Lower Back Discomfort, & Ayurvedic Remedies to Rectify Lower Back Pain

Lower Back Pain
The most troublesome area of the spine is the lumbar (lower back) region. Its problems are multifarious.
The paravertebral muscles stemming from the sacrum and iliac crest become stiff and painful. Vertebral discs become diffused, desiccated (degenerate), herniated or bulge.
The spaces within your spine become narrow (spinal stenosis), putting pressure on your spinal nerves. Nerve obstruction, sciatica where nerve pain radiates in the hips and maybe down the legs.
Torn ligaments in the spine, Spondylolisthesis, (bones slip our of place), vertebral fractures, spasms, osteoporosis… the list goes on.
Problems in the lower back can occur due to injury, improper exercise (you may not even know it), sedentary lifestyle, improper digestion, and the build-up of emotional, sexual, and menstrual tensions.
The muscles of the spine may even become unbalanced if the bodyweight is not equally divided between both legs, due to some imbalances of the lower limbs.
If one is overweight, this adds extra strain on the lumbar (lower back) region.
Back pain
Slipped disc and sciatica are caused when the cartilaginous ring of the shock-absorbing spinal discs ruptures and creates pressure on the nerves between the vertebrae. This can be excruciatingly painful.
If the discs degenerate, friction from one vertebrae moving against the other can cause further wear and degeneration of the vertebrae along with a great deal of pain.
Unfortunately, many have become accustomed to lower back discomfort, and this dull body becomes the norm and they don’t recognise this as an issue, nor act on it. They have temporarily lost the cellular memory of a free and healthy body that is their natural state.
Ayurveda luckily has a wide variety of interventions to help.
I always say to my clients who are considering or who have been recommended any type of surgery, if it’s not an emergency (most cases) try natural methods before lastly resorting to surgery.
Graphic of the Spine Anatomy Labeled
I have seen people turn around the need for spinal surgeries, particularly disc disectomies but also spinal decompression procedures, after implementing proper Ayurvedic treatment coupled with appropriate exercise, sometimes other therapies and definitely a passionate action-filled drive to heal themselves.
Most pain in the lower back can be treated without surgery. In fact, surgery often does not relieve the pain; research suggests that 20-40% of back surgeries are unsuccessful.(1) This lack of success is so common that there is a medical term for it: “Failed back surgery syndrome.”

A handful things you can do for Lumbar Freedom and prevent lower back complications:

1. Regular Yoga Asana (poses) - I highly recommend “Sūrya Namaskar“ or “Sun Salutations”. This sequence of 12 asanas works all the major muscle groups and organs, and regular proper practice of this sequence helps improve the condition of the spine and may very well ensure a lifetime free from back problems. If you already have severe back problems, ensure to work one-on-one with a qualified yoga teacher or therapist to adjust appropriately for you.
2. Move - Counter your sedentary lifestyle with getting up from your desk every 1 hour and perform the 1-minute spinal sequence by Simon Borg Olivier on Youtube. Diversify your work positions - check out @vitalveda Instagram reel on alternative work postures. O, and stop running on concrete - run barefoot on grass or sand instead.
3. Oil Massage - Daily abhyanga (full-body oil massage) will help prevent lower back problems, particularly degeneration but so many of them. If you already have deeper spine issues, use special medicated oils warmed before massaging them into the local areas of concern.
Yoga asana in the beach
Follow with heat. We also have some medicated herbal pastes (Upanaha Leham & Marma Lepam) to apply to the areas of pain and obstruction.
4. Ayurvedic Body Therapies (“Back Bastis”) - This where we really see clients establish lumbar freedom and shift imbalances. “Kati, Greeva & Pṛṣṭa Bastis” are traditional Ayurvedic body treatments where warm medicated, analgesic oil is “held” over the targeted vertebrae. The oil and the herbs penetrate deep into tissues of muscle, fat, ligaments, tendons, bone, bone marrow and nerves. Stiff and tight muscles may instantly become lubricated and softened, to help solve many of the problems mentioned.
    • For our clients outside of Sydney and around the world, we provide a special medicated oil for your local Ayurvedic therapist to use on you. This makes a big difference. Reach out to us if interested.
5. Internal Herbs - Various herbs in Ayurveda work on different problems and the root of them. They help relieve pain, inflammation, sprain & spams, nourish the disc, prevent degeneration, repair nerve damage and heal ligament injury.

Lumbar freedom (lumbaton plus)

Helps give freedom from lower back pain.
Helps restores the freedom of movement and liberate from low back pain.
This medicine is also administrated for joint pain, swelling, and sprain. It is formulated using quality natural herbs.
  • Helps relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Helps relieve sprain and muscular spasms.
  • Nourishes the disc and helps prevent degeneration.
  • Helps repair nerve damage.
  • Helps heal ligament injury.

Cervical freedom (cervilon)

Used for Fibromyalgia, Cervical Spondylosis, Upper Back Pain
Benefits:
  • Corrects the dehydration of the intervertebral disks
  • Arrests the degenerative changes of the cervical spine
  • Strengthen the para-vertebral muscles of the neck
  • Relieves myo-fascial spasm
  • Provides mild anti-inflammatory action
Cervical Freedom is effective in treating neck pain, Upper back pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, Cervical spondylosis, stiffness, tingling & numbness.
This medicine is also administrated for joint pain, swelling, and sprain. It is formulated using quality natural herbs.
  • Helps relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Helps relieve sprain and muscular spasms.
  • Nourishes the disc and helps prevent degeneration.
  • Helps repair nerve damage.
  • Helps heal ligament injury.

Sciatino (sciatilon)

Used in the treatment of Lumbar Spondylosis, Sciatica, and many other issues in the lower back.

Swarna Dhatu

Restore, Regenerate & Strengthen Tissues
Stabilises the Physiology
Restores and regenerates nerves, bones and tissues, because it nourishes and strengthens all seven layers of the dhatus (tissues) in the body.
Helps to strengthen and stabilise the whole system.
Similar to Dhatu but more powerful.
Can be used by pregnant women to provide strength for woman and foetus.
Swarna Dhatu (Golden Nourisher) by Vital Veda

Special Matra Basti

Works on apāna vāta (pelvic floor and lower back), helps release nerve obstructions, removes blockages from the musculoskeletal structure, aids with joint health, and works on the cellular level all throughout the body.
Special Matra Basti Oil by Vital Veda

Shodana Vati

A powerful detoxification agent and whole-body cleansing rasayana.
  • Best free radical scavenger and anti-oxidant that helps eliminate ama (toxins).
  • Helps in gastrointestinal disorders, trouble passing bowel motions, dry stools, constipation, tissues, piles/haemorrhoids. 
  • Immune modulator.
  • Blood purifier.
  • Helps in allergies.
  • Helps in tooth and oral problems.
Shodana Vati
  • Helps in female problems and helps clear out toxins accumulated.
  • Helps balance cholesterol and metabolism.
  • Helps in chronic cough.
  • Very helpful in eye disorders.
  • Helpful in overcoming addictions.
  • Helps clear the skin by clearing out the toxins accumulated in the tissues. Helps in eczema, psoriasis, hives and other skin conditions.

MGP Oil

Oil for sore muscles, pain, joint issues, arthritis. Can be used for Ayurvedic treatments musculo-skeletal bastis.

6. Good Diet and Digestion - Particularly associated with the large intestine and excess “air” in the gut.
7. Rest During Menstrual Period - This has a big correlation with the lower back and pelvic floor. Check out our articleAyurvedic Guide to Healthy Menstruation.”.
And there are a lot more things for you to for your specific spine and physiology.
MGP Oil (Joints & Muscles) by Vital Veda
Not only when it gets bad, but to PREVENT common ailments. Reach out for some spinal liberation - we do online consultations and treatments in our Sydney clinic.

Base of Spine, Sacrum and Dūrgā (Divine Power)

According to the Vedas, the lower tip of the spinal cord and the sacrum is the source of energy, called “Shakti”.
This source of power is also known asDūrgāin the Vedas, the aspect of consciousness with immense feminine power to remove obstacles so evolution can transform and proceed.
The sacrum is the center of glandular activities and all of the body’s energy.
The sacral bone in the vertebral column is the base and support of the entire vertebral column and nervous system.
The sacrum has eight nerves that correspond to Dūrgā’s eight arms, according to Dr Tony Nader, author of Human Physiology, Expression of Veda and the Vedic Literature.
The filum terminale is also at the tip of the spine. It is a delicate strand of about 20cm of fibrous tissue, about 20 cm in length. It gives longitudinal support to the spinal cord and represents the infinite silence of the Veda in the first maṇdala of Ṛk Veda, according to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Goddess Dūrgā at the sacrum shields and protects the total infinite silence of her consort Shiva at the filum terminale.
How do you care for your lower back? Comment 👇

Top Five Iron Rich Leafy Greens

Dylan Smith in the bush
Leafy green vegetables are a great way to get iron into your body via diet.
Especially for:
  • Vegetarians
  • Vegans
  • Those who want to eat less meat
  • Those who don’t want to overload their liver with nutraceutical supplements such as iron supplements.
Out of the non-heme iron sources, leafy green vegetables are high sources of iron, but you got to ensure your body is absorbing iron well.
In addition to eating iron-rich leafy green vegetables, there are other important interventions you need to understand to enhance iron absorption and Boost Your Ferritin Levels Naturally.
Note: Amounts of Iron Will Vary
The amounts of iron mentioned below per leafy green vegetable is tested using standard vegetables. I don’t know how fresh these vegetables were, nor the growing conditions like the quality and organic state of the soil and farming practices.
Furthermore, these were tested by a couple of standard labs. There will be other researchers testing and getting different numbers.
I would assume if you were to pick the same vegetables fresh the day of or even the day before you eat them, whether you pick them from your garden, your local organic grocery store or from the wild, grown organically, the iron content would be significantly higher than the numbers mentioned below.
Leafy green crops in a field

My Top Five Iron Rich Leafy Green Vegetables

Here are my top five iron rich leafy green vegetables. I chose them because they are tasty, readily available, high in iron, and can be foraged in the wild which will significantly boost the nutrient profile.

#5 Warrigal Greens, AKA New Zealand Spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides) (cooked)

I love this vegetable because it grows abundantly and has a very tasty slimy texture.
Warrigal Greens is high in antioxidants as well as other minerals, nutrients, and vitamins. It is a common coastal and estuarine species of the Pacific region. It is native to New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Chile, and Argentina.
Warrigal Greens in flower
I love this vegetable because it grows abundantly and has a very tasty slimy texture.
Warrigal Greens is high in antioxidants as well as other minerals, nutrients, and vitamins. It is a common coastal and estuarine species of the Pacific region. It is native to New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Chile, and Argentina.
Caution: Oxalates
Like regular conventional spinach, Warrigal Greens has oxalates, which are compounds that put pressure on the kidney and actually block iron absorption.
Ensure to blanch the leave in boiling water for 20 seconds of so, then rinse with cold water or (even better) put straight into a bowl of cold water, then wash to remove the oxalates.
“Studies have shown that soluble oxalate levels in T. tetragonioides can range from 1.5 per cent in leaves of older plants to 12 per cent in leaves of young plants.”
Amount of iron in warrigal greens:
0.8mg / 100gms  (4% of recommended daily value/DV) (less when raw) (3)
Cooking tip: Don’t cook warrigal greens a lot. Just blanching to remove oxalates is enough.

#4 Amaranth Leaves (cooked)

A lot of us have heard about amaranth as an (ancient) grain, but the leaves of the plant are not only edible but very nutritious.
There are about 70 species of amaranth worldwide and they are all edible (4). The highly nutritious value of the plant was recognised by Aztecs and used in ceremonies. Today it is growing as a common weed amongst urban pathways, sidewalks, gardens and rural agricultural fields.
The most common weedy Amaranths in South East Australia are:
  1. Green Amaranth ( Amaranthus viridis)
  2. White amaranth ( Amaranthus allbus)
  3. The Natives: Amaranthus Mitchellii, Amaranthus Powellii and Amaranthus interruptus
  4. Red Amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor).
Caution: Oxalates in Red Amaranth
Red amaranth and perhaps other amaranths have some level of oxalates.
Blanch the leaves in boiling water for 15 seconds of so, then rinse with cold water to remove the oxalates.
Amount of iron in common green amaranth:
Wild Amaranth
2.26mg / 100gm. (13% DV).(3)
  • Raw Amaranth is also very high in Vitamin K: 1140 mcg / 100gm (950% DV).(3)
Cooking tip: Don’t cook amaranth a lot. I like to wash, chop, then add to the finished cooked hot dish and mix in. This way the hot dish gently cooks the leaves. If using red amaranth be sure to blanch. 

#3 Dandelion Leaves Greens (Cooked)

Dandelion has got to be one of my favourite edible and medicinal weeds, as it is for other foragers.
It is commonly one of the first plants one learns about when learning to forage wild foods.
Dandelion Leaves
The whole plant can be used - root (yum starchy bitterness), flower, and leaves. The bitter taste of this vegetable supports liver health, pitta doṣa and it is impressively high in:
  • Vitamin K: 812 mcg / 100gm (677% DV)
  • Vitamin A: 514 mcg / 100gm (57% DV)
  • Vitamin C: 25.5 mg / 100gm (28% DV).(3)
Amount of iron in dandelion leaves (cooked):
3.23mg / 100gm (18% DV).(3)
Cooking tip: Don’t cook dandelion leaves a lot. Wash, chop, then add to the finished cooked hot dish and mix in. The roots and thick part of the stem you can cook for longer. Root taste like a bitter potato (and feels so much more nutritious)!

#2 English Spinach

Dandelion has got to be one of my favourite edible and medicinal weeds, as it is for other foragers.
It is commonly one of the first plants one learns about when learning to forage wild foods.
It may be a little surprising that this common conventional leafy green vegetable is higher in iron than the other leafy greens mentioned that are much less domesticated and hybridised.
Well, you just can’t beat the iron content of your common English spinach…
Actually you can, see #1.
Remember Iron Variation According to Growing Conditions:
But do keep in mind the consideration of domesticated, non-organic vegetables vs. wild-organic vegetables.
For example, wild foraged amaranth leaves harvested and eaten in the same day could contain significantly more iron than conventional english spinach harvested one week and kept in the fridge before eating it.
English Spinach
Caution: Oxalates
Ensure to blanch spinach in boiling water for 20 seconds of so, then rinse with cold water or (even better) put straight into a bowl of cold water,  wash to remove the oxalates.
Spinach has a higher level of oxalic compared to most vegetables with an approximate concentration of 1000mg/100g [5][7] .This is significantly higher than other vegetable such as kale (20mg/100g) [6], carrot (49mg/100g) [5], beetroot (67mg/100g)[5] and soybean (497mg/100g) [5].
Amount of iron in english spinach:
  • cooked: 3.57mg / 100 gms (26%RDA)
  • raw: 2.71mg / 100 gms (19%RDA)
  • canned, regular pack, drained solids: 2.3mg / 100 gms (16%RDA)
  • frozen, chopped or leaf, cooked, boiled, drained: 1.96mg / 100 gms (14%RDA)
Cooking tip: Don’t cook spinach a lot. Just blanching to remove oxalates is enough.

#1 Moringa (Drumstick) Leaves

Moringa is one of the most nutritious plants on earth.
Known as “śigru” and “śobhāñjana” in Ayurveda, this tree is native to the Indian subcontinent and has a variety of benefits.
Moringa is an Ayurvedic superfood and important therapeutic herb.
The whole part of the tree is used, but the leaves (and less commonly available outside of Asia and the Middle East) the fruit pods, are the parts high in iron.
Moringa is said to have 25x more iron than spinach! (8,9)
Comparing Iron Content of Moringa Leaves and Beef
  • 100 grams of beef has only 2 mg of iron
  • while 100 grams of moringa leaves contain 7mg of iron
  • and 100 grams moringa leaf powder has 28 mg of iron. (10)
Amount of iron in moringa leaves:
  1. raw: 4-7mg / 100gm (22-38% DV)
  2. cooked: 2.3mg / 100gm. (13% DV)
Moringa is also high in Vitamin C, which supports the absorption of iron.
Cooking Tip + How to Eat Moringa Leaves: Moringa is better raw. So just garnish washed fresh leaves over your hot dish of food.
Moringa leaves
Fresh leaves are hard to come across if you live outside of sub-tropical warm climates. So you can purchase and use dried leaves or leaf powder and gently mix it into the food after it is served on your plate.
If using dried leaves with stems still intact, it is better to mix the dried moringa into the hot pot of food after turning the flame off. Then serve onto plates.

To learn more about Moringa and it’s impressive feats and uses, check out the full article: "Moringa: One of the Most Nutritious Plants on Earth - Ayurvedic Superfood and Potent Herb"


References

  1. https://www.webmd.com/diet/iron-rich-foods#1
  2. https://www.scu.edu.au/engage/news/latest-news/2015/research-holds-the-key-to-more-native-spinach-on-our-dinner-plates.php
  3. Nutritics Research Edition v4.097 
  4. "Diego Bonetto - Get Ready for Amaranth: The Summer Green" 
  5. Muhammad Shoaib Akhtar , Beenish Israr , Nighat Bhatty & Amanat Ali (2011) Effect of Cooking on Soluble and Insoluble Oxalate Contents in Selected Pakistani Vegetables and Beans, International Journal of Food Properties, 14:1, 241-249 
  6. Shimada, Y (2014). The Effect of Soaking on the Soluble Oxalic Acid Content of Spinach. Chugokugakuen J. Vol 13, pp27-31 
  7. Chai,W. Liebman, M. (2005), Effect of different cooking methods on vegetable oxalate content. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 53, 3027–3030. 
  8. J.L. Rockwood, B.G. Anderson, D.A. Casamatta
    Potential uses of Moringa oleifera and an examination of antibiotic efficacy conferred by M. oleifera seed and leaf extracts using crude extraction techniques available to underserved indigenous populations
    Int. J. Phytothearpy Res., 3 (2013), pp. 61-71
  9. L.J. Fuglie The Moringa Tree: A local solution to malnutrition Church World Service in Senegal (2005)
  10. The Moringa Tree, A local solution to malnutrition? Lowell J. Fuglie B.P. 5338 Dakar, Senegal
  11. European Commission (2015). Nutrition Claims. [ONLINE] Available at: ec.europa.eu [Accessed 28 January 16] /  Nutrient data was provided by USDA SR-21. 
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279618/
  13. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1103341/nutrients

Mudra: The Sacred Secret to Draw Energy & Bliss From Within | Indu Arora #087

Vital Veda Podcast Banner - Indu Arora Episode
The ancient Vedic science of mudras is one that I’ve been inclined to explore for some time now. 
Mudras are much more than mere positions of hands or body parts that one can use to evoke a feeling or state of mind during meditation or yoga.
They are intricate and deeply significant “body holds” that allow us to draw forth different energies from within ourSelves that ultimately lead us to our natural & innate state of bliss (sat chit ananda).
For this episode I had the absolute pleasure to converse with Indu Arora. She is a powerful yogini and Ayurvedic Practitioner who has extensively studied and written about this ancient science of mudras. 
Get ready to explore with us a different and fresh side to Yoga; a side that is very rarely explained and presented in such a graceful, thorough & accessible manner.

About our guest: Indu Arora

Indu Arora is a student for lifetime.
She shares the Yogic and Ayurvedic wisdom which brings simplicity to our complex lives.
Indu is an author and public speaker who has been sharing simple, effective, practical, grounded ways of living life through Yoga, Yoga Therapy, Meditation and Ayurveda since 1999 and she is going to do that for the rest of her life.
Indu Arora

In this Episode we Discuss:

Daily Contemplation or “Atma Vichara”

Atma Vichara is a yogic practice rooted in ancient yogic scriptures, and is also known as “ātma tattva avalokanam”.
  • It consists of the idea of being in touch with the essence or substance of the Self or ātma
Practicing atma vichara is a powerful daily practice that not only grounds the Self, but also creates space for sustainable spiritual & emotional growth and self-accountability. 

The Name “Indu” & It’s Relationship with The Moon

The letter “i” represents shakti - divine feminine energy in the cosmos. 
The word “Indu” means “moon” 🌕 - the calming & soothing energy of the moon. 
Other names for the moon are Soma (alluding to the divine nectar of the moon) and Chandra (alluding to its bright and glittering light). 

An Introduction To Mudras

Mudra
Mud - mudita = delight.
dra = draw forth.
“That which draws forth from within the natural state of bliss or delight. It is a becoming.”
Mudra is a state of mind expressed through the body. Every time we practice a mudra we are opening up that pathway for the mind to become that. 
Whenever there is an energy that takes the form of a shape or sound, that is a mudra.
  • Any asana, kriya, mantra chanting or even sitting in meditation is a mudra. 
Every mudra leaves a unique signature on the breath. 
There are many types of mudras: eye mudras, hand mudras, mouth mudras, sound mudras, internal mudras, full body mudras (asanas). 
  • Hand mudras are just the beginning of mudras, much like asanas are just the beginning of yoga.

What Exactly Makes a Mudra

In short: awareness & understanding. 
Any expression of energy can be a mudra, as long as there is awareness being directed to the source energy. All asanas can be a mudra, but not all are. 
  • If you are practicing them robotically without bringing awareness to the underlying energy of that posture, then you are not doing a mudra, just exercise. 
To become mudra, there first needs to be deep awareness, followed by bhavna (sentiment or emotion) & sankalpa (intention). 

The Gyan Mudra (Meditation Mudra or Wisdom Seal)

Probably the most well known mudra of all. 
This mudra represents the totality of samkhya darshan (the philosophy of duality). 
  • Samkhya states that the human experience is constituted by two independent ultimate principles: puruṣa ('consciousness' or spirit/soul); and prakṛti (cognition, mind and emotion, also known as nature or matter)
The three extended fingers represent the three maha gunas (sattva, rajas & tamas), the three doshas (vata, pitta, kapha), the three states of consciousness (awake, dream & dreamless sleep) and the bondage of time (past, present and future).
The index finger represents the prakṛti and the thumb represents the puruṣa
  • When the index finger (prakṛti) moves towards the thumb (puruṣa) for yoga (unity or union) we are beyond all of these sets of three. We are in (or moving towards) the field of transcendence.

How To Properly Approach Mudras

The Importance of Eating With Your Hands

It is the natural way of humans to eat with our hands. 
  • When babies are born their natural tendency is to eat with their hands using the pincer hold. 
Then we are taught otherwise by our parents and told what is civilized and what isn’t.
  • The same thing applies to many other natural (and healthy) tendencies of the body - we hold our flatulences, our need to urinate, our need to burp, we sometimes even apologize after sneezing! All in the name of being more “civilized” or conforming to certain societal norms. 
In Ayurveda we say that you should not suppress any natural urge. 
Eating with one’s hands allows for a full sensory experience that unquestionably leads to satisfaction and contentment.  
When you eat with your hands, you bring all of your fingers together to hold a piece of food - this is in itself a mudra called samana mudra.
  • This mudra enhances digestion and assimilation of food, by means of the samana prana
The five fingers also represent the 5 elements or mahā bhūtas (fire, water, earth, ether & air).
The thumb represents fire 🔥, the pinky represents water💧, the ring finger represents earth 🪨, the middle finger represents space ✨ and the index represents air 💨.
When using all 5 fingers, you are sending a message to your body saying: “may whatever it is that I’m eating bring balance to the 5 mahā bhūtas (and the three doṣas) that reside within me”.

To learn more on this topic read Drop the Utensils, rather: Eat With Your Hands!

The Namaste Mudra

It is done by bringing together the palms of both hands with the fingers all close to each other. 
  • Represents the duality of ida & pingala, of opposing points, with an intent of gentle gratitude, surrender & appreciation.
There are many forms of the namaste mudra:
  • When we’re keeping our hands in front of the chest we’re recognizing the other being with our heart. 
  • When under the nostrils, that is us doing namaskar to our own prana (life-force).
  • When we keep them in front of the forehead, that is something we do in front of teachers or gurus

Recommended Mudras to Practice At Home

  1. Samana mudra to enhance digestion of food
  2. Gyan mudra to bring balance to the body and allow for greater transcendence
  3. Namaste mudra to bring gratitude and humbleness into our consciousness.

Resources

Indu's Website HERE

Indu's Instagram (@induaroraHERE

-

📕 c.

Mudra Training 2022 (October 12-16 at @devanadiyoga) Will be offered hybrid: particularly can join In-Person or Livestream based on convenience and availability.


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Please seek advice from a qualified practitioner before starting any new health practice.


Moringa: One of the Most Nutritious Plants on Earth – Ayurvedic Superfood and Potent Herb

Moringa leaves on a plate
We get excited when an Ayurvedic herb becomes popular in the western marketplace.
And Moringa is probably the hottest Ayurvedic herb or “superfood” in the health scene right now.
Moringa is even spreading beyond natural health modalities into western medicine due to the incredibly high nutrient value of its small green leaves.
But Ayurveda utilises the whole tree for medicinal and culinary use. Known as “śigru” and “śobhāñjana” in Ayurveda, this tree native to the Indian subcontinent has a variety of benefits.

Health Benefits of Moringa

Nutrient Powerhouse

These tiny leaves have enormous benefits.
A variety of essential phytochemicals present in its leaves, pods and seeds enable Moringa to be an effective remedy for malnutrition.
In fact, Moringa is known as “The Miracle Tree” for many reasons, one being it is easily cultivable to provide for malnourished children from third world countries and children deprived of breast milk.(1,2)
Moringa is said to have:
  • 7x more vitamin C than oranges
  • 10x more vitamin A than carrots
  • 17x more calcium than milk
  • 9x more protein than yoghurt
  • 15x more potassium of bananas
  • 25x more iron than spinach (3, 4)
  • high amounts of zinc (5)
Calcium:
(An important mineral for tissue growth & repair)
  • While just under 1 cup (236ml / 8 ounces) of milk or yoghurt can contain 300–400 mg of calcium
  • 236ml / 8 ounces of moringa leaves can provide 1000 mg
  • 236ml / 8 ounces of moringa leaf powder can provide more than 4000 mg of calcium. (19) 
Protein:
Moringa is considered to have the highest protein ratio of any plant so far studied on earth!
Moringa leaves are about 40% protein, having all of the 9 essential amino acids present in various amounts, which makes moringa a complete protein (rare for a plant to have this feat). (19)
Iron:
(Essential for oxygenating our body):
  • 100 grams of beef has only 2 mg of iron
  • while 100 grams of moringa leaves contain 7mg of iron
  • 100 grams of moringa leaf powder has 28 mg of iron. (19)
It has been reported that moringa contains more iron than spinach. (19)
Furthermore, iron needs Vitamin C to be effectively absorbed in the body (the inability to absorb iron is contributing to the iron deficiency epidemic), and since Moringa has high Vitamin C, it is an extra bonus to enhance iron levels!
Moringa leaf
Vitamin C:
While 100 grams of orange juice has only 40mg of Vitamin C, 100 grams of moringa leaves contain more than 200mg of Vitamin C.(19)
Zinc:
A good dietary intake of zinc is essential for the proper growth of sperm cells and is also necessary for the synthesis of DNA and RNA. M. oleifera leaves show around 25.5–31.03 mg of zinc/kg, which is the daily requirement of zinc in the diet. (5)
Moringa also has health-promoting amounts of:
  • Copper - 100 grams of leaves has about 1mg copper. This is the daily allowance for an adult. (19)
  • Manganese - 100 grams of leaves has 5mg manganese, (daily intake is 2-5mg for adults), so has a high amount of manganese. (19)
  • Good fats - Moringa seeds contain 30-42% oil. Even the leaves and seeds contain 1-2% fat. (19) Oleifera is the Latin term for “oil containing.”
  • much more!

Premium Provision for Pregnancy

Moringa is like a boon for pregnant women.
About 6 spoonfuls of moringa leaf powder can meet a pregnant woman's daily iron and calcium requirements(6) (remember that pregnant women require a lot more nutrients than non-pregnant women).
Moringa leaves are best added to the diet of the pregnant woman, such as adding to a soup with other spices.
*CAUTION: The Moringa root & bark prevent pregnancy and have a rough impact on the female reproductive system. But the leaves and flowers are nectar for pregnancy! So potent yet so gentle!
We also greatly advise ingesting the whole herb instead of extracts. 
Moringa Flowers

Breast Milk Booster (Galactagogue)

Moringa is rich in phytosterols (phyto-steroids, structural component of biological membranes of plants) like stigmasterol (anti-inflammatory), sitosterol (metabolic enhancer) and kampesterol which are precursors for hormones required for lactation and reproductive growth.
These compounds increase estrogen production, which in turn stimulates the proliferation of the mammary gland ducts to produce milk. (6)
Note: if you are taking moringa in an intelligent herbal formula, the formula may not increase estrogen levels, but in fact, adapt to if your body needs more or less estrogen.
Moringa was utilised by the ancient Indians, Greeks, Romans and Egyptians. It was known as a “motherly herb” (“Dūrga”), because like a mother, it has the ability to support and generate homeostasis.

Anti-Cancer

Śigru (sanskrit name for Moringa) has low calorific, anti-oxidant rich leaves that with its pungent and bitter taste (katu and tikta rasa), heating potency (usna vīrya) and light, sharp and drying qualities (laghu, tiksna and rukṣa guna), it reduces kapha, tumours(18) and excess fat tissue(12) which can contribute to cancer.
There is strong evidence to suggest that moringa helps fight cancer directly.
A 2015 Study showed how Moringa leaves, bark and seeds increased the number of apoptotic cancer cells (i.e. cancer cells which have regained their ability to self-destruct like healthy cells) in both breast and colon cancer.(17)
Quercetin, found in moringa, is a powerful antioxidant that has been specifically shown to protect against cancer.
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Cell Biochemistry found that even low doses of quercetin had the ability to inhibit cancer cell progression.(13)
Moringa leaf is such a powerful antioxidant, that the leaf extract can be used to preserve meat!(15)
Moringa helps prevent the risk of reproductive cancer for menopausal women.
One 2014 investigation published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology found that when menopausal women took 1.5 teaspoons of moringa leaf powder every day for three months, antioxidant levels increased significantly.(14)
Menopausal women are at higher risk of reproductive cancer(15) partly due to a significant drop in estrogen and antioxidant levels.
Moringa contains anti-cancerous agents like glucosinolates (sulfur- and nitrogen-containing compound), isothiocyanates (anti-inflammatory agent that also works to reverse carcinogenic epigenetic landscapes), glycoside (glucose entity) compounds and glycerol-1-9-octadecanoate.(7, 9)
The paste of moringa leaves influences the carcinogen detoxifying glutathione-s-transferase (GST). It increased GST activity by more than 78% in the stomach, liver and oesophagus and show protective activity against carcinogenesis.(8)
Another study in Israel showed Moringa in conjunction with radiation therapy significantly decreased pancreatic cancer cell survival, metastasis and tumour growth.(18)

Anti-Inflammatory

The anti-inflammatory effects (sophahara) of Moringa, AKA “The Wonder Tree”, helps in many diseases including cancer and acute inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and bronchitis. (10)
The heating energy and light, dry and sharp qualities of śigru helps reduce ulcers (vraṇahara), abscess, and swelling (12) and reduces oedema (śvayathy).
The aqueous and ethanol extract of the stem bark showed significant reduction in oedema. (11)

Aphrodisiac

The drumstick vegetable is known as vajikarana (aphrodisiac) in Ayurveda. The seeds also increase the reproductive tissue (śukra vardhaka). Sukrala karma means “builds reproductive fluids.(12)

Other Benefits and Actions (Karmas) of Śigru:

  • Eye health - this is one of the main benefits of moringa (Chakshushya) (12)
  • Enhances energy levels.
  • Boosts immunity.
  • Antipyretic (prevent or reduce fever)
  • Anti-epileptic (to treat epilepsy)
Moringa Drumstick Fruit
  • Anti-spasmodic
  • Anti-hypertensive
  • Anti-diabetic and reduces fat tissue (Medohara) (12)
  • Krimihara - reduces parasite (12)
  • Diuretic
  • Cholesterol balancing
  • Hepatoprotective - prevents damage to the liver
  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-fungal.
  • Works at the level of the bone marrow, which makes it an invaluable tool in both the prevention and treatment of autoimmune diseases and cancer (20)
  • Great for the health of the urinary tract. Intake of the paste of the root of śobhāñjana along with cold water is useful in curing aśmarī (calculus) and śarkarā (gravels) in the urinary tract. (22)
  • Rasāyana - Has the ability to spread the essence of the biology (“rasa”) which enhances longevity.
  • Kapha-vatahara - reduces Kapha and Vata doṣa (12)
  • Dīpana - enkindles the digestive fire (12)
  • Rochana - increases appetite (12)
  • Hṛdaya - promote heart health (12)
  • Viṣahara - reduces poison and toxicity in the body. (12)

Water Purification

Powdered seeds of moringa flocculates contaminants and purifies water.

How to Consume Moringa?

Leaves

You can eat the fresh leaves if you have access to the tree. Just wash them well and add to your food.
Unlike most leafy greens, don’t cook moringa leaves as you will lose a lot of the nutrients. I like to mix them in with an already cooked hot dish to warm them up.
Dried leaves can also be found. Same way to add to food as fresh leaves.
Leaf powder is the third stage in the leaf preservation process. This is easily available. Same way to add to food as fresh leaves, just use less as it is concentrated.
Leaves are great from pregnancy, nutrient body as well many of the other benefits stated above.
Leaves are also great to feed cows.
Adding a lot leaves to soup along with turmeric is a wonderful tasty medicinal dish.
Moringa powder

Pod / Drumstick Vegetable

The pod / fruit is actually the main medicinal part used. This is what is very effective for eye health and eye disorders plus most of the benefits of moringa.
This is the common vegetable that is used in Indian dishes like Sambar. Just suck out the flesh from the fibrous skin. 
Moringa Pods inside the fruit

Seeds

The seeds are great aphrodisiacs. They help purify water and the fluids in the human body & are known as sveta marica or madhuśigru in Ayurveda.

Herbal Formulations with Moringa:

It is always beneficial to combine therapeutic herbs into an intelligent formula for a balanced and effective therapeutic dose.
Anand Sid Yog (“Nutritious Immune Boosting Bliss”)
This rasāyana (longevity elixir) is high in Vitamin C with Amālakī as the main ingredient. The high Vitamin C boosts the iron offerings from Moringa. Plus there are so many other benefits of this superior formula.
Varanadi Kashayam
A classical Ayurvedic decoction that is great to reduce fat tissue, kapha, growths like cysts, fibroids and tumours and help with low thyroid (hypothyroidism).
Murivenna Oil
A classical Ayurvedic medicated oil formula that is for the musculoskeletal structure like fractures and sprains. Also helpful in healing wounds. (21)

Ayurvedic Properties / Energetics of Śigru

Rasa (taste): Katu (Pungent), Tikta (Bitter)
Virya (potency): Uṣṇa (Hot)
Vipaka (post-digestive effect): Katu (Pungent)
Guna (qualities): Laghu (Light), Rūkṣa (Dry) Tīkṣṇa (Sharp)
(12)

Names for Moringa Oleifera

Sanskrit Synonyms for Śigru:
  • śobhāñjana = “Glorious for the eyes“. Śobha =“glory”. Añjana = “collyrium.”
  • tīkṣṇagañdha = “sharp smell“
  • akṣīva - akṣī = “eye.”
  • mocaka - mocana = “releases.” Which releases. Moringa releases one from disease and low energy.
Botanical name: Moringa Oleifera
  • English names:
    • Drumstick tree (the long pods used a vegetable)
    • Horse radish tree (the roots may be used to make a spice resembling horseradish)
    • Wonder tree
    • Divine tree
    • Miracle tree
  • Hindi: Sahjan
  • Malayalam: Muringa
  • Tamil: Murunga
According to Bhavamira there are 3 varieties of śigru:
  1. Black
  2. White (Sveta)
  3. Red (Rakta) flowers. (12)
Parts used: Root bark, stem bark, leaf, fruit, flower and seed.
Note, the Moringaceae family contains 14 species of Moringa trees.
Dylan Smith holding a Moringa branch

References

  1. T. Mutiara Titi, E.S.W. Estiasih - Effect lactagogue moringa leaves (Moringa oleifera Lam) powder in rats - J. Basic Appl. Sci. Res., 3 (2013), pp. 430-4343
  2. J.N. Kasolo, G.S. Bimenya, L. Ojok, J. Ochieng, J.W. Ogwal-okeng
    Phytochemicals and uses of Moringa oleifera leaves in Ugandan rural communities
    J. Med. Plants Res., 4 (2010), pp. 753-757
  3. J.L. Rockwood, B.G. Anderson, D.A. Casamatta
    Potential uses of Moringa oleifera and an examination of antibiotic efficacy conferred by M. oleifera seed and leaf extracts using crude extraction techniques available to underserved indigenous populations Int. J. Phytothearpy Res., 3 (2013), pp. 61-71
  4. L.J. Fuglie The Moringa Tree: A local solution to malnutrition Church World Service in Senegal (2005)
  5. J.T. Barminas, M. Charles, D. Emmanuel
    Mineral composition of non-conventional leafy vegetables
    Plant Foods Hum. Nutr., 53 (1998), pp. 29-36
  6. Moringa oleifera: A review on nutritive importance and its medicinal application 
  7. L. Berkovich, G. Earon, I. Ron, A. Rimmon, A. Vexler, S. Lev-Ari
    Moringa oleifera aqueous leaf extract down-regulates nuclear factor-kappaB and increases cytotoxic effect of chemotherapy in pancreatic cancer cells
    BMC Complement. Altern. Med., 13 (2013), pp. 212-219
  8. Mutt res.1999 apr 6;440(2):181-8.
  9. Oduro, W.O. Ellis, D. Owusu - Nutritional potential of two leafy vegetables: Moringa oleifera and Ipomoea batatas leaves - Sci. Res. Essays, 3 (2008), pp. 57-60
  10. Contribution to the study of the anti-inflammatory activity of Moringa oleifera (moringaceae)
  11. Volume at a dose of 300 mg/kg body weight. J.chem. pharm. res., 2010, 2(3):179-181.
  12. Bhavaprakash
  13. Effects of low dose quercetin: Cancer cell-specific inhibition of cell cycle progression
  14. Effect of supplementation of drumstick (Moringa oleifera) and amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor) leaves powder on antioxidant profile and oxidative status among postmenopausal women
  15. How does menopause affect cancer risk?
  16. Effect of Moringa oleifera leaf extract on the physicochemical properties of modified atmosphere packaged raw beef
  17. Moringa oleifera as an Anti-Cancer Agent against Breast and Colorectal Cancer Cell Lines
  18. Combined Effect of Moringa oleifera and Ionizing Radiation on Survival and Metastatic Activity of Pancreatic Cancer Cells 
  19. The Moringa Tree, A local solution to malnutrition? Lowell J. Fuglie B.P. 5338 Dakar, Senegal
  20. Healing the Thyroid with Ayurveda, Dr. Marianne Teitelbaum 
  21. Yogarantham.
  22. Caraka samhita, cikitsāsthāna, ch 26, 59-68

Ganga Devi: The Divine River That Flows in The Himalayas

Dylan Smith feeling his pulse in Ganges
It is rather easily evident to feel the divinity of Gaṅgā Devī गङ्गा (The Ganges River) after bathing, swimming, or dipping (snāna स्नान) in/with the river.
Gaṅgā starts from Gomukh, the terminus of the Gangotri Glacier in the western Himālayas, and flows for 2,525 km through India and Bangladesh, eventually emptying into the Bay of Bengal (North Eastern part of the Indian Ocean, west of India).
Gaṅgā jal (water from the Ganges River) carries the rejuvenating energies of the Himālalyas, deep healing frequencies that percolate the glaciers, snow melts and rain falls that run into the river that flows throughout the Himālalyas: the abode of the Pure Infinite Silence.
Gaṅgā jal is also sacred as she is abundant with celestially charged water molecules that carry the meditative energy and mantras of the many yogis and sages who have lived along its banks for over thousands of years.
Gaṅgā is the ultimate purifier. The river purifies any object or living being that bathes in it or receives its coherently structured water. Gaṅgā is the essence of Shuddha Sattva: transcends the guṇas (primal attributes of nature) to emanate absolute purity. Gaṅga is lucid as heaven’s crystal.
Gaṅgā is a Goddess and form of Śakti (Divine Feminine). 
Ganga Devi in Varanasi, India
Her water carries the grace, blessings and power of the Divine Mother.
She is the string of pearly water-beads that adorn Lord Śiva’s jata (she is the dynamic flow of life itself that springs forth from the unmanifest field of Pure Consciousness, the Infinite Silent Himālayan glacier that holds all that which is yet to manifest in Pure Unity).
Drinking (clean) gaṅga jal, mostly from the upper part of the river, or adding a few drops to ones water, herbal tea or herbal juice is a rasāyana (elixir to spread the essence of longevity within the human body).

The Mythological Story of Ganga Devi

Ganga Devi
Goddess Gaṅgā descended from heaven (svarga) in the form of a river, whose purpose is to purify and cleanse the karmas (binding actions) of all beings on earth.
The Devī Bhāgavatapurāṇa, a text that narrates all the stories of the Divine Mother, tells the tale of how Gaṅgā was cursed by Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom, music & creation, to descend on the earth in the form of a river, which would wash away the karmas of everyone bathing in her waters.
Meanwhile, the Śivamahapurāṇam, narrates the second part of her story. 
It is said that Indra, the king of the demigods, was afraid of the highly auspicious spiritual pursuits of an old King called Sagara. Indra feared that this King would be granted enough puṇya (spiritual merit) that he would claim his throne as king of the Devas.
When King Sagara decided to do an Ashwamedha Yajna, one of the most powerful offerings that can be done to the Gods, Indra decided he would do anything in his power to stop it from happening.
Since the Yajna in question requires a horse to survive traveling around the entire kingdom, the mischievous Lord of the Devas decided to steal the horse and hide it.  Indra then proceeded to tie the horse right next to a meditating sage called Kapil who lived in the netherworld (also known as pātāla or nāgaloka), knowing that whoever dared disturb the deep tāpasya (spiritual discipline) of the yogi would immediately burn to death.
King Sagara sent all of his sons to find the blessed horse, and when they finally found it next to the meditating sage, they confused him to be the horse thief.
The sons of Sagara proceeded to shout heinous words at the meditating sage, and the moment the sage opened his eyes and came out of his meditation all of the sons of Sagara burned to ashes.
Sons of Sagara and Kapil
Since the only remains of Sagara's sons were a few piles of ashes, their final rites could never be properly performed, and their spirits were trapped wondering as ghosts in the netherworld where the sage Kapil lived.
However, Kapil instructed Anushman, Sagara's grandson, that if Gaṅgā Devi ever touched his ancestor's ashes, their spirits would be freed and would rise to svarga.
Anshuman went back to his grandfather with the horse, and Sagara crowned him king, after which he retired to the forest.
Anshuman’s efforts to bring the Gaṅgā down to earth were not fruitful. His son Dilipa did not succeed either.
But Dilipa’s son Bhagiratha was absolutely determined to succeed. He therefore entrusted the kingdom to his ministers and went to the forests to practice austerities to bring the Gaṅgā to earth.

Gaṅgā's Descent

Bhagiratha performed a very strong tāpasya (spiritual austerity) for many years and, finally, Sarasawati's curse became effective. Gaṅgā started to come down to earth in the form of a river. But there was a problem: the incredible force of Gaṅgā’s descent would wash away the entire earth.
And so Bhagiratha turned to Lord Shiva and prayed for him to help break Gaṅgā's fall.
Bhagiratha turned to Lord Shiva and prayed for him to break up Gaṅgā’s descent, and so he did.
Gaṅgā, fell at full speed on Shiva's head. But Shiva calmly trapped her in his matted locks of hair and instead let her out in small streams, which further blessed her holy waters.

Once Gaṅgā Devi's currents reached pātāla and flowed over the ashes of Bhagiratha's ancestors, the souls of the princes were redeemed.
Since this was achieved by Bhagiratha’s efforts, Gaṅgā is also called Bhagirathi.

Raga Mala Painting of Shiva releasing Gaṅgā from his matted locks

Kidney Vigor, UTIs & Urinary Health | Dylan Smith #086

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The kidneys and urinary tract are two underestimated and often neglected organ systems that can easily lead to uncomfortable & painful states of illness in the body. 
The kidneys main task, other than regulating the fluids, is to cleanse and purify our blood of any toxins and waste that would otherwise perpetuate disease in the body. 
Just down the ureter road, Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are one of the most common afflictions of modern times, especially for women.
When UTIs are left untreated at the root level and only alleviated short-term with drugs like anti-biotics, that person can easily and sometimes severely endure damaged renal (kidney) function.
On this podcast episode, we dive into the ins and outs of kidney function & how to optimise it, along with the Ayurvedic View on UTIs and how to both prevent and help this common infectious disease. 

Our podcast and articles are for educational purposes only. They are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. After all, everyone is uniquely different we need to assess your unique physiology and provide you with a personalised plan to help balance and homeostasis.

Please book a consultation to help clear the channels so everything flows more smoothly and comfortable while imbuing you with the vitality that is available from your reproductive organs, urinary system and kidneys.


In this Episode we Discuss:

Kidneys: Importance & Optimising Their Function

Kidneys - very important organs outside of their function of regulating fluid retention.
Perhaps the most important organ in the body.
There are two kidneys, each about the size of a fist, located on either side of the spine at the lowest level of the rib cage
The kidneys are powerful chemical factories that perform the following functions:
  • remove waste products from the body
  • remove drugs from the body
  • balance the body's fluids
  • release hormones that regulate blood pressure
  • produce an active form of vitamin D 
  • control the production of red blood cells
Weak Kidneys Correlate with Digestive System
It is a complex mechanism because it filters everything we eat and drink.
Digestive strength determines the load on the kidneys. Especially cold drinks and cold food will put more strain on kidneys.
Avoid pain killers, certain medicines.

UTI Symptoms & Causes

Women are more prone to UTIs because of their exposed genitals and shorter urethra.
If you're a woman, there's a 50% chance you will end up with this condition.
More than 90% of all UTIs are caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli). Problems only arise when this ordinary bacterium is present in high numbers in places where it shouldn't be—like your urinary system.
Symptoms (Rupa):
  • Burning urination
  • Frequent urges to urinate
  • Lower abdominal pain or aching.
  • Blood in your urine (sometimes, but not always).
  • Cloudy urine.
Causes:
  • Water Intake - A lot of water gives pressure on kidney. Only drink according to thirst.
  • Suppresses urinary urge.
  • Not emptying the bladder fully. Take your time.
  • Squatting
  • Bacteria.
  • Improper sugar metabolisms, eating excess sweets. Udakava srota. 
  • More
Udakavaha Srotas – Channels carrying water and controlling water metabolism. 
Mula (root, chief seat, organs): Palate and kloma (includes pancreas, some acharyas say lungs).
Gets vitiated by:
  • Due to ama
  • Fear
  • Paana - Excess alcohol
  • Hot and dry foods
  • Exposure to heat (Caraka)
  • Astringent foods
  • Suppression of the urges (Adharaniya vegas)
  • Abnormalities: Ati trsna (excessive thirst), dryness of mouth, ringing in the ears and feeling darkness before the eyes, unconsciousness.
  • Management of abnormalities: similar to that of trsna roga.(16)  
4 Types of Srotadusti:
  1. Atipravrtti (excess functioning/hyper activity). 
  2. Sanga (obstruction, inadequate activity, hypo-activity).
  3. Siragranthi (tumours, swelling, new growths)
  4. Vimarga gamana (movement in the wrong or unusual direction or channel).(35) – Diversion of the flow of contents to improper channels, e.g. faeces through urinary tract.

UTI Treatments

Sitz Bath for UTI: Turmeric + 4-5 shodana
Solutions:
  • UTI Tea: 1tsp Coriander seed + 1/2tsp cumin seed + 1-2tsp barley - boil in 1-2 cups of water for 20 mins and then sip. Take for 2-3 days to get rid of symptoms. After get rid of symptoms take for another 1-3 days.
  • Neeri (Nee Urinary)
  • Sugar cane juice can release pressure on kidneys but not great.
  • Pranayama = oxygenation of blood improves kidney function. 
  • Foods: parsley, horseradish, celery seeds.
  • Antibiotics should be your last choice.
  • Hygiene - Showers instead of bath. Cleanse after going to the toilet.
  • Wipe from front to back, rather than back to front.
  • Sitz Bath for UTI: Turmeric + 4-5 crushed Shodana Vati Tablets
  • After sexual intercourse, fully empty bladder. - as much as you want to hold your lover.
  • Use natural organic feminine hygiene products.
  • Cranberry fruit, Saw Palmetto, African plum.

Prostate Health and Care in Men

Prostate Health
In US 1 in 8 men have prostate cancer. Second to skin cancer, most common cancer in American man.
- https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/CRC/PDF/Public/8793.00.pdf
According to ayurveda, it is more likely to be pitta men who develop prostate cancer.
Do self-abhyanga every day to reduce the odds of developing this form of cancer. It also increases the chances of early screening.
Don’t keep your phone in your pocket.
Prostate Calculus (Stones) - Sukra Ashmiri
When you retain semen and suppress the vega, the semen stays there and with mainly vata and pitta but also kapha, it turns to sandy condition - sikata.
Then if it stays like that for a long time it becomes calcification (Shukra Bhashmadi) - this can cause calcification in deeper areas like the prostate.
Vata obstructs and dries, and the pitta dries it up fast (pitta eliminates in semen).

The Ayurvedic View on Vasectomies

All the srotas are connected to mulam mahasrotas (alimentary canal).  It’s a circle. If you cut, you cut the circle - the intelligence over there. 
Other aspects of sukra will become weaker. 

References:


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Please seek advice from a qualified practitioner before starting any new health practice.


Iron Deficiency Anemia? – Boost Your Ferritin Levels Naturally

Red Blood Cells

- The Ayurvedic treatment for iron deficiency -

Iron is a mineral that serves several important biological functions, its main one being to carry oxygen throughout your body via your red blood cells (1). 
Iron deficiency has become the biggest mineral deficiency in the world. (3)
About 20% of women, 50% of pregnant women, and 3% of men do not have enough iron in their bodies. (2)
Adolescent girls are most vulnerable, due to increased iron demand, menstrual blood loss, infection, etc. (4)
Disorders of iron metabolism are among the most common diseases of humans and are related to a broad variety of diseases and clinical manifestations.
The solution for iron deficiency, in many cases, is to consume more foods high in iron. (2)
Iron is an essential nutrient, meaning you must get it from external sources like food and/or quality supplementation (read about effective and safe supplementation below). 
Red Blood Cells

What is Haemoglobin, Red Blood Cells and Ferritin?

Serum iron - the amount of iron in your blood.
Haemoglobin - The body transports oxygen to cells via a protein called hemoglobin, which is mostly iron.
Low iron levels mean you’re unable to deliver oxygen or energy to the cells of your body. This is called anaemia, which means “without oxygen.”
Woman yawning
Symptoms of anaemia include:
  • Tiredness / fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Low immunity
  • Headaches
  • Stomach pain
  • Pale skin (in Ayurveda, the name for anemia is “Pāṇḍu” पाण्डु  which means “pale white”)
  • Joint pain
  • Cognitive decline
  • Mood instability
  • Fast heart rate. (5, 6)
Often these symptoms occur even when iron levels are still in the “normal range” of a blood test.
This may indicate a more common issue, ferritin deficiency. 
Serum ferritin (stored iron) - a protein that stores iron and releases it into the bloodstream as the body requires. 
This is the main factor to consider when assessing your iron panel and blood analysis.
Low Ferritin Levels are associated with: (7)
Total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) - How much transferrin (a protein) is free to carry iron through your blood. If your TIBC level is high, it means more transferrin is free because you have low iron.

Blood Testing for Iron - What are the Ideal Ferritin Levels?

Average normal ferritin levels range from 12 to 300 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/mL) for males and 12 to 150 ng/mL for females. (8)
Remember “normal” in standard blood tests is based on the “norm” or average of an unhealthy population. 
Most experts agree ideal ferritin levels are somewhere between 30 and 60 ng/mL. (9)
Above 80-100ng/ml is dangerous (see high iron and hemochromatosis below), and below 20 is too low.

The Relationship Between Vitamin C and Iron

Vitamin C boosts the absorption of iron, so low Vitamin C levels may be a causative factor of low ferritin levels. (10,11,12)
Fruit, veggies and herbs to boost Vitamin C levels:
  • Davidson Plum (Native Australian plum)
  • Citrus fruits
  • Papaya
  • Broccoli
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Mango
Anand Sidhi Yogi, an Ayurvedic herb that helps treat iron deficiency

Ways to Naturally Boost Iron & Ferritin

The Ayurvedic treatment for iron deficiency consists of a holistic approach that will ultimately ensure that you not only incorporate proper sources of iron into your diet & lifestyle, but that your body also develops an enhanced capacity to assimilate iron from these sources.

Iron Increasing Foods

Heme iron sources (animal products, easier to absorb iron), from highest to lower concentration: (1)
  • Oysters, mussels
  • Blood Cockle (iron levels range from 227.85 - 247.98 ppm) - This is very high source of iron so caution even needs to be taken. (16)
  • Goat or chicken liver
  • Sardines
  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Fish like wild salmon
Oysters served on a plate with lemon slides
Non-heme iron sources (not as easily absorbed, but is possible to obtain sufficient iron), from highest to lower concentration:(1,13)
  • Moringa leaves (can used dried leaves or powder if fresh is not available). Do not cook for maximum iron, just sprinkle on and mix into hot dish.
  • Spinach (lightly cooked, when raw, iron is blocked by oxalates). Organic and fresh as possible is best.
  • Amaranth leaves (lightly cooked)
  • Seeds - pumpkin, sesame, squash and sunflower seeds.
  • Cooked beans and lentils (e.g. kidney beans, white beans, chickpeas, black beans)
  • Firm tofu (beware that soy is a phytoestrogen and may cause hormonal imbalance)
  • Dried figs (careful those with high blood sugar)
  • Baked potato with skin (organic. Beware, increases vata).
  • Plantain (green banana) cooked
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Dried fruits (apricots, raisins, figs, dates, prunes etc)
  • Nuts (peanuts, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, roasted almonds, roasted cashews)
  • Warrigal greens (New Zealand spinach)
  • Broccoli
  • Pomegranate, papaya
  • Figs (fresh), kiwi fruit
Related article: Which leafy green vegetable has the highest amount of iron? (article coming soon!)

Soak Your Beans and Lentils

When you soak beans, a compound called phytic acid is released and removed from the bean or lentil.
If you do not soak the beans, this compound stays in the bean, and when ingested in the gastro-intestinal-tract, it latches onto iron and removes iron from the body.
Related article: Phytic Acid in Beans

Cooking in Iron Cookware

This is actually a significant way to increase iron in the body.
And of course, it is an ancient Ayurvedic remedy for low iron!
When you cook food in iron vessels, it reacts with the metal surface and the iron gets released in the food.
“Food prepared in iron pots increases the haemoglobin concentration of anaemic/iron deficient individuals.” (14)
Foods that have a higher moisture content absorb the most iron.
For example, one study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that the iron content in 100 grams of spaghetti sauce jumped from 0.6 mg to 5.7 mg after being cooked in a cast iron pot! (15)
That iron load is equivalent to about 200 grams of cooked spinach!
So instead of adding 200 grams of cooked spinach into your lunch-time pasta for 52% of your recommended daily iron, just cook the pasta in an iron pot! (or add the spinach to double the iron content).
Other factors that boost the iron content of foods include:(15)
  • Longer cooking time in the iron vessel
  • Frequent stirring
  • Cooking iron-rich foods in an iron vessel.
  • Use cast iron, rather than the glazed iron.
A cast Iron pan
Acidic foods may absorb more iron also, however sour or acidic foods may react with the iron to create an unpleasant metallic taste. 
Iron vessels are also commonly used in certain Ayurvedic herbal preparations.

Related article: Cooked vs. Raw Food Diet: Transcend Food Fads | Dylan Smith #025

Self-Pulse: Self-Referral Technique and Healing Mechanism to Optimise Iron in the Body

Self-pulse reading
Utilising the self-referral technique of Ayurvedic self-pulse reading can be an intimate and effective tool to gain insight into the levels and sufficiency of your own mineral levels and tissue health.
It is particularly useful to use while you experiment with various interventions like herbs, foods or cooking methods to monitor and gauge the changes in your pulse and hence, the changes in your mineral levels.
You may also share your self-research and insights with your Vaidya (Ayurvedic physician) to refine the process.
Self-pulse is a profound way to gain an insight into your mineral levels that has the potential to be far deeper and holistic than standard blood tests.

Ayurvedic Herbs that Boost Iron

When it comes to the Ayurvedic treatment for iron deficiency, herbal formulas become a key component in the holistic approach. 

Here's a list of our top Ayurvedic formulas to increase iron levels and enhance the body's natural capacity to absorb & assimilate iron from food:

Iron Mineral - The Ayurvedic Way: Loha Bhasma (Iron Ash)
Bhasma is the highly acclaimed Ayurvedic process of purifying a mineral or metal, then calcifying it into ash, then utilising it in a herbal formulation for internal use.
This is a highly advanced and extensive process which creates an end-product that is very different to the original elemental metal.
Bhasmas have the ability to penetrate certain parts of the body very well.
For example, iron molecules are too large to enter the cells, but the bhasma is reduced to nano-particle size, so it can enter the cellular level. The body actually absorbs it effectively.
The purification method (śodana saṃskāra) of minerals is given extreme importance in Ayurveda. It not only makes the mineral and metal more hygienic and safe, but enhances the potency.
One of my favourite classical Ayurvedic formulations that involve loha bhasma (iron ash) is Punarnavadi Mandura.
This herbal preparation promotes cellular re-incarnation, revitalises and restores iron and the lymph system (rasa and rakta dhatu).

Blood Toner (Ayurvedic Raktda herb formula)
Raktda is an ayurvedic supplement that helps maintain optimum hemoglobin levels naturally, boosts energy, and is effective for iron deficiency/anemia.
It enhances your bodies ability to absorb iron naturally from your diet.
This formula is safe (and effective) for pregnant woman.
A wonderful benefit of quality Ayurvedic herbs including iron bhasma is mostly they do not cause constipation or have side effects.
Rakda, an Ayurvedic herb that is very efficient to treat iron deficiency

Iron Supplementation (Nutraceuticals)

Iron supplementation is normally not the answer (long term) and will only lead to more oxidised iron in our system and further iron accumulation in the liver.
Just like iron rusts (oxidises), the same happens in your body with excess iron, which accelerates ageing and tissue degeneration.
Furthermore, iron nutraceutical supplements aren’t the easiest to digest. The liver may find it hard to metabolise and it may cause some digestive issues like constipation.
Iron Infusions:
While iron infusions can provide rapid relief when someone is very iron deficient, it usually doesn’t fix the underlying problem.
In my clinic, I see patients who have been recommended or received iron infusions when their blood markers have not been so dangerously low. 
A potential side effect of iron infusions is the strain and pressure on the kidneys. The kidneys will have to process and eliminate iron which has not undergone proper purification. At least when supplementing with tablets, the un-purified iron gets metabolised by the liver. In the case of intravenous supplementation, it is bypassing the liver and digestive process.
We need to look at why the body is not utilising iron properly
Bio-available copper and other minerals play a role. As do hormones, digestion, and absorption capacity. 
I find assessing the overall metabolism, hormones and energy function of the individual with Ayurveda more effective than a reductionist approach of getting caught up with the numbers and levels of specific minerals.
Iron supplementation can be helpful to acutely address iron depletion or deficiency, but please consider using herbal support, diet and optimising digestion to increase iron levels first.

Jyotish (Vedic Astrology)

Iron (loha) is associated with Saturn (Shani).
Wearing an iron ring on your middle finger (check with your local Jyotishi if this is right for you), using iron vessels to cook with, donating iron or using iron in other ways may enhance and pacify Saturn energy.

To learn more about the effects that Jyotish can have on your health check out "Jyotish: Celestial Organisation of Life with Vedic Astrology | Blaine Watson #041"

Sings of the Zodiac

Caution: HIGH Iron Levels

Excess iron in most cases is even more harmful than low iron and more common!
Hemochromatosis - the term for when your body absorbs too much iron from the foods you eat, can be toxic, cause free oxidative damage and even if overdosed can even be life-threatening.
Always get a blood test before starting any iron supplementation.
Hemochromatosis Treatment:
Luckily, an effective treatment for hemochromatosis is very simple and free - donate blood according to your levels. This may have to be done regularly throughout the year.
One Ayurvedic treatment which also helps plus helps work at the root level is rakta mokṣana (“blood liberation”) by blood-letting treatments like leech therapy. 
Turmeric in high amounts is also an effective chelator of iron, which can be used when iron is elevated. (9) Note, those with low iron should not reduce turmeric, it will actually help build blood when you need it, or clean the blood when you need that instead.
How do you balance your iron levels? Comment below!

EMF EXPANDED: Geo-Electric & Human Generated Radiation | Gerard Bini #085

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Awareness of Electro-Magnetic Fields (EMF) is increasing.
People are becoming more conscious about the frequencies emitted from technological devices like phones, WiFi, computers, cell-phone towers, smart meters etc.
But underneath these superficial frequencies emitted from man-made devices emits over 30 different types of harmful EMR fields in our homes and workplaces including Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR), Earth Radiation (Geopathic Stress), Bioplasmic Radiation (Human Generated) and Solar and Planetary Radiation imprints.
This episode with explores the subtle and powerful types of EMR and EMF thatḥumans are exposed to, and that you may have never even considered.  
Health Practitoner Dylan Smith interviews Gerard Bini, the foremost Australian expert in the development of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) harmonizing products, as they reveal these 
“hidden frequency fields” and how to mitigate them.

About our guest: Gerard Bini

Gerard Bini, founder of Orgone Effects Australia and the foremost Australian expert in the development of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) harmonizing products, is a well-respected and internationally renowned Intuitive Building Biologist with 21 years' experience and research into EMF beyond the normal.
Gerard has acute intuitive senses that have been honed over many years of practice.
Intuitive processes fully involves scientific protocols of multiple testing, double blind testing, surveys of experiments to track and neutralize different types of EMF fields to produce, over time, statistical data to back up the results of whatever we are testing. Not just an ‘in my own mind it works’ attitude.
Gerard Bini
It is the knowledge base of Gerard Bini, an Intuitive Building Biologist and EMF Consultant, with his advanced intuitive energy reading and dowsing skills developed over many years, that all contribute to the uniqueness and outstanding performance of all Orgone Effects® products, which are sold in over 20 countries around the world.

In this Episode we Discuss:

Measuring Solar Wind Speed

The solar wind is a stream of charged particles released from the upper atmosphere of the Sun, called the corona. This plasma mostly consists of electrons, protons and alpha particles with kinetic energy between 0.5 and 10 keV.
Gerard checks spaceweather.com not only first thing in the morning but multiple times a day. 
Very high/strong solar winds generate a geoelectric current through the ground of the earth, which is then radiated up out of the ground. 
  • Strong solar wind speeds = 500km/second and upward.
    • Generates geo-electric current throughout the ground of the earth. can be 1.5m - 15m up the ground.
  • This radiation can cause a huge amount of geopathic stress in the body 
    • Geopathic stress happens when energies emanating from the earth cause ill health in human beings. 
Certain planetary arrangements like retrogrades can also lead to severe spikes in cosmic radiation, which has an impact on our physiologies. 

Human Generated Radiation Imprints

When someone dies in a state of distress they will always leave a positively charged bioplasmic imprint. 
Yogis that die by attaining maha samadhi only leave negatively charged bioplasmic imprints. 
When you measure the energies in the crypts of ancient civilizations like native Australian tribes, you find that the energy is very harmonious and negatively charged.
On the contrary, when going to the local cemetery, the energies tend to be very positive and abrasive. 

How to Measure The Radiations Accurately

Gerard is very fond of the Biotensor tool, which allows him to measure the Bio-field of a certain area. 

He has mastered the discernment to intuitively look at a property and its surroundings and have an accurate feel of the bio-field of the land. 

Negative charges tend to be beneficial for humans and positive charges tend to be more inflammatory and act in detriment to our health.

The Effects of Radiation in The Human Physiology

The Human Generated bioplasmic imprint left by previous land owners of a property can affect someone who is moving into a new house. 
  • E.g. If a previous land owner had a chronic disease, the whole house but particularly the sleeping area will be charged with his/her bioplasmic imprint. If the new bed is placed in the same place, that imprint can affect the new owner and promote the emergence of the same disease in their own body. 
There are hebenefitial geoelectric currents called Ley Lines. 
In general terms, bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, seas & the ocean have negative charges that can be beneficial for humans. 
  • If the solar winds are too high, these charges can be knocked down and turned positive (detrimental). 
Fissure / water veins - affects the body via stress.
Creates a kinetic energy charge and a radiation field roughly about 4m wide.

How Ancient Cultures Harmonised Geo-Electric Stressors

Harmonisers of different types have been around for thousands of years. 
In Autobiography of a Yogi, Sri Yukteswar gives Yogananda an astrological bracelet made of copper silver and gold which is a very well known form of a harmoniser. 
Mantra chanting can also chant as a harmoniser because it can produce a negative or positive charge that can help cancel out other frequencies. 
Smoking ceremonies done by native indigenous tribes also act as harmonisers. 

Building Biology

Building biology is the science that investigates the health hazards in any built environment. 
Mold, technological infrastructure, geopathic stress & 5G exposure are some of the most pressing issues that most buildings face. 
Streetlights and their devastating relationship with 5G. 

EMF Blocking Technology

It’s a very amateur Industry where a lot of production is being made without having proper science to back up the products. 
Marketers are exploiting the market and putting as many products out there as possible and they are not effective. 
Gerard started producing harmonisers almost 20 years ago and has refined the technology immensely to produce state-of-the-art harmonisers. 
The Effect of Electronic Watches
They are pumping EMF straight into your bloodstream.

Being Conscious and Aware vs. Fearing EMF

It’s not a matter of falling into despair or becoming paranoid or fearful for these frequencies. That will only increase their detriment to your life. 
It is more a matter of understanding and becoming aware  so that we can take appropriate action to reduce their impact on our daily lives.

Resources

Gerard’s website - Orgone Effects Australia - HERE

Orgone Effects Australia’s Instagram (@orgoneeffectsaustralia) HERE

-

Bio-tensor - a traditional tool used by building biologists to show the charge of a field.

Related Episodes:

EMF, 5G & Building Biology | Nicole Bijlsma #019

Mould: The Hidden Stealth Fungi You Need To Know About | Dr. Jill Crista #030


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Heavy Metals, Minerals and Bhasma in Ayurvedic Herbology and Herbal Products (3rd Biggest Myth In Ayurveda) | Dylan Smith #084

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When ancient wisdom gets popular, confusion and misunderstanding tends to arise within.
The essence and authenticity tends to blur, and this has happened with the knowledge of Ayurveda - the Sacred Science of Healing and Higher Consciousness.
Ayurvedic practitioner and educator Dylan Smith, known for his authenticity and devoted role to keeping the purity of Ayurveda alive and thriving, dispels the 3 Biggest Myths of Ayurvedic medicine.
These MYTHS are:
  1. “You have to be vegetarian” according to Ayurveda - or even that “Vegetarian is the best diet.”
  2. “Onion and garlic are prohibited”.
  3. “Ayurvedic medicines are commonly contaminated with heavy metals.”

In this Episode we Discuss:

Bhasmas: The Root Of This Myth

Ayurvedic practitioners not only prescribe herbs & foods but also purified minerals. 
One of the aspects of Ayurvedic Herbology is mainly centered around bhasmas - highly purified metallic & mineral preparations. 
  • If the purification is done the right way, Ayurveda says taking them is not only safe, but they can have very powerful medicinal & healing effects

The Importance of Metal Purification For Ayurvedic Compositions

The Ayurvedic purification process is known in Sanskrit as shodana samskara
If the purification process of the metals is not done right, there can be detrimental effects caused by these formulas. 
Getting your formulas from reliable sources is of utmost importance, especially when it comes to formulas that contain bhasmas.

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Hollywood to the Himalayas: Deeper Connections & Euphoric Love | Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati #082

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Sometimes, the commitment and joy associated with the path of liberation or enlightenment is so strongly rooted in Absolute Stillness that the seeker may become what is know as a “sanyasi” or renunciant.

By taking vows of renunciation, one fully and wholeheartedly commits to commune with all of creation in a loving and intimate manner.

While the path of a renunciant (sanyasi) is less common and generally less relevant than the path of a householder (gṛhasthī), there’s a lot we can learn from surrendering ego and desires, and there’s a lot we can learn from this episode's very special guest: best-selling author, Himalayan yogi, renunciant & social activist, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati.

Based on the banks of the Himālayas in Rishikesh, India, but originally born in LA, California, Sadhviji renounced her life in the West at age 29 after a career at Stanford University and has now become one of the premier female authorities in the Yoga-Vedantic tradition in the world.

Her wisdom and light exude from her as she elevates us with stories and insights on how to find purpose in life & how to live in harmony with our Selves and the world that surrounds us.

About our guest: Sadhvi Baghawati Saraswati

Sadhviji is a renowned spiritual leader and motivational speaker, based in Rishikesh, India. Originally from Los Angeles, California, and a graduate of Stanford University, Sadhviji has lived on the banks of the sacred Ganga river, in the lap of the Himalayas for nearly 25 years engaged in spiritual service, wisdom teaching, sacred action, and deep spiritual practice.
At Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, where she lives most of the year, she gives daily spiritual discourses (satsang), teaches meditation, provides spiritual counselling and mentoring, and oversees myriad charitable and humanitarian projects and activities.
She is President of Divine Shakti Foundation, a charitable organisation bringing education and empowerment to women and children.
She is Secretary-General of Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, the first alliance of religious leaders for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.

In this Episode we Discuss:

The Meaning of The Name: Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati

Sadhvi - renunciant (the female form of the word “Sadhu”)
Bhagawati - divine mother
Saraswati - the goddess of creation, wisdom & music. It is also a signature of her lineage (Shankaracharya tradition).

Doing a PhD in Stanford and Leaving to India

She was seeking something different, something that resonated with the strict vegetarian lifestyle she was living. 
Experiencing major consciousness shifts while in India and tuning into a higher calling - her true dharma

Becoming A Sanyasi (Renunciant)

What motivated her to take vows of renunciation.
Her view on materialism and the mainstream path re-enforced by capitalism.
How celibacy and renunciation impacted her life and why she continues to keep her vows.

Spirituality and The Importance of Having a Spiritual Practice

How spirituality enhances our lives and helps us feel more fulfilled and blissful. 

Ganga Devi (a.k.a. The Ganges River)

The story of Ganga explains how she was a goddess, long before she became embodied in the river that we today know as Ganges. 
She came down from heaven onto earth to bring about liberation. 

Our Relationship to Nature and Ecology

The decrepit state of affairs of the ecology in India.
Sadhviji’s ecological start-ups. 
How us as humans have a serious responsibility to maintain and take care of nature, the source of all life.

Resources

Sadhviji's Website HERE

Sadhviji's Instagram (@sadhviji) HERE


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Please seek advice from a qualified practitioner before starting any new health practice.