gather various caulking compounds of human manufacture, when the usual sources are more difficult to obtain. The properties of the propolis depend on the exact sources used by each individual hive; therefore any potential medicinal properties that may be present in one hive’s propolis may be absent from another’s, and the distributors of propolis products cannot control such factors. This may account for the many and varied claims regarding medicinal properties, and the difficulty in replicating previous scientific studies investigating these claims. Even propolis samples taken from within a single colony can vary, making controlled clinical tests difficult, and the results of any given study cannot be reliably extrapolated to propolis samples from other areas.

Properties :   Propolis is another medicinal marvel from the beehive.  Research shows it offers antiseptic, antibiotic, antibacterial, antifungal, and even antiviral properties.  Propolis is Nature‘s premiere preventive.  It is so powerful in action, it is often called Russian penicillin in acknowledgement of the extensive research the Russians have mounted on this wonder worker from the bees.  Propolis demonstrates strong antimicrobial properties against various bacterial and fungal infestations.  Even streptococcus bacteria have been shown sensitive to propolis.

Medicinal Uses:
Nature’s Preventive Medicine : Propolis has been justly called Nature’s premier preventive.  The immune system is supported and strengthened by the ingestion of propolis.  Modern scientific studies indicate that those who take propolis regularly escape winter colds and sore throats and seem to develop a natural immunity to common viruses, including the various strains of flu.

Chemical antibiotics
destroy all bacteria in the body, both the friendly, (necessary flora required for healthy functioning in the entire gastrointestinal tract) and the bad intestinal flora.  An individual who constantly takes prescribed antibiotics for one condition after another soon learns to his sorrow that the drugs may no longer work as well as they once did.  As invading bacteria get “smarter,” the drugs become less and less effective.

Propolis, the natural antibiotic, works against harmful bacteria without destroying the friendly bacteria the body needs.  Propolis has also been proven effective against strains of bacteria that resist chemical antibiotics.

The field of influence of propolis is extremely broad.  It includes cancer, infection of the urinary tract, swelling of the throat, gout, open wounds, sinus congestion, colds, influenza, bronchitis, gastritis, diseases of the ears, periodontal disease, intestinal infections, ulcers, eczema eruptions, pneumonia, arthritis, lung disease, stomach virus, headaches, Parkinson’s disease, bile infections, sclerosis, circulation deficiencies, warts, conjunctivitis, and hoarseness.

Propolis helps regulate hormones and is an antibiotic substance that stimulates the natural resistance of the body.  Propolis may be used by everyone, sick or healthy, as a means of protection against microorganisms.  Propolis is also efficient against conditions caused by bacteria, viruses, or different fungi.  Propolis cures many diseases because it is a special natural substance with strong effect.
You may use it as part of your daily program of supplementation.  It has helped the bee society survive and thrive for over 45 million years.  It may well help you survive … for a long time!

Other Uses:

In musical instruments
Propolis is used by certain music instrument makers to enhance the appearance of the wood grain. It is a component of some varnishes and was reportedly used  by Antonio Stradivari.

In food

Propolis is used by some chewing gum manufacturers to make Propolis Gum.

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propolis
http://www.draperbee.com/info/propolis.htm

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Hasna hana (Cestrum nocturnum)

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Botanical Name :Cestrum nocturnum
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Cestrum
Species: C. nocturnum
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Common name: Night-blooming cestrum, Night blooming jasmine, Rat ki rani (Hindi), Thabal lei (Manipuri), Hasna hana (Bengali), Raatrani (Marathi, Konkani)
Habitat:Native to Mexico, Central America, India and Cuba, Bangladesh.

It has become widely naturalised in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, southern China and the southernmost United States, and is difficult to eradicate. It is classed as a weed in some countries.

In Auckland New Zealand, it has been reported as a seriously invasive weed to the Auckland Regional Council and is under investigation. NS Forest and Bird is compiling an inventory of wild cestrum sites in order to place the plant on the banned list. The inventory can be viewed via Google Maps. Some nurseries still sell it without warning customers of the dangers to native bush reserves. It has been reported that the plant has been removed from some old folks’ homes due to the strong scent causing difficulties for the residents

Description:

Cestrum nocturnum   is an evergreen woody shrub growing to 4 metres (13 ft) tall. The leaves are simple, narrow lanceolate, 6–20 centimetres (2.4–7.9 in) long and 2–4.5 centimetres (0.79–1.77 in) broad, smooth and glossy, with an entire margin. The flowers are greenish-white, with a slender tubular corolla 2–2.5 centimetres (0.79–0.98 in) long with five acute lobes, 10–13 millimetres (0.39–0.51 in) diameter when open at night, and are produced in cymose inflorescences. A powerful, sweet perfume is released at night. The fruit is a berry 10 millimetres (0.39 in) long by 5 millimetres (0.20 in) diameter, the colour of an aubergine. There is also a variety with yellowish flowers. There are mixed reports regarding the toxicity of foliage and fruit.

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Cultivation :
C. nocturnum is grown in subtropical regions as an ornamental plant for its flowers that are heavily perfumed at night. It grows best in average to moist soil that is light and sandy, with a neutral pH of 6.6 to 7.5, and is hardy to hardiness zone 8. C. nocturnum can be fertilized biweekly with a weak dilution of seaweed and fish emulsion fertilizer.

Cestrum nocturnum  grows best in light, sandy soil. It is not salt tolerant, but is otherwise adaptable to a variety of conditions and usually requires little care except for frost protection.

Propagation: Night blooming jessamine is very easy to start from young, fast growing stem cuttings.
Medicinal Uses: Extract of the plant used as antispasmodic and treatment of epilepsy.

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Pharmacology  & Nkown Hazards:
Ingestion of C. nocturnum has not been well documented, but there is some reason to believe that caution is in order. All members of the Solanaceae family contain an alkaloid toxin called solanine, though some members of the family are routinely eaten without ill-effect. The most commonly reported problems associated with C. nocturnum are respiratory problems from the scent, and feverish symptoms following ingestion.

Some people, especially those with respiratory sensitivities or asthma, report difficulty breathing, irritation of the nose and throat, headache, nausea, or other symptoms when exposed to the blossom’s powerful scent. Some Cestrum species contain chlorogenic acid, and the presence of this potent sensitizer may be responsible for this effect in C. nocturnum.

Some plant guides describe C. nocturnum as “toxic” and warn that ingesting plant parts, especially fruit, may result in elevated temperature, rapid pulse, excess salivation and gastritis.

The mechanisms of the plant’s psychoactive effects are currently unknown, and anecdotal data is extremely limited. In a rare discussion of traditional entheogenic use of the plant, Müller-Ebeling, Rätsch, and Shahi describe shamanic use of C. nocturnum in Nepal. They describe experiencing “trippy” effects without mentioning unpleasant physical side effects. Rätsch’s Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants also describes a handful of reports of ingestion of the plant without mentioning serious adverse side effects.

Spoerke et al. describe the following toxic effects reported from ingesting C. nocturnum: Ingesting 15 lb of plant material caused a cow to salivate, clamp its jaws, collapse, and eventually die. A postmortem showed gastroenteritis and congestion of liver, kidneys, brain, and spinal cord. Although the berries and the sap are suspected of being toxic, several cases of ingestion of the berries have not shown them to be a problem, with one exception. Morton cites a case where children ate significant quantities (handfuls) of berries and had no significant effects and another two where berries were ingested in smaller amounts, with similar negative results.

Ingestion of green berries over several weeks by a 2-year-old child resulted in diarrhea, vomiting, and blood clots in the stool.[citation needed] Anemia and purpura [discoloration of the skin caused by subcutaneous bleeding] were also noted. A solanine alkaloid isolated from the stool was hemolytic to human erythrocytes.

Plant extracts have shown larvicidal activity against the mosquito Aedes aegypti while showing no toxicity to fish. Plant extracts cause Hematological changes in the freshwater fish when exposed to sub lethal concentration of this plant.

General Uses: This is a popular landscape plant in warm climates. For a mixed border, background, or as a free standing specimen, night blooming jessamine is attractive and unpretentious. Use it in butterfly gardens, as night blooming jessamine provides food for some caterpillars.

 

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Night%20Blooming%20Jasmine.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cestrum_nocturnum
http://www.crescentbloom.com/plants/specimen/ce/Cestrum%20nocturnum.htm

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