Sweet Lassi

Ingredients

1 tsp – 1 TBSP fresh plain yoghurt
1-1.5 cup water.
1 tsp rose water
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp quality sugar (optional)
1/4 tsp fresh cream

Method

Blend ingredients well and drink fresh.

Benefits of Lassi

  • 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.

 

Cooling Lassi

Ingredients

2 tsp – 2 TBSP yoghurt
1-1.5 cup water
1 tsp coriander leaves finely chopped
1 tsp mint leaves finely chopped

Method

Blend all ingredients together well and drink fresh.

Benefits of Cooling Lassi

  • Helps with skin conditions such as eczema, hives and psoriasis.
  • Perhaps the most important food for pitta imbalance as it balances heat and clears the physical channels.
  • Lassi is very hydrating, and a great drink to have with lunch.
  • 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.
  • Plain lassi with a pinch of salt is the best remedy for haemorrhoids and anal fissures.
  • A great food to introduce dairy to a lactose intolerant person after they have corrected their agni.

 

Digestive Lassi

Ingredients

1 tsp – 1 TBSP yoghurt
1-1.5 cup water
1/2tsp roasted ground cumin powder
1/2tsp roasted ground ajwain powder
1/2 tsp black salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Method

Blend all ingredients together well and drink fresh.

Plain lassi containing just yoghurt and water is also very good.

Benefits of Digestive Lassi

  • Improves digestion and a fantastic pro-biotic.
  • Helps in reflux and diarrhoea (in this case make it more thicker).
  • 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.

 

Honey – Nectar or Poison?

Honey, nature’s sweet nectar, was considered by the ancient Vedic sages as one of the most exceptional food items available to mankind. It constitutes unique medicinal properties par excellence. And all this certainly still prevails today, but only when used properly.

In stark contrast, honey when heated is considered fatal and is classified as poison. Not only did ancient vedic sages clearly warn civilisations about this, but now modern science is proving ancient wisdom by confirming the toxicity of heated honey.

I understand that these words condemning heated honey seem harsh, radical and perhaps rather shocking. But many sages (who are considered authentic authorities on the science of life that is Ayurveda) used these exact words for this topic. And by the way, this language was rarely used.

I personally consider heated honey as the #1 Biggest Flaw in The Post Modern Era Diet.

The Importance of Honey

Honey is a medicine, not so much a food.

Honey is only good in little quantities. This is “because of properties like difficult digestibility, dryness and astringency.”(1)

If undigested, honey is very hard to eliminate out of the body. If it doesn’t eliminate, it lodges in the body as ama (undigested food material), which is the root cause of most illnesses. Ama clogs the channels of the body, obstructing metabolic activity, preventing nutrients from being delivered to cells and hampering proper waste elimination.

“Nothing is as troublesome as the Ama caused by improper intake of honey.”
~ Charaka, Ancient Sage.

The best yogavahi (catalyst)

Which means it amplifies the properties of the herbs added to it.(2)

The chief Anupana (Vehicle of Administration)

All herbs need a vehicle to effectively deliver it to the part of body that it is intended for. There are many Anupana’s such as ghee, milk, decoctions, water, sugar, wine and more. Honey is the main Anuapana in Ayurvedic medicine.

Thus, the best way to get your regular dose of honey is to incorporate it into your regular herbal intake.
(see below for other ways to take honey).

Good for the Eyes

Improves the eyesight. Very useful for itchy eyes, trachoma, conjunctivitis, glaucoma and other similar diseases.(1)

Honey is an excellent ‘scraper’ - whether it be scraping undigested food material in the digestive tract, to then be eliminated, or the mature cataracts (when the lens of the eye becomes progressively opaque) to stop the growth of the membrane.

It is to be used regularly internally but most effective when applied into the eyes via a specific Ayurvedic herbal preparation. (contact Vital Veda to order Netra Amrit Eye Drops).

Heart Health

Honey is wonderful for the heart. While it’s sweetness give pleasure to pacify the emotional heart, the scraping quality removes the ama that is blocking heart vowels and arteries.

Heart Tonic Remedy - Honey + amalaki juice + lemon juice + mango juice + arjuna kashayam (optional).

Honey Heals the Skin

Topically applying honey to wounds(1), burns, cuts, skin diseases(1) and ulcers(1) is an easy home remedy to clean the area and hasten healing.

Wound Healing Remedy - Mix some turmeric powder with honey to increase the antiseptic effect and stop bleeding(1). Topically apply on skin lesion.

Digestion

  • Honey is considered a boon for those with low digestion (Manda Agni). This is because it scrapes away the kapha coating on top of the pitta (kapha avarana).
  • It helps with diarrhoea and regulates acid levels.
  • It is a vital ingredient during Panchakarma when conducting purification treatments such as Basti (enema) and Vamana (emesis).

Respiratory Health

Honey is highly beneficial in the support of lung health and treatment of all imbalances of the lungs. Honey contains a mixture of "higher" alcohols and ethereal oil that emit soothing and beneficial vapours. Couple this with a combination of Ayurvedic respiratory herbs to breath at ease.

 

Cough

Honey soothes the inflamed mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract and relieves irritating cough and symptoms like difficulty in swallowing. Honey is also one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods for inflammation anywhere in the body.

Cough and Cold Home Remedy – Honey and spice paste.

Weight Loss, Obesity and Diabetes

Honey is Kapha Nisaraka.
“Sara” = Essence.
“Ni” = Take away.
Honey, with its astringent quality, in small amounts, takes away the essence of kapha. Kapha is the factor for fluids, excess fat and heaviness in the body.
Another quality of honey is Stambhana (Stopping). Honey stops the overproduction of the bodily tissues.

Weight Loss Remedy - Boil water at night. The next morning add 1tsp honey + 1tsp lemon juice to the room temperature water and drink first thing after brushing teeth and scraping tongue.

Aphrodisiac and Ojas Booster

Due to a sweet taste and sweet post-digestive effect, honey (when taken right) is one of the few foods that metabolises so well that it nourishes all the tissues and quickly and directly nourishes and builds Ojas (vital essence). Due to it’s yogavahi (catalyst) quality, combined with aphrodisiac herbs it is effective for low libido, premature ejaculation, low sperm count and reproduction.

Ojas Builder and Immunisation for Babies - Swarna Prasha (honey + ghee + gold bhasma) - (available at Vital Veda clinic).

Other benefits:

“Madhu (honey) breaks up solidified materials inside the body, relieves thirst, mitigates kapha, poison, hiccup, bleeding disease, skin diseases, diabetes, worms, vomiting, difficulty in breathing, cough, diarrhoea; cleanses the ulcers, unifies fractures, heals wound.”(1)

Ways to Take Honey:

  • Incorporate into herbal preparations.
  • By itself as a tonic - If you do not take herbs, you can take 1tsp of raw honey first thing in the morning. (Sweet should be the first taste of the day).
  • Fruit + Honey - Drizzle honey on seasonal fruit. Honey + grapefruit is a great breakfast for weight loss. (make sure to eat the white pith of the grapefruit!).
  • Yoghurt + Honey - Yoghurt is one of the heaviest foods available. Thus Ayurveda says “it should not be taken alone without, sugar, green gram soup, honey or amalaki”(3) to make it more easily digestible. Honey and yoghurt is a great snack.

Honey’s Poisonous Potential

On the other hand, honey can easily acquire a poisonous quality. All it takes is heat.

When honey is heated past body temperature (37 degrees celsius) it becomes poison.

 

“100 litres of honey can be spoiled with 1 drop of hot water. Poison.”
Vaidya J.R. Raju

When heated, the molecules in honey metamorphose into glue-like structures and that adhere to the gut membrane, clogging the channels and producing ama. This ama becomes a sly nuisance that is very difficult to remove from the body.

“It takes many Panchakarma’s to remove heated honey.”
~ Vaidya J.R. Raju.

Now modern science is proving ancient wisdom. A study showed that when honey is heated, it produces a chemical called hydroxymethylfurfuraldehyde (HMF), a substance linked in certain forms to toxicity and possible links to carcinogenic effects.

The heat melts the microscopic globules of wax, which is where bees store this toxic chemical (and possibly more). This wax which encases the toxic substances is only eliminated straight out the body if it is not heated.

Beware of Heated Honey

  • Don’t add honey to any food or drink that is hot including tea, chai, porridge, honey soy chicken, honey cake etc. You are safer to leave this out all together rather then letting the food or drink “cool down.” - Remember, 37 degrees celsius.
  • Honey as an ingredient in packaged foods - Care should be taken to avoid cereals, breads, baked goods, sauces, bars and other “health food” products that include honey which has been cooked. Read the labels.
  • What is the source of your honey? - Speak to the bee keeper. Find out how they extract the honey. If the honey is cold-extracted or unheated, this is medicine. However most honey sold in mainstream supermarkets are toxic.

Ayurveda is so strict on this that it even prohibits honey during fever and hot summers.

Who is to say that heated honey is not a primary cause in diseases like colon cancer, infertility, children dying at birth or soon after birth? It will be a while till science conducts studies like these.

Other Notes About Honey

  • Honey gets better with age. I recommend only use honey that is at least 2 months old. This increases the activity levels. If it crystallises this is a good thing. Make sure to store well in a glass container. Start collecting!
  • Beware, “Honey mixed with equal quantities of ghee causes death.” ~ Every major ancient ayurvedic text.
honey collection
My honey collection from 2014. I still hold some of these that are getting good age to them! I save them for when strong medicines are required and for Ayurvedic baby immunisations.

If you have eaten heated honey in the past like most westerners, fear not! you are strong. Even heated honey in very little quantity can be digested to some extent by with those of good physiology. But now you are aware, you can continue to detoxify and further imbue vitality.

“Even Brahman cannot cure the heated honey.”
Vaidya Dr. Raju
“Eat honey, my son, for it is good;”
~ Proverbs 24:13, The Bible

 

Honey Brand Recommendations:

  • Kel-Bee Apiaries (Sydney) - Louie comes to the Bondi Farmers Markets on Saturdays. 0414 972 065.
  • Lenny (Ocean Shores, Northern NSW) - Amazing passionate honey dealer who occasionally acquires rare and potent batches of honey.
  • Maharishi Honey - These guys use a Natural Law based approach to apiculture. They have the bees facing east, play them vedic chants and work closely with the environment. This honey is another level. If you are in Australia order through The Medicine Man.

Get collecting!

References
(1) Astanga Samgraha of Vaghbata, ch. 6,(86-93).
(2) Caraka Samhita, ch. 26, (249)
(3) Caraka Samhita, ch. 7, (61-62)

feature photo: Cereal Mag

Related Listening


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