Blogs

Phanta - Hot infusion in Ayurveda

By Dilek Koksal, Ayurvedic Counselor Program

I wanted to create a pitta balancing phanta with what I had in my pantry. Phanta is a hot infusion in Ayurveda. Usually, it is a combination of many Ayurvedic Herbs.

Ingredients


Rose Petals

4 teaspoons rose petals

1/2 tsp coriander seeds

1/2 tsp saffron

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

I mix them and put them in my tea bag

and placed in boiled water about 0.5 ml

ROSE: balances Sadhaka Pitta, the subdosha of Pitta that governs the emotions and their effect on the heart. Rose is cooling but also enhances the agni. Pacifies Vata and Pitta Dosha: Since it carries the sweet and unctuous properties, it pacifies Vata dosha – the sweet rasa, or taste, pacifies vata. The rose’ssnigdha or unctuous property also balances vata, since vata that tends to be dry. Any dravya or item that has the unctuous lubricating guna or property is pacifying to vata. Then due to its cooling virya or potency, as well as bitter and astringent taste, it is pacifying for Pitta dosha.

Coriander: Rasa (taste): madhura (sweet), katu (pungent), tikta (bitter) and kshaya (astringent). Guna (physical property) is laghu (light) and snigadha. Virya (potency) is ushana (hot). Vipaka (post digestion effect) is madhura (sweet). Pacifying Vata, Pitta and Kapha dosha.

Fennel: According to Ayurveda, fennel may be used to decrease all three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. It has a sweet, slightly astringent, and bitter taste, or rasa. It is cooling and its after-taste or vipak is sweet. Ayurveda advises against cooking fennel, as its active ingredients will die. It is better to steep fennel. Fennel is used as a digestive tonic, a mild laxative,and a diuretic. It helps remove toxins from the body.

Saffron: In texts of Ayurveda the herb Crocus Sativus or kumkuma or saffron is grouped under “Varnya” gana. Varnya means the one which imparts fairness and glow to skin. According ayurveda pharmacology, saffron is bitter to taste and increases body fire. It balances tridoshas (vata, pitta and kapha).

Anupana

by Kristen George, Ayurvedic Counselor

Anupanas are vehicles that increase efficacy of herbs, and, are responsible for delivering the herb to the respective dhatu(tissue).

Kumari svarasa as anupana for Amrit - Detoxification


Ingredients:

*Washed Organic Aloe Leaves
*Guduchi Powder
*Maple Syrup
*Mortal and Pestle
*Cotton Muslin Cloth Or Coffee filter
*Clear Glass container

The sanskrit name for Guduchi is Amrit, which means "imperishable." Amrit plays the role of an adoptogen, and is particularly useful for increasing the body's resistance to stress and anxiety, which affects the overall immune system, therefore having an immunity-boosting effect. It's tridoshic in moderation, and is particularly helpful for pitta disorders.

Pairing Amrit with Kumari enhances the detoxification effects, especially for rakta dhatu, liver issues. Kumari is very cooling in nature and is a good anupana for pitta.

Making kumari svarasa without a blender was much more difficult than I imagined! It's so slimy and sticky, and one must be very cautious when working with it. After peeling the skin off and having only the clear gel left, I chopped it finely and attempted to strain it through cheesecloth with very little success.

Next I tried a mortar and pestal, which helped, but it was still extremely chunky. Finally, after making a mess, I put it into an electric chopper and processed it into a fine liquid and strained it through the cheesecloth in the final step. This produced a nice liquid to use.

I took 500mg of dried guduchi and added enough kumari svarasa to make a loose kalka. Because it can be bitter, I added about 1/8 teaspoon of maple syrup to make it more palatable :)

Bhaishajya in Ayurveda versus Western Herbology

By DILEK KOKSAL

BLOCK 3 Practitioner Student

Bhaishajya Kalpana is composed of two words, Bhaishajya - Drug and Kalpana - Processing.
Bhaisajya is in turn derived from ‘Bhisag’ meaning a physician, a vaidya.

Etymologically ‘Bhaisajya’ is a substance used by a ‘Bhisag’ the physician as a means of treating a patient. ‘Bhaisajya’ is also known as ‘Ausadha’ meaning a substance imparting health.

Concept of ‘Drug’ is principally based on the type of activity of a substance on the human body. Thus, Bhaishajya Kalpana is the most important branch of learning in the field of Ayurveda. With the art and skill of formulation, a poisonous drug can be transmuted into a safe and effective drug.

Ayurvedic classics also give emphasis to the elimination of inherent constituents of the drug which arebinappropriate in specific clinical condition and toxic in nature and which enter into the formulation if notbremoved.

To meet this requirement basic materials are sometimes subjected to purifying process known
as “sodhana’.

The pharmaceutical procedures for any drug involve various steps starting from identification andbcollection of authentic raw material, application of standardized processing techniques, and production of quality drug to packaging and storage of the produced drug. Ayurvedic pharmaceutics is not an exception to this. A quote from Caraka Samhitaa (Caraka Samhitaa Vimana Sthaana 8/87, 1984) says raw

material of specified type having specific characteristics and therapeutic action, grown on a specific soil in a specific geographical area in specific atmospheric conditions should be collected in a specific season.

Only such raw material will produce the expected therapeutic effect provided it is used judiciously in proper dose.

The components soluble in water are extracted in water whereas solvents like fat, oil or alcohol are required to extract ingredients soluble in those solvents. A combined solvent system is also used sometimes. Depending on the requirement, different procedures are adopted to extract therapeutically useful ingredients.

Avipattikar Churna and Avipathi Choornam – both these are Ayurvedic medicines in herbal powder form. Both have got similar set of ingredients. But have lot of differences between them, in terms ofindication, method of administration etc.

In the West, tincturing was originally developed as a means of dealing with fresh plant materials; by soaking them in alcohol and straining out the plant mass, one could preserve herbs for future use.

A large proportion of Western herbs are flowers and leaves, which have a very poor shelf-life if simply dried.

Each manufacturer has its own method of extracting plant medicine, which is then used to make salves and tinctures that are sold nationwide.

Different extraction methods illustrate the contrasting philosophies pulling at the ends of contemporary herbal medicine. One supports the highly scientific method of standardization, which involves measuring and extracting specific compounds believed to be responsible for the herbs’ medicinal effects.

The other is the traditional “whole herb” school of thought, which asserts that all of a plant’s compounds contribute to its ability to heal and protect health, and plucking out one or a few compounds means losing that synergy.

References:
http://www.pspmngo.org/index.php/departments/rasashastra-bhaishajya-kalp...
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3025621/
http://www.motherearthliving.com/health-and-wellness/herbal-extracts.aspx

Ayurveda and Jucing

Blog By Tamara Stojadonovik

Recently, Ayurvedic Juicing has become the buzz word. There has been a famous TV show that featured Ayurvedic cleansing and juicing.

I love the fact that television is making the US more aware of Ayurveda, however juicing and Ayurveda are so diametrically opposed. It reminds me of a’ recent self promotion of a celebrity half naked in yoga poses reminding us about yoga being cure for a hangover!

Juicing is NOT Ayurveda just as this promo has nothing to do with Yoga. Someone may argue, “ Come on! We are not living in ancient times!” and the teachings should evolve. OK, I could possibly accept that , but let’s look at juicing from an Ayurvedic perspective:

1) It is not found in any of the ancient Ayurvedic texts including Charaka Samhita.

2) Ayurveda including the Charaka Samhita, recommend a diet of mostly cooked foods as cooking increases the element of fire (agni), which is essential for digestion, the assimilation of nutrients and their transformation into the bodily tissues.

3) While juices may contain organic veggies and fruits, not all veggies and fruits are good for everyone’s constitution.

4) Juices contain little or no fiber, are light and watery ,contain a high amount of sugar ( even if it is a veggie juice) and are generally served cool or cold.

For a Vata person the cold, light quality could provoke Vata causing bloating and gas. The cold water and sweet quality would increase Kapha further slowing down metabolism, increasing ama and a Pitta person with a strong digestive fire would not be able to tolerate a juicing fast as it would further aggravate their metabolism.

5) Juicing may seem perfect for the lifestyle of the person on the run and a way to to gulp down the needed nutrients that are lacking in the average American diet, however chewing and mindfulness are important to help kick start poroper digestion. As Mahatma Gandhi once said "Chew your drink and drink your food". When we drink foods without chewing , they enter the digestive system too fast before the body is even aware that it is food and so the digestive process has not even started. Chewing and the formation of a bolus with saliva is the very part of digestion.When we drink something quickly, we do not give our digestive system a chance to get started which can lead to that uncomfortable bloated feeling. Drink your food! With each bite of food we take food should be chewed until it turns to liquid. It helps us be your mindful and brings a more Sattvic quality to our meal and the slower process allows for the correct signalling by the brain and for the correct sequence of events for proper mechanical and chemical digestion to occur. Digestion progresses from the mouth through to the stomach and intestines, where digestive acids and enzymes are sequentially released from different glands and organs.

If considering juicing the following should be taken into consideration: the person’s constitution, season, time of day, the health of their digestion; the state of agni, bowel movements and level of ama as well as what fruits and veggies are being included in the juice and why.

While it is wonderful to see that Ayurveda is becoming more mainstream in the U.S., I wouldn’t be surprised to see, before long, the word “Ayurveda” being used to market a “healthy” Starbuck’s Chai Latte or Extra Value Meals.

The Banana Diet

BANANA DIET FAD - Student Blog Perron Shimizu

The asa (Japanese for ‘morning’) banana diet became a fad in Japan in 2008. This fad had a devastating affect on the banana market. The fad essentially caused shortages in bananas throughout the entire country. You literally could not find any bananas anywhere. The diet calls for an individual to consume massive amounts of bananas coupled with room temperature drinking water.

Osaka pharmacist Sumiko Watanabe original created the diet for her husband whom apparently lost 16.8 kg (37lbs). Subsequently, the diet became popular when he wrote about on one of Japan’s largest social networking services called Mixi. Since then 730,000 morning banana books have been sold.

Unequivocally, bananas and water are nutritious to any meal plan. According to the caloric ratio pyramid for raw bananas (nutritiondata.self.com) they contain an estimated 93% of carbohydrates. Research states that bananas are an excellent source of dietary fiber. This includes soluble and insoluble fiber. Furthermore, bananas are very low in cholesterol, sodium and saturated fat.

Essentially, the plan allows for an individual to consume an unlimited amount of bananas with room temperature water or milk. In the morning the dieter can consume an unlimited amount of bananas for breakfast with milk or room temperature water until full. After breakfast the dieter is not allowed to consume anything until lunch.

For lunch the dieter must at least have one banana and a salad plus a normal meal. Surprisingly, these meals have no restriction. Pizza, hamburgers, and French fries are acceptable dietary meals under this plan. In addition to this the dieter is also allowed to consume one sweet snack at 3 o’clock.

Likewise, the individual is allowed to drink room temperature water when needed. As previously mentioned there are no other restrictions for lunch or dinner. The dieter may consume an unlimited amount of bananas in addition to lunch and dinner. Bananas are also to be consumed between lunch and dinner as snacks with the cutoff time for eating at 8 p.m.

How it’s supposed to work?

The diet functions in two ways: fiber bulks up in the stomach making the individual having a longer feeling of fullness. Secondly, one of the fibers found in bananas is called resistant starch. This fiber then begins to ferment in the digestive tract, increasing fat burning by-products.

Problematic issues with the diet?

You will always have problems with any diet that encourages unregulated lunches and dinners. Overindulgence in these areas is where the diet fails. As stated above the dieter is allowed to consume an unlimited amount of bananas in conjunction with an unhealthy meal. The dieter may be prone to overindulge and actually gain weight rather than lose.

As stated above research shows bananas have a high source of beneficiary nutritional value. On the other hand, they also have a relativity high calorie and sugar intake. Clearly bananas are more beneficial if consumed in moderation.

According to the USDA one banana has more than 120 calories. In conjunction with other high caloric meals, if consumed in large quantities as this diet suggest the additional calories could create extra weight.

Asa banana diet? Fail.

National Council on Ayurveda Education

San Diego College of Ayurveda is proud to be a member of National Council on Ayurvedic Medicine. The site goes live today. Here is a message from the Acting president.

Announcement: The National Council on Ayurvedic Medicine Goes Live!

Dear Practitioners, Students and Community Members,

Many of you have heard that an effort has been taking place to begin an association of Ayurvedic Schools and Colleges. The National Council on Ayurvedic Education is the outcome of these efforts and we are pleased to announce that the organization is going live!
The National Council is a vital part of the infrastructure of the profession. All health care professions have Council of schools to facilitate consistency in education and uniform standards of competency. The National Council has many roles and these are described below.
We know that many of you will have questions about the new organization. What is it? How does it affect me? This announcement will answer many of those questions and lead you to our Web Page for more information.

Our Mission

The mission of the National Council on Ayurvedic Education is to unify the efforts of the schools to advance Ayurvedic education in the United States while supporting and honoring individualized approaches that lead to competency.
How Will This Affect Students and Practitioners

The National Council will be developing National Board Examinations to be administered to graduates of approved Member Schools in 2016. Passing the National Board Exams will give you added credibility. You will then be able to say that you are "Board Certified" by the National Council on Ayurvedic Education. The administration of National Board Certification examinations are an important step toward State Licensing.

How is the National Council of Ayurvedic Education (NCAE) different from NAMA?

The National Council is an association of schools. NAMA is an association of practitioners. As the profession grows, the regulation of schools is taken care of, in part, by an association of the schools working together to improve education. National Councils such as the NCAE typically develop and administer National Examinations. The National Council does not accept membership from students or practitioners. Please note that we encourage all students and practitioners to become members of NAMA. Practitioners need a strong association to look after the legal landscape of Ayurveda and to develop public awareness.
How can I get more information?

You can keep up on developments by going to www.ncae.guru. Here you can read about all of the goals of the organization. You can also review the adopted Standards of Education and Scope of Practice that have been approved.

Dr Marc Halpern

http://www.ncae.guru/ncae-council.html

Kleshas of Yoga versus Kleshas of Ayurveda

By Pandit Atul Krishna Das, AWP and Monica B Groover, Phd, AWP
(Founders- San Diego College of Ayurveda)

In Ayurveda, we study the Three Kleshas that include internal, external and environmental. In Yoga we study the five kleshas that arise from within. The aim and objective of yoga is to ultimately cleanse and balance the mind. The Asana practice is also aimed towards training the mind and ultimately samadhi.

The goal of Ayurveda is a little bit more broad--and Ayurvedic Practitioners who use Ayurveda and Yoga both as a modality to reach their life's objective are concerned with all kind of suffering.

The three kleshas in Ayurveda are:

1. Adhyatamika -- Internal--arising from within (This includes the Five Kleshas of Adhyatmika)

2. Adhibhautika -- From other entities--including bacteria, virus, parasites, quarrel with friends, comments from others--o
r perhaps a fender bender

3. Adhidaivika -- Given to us by mother nature---Tsunami, Fires, Floods, Typhoon, Earthquakes.

The five kleshas that afflict the Citta (Mind) given by Sri Patanjali are:

avidyā = ignorance

asmitā = To become sad and depressed, Dejection.

rāga = desire; attraction for material things

dveṣa = Enemity, revulsion; aversion to other entities

abhiniveśaḥ = Entanglement of mind, Consciousness wrapped up and illusion. (, False identification--I am this physical body --instead of I am this soul. )

Now, the question is with so many kleshas mentioned in different texts, how to reconcile all of them.

This is an excellent question as it illustrates what we like to call the "non-linear concepts" that occur so often in study of Vedic sciences such as Ayurveda, yoga, sankhya, etc.

Since yoga is focused internally, the five kleshas which are adhyatmika in nature, specifically related to the mind, are given special focus. The three kleshas discussed in Ayurveda, in sankhya, and in various literatures such as Bhagavad-gita, Bhagavata-Purana, etc. are broader in scope.

So, all the Five kleshas of Patanjali are under the purview of Internal Kleshas or Adhyatmika section of Vedic Kleshas.

There is a popular representation of Durga-devi riding on a tiger (representing rajo-guna and tamo-guna, the qualities of passion and ignorance) and carrying a trishool or trident. The three teeth of the trident represent the three kleshas which afflict the embodied being who tries to enjoy pleasures rather than using the human form of life for upliftment.

There is another explanation given in other yoga literatures describing six enemies: lust (kama), anger (krodha), greed (lobha), madness or intoxication (mada), illusion or bewilderment (moha), and matsarya (envy). Again these are really adhyatmika in nature and the yoga practitioner is urged, at the very outset of starting on the path of yoga practice, to know them clearly and avoid them.

Astanga-yoga refers to eight parts beginning with yama (following rules), niyama (observing restrictions), asana (sitting postures), pranayama (breathing control), pratyahara (withdrawing from engagement of the senses with sense objects), dharana (becoming steady or fixed), dhyana (entering a state of meditation) and finally samadhi (achieving a trance state of full absorption in the object of meditation). Avoiding these five or these six is included in the second part (niyama).

In yoga practice the mind is considered the cause of bondage and suffering in this world, largely due to our tendency to pursue sensory pleasure and lose sight of what is important. The mind is also considered to be the instrument of liberation from bondage through yoga practice, so the focus is almost entirely on these adhyatmika kleshas. From a practical point of view, we sometimes have very little ability to change circumstances that cause us grief, but we can change our perspective. Consider a person who is relatively poor and has very little but is very satisfied with basic necessities versus someone who has good income and lots of money but is never satisfied. This is a good example of how, from the perspective of yoga practice, the mind is the one thing we have which can change and adapt.

A Comparison of Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine in Japan

Student Blog

Perron Shimizu

Currently in Japan the study and research of Ayurveda has been ongoing for about 30 years. In 1969 Prof. Hiroshi Maruyama of Osaka medical school created the Society of Ayurveda. This has led to various programs and seminars organized for the propagation of Ayurveda.

However, in comparison to TCM or Kampo, there was a resurgence of public interest after WWII and today it is practiced extensively.

There are several medical schools that have programs focusing on Kampo offering dual degrees. Additionally, Homoeopathic self-care and education developed rapidly. Torako Yui, the first Japanese homoeopath, started the introduction of homoeopathy in the late 1990s. Thus creating the Japanese Homeopathic Medical Association. The system has begun introducing cultural aspects such as Zen meditation as a method to increase the self-healing of homeopathy. As for Naturopathy there is not so much a presence as compared to the other healing systems.

I believe Ayurveda is still in its infancy here in Japan. The propagation of Ayurveda is not easy in a homogeneous society. However, the want and need for alternative medication and natural ways of healing is on the rise.

As far as comparing Ayurveda with TCM, suffice to say that humanity now lives in a “post-human-genome sequence era”.

Current health care focuses on the challenge of understanding the inheritable differences in the human genome. Ayurveda and TCM have well-defined systems of constitutional types to help distinguish individual qualities. Unequivocally, both systems are about brining out a natural state of equilibrium within an individual. However, the methodology and approach of both systems have similar yet distinct systems.

To determine a person's mind-body classification Ayurveda incorporates a threefold classification system known as tridosha. This consists of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata is classified as being related to motion, Pitta being related to metabolism and Kapha described as the lubrication and structure. With differing degrees of predominance Vata, Pitta and Kapha are present in all people. Together the three doshas make up individuals Prakruti.

Conversely, TCM acknowledges seven constitutions of Yin, Yang, Qi, Phlegm-wetness, Wetness-heat, and Blood stasis. Similar to Ayurveda, TCM classifies individuals based on the five elements of metal, earth, fire, water, and wood. Further stating that the determination of specific element is governed by two opposing qualities of chi energy, the well known Yin and Yang. Therefore the state of equilibrium of an individual’s health is determined by the two energies.

These two traditional medical systems of Asia are considered sacred. They are very closely related. For example, both systems are based on the classification method of constitution. Ayurveda and TCM both identify and classify unique characteristics of each individual, resulting in personalized medicine and treatment. Hence allowing for the optimal response to treatment.

However, modern medicine has yet to be successful in classifying human populations. Current classification systems are based on ethnicity; geographical location, language or self reported ancestry. Which is why researchers around the globe have been investigating Ayurveda. They postulate that the Prakruti types (V, P and K) can be used as phenotypic datasets for analyzing genetic variation. Which brings Ayurveda to the forefront of modern medical science.

Ayurveda and Homeopathy

Student Blog

Jennifer Rawlings

There is a growing acceptance of herbal remedies all over the world. While both Homeopathic medicine and Ayurveda belong to complementary and alternative medicine systems, they are from very different schools of thought. Ayurveda generally believes in the philosophy that the health of a human body depends on the balance on the three key doshas vita, pitta, and kapha, and any imbalance in these three can cause diseases. Homeopathy believes in the "vitalist" philosophy. According to this belief, various external and internal causes disturb the "vital force" which negatively affects the health of a person.

Ayurveda: Derived from two words - Ayur meaning "life" and Veda meaning "knowledge" - Ayurveda means "knowledge of life." It is a holistic system with its own fundamental tenets. Ayurveda emphasizes the balance between body, mind, and soul for healthy living. Maintaining optimal health and mitigating disease by using Ayurvedic lifestyle practices. Homeopathy: The word homeopathy conjoins two words - homeo meaning "similar" and pathy meaning "science."

Homeopathic medicine is a system that stimulates our immune system to fight disease. "Principle of similar" and "principle of dilution" are the two basic principles used in Homeopathic treatments. While homeopathic practitioners rely on symptoms for diagnosis, Ayurvedic physicians make use of "pulse diagnosis" as well as symptoms. In conclusion, normal herbal preparations and diets from Ayurveda work through digestion and agni whereas Homeopathy works on a more subtle level through the mind and prana directly.

It is possible to use Homeopathy as a medical system under the overview of Ayurveda (with a larger vision and field of experience) and it is not possible to use Ayurveda under the directions of Homeopathy which are narrow and lacking the broader understanding of the life force, pathology and therapeutics.

Ayurveda and Naturopathy

Rose Bryant, ND

Naturopathy and Ayurveda are both holistic and clinical sciences, which collectively strive to prevent and cure various types of ailments with a holistic approach.

Myself, coming from the field of Naturopathy, I see many similarities between the two sciences and I believe they work very beautifully together to encourage healing of the individual.

The approach of Naturopathy is based in the “healing power of nature” to cure various ailments with a focus on supporting the life-force or “vital force” by strengthening the body through modalities such as botanical medicine, nutrition, hydrotherapy, homeopathy and physical medicine while encouraging the patient to make positive lifestyle changes. Naturopathy aims to harmonize both biochemical and energetic balance. Naturopathy avoids the use of major surgery or synthetic prescription drugs, except in the event of an emergency.

Naturopathy recognizes all aspects of an individuals’ life related to the disease process. Disease is frequently seen as an expression of the body eliminating excess toxins, which have accumulated due to inadequate nutrition and lifestyle, therefore presenting as the body attempting to heal itself.

The approach of Naturopathy is based in the “healing power of nature” to cure various ailments with a focus on supporting the life-force or “vital force” by strengthening the body through modalities such as botanical medicine, nutrition, hydrotherapy, homeopathy and physical medicine while encouraging the patient to make positive lifestyle changes. Naturopathy aims to harmonize both biochemical and energetic balance.

Naturopathy avoids the use of major surgery or synthetic prescription drugs, except in the event of an emergency. Naturopathy recognizes all aspects of an individuals’ life related to the disease process. Disease is frequently seen as an expression of the body eliminating excess toxins, which have accumulated due to inadequate nutrition and lifestyle, therefore presenting as the body attempting to heal itself.

Ayurveda is an ancient medicine, which also focuses on balance. It suggests that we should take everything with regulation in order to maintain health according to your constitution. Ayurveda's focus is more on creating energetic balance at the higher energetic or inner level. Ayurveda recognizes that imbalance of the mind and emotions frequently precede, and is often the cause of, physical imbalances.

It sees all life in Nature constantly evolving toward a higher level of consciousness. Ayurveda seeks to connect us with this intelligence inherent in Nature and uses modalities such as yoga asana, pranayama, mantra and meditation to facilitate this as well as herbs and ayurvedic nutrition. It recommends we avoid substances or behaviors, which may aggravate or throw our dosha out of balance.

Ayurvedic or Yogic medicine is about facilitating the process of raising our level of consciousness and supporting prana. This state of consciousness is defined as peace, union with the Divine or realization of our true Self.

About the Author

Rose Byrant works is an Naturopathic Practitioner and works at http://www.zendenholisticwellness.org. She is studying Ayurveda practices as well.

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