Grapes (Draksa) – The Best Among Fruits

Grapes are the best among all the fruits and the most wholesome according to Ayurveda.*

Health Benefits

The sweet taste (rasa) and post-digestive effect (vipaka) nourish the physiology with strength - whether it be building tissues and energy for the emaciated and depleted, a juicy aphrodisiac or providing mental strength to brush off negativity and mistaken intellect and rise above anxiety or depression.

I like to use Draksadi Kashayam formula - a decoction with grapes + other herbs to boost mental strength in clients.

Grapes are like white plasma (rasa). Thus, according to Ayurveda’s principle of “like increases like,” grapes tonify and nourish rasa dhatu (plasma, extracellular fluid and lymph + more tissue substances that can't be translated into western medical terms).

Grapes cool you down, thus great for pitta, heated conditions, fever, jaundice, eye health (eyes are a site of metabolism/Pitta), bleeding diseases, burning sensations and is fantastic to quench thirst.

Anti-oxidant - The rich phytochemical anthocyanin gives (especially red) grapes the ability to eradicate harmful free radicals from cells that can cause oxidative stress, leading to all kinds of chronic illnesses.

This makes it a great blood cleanser and blood builder (balances rakta dhatu).

The antioxidant polyphenolic generates anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-cancer activities.

Anti-inflammatory - Messaging molecules (such as interleukin) and pro-inflammatory enzymes (like cyclo-oxygenase) that advance inflammation can be defused by grape intake.

Harvest from Vital Vedas family farm in Northern Rivers region of NSW

It’s unctuousness (snigdha) and liquidity (dravam) helps the elimination of urine and faeces and has a laxative action.

Being tantalisingly sweet and unctuous, it also pacifies vata but not necessarily in the alimentary tract, as it can put out the agni (digestive fire) and is a little hard to digest being so sweet (heaviest taste) and cooling.

It’s secondary taste being bitter also helps respiratory issues like dyspnoea, hoarse voice, chest injury, tuberculosis and can help mitigate the effects from intoxication and delusion (coma). 

Unripe fruits are sour so become harder to digest and actually aggravate pitta and rakta (the blood).

Seedless grapes (Abija draksa) or grapes with very small seeds are harder to digest and possibly are genetically modified, however they mitigate kapha.

Dried grapes (raisins, sultanas) have a similar effect, are easier to digest but have a higher sugar level so caution with people with high blood sugar. They contain a concentrated source of iron and is an important fruit for anaemic people along with figs, dates, papaya, kiwi and pomegranate.

Additional Health Profile & Benefits

  • Grapes are rich in micronutrient minerals like copper and manganese, an essential co-factor of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase.
  • Grapes contain the essential hormone and antioxidant melatonin.
  • Grapes contains about 191 mg of the electrolyte potassium per 100 grams.
  • Grapes actually have a low glycemic index and help balance blood sugar.

Grape Juice

For you pitta people, consider fasting on FRESH grape OR pomegranate juice, one day a week, fortnight or month regularly (on the same day cyclically).

Organic grape juice pressed and strained by Vital Veda

References:
* Astanga Samgraha of Vaghbhata and Bhavaprakasa
Dr. Mercola


Golden Milk Elixir

Just like grandma used to cook up for you with love and foresight. This nightly sleep aid and anabolic tonic holds great wisdom, incorporating one of the most nourishing foods: cows milk, with the intelligence of natures herbs and spices. You’ll sleep like a baby and super charge overnight.

Dreaming of a Good Night’s Sleep?

This Ayurvedic remedy will reduce your stress to allow you to switch off and gain a more restful and undisturbed sleep.

Supersede the Stress

Insomnia, which can increase the risk of most degenerative diseases(1) is mostly caused by stress. When we are under stress, cortisol levels (stress fighting hormones) do not decrease, rather they keep us revved up throughout the night and we don’t have the energy to calm them back down.

Modern science has once again proved ancient wisdom by showing milk has certain peptides that lower cortisol and support sleep by 50%. The improvements of sleep are remarkable:

  • Promotes deeper sleep (3)
  • Supports more restorative sleep (3)
  • Provides relaxation at the level needed for sleep (4)
  • Calms anxiety (4)
  • Improves numerous stress markers (5)
  • These peptides further support digestion, emotional state, cognitive function and even cardiovascular function. (6)

Interestingly, these peptides in milk activate GABA receptors.(4) Pharmaceutical drugs that are widely used as sedatives for stress, anxiety, and sleep target these same GABA receptors!(7)

Ojas Building

Even if you sleep well, this night-time tonic will not only upgrade your sleep to be more deep and restful, but also build your Ojas.

Ojas (OH-jas) is considered to be the most refined by-product of digestion, said to reside in the heart. Ayurveda considers ojas to be a bio-celestial substance that is our vital essence.

Our vitality, immunity, vigour, skin, sleep, digestion, spirituality and physical strength are all directly influenced by our reserve of ojas.

Ojas builds our inner silence. It Increases the ability to genetically connect with the circadian rhythms allowing the body to resonate with the rhythms and thrive. If your body is under stress, emergency alarm bells will keep ringing (flight or fight response/sympathetic nervous system) disconnecting you from the genetic ability to hear these rhythms.

Building ojas is an art. Yoga, pranayama breathing exercises, meditation, spending time in nature, sleeping at the right times, laughing, showing love and affection and giving to others, spending time being creative, relaxing, and doing things that make you happy all build ojas.

Perhaps one of the best ways to consistently build ojas is to eat a diet of fresh, unprocessed whole foods in the appropriate season.
Further, there are certain foods and herbs in Ayurveda that are great ojas-builders. These were traditionally blended with warm milk and taken before bed as a sleep aid and an ojas-builder.

 

Ayurveda’s Super Sleep Recipe:

  • Boil 3/4 cup of unhamogensied cows milk + 3/4 cup of water + 2 strands of saffron + 1 chopped date + 3 crushed and peeled almonds. Boil till it reduces to approximately 1 cup or till it fully foams up.
  • After the milk has boiled. Add:
  • 1/4tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/4tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1/2tsp ghee.
  • 1/4 tsp Ashwagandha powder (optional for more ojas building and calming effect)
  • 1/4 tsp Shatavari powder (optional for more ojas building and calming effect)
  • pinch of Ojo or Samadhi (Raju family herbal preparation)
    (Can modify herbs and spices according to season and body constitution).

Sitr well, then drink and enjoy.

When to Drink It:

  • Have between dinner and sleep - approximately 45-60mins after dinner and 45-60mins before bed.
  • You can even make this your dinner.
  • Drink one cup of the golden milk each night for 3 months to rebuild ojas levels and support sleep patterns.
  • You can also have this in the morning approximately 45 minutes before breakfast or make it your breakfast, (good for people who don’t have an appetite in the morning). It is also a great replacement to coffee.

"But I Don’t Do Dairy"

If you are intolerant to dairy, it is probably indigestion, some weakness and/or your mind getting the better over you by 'accepting' the intolerance. Additionally, most milk is difficult to digest because it is unnecessarily homogenised, pasteurised the wrong way, added chemicals, pesticides, preservatives and anti-biotic’s.

However, drink the right milk and correct your agni, and you may find you can slowly introduce this medicinal lactation back into your diet.

Most places you can find milk that is non-homogenised without all these nasty additives. Getting non-pasturised or vat-pasturised, (heated at low temperature for short time), is a bonus, but the main precept is to drink non-homogenised milk. This has become so popular that mainstream supermarkets in Australia and New Zeland are now selling it. Additionally, most health-food stores will have it.

If you are very sensitive to milk, I suggest first correct agni, then slowly introduce dairy by drinking thin Lassi with lunch.

You may substitute substitute coconut or (freshly made) almond milk. Though you won’t get the benefits of the milk peptides, you’ll still have a vehicle for the ojas-building foods and herbs and some calming benefits from the warmth of the milk.

Take this milk to build some resiliency towards the stress that prevents us from sleeping like we should.

It’s tasty, nourishing and a great way to end the day, plus it’ll send you off with the clouds for the night.

References

(1) Occup Med (Lond). 2010
(2) The Open Sleep Journal. 2009;2:128-32
(3) J Dairy Sci. 2000 Jun
(4) Ther Umsh. 2009
(5) Eur J Nutr. 2005
(6) Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007
(7) FASEB J. 2001