Neem (Azadirachta indica) – Benefits and Uses

Benefits of Neem:

Skin Health
Known as the “Queen of the Skin,” Neem’s contribution in topical and internal support for skincare is one of Neem’s greatest glories. The calming, cooling and anti-inflammatory properties pacifies heat, redness, itchiness and all skin diseases. Apply a neem paste topically for skin diseases (see recipe below).

First-Aid
The anti-bacterial and anti-fungal composition makes it a valuable first-aid tool not only to clean and disinfect wounds but also heal them. Keep a bottle of neem oil handy while camping.

Hair Care
Massaging neem oil into a scalp full of lice, or your dog with flees - then washing it off after 50 minutes is one of my favourite remedies.

Mosquito Repellantneem-mosquto
Lice and fleas aren’t the only pests that Neem repels. Keeping a bunch of neem leaves at the entry of a home is common in India to keep mosquitos out and purify the atmosphere.

High Prana
This may be new news to you, but most trees emit oxygen only in the day while at night they solely emit C02. There are only a handful of trees that emit oxygen 24/7. Neem is one of them.

Digestive Support
Neem with a high chlorophyll content and an action that kills bad bacteria makes Neem an awesome pro-biotic. Neem also balances acidity.

Oral Health
High chlorophyll also gets rid of foul odours such as bad breath and is commonly used in toothpastes and neem twigs themselves are used as toothbrushes.

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One end of a neem twig is made like a brush by chewing it. Then one should brush their teeth.

Eye Health
Boil neem leaves/powder + triphala, reduce the water and use as an eye wash in eye diseases such as irritated eyes and conjunctivitis.

More benefits...
Neem also is an effective blood and liver purifier, it helps reduce fever , diabetes and poisoning.

Ayurvedic Properties:

Taste (Rasa): Bitter, Astringent
Energy (Virya): Cooling
Post-Digestive Effect (Vipaka): Pungent
Qualities (Guna): Light, Dry

 

How to Make a Neem Paste (Topical Skin Application)

  1. Harvest neem leaves. If this is unavailable dry neem leaves or neem powder will do.
  2. Add 1 tsp of turmeric powder.
  3. Add 1 tea-spoon of salt – for excess fat (meda dhatu) or sluggish lymph.
  4. Mix this with 3/4 cup of yoghurt. Mix well then apply on body.

Contact me to order a Neem Paste preparation and if you’re in Sydney visit The Medicine Man for neem oil or powder (he ships within Australia).

Growing a neem tree in Sydney is challenging, but it's coming up slowly.

 

Ayurvedic Immunisation Over Vaccination For Babies

With the recent heat caused by Robert De Niro's controversial anti-vaccine documentary Vaxxed: From Cover-Up To Catastrophe being pulled out of the Tribeca Film Festival, interest and suspicion has stirred up in the pharmaceutical vaccine industry.

So in due course, I will share with you an Ayurvedic way of immunisation.

Vaccinations are a very sensitive topic. I will not blab on about the pharmaceutical industry, only briefly talk about some of the science associated with vaccinations.

What Is Actually In A Vaccination?

Take away the propaganda, take away the new age jargon - just look at the science. Lets look at some of the ingredients of most vaccines:

  • Formaldehyde (well known-carcinogenic)
  • Aluminium (extremely toxic, known neuro-toxin)
  • Thimerosal is a Mercury containing preservative
  • Anti-Biotics
  • Egg Protein – many vaccines are prepared using chicken eggs.
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • other heavy metals, unknown elements, germs that were not intended to be there.

These are put into a baby who has a weak and vulnerable immune system. This is further dangerous because injections bypass portals of immune defence to penetrate deeper into the body.

If you were to take a bottle and fill it with these ingredients and give it to a baby to drink, you could be charged with murder.

Vaccines Are Not 100% Safe

Contrary to what the government would like us to believe, vaccines are not 100% safe.

For example, from 1989 to 2011, the pharmaceutical industry paid out $2.3 billion a year for vaccine injuries.(1) In 2011, the Supreme Court of USA passed a law protecting pharmaceutical companies from all liability related to vaccine injuries, even if the vaccine could have somehow been made safer.(1)

In one study, published in the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) in 2004, the influenza vaccine was linked to a life-threatening condition called Guillain-Barré syndrome.

The Hepatitis B vaccine – which is given to newborns within 12 hours of birth – has been linked to liver cell destruction and accelerated cell death.

While government bodies and medical associations insists this is necessary, Hepatitis B is only spread by blood or intimate contact with body fluids from someone infected, and mothers are always screened during pregnancy.

"We have just witnessed yet another example of the power of corporate interests censoring free speech, art, and truth." 
Vaxxed filmmakers on behalf of Robert De Niro.

Taking these isolated studies and claiming that vaccinations are completely unsafe is also way out of context when considering the benefits and immunity they provide to millions of people worldwide.

I’m not against the principle of vaccinations, just make sure they give clean vaccinations! I’m against uninformed decisions.

My Suggestions If You Are Going to Vaccinate

Reduce or Spread Out Doses For New Borns 

The high amount of vaccinations starting as early as six months old up to six years old may be way too overwhelming for the immune system.

Remove Potential Toxins from Vaccines

Perhaps the most dangerous outcome of the Supreme Courts ruling to hold harmless the pharmaceutical industry from vaccine-related injury is the subsequent lack of motivation to improve the vaccines and use more natural ingredients.

Ask your pediatrician to order vaccines without mercury or other toxic substances commonly found in vaccines. More of these are coming onto the market. Europe took mercury out of the vaccines, the UN is advocating to have it out, Australia has removed it for under 5 year-olds, USA still has it.

Additionally or as a Replacement, Administer Ayurvedic Immunisation

The Ayurvedic immunisation I am about to reveal to you is important to boost your baby's immunity if they are being vaccinated. This will (to some extent) protect your baby from the dangers of vaccines.

However, this Ayurvedic immunisation method plus proper diet and lifestyle regimen will boost the child's immunity so adequately that there is very little to no need for vaccinations at all.

 

Ayurvedic Immunisation: Swarna Prasa (Golden Substance)

Tonic For Infants: Swarna Prasa

Mix 1 part ghee + 2 parts honey + 1 pin needle tip amount of gold bhasma (ash). This should be a very small amount.

*Honey should be unheated and at least 2 months old to increase the honey’s activity levels. Gold bhasma must be obtained from a reputable source.

 

Administering Ritual

The father is to give this to the newborn with a finger from his right hand. Put on the newborn's tip of tongue, before or after their first bath, as soon as possible (but no hurry) after the baby has come out of the womb. Then continue the rest of the essential practices for the infant such as:

  • Bathing (if you didn't already bathe the infant before administering the tonic).
  • Breastfeed within the first hour (max. four hours) after exiting the womb.
  • Oil massage - All over the baby's body. Ideally using medicated ayurvedic oils like our Sishu Kumkumadi Baby Massage oil. Cold-pressed coconut oil is also fine.
  • Whisper Baby Mantra - A primordial sound you whisper to the baby to immediately resonate and calm their physiology. This communicates to the baby "don't worry, you've arrived into a Vedic family, you will be enlightened, we will give you knowledge for enlightenment. You will once again unify with totality. Relax, you can be a baby now."  - contact your local Vedic Meditation teacher to receive and be taught about the Baby Mantra.
  • Wrap Baby in silk or muslin cloth completely, especially ears. Only expose eyes and nose.

Full post-natal regimen coming soon.

How Often To Administer Swarna Prasa

At least once soon after the baby exits the womb.

After that, this can be given to the baby once a month on the Pushya Nakshatra (corresponding to certain times during the constellation of Cancer). If you administer this tonic once a month for up to 12 years old this provides a powerful immunisation for life, however 7 or 12 months is also very beneficial.

Even if you missed out on the first dose right after birth, even a toddler can start taking the tonic.

Contact Us to order specially prepared Swarna Prasa Golden Tonic for your baby, using the finest and precious ingredients and preparation methods.

 

What is your opinion on immunisations?

Please comment below.

 

References

  1. Alternative Therapies Journal. Editorial. Vaccines: Both Sides of the Coin. July/Aug 2015. Vol 21, No.4. Alternative-Therapies.com

7 Ayurvedic Super Foods

According to modern science, food nutritionists, food industry leaders and dieticians, so called “superfoods” aren’t exactly “super.” Wikipedia describes that “Superfood is a marketing term used to describe foods with supposed health benefits..”

The European Union has even prohibited the marketing of products as “superfoods,” unless accompanied by a specific medical claim supported by credible scientific research.(1)

Not particularly inspiring…so I will redefine the word from an Ayurvedic perspective.

First of all, there is no need to exaggerate that foods are “super.” Whatever one uniquely needs will be their superfood. Additionally, everything is actually superfood if you know how to transform and use it.

In general, for a food to be “super” it must:

1. Promote ‘Sattva’

Sattva is a quality in us that translates to “purity.” If Sattva is increased, then so is our inner stillness, clarity of mind and contentment. Love radiates and flows back to us in abundance, while the hormone oxytocin (also known as the “bonding hormone”) is simultaneously secreting. Fresh, seasonal whole foods are predominately Sattvic, thus increases the Sattvic quality in us based on the Ayurvedic law of “like increases like.”

2. Detox and Heal the Body

Some Ayurvedic foods are prized for their powerful medicinal properties. Ayurveda valuably teaches us how to use food as medicine.

3. Directly nourish ‘Ojas’

Ojas is the vital essence of our body that translates to “vitality.”
A plentiful reserve of Ojas is reflected in the lustre of the eyes and skin (like the glow in a baby), strong physical strength, immunity and libido, good digestion, vigour and spirituality.

'Ojas' is considered to be the most refined product of digestion. Every food must metabolise through all the body’s tissues before it can become Ojas.

Ojas: a bio-celestial liquid substance that (predominately) resides in the heart, as well as all over the body in a less concentrated matter.

Building Ojas is an art. Perhaps one of the best ways to consistently build Ojas is to eat a diet of fresh unprocessed, seasonal whole foods, and have a balanced agni to support the process. A handful of special foods (some listed below) even metabolise to nourish and build Ojas directly.

The Super Seven!

The seven Ayurvedic super foods I have chosen genuinely are super. They aren’t just packed with a dense hit nutrients, minerals and essential constituents, but actually promote and support your bodies natural intelligence to absorb and produce its own required constituents itself! Further, The Super Seven promote strength, immunity, peace and contentment in the body and mind. And best of all, they are readily available to everyone! Here they are…

1. Hot Water

I am about to reveal to you a very special Ayurvedic purification technique that is excellent for eliminating toxins from the body’s system…
It sounds very simple, but you’ll find that is has a powerful influence in purifying and strengthening the gastrointestinal tract, as well as detoxing and rejuvenating the major systems of the body.

All you have to do is sip hot water frequently throughout the day.

Sipping frequently (rather than focusing on quantity) flushes the lymphatic system, softens hardened tissues (just like hot water will soften leather, unlike cold water) and dilates channels and deeply hydrates the body. It also heals and repairs the digestive system.
In a short time you’ll begin to appreciate the soothing and balancing effect of this technique. Once you have gotten used to it, you will look forward to drinking hot water on a frequent basis.

“Hot water is the most superfood.”
~ Dr. J.R. Raju.

 

 

2. Ghee

Ghee is the crown jewel that joins Ayurvedic medicine and Indian cooking. Ghee is clarified or purified butter. With all the lactose components & milk solids removed, no-one is allergic to ghee.
Ghee is light to digest and has the special quality of enkindling Agni and supports fat metabolism. It effectively detoxes the gut and is an effective source of internal lubrication.
This concentrated golden substance is highly Sattvic and directly nourishes Ojas.
Click HERE for more on the benefits of ghee

3. Cows Milk

Dairy has a bad name in the press these days. With people increasingly claiming dairy intolerances, it has become perilous in todays new-age health scene.

Let me clarify two reasons why this has developed:

1. The dairy industry in the west is increasingly producing homogenised milk from poorly treated, stress inundated cows that are being fed grains. Further, the milk is pasteurised the wrong way, with added chemicals, pesticides, preservatives and anti-biotic’s.

2. A lot of kids drink cold homogenised milk with sugar filled processed cereals, and topping it off with some fruit in their bowl or having a glass of OJ on the side – a highly “un-ayurvedic” recipe for an incompatible digestive disaster.

Hence, people develop a dairy intolerance. And it may only hit them down the track. Possibly when they finally begin to tune into their own body and become more conscious.

Let me also add, if you believe and accept the notion that “dairy is bad,” you negatively charge the micro-biome in the foods, stress out your own body and if when you eat dairy with guilt it will not digest well due to lack of harmonious compatibility. Mind is the culprit here.

However, Ayurveda on the other hand prizes dairy as one of the most medicinal and nourishing foods and one of the most anabolic foods that directly builds Ojas. Rest assured, it is not a requirement for anybody to drink milk all the time, but if someone is in need of strength or Ojas, milk is one of Ayurveda’s top choices.

What more, it is a classic Ayurveda sleep remedy to drink boiled milk with spices before bed, also having a profound stress reducing action. Modern science has proved ancient wisdom by showing cows milk has certain peptides that lower cortisol and support sleep by 50%.(2)

Cows are considered sacred animals in India and cow milk is highly revered in Ayurveda as one of the most Sattvic of foods.

Please note: milk should always be boiled with equal amounts of water and un-homogenised and preferably organic. This will make it easier to digest.

If you have difficulty with cow’s milk don’t worry, first correct your agni, then slowly introduce dairy. (Consult an Ayurvedic practitioner). Also, there are six other superfoods on the list to choose from!

 

4. Lassi

Lassi is buttermilk, or diluted yoghurt.

  • Improves digestion and a fantastic pro-biotic.
  • Lassi is the best alkaliser.
  • As Lassi improves digestion and absorption it ultimately supports calcium absorption and bone health.
  • Balances heat (pitta) and clear the physical channels.
  • It is the best remedy (with a pinch of salt) for haemorrhoids and anal fissures.
  • A great food to introduce dairy to a lactose intolerant person after they have corrected their agni.
  • Lassi is very hydrating, and a great drink to have with lunch.

*Yoghurt should be fresh.
Ratios of Yoghurt : Water: 1:4, 1:6, or 1:14.

Lassi recipe here

5. Honey

Honey is super Sattivc and directly nourishes our own life-nectar, Ojas. It is actually more of a medicine than a food. Due to its richness, it should be taken in moderation.

On the other hand, Ayurveda teaches that honey will be poisonous when heated above body temperature (that means no honey in hot teas, hot porridge, cooking with honey etc.) as it perniciously clogs the channels. This is why is it always important to purchase honey that is extracted at low temperatures.

Learn more: Honey: Nectar or Poison

6. Turmeric

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.

Turmeric has a vast catalogue of health benefits, but here is an essential summary on why to use Turmeric as medicine in your daily cooking:

  • It is the best anti-inflammatory.
  • It regulates mood and boosts cognitive function.
  • Protects the gut and stomach lining.
  • Supports joints: (pain, stiffness, swelling, arthritis) and healthy blood.
  • Since turmeric is anti-carcinogenic, it is vital to use when cooking meat due to the high risk of carcinogenic properties in most meat these days.

Turmeric powder is best advised, always with a pinch of black pepper, as black pepper increases the absorption of turmeric by an astonishing 2000%!(3)

Learn More: The Essential Uses of Turmeric

7. Almonds

Almonds are also Sattvic and help to maintain our Ojas. They are a good source of zinc, strengthen the body and grounding for the mind. But they are also quite rich and heavy, so again, moderation is the key. Half a handful of almonds a day is enough. To make them lighter and easier to digest, always soak almonds overnight in water and remove their skins the next day.

If you are in any doubt about your health please be sure to consult an Ayurvedic Practitioner or your local health physician.

References:
(1)  "Superfood 'ban' comes into effect". BBC News. 2007-06-28.
(2) The Open Sleep Journal. 2009;2:128-32
(3) Research done at St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore, India Planta Med. 1998 May;64 (4):353-6. PMID: 9619120

article originally published on Welcome Earth

Summer Regimen

“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)

Summertime... and the living is easy..

It’s also hot and dry! and it's wise to protect yourself by keeping cool. To work in harmony with this season to thrive during it. Imagine feeling prime during summertime.

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.

Summer Pathogenesis

  • 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 to remove the heat. Your intestinal villi might be irritated and inflamed.
  • You may experience anger, frustration, aggressiveness - 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, 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 and incorporate some herbs, therapies and other cooling techniques.

Stay Cool, Calm and Hydrated

Summer Regimen (Grimsa 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.

  • Food should be sweet, cold (potency/energy) and liquid;
  • Avoid, substances which possess pungent, sour, and salt tastes and hot potency (virya).
  • Pitta aggravating foods such as coffee, spicy foods, red meat, yoghurt, cheese, fermented foods.

Fruit Rules

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

During the summer digestion is a little weaker, allowing you to enjoy fruit (which is light) as a full meal.

Experiment with this by having fruits (alone) for breakfast 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 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 support blood sugar. Eat only organic apples! as they are one of the foods that have the most pesticides.

Pomegranates

Very powerful anti-oxidant, pitta reducing, circulates the blood and lymph. Be sure to eat the white pith.

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!

  • "Rice, milk, ghee, grapes, coconut water and (raw) sugar is indicated;"(1)
  • Cooling vegetables such as asparagus, coriander (cilantro), broccoli, and leafy greens.
  • Lassi - Make it thin. View recipe.
  • Drink Coconut Water - to keep cool and hydrated. Drink fresh whole coconut rather than packaged liquid.
  • “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 basking in the midday sun as it is to draining for the body. Afternoon sun is best.
Get Vitamin D - Basking 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 about 10-15 minutes of direct mid-day sun 3-4 days a week in summer, without sun protection (sunscreen). 45 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.
  • Further, if you take a shower or jump in a pool within an hour of getting your rays – you can wash off the pre-vitamin D that sets up on your skin. You will wash it off before it undergoes the process of converting to vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol to be transported to be stored in the liver.

 

  • 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)

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.

Takra Dhara

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

Abhyanga - using cold-pressed coconut oil (preferably) prepared with herbs that mitigate pitta. Daily.

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 then 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.

detailed article about what sunscreen to use coming soon...

Weaker Agni

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.

Conclusion

So 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.
“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

 

The Low Down on “Oil Pulling”

One of the finer crazes of the alternative/natural health scene today, Oil Pulling has been part of the Ayurvedic daily routine for thousands of years, and for many more reasons than just teeth-whitening and cosmetic benefits.
In the Sanskrit, “Gandusha” means keeping the oil in the mouth, and “Kavala” means to swish it.
Swishing oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes daily claims to deliver a catalogue of health benefits:

Oil pulling is clearly mentioned in the classic and most esteemed textbook of Ayurveda, the Caraka Samhita. Caraka says this about oil pulling:

Keeping of oil gargle provides strength in jaws and voice, development of the face, maximum taste and relish of food. One does not suffer from dryness of throat, lip cracking and teeth become firmly rooted. The teeth do not ache or become sensitive and can chew the hardest food items.
Charaka samhita Ch V -78 to 80

Oral Health

Numerous studies of modern science cites similar results supporting the original statement made by Caraka Samhita more than 3000 years ago.

Modern science shows that while swishing with high-quality oil for over 10 minutes, the enzymes in your mouth modify to further boost and support the effectiveness of the oil.

A handful of studies show oil pulling for 10-20 minutes a day can reduce plaque, decrease Streptococcus mutans populations (bacteria that leads tooth decay and bad breath), provide better teeth cleansing and oral hygiene, and promote healthy gum tissue.

Literally “Pulling” Out Toxins

Oil Pulling got its name from the “pulling” or cleansing effect oils have when applied to (external or internal) skin.

Oils are lipophilic, meaning they attract other oils and fat soluble toxins, “pulling” them out from the surface that the oil is introduced to.

This can be observed when oil is massaged over the skin, introduced into the digestive tract via edible oils, or - as you have learnt today - when oil is swished in the mouth.

  • In the mouth, fat-soluble toxins from the oral cavity are “pulled” out by the oil, supporting a healthy mouth and fresh breath.(1,2).
  • From both the external use of sesame oil in massage and the ingestion of ghee, one study found free radicals in the blood were reduced.(3)
  • Another study observed how heavy metals and environmental toxins were “pulled” out of the blood during sesame oil massage and the ingestion of ghee during an Ayurvedic detox called panchakarma.(4)

Oil Pulling Supports Heart Health

Gum health has been linked to heart health in many studies over the years. This is why dentists take such care to support healthy gums. Poor gum health may allow foreign microbes to infiltrate the blood stream and irritate the arterial walls. Interestingly the same bacteria, Strep mutans, which surges in the mouth after a high sugar diet, is also found in unhealthy levels in the arterial walls of heart patients.

Lubricating the Head

As the oil lubricates the whole head neck and throat region, it is very effective for thyroid issues ear problems and hearing issues. It lubricates the optic nerve so as to maintain optimum eye sight and healthy eyes.

How Do You Do It?

Simple.

Oils Used

Cold pressed black sesame oil or coconut oil (inferior). Herbalised oils are superior and recommended to enhance the effect.

Method:

  • One teaspoon of this oil is swished in the mouth and sucked or pulled through the teeth for 15 - 20 minutes.
  • Swish after brushing teeth so as not to brush off the protective coating the oil has left.
  • The quantity of liquid will increase in your mouth as it collects toxins.
  • After, spit the oil down toilet or in the garden, then you may rinse your mouth out with warm water.

This practice is so easy because you can do it whenever… In the shower, during exercise, while getting ready in the morning, there’s really no excuse to not do it, as you can multi task! just don’t talk or sing at the same time.

 

 

Gandusha Oil: Medicated Oil Pulling Oil

Supersede the status quo of oil pulling with plain sesame or coconut oil by swishing with Vital Veda’s “Gandusha Oil.” This oil is prepared with a sagacious combination of many herbs, a recipe passed down for generations to my teachers, which further boosts oral health, lubrication of the head neck and throat, enhance the detoxification process, and more.

Contact Us to order Gandusha oil. 

References

(1) http://www.ait.ie/aboutaitandathlone/newsevents/pressreleases/2012pressreleases/title-16107-en.html
(2)Charaka samhita Ch V -78 to 80.
(3)Sharma HM, Midich SI, Sands D, Smith DE: Improvement in cardiovascular risk factors through Panchakarma purification procedures. J Res Educ Indian Med, 1993; 12(4); 2-13.
(4) Heron, Fagan. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine in its September/October 2002 issue, two
Credits - Dr. John Douilliard's Lifespa

 

 

Travel Healthy! Reduce Aeroplane Stress

Aeroplane travel will surreptitiously “suck the life out of you.” It sucks all the moisture out of your body.
With the humidity level in the cabins of most commercial aeroplanes at just 10-20%, (some are even as low as 1%!)(1), this makes aeroplanes drier than the Sahara Desert! which sits at about 25% humidity.

Take a good look at yourself in the mirror after travelling, especially if you travel a lot. If you are slightly in tune with your body, you will probably realise how much aeroplane travel accelerates your ageing process.

You may be surprised to learn the many risks associated with air travel.

For example, one study shows how bacteria can stay alive and continue to be infectious for more than a week on the arm rests, seat pockets, seats and bathroom doors of commercial aircrafts. The dry air is said to contribute to their extra-long life on airplanes.(2)

That’s not to mention the health risks associated with jet lag, dehydration, swelling and fatigue.

The good news is, I’ve compiled some effective strategies to buffer these risks. Incoporating just a few simple tips to your air travel routine will help lessen the impact of flying and help you feel more vibrant during and after your trips.

Altitude Shock = Dehydration & Dryness

Ever wonder why it is so easy to fall asleep in a plane? It is likely because the oxygen has been literally sucked out of your brain as the cabin is being pressurised.

When people flock to mountain towns to hike, ski or for leisure, it is very common for them to get altitude sickness. Even fit athletes who train at altitude can tell the difference when they climb to 3,000 meters. In a plane, this altitude change happens in just a couple of minutes!

Dehydration and body dryness is the most instant result of altitude shock.

If you are flying a lot and your body is repeatedly put through such drastic altitude changes, the effects become chronic. Chronic sub-clinical dehydration will first dry out the outer skin and then dry out the skin associated lymph beneath the skin. When this dries out, lymphatic flow is hampered, compromising its function of draining toxins and circulating white blood cells around the body for immunity.

Air Travel Survival Tools:

1. Pre-Hydrate:

For 1-2 days before you fly, make every effort to drink plenty of warm-hot water. Approximately 2-3L depending on your body weight. Fresh coconut water is also recommended if in season. On the day of your flight, sip hot water every 10-15 minutes to help further hydrate and support the lymphatic system.

2. Lubricate

Do Ayurvedic Self-Massage before and after trips or treat yourself to an Abhyanga upon arrival if available. This will not only counter the dryness but effectively move the lymph and circulate blood. Continue to topically apply oil as a moisturiser on the flight.
Pack a little Ghee as (the best) lip balm, or use the massage oil.

3. Shilajit

Used by Himalayan mountain climbers to gain energy for climbing at heights above 6,000 meters and to help oxygenate at high altitudes. The active ingredient of this ancient herb, Fulvic acid, has now been found by scientists to support oxygen and energy transport. Consider taking this herb around travel days.*
* It is best to take herbs in a therapeutic combination rather then by itself. If taking by itself, have 1 day break every 7 days. Consult an Ayurvedic practitioner.
– Pitta body types take caution as Shiljait is very heating and may aggravate Pitta.

Recycled Air

The Journal of Environmental Health Research reported that air travel increases the risk of catching a cold by 100 times because of the recycled air.

While exposure is unavoidable, we can increase our immunity and decrease our susceptibility.

Air Travel Survival Tools:

1. Nasya

My most prized aeroplane survival tool.
Nasya is an Ayurvedic technique which involves lubricating the nasal passages (responsible for immunity). Best is to use Vital Veda/Raju Nasika herbalised oil formula. Inferior but still effective is cold pressed black sesame oil.
Method: Tilt the head back and drop 1-3 drops in each nostril every hour so. The aim is to sniff it through the entire nasal passages, and even further to your brain.
Also pop a couple of drops in your ears to deal with cabin pressure.

2. Chywanprash

This trusted and popular Ayurvedic formula supports immunity. This is a classic remedy for supporting frequent travellers and mitigating your risk of catching a cold during a flight.
*Please buy quality product from a trustworthy source such as Vital Veda.

Jet Lag

Imagine air-lifting a dolphin from the Tasman Sea off the coast of Sydney, Australia to the Indian Ocean by Singapore in just 8 hours. Then, after a quick layover, air-lift that same dolphin to the harbour in Hong Kong in 4 hours. jumping-bottlenose-dolphinWould you expect that dolphin to ever re-establish normal migration patterns? If so, how long do you think it might take?

For humans too, this disruption of the body’s normal biological rhythms is very real.

Jet lag can cause fatigue and lead to cognitive decline, sleep issues, and even psychotic or mood disorders.

Air Travel Survival Tools:

1. Daily Ayurvedic Massage

Since your skin has more nerve endings than any other organ, applying herbalised oil will pacify the nervous system. Every square centimetre of the body’s skin is innervated by sensory neurons. These neurones are much happier when fed with herbalised oil, rather than left dehydrated to become irritated and over-stimulated. Learn to do self-massage.

2. Watch the Sunrise & Sunset

Watch the sunrise and sunset to re-connect with the natural circadian cycle. Natures rhythms will enter through the retina of your eyes to regulate hormones. Even if it means pulling yourself out of bed, it’s worth it, and beautiful.

IMG_0643

3. Ashwagandha

Considered by many to be one of the most potent adaptogens, this herb seems to support the body’s ability to adapt to such stress as that incurred by jet lag without the crippling impact.
– it is best to take herbs in a therapeutic combination rather then by it self. If taking by itself, have 1 day break every 7 days. Consult an Ayurvedic practitioner. I recommend the product Stresscom to get your ashwagandha in.

Blood Clots

20 million travellers will develop blood clots, or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) a year.(3)
The risk factors seem to be a combination of sitting still for hours in a pressurised cabin, lymph congestion, and dehydration.

Air Travel Survival Tools:

1. Get up and move regularly during long flights

• Walk up and down the aisles more
Yoga Asanas – find a more spacious place to do stretches – I usually go near the bathroom, back or front of a section, exit rows, rows with more leg room, empty business class areas, or my favourite, the muslim praying area.
• Stretch your neck, rotate ankles, wrists, as much as you can while sitting.

2. Herbal Support

If DVT is an issue with you, it is important consult a practitioner to tackle this problem. More complex herbs are required to dilate the channels.

3. As discussed above.

Hearing Loss

Airline cabins range from 75 decibels in the front of the plane to 85 to 100 in the back. A loud nightclub, for example, roars at about 100 decibels. The Institute for Occupational Safety and Health limits safe noise levels to 88 decibels for four hours. This suggests that there is potential risk of permanent hearing damage during frequent flights that last longer than four hours.

Air Travel Survival Tools:

1. Noise Reduction Headphones

If you are a frequent traveller, consider a set of noise reduction headphones, which reduce noise by about 40 decibels.

2. Nasya in the Ears

Pop a couple of Nasya oil drop ins your ears before flying. Keep the head on each side for about a minute for the oil to sink down deep down the ear drum.

Constipation

Very common due to jet lag, altitude shock and dehydration.

Swelling

Mainly caused by congested lymph system.
Causative factors of lymph congestion are almost all of the items discussed above, particularly:

  • Constipation dries out the lymph concentration on the gut wall.
  • Altitude shock affects cellular pressure, which is responsible for lymph movement.
  • Sitting still for hours may congest the lymph as their is no movement to pump the lymph and regulate the circulatory system.
  • Dehydration directly affects lymph flow.
  • Jet lag creates stress on the body, which is a major cause of lymph congestion.

Air Travel Survival Tools:

1. Vital Veda/ Raju “Shodana Vati”

Detoxification agent & whole-body cleansing purifier. 3-dosha blanching. Accordingly these herbal pills support regular bowel motions.

2. Triphala

*Not necessary if you are taking “Shodana Vati.”
Tripahla is a natural bowel toner that supports regular bowel movements. It can be used for short periods of time around travels without dependency. available at Vital Veda.

3. Sip Hot Water Frequently

Ensure you have a thermos with you to keep refilling. You’ll make best friends with the flight attendant, and perhaps contribute to the revolution of drink hot water rather than cold.

4. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.

These only dehydrate you further while in light.

5. Eat Very Light

It is very hard to digest in the air when you are not grounded and while your body is under such stress. Rather eat in between flights while you’re on the ground. If you get hungry in the air, eat a spoon or two of chywanprash or have fruit.

6. Vata Tea

Since the Vata dosha gets mostly thrown out during travel, a Vata tea can assist in balancing. My favourite Vata tea is from Moksha Ayurveda.

6. Tongue Scraper and Herbal Toothpaste

Don’t forget these in your carry on luggage for long flights to scrape away the ama (toxins).

7. Meditate More

Due to the harsh environment of an aeroplane, meditate as much as you like! It will buffer against jet lag, provide deep rest, and get you through the flight a lot more joyfully. Vedic meditation is recommended.

Don’t just Arrive Alive, Arrive and Thrive!

travel plane kit
my on-board travel kit. Also includes a thermos and some Vata tea bags.

 

References
(1) Robert Haru Fisher, http://www.frommers.com/articles/4606.html
(2) http://wireeagle.auburn.edu/news/1656
(3) “The Lancet,” New Zeland, 2003.
Credits: Dr. John Doulliard, Lifespa.com

 

Ayurvedic Self-Massage: (Abhyanga)

Express self-love and self-respect by lovingly anointing yourself from head to toe with warm oil. This practice is called Abhyanga. A daily Abyanga practice restores the balance of the doshas and enhances well-being and longevity. Regular Abyanga is especially grounding and relaxing for the Vata dosha, but everyone substantially benefits from this practice.

“The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.”

Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89 (One of the Great ancient texts of Ayurveda)

more on the power of an Ayurvedic massage

Oils Used

  • Best oil to use is medicated oils specific to your individual constitution and the season.
  • Next best is cold-pressed, black sesame oil, as it can most effectively penetrate the body.
  • Rather use cold-pressed coconut oil in some Pitta imbalances, hot climates, and if the person has skin reaction to the sesame oil.

Contact Us to order medicated oils.

How to Perform Self-Abhyanga


Download the printable Self-Abhyanga Poster Here

Notes

  • The main purpose of the strokes is to soothe and stimulate the tissues gently and pacify Vata Dosha throughout the body via the connections the skin has to all the inner organs and systems. So be gentle, not to deep or strong. (Studies actually show light touch is more effective than deep pressure massage for the nervous system. See Light Touch vs. Deep Pressure Massage).
  • Leaving oil on - Aim to leave to oil on for at least 15-20 mins, and up to 45 mins (this time is ideal) at the most. Minimum leave oil on for 8 mins.
  • Washing oil off/bathing - It is very important to wash, or wipe off the oil afterwards so that the toxins that have been pulled out are not reabsorbed. For this reason, leave the oil on for no longer then 1 hour.
  • Caution - Do not do abhyanga or Nasya when you are sick with fever, or when woman are menstruating.

Enjoy the nourishment you provided to your body, mind, and spirit, and carry that with you throughout your day! you sure will feel it!

Vital Veda Massage Oils

VV Oils.jpg

  • Kumkumadi Tila - Medicated Sesame Massage Oil
  • Kumkumadi Keram - Medicated Coconut Massage Oil
  • Sishu Kumkumadi - Medicated Olive Baby Oil

Our medicated oils contain complex and precious formulations of a vast range of organic, wild crafted and rare herbs.

Dylan Smith (founder of Vital Veda) will impregnate rare and precious Raju family herbs into organic oils in a cultivated and attentive process that is coordinated with the cycles of the sun and moon.

This ensures safety and enhances a divine potency, and is one of the factors that make our treatments profoundly effective and treasured by so many.

Available for purchase via postage or pick up from Bondi clinic. Email to order.

Abhyanga: Ayurvedic Massage – More Than Your Regular Massage

The leaves and bark of a tree are massaged by the wind,
the rocks and pebbles by the rivers and streams,
primates groom and rub up against each other to socially bond, decrease stress, and make up after a tussle,
a child feels protected with the touch of their mother.

Everything in this universe is being massaged continuously to be in perfect balance.

Massage, being the greatest form of the sense of touch, is essential to provide nourishment to the physical, mental and emotional bodies…

After people receive an authentic Ayurvedic massage, mostly they experience an underlying sustaining bliss, while simultaneously their grounded, relaxed and refreshed mind is surprised, “what did I just receive?”

Unique Features of Ayurvedic Massage

Ayurvedic massage is very different to the more common massages on the market – deep tissue, Swedish, Japanese, Chinese, Thai massage, sports massage, Lomi Lomi/Kahuna, etc.

  • Medicated Oils – This is a key aspect of the Abhyanga. Usually coconut or sesame oil is medicated with various herbs according to the season and the individual’s unique constitution. Ayurvedic massage oils have the power to penetrate through all layers of skin and enter into all 7 body tissues to do its job of effective detoxification, nourishment and more.
  • Strokes are selected and applied in a vigorous and rhythmic matter according to the client’s constitution and imbalances.
  • Special consideration is given to the Marma Points which are the special storehouses of energy and concentrated life force. The Marmas are enlivened for vast harmonious effects.
  • The 7 chakras are also worked on to unblock any problems related to them.
  • The Lymphatic system is critical for good health according to Ayurveda. Abhyanga specifically stimulates and strengthens the lymphatic system, thus improves immunity and stabilises hormones, thus improves physical and mental states.
  • Pacifying the Nervous System – The skin has more nerve endings then any part of the body! This is why Ayurvedic massage, through appropriate strokes channelled harmoniously with the body’s channels,  is so effective in calming the mind down, grounding a frantic mind, releasing stress, promoting proper sleep, and providing a state in which the body can deeply rest. There isn’t any other way to pacify 20,000,000 nerve receptors in the body’s skin in just a couple of minutes?!

“I feel like I have slept for a week…recently thoughts have been racing through my head throughout the night.”
~ Rao, after an Abhyanga at the Vital Veda clinic.

  • Blood Circulation – Blood is effectively circulated all throughout the body and toxins in the blood are expelled.
  • Internal Lubrication – As these oils can penetrate deep into the body, Ayurvedic massage promotes flexibility of the muscles, tissues and joints.
  • Promotes softness and luster of the skin as well as youthfulness.
  • Correcting Injuries – specifically the muscle and bone tissue (Mamsa & Asthi Dhatu)
  • Shaping the organs.
  • Regenerating tissues.
  • Creating a nurturing environment for the many microbes on the skin. Doing the massage lovingly will significantly allow the microbes to thrive even more, shaping your body for good health (as 90% of your body is bugs)!
  • It opens the flow of Prana (Life Force) by balancing the three doshas.
  • Detox – The medicated oil and specific methods drive the doshas and the Ama (toxins) from the deeper connective tissues back to the gastrointestinal tract for proper elimination. This is why after a massage you must rest and frequently sip hot water.

Western Science Proving the Power of Massage

  • Studies have shown that people with hypertension and depression improve with massage therapy.
  • Massage appears to decrease cortisol, a disease-producing and degenerative stress hormone.*
  • It also increases dopamine and norepinephrine, which boost mood, reward, pleasure and wellbeing.*
  • Massage has also been found to boost immunity and killer T cells in AIDS patients.*

In a recent study published in Alternative Therapies, 95 subjects had their blood levels evaluated for the following chemicals before and after a 15 minute massage:

  • Oxytocin: the primary target; a bonding and anti-anxiety hormone.
  • ACTH (adrenocorticotropin): a hormone that increases with stress and decreases with relaxation.

Oxytocin increases when one feels trust and/or empathy. It is the giving hormone, released during acts of appreciation, gratitude, emotional connections and giving touch. Laboring mothers secrete large amounts of oxytocin at birth, fostering the initial family bond.

Amazingly, research also shows that oxytocin*:

  • Extends life in cancer patients
  • Reduces cravings for sweets
  • Reduces anxiety and depression
  • Increases sexual potency and desire
  • Reduces cortisol and boosts immunity

The Results

Oxytocin levels increased by 17% for the group that received massage. The control group who just rested showed a 9% decrease in oxytocin.
ACTH (adrenocorticotropin) – which increases with stress – increased by 30% for the group who rested without receiving massage. Interestingly, it decreased by 20% for those who were in the massage group.

Light Touch vs. Deep Pressure Massage

In a previous study comparing oxytocin release during light touch and deep pressure massage, light touch massage (as used in Ayurvedic massage techniques), yielded a 27% increase in oxytocin and a 24% decrease in ACTH.

Perform Massage Daily

In India, getting a massage starts on day one. Mothers have been giving babies daily massages for thousands of years. Children start giving themselves daily massages at early ages alongside other daily practices like brushing teeth, scraping tongue, bathing etc., and continue this as a lifelong practice.

While receiving a massage daily by a therapist would yield astonishing results, this is uneconomical and unpractical. One must learn to do Self-Massage, because after attuning with your body in this way with deep self-respect, believe me, you will notice the difference that day and beyond!

*Altern Ther Health Med. 2012;18;960;11-18

Abhyanga: Therapeutic Ayurvedic Massage at the Vital Veda Clinic

Panchakarma Treatment packages available. See Therapeutic Menu
Contact me to book in for an effective boost in realigning yourself into balance.

AAAbh Mukha bird eye view