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Archive for the ‘Ayurvedic Medicine’ Category

Happy New Year to All!

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Happy, Happy, Happy New Year from Via Vedica!

     May your 2013 be filled with Love,

Health and Prosperity!







Ayurvedic Tips for Insomnia

Sleep disorders are very common in our modern, fast paced lives and stress is often the number one cause.  Since lack of sleep can be very detrimental to our health, it is important that we address early symptoms of insomnia before our bodies become depleted and additional health problems are created.

According to Ayurveda, insomnia is an expression of increased Vata which disturbs the mind and nervous system.  When aggravated, Vata dosha can change its natural direction and move upwards, agitating our thoughts and at times creating constipation as well.

Pacifying Vata is the best way to calm the nervous system and restore our natural sleep rhythm:

• Stick to a daily routine as much as possible, getting up and going to bed at the same time.

• Massage the soles of the feet and the scalp with warm sesame oil before going to bed.

• Take a hot bath before going to bed.

• Drink a cup of herbal tea at bedtime. Chamomile and Valerian root are a good choice.

• Take some time to meditate and calm your mind before going to bed. You can try this breathing exercise.

• Eat fresh simple food such as steamed vegetables with basmati rice, mung beans and fruit.

• Take a Tai Chi, Qi Gong or restorative Hatha Yoga class.

• If you have constipation take 2 to 4 Triphala tablets at night with warm water.


Sweet dreams to all!




Spice up your Life with Turmeric!

Turmeric, Curcuma longa- Zingiberaceae

Turmeric, a relative of Ginger, has become one of the most studied exotic spices by modern scientists.  Turmeric has been used in India for over 4000 years as a daily kitchen spice and as a medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments.

Recent studies show that Curcumin, the active ingredient of Turmeric, has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties helping with diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, arthritis and various cancers, where inflammation and oxidative damage are key elements.

Ayurvedic Medicine uses Turmeric to support the digestive, circulatory and respiratory system.  Turmeric is a great blood purifier; it is used in many skin conditions such as dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, urticaria; it helps with inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis; it is an anti-bacterial and antibiotic used in fevers and sore throat.

Even though Turmeric capsules are widely available, Ayurveda recommends the use of Turmeric as a cooking spice that can be added to any dish.

¼ to ½ teaspoon of Turmeric powder is enough for a meal serving 2 -3 people.



The Power of Breathing

Prana is the subtle energy in the air we breath, it is not oxygen but it is carried by it.  Prana is the vital link between our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual body.  Our thoughts and emotions affect our breathing and vice versa.  Through the breath Prana brings awareness and healing.  So the most direct way to calm our mind, steady our emotions and harmonize our physiology is to observe the way we breath.

Breathing Exercise:

1. Sit comfortably and upright in a chair or on the floor

2. Close your eyes and observe your breath. How does it feel? Is it fast, shallow, deep? Do you feel the movement in your chest or belly?

3. Place your hands on your belly and feel it expand as you breath in through your nose

4. After a few minutes place your hands on your lower back and notice the movement as you breath in and out, continue for 10 breaths

5. Now keep breathing with your hands on your lap and your attention in the area below your belly button

6. Let the breath flow like an ocean wave, don’t force it in or out, listen to its soothing sound.  Relax…

Ten minutes of conscious breathing are normally enough to produce a change. Keep practicing till it becomes effortless, your second nature.  As you get better you will be able to perform other activities and observe your breath at the same time. You are on your way to equanimity and what happens around you won’t throw you off-balance as easily.  Good luck!



Spring Detox with Kitchari


Kitchari is a mixture of basmati rice and mung beans.  It is very nourishing and easy to digest.  The combination of rice and beans creates a complete source of proteins which strengthen all the tissues and support the digestive fire.

A five-day long mono-diet of Kitchari is the perfect way to get rid of toxic build-up and stagnation left over from the cold winter season.

Kitchari Recipe

Serves 2

1 cup white basmati rice

½ cup split yellow mung beans

2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or sunflower oil

½ teaspoon mustard seeds

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon of salt

1 pinch turmeric

1 pinch asafoetida (hing)

3 cups of boiling water

Organic ghee and yellow mung beans can be purchased at your local health food store or Indian grocery store.

Wash rice and mung beans and drain. In a pot, heat the ghee or oil and add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and hing, stir till the seeds pop.  Add rice, mung beans, turmeric and salt and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes.  Add boiling water and simmer over low heat for about 25-30 minutes.  You may add vegetables such as carrots, zucchini or green beans.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and lime.

Note:  For better digestibility soak the mung beans for 3 hours before cooking. Even better: pre-cook the mung beans for 15 minutes and then add to the rice and spices.


Ayurvedic Tips for Spring Allergies


Spring is almost here! Spring is a Kapha season when moisture predominates aggravating Kapha dosha in our body. When Kapha is in excess we experience congestion, mucus, hay fever and so forth.

Ayurvedic Tips to reduce Kapha dosha:

• Avoid cold drinks and foods

• Avoid dairy products, red meats and fried foods

• Avoid sweet, sour and salty foods

• Emphasize baked or grilled vegetables; fish or chicken

• Drink warm water

• Take 1 or 2 tablets of Triphala at night (a combination of 3 herbs: amalaki, bibhitaki and haritaki).  Triphala acts as a mild laxative and purgative and can be found in any health food store.

• Use pungent spices such as ginger, garlic, cinnamon and black pepper

• Drink Ginger Tea or Kapha Balancing Tea (see below)

Kapha Balancing Tea:

¼ teaspoon grated ginger or ginger powder

one pinch of turmeric powder

one pinch of cinnamon powder

1 cup of boiling water

Steep the spices for 5-10 minutes.

Contraindications:  Do not use pungent spices such as ginger, red pepper and black pepper if you suffer from gastritis, heartburn or ulcers.  Do not use triphala if you are pregnant.

Happy Spring Everybody!!



The Mind in Ayurveda

 According to Yoga and Ayurveda the human Mind is organized into 3 qualities or gunas: Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.  Sattva is clarity, intelligence, harmony and stability; Rajas is activity, change, stimulus and disturbance; Tamas is inertia, obstruction, heaviness, delusion and lack of awareness.

All 3 gunas are necessary for life and any mental process. For example, an idea can be seen as an expression of Sattva, when it’s brought into action Rajas will be the dominant energy and the completion of that action happens thanks to Tamas.

When Sattva is predominant in our nature we strive towards peace and harmony and our lifestyle choices reflect that. When Rajas is the main energy in our system there is excessive activity, an exaggerated goal oriented attitude, the mind is agitated and it can lead to chronic dissatisfaction. A Tamas predominant nature expresses itself as stagnation, blockage, a tendency towards depression and lack of initiative.

A balanced lifestyle supports Sattva guna and our health. Excessive activity (Rajas) will deplete our system and lead to exhaustion. Too much sleep and inactivity (Tamas) dulls the Mind and can lead to depression.

Keep your gunas in check!


Ayurvedic Home Remedy for Cold and Indigestion

Ginger, Zingiber officinale


In Ayurveda ginger is referred to as vishwabheshaja, “universal medicine”, the remedy for almost all diseases, especially for Vata and Kapha disorders.

Dry and fresh ginger have slightly different properties. Dry ginger is drier and hotter.  It needs to be used with caution by individuals with high Pitta who suffer from heartburn, gastritis and ulcers.

Both fresh and dry ginger are great home remedies for a cough or cold. Ginger has antispasmodic and expectorant properties, helping with asthmatic conditions and respiratory disorders, clearing phlegm from the lungs.

Ginger stimulates the digestive fire and the secretion of digestive enzymes. It helps in case of indigestion, nausea (including morning and travel sickness), loss of appetite, vomiting, gas and abdominal pain.

Ginger is also used to relieve menstrual cramps, arthritis and improve circulation.

Preparation and Dosage:

Fresh Ginger Tea: 1 inch fresh peeled, grated or sliced ginger, steep in one cup of hot water for 10 minutes

Dry Ginger Tea: ½ teaspoon of ginger powder, steep in one cup of hot water for 10 minutes.

Externally dry ginger powder can be used as a paste or mixed with massage oil to reduce chills, swelling, hypothermia and rheumatoid arthritis.

Contraindications: Do not use in high Pitta conditions such as heartburn, gastritis, ulcers, inflammatory skin conditions. Do not take ginger with blood thinning medications. Avoid large doses during pregnancy.