Hot 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

Recipe: Hot Milk Elixir with Spices

  • Boil 3/4 cup of un-homogenised cows milk + 3/4 cup of water. You can adjust the ratio according to your taste and digestion - more creamy or more diluted.
  • After you turn the stove on, add 2 strands of saffron + 1 chopped medjool date + 3 crushed and peeled almonds. Boil till it fully foams up (and is about overflow out of the pot)
  • For extra digestive boost and purity, you can let it sit for a few minutes before boiling it again till it foams up. Repeat this process a total of 3 times (including the first boil).
  • After the milk has boiled, add:
  • Pinch of cardamom powder
  • pinch of cinnamon powder
  • pinch of ginger powder
  • pinch of turmericpowder
  • pinch of black pepper
  • ½-1tsp ghee.

*Note you can add or subtract the spices and the food items according to your taste and liking.

Stir well and enjoy.

Recipe: Hot Milk Elixir with Therapeutic Herbs

Boil 3/4 cup of un-homogenised cows milk + 3/4 cup of water. You can adjust the ratio according to your taste and digestion - more creamy or more diluted.

  • Boil till it fully foams up.
  • For extra digestive boost and purity, you can let it sit for a few minutes before boiling it again till it foams up. Repeat this process a total of 3 times (including the first boil).
  • After the milk has boiled, add one pinch of samadhi and 1tsp of ghee.

*Alternative/additional herbs to samadhi that can be used are Dhatu, Swarna Dhatu, Ashwagandha or Shatavari.

Stir well and enjoy.

Samadhi Powder

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



Summer Regimen: Pacify the Heat with Ayurveda

“Quantity of water gets reduced by the strong heat of the sun, rivers have very little water, trees have no shade under them because of falling of ripened leaves; the leaves, bark and entwining ceepers are all dried up.”
Astanga Samgraha, ch. 4 (27-37)

This article has been updated December 5, 2020.

Summertime... and the living is easy..

It’s also hot and dry! and it's wise to protect yourself by keeping cool.

Work in harmony with this season and thrive during it. You deserve to feel prime during summertime.

How Summer Affects Your Biology (Summer Pathogenesis)

The very hot sun takes away the strength of the earth and all things on earth.

Scientists call this “thermal accumulation.” Particularly in the second half of summer you may begin to feel inner heat accumulate.

  • The heat in your body rises, which dries out your skin and sinuses, leaving them your senses sensitive and irritated.
  • You may notice your sinuses beginning to run a lot. Creating reactive mucus is the body’s response to this dryness.
  • You may experience looser stools – the body’s response to remove the heat. Your intestinal villi might be irritated and inflamed.
  • You may experience anger, frustration, aggressiveness and irritability - other ways your body reacts to this heat (excess pitta).

Summer (especially the second half) is an important time of year to not let the heat take over and dry us out.

Take this seriously. If you don’t get rid of the heat now, the heat will turn to dryness and you will suffer the following winter.

Going from hot/dry (summer) to cold/dry (winter) will profoundly increase vata - weakening ojas - leaving you susceptible to creating the perfect breeding grounds for colds, flus, viruses, infections and other undesirables.

Especially if you missed the cleansing train the past spring, you may be building an accumulation of mucosa that is starting to bake onto your intestinal tract with all this heat. Ewww, right?

Well, you can mitigate this by eating the cooling fruits and vegetables from the summer harvest, incorporating specific herbs, therapies and other cooling techniques.

Stay Cool, Calm and Hydrated

Summer Regimen (Grisma Ritucharya)

Summer Diet

In the summer, when the days are long and hot, we require cooling and high-energy foods such as fruits and vegetables.

This gift of extra fruits and veggies is nature’s antidote to the hot and dry weather. They have specific microbes that move excess heat out of the body, protect the intestinal mucosa and prevent irritation and reactive mucus.

  • Favour food that is sweet, cooling (sheeta virya) and has a liquid quality (dravam guna);
  • Avoid, substances which possess pungent, sour, and salt tastes and that are heating (usna virya).

Avoid Pitta aggravating foods:

  • coffee
  • spicy foods
  • red meat
  • yoghurt
  • cheese
  • fermented foods
  • seafood
  • sesame
  • spices like mustard and chilli 🌶.

Fruit Rules

Ayurveda says fruit should be eaten alone for optimal digestion and health.

During the summer digestion is weaker (as the agni: digestive fire, is moving towards the peripheral, the skin), allowing you to enjoy fruit (which is light) as a full meal.

Experiment with this by having fruits (alone) for breakfast or dinner and seeing how long it will last you through the day. Also fruit can be had as an afternoon snack, which can perhaps supplement for an early dinner.

The fruits listed below, if you eat enough of them, will encourage looser stools and/or frequent urination – stimulating the body’s heat-removing channels.

Apples

Remove heat through mild purgation.

Numerous phyto-nutrients in apples support blood sugar.

Eat only organic apples! as they are one of the foods that are sprayed with the most pesticides.

Pomegranates

  • Powerful anti-oxidant.
  • One of the few red foods that reduces pitta reducing.
  • Cleanses and promotes blood and lymph circulation.
  • Be sure to eat the white pith of the fruit.

Learn more about pomegranate

Watermelons

Naturally cooling and hydrating. Mild-diuretic. It may seem odd, but try the Ayurvedic combination of sprinkling some black pepper on watermelon to reduce water retention. It provides a cooling zing!

Other Summer Foods

  • "Rice, milk, ghee, grapes, coconut water and (raw) sugar is indicated;"(1)
  • Cooling vegetables such as asparagus, coriander (cilantro), broccoli, zucchini and leafy greens.
  • Cooling Thin Lassi. One of the best drinks to hydrate and cool your self. View recipe.
  • Coconut Water - to keep cool and hydrated. Drink fresh whole coconut rather than packaged liquid. Keep it away from food as it puts the digestive strength out.
  • “Alcoholic drinks should not be taken, or in very little quantity with addition of large quantity of water, otherwise it will produce oedema, looseness of the joints, burning sensations and delusion;”(1)
  • Reduce Coffee - Like alcohol, coffee dehydrates the body. Ensure you sip hot water before and after both alcohol and coffee.

General quantities of your plate should be:

  • 1/2 veggies (fresh, lightly steamed etc.) (at least)
  • 1/4 protein - lentils, animal protein (meat should be no more than 10-15% of diet), and especially less in summer.
  • 1/4 starch - grains, carbohydrates.

Summer Regimen

  • Avoid excessive exercise.
  • Avoid baking in the midday sun as it is to draining for the body. Later afternoon sun is best.
  • Get Vitamin D - Baking in the rising and setting sun is indicated. Take advantage of the adequate amounts of UVB rays that the sun offers more so in the summer. We need at least about 10-15 minutes of direct sun 4-6 days a week in summer, without sun protection (sunscreen). 50 minutes of setting sun is best

Avoid jumping in the water soon after sun bathing

“Immersing oneself in cold water soon after prolonged exposure to sunlight is the cause for disease of the skin and eyes and increase of thirst also.”(2)

  • If the body is heated up and then immediately you jump in the ocean, a lake or a pool, the heat that has been built up will immediately come out, thus causes these diseases. The nervous system will also be shocked.
  • Protect yourself from the sun - The best way to protect yourself from the sun is by staying in the shade or by the use of hats, protective clothing, etc.
  • Stay Cool - use fans rather than air conditioning as the latter is more drying and strips away oxygen.

"Beautiful lakes, rivers and forests which are cool and spreading pleasant fragrances are good for recreation and to relax;"
(1)

TakraDhara Treament

Great “cool down the mind” and a variety of inflammatory disorders such as skin diseases, colitis, irritable bowels, hot flushes and more.

A treatment important for Pitta body types during summer and anyone who live in climates where it gets hot during summer.
This treatment is a bit rare on the common ‘Ayurvedic market,’ but if you can receive a series of it to cool you and your hormones down.

Sandalwood Paste

Anoint your forehead with paste of sandalwood to stay cool; Woman can also apply on cheek bone. Good for headache. Must use quality sandalwood paste.

Abhyanga (Self-Oil Massage)

Practice self-abhyanga using a medicated abhyanga oil coconut based or cold-pressed coconut oil.

Massaging yourself daily will optimise the ability of your sweat pores to dissipate heat out the body.

Abyanga Massage Oil (Coconut Based) 1 Litre

Avoid Sunscreen

According to the Environmental Working Group, only 2 out of 10 commercial sunscreens are considered safe, and only 1 out of 10 of the 1700 sunscreens tested fully protect your skin from the sun.

Sunscreen is contra-indicated because it can have chemicals that can potentially be cancerous to the body. Further, most sunscreen blocks UVB rays (rays that make vitamin D) and does not block the UVA rays (rays that can irritate, disrupt hormones, cause allergies or are carcinogenic).

Simply, when they created sunscreen they got mixed up with the rays!

In Ayurveda, the skin should be strong enough to protect itself and gain energy from the sun, rather than run away from it.

No doubt, skin under intense sun will need protection of some kind. Coconut oil is adequate for shorter amounts of time exposure. Shade and clothes are the best choice.

Weaker Agni During Summer

It is important to be mindful that our digestive fire is weaker in the summer, thus we will have a harder time digesting heavy, fatty and rich foods.

Nature is cooking all the fruits and veggies on the vines and trees all summer long, so the need for us to turn on a big furnace of digestive acid to cook foods that are already pre-cooked by the sun is unnecessary.

Summer Herbs

Shodana Vati (Purification)

Shodana Vati is a powerful rasayana (elixir) to ensure regular detoxification and whole-body cleansing.

This is the most common herb used at Vital Veda since it helps with a diverse range of health conditions and is important for the modern industrial world we live in and it’s inevitable toxins.

It helps in digestion, blood purification, allergies, skin conditions, dental health, cough, eye disorders, addictions, hormonal imbalances and more.

Gudnarkalp (Skin & Metabolism)

Gudnarkalp helps purify the excess toxins and heat that accumulate in the blood.

It helps with conditions that can get aggravated from the heat like fungal conditions, viruses, lyme disease and skin disorders.

It helps strengthen immunity and support allergies.

Visora Skin Care

Visora is an effective herbal formula for reducing inflammation in the skin and toxins in the blood.

It effectively helps pacify skin disorders like eczema, psoriasis, itchy skin, vitiligo and allergic skin conditions.

It provides natural anti-viral, natural psoralen for Puva (UV radiation) therapy, wound healing and immuno-modulation,

Eliminate Heat with the Vital Short Home Cleanse

The Vital Short Home Cleanse includes a "final flush" at the end that literally purges the heat and pitta out of the body.

This is great to do towards the beginning of summer/ spring, but more importantly can be done anytime when you can take time to rest as much as possible.

Conclusion

Think twice this summer before indulging in barbecued ribs, milkshakes, ice-cream, pizza breads and cheese, as these are (poor quality) winter foods that our body simply does not have the acids to digest.

If you do indulge in these popular summer foods, here are some things to remember:

  • Enjoy these foods as a larger mid-day meal when agni is strongest, rather than in the evening or late at night when the digestive fire is much less efficient.
  • Yes, it is OK to eat some of these harder-to-digest foods in the summer. Just do your best do eat smaller portions on the barbecue and much larger portions of the salad, fruits and veggies.
  • Eat these foods by incorporating local ingredients and limit heat or pitta increasing foods and increase heat-reducing foods.
  • Always, whatever you eat, enjoy.
“Even if you eat ice cream. Enjoy it [guilt free, with love and gratitude].”
Vaidya Dr. J.R. Raju

 References:

  1. Astanga Samgraha of Vaghbata, ch.4 (27-37 1/2)
  2. Astanga Samgraha of Vaghbata, ch.9 (5)
  3. Credits: Dr. John Douillard Lifespa

 

Turmeric: Highly Medicinal Spice & Essential Uses

Turmeric Roots

Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) is the most thoroughly researched plant on this planet!

And I don’t blame the scientists for the 5600 peer-reviewed and published biomedical studies.

Not another article listing countless benefits of turmeric, "I don't know where to start or what to use it for,"

Some of you may be thinking.

The bright orange rhizome deserves all these articles and documentation, but it can get a bit overwhelming.

In this article I will sum up the essentials and how to use Turmeric....

The average person in India eats about 2 to 2.5 grams of turmeric a day – almost every day of their lives. Interestingly, India has among the highest rates of prostate, breast, colon and lung health in the world. Some researchers credit turmeric for this.

The best part? Chances are, this spice may already be in your cabinet.

Turmeric has a vast catalogue of health benefits, but here is an

Essential Summary of the Benefits of Turmeric:

• Anti Inflammatory - best anti-inflammatory along with ginger.
• Mood Regulating - In one study, curcumin (the active ingredient that is so heavily researched), was shown to boost the brain chemical norepinephrine, which supports healthy mood, attentiveness, sleep, dreaming and higher learning.
• Curcumin also boosted the levels of dopamine – the “motivation” hormone that supports pleasure, emotion, satisfaction and locomotion – and serotonin, which plays a key role in mood, memory, learning, appetite, sexual behaviour, sleep, and many other functions.
• Protects Gut - Turmeric creates coating around gut area for protection. This prevents toxins from absorbing and will assist the bile in detoxifying toxins like heavy metals, parasites, pesticides, candida, fungi and more. This decongests the lymphatic system.
• Reproductive Nourishment: Breast milk purifier, sperm builder and nourishes reproductive organs.
 Joint Support - It can reduce stiffness and swelling and strengthens joints in cases of joint pain. People with arthritis should be eating plenty turmeric daily.
• Healthy blood - blood purifier, enhances blood flow and can thin blood. Supports liver function.

Boost Absorption: Simply Add a Little Black Pepper:

Researchers found that turmeric taken with black pepper – both common ingredients in curry – increased the absorption of turmeric by an astonishing 2000%! with no adverse effects!

How to Use Turmeric as Medicine:

  • Turmeric Powder is indicated over fresh turmeric because it is more purified and easier to digest. Fresh turmeric can be used but less than 3x a week in teas, stir fries etc. You may use fresh turmeric more if it is purified with limestone.
  • Add at the end of cooking - Curries, stir fires, meat roasts, eggs, dahls, salads, really any savoury meal calls for turmeric. Add the powder towards the end of cooking to savour all the nutrients and healing properties. A general rule is to add powdered spices at the end of cooking (except hing).
  • Anti-Viral Paste - Mix up this paste if a cough, cold/flu or virus hits you or when you feel one coming on. Step in early! Recipe here.
  • Meat - As meat is vulnerable to acquiring infections and cancerous bacteria, turmeric with its anti-cancer properties is vital to add to the cooking of meat.
  • Boosts Oil Pulling - Add a pinch turmeric powder to 1tsp of sesame oil and swish in mouth for a stronger anti-bacterial action and to heal bleeding gums.
  • Golden Milk - Mix turmeric with hot milk + other necessary spices. This promotes sleep, reduces stress, purifies breast milk amongst many more benefits. Recipe here.

External Uses:

Turmeric is popular among many beauty and skin products. Here are some home remedies and uses. Just be careful as it can stain anything it touches.

  • Disinfectant - Mix turmeric with a little ghee, butter or honey (enough to make a paste) and you have a paste to apply on cuts and wounds. Turmeric doesn't only disinfect the wound (it looks just like Betadine), but also heals it. This is a great mixture to have on hand in the first aid kit.
  • Anti-itch - Eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo, any skin condition or where itching is present apply turmeric + butter or yoghurt paste to cool down the skin and relieve the itching. This also heals the skin condition.
  • Face Mask - Purifying face mask to sterilise and draw out or pacify pimples, blackheads and oily secretions. A general mask to nourish and rejuvenate the skin.
    Recipe: mix 2 Tbsp chana flour (chickpea) +1 tsp turmeric powder + 3 tsps milk. Apply on face and lie down until mask dries, then wash off. Can also use as skin exfoliator before shower.
  • Skin-Cancer - Helps protects from and help heal skin cancers.

Properties:

Rasa (taste): Pungent, bitter
Virya (action): Heating
Vipaka (post-digestive effect): Pungent
Doshas: Balances vata, pitta and kapha

Summary:

Simply, turmeric should be used daily in your cooking (with a pinch of black pepper). Further, get to know its potent medicinal components more by utilising the powerful powder for home remedy medical applications.


Takra Dhara Treatment: A Deep Insight

“Takra” = buttermilk
“Dhara” = to pour

Takra Dhara is an ancient treatment where medicated buttermilk is poured over the head in a rhythmic mater (pictured). This stabilises the mind and everything going on inside it, as the herbs penetrate deep into the brain.
During this treatment, usually, you’ll lie in deep, blissful rest, (that is if you haven’t transcended).

The Science: Neurological (Brain and Nervous System) Relation

In times of stress, conduction of neurone cells (nervous system) is chaotic, messages are not clear, there is an inability to think clearly, thus the nervous system is exhausted.
An exhausted nervous system leads to fatigue, sleep issues, anxiety, stress, frustration, anger, and/or other mental issues.

This chaos going on between the nerve cells also produces heat in the brain. This heat is trapped, specifically in the hypothalamus (Sadhaka Pitta), meninges and cerebrospinal fluid (Tarpaka Kapha), which further blocks and aggravates the Life Force/Oxygen (Prana), which is responsible for consciousness, memory, sense function, heart function, inhalation and exhalation and spitting, sneezing vomiting, swallowing, hiccups (Dharna’s).
Hormonal imbalance is also present from disturbed pineal and pituitary glands.

Takradhara regulates and stabilises the mind by improving transmission and movement of impulses by increasing Acetylcholine (ACH), which acts as a mediator between nerve impulses.

Takra Dhara gives stability to the Life Force (Prana Vata), taking the heat out very effectively,  it reduces the speed of neurotransmitters (producing a state of deep relaxation for the patient), enhancing neurological function to pave the way for:

Remarkable Benefits and Transformation:

  • Klama – Mitigates fatigue.
  • Shirorak – Effectively cures headache.
  • Regulates Hormonal function.
  • Ojahkshaya – Replenishes depleted “ojas” (our vitality, our immunity, a vital essence of our whole physiology).
  • Kasaiharana Paristodana – Relives the pain and prick sensations of extremities.
  • Murta dosha – Abnormalities of the urine.
  • Sandhi-Vishlatha – relaxed stiff joints.
  • Hridaya ruk – Cure precordial pain – (the region in front of or over the heart).
  • Aruchi – Improves the taste in the mouth
  • Agni mandya – Improves the digestive power
  • Shiro roga – Diseases of the head
  • Karna roga – Diseases of the ear.
  • Akshi roga – Diseases of the eyes.
  • Dosha Kopa – Alleviates the vitiation of doshas in general.

Takra Dhara is Indicated and Effective for:

  • Mental stress
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Headache/Migraines
  • Psychological illness
  • Mental exhaustion
  • Dermatological conditions like eruptions, eczema, etc.
  • Pediculosis (lice)
  • Premature greying of hair (Palitya)

Shiro Dhara (pouring of oil)

Shiro Dhara is same treatment as Takra dhara, except using warm oil instead of buttermilk.

Shirohdara is  prescribed in cases of:

  • If the season or climate is cold – since Takradhara is cooling, for most people it is not suitable in the cold seasons.
  • Neurological conditions like alzheimers, dementia, parkinsons
  • When vata is in the head.
  • If ones blood pressure is low.
  • Other cases that have been accessed by the physician.

Book in for a Takra Dhara or Shiro Dhara at the Clinic – to take a transformative step for yourSelf.

For prices see Therapeutic Menu

Abhyanga + Takradhara/Shirodhara is a great combination.