Categories
ayurveda best natural remedies for virus natural cures

The Importance of Ojas – Vitality

Ojas or vitality is a key concept in the ancient system of Ayurveda. Ojas is said to be our basic immunity, or immune system and vitality, described as a kind of “sap” in the body.

The ancient author, Charaka (1500BCE) noted (from earlier texts of his mentor, Sri Agnivesh), that ojas is either red (rakta – blood), white or yellowish in the body, and is in the heart. It is responsible for the vitiation or emaciation (kshaya) of the body and impairment of mental and sensory faculties. It is said to have the colour of ghee (clarified butter) and taste of honey (Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana, XVII.73-75).

Ancient Ayurvedic texts also mention a disorder known as ojakshaya, in which the body starts to shut down, as a result of impairment to the immune-system, causing emaciation of all of the dhatus or bodily tissues, viz. plasma, marrow, blood, adipose, muscle, bone and the reproductive system. This disease is quite different from that of arbuda (cancers, malignant tumours) noted in the body, and appears to be not dissimilar to modern diseases we known, such as AIDS.

Overactive or hyperactive immune systems with inflammations etc. are described as pitta and ama (bile, and toxins) entering into the immune system (ojas), corrupting it and causing these flare-ups. Bile in the body in excess, caused by excess salt-intake, sour foods, alcohol etc. and pungent spices aggravates the small intestine and liver, causing an excess of bile, fevers etc., eventually leading to impairing the immune system. Imagine burning oil beyond its temperature threshold!

Ayurveda thus looked at preserving vitality or ojas in the body. There were many herbs, formulas and substances for this:


  1. The Formula Chyavanaprasha, which contains Amalaki (Elblica officinalis), the “Indian gooseberry”. Rich in Vit. C, this fruit is taken and prepared into this tasty, sweet paste with numerous other herbs. Amlaki is also useful relative to boosting collagen. This formula itself is named after the aged Seer, Chyavana, whose youth is said to have been restored by it, including his weathered skin, to new.

    Amla is also one of the three fruits in the recipe Triphala for eyes, skin and digestive health, and in itself, also helps to promote eyesight and hair.

    Hundreds of rasayanas or rejuvenation pastes or confections exist in Ayurveda for various purposes, including Brahma Rasayana, which contains more Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), than Amla. It is a rejuvenate herb in its own right, also, promoting ojas.

  2. Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia). One of the most immune-boosting herbs in Ayurveda, it is anti-pyretic, and also useful in cases such as HIV and Cancer to boost immunity of patients.

  3. Hira Bhasma (Diamond Ash) and Swarna Bhasma (Gold Ash). These might seem quite strange concoctions, however, the process of these goes back to the ancient iatrochemical system of rasa-shastra or alchemy in India. Parada or Mercury is also used, such as in the formula Makardhwaja, which is extremely useful for booting immunity, or ojas. These exotic, and expensive formulas are taken in extremely tiny dosages, under strict supervision of practitioners trained in their specific administration, along with specific diets for disorders from cancer, or debility or Parkinsonism.

  4. Shilajit / Mineral Pitch. The term “bitumen” originates originally from the Sanskrit “jatu”, meaning pitch. It was used as early as 3,000BCE in India to seal baths, sewers and drainpipes against leakage in the Indus-Saraswati civilisation (which also boasted sit-down toilets, separate bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms etc!). Shilajit comes from rocks in the Himalayas and is a great rejuvenate for the skin and hairs. It is also a rejuvenate for the uro-genital system, especially against diabetes (of which, Ayurveda recognises 20 different types – as also Type1 and Type2 for the first time).



    Other forms of dietary aids included the yogic-diet, consisting of wholegrains and also dairy, such as milks infused with cardamom, cloves etc. and sweetened, as well as nuts and fruits, said to help boost immunity.

    We can thus see the importance of boosting immunity in the body, especially against modern pandemics, and also general viruses and seasonal changes alone, that can disturb the natural rhythms in our bodies.

    Simple things such as taking in garlic cloves daily, can also assist with immunity, especially disorders such as fibromyalgia. Garlic cloves boiled in milk,. with a little sugar added, can also help keep disorders at bay and boost immunity on a daily basis!


    References:

    -Charaka Samhita
    -Sushruta Samhita
    -Ashtanga Hridayam
Categories
ayurveda best natural remedies for virus

Ayurveda and TCM:Comparison of Basic Forces and Constitutions

by Durgadas, R.A.P, AYT, Ved Kovid


Dip. Nat., Dip. P. Psych,

ALC, Ayu. Clin, Ayu. Pharm, AMPKT, AMBT, Ayu. Astr.

(c) Durgadas (Rodney) Lingham / Arogya Ayurvedic Health Ltd

All Rights Reserved.

NO PART OF THIS ARTICLE MAY BE COPIED OR REPRODUCED IN EITHER ELECTRONIC OR PRINT FORM WITHOUT DIRECT PERMISSION FROM THE AUTHOR.

Basic Concepts:

The three forces of Qi, Yin and Yang correspond to Prana (breath or life-force), Ojas (vitality) and Tejas (radiance) in the Hindu system. Yin-Yang also correspond to the two viryas or potencies relating to energetics of foods in the Ayurvedic system of shita (cool), a Yin-energy and ushna (hot), a Yang-energy. 

In the Vedas, these energies were represented by the terms Soma (Yin-energy, as lunar, vitality and feminine) and Agni (Yang-energy, as fire or a solar-energy, metabolism, heat and a masculine energy). They are also better expressed by the deities dual-deities Mitra-Varuna, here, Mitra as the Sun and Day representing the Yang-energy and Varuna as the Cosmic Waters, Moon and Night, representing the Yin-energy. The two go together in the Rig Veda, the oldest text of the Hindus, upholding cosmic law (rta).


Constitutional Issues:

Ayurveda typically works with a dual-elemental model of Vata (air and ether), Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (water and earth) and their various combinations of seven main types (adding combinations of Vata-Pitta, Vata-Kapha, Pitta-Kapha and Vata-Pitta-Kapha).

These are formed in two ways – one as the Prakriti of the person or their own biological nature, determined by genetic and other factors, which remains fixed through the lifetime and the Vikriti or temporal change from nature, also known as a dosha (vitiation / blemish), which is how Vata, Pitta and Kapha are viewed in a negative sense as causing disease when in excess. In a positive sense, they are known as dhatus (that which upholds).

Hence, both TCM and Ayurveda employ the five-elements and cosmic systems of Praja-Tejas-Ojas and Qi-Yang-Ying. The Hindu Ayurvedic system represents the five elements in a slightly different manner, adding akasha (ether) and vayu (air) to the other elements of fire, water and earth that are also used in TCM.

While in the Hindu system, the gallbladder and liver are Pitta-organs, they are Wood in the TCM system and correspond to the element of wind, or Vayu of the Hindu system, whereas Metal corresponds to the large-intestine and sky, hence Akasha or ether / space of the Hindu system, giving us correlations between the elements.

Nine-fold Types:

The Nine-fold Constitutional type in TCM however, can be connected to the Hindu system of the Navagrahas or Nine-Planets. Yet, there also exist some differences between the element and planetary correspondences of the two systems and some similarities.

Moon and Sun are Yin and Yang, which connect to Kapha-Ojas and Pitta-Tejas of the Hindu system respectively. Whereas Saturn represents air in the Hindu system, it is earth in the TCM system; Jupiter is ether in the Hindu system and wood (air) in the TCM system; Venus is water in the Hindu system, but Metal (thus ether) in the TCM system, while Mercury is earth in the Hindu system and in TCM, it is water. Mars however is fire in both systems.

Naturally however, these change as per their elemental-makeup and doshic models in Ayurvedic astrology. However, we can connect the Nine-Fold TCM system of Constitutional Types and disorders with the planets they correspond to of the Navagrahas (nine planets) in the Vedic-system.

There are however, many ways this can be expressed and there is no clear-cut or one-way definitive correlation between the two systems – but there are similarities, based upon the closest approximations. 

Here we can note the factors relative to both vikriti (deviation from natural state / disease) and also Prakriti (individual constitution)


Rahu –  Qi Deficiency
Rahu is the north-lunar node, the head of the dragon and ecliptic (as well as a formless) shadowy planet more a pure Vata (as ether) type and thus causes coldness, dryness etc. as the air-element of Prana is not there to balance it out. It is the head without a body and hence lacks any grounding, since akasha or ether is pure space alone as sattvas or purity, with not even action (rajas) present as it is in Vata.  Rahu represents Vata in its more toxic stage (amavata) relating to rheumatic disorders.


Ketu – Qi Stagnation
Ketu is the south lunar node, the tail of the dragon and a formless planet like Rahu, who represents the stagnating form of Vata or Prana which manifests anger, anxiety etc. caused by the headless Ketu, who represents the paranormal side of Mars (blood stasis) with some Vata added there also. It is hence unpredictable in nature and extremely emotional – the proverbial headless constitution.


Jupiter – Damp-Heat
Jupiter is a Kapha-Pitta type with a slightly higher percentage of water to fire ratio and thus creates a kind of “damp-heat” type constitution and disorders. 

Saturn – Genetic deficiency
Saturn is predominantly pure Vata (air) which causes a vitiation to our ojas or vitality (yin) and thus creates a predisposition for allergies and diseases of a more genetic nature and weakness overall. Saturn is also the planet of karma, representing genetic conditions and a fragile and extremely weak constitution.

Mercury – Yin-Yang Harmony
Mercury holds the energies of all five elements of Vata (air+ether), Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (water and earth) equally


Moon – Yang Deficiency
The moon is very cold and composed Kapha-Vata with a predominant of water and only a secondary nature of air. It lacks therefore, the warmer natures of fire and craves it, always feeling cold in extremities and lacking enthusiasm and metabolism.

Mars – Blood-Stasis
Mars is more a Pitta-Rakta type, with fire+water vitiating the blood and causing several disorders. As a more purely Pitta-type, it has 50% fire and 50% water, which easily creates disorders in the blood-system itself by an excess of either of these. When blood combines with Pitta in Ayurveda, it stagnates and causes diseases due to an excess of bile such as hepatitis and jaundice.
 

Venus – Phlegm-Dampness
Venus is Kapha with a a 75% water and 25% earth makeup. Being mainly a watery and emotional planet, it combines with earth also, as it is also the planet of materialism and density, creating our desires to manifest physically.  It is more damp than the Moon however, owing to the asuric or negative nature which connects to the celestial Soma, guarded by the Bhargava Seers and correlating to the goddess Lakshmi (Venus, Aphrodite), herself born from the churning of the ocean of milk (kshira).

Sun – Yin Deficiency
The Sun is Pitta, but is the fire that burns out our ojas and is hot, lacking Yin, being Kapha and grounding (water and earth). Such types hence dislike the hot climates represented by the Sun.

 
Ninefold Types and the Gunas:
 

Another way we can express these is the eight-fold virya or potencies of Ayurveda: 
mrdu (mild), tikshna (sharp), guru (heavy), laghu (light), snigdha (unctuous), uksha (dry), shita (cold), ushna (hot). The ninth would connect to the Yin-Yang Harmony type in TCM, where all such are in balance, connecting to the balance of the two main potencies in Ayurveda of hot (ushna) and cold (shita).

We hence see that there are possibilities of connections within each system itself, if we examine them from primal roots. 

There are many combinations here that can correlated to the TCM systems. Naturally however, TCM employs a five-element system, as some original forms of Ayurveda also do. 

Categories
ayurveda best natural remedies for virus natural cures wellbeing yoga for health

Taking Care of Yourself Amidst COVID-19

PLEASE NOTE: THIS ARTICLE IS PURELY FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT SEEK TO TREAT, CURE OR PRESCRIBE, OR ACT AS AN ALTERNATIVE FOR ANY CONDITIONS, ESPECIALLY NOT COVID-19. ONE SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE FROM THEIR HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS SURROUNDING THE COVID-19 VIRUS AND COMPLICATIONS ARISING FROM SUCH.

THIS ARTICLE MERELY ADDRESSES SUCH BASED ON TRADITIONAL AYURVEDIC PRACTICES ALONE, AND AS NOTED, IS PURELY FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.

Amidst the latest scare and also hysteria that has ensued, we must remember some things to keep us reasonably calm and level-headed, so as not to “freak out” and cause more issues for ourselves – and also others!

Anxiety:

It’s normal to be anxious, as a natural human response to any major calamity or epidemic. However, we mustn’t get too hysterical and remain calm as much as we can by stopping our minds and thinking rationally.

In certain situations, the best we can do is to remain careful about things, and take precautions, but remember the situation is such that it is out of our control, and we must develop a certain level of faith, either personally (philosophically) or in our world leaders to put steps in place to help us go forward and keep safe. Keep this in mind!

Secondly, food will not run out. There is no need to usher in Armageddon by impulse and stress-buying. Supermarkets have measures in place for deliveries and such, if need be, and the supply chains and factories remain open. Supermarket staff, merchandisers and reps of groceries and produce are currently in demand themselves and are working around the clock to keep the supply chains open. Yes, by all means “stock up”, but don’t become too hysterical due to the social anxiety out there and take every day as it comes; don’t become a doomsday prophet!

Whilst the news and advertising media can be useful, it is also naturally hyperbolic in nature and tends to cause more stress and anxiety, especially surrounding epidemics such as COVID-19. Look at how we, as humans, compare ourselves to the stereotypes on Television soap-operas and also advertisements relative to lifestyle, relationships, body-images etc. and also buy into consumerism as a result of such manipulation, for example. Now apply that to the current situation regarding the Coronavirus!

Simple herbs as Brahmi (Barcopa monnieri), Valerian and others can help with anxiety and also help us to reason things better – even the causes of our own anxiety. Ancient yogis used to drink a beverage of Brahmi leaves made into a tea, for enhancing mental faculties, especially discernment and reason – often in periods of social and political strife in ancient India, so as to better deal with these situations by looking at the whole.

The mindfulness method of STOP method also helps:

Stop and simply take a breather. Stop the mind for a second!

Take a few breaths. Here, slow, yogic breathing helps as well.

Observe any thoughts that come to mind and associated emotional responses. In yogic, this goes deeper with manasika-vichara or mental-questioning and origins of thoughts.

Proceed
 in another direction. Stop looking at or associating with triggers of our anxiety, especially the virus and do something more conducive, such as yoga, meditation, a walk or applying some of the techniques Ayurveda recommends to stay healthy. Be around positive people and recognise change – not hysteria!

DO NOT PANIC! Humanity has historically been a very resilient species and we’re still here, despite numerous world wars, plagues and other epidemics as the swine flu, SARS etc. and we’re still here!

Keeping Healthy:

The ancient system of Ayurveda tells us that two things cause diseases, primarily; low ojasa (immunity) and impaired agni (metabolism). When both are compromised, then disease manifests.

Ayurveda isn’t simply about a few simple herbs in villages, either. It has one of the world’s most ancient and advanced system of microbiology and surgery – from where many of our current techniques arose! Classical texts mention that wise-spread plagues and epidemics were primarily the result of corruption in society; visha-vayu (toxic air) here also referred to numerous airborne viruses and bacteria that was easily spread via air and also touch (sparsha – connected to the subtle element of air or vayu). Thus, if there is toxic air in society, viruses will spread via touch also, as with COVID-19, such as the ancients understood.

Cleanliness and good personal hygiene related to sparsha (touch, or air) is hence important. Many plagues broke out in Europe as a result of bad personal hygiene also – especially cleaning of the skin – and hands.

Indian culture has always advocated cleaning of the hands before and after meals to help prevent these issues.

Aloe-vera gel, neem powder and alcohol can make a good”home-made” sanitizer. Indian culture also believes that cow’s urine and dung also possesses these qualities, as well. I am neither stating one should be using these, or not relative to COVID-19 – I am simply stating what our ancestors have said!

Some basic tips, however:

1. Immunity Boost: Chyavanaprasha, the main ingredient which is the anti-oxidant and immunity-boosting Amalaki (Indian gooseberry), high in Vit. C has been used for both low immunity (ojasa) and also respiratory conditions for millennia.  This can be taken daily to help prevent issues relative to COVID-19. Again, whether or not it is 100% effective remains to be seen – but there it won’t do any harm and can, according to the classics, help develop immunity with many disorders and help with classic respiratory disorders as well.

The classic “Golden Milk” with turmeric and milk, as well as spices as cardamom and ginger is also said to be good for vitality.

Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) is also useful as it helps boost our immunity, as also does Sheelajit, the ancient mineral pitch.

2. Metabolism: Boosting our metabolism means metabolism of all tissues in the body also, and proper enzymic function. The classic formula Trikatu (Indian long pepper, Black pepper and Ginger powder) is a classic for sluggish digestion – and also lung congestion and related issues, as also is Holy Basil or Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum).

These help prevent disorders of the lungs and respiratory system. Ayurveda has a long-standing history of treating severe forms of TB (rajayakshma) as also pneumonia (swasanaka-jwara) by helping the lungs, as also with alchemical formulas.

To boost metabolism at home – a simple drink of warm lemon juice, ginger powder and black pepper powder can help. This also helps to dispel kapha or mucous which develops in the stomach and lungs and causes issues.

Viruses are seen as tamasika (darker and stagnant) in nature and hence need some rajas (agitation, movement or aggression) to be dealt with, returning to a state of ultimate health, or sattvas. Such spicier herbs combined with those that protect the lungs, immune system and help treat pneumonia are useful.

3. Oral Hygiene: Ayurveda tells us that we should always crape our tongue with a tongue-scraper and brush our teeth on a daily basis, as also chew mixtures of cardamom for fresh breath, and rub our gums with powders of cinnamon, clove, cardamom, rock-salt or triphala powders to keep gums healthy. These formulas, as also triphala also help with any bacteria and reduce excess bleeding and mucous; scraping the tongue also does this and improves metabolism.

As per the current climate, these are very minor measures but could be conducive towards helping with viruses as COVID-19, especially with sufferers and their compromised respiratory systems, so as they do not become too vulnerable to abcterial infections that complicate the virus they suffer from already.

These methods are simply all about trying to be healthy, and again, are not a replacement for professional advice or treatment, but simply what Ayurveda has recommended for thousands of years, as also methods of “preventative medicine”, Ayurveda is also known for – just as authorities are telling us relative to keeping hands clean, using hand sanitizer, wearing gloves and isolating ourselves at present.


Namah Shivaya!

-Durgadas


Schedule an appointment today from the comfort of your own home,
anywhere in the world via Skype, Zoom or WhatsApp!