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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.