Epidermal Immunity: Your Epidermis Is Your Shield of Armour

cross-section of the epidermis

The dynamic activity of the epidermal layer (superficial skin enclosure) is where the first line of defense of your immune system lies. The first level of attack against any intruding organisms, chemical or physical agents, or radiation happens at an epidermal level.

Skin Immunity

Think of your epidermis like a shield of armour.

But beyond this physical barrier are immune cells consisting of macrophages (detect, engulf and destroy) and helper T-cells (coordinating to destroy pathogenic microbes & kill infected cells).

Your shield of armour (epidermis) is populated with skilful and devoted military guards (immune cells) furnished with various weapons (immuno-capacity).

Nervous System Health

What more? Your epidermis is also the initial site from where millions of sensory inputs are transmitted inwards to the physiology.

Ie. Your skin, your biggest organ, is a direct way to interact with your nervous system.

Whether you need to calm an unstable, jittery or erratic nervous system, strengthen it so stressors are smilingly brushed off by your inner calm, or pleasurably nourish this hierarchical aspect of the physiology, doing that via the skin allows you to achieve direct medicinal reaction and healing of the nervous system.

Here are a few ways to enhance the function of your epidermis for immune and nervous system health:


Self-Abhyanga (Ayurvedic Oil Massage)

Giving your self a massage with warm medicated oil every single day that you have a shower.

This feeds the species of microbiome that live on your skin, improves skin physiology, pacifies and strenghens the nervous system + more.

Bathe in Filtered and Structured Water

Did you know showing in tap water is more toxic than drinking tap water?

These toxins and chemicals penetrate deep into your body trans-dermally via the biggest organ in your body, your skin.

LEARN MORE: Is Your Morning Shower Toxic For Your Health?

Internal Herbs

Taking herbs to regularly purify the body allows toxins to exit out of skin.

At the same time, the same herbs can also nourish the plasma and serum that is closely associated with the epidermis to nourish and protect to the body tissues.

We will be going deeper into the tissues of the body, including their divine and cosmic functions, in our upcoming online course: Dhatus & Srotas.

Bibliography: Ramayana in Human Physiology, Dr. Tony Nader


The 21 Herbs of Ganesh

The herbs of Ganesha

Ganesh, the epitome of the earth element, is the symbolic representation of the state of consciousness in which all obstacles are transformed into opportunities.

There are 21 herbs that closely relate to this playful and graceful elephant-headed deity.

This group of herbs of Ganesh have a low G.I. (glycemic index), they strengthen the liver, help the lymph and are good for the skin.

Interestingly, elephants mostly eat low GI foods. They also need a strong liver capacity to be able to digest the copious amount of food they eat!

The leaves of these herbs are also used in Ganesh Patra Puja performed on Ganesh Chaturthi day.

Read more about Ganesh here.

21 Herbs of Ganesh

1. Machi Patra (Artemisia vulgaris)

Main uses: For female irregularities, nervous and spasmodic affections.*

2. Brhati (Solanum indicum)

Main uses:

  • Helps with the mind.
  • Cures body aches quickly (Angamarda) - Its katu and tikta rasa (pungent and bitter taste), heating energy (usna virya) penetrates for quick pain relieving action. (Caraka, Vaghbata).
  • Kathya (helps the throat) (Caraka).

3. Duurva (Cynodon dactylon)

English: Conch grass

Main uses:

  • Lymphatic system.
  • Prevents miscarriage (prajasthapana) (Caraka).
  • Varnya - Cooling energy (sheeta virya). (Caraka).
  • Urinary system and kidney health.
  • One of the most popular plants used for Ganesh. The grass of Ganesh.

4. Aparmarga (Achyranthus aspera)

Main uses: Urinary channel.

5. Vishnu Kranta (Evolulus alsionoides)

English: Dwarf Morning Glory
Main uses: Lymphatic system.

6. Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum)

English: Holy basil.

Main uses:

  • Prananvaha srota (respiratory system)
  • Anti-Bacterial and anti-viral
  • Adaptogen – Tulsi not only helps protect the body from the degenerative effects of stress but also repairs the body from the damage done.
  • Read more about Tulsi here.

7. Maruvaka (Origanum marjorana)

English: Majoram.
Main uses: Aromatic, carminative, culinary.

8. Karavira (Nerium oleander)

Main uses: Helpful for the skin.

Caution: This is a poisonous plant that is hard to purify.

9. Dadima (Punica granati)

English: Pomegranate.

Main uses:

  • Pitta balancing – excess acid, reducing burning sensation (daha), helps internal bleeding (raktapitta).
  • Reduces thirst (trsna).
  • The rind is used for anti-worm and anti-parasite action.
  • Blood purifier and strengthens the heart (Hrdaya) (C.S.).
  • Digestion – inflamed stomach and intestines, relieves hyperacidity and nausea, binds loose bowels and helps with dysentery (Pravahika). Helps in spure (celiac) (Grahani), bleeding diarrhoea (raktatisara), bleeding piles (raktarsas).
  • Good for the pancreas.
  • Chardinigrahana (reduces vomiting).(C.S).

10. Nirgundi (Vitex negundo)

Main uses:

  • Excellent to balance vata.
  • Great for amavat (rheumatoid arhtirits).
  • One action is kapha-vata-hara (reduces both vata kapha). This is rare because vata and kapha are opposites and usually when one increases, the other decreases and visa versa.
  • Anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, helps in sciatica.
  • Important herb for post-partum mothers (Sutika).
  • Good for respiratory tract diseases like bronchitis.
  • Good leaf to incorporate in Patra Poultice treatment.
  • Anti-parasite (Krimighna) action due to usna virya, katu rasa and katu vipaka (Susruta and Vaghbata).

11. Jati (Jasmimum grandiflorum)

English name: Jasmine

Parts used: Flowers and Leafs.

Main uses:

  • Skin disorders (Caraka) with its bitter and astringent taste.
  • Heals and purifies wounds (Vrana Ropana and Vrana Shodana).
  • Respiratory system – opens the channels, regulated mucus in the system.
  • Aromatic and improves the sense of smell.
  • Also opens one to more subtle channels with its light and soft quality (Laghu, Mrdu Gunas).
  • Reduces all 3 doshas.
  • Helpful in disease of the eyes (Akshiroga), ears and head (Shiroga).

12. Deva Kachanar (Bauhinia tomentosa)

13. Arka (Calotropis procera)

Main uses:

  • Tumour (Gulma)
  • Anti-parasite (Krmiroga)
  • Itching (Kandu)
  • Skin diseases (Kushta) (Bhavapraksa)
  • Swelling (Udararoga) – When the aggravated vata is localised within the skin and muscles, it causes swelling in the abdomen. (Bhavapraksa)
  • Heals wounds (Vrana)
  • Asthma (Svasa)
  • The sap is the best purgative drug. (Bhavapraksa)
  • This is also the plant of Surya (sun), and used in Surya rituals.

Caution: This plant is poisonous if not purified properly.

14. Datura (Datura stramonium)

English name: Jimson weed / Devil’s trumpet / Moon flower.

Main uses:

  • Antispasmodic Respiratory Support – overcomes the spasm of bronchial tubes (M.M. Nadkarni) to relieve wheezing and tightness in the chest, helping with coughing and asthma.
  • Hydrophobia.

Caution: This plant contains toxic alkaloids that produces delirium, hallucination hyperthermia, tachycardia and bizarre behaviour. It must be purified properly. Use Oxalis corniculata in cases of poisoning. (M.M. Nadkarni)

15. Bilva (Aegle Marmelos)

English name: Bael fruit

Main uses:

  • One of the best herbs to balance vata.
  • Digestion – Enkindles the digestive fire (deepena) with its light quality (laghu guna) and heating energy (usna virya). Thus helps low and sluggish digestion (Agnimandya). Further it’s katu vipaka helps to digest ama (Pachana).
  • Grahi – helps dry the moisture of the body and of the wastes. Thus helps in diarrhoea and dysentery (pravahika).
  • Balya) – Although this plant is very heating and light, its special quality (prabhava) is that is strengthens the body.
  • A plant of Lord Shiva, thus the leaves are used in intentional ceremonies to balance the destruction operator in nature (Shiva).

16. Badari (Ziziphus mauritiana)

English names: Jujube, Indian plum, Chinese date, Chinese apple.

Main uses:

  • Urinary calculus.
  • Nausea and vomiting, typically caused by liver imbalance.

17. Amra/Chuta (Mangifera indica)

English name: Mango

Main uses: 

  • Good for the heart, (Vaghbata).
  • Anti-emetic (Vaminigrahana), (Vaghbata).
  • Anti-diuretic (Mutragrahana), (Vaghbata).
  • Purifies semen and blood (C.S.).
  • Improves taste (C.S.).

17. Devadaru (Cedrus deodarus)

English name: Himalayan Cedar
The sanskrit name of this very tall tree translates to “wood of the gods.”

Main uses: 

  • Many vata diseases (Susruta) like Amavata (rheumatoid arthritis).
  • Urinary diseases including diabetes (Prameha) – helps reduce kapha with its light quality (laghu guna), bitter taste (tikta rasa) heating energy (usna virya) and pungent post-digestive effect (katu vipaka).
  • Cough (kasa) – Its bitter and pungent taste is the perfect combination to remove kapha; it dries the excess mucus and therefore helps to clear the wet stagnation. Its snigdha and unctuous property loosens phlegm and facilitates expectoration helping to alleviate kapha and dry excess mucus. (A.P,I., S. Pole)
  • Digestion – Enkindles agni (Deepana) (D.V.S.) to help in weak digestion, especially associated with distention. As it alleviates vata it can reduce intestinal spasms and cramping by relaxing the nervous system and easing flatulence. Clears constipation by relaxing and lubricating the bowel.

19. Shemi (Prosopis spicigera)

Main uses: Pacifies the skin with its cooling energy (sheeta virya).

20. Ashvattha (Ficus religiosa)

English name: Sacred Fig / Bodhi Tree
Hindi name: Peepal

Main uses:

  • Female hormone issues like gonorrhoea and STIs. Its astringency helps with leucorrhea.
  • It’s astringent quality helps with aphthous mouth ulcers and dysentery.
  • It’s cooling energy (sheeta virya) helps in skin diseases and imparts skin colour complexion (Varnya).
  • Very good for Vata diseases like Vatarakta (gout).
  • A very important and holy herb in the Vedas. Buddha acquired enlightenment sitting under this tree. One of the few trees that emit oxygen 24/7.

21. Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna)

Main uses: 

  • Hrdya ("Taking and Giving")Supports the parts of the body that "take and give" continuously. Such as the Heart (taking and pumping blood continuously). The Lungs (continuously pumping prana). Brain (receives and gives impulses), every cell in the body does this same action.
  • One of the best Medyas (substances to balance the mind). (Jaimini Brahmana 1/354).
  • Urticaria (Udarda prasamana) - (Caraka). It's cooling energy (sheeta virya) helps other skin conditions to.

21 herbs of Ganesh as per Sula Purana.

 

Herbs of Ganesh Garden, Tirumala

These herbs are grown in a garden in Tirupati, India, on the road up to Tirumala hill next to the Ganesh temple. This photo is outside the garden.

Check out our special medicated ghee prepared with help from Ganesh.

Abbreviations:

A.P. I. – Ayurvedic Pharmacopeia of India.
D.V.S. – Dr. J. N. L. Sastry, Dravyaguna Vijnana.
C.S. – Caraka Samhita.
A.S. – Astanga Samgraha of Vaghbata.

Photo credits:

feature photo: White Wall Studio
Jati: Pintrest.
Arka: Plantas: Beleza e Diversidade
Datura: Taka, Wikipedia.
Bilva: Kens Nursery.
Devadaru – Pablo Evans
Ashwvatta – Alexey Sergeev

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

Shiro Dara Treatment offered in our Ayurvedic Clinic in Sydney

“Takra” = buttermilk
“Dhara” = to pour

Takra Dhara is an ancient treatment where medicated buttermilk is poured over the head in a rhythmic manner (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.