What is Ayurveda – Philosophy and Doshas

Ayurveda believes that everything in the universe along with all the living and the human beings is composed of the five basic elements called the panchamahabhutas. The panchamahabhutas include the air, water, fire, earth and space.

 

 

Ayurveda suggests that all the panchamahabhutas integrate together to give rise to the Doshas (energy types) within the living beings. The three Doshas so formed are called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Vata is believed to be a combination of air and space, Pitta represents the fire and water and Kapha constitutes water and earth. Together the three are called ‘the Tri-Doshas’ and govern the psychological, biological and the physiological aspects of the mind and the body.

 

 

The Prakriti or the constitution of the individual is also governed by the dominance of the Tri-Doshas. In general only one or two out of the three Doshas are dominant in an individual. Ayurveda because of compositions of Doshas treats every being as an individual. Every medicinal prescription in Ayurveda is specifically prepared for an individual keeping in mind the constitution of his/her Doshas. This is why every individual reciprocates to a set of treatment in a different manner.

 

An imbalance among the Doshas lead to different ailments and disorders and the principles of Ayurvedic health revolve around the three Doshas attempting to keep a balance among them.

 
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Probiotics and Prebiotics

Probiotics, meaning ‘for life’ are products that contain live strains of bacteria incorporated into yoghurts, fruit juices or freeze-dried powders and boost levels of the friendly bacteria in the digestive system.

 

Prebiotics on the other hand are non-digestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth and/or activity of friendly bacteria in the digestive system.

 

Thus Prebiotics are the ingredients in foods that stimulate the activity and growth of Probiotics. Research has also shown that it is better to treat good bacteria in the gut to a Prebiotic meal then to just consume Probiotics.

 

Due to the varying nature of micro-organisms throughout the entire digestive tract, Probiotics that combine different forms of friendly bacteria should be preferred as opposed to the ones based on just acidophilus. The micro-organisms in Probiotics should be able to survive stomach and bile acids in order to be able to be effective in the intestines.

 

Because of the ability of Prebiotics to encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria, they are worth consuming when there is a need to improve the gut flora. Prebiotics can be taken on their own or with a Probiotic supplement. They have an advantage over Probiotic supplements in that there is no concern about oligosaccharides being destroyed while in storage or en route to the intestines through the stomach acid and digestive enzymes.

 

Oligosaccharides or special indigestible carbohydrates are found naturally in certain fruit and vegetables including bananas, asparagus, garlic, wheat, tomatoes, Jerusalem artichoke, onions and chicory.

 

Menopause

Menopause – Menopausal symptoms – Treatments – Holistic approach

Menopause is the ending of a woman’s monthly menstrual periods and ovulation. Every woman in the age group of 45 to 55 years is bound to go through the state of menopause and its associated hormonal disturbance. It is caused due to the deficiency of oestrogen hormone after the age of 40 when a woman begins to experience irregular periods which finally cease permanently.

 

Menopause brings with it a lot of associated symptoms like night sweats, hot flushes, mood swings, sleeplessness, irritability, joint pain etc. This is also the time when women tend to fall prey to various diseases like osteoporosis, hypertension and heart diseases.

 

Using holistic approach, the following steps should be considered in order to tackle menopausal symptoms.

 

 

BALANCED DIET

Balanced diet is very important for maintaining a healthy body. All foods that we consume leave either an acidic or alkaline ash when the digestive process has been completed. During menopause, changes in diet can play a crucial role in how a woman gets through this stage of her life.

 

Diet to help with Hot Flushes

a)  Water is an important nutrient for the body and therefore at least 1.5 litres of water should be consumed daily.

b)  Intake of coffee, tea, fizzy drinks and spicy food should be reduced.

A qualified nutritionist can help devise a simple and suitable diet plan.

 

 

Diet to help with Mood Swings:

The hormone fluctuations that take place during menopause can result in mood swings. Depression caused by reduced serotonin is one example.

a)  Eating carbohydrate-rich foods can help raise serotonin levels. Wholegrain breads and cereals should be consumed and white / processed flour products should be avoided.

b)  Vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and sprouts aid digestion and cleanse the arteries.

c)  Eating oily fish that contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids helps with the oxygen and blood circulation in the body.

 

 

LIFESTYLE CHANGES / EXERCISE

Exercise is one of the best ways to strengthen muscles and bones. Regular exercise which includes at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity helps strengthen muscles and joints. Exercise not only improves circulation and heart function but it also improves body’s efficiency in using oxygen and nutrients. Regular exercise also helps in dealing with irritability and anxiety associated with menopause.

 

 

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

Alternative therapies including Hypnosis, Acupuncture, Reflexology, Bowen Therapy and Yoga can be utilised for tackling menopausal symptoms.

 

 

HERBAL REMEDIES

Several herbs have been found to be beneficial for the menopausal symptoms which include  dry skin, aches and pains, irritability, mood swings and depression. A qualified herbalist can help devise a simple and suitable herbal combination.

 

 

HOMEOPATHY

Homeopathy focuses on the person’s overall health by giving the body energy to heal itself and is therefore effective for mental, physical and emotional conditions.

Stress, mood swing, liver function and irritability can be effectively cured by using homeopathic remedies and these factors in turn have a positive effect on the overall menopausal condition.

 

 

 

Diabetes -Type I and Type II- Explanation and basic treamtnet

Diabetes mellitus, often simply referred to as diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar either because the body does not produce enough insulin or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. This high blood sugar produces the classical symptoms of polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst) and polyphagia (increased hunger).

 

The full name ‘diabetes mellitus’ is derived from the Greek word ‘diabetes’ which means siphon and the Latin word ‘mellitus’ which means honeyed. This is because the excess sugar is not only found in the blood but it may also appear in the urine.
The two main types of diabetes are:

 

 

TYPE I DIABETES

Type 1 diabetes formally known as Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM) or ‘juvenile diabetes’  is a form of diabetes that results from autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. The subsequent lack of insulin leads to increased blood and urine glucose. Type I diabetes can range from mild to more severe forms and it does require medical treatment. While it cannot be cured, it can be managed and many diabetics live healthy, normal lives.

 

Type I diabetes is often caused by an autoimmune attack in which the immune system actually assaults the pancreas causing permanent damage. The body may also be unable to use insulin properly. Since insulin helps the body to absorb glucose safely, a lack of insulin or inability to use it can be very dangerous.

 

Type I diabetes can develop at any age but usually appears before the age of 40 and especially in childhood. It accounts for between 5% and 15% of all people with diabetes.

 

 BASIC TREATMENT
The onset of Type I diabetes is often sudden and it appears to be related to genetic factors and disease which means that it is not preventable through diet and exercise. Treatment need not significantly impair normal activities if sufficient patient training, awareness, appropriate care, discipline in testing and dosing of insulin is taken.

 

Type I diabetes is insulin dependent which means that the patient will need to take insulin supplement usually in the form of injections to stay healthy. Injection is the most common method of administering insulin but insulin pumps and inhaled insulin have been available at various times.

 

 

TYPE II DIABETES

Type II diabetes formally known as Non Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM) or ‘adult onset’ diabetes is a metabolic disorder that is characterised by high blood glucose in the context of insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency.

 

Type II diabetes develops when the body either cannot make enough insulin or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance). Insulin acts as a key to unlocking the cells and so if there isn’t enough insulin or if it isn’t working properly, the cells will only partially absorb energy resulting in glucose build-up in the blood.

 

Type II diabetes usually appears in people over the age of 40 though in South Asian and black communities, it often appears from the age of 25. It accounts for between 85% and 95% of all people with diabetes.

 

BASIC TREATMENT
Management of type II diabetes focuses on lifestyle interventions (i.e. regular exercise), lowering other cardiovascular risk factors (i.e. losing weight) and maintaining blood glucose levels in the normal range (i.e. eating a healthy diet).

 

Basic treatment requires the patient to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Monitor weight and blood pressure on regular basis
  • Quit smoking to keep arteries and circulation healthy
  • Monitor the amount of cholesterol in the blood
  • Consume a healthy balanced diet with fibre and carbohydrates
  • Avoid fatty, sugary and fried junk food
  • Consume complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbohydrates

 

 

 

Rubefacient Herbs – Functions

The term ‘rubefacient’ refers to a substance that irritates the skin and is used to bring blood rapidly to a concentrated area of the skin thus causing redness of skin. When applied externally, rubefacient herbs heal through stimulation and ironically through irritation.

 

Rubefacient herbs are a class of healing plants which have a unique effect on the body when applied to the skin. They are all powerful stimulants; some have a ‘warming’ effect and others a ‘cooling’ effect. Regardless of whether they are hot or cold or simply irritating, they all have an intense and localized impact where they are applied.

 

Rubefacient herbs stimulate the dilation of capillaries. Blood is drawn from deep within the body increasing circulation around the area of concern and speeding up the healing process. This form of treatment is good for treating the pain due to minor injuries such as muscle sprains and soreness. It is also beneficial for arthritic pain. While initially the sensation may be overwhelming and even painful with some herbs, it is ultimately an energizing and healing action.

 

Common herbal rubefacients include Cloves, Garlic, Ginger, Horseradish, Mustard, Nettle, Rosemary Oil and Rue.