Posted on Leave a comment

SECRETS OF AYURVEDA REVEALED FOR YOUR SKIN

Winters can be especially harsh to sensitive skins. But even the normal skin types may not have a good run with dryness and sudden eruptions, which happen especially during the winters. This period between the ends of December to March is the dry Shishir Ritu, inundated with cold biting winds in the major part of the quarter leads to many complaints of the skin. This is also a period when the Vata dosha in the body is aggravated leading to many health issues that could be of concern and therefore it is the time when one needs to take good care of oneself. Resorting to the age-old & potent science of Ayurveda is a good option, where some of the remedies could be even found in your kitchen. So, let’s take a look at the below-given tips for your skincare in this tough season.

Ayurvedic Diet

It is very important that you follow the correct diet. This winter include milk products, pulses, nuts, SEEDS, AVACADO, olive to your diet. Foods that are rich sources of good fats are the right diet. These fats get digested and dispersed well across the body, thereby keeping your skin firm and devoid of dryness.

Ayurvedic Face Masks

There are many options that are available and the beauty of Ayurvedic herbs is such that you can get one made at home from the ingredients that you have in your kitchen. You can quickly whip up a banana face mask with an added bit of honey for extra nourishment. A coffee bean mask (made by mixing granulated coffee beans, milk and honey) combats dryness, reduces puffiness and brightens the skin.

For a medicinal one, you will have to look beyond but herbs like Anantamool, Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Amla, Yashtimadhu, Rose petals and Nagarmotha are available in any of the Ayurvedic shops/centers. These are all medicated herbs and they help replenish your skin’s lost moisture.

Ayurvedic Massages

From head to toe, the Ayurvedic massages help immensely during the winters and to calm the Vata dosha of the body. Sesame oil would be the best for massaging. Every single massage rejuvenates your skin and helps your joints and muscles. When the natural oils and essential herbs are massaged in your body a lot of healing takes place. Experts recommend an Ayurvedic massage in regular intervals to see the benefits. Topical application of coconut oil and Ghee will do wonders for your skin.

Ayurvedic Body Butters

Ingredients such as Shea, kokum, coconut and almond butter are extra nourishing for the skin. These are rich in moisturizing benefits and are recommended to be used as a body butter. Other ingredients like honey, rose and natural cold-pressed oils of coconut, almond, apricot, jojoba and sesame are both beneficial to the skin & hair. Check out SOVA Bath and Body range

Ayurvedic Lip Balms

Protect your lips from dryness and flaking with non-glossy, highly moisturizing lip balms. There are many available in the market made out of Kokum butter & honey or Almond & coconut and rose lip balms. You can any of these, which actually can be used all through the year.

Additional Tips For Winter Skin

Listed below are points to keep in mind for healthy and nourished skin during winters:

Do’s:

  • Nourish and moisturise your skin daily with oils appropriate for your skin type
  • Wash your face twice with room temperature water
  • Facial exercise daily
  • Stay hydrated and eat warm cooked foods

Don’ts:

  • Use heavy creams, they clog pores and cause puffiness.
  • Use chemical free-make up removers. Instead use cotton dipped in vegetable oil to remove makeup.
  • Use very hot or cold water on the face, as either will break capillaries.
  • Wear makeup and go to sleep no matter how exhausted you might be.

Conclusion

At the end of it all, you cannot have good skin and health if you are sleep deprived, having junk food and a sedentary lifestyle. Make sure you are eating healthy and doing your regular exercises and/or yoga & meditation, which helps in bringing the doshas under control to a large extent, thereby giving you the calmness of spirit that radiates through glowing skin.

Posted on Leave a comment

TIPS FOR WOMEN TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR INTIMATE HYGIENE

BY: VASAVDATTA GANDHI, FOUNDER – SOVA & DIRECTOR –  MILLENNIUM HERBAL CARE LTD.

Feminine intimate and menstrual hygiene market in India has been growing at a CAGR of 14.92% during the 2019-2024 period. It is expected to reach Rs 58.62 billion by 2024. There is a possibility for more growth as a large portion of the market in India, still remains untapped.

Of the 365 million menstruating women in India, 82% living in semi-rural and rural India don’t have access to hygienic menstrual products and end up using things like newspaper, rags, ash, dried leaves etc.

In addition, because women don’t have enough information and are afraid of talking to people about it, they tend to not practice intimate hygiene beyond soap and water, which might be more harmful because of dryness.
Lack of awareness and availability of accurate information is the biggest problem that we face as a society.

There is a lot of shame and stigma attached around woman’s anatomy. It’s only now that urban India has started talking about menstruation and witnessing advertisements of sanitary napkins. Even then only about 18 per cent women have access to sanitary hygiene.

The public toilets are grossly unhygienic. There is no proper system in place to dispose of sanitary products. There is lack of privacy to ensure proper care.

Now with the advent of monsoon significantly increases humidity in the atmosphere potentially taking a toll on our personal hygiene. Combined with the threat of the novel coronavirus around us, it is even more important to keep ourselves clean, disinfected and sanitized all times.

This is also the season, where UTI (urinary tract infection) is rampant among women. Many organisms, including yeast and bacteria flourish lavishly during this wet and humid season and the most common infection is that of the urinary tract in women.

Therefore, maintaining optimum hygiene in your intimate area during this time is especially important. You should avoid anything that increases the retention of heat and sweat, as this can cause growth of bacteria and lead to vaginal infection.

This is a time to be extra cautious by practicing good habit to maintain feminine hygiene, which can help in preventing vaginal itching, irritation or infection, and thus not compromising with your daily comfort.

Warm weather can lead to an increase in the normal amount of yeast in the vagina, resulting in genital  / vulvovaginal candidiasis – a yeast infection further causing itching or burning sensation of the vaginal area with foul odour.

HERE ARE 5 USEFUL TIPS TO KEEP A CHECK FOR WOMEN’S INTIMATE HEALTH:

Keep dry all the time: There will be times where you can get invariably drenched in the rains. It is all the more impinging upon oneself to wear dry clothes, especially the innerwear that tend to get moist due to the added atmospheric moisture, since we tend to sweat a lot during this season. As wearing innerwear or lingerie made of synthetic fabric for long durations may retain moisture leading to irritation and friction, it is important to consciously choose natural and breathable fabrics. Also, if you do get drenched in the rain, make sure you bathe immediately on reaching home and dry yourself properly.

Avoid tight clothes: Try to avoid wearing skinny jeans and tight shorts, wearing too tight and difficult to breathe bottoms, limit movement and cause more sweat, restricting the air flow and causing friction and a more hospitable environment for bad bacteria. It is better to wear breathable and comfortable dresses. While sleeping, opt for boy shorts instead as they will allow for maximum air flow and minimise the possible irritation.

Maintain cleanliness and hygiene: Frequently clean your intimate area to keep it free from bacterial infection and odour. It is recommended to clean the intimate area twice a day, during morning bath and before bedtime. In the case of excessive sweating, it is better to clean and pat dry more often. For cleansing intimate area always use specially design intimate wash products that are safe with natural ingredients and free from harmful surfactants like Sodium lauryl sulphate.

Keep yourself hydrated: Drink plenty of water and liquids to keep the urinary tract flushed and healthy. Water helps to clears out toxins from the body and maintains body pH balance. Due to excessive sweating and inadequate liquid intake, one tends to lose body fluids and salts that could potentially lead to burning sensation during peeing and irritate the intimate area. If not attended to, this could be another reason for urinary tract infection.

Maintain a healthy food habit: Avoid eating excessive spicy food, as more acidic food can cause pH imbalance and increase bad pungent odour of intimate area.

Increase the intake of food that are rich in pre and probiotics like plain yoghurt, onion, garlic, strawberry and green leafy vegetables, that helps to supports the growth of healthy bacteria in the vagina.

Regular care and preventive measures in vaginal health ensure you stay fresh and clean all the time. While in this season it is important to wash 3-4 times daily and also if you are menstruating, all the more care needs to be taken.

But soap and water may not be your best option, as these tend to dry up the vaginal skin which is very delicate and a PH balance in the range of 3.8 to 4.5 needs to be maintained.

Use of vaginal washes, that balanced the pH is therefore recommended but one must make sure that there are no harmful sulphates or chemicals present. Vaginal washes made of natural solutions that retain the layer good bacteria, which actually protects the vaginal area and kills bad bacteria are most apt.

There are many OTC products fighting for space in the shelves, but it is advisable to be discerning and aware, so that you use the right product for your intimate hygiene.

Posted on Leave a comment

TOP AYURVEDIC REMEDIES THAT WOULD TREND IN 2021

The biggest impact that COVID 19 has on Ayurveda is how consumers have made a bee-line towards this science for its therapeutic, immunity enhancing and proactive holistic health benefits. Not just in India but also globally, Ayurveda is being increasingly seen as a potent alternative to curing long-term or chronic illnesses. It is an immortal time tested repository of the healthcare system in the world and while there effective & curative medicines are indispensable in fighting aggressive viruses like the COVID 19, our best defence lies in our bodies. The importance of a resilient immune system is now much more pronounced and therefore the need to make Ayurveda a part of the mainstream both in curative & preventive and in holistic self-care. Considering the vagaries of the pandemic situation and while the vaccines by each countries would still take some time and also keeping in mind that a solution to COVID 19 is not the ultimate solution, because there would be many such infectious diseases & their ensuing health impacts, that would be attacking humanity time and again. Ayurveda / phytomedicines / herbal nutraceutical and all natural therapies and curatives would therefore start becoming that much important. Some top trends that we envisage that would dot the 2021 skyscape are as follows:

Ayurveda For Immunity

Ayurveda helps in activating the protective mechanism of our innate immune system and helps the body create a wide spectrum of antibodies that help ward off various pathogens, both viral and bacterial. A large part of our immunity is linked to vast network or an ecosystem of microbiota present in our gut. The microbiota (essentially a complex world of thousands of species of bacteria) is like a fingerprint, uniquely differing in individuals comprising of good, neutral and toxic bacteria; each having its role to play and thereby managing the fine balance of health & vitality in us. Guduchi or Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia) is such a potent natural herb that works as the right food for the gut microbiata and helps accelerate the process of immunity building. In addition, Ayurveda identifies the power of adaptogenic herbs, like Ashwagandha and Amla, with extraordinary immune boosting and balancing powers. Medicines like the Somavit are available in the market. They have natural prebiotic and immunomodulating action. Having the key ingredient of ‘Arabinogalactan’ derived from the root of Guduchi / Giloy, these nourish and repopulate good gut bacteria. Synergise Ayurveda with exercising regularly, eating healthy sleeping adequately, and alleviating stress through Yoga and Pranayam and you will have an exceedingly strong immune system that would alleviate much of your fears of infectious diseases.

Ayurveda For Strengthening Your Respiratory System

COVID 19 hits the respiratory organs the hardest. Considering that India is the asthma capital of the world (42% of all global asthma deaths happens in India), we need to be doubly careful. While lockdown saw a deep decline in paediatric asthma cases, but doctors caution about a surge in asthma & other respiratory diseases now that the lockdowns have been lifted and more and more people are coming out. 2021, therefore, would be a year to watch out for and aryurvedic remedies for respiratory diseases would see an upward trend. Vasaka (also known as Malabar Nut) is a powerful herb that effectively manages respiratory diseases such as cough, cold & asthma. It balances the Kapha & Pitta (among the three doshas) and aids the lungs ability to receive more prana & oxygen. One should avoid food that are believed to be Kapha aggravators (certain foods like yogurt, cheese, avocados, bananas, etc…generate mucus and makes cold worse). Respiratory care medicines like ENCOF from Millennium Herbal are an ideal combination of time tested, clinically proven standardized herbal extracts with potent mucolytic, expectorant, bronchodilatory, anti-histaminic, anti-tussive and antioxidant actions such as Yashtimadhu, Vasaka, Tulasi, Haridra and Amalaki for fast relief of productive cough without being habit forming.

Ayurveda For Bone Health

Bone health is being considered increasingly as a major health crisis, what with the new norm being working from home, resulting in less intake of Vitamin D which is primarily from the Sun. While Osteoporosis onsets with age among men & women, women face the brunt a little earlier, like from their thirties. And now with COVID-19, it becomes all the more important to stay on top of the all rounded care of your bone health – both medical and non-medical. One should include herbs like Hadjod (Cissus quadrangularis) and the bark of Arjun tree (Terminalia arjuna) in your diet to strengthen your bones. In fact, Arjuna provides organic calcium and has high antioxidant properties. Herbs like turmeric and salai guggul reduce pain & inflammation and hasten the bone healing process. Guduchi, on the other hand, helps regulate the Vata dosha which is also a major reason for deteriorating bone health in an individual. Soft messaging with herbal oils or ointments, having the goodness of the mutli-action herbs, like Antarth, could bring fast relief to some long standing joint and bone health issues. The best approach to bone health is to focus on creating health through knowledge of proper lifestyle and removing the root imbalances like those of digestion, metabolism, circulation, tissue development and nervous system activity. Ayurveda helps in detoxification of your body, balancing of the vital forces, removal of free radicals and increase the body’s natural healing abilities. It is best to use natural or phyto-medicines for long term and sustained benefits for the holistic wellness of your bone health.

Ayurveda To Combat Stress And Fortify Mental Health

Adapting to lifestyle changes like working from home, home schooling of children, lack of physical contact with family members, friends and colleagues and add to that a good measure of job uncertainties, salary cuts and the looming danger of contracting the disease can all lead to a lot of stress. A vulnerable mind can often fall victim to the challenges of relationships, societal stress, anxiety, fear and worry. And since it is all about mind, one never knows what could trigger a mental disease. The best way to cope is de-stress, have a healthy diet and take a hard look at our lifestyle which amplifies these triggers. Further In addition to helpful lifestyle and diet changes, Ayurvedic and traditional herbal supplements can be used to treat various ailments including depression. There are many plants mentioned in Ayurveda that supports mental health. Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Shankhapushpi (Convolvulus microphyllus), Mandukaparni (Centella asiatica), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), and Jatamansi (Celastrus paniculatus) are herbs that have been traditionally used to boost various function of the brain, enhancing its capacity to deal with stress, while allaying anxiety. These herbs are adaptogenic and have been independently researched to show anti-stress, anxiolytic and anti-depressant properties.
Research based evidence suggest that through traditional forms of dietary management and interventions of Ayurveda risks of NCDs (non-communicable and chronic diseases) can be reduced. We as Indians are blessed to have such powerful sciences in our heritage and hence must take opportunistic advantage of these. Stay safe and don’t forget to practice the new lifestyle of hygiene and protection.

Posted on Leave a comment

COMBATING STRESS WITH THE HELP OF AYURVEDIC PRACTICES

BY: MR. CHINTAN GANDHI, CEO & DIRECTOR – MILLENNIUM HERBAL CARE

Excessive worry, nervousness and tension are provoking stimuli to what we know or perceive as psychological distress. With this pandemic, we are facing an unprecedented mental health crisis that necessitates to stark a wakeup call for the need to take mental wellbeing as a serious subject in India.

As per the NCBI, the Indian population has reported with mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia and suicidal tendency especially during the lockdown. Now this is an appalling situation, as children, elderly, frontline workers and patients with pre-conditions are most vulnerable.

Having said, lockdown or the pandemic may not be the only trigger, though it may have definitely amplified the situation. One also cannot deny the roles of social media, the uncertainties of the future and people by large increasingly seeking validation from others and many such as possible triggers of the world mental health condition.

According to Ayurveda a healthy mind plays an important role. Being a holistic science, Ayurveda explores the symbiotic relationship among the mind, body, soul, the senses and their workings. Stress disrupts the inner harmony of your Doshas – the three forces that govern your health on a subtle level.

Stress produces a host of physiological symptoms that can seriously impact both physical and psychological health. Chief among these is the elevation of cortisol, a stress hormone that can suppress the immune system, increase blood pressure, and impair memory and increases risk for depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders.

The principles of Ayurveda have been in practice for centuries in order to help heal the mind, body & spirit and the following principles can be applied in our daily lives to control the stress that we are subjected to:

1. Massage

In Ayurveda, Abhyanga (oil massage) is a daily self-care ritual that has been employed to promote physical and emotional health. Daily Abhyanga with various herbal oils like Bala  Ashwagandha and Sandalwood can stimulate the production of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that promote well-being, satisfaction and feelings of happiness, while decreasing cortisol levels, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, which is related to stress and anxiety. Serotonin consequently stimulates production of melatonin, which helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythms and lull you to sleep.

2. Yoga

Yoga is a self-soothing technique that modulates the stress response and helps to relax the nervous system. Yoga discipline focuses on three aspects; the mind, body, and soul. So regardless of what anxiety is for you – whether a temporary thing or a constant feeling, yoga can help you to manage it.

Yoga, with unique mind-body practice i.e. Asana and controlled breathing pattern helps to increase the awareness of present movement and promotes emotional stability. Scientifically yoga boosts the level of happy neurotransmitters like GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid), serotonin, dopamine and tryptophan and lowers cortisol level (the stress hormone). Ayurveda recommends regular practice of yoga to bestow the power to control body and mind.

3. Sattvik diet 

According to Ayurveda Satvik Guna of the mind supports composure and equanimity. A Sattvik Diet is a pure vegetarian diet which includes seasonal fresh fruit, ample fresh vegetables, whole grain, pulses, sprouts, dried nuts, seeds, honey, fresh herbs, milk and dairy products which are free from animal rennet.  These foods raise sattva or our consciousness levels.

Sattvik foods are cooked and eaten with love, gratitude and awareness. As stated in Ayurvedic classics a person incorporating such diet on daily base is calm, peaceful, serene, amicable and full of energy, enthusiasm, health, hope, aspirations, creativity and balanced personality.

4. Herbs

The inherent power of herbs helps ward off diseases in a natural and healthy manner. Ayurveda offers a group of Medhya or nootropic herbs that are beneficial in improving the brain abilities. The goodness of these herbs should be integrated in our daily lives and Ayurveda has a bouquet of them giving us myriad options.

5. Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)

Brahmi is an adaptogenic herb, it increase resilience to stress by improving efficient transmission of signals along the nerve fibers by modulating the release of neurotransmitter like serotonin, dopamine and GABA which in turn, fortifies memory, learning and balances emotion.

6. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Ashwagandha reduce anxiety, stress and helps to fight depression. It boosts the adrenals by supporting normal HPA (Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal) axis functioning, reduces the stress hormone cortisol and improves overall neurotransmitter for strong mental health.

7. Vacha (Acorus calamus)   

Vacha has CNS (Central Nervous System) depressive action to overcome symptoms like anxiety, fear and depression, it changes the electrical activity by altering brain monoamine levels in different brain regions.

8. Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi)    

Jatamansi increase the levels of central monoamines and inhibitory amino acids, including a change in the levels of serotonin, 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid, (GABA) gamma-amino butyric acid and taurine that contributes to its anti-depressant action.

9. Mandukparni (Centella asiatica)

Mandukparni improves mental clarity, concentration and reduces mental stress by balancing the neurotransmitters – dopamine, norepinephrine or serotonin secretion and by revitalizing the neurons (brain cells).

10. Shankhpushpi (Evolvulus alsinoides)

Shankhpushpi reduces the cortisol levels and combats stress. It soothes the nervous system and is extremely effective at tackling insomnia.

According to Ayurveda, the key to effective stress management lies in trying to avoid provoking factors and strengthening the body’s adaptive power to deal with stress. Ayurveda provides specific lifestyle, dietary, herbal, and yogic solutions for each individual that can not only diffuse tension but also help build a foundation for lasting peace of mind.

Whatever steps we take, our efforts toward balance represent an evolving process rather than a static goal. We all need to take time out to consciously relax. We can use this time to quietly observe our feelings and access a deeper awareness of the source of stress. From here, we can then choose between reacting to a stress trigger or instead responding using the guidance of Ayurveda.

Posted on 2 Comments

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HEALTHY HAIR PART 2

In continuation with our previous blog, here is part 2 of the ultimate guide to healthy hair.

Question. Is applying ghee on the scalp beneficial?

Answer. Applying ghee on the scalp may be beneficial but when compared to Ayurvedic medicated oils, ghee is not preferred as the condensing property of ghee makes it difficult to penetrate very deep to the roots. Additionally, if you are a Pitta type you can use Yashtimadhu Nasya oil. Avoid Coconut oil in winters.

Question. How to cool down your hair and scalp after coloring?

Answer.

  • 1) By applying cool oils to your scalp and/or using putting aloe vera packs on your head.
  • 2) Cover and protect your hair from sun when outdoors.
  • 3) Adequate and restful sleep. Make sure that you are sleeping between 10 pm and 2 am as these hours are crucial for your body to repair and cool down.
  • 4) Avoid foods that are inherently bad for your hair such as – egg plants, tomatoes, urad dal, excessive spices.
  • 5) Do inversions to improve blood supply to the head. (supervision advised)

Question. Can I use a combination of Henna and Indigo powder to color the hair?

Answer. These are very drying, it will give the required color but it’s important to make sure you oil you hair regularly.

Question. Can we practice Pranayama in the evening after dinner?

Answer. It is not advised to practice Pranayama on a full stomach. You can do Anulom Vilom and Brahmri in the evening only if you haven’t eaten in the last one hour.

Question. Can I take Neem tablets for hair fall?

Answer. Neem is very drying for the hair and hence it is not advised.

Question. The presence of COVID has dried up our system and watching too much news causes anxiousness, causing a lot of hair fall. Can you advise what can we do?

Answer. The present times can be very challenging and watching the news can have adverse effects on our health. Take this time to go within – use the present time as an opportunity. Do your breath work. 

“Sneha” means love and it also means oil. Oil and massage your body and give yourself time for self-care activities.

Question. Any suggestions for people who have night jobs?

Answer. You can do Shiro Pichu. Before sleeping, drink a glass of milk with nutmeg before and avoid eating a heavy meal.

Practice Pranayama (Anulom Vilom) and avoid using the phone before sleeping.

Question. Can we put oil in the ears?

Answer. Karana Purana (the Ayurvedic practice of putting warm oil in the ears) is a Dincharya (daily) practice.

It’s good to oil the ears as it feeds the nervous system and tissues in a similar manner the food we ingest feeds the body. In fact, the upper part of the body can be nourished through administering oils through nose, head and ears.

It is advised to use oils based on your dosha type.

Posted on Leave a comment

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO HEALTHY HAIR – PART 1

In conversation with Dr. Nidhi Pandya – third generation Ayurvedic practitioner. Speaking from pure experience and from her immense love for Ayurveda, Dr. Nidhi shares some wonderful tips and answers questions related to every day hair care through the perspective of Ayurveda.

She strongly believes that it is important to understand the principles before following any Ayurvedic practice, so that one is more likely to sustain it and understand the effects it has on one’s own body.

She can be found at: Instagram: @my_ayurvedic_life

Question. Can we reverse greying of hair?

Answer. Greying of hair results due to the burning of melanin cells that give color to the hair. This happens when there is excess heat that is formed in the body ie. excessive Pitta accumulation. Long periods of stress lead to building heat and drying up of the nervous system and fluids associated with it, the collagen and the oil glands leading to greying of hair.

So, it’s not possible to reverse the greying of hair but it’s definitely possible to make sure that the new hair that grows is darker and healthier. So, in order to slow down greying, its important to work towards lessening the excess heat in the system.

One way to get the heat out of the system is through a Kansa Bowl Foot Massage. 

Question. “I am experiencing a lot of hair fall in spite of oiling my hair, using organic, paraben and sulphate free shampoo and trimming regularly. What should I do?”

Answer. There are two ways to look at hair fall. One is the external reality and the other is what is happening internally within the body.
Tying your hair too tight and not brushing it can lead to hair fall which is the external reality. The tissues in the body get fed in a certain order, the essential tissues are nourished first and the last among these tissues are the bone tissues. A part of the bone and fat tissue constitutes your hair on the scalp.

Excessive wind or drying in the body is caused by harsh diets or low fat diets.
Staying up a lot of night – causes the nervous system to move faster which creates excess wind leading to drying. Here are some more ways to prevent hairfall:

1. Do inversions or head stands to improve the blood supply to the head. (supervision advised)
2. Use light weight Ayurvedic medicated light hair oils. Have a look at our Brahmi & Hibiscus Hair Massage Oil
3. Use clean products and avoid coloring of hair.
4. Practise Shatavari Ghrita Nasya every morning ideally after Pranayama (advised for age group between 30-50 and if you don’t have any toxic undigested waste and heat related symptoms.)

Question. Does coloring of hair affect the new hair that is growing?

Answer. Coloring of hair is a very harsh process which affects the entire scalp and the new growing hair. It not only degenerates the cells but also affects its lifespan. Additionally, gasses like Ammonia get absorbed by the system too causing harm.

Question. How many times should you oil your hair?
Answer. Ideally, hair can be oiled everyday through the technique of Shiro Pichu but it is not advised to wash your hair every day, as shampooing daily depletes the natural sebum and oils.

Hence, it is advised to oil hair twice or thrice a week only. Use a light shampoo post oiling your hair that doesn’t strip of the natural sebum. 

Stay tuned for more in our next blog.

Posted on Leave a comment

FIRE UP YOUR BELLY: THE ROLE OF AGNI IN DIGESTION

In Ayurveda, there is a saying;

A man is as old as his ‘Agni’

What Is Agni In Ayurveda?

Agni is the fire element whose primary function is digestion, absorption, assimilation and transformation of food and sensations into energy. In short, if the individual’s Agni is in optimal condition, his/her immune system is healthy.

Agni Devta

Agni is also responsible for removing waste products that build up in our cells and tissues. Hence if the fire of Agni is low, we have low nutrition coming into our body and thus poor elimination of waste. This leads to feeling weak, lack of energy and low immunity. If our Agni is robust and healthy we feel energetic and rejuvenated.

Interestingly, the presiding deity of Agni – Agnidevta has two faces. One face represents the creation of new cells and that other governs the destruction of old cells. He has three tongues that represent the three doshas: Vata, Kapha and Pitta. His three legs represent the physical body, the mental body and the consciousness. Thus, Agni represents the unified functioning of these structures and energies!

पञ्चाग्नेस्तस्य चान्यौ द्वावधिकं ज्वलतः क्षुधा । जठराग्नी सभार्यस्य दरिद्रस्य प्रजाधनैः

(Jāṭharāgni (जाठराग्नि, “metabolic fire”) is of the prime importance in the maintenance of health as well as causation of diseases. Food which is consumed by the person shares the major responsibility for being healthy or manifestation of diseases. The relation between food and health is mediated by Jāṭharāgni (the metabolic agent in Ayurveda).

Jatharagni, the central fire is very important as it acts as a doorway to digestion. In other words it governs the initial digestion, all food that we intake first pass through this Agni.

How To Maintain A Strong Agni (Digestive Fire)

Having a healthy digestive fire is extremely crucial for digestion and overall well-being and immunity. There are many ways to keep our Agni healthy and here are some:

  1. Eat well but eat only when you are truly hungry. Eat till you are satisfied and not completely full. Genuine hunger is an indicator that the previous meal has been fully digested and Agni, or digestive fire, has re-awakened.
  2. Keep that water intake coming. Drink warm or room temperature water between meals.
  3. Eat foods that are rich with Prana! (life). This translates to eating food that is light and well cooked. Certain raw foods, such as lettuce, parsley and sprouts have high Prana, so we can eat them raw as the body can digest it.
  4. If you feel heavy post a delicious lunch, then try lying on your left side for 5–15 minutes after lunch.This position activates the solar energy channel, which is linked to agni, so it is not only relaxing and rejuvenating, but also very supportive of good digestion.

Hence we understand that the role of Agni in digestion is very important and that maintaining a balanced Agni is very crucial towards achieving great health and longevity. It not only governs our digestive process but it also plays an important role in governing our emotional well being.

Reference: Lad, Vasant. Textbook of Ayurveda Vol III: General Principles of Management and Treatment. Albuquerque: The Ayurvedic Press, 2012. Print. 64-69, 134-135, 140.

Posted on Leave a comment

COVID-19: PRACTICAL TIPS ON STAYING PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY HEALTHY THROUGH AYURVEDA – PART 2

In continuation with our previous blog, here are 5 more additional tips that can help you stay healthy and fit.

4) MEDITATION AND SELF-AWARENESS

Meditation is the practice of thinking deeply or focusing one’s mind for a period of time. Meditation helps you to develop a stronger understanding of yourself, helping you grow into your best self.

The brain is the part of the body where meditation really works as magic. Meditation helps to the decrease negative neurological connections to the medial prefrontal cortex or ‘me center’ of the brain dampening traits such as fear, stress, and anxiety. Alternatively, it also builds new positive neurological connections to the parts of the brain responsible for promoting traits like focus and decision-making.

According to Ayurveda, Dhyana is process in which mind and the body are inextricably connected. It helps to gain self-consciousness and keep you away from the sense of fear.

a girl holding a books page with right hands tip with a pair of glasses in the background

5) BUSY YOURSELF

Keeping yourself busy is the key to a healthy and happy mind. Involve yourself in activities you like – create art, listen to music, read books, dance, spend time with nature, get close to your family members and pets.

Busy people are likely to have more opportunities to learn as they are exposed to more information and encounter a wider range of situations in daily life. When you are busy, you don’t have time to dwell on the negativity and also your neurotransmitters are regulated in proper manner.

6) SLEEP

Sleep is as important to our health as breathing, drinking and eating. It allows our body cells to repair themselves and our brains to consolidate our memories and process information.

Poor sleep is linked to physical problems such as a weakened immune system and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Lack of sleep affects levels of neurotransmitters and stress hormones in the brain and impairs thinking and emotional regulation. So it is much necessary that you should take adequate sleep of at least 7 – 8 hr per day for mental wellbeing.

Ayurveda teaches us that sleep (Nidra) is one of the three pillars of health, along with food (Ahara) and energy management (Brahmacharaya). “Happiness and unhappiness, nourishment (good physique) and emaciation, strength and debility, knowledge and ignorance, life and death—all are dependent on sleep.”

glass bottles with dropper & lavender flowers in background.

7) AROMATHERAPY

Aromatherapy is a holistic approach that uses natural plant extracts to promote mental health and well-being. When we inhale the oils of aromatic herbs like lavender, sandal wood and basil through inhalation the specialized nerve cells in the upper part of the nose detect smells, they send an impulse to the brain along the olfactory nerve to an area called the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb processes the impulse and delivers the information about the smell to other neighboring areas of the brain. These other areas are known as the limbic system.

The limbic system is a set of brain structures that play an essential role in controlling behavior, emotions, memory, and mood and immediately helps to feel calm and stress free.

8) AYURVEDIC AND NATURAL HERBS

In addition to helpful lifestyle and diet changes, Ayurvedic and traditional herbal supplements can be used to treat various ailments including depression. There are many plants mentioned in Ayurveda that supports mental health.

Herbs like Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Shankhapushpi (Convolvulus microphyllus), Mandukaparni (Centella asiatica), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Jatamansi (Celastrus paniculatus) and Vacha (Acorus calamus) are clinically proven to boost overall brain function thereby enhancing its capacity to deal with stress, while allaying anxiety. These mentioned herbs are potent natural nootropic and help to regulate the secretion of neurotransmitter like serotonin, dopamine, and acetylcholine. Also these herbs are adaptogenic and have been independently researched to show anti-stress, anxiolytic and anti-depressant properties.

To improve the brain’s cognitive function and reduce stress

Additionally, take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news and consuming viral information, which could exaggerate the anxiety levels.  Simply follow the natural ways and stay mentally strong and healthy during lock down and in the world-order, post the lockdown.

Posted on Leave a comment

Amla Oil

Amla Oil

Stimulate Hair Growth

Amla oil is rich in fatty acids, vitamin C, flavonoids and minerals. It strengthen hair follicles and stimulate healthy new growth.

Anti-Oxidant

Amla oil is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. It keep hair and follicles healthy by fighting off the damage-causing free radicals.

Boost Natural Hair Colour

Amla oil renew pigmentation in hair and makes it darker and thicker.

 

Shiny Hair

High content of iron in amla oil impart a shiny blackish tint to hair.

Promote Scalp Health

Amla oil reduces dry flakes and dissolves grease and dirt from the follicles, improving overall scalp health.

Anti-Dandruff

Anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties of amla oil relieve redness, irritation, itchiness and dandruff.

Posted on Leave a comment

COVID-19: PRACTICAL TIPS ON STAYING PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY HEALTHY THROUGH AYURVEDA – PART 1

Man is a social animal and when quarantine or isolation is imposed, apart from the existing stress due to the pandemic, there are undercurrents that could affect his mental health. It’s a sudden change of behavioral pattern that, though self-imposed, does not warrant a choice, as one could be a threat to others. Though everyone reacts differently during stressful situations, it has been observed that the common stress factors during a disease outbreak are:

  • – Fear & worry about your own health and that of your loved ones
  • – Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • – Difficulty in sleeping or concentrating
  • – Worsening of chronic health problems
  • – Worsening of mental health conditions
  • – Increased use of alcohol, tobacco and/or other drugs

Since its first outbreak in Wuhan city of China, the coronavirus has almost monopolized global consciousness. The World Health Organisation (WHO), declared it a pandemic on 11 March, 2020 and people, world over had to exercise social distancing or had to be in complete lockdown, as in certain countries. Some parts of the world were exercising, that includes China, lockdown much before, it was declared in India.

Amplify the same now with the global recession, job cuts, salary delays or salary cuts and a looming sense of uncertainty and you have much in hand to cope with. The new realities of working from home, home-schooling of children and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends and colleagues, take time to get used to.

Adapting to lifestyle changes and managing the fear of contracting the virus, with the various phases of relaxations and continuance of lockdown can be quite worrisome and challenging. Fear, worry and stress are normal responses when we are faced with uncertainty and the thought that we all are particularly vulnerable till the vaccine is in place. So while we all are taking steps to increase our immunity in the meanwhile, it is additionally impending on us to also take care of our mental health.

Fortunately, there are lots of things that we can do to look after our own mental health and to help others who may need some extra support and care.

A girl wearing white clothes is sitting with her legs crossed and her hands on her knees

1) EXERCISE OR PRACTICE YOGA WITH PRANAYAMA

Start your day with any kind of physical exercise or Yoga with Pranayama. Performing exercise and Yoga in early morning helps to relieve stress and boost the mood by decreasing circulating cortisol levels and increasing endorphins secretion.

  • – Exercise raises brain activity allowing you to take your mind off things and improve your overall mood.
  • – Yoga helps us develop awareness of how our own unique mind works and that awareness can help us live in a more conscious way.
  • – Pranayama helps us to balance our energy which in turn helps us stay calm and centered throughout the day.
  • According to Ayurveda, Yoga and Pranayama helps to balance the energy of Surya (Pingala) and Chandra (IdaNadi (neurons) and keep our body in a state of relaxation
  • How to do Pranayama and different forms of breathing exercises
Oil poured in a glass bowl & a girl is holding the oil jar

2) MASSAGE

The power of touch has an amazing effect on body and mind, massaging the body stimulates the production of serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters that promotes well-being, satisfaction and feelings of happiness. Massage also decreases cortisol levels, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, which is related to stress and anxiety. Serotonin consequently stimulates production of melatonin, which helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythms and lull people to sleep.

In AyurvedaAbhyanga (oil massage) is a daily self-care ritual that helps to heal the mind and body from the stresses of daily life.

How to do a Abhyanga, self-massage with warm oil

3) HEALTHY AND NUTRITIOUS DIET

Whatever you eat, it has profound effects on both the physical and mental health. A healthy and nutritious diet, in particular can help to regulate stress and anxiety. Diet that includes prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods like yogurt helps to promote a proper balance of gut bacteria. These good gut bacteria activates the neural pathways by release of 95% Serotonin neurotransmitter that travel directly between the gut and the brain, which aid in mediating moods and regulating sleep.

Walnut, Mango, basil & pistachios

Stay tuned for more tips coming soon in our next blog