- Headache
    - Cough
    - Bad breath
    - Toothache
    - Body odour
    - Dry skin
    - Sadness
    - Anger

5. Supportive Recommendations for Pre-Diagnosed Conditions
    - Acne
    - Allergies
    - Cancer
    - Depression
    - Eczema
    - Menopause
    - Migraine

6. Self-Monitoring for Assessing Health and Balance
        - Sleep
        - Elimination
        - Digestion
        - Menstruation
        - Skin
        - Eyes
        - Voice
        - Tongue
        - Breath, Body odour
        - Taste in mouth
        - Mood
        - Energy

7. The Theory of Ayurveda

8. Some Simple Recipes and Food Tips
        - Stewed Apple
        - Upma
        - Basmati Rice
        - Cooked Spinach
        - Tofu (or Egg) Curry
        - Lassi
        - Chapati
        - Dal
        - Vegetable Curry
        - After-Dinner Mint
        - Spiced Cashews
    - Churnas
    - Chutneys
    - Teas

9. Disclaimer (Again)
Using Nature, Your Consciousness, and Your Kitchen as Your Pharmacy


    I am a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, and a Registered Ayurvedic Health Counselor with the National Ayurvedic Medical Association. This document is a free educational resource for those who are interested in preventive healthcare and restoring balance in their physiology through natural, holistic, non-invasive methods. It contains the following sections:

   
To go to a specific location on this page, scroll through the navigation bar on the left and click on the relevant subsection.



    
Ayurveda is the 5,000-year-old Indian holistic system of medicine that is widely practiced in India and South Asia, and like Yoga (which comes from the same source as Ayurveda), gaining popularity in the West. Both Yoga and Ayurveda address the physical, mental and spiritual dimensions of the individual and place a strong emphasis on meditation and self-awareness to help guide a person to do what is right and best for his or her own unique circumstances. Some of the fundamental tenets of Ayurveda are:

        1) The human being is a microcosm of the universe – all the elements and energies that exist in the cosmos also exist within.

        2) The body/mind has the ability to heal itself.

        3) Everything in Nature can be used to bring the internal environment of body, mind and spirit back into balance by countering any unbalancing effects of the external environment.

        4) Each individual is different, with his/her own unique mind-body constitution. "One man's meat can be another man's poison" and there is no single perfect diet or practice that applies to everyone. Developing one's awareness of one's own constitution and how it is affected by external factors (food, emotion, experience, environment) is therefore important for understanding, restoring and maintaining health and well-being.

        5) Imbalances are created when the physiology gets out of tune with one's innate nature and as well as with Nature as a whole, and prolonged imbalances that are left unaddressed eventually lead to the manifestation of disease. By detecting minor imbalances in advance, the body can be rebalanced long before the onset of disease.

        6) There is a strong belief in the mind-body connection in Ayurveda, and therefore that the external manifestation of symptoms in the physical body is a reflection of the internal (mental/emotional/spiritual) state of the individual.
The body is often a metaphorical expression of the mind. For example, stiff joints can coincide with a rigid mental attitude. Heart disease can correlate with a sad or broken heart. It is not uncommon for a person suffering from asthma to have an extremely strong-willed person in his or her energy field whose strong will he or she finds suffocating. Recurrent infections can be a reflection of recurrent internal emotional intensity, such as the repression of anger or frustration. Altering one's mental, emotional or spiritual state and letting go of unproductive patterns of behaviour in favour of those that serve us well can often bring about profound healing in the physical body. Most people who have experienced spontaneous remission of cancer, for example, have done so after making dramatic, life transforming changes in their beliefs, attitudes, and circumstances (e.g. career, relationships). (The book "Dying To Be Me – My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing" by Anita Moorjani is a profound, fascinating account of the author's near-death experience after she went into a coma while ailing from cancer, her expanded consciousness and enlightenment while in the coma, and her miraculous, spontaneous recovery. "Proof of Heaven" by Dr. Eben Alexander is another captivating first-hand account by a neurologist who experienced spontaneous healing following a coma caused by meningitis.)

        7) Diet is anything that we take in at all levels of life (or in Ayurvedic terms, koshas, or the spheres of existence – physical, energetic, mental/emotional, intuitive and spiritual – that every individual is made up of), be it food, emotion or experience. An experience in one kosha can cause an affect in another kosha (e.g. the mind-body connection where vividly imagining biting into a slice of sour lemon will make your mouth water, or how listening to soothing music will make your heart rate slower and more even). When we are unable to digest or process our diet properly, it can lead to imbalances within our system.

        8) Hindu spiritual philosophy, which is the source of Ayurveda, maintains a strong belief in karma and reincarnation, and one of the Ayurvedic views is that many of one's common or chronic ailments (be they physical, psychological or emotional) are often a result of one's karma (actions and consequences of those actions) from past lives as well as past actions in this life. In some cases, the state of the soul at the time of incarnation can have an influence on the person's psyche. For example, in the case of the much debated issue of sexual identity and orientation in the current day, an Ayurvedic view that was explained during my studies is that every four to five lifetimes, the soul switches genders, and if an individual soul incarnates during the time of transition, there can sometimes be resulting feelings of ambiguity or confusion about one's sexuality. Being aware of this possibility can enhance feelings of compassion for individuals in the LGBTQ community. The concept of karma is also expressed in Western scriptures and attitudes ("you reap what you sow", "what goes around, comes around", etc). Problems often disappear or are greatly alleviated once karmic patterns are noticed, understood, and transcended. Vedic astrology (or Jyotish) charts, which take into account the individual's date of birth, time of birth, place of birth, and the alignment of planets and constellations at the instance of birth, can shed light on the patterns of energies (i.e. karmic tendencies) that we bring into this lifetime, and we can use the information as a guide, and choose to go along with those energies, go against them, or transcend them. Though I was initially skeptical about such seeming "mumbo jumbo", I was stunned to see a classic textbook example of the biggest unresolved issue in my life reflected in my Vedic astrology chart which my professor interpreted for me, and which he had no prior knowledge about.

        9) Medical ethics in Ayurveda concerning issues such as abortion, assisted suicide, contraception, etc are similar to those in Catholicism i.e. life is considered sacred from the moment of conception until natural death and therefore abortion and euthanasia are prohibited; the form of birth control advocated is abstinence from sexual intercourse versus artificial methods of contraception; artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization using sperm and/or eggs not belonging to the married couple themselves (marriage being considered a sacrament) are not recommended because it is believed that at the moment of conception, a psychic bond is created between the biological mother and biological father, and from a karmic perspective, this would be akin to adultery and having a child out of wedlock – adoption is recommended instead if a couple really desires but is unable to conceive a child. For a detailed description of Ayurvedic medical ethics for a range of modern day issues, read the article on Medical Ethics in Hinduism Today.

    Being Indian, many Ayurvedic practices were passed down to me by my parents and grandparents, and have been a natural part of my life since birth. Below are some examples of practices and remedies that have helped me and my relatives over the generations, as well as other recommendations that I learnt about during my formal study of Ayurveda
with Dr. Paul Dugliss, M.D., but have not personally tried. The best education is experience, so you can try the following recommendations (*but read the Disclaimer first*) and see first-hand how the experience affects you, and let the awareness of your experience help you to understand your own unique nature and guide you to attaining and maintaining balance in your physiology. For example, after trying any of the methods below, ask yourself: Do you sleep better? Do you experience less pain or discomfort, physical or emotional? Do you feel more alert? Since herbs can interfere with medications, I have chosen to leave out recommendations based on herbal preparations on this web page, and I strongly recommend working closely with a physician who is very knowledgeable about drug-herb interactions and various herbs and herbal formulas if you are considering herbal remedies. There is also a saying: "Without proper diet, herbs are ineffective; with proper diet, herbs are unnecessary." However, Ayurvedic methods for correcting imbalances are many and varied, ranging from diet, spices, herbs, meditation, massage, yoga, behavioural rasayanas (e.g. spending time in nature, walking in the moonlight), purification routines (e.g. Hot Water Routine, Panchakarma), visualization (e.g. Healing Breath), colour therapy, sound therapy (e.g. music, mantras), gemstones, Vedic counselling, all the way to astrology-based rituals, so there is plenty to pick and choose from based on one's constitutional strength, preferences and nature of complaints.

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* Please note that some of the recommendations that I list below are ones that have worked well for me, my family, and my friends, and it doesn't necessarily mean that they will also work well for you. This document is for educational purposes only and the information provided is not to be used as, used as a substitute for, or considered to be medical diagnosis, treatment or prescription. The content of this page is not medical advice and does not substitute for consultation with a qualified licensed healthcare provider. Therefore, please use your judgement and common sense as you review the information on this web page, and consult your physician or a licensed healthcare professional a) if you have a medical condition, or b) if you are taking any medications or supplements, or c) if you are in doubt as to whether any of the recommendations will work for you or conflict with your current physical and mental condition, or d)
before using any herbs or herbal products, or e) before starting any new exercise or health regime, or f) for any persistent problem or complaint. For more information, there are numerous books (e.g. by Deepak Chopra, Paul Dugliss and Vasant Lad), websites (e.g. jiva.com, mapi.com, banyanbotanicals.com), videos (e.g. Homeveda channel on YouTube) and blogs on various Ayurvedic tips and home remedies.*

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    Meditation (daily meditation of at least 20 minutes is recommended)
    Proper Sleep (adequate sleep in terms of duration and quality such that you wake up feeling rested and refreshed)
    Vegetarian Diet (or at least predominantly vegetarian diet)
    Nature (spending time enjoying Nature, preferably daily)
    Love (being open to feeling, giving and receiving love and compassion)


Overall well-being
    - Sleep: Adequate good-quality sleep: long enough and sound enough that you wake up feeling rested and refreshed. The following tips can help with sleep quality and duration:
        - Boiled, then cooled to warm, milk, drunk at bedtime; cinnamon-date milkshake is a variation
            * Cinnamon-Date Milkshake Recipe: boil 1 cup milk with a pinch of cinnamon, cool to warm, strain and blend with 2 pitted (preferably Medjool) dates for 5 minutes (use 3/4 cup milk and 1 date for a smaller quantity)
        - Yoga in the late afternoon or early evening, before dinner
        - If it is difficult to wind down and relax, make the environment conducive to falling asleep for all of your senses:
            - sight: dim lights
            - sound: soft music
            - smell: lavender aroma
            - taste: warm milk
            - touch: bedtime massage of scalp and feet if not the full Abhyanga
            - mind: avoid TV/computers, heavy reading, depressing news and arguments for a couple of hours before bed

    - Regular Routine: Maintaining a regular routine by eating, sleeping, evacuating the bowels, working, relaxing etc at similar times each day. Here is an example of a daily routine (note: I myself do not follow this routine to the letter e.g. I do not do a daily massage, nor do I generally meditate in the afternoons, but I do the oil pulling - swishing sesame oil around in my mouth - before brushing my teeth in the morning, and I sometimes brush my teeth after every meal):
        - rise from bed
        - empty bladder and bowels
        - clean teeth and tongue
        - exercise
        - meditate
        - massage (if doing a self-massage)
        - shower
        - have breakfast
        - work
        - have lunch
        - work
        - meditate
        - have dinner
        - relax
        - clean teeth
        - sleep

    - Prayer: Daily prayer, or affirmation, or visualization, and/or focused mental intention (whatever you choose to call it). Just as each individual has his or her own unique constitution, so does each individual have his or her own unique personality, values and spiritual beliefs (or in some cases, no spiritual belief) depending on his or her unique nature. It is recommended that people follow whatever practice resonates most deeply with them. Personally, I have found daily prayer to God to be more effective, powerful and fulfilling than the other methods.

    - Meditation:
Daily meditation. A favourite of mine for a long time has been to "Sit and Do Nothing", reflect on whatever I felt like, and let the thoughts come and go as they will. For a more formal meditation practice, free meditation training in Effortless Mantra-Based Meditation is offered to anyone in the world in real-time via the web by Dr. Paul Dugliss, Dean of New World Ayurveda School.  Another good method is The Daily Examen that was taught by St. Ignatius, which is a prayerful reflection on the day's events. Pay attention to how the type of meditation you do affects your health, energy, mood and interactions with others, modify your practice as you deem fit, and consult with your doctor if you are unsure or want more advice. Meditation as is commonly taught these days in a new age context is an Eastern (Hindu/Buddhist) spiritual practice that is actually part of yoga whose goal is to attain enlightenment and union with God. Meditation traditionally includes self-discipline and ethical behaviour (these aspects of self-discipline and ethics are generally not taught in the West as part of meditation/yoga, however) such as truthfulnes, celibacy/chastity, vegetarianism, austerity, devotion to God, etc. While meditation on its own can significantly enhance intuitive/psychic abilities and bring great inner peace, it can also, for better or worse, increase emotional detachment and susceptibility to negative energies if one is not careful, so please make an informed choice and consult with your doctor or spiritual guide (e.g. guru, priest) if necessary. To read more about meditation as part of the discipline of yoga, and what yoga actually is (it is not purely physical exercise, but an ancient Hindu spiritual practice), read the section about Yoga below. My current meditation consists of a few minutes each of Pranayama (yogic breathing exercise), a brief mantra recitation at the beginning and end of the meditation, and meditative silence in between, which I have found works well for me.

    - Abhyanga: Daily/weekly full-body self-massage with warm oil, typically done in the morning – for my constitution, warming almond oil during cool weather or cooling coconut oil during warm weather work best. This massage is not massage in the conventional sense, but oleation where you work the oil gently into your skin, like you would lotion or sunblock. Abhyanga not only softens skin, but improves circulation, tones muscles, lubricates joints, calms nerves, improves elimination of toxins, increases mental alertness, increases stamina, promotes relaxation and improves sleep quality. The method is simple: warm about a 1/4 cup of oil in a bowl/bottle/container by placing that container in a jug/pot of hot water, stand in your shower on a rag (so you don't slip), and apply the oil with your hands to your whole face and body, including your ears and soles of the feet. (Abhyanga also includes oiling the scalp at the beginning, but you can do that less frequently prior to shampooing, for convenience.) Wait for a few minutes to let the oil soak in, and then take a warm shower (and shampoo if you also massaged your scalp) as usual, scrubbing gently with a wet, soapy washcloth – use liquid soap – to remove excess oil (the traditional method instead of soap is to apply a paste made with chickpea flour, turmeric and water and then scrubbing and rinsing it off, but this is best done outdoors to avoid clogging pipes). If you're still unsure about how to do it, you can click here to watch the Banyan Botanicals instructional video on Abhyanga. On days that you do not do abhyanga, you can give yourself a dry massage if you wish by squeezing and releasing different parts of your entire body with your hands, starting from the crown of your head. Please note that abhyanga may not be suitable for those who are very overweight or who have high levels of toxins in their physiology.

    - Yoga or Exercise: Daily yoga or exercise. The health benefits of yoga are well-known. I have followed a modified version of Dr. Bapuji's 25 Minutes Yoga Everyday routine which my parents introduced me to 20 years ago, at home; the routine includes Surya Namaskara (Sun Salute), abdominal exercises, some Asanas (stationary yoga poses), Pranayama (breathing exercises), and Shavasana (relaxation). Similar yoga exercises are also described in Deepak Chopra's book, "Perfect Health". The key is not to attain the perfect pose, but to flow into the pose as smoothly and as best as you can, keeping your breathing slow and calm throughout, and directing your awareness to the various parts of the body that are being stretched or held. There are specific contra-indications for certain ailments: avoid forward bending postures in case of low back pain, lumbar spondylosis, spinal tuberculosis, suspected slip disc, old fractures of spine or deformities, sciatica; avoid sun salute, abdominal exercises and shoulder stand in case of heart problems such as high blood pressure, ischemic disease, angina, congestive heart failure, old myocardial infarctions with regional myocardial wall abnormalities, cervical spondylosis, glaucoma, retinal detachment or retinopathy; avoid abdominal exercises and bow pose in case of abdominal hernias such as inguinal, femoral, para-umbilical, hiatal and incisional hernias; etc. Therefore, it is best to consult with your doctor or yoga instructor prior to undertaking yoga, especially if you have suffered from, are suffering from, or might possibly be at risk for suffering from such problems. There are also other benefits and risks associated with yoga. While yoga offers tremendous physical and mental health benefits as has been widely documented, it is not purely physical exercise, but instead a multifaceted ancient Hindu spiritual practice that also includes specific ethical behaviour and self-discipline that are all part of yoga but not normally taught in the West as part of yoga. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a foundational text on yoga, discusses the afflictions that one should strive to be freed from (ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion and the desire to cling to life) and the eight limbs of yoga: 1) moral conduct (through non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, celibacy/chastity/sexual restraint, non-covetousness), 2) spiritual observances (through cleanliness/purity of body and mind, contentment in all situations, austerity/self-discipline, study of sacred texts as well as of oneself, devotion to God), 3) right posture (through steady and comfortable positions), 4) regulation of life currents in the physical body (e.g. through controlled breathing), 5) disengagement of senses from external objects, 6) focused concentration, 7) meditation and absorption in the perception of the vastness of God and 8) realization of the union between the individual soul and Cosmic Consciousness. Yoga's ultimate goal is to attain union with God. The Hindu holy text, The Bhagavad Gita, describes the various types of yoga as paths to attaining enlightenment and realization of God. Potential unpleasant or frightening symptoms of kundalini awakening due to heightened consciousness is said to sometimes result from certain types of yoga, so please make an informed choice and consult with your doctor or spiritual guide (e.g. guru, priest) if necessary. I also like the easier and less time-consuming XBX physical fitness exercises for women developed by the Royal Canadian Air Force (5BX for men) which I started doing long before I started yoga. The 5BX/XBX exercise plans take far less time to do than yoga and greatly enhance physical health and youth. I heard that the 5BX exercises were discontinued due to risk of injury, but don't know this for a certainty. As with any exercise routine, use your own judgement and experience to decide which ones to follow, and which ones to modify or avoid entirely for safety or health reasons. My current routine consists of a combination of some yoga (from the 25 Minutes Yoga Everyday routine) and some physical fitness (from the XBX Physical Fitness exercises) exercises, which works well for me.

    - Being Mindful of How You Eat: Fully enjoy and experience the food you eat. The #1 nutrition principle in Ayurveda is that food should be enjoyed. If we rush through eating, or eat while upset or in the midst of distractions, we will not feel nourished by what we eat, and can end up craving more food than we actually need. Sit down to eat and eat slowly, quietly and mindfully, fully experiencing the sight, smell, taste and texture of the food, and chewing well. You will find that you will feel satisfied with less food than you had normally been consuming. My personal recommendation, as well as a traditional Ayurvedic practice, is to eat with your fingers (of your dominant hand, usually right) – it will put you even more in touch with your food, is a truly sensual experience, and as a child whom I know protests when told by her parents not to eat with her hands, "But it's faster, and easier, and yummier!". Sip a little warm water occasionally during your meal to aid digestion. Sit quietly for a few minutes at the end of the meal before resuming activity.

    - Being Mindful of What You Eat: Follow an organic, predominantly vegetarian diet, and avoid factory-farmed foods, genetically modified and non-organic foods, foods containing artificial colours/flavours/additives/agents, foods that are highly processed or that contain refined ingredients, fermented/aged/cured/pickled/smoked/grilled/broiled/baked/leavened foods, cold food/drinks, microwaved foods, and leftovers. The reasons are many and varied (e.g. factory-farmed foods contain synthetic hormones, antibiotics and pesticides that are banned in many countries; broiled/grilled/smoked meats contain carcinogens; grains/carbohydrates cooked at high temperatures contain acrylamides; meats, fats and oils heated to high temperatures produce oxy-cholesterol; highly processed foods contain little or no nutritional value ... etc). I am reminded of my father's sweet, hopeless and rhetorical question, "What else is left." As it turns out, there are many foods still left! For example, the above photograph is of a meal that I prepared as part of an Ayurvedic nutrition intensive, consisting of ginger elixir, coconut-cashew sambal with tofu and vegetables, brown rice noodles, raisin-date chutney and vaidya's salad (made with root vegetables and herbs). The trick, then, to optimize both the enjoyment and health benefits from food given busy lives, is to consume simple, fresh and tasty food that does not require much time or effort to prepare. Having said all that, life should be enjoyed, and since "one man's meat can be another man's poison", indulge when you feel like indulging in decadent or unhealthy foods, but do so *mindfully* (being aware of both the food and its effects on your unique physiology) and always be motivated by love for yourself rather than fear of disease. Generally speaking, fresh or freshly prepared wholesome food from organic and humanely raised sources is said to contain more "Prana", or life force (a simple experiment to demonstrate this is comparing the difference, not only in taste but in how you feel after drinking it, between the juice made from a carton of non-organic store-bought orange juice concentrate, and the juice of a freshly squeezed organically grown orange).

    - Normal daily bowel movement: This is more important than is obvious! Evacuating the bowels first thing in the morning is ideal. For those not used to this practice, drinking a cup of warm water will stimulate peristalsis and encourage a bowel movement, as will making it a daily habit of sitting on the toilet for a few minutes. Constipation, diarrhea, discoloured or foul-smelling stools indicate dietary or health issues that should be addressed, since prolonged imbalances that are ignored can lead to disease.

    - Menstruation (for women): Taking it easy during the period, and reducing the intensity of normal daily activity. Cramping, heavy bleeding and many other menstrual complaints can be addressed through this simple modification during menses.

    - Avoiding toxic or negative influences on the physiology: Avoid smoking, alcohol, drugs, caffeine, and avoid (or minimize if you can't avoid) stress and stressors. Do not stop consuming these substances abruptly, since that can lead to further imbalances due to sudden withdrawal – rather, reduce the amounts gradually over time at the rate that your body feels comfortable with. Also avoid or change unpleasant or stressful situations if you can, and for those that you can't, rather than trying to control the situation, leave things instead to "Karma" or the "Higher Order of the Universe". Nurture the positive aspects of your life by cultivating a healthy diet and lifestyle, and valuing positive emotions, experiences and environment.

    - Accepting, respecting and honouring your emotions within yourself. Rather than denying or suppressing your emotions, or forcing yourself to feel "acceptable" emotions and repress "unacceptable" ones, all of which create internal pressure and potential imbalance, simply observe your emotions instead, and watch them flow and change with your act of awareness and observation. Eventually, you will find that the intensity of emotions (anger, sadness etc) will subside, and you will be left feeling more peaceful within yourself. Repressed emotions can alter the flora of your digestive system and lead to problems such as allergies, food sensitivities and other auto-immune and digestive issues. 

    - Developing your awareness and trusting your intuition, so that they can guide you to do what is naturally right and best for you. Meditation is excellent for realizing this, as I have discovered first-hand. To quote my guru, Dr. Paul Dugliss: "There is a natural tendency to want things to be verified, but there is little value in relying on external input, because it won't help you to trust what you're experiencing, or to refine your tool [awareness/intuition]."

    - Finding healthy, independent ways to nurture your body, mind and spirit for both physical and emotional health such that external factors have less of an impact. Releasing stress and gaining pleasure through meditation, abhyanga, music, Nature or hobbies is healthier than relying on food, smoking, drinking or drugs for comfort, pleasure or stress relief. Not letting certain situations or other people's behaviour upset you or be a determining factor for your personal happiness will give you more power over your own emotions and a sense of autonomy and contentment, reducing the emotional need for external substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, etc. To quote Dr. Dugliss again, "When we feel feel angry [and hold on to that anger], we take the first blow before we even strike out [and thus] create our own suffering. It would be good to reach a point of such inner fulfillment where we can feel, 'I don't need this relationship [or situation] to be different in order to be happy.'  ... It is a great step in spiritual growth to ... be able to accept others as they are. Yes, we do have to stand up to evil or grave injustice, but most of what we struggle with is not that."

    - Viewing relationships and challenges from a higher perspective: Try to view problems, obstacles and challenges as opportunities for learning and growth that will serve you well in future. We often tend to experience problems in the areas that we have not yet gained the wisdom and strength to resolve effectively. Our hardest challenges are often the ones that we feel least equipped to handle. As we grow wiser, the problems become easier, and ultimately cease to exist.  

    - Communing with Nature: For urban dwellers without easy regular access to significant stretches of nature such as a forest, mountains, beach etc, this can be as simple as gazing at the sunrise or sunset, walking in the moonlight, stargazing, gardening, or observing whatever little nature there is in close proximity.

    - Being open to Giving and Receiving Love and Kindness: We can sometimes be hesitant to give freely due to fear of becoming vulnerable, or hesitant to freely receive due to fear of ulterior motives on the other person's part. But such restraint ultimately may not serve us well, and perpetual distrust of others and ourselves can breed loneliness and cynicism. As poet Alfred Lord Tennyson said, " 'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."

    - Striving to realize your full potential, whatever that may be: Carl Jung says it well: "The supreme goal of man is to fulfill himself as a creative, unique individual according to his own innate potentialities and within the limits of reality." The Sanskrit word for this is "Dharma", which is one's specific duty or actions to uphold the cosmic order based on the knowledge and practice of one's innate nature to the best of one's ability in a way that is both ethical towards others and evolutionary for oneself.


Skin
    - Regular Abhyanga (see section on Overall Well-Being above for Abhyanga directions)
    - Applying paste made of 1/4 cup chickpea flour, 1 tsp turmeric and enough water to make a thick paste, then rinsing off after a few minutes (best done outdoors to avoid clogging pipes)
    - Avoiding cosmetics

Hair
    - Warm oil (coconut oil works best for me) massaged into scalp and applied to hair and left for some time before shampooing
    - Avoiding chemical dyes and artificial treatments (e.g. perming, straightening, highlights, etc)

Eyes
    - Cool or slightly warm water splashed on open eyes after waking up
    - Yogic/Ayurvedic eye exercises (palming, blinking, moving eyes –up+down, left+right, diagonals, clockwise, counter clockwise–, tracking finger with outstretched arm –horizontal and vertical–, focusing on near and distant objects, de-focusing)
    - Trataka or candle gazing for 2-3 minutes with the candle at eye level and at a distance of 2-3 feet. Try not to blink, and if the tears start to flow, let them flow while keeping your eyes open. Palm for a few moments afterwards.

Nasal passages, Mental clarity, Stress release

    - Nasya, or lubricating insides of nostrils with a few drops of warm sesame oil using your little finger dipped in the oil (ideally done in the morning; do not do at bedtime). Nasya is considered good for all diseases above the collarbone! It prevents and treats diseases of the ear, nose, throat and head; reduces hair loss, early graying and balding; sharpens the senses; alleviates headache, stiffness in the head, neck, and shoulder; treats lockjaw.

Oral health: Teeth, Gums, Tongue
    - Gandush or oil pulling (swishing 1 Tbsp warm sesame oil around in mouth for a few minutes before spitting it out – do not swallow!) in the morning. Gandush reduces gum disease, cavities, plaque and bacteria in the mouth.
    - Massaging gums with finger after Gandush and before brushing teeth
    - Scraping tongue with steel tongue cleaner after brushing teeth
    - "Manchineellutho pukkulinchatam" (a phrase in my native language, Telugu, meaning "water flossing" or "water swishing") after every meal/snack: swish water around vigourously in mouth and spit out, repeating a few times until water runs clear

    - Stewed apple with cloves first thing in the morning, to stimulate digestion
            * Stewed Apple Recipe: bring 1 peeled, cored, chopped apple with 2 cloves, and 1/4 cup water to boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 5-10 minutes, and discard cloves before eating
    - Lassi, Majjiga or Indian buttermilk, drunk during or at end of meal, to get natural probiotics, improve colon health, inhibit the growth of toxic bacteria in the gut, and help with any gastrointestinal tract disorders
            * Lassi Recipe:
                    - Basic version: blend 2 Tbsp yoghurt and 6 Tbsp water (i.e. yoghurt:water ratio = 1:3) with whisk
                    - Tastier version: add 1 tsp maple syrup to the Basic Version
                    - Digestive lassi: blend 2 Tbsp yoghurt, 1/2 cup water, a pinch of ground cumin and a pinch of salt
                    - Sweet lassi: blend 2 Tbsp yoghurt, 1/2 cup water, a few drops of rose water, a pinch of cardamom and 1/2 tsp sugar
            * Yoghurt Recipe: boil 1 cup milk, let cool to warm, stir in 1 Tbsp yoghurt, cover, let sit in warm place (e.g. oven off with oven light on) for 5 hours, remove cream and whey before using – this will yield about 1 cup yoghurt (more like 3/4 cup)
    - An alternative to lassi is the South Indian custom of eating a little Perugu Annam, or "yoghurt-rice", at the end of the meal:
            * Perugu Annam Recipe: mix about 2-3 Tbsp yoghurt and 2-3 Tbsp cooked rice, add a few drops of water to make it a little runnier, sprinkle a little salt to taste if desired, mix and eat.
    - Sprinkling a little melted ghee over cooked rice or wheat dishes (not necessary if the other dishes eaten with grains contain ghee)
    - Eating with awareness and without distractions, fully experiencing the sight, smell, taste and texture of the food, and chewing well. You will find that you will feel satisfied with less food than you had normally been consuming.
    - Sipping a little warm water during your meal
    - Sitting for a few minutes after eating before resuming activity
    - (For weak digestion) The Hot Water Routine: fill a thermos flask with hot water, and drink a few sips of the hot water periodically throughout the day

* Note: Do not discontinue or alter the dosage of your current medications, supplements or other medical treatment without your physician's feedback and supervision.

Below are recommendations for the following complaints, starting with the head and moving downwards, ending with the skin, feelings and sleep:
    Headache
    Sore throat
    Cough
    Bad breath
    Toothache
    Gum disease
    Constipation
    Body odour
    Dehydration
    Joint pains
    Weight gain
    Dry skin
    Feeling cold
    Feeling hot
    Sadness
    Anger

Headache

    Ayurvedic recommendations work best as preventive measures. Headaches are rarely a sign of a brain tumour (which causes neurological issues long before the onset of pain). There are three main types of headaches:
        Migraine headache (sometimes called "exhaustion headaches")
            Characteristics:
                - often one-sided
                - often accompanied by nausea or a sick feeling
                - occasionally accompanied by some warning or "aura" with changes in vision
                - often debilitating
                - often accompanied by photophobia and sensitivity to smell
                - sleep often helps to resolve them
            Recommendations:
                - Avoid overdoing
                - Avoid Pitta-aggravating (or heating, pungent, sour and salty) foods, as well as heavy foods such as cheese that can be hard on the digestive system
                - Determine and avoid food triggers such as cheese, red wine, chocolate

        Tension headache
            Characteristics:
                - often located in the back of the head and neck
                - often a feeling of a band around the head
                - often related to stress
                - often related to bowel movements and constipation
            Recommendations:
                - Treat constipation if present (as it is a major cause)
                - Meditation
                - Abhyanga
                - Calming aromatherapy (e.g. lavender, jasmine)
                - Sleep

        Sinus headache
            Characteristics
                - pain in face and forehead
                - feels worse when leaning forward
                - often related to sinus infection (most sinus infections are viral, not bacterial, therefore antibiotics rarely work)
            Recommendations:
                - Daily Nasya (lubricating insides of nostrils) with sesame oil to keep nasal passages moist and prevent sinus congestion
                - Steaming with eucalyptus oil (boil water with a few drops of eucalyptus oil, turn off stove, place towel over head, lean over pot and inhale steam for a few minutes; be careful since steam can burn) twice daily for the first two days and then once daily
                - Make a tea with 1/2 tsp of the following spice mix, 1 tsp raw honey and 1 cup of boiled water and drink after lunch and dinner:
                    - 1 part powdered ginger
                    - 1 part ground cardamom
                    - 1/4 part ground cloves
                    - 1/8 part turmeric
                    - 1/8 part black pepper
                    - 1/16 part saffron
                - (If congestion is allergy related, can use the neti pot)
                - Avoid sugar and foods that build up toxins in the body
                - Decrease intake of dairy products until digestion has improved
        Other general recommendations:
            - Massaging web between thumb and forefinger back and forth with thumb and forefinger of the other hand placed on either side of the web with firm pressure
            - Steeping 1 tsp cumin seeds and 1 tsp coriander seeds in boiling water, then strained and drunk after cooled to room temperature

Forgetfulness, Memory loss
   
Causative factors:
        - Usually a Vata (Prana Vata) imbalance due to exhaustion, stress
    Recommendations:
        - Address causative factors
        - Rest
        - Ensure adequate, good quality sleep
        - Abhyanga (spend more time on the abdomen with circular strokes and follow with a hot water bottle or heating pad)
        - Meditation
        - Regular routine
        - Treat constipation if present
        - Massage crown of head with oil
        - Nasya with sesame oil
        - Lavender aromatherapy (place a few drops of lavender essential oil in a saucer of warm water by bedside)

    - Blend handful of cilantro leaves with 1/4 cup water, strain out juice and set aside, apply pulp to eyes (with eyes closed), drink juice.

Nasal congestion, Seasonal allergies, Dry nasal passages, Stress, Lack of mental clarity
    - Nasya, or lubricating insides of nostrils with a few drops of warm sesame oil (use ghee instead in case of seasonal allergies) using your little finger dipped in the oil
, pinching your nostrils slightly while snorting the oil up into the nasal passages (ideally done in the morning; can do it again in the afternoon if the nasal passages are very dry; do not do at bedtime, or if you are down with a cold).

Feeling under the weather
    - Kashayam, a strained spice decoction in boiled water drunk while hot
            * Kashayam Recipe: separately dry roast 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander, 1 tsp fennel, 1 tsp black pepper on medium heat just until aromas are released, let cool and grind together, grate 1 tsp worth of fresh ginger, add all five to 1 cup just boiled water, steep for 5 minutes, strain and drink while hot (1 small cube of jaggery or 1 tsp turbinado sugar can be added as a sweetener if desired)
    - Rassam-Annam, a Telugu phrase which literally translates to "soup-rice": thin tomato soup prepared with ghee, sesame oil or sunflower oil and a variety of herbs and spices such as cumin, mustard, turmeric, black pepper, red chilli powder, ginger, garlic and cilantro, then mixed and eaten with cooked white basmati rice
            * Rassam/Soup Recipe: melt 2 Tbsp oil or ghee in pan on medium heat, add 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and 1/4 tsp black mustard seeds, when seeds pop add 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp red chilli powder, sauté briefly and add 1 tsp freshly grated ginger and 1 tsp minced garlic, 4 peeled + cored + diced tomatoes (if pressed for time, only quarter and core the tomatoes while preparing, mash the tomatoes when soft while cooking, and avoid the skin when eating), chopped leaves of 10 sprigs of cilantro, 1 tsp salt, stir it all and mash tomatoes well when soft, add 1/2 cup water, bring to boil
            * Annam/Rice Recipe: rinse 1/2 cup rice and soak for 20 minutes, drain, add 1 cup water, bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes
    - Inhaling the steam of 1 quart boiled water to which 1 tsp turmeric is added after water has boiled, especially just before bed (this is also good for wheezing)
    - Sipping hot water throughout the day
    - Slowly eating a mixture of 1/3 tsp powdered ginger mixed in 1 Tbsp honey, and then resting well in bed

    - Freshly grated ginger pulp applied to nostrils (this causes a burning sensation, but the congestion disappears instantly)

    - Gargling with warm salt water (1 cup water, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp turmeric)
    - Ginger-cinnamon-licorice tea (1 cup water, 1 tsp of 3 parts licorice, 2 parts ginger, 2 parts cinnamon)

    General
   
    - Mix 1 tsp ground cloves and 1 Tbsp raw honey and eat

    Dry Cough
        - 1 tsp honey with 2 pinches of black pepper, 2-3 times a day
        OR
        - 1 cup milk boiled with 1/2 tsp turmeric and 1/4 tsp ginger powder, taken at night before bedtime
        OR
        - 1/2 tsp licorice root powder and 1/4 tsp Indian celery seed (ajwan)  steeped in 1 cup boiling water with 1 tsp honey

    Productive Cough (do not use in case of ulcers of inflammation in digestive tract)
        - 1/2 tsp ginger powder, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1 pinch ground cloves steeped in 1 cup boiling water 2-3 times a day
        OR
        - 1 Tbsp honey mixed with 1/4 tsp ginger powder and 1/4 tsp ground cloves 2-3 times a day
        OR
        - 1/4 tsp of ginger powder + licorice root powder + cinnamon + nutmeg + cardamom + cloves in 1 cup boiled water, 3 times a day
    
    Persistent Dry Cough
        - Sipping hot water periodically
        - Turmeric milk (1 cup milk boiled with 1/2 tsp turmeric)
        - Sucking on a whole clove (do not eat/swallow)

Colds and Flus
   
Causative factors:
        - The common imbalances are Ama (toxins) and Vata excess
        - Toxins block the flow of energy and the body's normal purification and immune mechanisms, and this creates an internal environment that is ripe for the growth of viruses and bacteria, allowing invading organisms to easily settle and multiply. Therefore, making your body a hostile environment for disease is an effective way to maintain good health.
        - Stress
        - Fear and fear-based thought forms that make a person vulnerable to disease
        - A depleted immune system due to longstanding Vata imbalance (caused by stress, irregular routine, etc)

    Preventive recommendations:
        - Reducing toxins in the physiology by improving diet
        - Meditation
        - Adequate good-quality sleep
        - Regular Abhyanga
        - As soon as you feel as if you are coming down with an illness, eat a mixture of 1/3 tsp powdered ginger + 1 Tbsp honey, and go right to sleep – this will usually nip the illness in the bud

    Supportive recommendations:
        - Rest, rest, and more rest
        - Avoid dairy products
        - Hot Water Routine for flushing out toxins (take a few sips of hot water every half an hour throughout the day)
        - Extra meditation
        - Avoid sugar
        - Avoid exercise, except for stretching
        - Try to understand how the illness started
        - Feed a cold, starve a fever
        - Light diet
        - Uplifting reading and entertainment
        - Steaming with turmeric, especially before bedtime: boil water in pan, remove pan from heat, stir in a spoonful of turmeric powder, place towel over head while leaning over pan, and breathe in the vapour gently but deeply for a few minutes without scalding yourself

    Cold and flu symptom manifestation according to dosha and related recommendations:
    Vata Cold/Flu
        Complaints:
            - Low grade fever
            - Deep aches and pains
            - No coating or little white coating on tongue
            - Excess clear mucous
            - Post-nasal drip (dripping of clear mucous)
            - Loss of energy
            - Dry, irritated cough
            - Coughs up little or no mucous
        Recommendations:
            - Ginger-licorice tea: Boil 8 slices of ginger root and 1/2 tsp of licorice root powder in 2 cups of water for 5-10 minutes; drink 2 cups 2 or 3 times a day
            - If the illness has lasted for more than a week and there is a dry, irritated cough, drink turmeric milk: Boil 1/3 tsp turmeric in 1 cup of milk (just until the milk comes to a boil) and drink 2 times a day

    Pitta Cold/Flu
        Complaints:
            - High fever
            - Hot sensation or hot-cold sensation
            - Yellow coating on tongue
            - Red tongue body (not just the tip)
            - Off-white or yellowish mucous
            - Thicker, more copious mucous than Vata cold/flu
            - Productive cough
            - Coughs up yellow or blood-tinged mucous
            - Agitated feeling
            - Difficulty sleeping
            - Desire to remain active
        Recommendations:
            - Mix 1/4 tsp turmeric and 1 Tbsp honey and eat 3 or 4 times a day
            - For fever, drink cilantro juice: Blend 1 cup cilantro and 1/3 cup water, strain and drink up to 3 times a day

    Kapha Cold/Flu
        Complaints:
            - Copious, thick, white mucous
            - Thick, white tongue coating
            - Pale tongue body (but tip may be red)
            - Heavy, congested feeling
            - Productive cough
            - Coughs up thick, white mucous
            - Heaviness in the chest
            - Clogged sensation
            - Dull mind
            - Wants to sleep even when you can't
        Recommendations:
            - Spice tea: Steep 1/4 tsp each of turmeric, licorice root powder, cardamom, cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg and ground ginger in 1 cup of boiled water for about 3 minutes and take about 3 times a day
            - Mix 1/3 tsp ginger and 1 Tbsp honey and eat 2 or 3 times a day
            - For sinus congestion, place a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil in a large pot of boiled water, place towel over head, lean over pot and inhale the steam (Be careful since steam can burn)
            - For cough, mix 1/4 tsp ground cloves and 1 Tbsp honey and eat about 3 times a day or as needed

Bad Breath
    - Practice good oral hygiene (see section on Oral Health above)
    - Chew on cloves or fennel seeds
    - Reduce or avoid onion, garlic, animal protein, alcohol, soft drinks
    - Improve digestion (see tips for Digestion above)

    - Massage with clove oil. For this, warm a teaspoon of coconut oil in a small pan over low/medium heat, add two or three cloves and fry briefly, remove from heat and let cool, crush the cloves into the oil with a pestle, then apply the oil with your finger to the painful tooth/gum area, leave for 5 minutes, then rinse mouth with water. Do this two or three times a day.

    - Gargle with sesame oil for at least 5 minutes (spit into trashcan or toilet to avoid clogging pipes)

    - Mix 1/4 tsp turmeric and 1 Tbsp raw honey in 1/4 cup water, swish in mouth for 10 minutes and spit out

Weak Digestion
    - Stewed apple before breakfast (for recipe, see above tips for Digestion in section on Overall Well-Being)
    - Ginger elixir, or alternatively, Ginger Pickle, had at the start of a meal (avoid these if you have heartburn or an inflammatory condition) to stimulate digestion
            * Ginger Elixir Recipe: mix 1 tsp juice squeezed from freshly grated ginger, 1/2 tsp lime juice, and 1/2 tsp water
            * Ginger Pickle Recipe: sprinkle some salt and lime (or lemon) juice on a thin 1-inch slice of peeled ginger root
    - Drinking Lassi or eating Perugu Annam at the end of the meal (for recipe, see above tips for Digestion in section on Overall Well-Being)
    - Eating slowly and chewing well in a settled environment
    - Eat the largest meal at lunchtime
    - Avoid eating within 3 hours of bedtime
    - Avoid meat and other heavy foods during dinner
    - Sleeping on the left side

    - Sipping a little warm or hot water

Abdominal Pain
    Abdominal pain usually occurs 4-8 hours or more after consuming an offending food.
   
Warning signs that require immediate consultation with a doctor:
        - Fever
        - High heart rate (more than 105 beats per minute) with low blood pressure or weak pulse
        - Vomiting while unable to maintain hydration
        - Inability to pass urine
        - Rigid abdomen
        - Jaundice
        - Excruciating pain
        - Severe diarrhea (more than 4 watery bowel movements per day)

    Causative factors (if above warning signs do not apply):
        - Cold or rough foods
        - Some "healthy" or "high fiber" foods can cause problems (e.g. "oatmeal is bloatmeal")
        - Some medications such as Actos or Metformin
        - Light or variable digestion
        - Too much heat in the physiology
        - Sleep disturbance
        - Improper eating habits such as rushing through meals, or eating while working
        - Emotional stress such as heartache, dependency needs, lack of self-esteem
        - Reproductive system issues such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts, PMS (premenstrual syndrome) or dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation)

    Recommendations:
        - For reproductive system issues, address the causes (by taking more rest, or consulting a doctor)
        - Treat constipation if it is present
        - Avoid hard, dried, raw, cold foods, and follow a soft, warm, white diet (white rice, white pasta, cream of rice, cream of wheat) with easily digested foods such as steamed vegetables (this is also helpful when the pain is more in the stomach or upper abdominal region)
        - Chew a few fennel seeds (or drink a tea made by steeping fennel seeds in a cup of boiling water) after each meal
        - If there are no ulcers, hyperacidity or inflammatory conditions, add raw ginger to the diet
        - Cook with Vata Churna (Vata-pacifying spice mix)
            * Vata Churna (use 1/2 - 1 tsp tsp of churna)    
                2 Tbsp fennel seeds
                1  Tbsp coriander seeds
                1 Tbsp cumin seeds
                1 Tbsp ground turmeric
                1 Tbsp dried basil
                2 tsp powdered ginger
                2 tsp salt
                1 tsp asafoetida
        - Chew food well
        - Sit quietly for at least 10 minutes after each meal (this is also helpful if reflux is present)

    - Have 1/2 cup of yoghurt or kefir 3 or 4 times a day, making sure to take it between the doses of antibiotic medicine

    Causative factors:
        - Very acidic or very alkaline foods can imbalance the body's pH level, irritate the bladder, cause inflammation and promote bacterial overgrowth
        - Suppressing or delaying urination gives toxins, bacteria and chemicals more time in contact with the bladder which can contribute to problems. It can also interfere with the lower abdominal flow, leading to bloating, gas or constipation

    Recommendations:
        - Have plenty of organic fruits and vegetables, avoiding or at least minimizing toxins and junk food
        - Avoid very sour, acidic or fermented foods and supplements such as citrus foods, tomatoes, vitamin C, alcoholic beverages, vinegar (including condiments that contain vinegar such as mustard, ketchup and salad dressings)
        - Avoid very alkaline foods such as those containing baking soda or baking powder
        - Eat sweet, juicy fruits (e.g sweet apples, pears, sweet plums, sweet grapes), green leafy vegetables, squashes, a little daikon radish (cooked or grated), cilantro, coriander. These will help to balance and neutralize the body's pH level, improve urine flow, and reduce the tendency for infections.
        - Use the following spice mixture in your cooking by dry roasting the spices together first, letting them cool, grinding, and then using about a 1/2 tsp in the dish you prepare (store the rest of the spice mixture in an airtight container to use in future):
            - 1 part ground turmeric
            - 2 parts cumin seeds
            - 3 parts coriander seeds
            - 4 parts fennel seeds
            - 1 part fenugreek seeds
            - 1/2 part black peppercorns
        - Drink and increase the intake of good quality, non-chlorinated water. If non-chlorinated water is not available, boil water for 5 minutes to allow the chlorine to evaporate. If there are too many minerals (seen as tiny white cloudy particles during boiling), let the water sit for 24 hours in a covered pan and slowly pour the water from the top (the heavy minerals will remain at the bottom). Do not use a reverse osmosis filter because the filtered water will not contain any minerals. Water should ideally consist of pure water and some minerals. Fresh spring water is ideal though expensive or not easily available. I boil our tap water for drinking and cooking purposes.

    Constipation is considered to be a major cause of toxins and disease and should always be addressed. Normal bowel movements are considered to be 1 or 2 easy bowel movements a day, with soft, light brown, well-formed stools.

    Causative factors: Improper diet (e.g. large quantities of meat), Excess salt intake, Hard cheeses, Lack of fruits and vegetables in diet, Dehydration or inadequate fluid intake, Lack of exercise, Sitting in the same position for a long time, Travel

    Possible unusual symptoms caused by constipation: Nausea, Fatigue or weakness in lower part of body, Cramps in calf muscles, Dizziness, Back pain, Suprapubic pain, Facial Swelling

    Possible symptoms caused by severe constipation (when more than one day is skipped without a bowel movement): Headache, Vomiting, Loss of taste, Irritable bowel syndrome, Inflammatory bowel disease, Loss of hearing, Dull vision, Depression, Mental or emotional problems

    Supportive measures:
        - Avoid dehydration
        - Maintain a regular routine
        - Get regular exercise
        - Eat fruits and vegetables regularly
        - Drink lassi

    Recommendations:
        - Address causative factors
        - Increase ghee consumption, or add 1 tsp of ghee to the first bite of every meal
        - Warm (boiled) milk with 2 tsp ghee and 2 pinches of cardamom at bedtime
        - 2 Tbsp soaked raisins at bedtime
        - Stewed apple first thing in the morning, or before breakfast (see Recipe section for stewed apple recipe)
        - A few figs, prunes or raisins soaked overnight and eaten in the morning, along with stewed apple if desired
        - Add 1 or 2 tsp wheat bran to hot cereal of whole grains cooked with water (e.g. quinoa, whole-wheat couscous, amaranth, bulgur wheat, cracked wheat)
        - Lassi at lunch (see section on Digestion above for recipe)
        - 2 tsp psyllium seed husks added to lassi
        - Avoid cheese, meat, and potatoes, especially after 2pm
        - Avoid salty foods
        - Favour whole grains, barley
        - Increase intake of fluids
        - Ensure adequate exercise
        - Generally avoid dry, hard, rough, cold foods and instead, drink more fluids and eat more warm foods with a higher liquid content (soups, stews, juicy fruits and vegetables)
        - Drink a digestive aid made with 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, 1 cup water and 10 drops of lime juice before lunch and dinner
        - Do not skip or delay meals, overeat at a meal or eat between meals
        - Go to the bathroom when the urge to eliminate arises, without suppressing or delaying it
        - Cultivate a habit of drinking two cups of pure, warm water in the morning on an empty stomach. To eliminate toxins, you can addthe juice of a quarter of a lime and 1 or 2 tsp raw honey to the water
        - Increase the amount of cooked, green leafy vegetables in diet
        - Maintain a regular routine

Diarrhea, Loose Stools
    Diarrhea is considered to be watery stools (not loose stools) which can lead to dehydration or electrolyte imbalance over a period of time. Loose stools or diarrhea in the absence of an infection indicate a disturbance in the digestive process and a problem with assimilation of nutrients in the small intestine.

    Causative factors:
            - intestinal virus
            - dysentery
        - Vata imbalance causing food to be moved too quickly through the digestive tract before liquid can be reabsorbed. This usually manifests as irritable bowel syndrome i.e. needing to pass stools right after eating, gas, bloating
        - Pitta imbalance causing excessive heat and inflammation due to a virus, bacteria or processing in the liver (watery stool is the body's natural way of reducing heat through flushing it out). This usually manifests as more frequent diarrhea unrelated to mealtimes.

    Supportive measures:
        - Avoid raw salads, yoghurt, cheese, butter, heavy oily food, spicy foods with red or green chillies or paprika, fried foods, meat, fish, leftover food, canned food, food with preservatives, nut butters, soy sauce, citrus foods, vinegar, fermented foods
        - Start with only rice and steamed or lightly sauteed vegetables
        - Do not do abhyanga
        - Eat at a moderate pace in a settled atmosphere
        - Take rest after a meal by lying on the left side for 10 minutes
        - Avoid drinking water with each bite of the meal
        - Avoid emotionally charged discussions during meals

    Recommendations:
        - Boil 1/2 cup rice and 4 cups water for 45 minutes with 2 pinches of black pepper and 1/4 tsp salt. Drink the liquid portion only.
        - Drink coconut water in case of dehydration
        - Drink some pomegranate juice
        - Drink Fennel Tea:
            * Fennel Tea Recipe: Steep 1/2 tsp fennel seeds in 1 cup of boiling water for a few minutes until the water cools down to room temperature, strain and drink after meals.
        - At lunchtime, drink 1 or 2 cups of nonfat digestive lassi
            * Nonfat Digestive Lassi Recipe: Blend 1 part nonfat yoghurt, 3 parts water, and a pinch of dry-roasted ground cumin seeds (or baked ground cumin)
        - Drink upto 4 cups of Kanjee (homemade rice milk) with meals or between meals per day. Kanjee rehydrates the body, slows down and firms up the stool and provides electrolyte support
            * Kanjee Recipe: Boil 1/2 cup organic basmati rice in 8 cups water for 20 minutes, strain rice out and pour water into thermos flask, add 1/2 tsp cumin seeds to 1 quart portion (or a pinch of ground cumin to 1 cup)
        - Eat freshly made Kichari at least once a day, either during meals or as a snack between meals
            * Kichari Recipe: Rinse 1 Tbsp moong dal and 1/2 cup white basmati rice well in cold water, add 1 1/4 cup water and a pinch of salt, bring to boil, cover and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes, add 1/2 tsp of pomegranate chutney if you wish (see below)
        - Eat 1 or 2 tsp of Pomegranate Chutney with meals
            * Pomegranate Chutney Recipe: Separately grind 1/4 tsp black peppercorns, 2 tsp cumin seeds, 1/8 tsp cardamom seeds (not the pods); add one at a time to 8 tsp pomegranate seed powder (also known as "anardana" powder) or freshly ground pomegranate seeds, 2 tsp salt, 1/2 cup organic cane sugar; add 1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice and store in airtight container for up to a month
        - For Vata-type diarrhea (passing stools right after meals, gas, bloating):
            - Soft, warm, "white" diet (white rice, cream of rice, cream of wheat) with some ghee
            - Avoid dried fruits, crackers, bran or rough whole wheat foods
        - For Pitta-type diarrhea (more frequent stools unrelated to mealtimes):
            - Use ground fennel in cooking
            - Applesauce
                * Applesauce Recipe: peel, core, quarter, steam (for 10 minutes) and then mash an apple (the Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious or Fuji variety of apples are mellow in taste and easy on the stomach; the less tart, the better), add 1/2 tsp ghee, a pinch of cardamom, mix and eat slowly

            - Add 2 tsp psyllium husks to lassi and drink

Body Odour
    Reducing body odour involves mainly reducing the bad fats and sugars in the diet, and increasing exercise
        - Get more exercise
        - Avoid refined sugar and white flour
        - Reduce fats in your diet, especially the "bad fats" (e.g. trans fatty acids)
        - Consume more fiber
        - Eat organic foods as much as possible
        - Use only organic, unrefined olive oil or upto 2 tsp ghee per day, and always saute the olive oil or ghee in spices
        - Favour foods such as Bran, Whole cooked grains (especially barley and quinoa), Green leafy vegetables (chard, kale, spinach, broccoli), Legumes (lentils, dried beans, peas, dal)

Dehydration
    - Periodically sipping on 1 pint warm water mixed with a 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp lime juice and 1/8 tsp salt through the day

    - Massage area with warm coconut oil
    - Rest the area
    - Apply heat
    - Avoid nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant; if you, like me, happen to like some or all of these, peel the potatoes, use fresh, peeled, de-seeded tomatoes instead of tomato sauce or paste, use red bell peppers instead of green, and use baby eggplant instead of the bigger variety)

Low Back Pain
    Causative factors:
        - Vata imbalance usually due to trauma or stress
        - Blockages in flow at the psychological or spiritual levels
        - Financial stress
    Recommendations:
        - Re-establishing the flow of energy
            - Massage and touch therapy
        - Removing Ama (toxins)
            - Applying heat
            - Using topical rubifacients (e.g. Tiger Balm, China Gel)
            - Topical heat with hot water bottle (moist heat is generally more penetrating and effective)
        - Rejuvenating and strengthening back
            - Exercises that strengthen abdominal support of back area

Weight Gain
    If we do not enjoy food, or if we cannot metabolize it properly due to the nature of food, environment or emotional state, it hampers digestion, creates toxins, and psychologically, we will not feel nourished by what we eat, thus creating a desire for more food even though we might not need it. Diet is anything that is consumed at all levels of life through all our senses, be it food, sensation, emotion or experience. Each individual has his/her own unique mind-body constitution, so there is no absolute ideal weight, and the goal is to be the best you that you can healthily and happily be – this is balance. Imbalances resulting from toxins in the physiology due to improper diet and lifestyle, stress, emotional eating, constant hunger or sluggish digestion can all contribute to weight gain and make weight loss especially difficult. A simple and effective remedy for weight loss is the Ayurvedic Hot Water Routine: fill a thermos flask with hot water, and take a few sips of hot water every half an hour throughout the day. This helps to improve digestion, clean the digestive tract, eliminate toxins, reduce food cravings between meals, and remove excess weight.

    Here are some general Ayurvedic principles for gaining and maintaining a healthy weight:
        1. Focus on eating slowly and mindfully in a settled state, experiencing the food fully instead of talking or being distracted. You will find that the taste of the food changes as you chew it more, and you will feel full sooner than you normally do.
        2. Eat a light vegetarian meal for dinner with easily digestible foods (ideally consisting of warm, moist foods).
        3. Eat your largest meal of the day at lunch with a wide variety of warm, cooked foods.
        4. Try to include all six tastes in the diet (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent), since a lack of a particular taste in one's diet can lead to cravings for that taste (for psychological origins of cravings, see #10 below). Ideally, a meal should consist of protein, carbohydrates and vegetables.
        5. Sip hot water frequently throughout the day (see Hot Water Routine described above).
        6. Avoid leftovers (easier said than done!).
        7. Exercise.
        8. Go to bed by 10pm.
        9. Practice meditation.
        10. Find other ways to nurture the body, mind and soul. Food cravings are the body's natural (and sensible) response to imbalances caused by various aspects of diet or lifestyle. For example, sweet cravings (e.g. desserts) can indicate the need for more energy, or for more self-nurturing (love), or for more protein or grounding foods in the diet; salt cravings (e.g. chips) can indicate a need for stronger digestion, or for more zest for life, or for less overdoing, or for more variety of foods; spice cravings can indicate a weak digestion resulting from lack of adequate physical activity; sour cravings (e.g. fermented foods) can indicate the body's response to the buildup of toxins in the system; bitter cravings (e.g. for coffee) can indicate the need for more bitter taste in the diet (via greens and vegetables).
        11. Resolve any emotional issues that could be causing imbalances and toxins in the physiology and thus contributing to weight gain. Meditation is a great step in this direction, since it promotes self-awareness that can naturally guide you to make the right decisions for yourself.

    Here are some basic suggestions to address specific imbalances causing weight gain from an Ayurvedic perspective:
        1. Ama (or toxic buildup) is the most common problem relating to weight gain, resulting in fatigue, and there is also often a psychological component such as hanging on or "stuckness". In such cases, releasing and letting go can be helpful. The Hot Water Routine (see above)  is also effective for removing toxins from the body.
        2. Vata (space, air) imbalance is the second most common problem, caused by high stress and resulting in emotional eating. In such cases, nurturing and emotional support can be helpful. Other effective ways of balancing Vata are Meditation, Sleep, Abhyanga (full-body self massage with oil) and following a Regular Routine.
        3. Pitta (fire) imbalance is characterized by constant hunger (not emotional hunger, but the physical sensation of an empty stomach), and irritability if meals are restricted or skipped. In such cases, reducing the intensity of lifestyle and avoiding pushing oneself can be helpful. Other effective ways of balancing Pitta are Meditation and Spending Time in Nature.
        4. Kapha (water, earth) imbalance can occur in individuals with a Kapha prakruti (generally a large-boned physique, with slow gait, speech, and metabolism), who have a natural tendency to gain weight easily due to sluggish digestion. In such cases, movement and flow can be helpful. Other effective ways of  balancing Kapha are Meditation, Exercise and Ayurvedic Fasting, which is not fasting in the typical sense as in going without food, but rather, replacing a meal or more in a day with liquids or liquid foods (fruit or vegetable juices, soups, broths, stews).

    - Abhyanga (see directions for abhyanga in section about "Overall well-being" above)

    - Apply raw honey

    - Improve Sleep (see tips for Sleep above)
    - Meditation (see section on Overall Well-Being above)
    - Improve/Strenghten Digestion (see tips for Digestion above)

    - Sipping hot water
    - Wearing warm colours (red, orange) – it works :)

    - Taking a walk in the moonlight
    - Wearing cool colours (blue, green)

    - Meditation
    - Listening to uplifting music
    - Wearing bright, cheerful colours
    - Reading uplifting books
    - Spending time with children or pets

    - Observing your thoughts and emotions as they come, and letting them flow and change with your awareness, and releasing them
    - Meditation
    - Spending time in Nature
    - Eating cooling foods
    - Wearing cool colours
    - Orange aroma (place a few drops of essential oil in a saucer of warm water by your bedside)

Anxiety, Nervousness
    - Regular meditation
    - Regular abhyanga
    - Regular routine
    - Getting plenty of rest, addressing any sleep disorders
    - Avoiding stimulants such as tobacco, alcohol, caffeine
    - Eating warm, nourishing meals at regular times without distractions
    - Avoiding fasting
    - Avoiding iced, cold or carbonated beverages
    - Favouring warm, heavy, oily, sweet, sour and salty foods
    - Reducing cold, dry, light, bitter, pungent and astringent foods
    - Reducing travel
    - Avoiding stressful situations
    - Regular yoga with slow or restorative poses at the end
    - Listening to soothing music
    - Lavender, Sandalwood or Jasmine aroma (place a few drops of essential oil in a saucer of warm water by your bedside)
    - Slow, calm breathing
    - Reciting a mantra slowly and softly (a longer phrase works better than a short word or sound, since this tends to slow down breathing and relax the mind and body more; alternatively, one can utter the short word or sound slowly for a few seconds), with calm, slow breaths between repetitions. Examples are "Om" or "Amen" or "Peace" or any word or phrase that you associate with relaxation.
    - Counselling, if anxiety is severe
    - Address the following possible causative factors: Irregular routine, Mental or emotional stress, Excessive mental pr physical activity (especially in the evening), Pain, Poor digestion, Excessive talking or singing, Sleeping in the daytime (unless needed due to age, illness, exhaustion, injury etc)
    - Do Abhyanga before bed, followed by a warm shower
    - Drink 3/4 cup of milk boiled (and then cooled to warm) with 2 pinches of nutmeg and 1 pinch of cardamom
    - Listen to soft, soothing, slow music for a few minutes
    - Go to bed before 10pm
    - Do not use read, watch TV, work on computer etc in bedroom
    - Do aromatherapy with Lavender, Orange or Jasmine aroma (place a few drops of essential oil in a saucer of warm water by your bedside)
    - If there are early morning awakenings (between 2-4am), also do the following:
        - Avoid TV, computers, bright lights etc in the evening, especially after 8pm
        - Decrease the level of intensity and activity during the day, especially in the evening
        - Address depression if it also exists

[Please note: Recipes where included above contain approximate amounts, so adjust the proportions of the ingredients to suit your taste]

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5. Supportive Recommendations for Some Common Pre-Diagnosed Conditions

* Note: Do not discontinue or alter the dosage of your current medications, supplements or other medical treatment without your physician's feedback and supervision.

Below are supportive recommendations for the following pre-diagnosed conditions:
    Acne
    Addiction
    Allergies
    Cancer
    Chest Pain
    Depression
    Eczema
    Fibromyalgia
    Menopause
    Migraine
    Osteoporosis
    There are three common types of acne:
    Acne due to Vata imbalance:
        Causes:
            - Overworking
            - Inadequate sleep
            - Lack of good oils in the diet
            - The resulting dry skin causes the body to compensate by creating more oil for the skin, leading to acne
        Characteristics:
            - Alternating dryness and oiliness of the skin, often in one day
        Recommendations:
            - Address Vata-unbalancing factors such as overworking, lack of sleep etc
            - Applying oil to the skin (e.g. coconut, almond)
    
    Acne due to Pitta-related toxins:
        Causes:
            - Excess heat in the blood
            - Excess toxins in the blood
        Characteristics:
            - Plugged skin pores with acne lesions due to heat being pushed towards the skin
        Recommendations:
            - Reduce heating and toxic foods to cool down and purify the blood
            - Hot Water Routine (sip hot water every half an hour throughout the day)
            
    Acne due to Kapha-related toxins:
        Causes:
            - Improper digestion and toxins
        Characteristics:
            - Deep cystic acne lesions followed by secondary inflammation in the body
        Recommendations:
            - Improve digestion and quality of foods consumed
            - Hot Water Routine (sip hot water every half an hour throughout the day)   

    Addiction is usually a way to numb and escape pain, and gain some pleasure from a substance or relationship
    Causative factors:
        - The most common imbalances are Pitta (Sadhaka Pitta), Vata (Prana Vata), 2nd chakra (emotional flow and pleasure) and 1st chakra (security)
        - Lack of psychological or spiritual awareness
        - Attachment to the ego
        - Inability to experience bliss
        - Codependent relationships
        - Lack of mental clarity
    Recommendations:
        - Restore sleep to adequate, good quality restorative sleep
        - Meditation
        - Nourishing diet
        - Abhyanga
        - Finding other ways to nurture the self

Allergies
    Allergies are the result of a malfunctioning immune system

    Causative factors:
        - The most common imbalances are Vata (Udana Vata), Pitta (Ranjaka Pitta), and Ama (toxins)
        - Usually the liver becomes clogged with toxins, which impairs the proper production of immune system proteins, which leads to the immune system becoming hyperactive, which creates inflammation, which causes the body to produce more mucous to soothe the inflammation. The malfunctioning of the immune system also extends to foods, resulting in allergic reactions to food such as dairy or wheat.

    Recommendations:
        - Reducing toxins in the liver through diet
        - Avoiding leftovers, packaged / canned / frozen foods
        - Avoiding garlic and onions (which are heating to the liver)
        - Avoiding bananas, yoghurt and cheese (which can clog the liver)
        - Taking spice water with more fennel and coriander to help eliminate toxins
        - Following a cooling, anti-inflammatory diet by favouring sweet, bitter or astringent tastes and reducing sour, salty and pungent tastes
        - Using turmeric in cooking
        - Nasya with sesame oil (lubricating the insides of the nostrils with warm sesame oil)
        - Consider a liquid diet one day a week (soups, stews, broths, shakes, etc).
        - Remove any allergens (dust, pets, etc)

    This is a complicated condition with mainly psychological, subconscious origins that can be life threatening. 
    Causative factors:
        - Extremely weakened digestion
        - 3rd chakra issues (self-esteem, control, autonomy)
        - Dominating (or perceived to be dominating) figure in close relationships (parent, spouse, lover)
        - Perfectionism (striving to look perfect)
        - Self-punishment
        - Difficulty accepting one's sexuality
    Recommendations:
        - Meditation
        - Aromatherapy
        - Ayurvedic yoga
        - Journalling
        - Improving digestion
        - Clinician feedback
        - Talk therapy (usually takes a long time)

Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (enlarged prostate)
   
The prostate is a walnut-sized organ below the bladder that surrounds the urethra (which carries urine from the bladder). It manufactures a fluid that becomes part of semen.
    Some points to consider:
        - Prostate problems are common in men in their 50s and older, and most can be treated without harming sexual functioning. While half of all men over the age of 50 develop BPH symptoms, only 10% need medical or surgical intervention. It is not always treated unless symptoms are significant.
        - BPH is a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate
        - BPH usually begins in the 30s, evolves gradually and causes symptoms after 50
        - With BPH, the prostate grows larger and may compress the urethra, which can hinder urine flow. This can cause urine retention in the bladder and the need for frequent urination. If severe, the urethra can become completely blocked, which can lead to kidney injury

    Causative factors:
        - The most common imbalance is usually Vata (Apana Vata)
        - Toxic foods
        - Excessive consumption of cold milk
        - Excessive meat consumption
        - Excessive egg consumption
        - Excessive sexual activity
        - Weight gain
        - Stress
        - Irregular routine
        - Inadequate sleep

    Recommendations:
        - Gentle exercise or yoga
        - Sufficient rest
        - Moderate sexual activity
        - Avoiding sitting for long periods of time
        - Increasing amount of vegetables in diet
        - Decreasing cold, heavy, toxic foods
        - Decreasing fluid intake in the evening

    Ayurveda does not have a cure for cancer. However, supportive measures can be taken to improve the general strength and health of the individual. Most people who experience a spontaneous remission of cancer do so after making dramatic, life transforming changes to their attitudes, beliefs, and circumstances (e.g. career, relationships). The book "Dying To Be Me – My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing" by Anita Moorjani is a profound, fascinating account of the author's near-death experience after she went into a coma while ailing from cancer, her expanded consciousness and enlightenment while in the coma, and her miraculous, spontaneous recovery following her change in attitude.

    Causative factors:
        The origin of tumours is usually a Vata imbalance (stress, anxiety, inadequate sleep, irregular routine, etc), where the body tries to compensate for this imbalance by increasing Kapha.

    Recommendations:
        - Cooking with turmeric to increase immunity and reduce toxins
        - Meditation to alleviate the stress of the diagnosis of cancer
        - The book "The Answer to Cancer: Is Never Giving It a Chance To Start" by Dr. Sharma and Dr. Mishra, which provides valuable tips on preventive healthcare that can reduce the odds of getting cancer in the first place.

    Important Note: There are many things that can cause chest pain, some life-threatening, others not. The best advice for anyone suffering from chest pain, however, is to seek help immediately, because every minute since the start of a possible heart attack and the correction of blood flow within the heart signifies increased loss of heart muscle.

    Origins:
        Chest pain usually originates from the organs in the chest wall (heart, lungs or esophagus) or from the chest wall components (skin, muscle or bone). Sometimes organs close to the chest such as the stomach or gall bladder may cause chest pain. Chest pain can also be caused by neck pain (referred pain).

    Causes:
        - Angina: This is caused by decreased oxygen supply to the heart muscle (e.g. during physical activity, when heart rate and blood pressure increase due to the heart's demand for more oxygen), and is often experienced as a squeezing sensation.
        - Heart attack (myocardial infarction): This occurs when the surface covering of a fatty plaque ruptures. A blood clot can form on the plaque, which in turn can partially or completely block the artery. A heart attack occurs after a prolonged period of angina. Contrary to the notion that a heart attack is characterized by a sudden, intense pain, most heart attacks start slowly as mild pain or discomfort that increase in intensity over time. Many, but not all heart attacks can be accompanied by other symptoms such as discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach, shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness. 
        - Chest wall pain: Various conditions can cause the skin, muscles, soft tissue, tendons, cartilage and bones of the chest to become painful.
        - Esophageal pain: The esophagus is a tube connects the mouth / throat to the stomach. Because the esophagus and the heart are connected to some of the same nerves, some cases of esophageal pain can be mistaken for cardiac ischemia (inadequate blood supply to the heart).
        - Gastrointestinal tract issues: Problems relating to the stomach or intestines can cause pain that spreads or even originates in the chest. Examples are ulcers, gallbladder disease, pancreatitis, irritable bowel syndrome.
        - Lung problems: Several lung problems can cause chest pain and many of them cause pain that worsens with breathing. Examples are pulmonary embolism (blockage in a lung artery), pneumonia, pleurisy (inflammation of the membranes that surround the lungs), collapsed lung.
        - Psychological causes: Panic disorder, depression and hyperventilation (associated with panic attacks) can cause chest pain.
        - Referred pain: This can happen when nerves serving regions of the chest wall also serve the tissues around the lungs, diaphragm, or abdominal lining. A herniated disc or arthritis in the neck can cause "band-like" chest pain.

    Distinguishing between cardiac and non-cardiac chest pain:
        Description of pain: Cardiac chest pain (caused by ischemia, or lack of oxygen to the heart), is usually described as discomfort rather than pain, with a feeling like squeezing, tightness, pressure, constriction, strangling, burning, heartburn, fullness in the chest area, band-like sensation, knot in the center of the chest, ache, heavy weight on the chest, or like a bra that is too tight. People *without* heart problems may describe their pain as sharp or stabbing.
        - Location of pain: Cardiac chest pain is generally felt throughout the chest and not in a specific spot. It usually involves the center of the chest or upper abdomen. Patients may have trouble pointing to an exact spot where the pain is. Non-cardiac chest pain is likely to be felt only on the right or left side (and not in the center of the chest), and the patient is able to point with a finger to a specific area that is painful.
        - Radiation of pain: Cardiac chest pain often spreads to other areas of the upper body such as the neck, throat, lower jaw, teeth (feeling like a toothache), shoulders, arms, and sometimes the wrists, fingers or back (between the shoulder blades).
        - Timing of pain: Cardiac pain tends to come on and worsen gradually over time. If it is related to exertion, it usually lasts 2-5 minutes after resting. Non-cardiac chest pain can occur suddenly, feel worst in the beginning and is often unrelated to exertion. It may last anywhere from a few seconds to a few hours. Pain that has been constant over a period of days or weeks is likely to be non-cardiac chest pain.

    Causative factors:
        Cardiac chest pain:
            - Pitta (heat/inflammation) Ama (toxins) imbalance
            - Toxic foods
            - Excessive meat consumption
            - Excessive fatty foods
            - Stress
            - Smoking
            - Being overweight
            - Diabetes
        Non-cardiac chest pain:
            - Vata (flow) imbalance
            - Reflux disease
            - Depression
            - Stress
            - Vata aggravating factors (irregular routine, inadequate sleep, anxiety, etc)

    Recommendations:
        - Address causative factors
        - If overweight, see section on Weight Gain
        - If depressed, see section on Depression
        - If smoking, reduce and then give up smoking, and see section on Addiction
        - If Vata imbalance, follow Vata-balancing practices (meditation, sleep, abhyanga, regular routine, warm, moist foods favouring sweet, sour and salty tastes)
        - If Pitta imbalance, follow Pitta-balancing practices (meditation, laxative foods, spending time in Nature, cooling foods favouring sweet, bitter and stringent tastes)
     
    
    Causative factors:
        - Excess Vata imbalance depleting Kapha dosha
        - Excess Ama (toxins) blocking access to energy
        - Malabsorption of nutrients causing energy loss
        - Loss of Ojas
        - Severe stress
        - Overworking

    Recommendations:
        - Treating underlying imbalances
        - Addressing causative factors such as stress, overdoing, etc
        - Meditation
        - Good quality sleep
        - Abhyanga at bedtime for about a month
        - Improving digestion
        - Identifying and reducing Ama (toxins)
        - Use Vata churna when cooking (see Recipe section)

Depression

    Depression is often due to loss of Ojas, or the lively energy of the body. Vata imbalance is more likely.

    Causative factors for depletion of Ojas:
        - Overwork
        - Excessive exercise
        - Sleep deprivation
        - Excessive stress
        - Overindulgence in sex
        - Fasting
        - Incorrect Panchakarma techniques
        - Hurry
        - Entertaining negativity
        - Excessive exposure to detrimental influences or media that can overload the senses
        - Alcohol or recreational drugs
        - Overexposure to wind or sun
        - Injury or trauma
        - Surgery

    Types of Depression:
        Vata Depression
            Characteristics:
                - Difficulty falling asleep
                - Anxiety
                - Feeling overwhelmed
            Often caused by:
                - Too much change
            Primary therapeutical approach:
                - To nourish and stabilize
            Recommendations:
                - Meditation
                - Regular routine

        Pitta Depression
            Characteristics:
                - Early morning awakening (usually between 2am-4am)
                - Irritability
                - Frustration
                - Feeling of blocked possibilities
                - Overdoing
            Primary therapeutical approach:
                - To calm intensity and improve sleep
            Recommendations:
                - Meditation
                - Spending more time in Nature
                - Less work

        Kapha Depression
            Characteristics:
                - Excessive sleep (hypersomnolence), 10-15 hours/day
                - Disinterest
                - No motivation
                - Too much attachment
            Primary therapeutical approach:
                - To motivate
            Recommendations:
                - Meditation
                - Exercise

    General Recommendations:
        - If there is a lack of contentment of fulfillment, try to connect with something larger than yourself, by spending time in Nature or playing with children
        - Addressing any doshic imbalances that might exist (Vata, Pitta, Kapha - see the description of the three doshas in the section on "Theory of Ayurveda" below, as well as dosha-specific recommendations above)
        - Avoiding dark colours
        - Wearing clean clothes
        - Avoiding smoking and alcohol
        - Avoiding impure or toxic foods (see list of what to eat in the section on "Overall Well-Being" above)
        - Using sweet taste as appropriate
        - Treating the Pragya Aparad (or "mistake of the intellect) through Meditation and Vedic counselling to elevate the level of consciousness and attain enlightenment

Dysmenorrhea (painful menses)
    Pain and cramping during the menstrual cycle is due to a Vata imbalance.
    Causative factors:
        - Vata-unbalancing factors such as stress, inadequate sleep, anxiety, irregular routine
    Recommendations:
        - Rest
        - Meditation
        - Getting adequate, good-quality sleep (see recommendations for Sleep in section on Overall Well-Being above)
        - Abhyanga (but not during the menstrual cycle)
        - Regular routine
        - Massaging abdomen with sesame oil and then placing a hot water bottle over it can help alleviate cramping
        - Follow a Vata-pacifying diet by favouring warm, moist, heavier foods and avoiding ice-cold foods and excess consumption of salads
        - Use ghee in cooking or drizzle a little over cooked food
        - Be careful not to create toxic buildup through diet, so avoid yoghurt, cheese, red meat in particular

    Eczema is usually considered to be due to a lack of proper functioning of the immune system.
    Causative factors: 
        - The most common imbalances are Pitta (Ranjaka Pitta or Bhrajaka Pitta), Vata excess or Vata affecting Pitta
        - Toxins in the liver or elsewhere affecting normal immune function
        - The skin being affected by excess heat resulting in drying out of the skin
        - Drying out of the protective layer of the skin, making it susceptible to irritation and inflammation
        - Heat in the digestive tract getting pulled to the surface of the body, creating dryness or inflammation
        - Seasons (usually dryness of cold weather)
        - Frequent bathing
        - Soap
        - A diet with too many dry foods or pungent foods (e.g. cayenne pepper, chillies, ginger, garlic)
        - Nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, green bell pepper, etc) which can contribute to heat in the liver
        - Toxins, whereby the body creates heat in response to the toxins, resulting in damp inflammation

    Recommendations:
        Eczema is considered complex and difficult to treat. That said ...
        - Treating the underlying imbalance (for Vata: Meditation, Sleep, Abhyanga, Regular routine, Warm, moist foods; for Pitta: Meditation, Laxative foods such as ghee/aloe juice/milk, Cool, mild foods, Spending time in Nature)
        - Topical skin care such as applying aloe gel followed by coconut oil
        - Using mild oat-based products
    Fibromyalgia is a disease of exclusion. That is, this condition is generally diagnosed after all other causes of pain have been ruled out.

    Causative factors: usually a Vata imbalance with Ama (toxins) accumulated in the muscle tissue, due to stress, irregular routine, inadequate sleep, etc.

    Typical complaints:
        - Pain in several areas; pain while sitting, standing or even lying down
        - Disturbed sleep
        - Associated complaints: Irritable bowel syndrome, Insomnia, GERD, Depression

    Recommendations:
        - Follow a Vata balancing routines: The main areas to focus on are Meditation, Sleep, Abhyanga, Regular routine
        - Daily Abhyanga
        - Apply heat
        - Follow a light Vata balancing diet: favour warm, moist, oily foods
        - Swimming (creates warmth in the muscles without stressing the joints)
        - Treat depression if it is present


Heart Disease
   
Some points to consider:
        - Cholesterol is a necessary part of the body
        - Cholesterol is made by almost all the cells in the human body
        - Cholesterol is required for the manufacture of sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone and other hormones such as cortisol
        - Cholesterol is a precursor for Vitamin D
        - Cholesterol is abundant in the brain, and is required by the supportive cells in the brain to help neurons form synaptic connections (cholesterol-lowering medication is therefore not given to children due to their growing brains)     
        
- Cholesterol-lowering medications that cross the blood-brain barrier occasionally cause problems with memory and thinking
        - Cholesterol readings can vary widely
        - Total cholesterol as a number does not mean much unless you also know the HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol that is present
        - The body manufactures about 65% of the cholesterol that circulates in the blood
        - Cholesterol is not a toxic substance and does not cause artery disease, unless it is oxidized. Oxidized LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol is harmful
        - Only about a third of people with heart attacks have elevated cholesterol.. Those who have heart attacks also had diabetes or other significant risk factor for artherosclerosis
        - People with high cholesterol and low inflammation have healthy arteries
        - High blood pressure and high cholesterol are minor risk factors compared to diabetes or aging

    Causative factors:
        - The most common imbalance is a combination of Pitta (heat) and Ama (toxins)
        - Vascular wear and tear (i.e. damage to the arteries)
        - Inflammation (when the immune system gets involved)
        - Poor diet
        - A diet rich in animal protein (which results in high levels of homocysteine, which is toxic to arteries, in the body; vegetarians consistently have less heart disease)
        - Stress (which can lead to blood vessel injury, blood vessel dysfunction, clot formations and also trigger other harmful behaviour such as smoking in response to stress)
        - Loneliness, isolation, lack of social connectedness
        - Unhealthy mental states such as depression, anger, social competitiveness, sense of loss, hopelessness
        - Hypertension
        - High levels of insulin (which stimulates artherosclerosis, a hardening and narrowing of the arteries due to buildup of plaque) and the Metabolic Syndrome (a pre-diabetic condition characterized by resistance to insulin and general inflammation in the body)

    Recommendations:
        - Lowering blood pressure (see section on Hypertension below)
        - Stopping smoking
        - Curing diabetes by reducing weight and exercising regularly (regular physical exercise results in 100% reduction in coronary artery disease compared to a 24% reduction with statin drugs)
        - Meditation (studies have shown a 92% reduction in cardiovascular disease in those practicing Transcendental Meditation)
        - Try to ensure the following in your diet:
            - Try to follow a vegetarian or predominantly vegetarian diet (studies have shown a 75% reduction in heart disease in strict vegetarians in some cases)
            - Avoid refined oils and fats, or partially hydrogenated oils, or canola oil (sometimes also found in salad dressings). Use moderate amounts of saturated oils such as ghee, or monosaturated oils such as olive oil etc.
            - Avoid cooking oils at high temperatures (which oxidizes them)
            - Avoid processed or baked foods
            - Minimize animal protein in diet
            - Favour whole grains
            - Eat dark leafy greens everyday
            - Eat nuts and seeds for essential fatty acids
            - Get adequate Vitamin C through natural sources such as citrus foods
            - Minimize foods that create inflammation, such as a large intake of simple sugars, which can cause problems with metabolism and affect health. Use honey, maple syrup or turbinado sugar instead if necessary.
            - Moderate consumption of soy products (due to estrogen, which can contribute to heart disease)
            - Avoid soft drinks, and drink warm water or herbal teas instead
            - Fish oils can be used to reduce inflammation (check with your doctor)
        - Reducing over-committing and over-scheduling
        - Counselling
        - Emphasizing friendship as much as finances
        - Relaxing form of Yoga
        - Relaxing Music
        - Playing with children or pets

    Some points to consider:
        - About 80% of all blood pressure measurements are falsely elevated in a doctor's office due to the "white coat effect"
        - It may be better to measure blood pressure at home, though most home BP monitoring kits have oversensitive equipment that can read 10-15mm higher than the actual blood pressure level
        - Blood pressure changes dramatically over the course of the day, and this is normal; therefore, average blood pressure is what matters
        - Check blood pressure before breakfast and dinner for about 2 weeks before assuming that there is a problem
        - The blood pressure threshold for treatment keeps being lowered by the medical advisory boards in the U.S. (Most physicians in Europe do not recommend medication unless the systolic –top number of the systolic/diastolic fraction– blood pressure is above 160; normal blood pressure is considered below 140/90)
        - There are generally no symptoms associated with hypertension
        - Hypertension is considered incurable according to modern medicine, whereas Ayurveda considers most forms of hypertension gradually curable, especially if the hypertension is mild (140-155/90-100) or if hypertension has not been present for more than two years

    Causative Factors:
        - The most common imbalances are Vata (Vyana Vata) and Ama (toxins) in Pitta dosha
        - Stress
        - Elevated insulin levels (associated with diabetes)
        - Smooth muscle hypertrophy
        - Renal disease
        - Endocrine disease
        - Drugs
        - Herbs (e.g. about 0.2% of the population cannot digest more than 2g licorice per day without resulting hypertension)

    Recommendations:
        - Meditation
        - Panchakarma / purification treatment (supervised by Ayurvedic physican)

    Causative factors:
        The main imbalances are depletion of Ojas and Vata (excess) imbalance. Other possible factors are accumulation of Ama and excess Pitta.

    Recommendations:
        - Correct Vata imbalance (e.g. ensure proper sleep, regular routine, stress reduction, warm and nourishing diet) and especially avoid a cold and light diet
        - Abhyanga for proper flow in the abdominal region
        - Meditation for reducing stress and restoring Ojas
        - Avoid excessive exercise 
        - Avoid excessive attempts at intercourse for conception
        - Gentle yoga

    There is a difference between infertility and impotency. Infertility is the inability to have a child, whereas impotency is the inability to perform sexually.

    Causative factors:
        - Depletion of Ojas
        - Imbalance in the Shukra dhatu (reproductive system tissue)
        - Vata (Apana Vata) imbalance
        - Anatomical blockages
        - Excessive heating of the testes
        - Infections
        - Engaging in excessive sexual activity even when the body is exhausted. Ideally, sex should create feelings of unity, transcendence and peace, and not feelings of exhaustion, irritability or sleepiness.
        - Excessive heating of the blood can damage the quality of semen and cause streaks of blood in the semen, though this is a rare condition.

    Recommendations:
        - Increasing rest
        - Decreasing intensity of activity
        - Meditation

Menopause
    Causative factors:
        Menopause is a time of natural transition from the PItta to Vata stage of life. The imbalances that one has coming into menopause tend to surface and manifest during menopause. In many cultures, women experience few symptoms during an uneventful menopause. In the US, decades of toxins and imbalances have accumulated in the physiology, resulting in several complaints. The most common imbalances are due to Vata imbalance, Pitta imbalance, accumulation of Ama (toxins), and strain of body/senses/mind/emotions due to overworking or stress.

    Characteristics:
        - It is normal for women to gain 10-15 pounds of weight during this time. The added weight is protective against disease, and also a source for conversion of the fatty tissue into estrogen, which is one of the ways that the body compensates for the loss of estrogen from the ovaries.
        - Pitta (heat-based) symptoms tend to be more common
        - Forgetfulness (often due to inadequate or disturbed sleep)
        - Hot flashes
        - Vaginal dryness
        - Mood swings
        - Reduced sexual desire
        - Disrupted sleep
        - Complaints due to Vata imbalance:
            - Dry skin
            - Vaginal dryness
            - Mood swings
            - Forgetfulness
            - Constipation
            - Hot flashes
            - Joint pains
            - Urinary urgency or frequency
            - Irregular menstrual cycles
        - Complaints due to Pitta imbalance:
            - Hot flashes
            - Early morning awakenings
            - Irritability
            - Migraine
            - Acne
            - Urinary tract infection
            - Night sweats
            - Forgetfulness (due to disrupted sleep)
        - Complaints due to Kapha imbalance:
            - Weight gain
            - Fluid retention
            - Breast swelling
            - Stiffness
            - Elevated cholesterol
            - Yeast infection

    Recommendations:
        - To balance Vata: Meditation, Sleep, Abhyanga, Regular routine
        - To balance Pitta: Meditation, Spending time in Nature, Laxative foods (ghee, milk, aloe juice)
        - To balance Kapha: Meditation, Exercise, Ayurvedic fasting (replacing meals one day of the week with liquid foods e.g. soups, stews, milk etc)
        - For memory problems: ensure good sleep (see recommendations for Sleep in the section on "Overall Well-Being" above)
        - For hot flashes: reduce toxins (improve diet, sip hot water throughout the day), do abhyanga with cooling oils (sunflower, olive), drink a little aloe juice
        - For vaginal dryness: apply sesame oil intra-vaginally just before showering, have regular intercourse to prevent shrinking and drying of vagina as long as intercourse is not painful.
        - For reduced sexual desire: personally, I believe in honouring the wisdom of the body's cues, and from a biological perspective, reduced sexual desire during menopause makes perfect sense given that the woman's body is in the process of shutting down the reproductive system.
    Women with normal amounts of blood flow during menses tend to have the following characteristics:
        - change pads/tampons at 3-hour intervals or longer
        - use fewer than 21 pads/tampons per menstrual cycle
        - do not usually need to change pad/tampon during the night
        - have blood clots less than 1 inch in diameter
        - are not anemic

    Causative factors for menorrhagia:
        - The most common imbalance is Pitta imbalance, causing excess heat in the blood

    Recommendations:
        - eating cooling foods and using cooling spices in cooking
        - meditation
        - spending time in Nature
    Vata
        Premenstrual Complaints:
            - Nervous tension
            - Mood swings
            - Anxiety
            - Depression
            - Insomnia
            - Forgetfulness
            - Constipation
            - Abdominal bloating
            - Fatigue
        Menstrual Complaints:
            - Pain
            - Cramps
            - Backache
            - Long periods
            - Light menstrual flow
            - Dark menstrual flow
            - Irregular periods
            - Spotting
        Common Disorders:
            - Endometriosis
            - Dysmenorrhea
        Recommendations:
            - Meditation
            - Adequate, good quality sleep
            - Abhyanga

    Pitta
        Premenstrual Complaints:
            - Anger
            - Irritability
            - Increased appetite
            - Cravings for sweet foods
            - Headache
            - Migraine
            - Excessive heat or sweating
            - Frequent bowel movements
            - Diarrhea
            - Acne
            - Skin rashes
        Menstrual Complaints:
            - Excessive bleeding
            - Increase in frequency of periods
            - Headache
            - Migraine
        Common Disorders:
            - Menorrhagia
            - Endometrial hyperplasia
            - Dysfunctional uterine bleeding
        Recommendations:
            - Meditation
            - Spending time in Nature
            - Laxative foods (e.g. ghee)

    Kapha
        Premenstrual Complaints:
            - Weight gain
            - Fluid retention
            - Breast enlargement
            - Lethargy
            - Vaginal yeast infections
            - Slow digestion
        Menstrual Complaints:
            - Stiffness in back, joints
            - Pale, mucous-like menstrual flow
            - Clots
        Common Disorders:
            - Fluid retention
            - Fibrocystic breast disease
            - Ovarian cysts
            - Uterine fibroids
            - Vaginitis due to yeast
        Recommendations:
            - Meditation
            - Exercise
            - Ayurvedic fasting (light diet, having a liquid diet one day a week, skipping breakfast)

Migraine
   
See recommendations for Headache in Section above "Recommendations for Specific Complaints"

Osteoarthritis

    Osteoarthritis is typically associated with aging and deterioration due to old injuries. It involves a lot of pain without swelling or redness, and X-rays will show narrowing of joint spaces, bone spurs, and increased calcification around the joint. This is different from inflammatory arthritis (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis) which is difficult to treat.

    Causative factors: long-standing Vata imbalance leading to depletion of the bone tissue

    Recommendations:
        - Apply heat to joint
        - Warm oil massage of the joint
        - Rest the joint from strenuous activity
        - Apply Tiger Balm or other topical rubifacient (dilates capillaries and increases blood circulation)
        - Follow a light Vata balancing diet: favour warm, moist, oily foods
        - Release old hardened mental and emotional patterns e.g. through meditation

    Some points to consider:
        - Osteoporosis is a rare disease that is not directly related to age or gender
        - Most women over the age of 65 produce enough estrogen naturally to provide bone protection
        - This is a degenerative and nutritional disease due to a lifetime of improper nutrition and poor levels of physical fitness
        - Bone density is only one factor affecting fracture risk
        - Bone architecture, calcium absorption and assimilation (in addition to intake) and vitamin D are important
        - The level of fitness and muscle strength affects bone strength
        - This is usually related to a Vata imbalance

    Signs of imbalance in bone tissue:
        - Thinning cartilage
        - Cartilage tears
        - Thinning hair
        - Brittle hair
        - Cavities
        - Loose teeth
        - Broken teeth
        - Loss of teeth
        - Brittle nails
        - Pitted nails
        - Poor nail growth
        - Osteoarthritis
        - Joint pain
        - Cracking and popping of joints
        - Bone fragility and fractures

    Recommendations:
        - Balance Vata dosha
            - Meditation to reduce stress and anxiety
            - Adequate good quality sleep (around 8 hours)
            - Daily Abhyanga with a warming oil (e.g. sesame, almond)
            - Regular routine
        - Get about 20 minutes of sunshine in the early morning daily, especially on the face, chest and abdomen
        - Weight-bearing exercise (to strengthen muscle and therefore the bones)
        - Swimming to increase bone density in the back
        - Yoga for flexibility, strength and relaxation
        - Obtain calcium from foods: dairy products, cooked leafy greens (spinach, kale, collard greens, swiss chard), almonds, broccoli, garbanzo beans, sesame seeds
        - Reduce foods that leech calcium from bones (carbonated beverages, acidic foods, salt, caffeine, animal protein)
        - Improve digestion
        
    This is usually due to a Pitta (Ranjaka Pitta) and/or Vata (Apana Vata) imbalance in Ayurvedic terms. Also see Menstrual Complaints above.
   
    Recommendations:
        - Reducing stress (important)
        - Reducing the intensity of activity
        - Spending time in Nature
        - Meditation
        - Avoiding intense discussions and decisions during the week before the period
        - Daily abhyanga (but not during the period) with cooling oils (olive, coconut, sunflower)
        - Avoiding fatigue by taking rest (both via sleep and taking it easy during the period)
        - Ensuring frequent breaks or going out for walks while doing intense mental work (especially at a computer)

    Characteristics:
        - Needing to urinate several times a day
        - Urgency (feeling that one cannot hold in the urine any longer)
        - Irritation or burning sensation when urinating
        - Sometimes, blood in the urine
        - Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
        - Low back pain
        - A feeling of pressure on the bladder

    Warning signs requiring immediate attention:
        - Fever
        - Flank pain
        - Nausea
        - Vomiting
        - Bloody urine
        - Falling blood pressure
        - Fainting

    Causative factors:
        - Bacterial infection

    Recommendations:
        Important note: Urinary tract infections are not easy to treat with alternative methods, and antibiotics are often required. The following can be tried, though it should be kept in mind that untreated or improperly urinary tract infections can lead to the infection spreading through the ureter to the kidneys, which can lead to irreversible kidney damage, a sever enough infection that hospitalization is required, or the bacteria entering the blood stream, causing septic shock.
        - Cranberry juice
        - D-mannose, a naturally occurring simple sugar that is found in cranberries, peaches and apples. It adheres to the bacteria and the cells lining the bladder, making the cells too slippery to hold on to, causing the bacteria to get flushed out of the bladder.


6. Self-Monitoring for Assessing Health and Balance

   
You can perform some simple daily monitoring using your senses (sight, sound, smell, etc) to gauge the state of your physiology, and correlate it with any recent (or longstanding) changes pertaining to diet, emotion or experience that may be affecting your health. Here are some examples of ideal conditions when your physiology is in balance:

        1. Sleep:
            - Quality: sound and peaceful
                - Difficulty falling asleep is usually a sign of a Vata imbalance
                - Early morning awakening is usually a sign of a Pitta imbalance or hunger
                - Excessive sleep is usually a sign of a Kapha imbalance
            - Duration: long enough that you wake up feeling refreshed (usually at least eight hours)
            - Feeling upon rising: rested and refreshed, not tired or groggy
            [Take a nap if your sleep was interrupted or if you feel tired; meditate to get more energy; see above for tips on improving digestion to increase the energy that you receive from the food you eat]

        2. Elimination:
            - Urine: ideally straw-coloured and clear, without strong odour, passed without discomfort
                - brownish or blackish urine is usually a sign of a Vata imbalance
                - yellowish or greenish urine, an acidic smell or burning sensation is usually a sign of a Pitta imbalance
                - sweet-smelling or cloudy urine is usually a sign of a Kapha imbalance
                - a foul smell indicates Ama (toxins)

            - Stool: ideally well-formed and light brown, without strong odour, passed without straining once or twice daily
                - Constipation is usually a sign of a Vata imbalance
                - Diarrhea immediately after eating can also be a sign of a Vata imbalance
                - Diarrhea is usually a sign of a Pitta imbalance
                - Slow and excessive bowel movements are usually a sign of a Kapha imbalance
                - a foul smell indicates Ama (toxins)

            - Sweat: ideally neither scanty nor profuse, without strong or unpleasant odour
                - too little sweat can be a sign of a Vata imbalance
                - too much sweat can be a sign of a Pitta imbalance
                - a sweet smell can be a sign of a Kapha imbalance
                - a strong or foul smell indicates Ama (toxins)

        3. Digestion:
            - Feeling after eating: ideally satisfied but not stuffed, without heartburn, reflux, gas, bloating, cramping, dullness or fatigue
            - Reaction to foods: ideally no diarrhea, queasy feeling in the stomach, congestion or rashes
            - Tongue coating: ideally little or no tongue coating (a thick white or yellow coating indicates toxins)
            [See above for tips on improving digestion]

            - PMS: ideally little or no joint pains, cramping, bloating, breast tenderness, swelling or irritability
                - cramping, pain, anxiety, sensitivity or moodiness can be a sign of a Vata imbalance
                - heat, hot flashes, irritability or anger can be a sign of a Pitta imbalance
                - swelling or fluid retention can be a sign of a Kapha imbalance
            - Menstrual Flow: ideally no clotting or excessive bleeding
                - heavy menstrual flow can be a sign of a Pitta imbalance
            * Menstruation is a time of purification, and the ideal way to spend this time is in rest and reflection, or at least reducing the workload and level of intensity and interactions in your regular routine – try it, and see how your body feels during your next menstrual cycle. Avoid Abhyanga or taking tub baths during this time. Tampons are not advised since they can hinder the natural downward flow, and external absorbers (pads) are recommended instead.

            - Skin: ideally no rashes, dryness, dullness, roughness
                - Cracks or wrinkles are usually a sign of dryness and tissue depletion (Vata)
                - Redness is usually a sign of inflammation and increased blood flow to the area (Pitta)
                - Swelling and paleness are usually a sign of fluid retention (Kapha)
                - Pimples and boils are usually a sign of toxins and inflammation (Ama)

            - Eyes: ideally without dullness, puffiness, cloudiness or discoloured sclera, dark circles under eyes
                - dull eyes and dark circles under eyes can indicate fatigue and Vata imbalance
                - yellowish/reddish sclera can indicate a Pitta imbalance
                - puffiness under eyes can indicate a Kapha imbalance

            - Voice: ideally melodious and not hoarse, garbled, harsh, stuttering, or dull
                - dry, raspy, hoarse or stuttering speech has a Vata quality
                - harsh, intense speech has a Pitta quality
                - soft, sweet, resonant speech has a Kapha quality
                - garbled, dull speech can indicate Ama

            - Tongue: ideally pink or pinkish-red in colour, with no coating or a thin white coating, neither dry nor slimy nor wet
                    - purplish colour indicates poor circulation
                    - cracks indicate a Vata imbalance
    
                - redness indicates inflammation, infection or fever (a Pitta imbalance)
                    - paleness indicates weak digestion
                    - swelling and/or a very wet tongue indicates a Kapha imbalance
                    - a thick white or  yellow coating indicates toxins in the body (Ama)

            - Breath and Body Odour: ideally not strong, unpleasant or foul

            - Taste in mouth: ideally not sour, metallic or foul

            - Mood: ideally not anxious, angry, jealous or greedy

            - Energy: ideally not tired, lethargic, restless or overdoing
The Five Koshas (or Sheaths of Existence that make up our multi-dimensional being)
    Annamaya Kosha – the Physical Body, on the Physical Plane
        Causes of Imbalance: Wrong diet, Lifestyle choices (e.g. smoking, drinking, caffeine), Environmental toxins (e.g. pesticides, preservatives), Irregular or disturbed routine (e.g. sleep deprivation, over- or under-exercise)
        Ayurvedic Therapies: Dietary interventions, Meditation, Ayurvedic routine, Abhyanga, Panchakarma (purification therapies), Herbal remedies, Vedic Architecture

    Pranamaya Kosha – the Etheric Body, on the Energetic Plane
        Causes of Imbalance: Trauma (cellular memory), Under-exercise, Lack of emotional flow (emotional holding), Emotional toxins, Physical toxins
        Ayurvedic Therapies: Yoga, Marma (mind-body interface points) therapy, Panchakarma, Ayurvedic massage, Ayurvedic acupuncture, Meditation

    Manomaya Kosha – the Astral Body, on the Emotional/Lower Mental Plane
        Causes of Imbalance: Emotional conditioning (habits, trauma), Emotional Karma, Emotional unconsciousness, Lack of emotional flow, Emotional toxins, Mental toxins (e.g. old beliefs)
        Ayurvedic Therapies: Meditation, Aromatherapy, Yagyas (Vedic ceremonies and chanting), Gemstones, Gem elixirs, Panchakarma, Ayurvedic massage, Ayurvedic counselling, Yoga

    Gyanamaya Kosha – the Causal Body, on the Intuitive/Higher Mental Plane
        Causes of Imbalance: Karma, Past-life patterning, Lack of development of consciousness (inability to choose to overcome patterns of personality)
        Ayurvedic Therapies: Yagyas, Gemstones, Gem elixirs, Meditation, Healing Light therapy, Vedic vibration therapy, Clairvoyant therapy

    Anandamaya Kosha – the Spiritual Body, on the Spiritual Plane
        Causes of Imbalance: Karma, Past-life patterning, Lack of development of consciousness, Spiritual confusion
        Ayurvedic Therapies: Meditation, Healing Light therapy, Vedic vibration therapy, Clairvoyant therapy, Yagyas, Gemstones, Gem elixirs

    * Beyond the Anandamaya Kosha is Atman, or the universal field of Cosmic Consciousness, which all of us are a part of and can tap into


The Five Elements (and the energies of which everything in the universe, including the human body, is comprised)
    Space
    Air
    Fire
    Water
    Earth


The Three Gunas (or qualities)
    Sattva - creativity, spirituality, light, right action (love, compassion, purity, upliftment, growth, evolution)
    Rajas - movement, activity, change, excitability (passion, anger, aggression, intensity, transfrmation)
    Tamas - stability, inertia, darkness, confusion (stagnation, decay, depression, sloth)


    Sweet
        - Earth + Water
        - Have moderate amount of sweet taste to balance Vata, more to balance Pitta, less to balance Kapha
        - Effect on Mind and Emotions: Compassion, Satisfaction
        - Effect of Excess Consumption: Attachment, Possessiveness
        - Effect of Deficiency in Diet: Weak bodily tissues, Debility
        - e.g. sugar, fruit, breads, meat, "carbs"

    Sour
        - Earth + Fire
        -
Have more amount of sour taste to balance Vata, less to balance Pitta, moderate amount to balance Kapha
        -
Effect on Mind and Emotions: Discrimination, Stimulation
        -
Effect of Excess Consumption: Envy, Jealousy, Anger, Manipulation
        -
Effect of Deficiency in Diet: pH imbalance
        - e.g. lemons, vinegar, yoghurt, grapefruit

    Salty
        - Fire + Water
        - Have more amount of salty taste to balance Vata, moderate amount to balance Pitta, less amount to balance Kapha
        -
Effect on Mind and Emotions: Confidence, Zest for life
        -
Effect of Excess Consumption: Greed, Overambition
        -
Effect of Deficiency in Diet: Water imbalance
    
    - e.g. salt, cheeses, olives, chips, miso, many prepared foods

    Bitter
        - Air + Space
       - Have less amount of bitter taste to balance Vata, more to balance Pitta, moderate amount to balance Kapha
        -
Effect on Mind and Emotions: Dissatisfaction, Isolation
        -
Effect of Excess Consumption: Grief, Sorrow
        -
Effect of Deficiency in Diet: Accumulation of toxins
        - e.g. turmeric, coriander, leafy greens, arugula, bitter gourd, coffee, dark chocolate

    Pungent
        - Fire + Air
        - Have moderate amount of pungent taste to balance Vata, less to balance Pitta, more to balance Kapha
        -
Effect on Mind and Emotions: Extroversion, Boldness, Outspokenness
        -
Effect of Excess Consumption: Anger, Hatred, Violence
        -
Effect of Deficiency in Diet: Weak digestion, Poor circulation, Cold extremities
        - e.g. ginger, cloves, chillies

    Astringent
        - Air + Earth
        - Have less amount of astringent taste to balance Vata, more to balance Pitta, moderate amount to balance Kapha
        -
Effect on Mind and Emotions: Introversion
        -
Effect of Excess Consumption: Insecurity, Fear
        -
Effect of Deficiency in Diet: Excessive mucous and other discharge
        - e.g. beans, honey, pomegranate

* Including all six tastes in your diet (through healthy options e.g. dates vs. dessert) will reduce cravings for the missing taste.


Agni, Ojas (good) and Ama (bad)
    Agni
        - The digestive fire, or strength of digestion

    Ojas
        What Ojas is:
            - The result of proper digestion that gives one vitality, radiance, strength, good health, etc
            - Gives strength and immunity
            - Observed as a healthy glow in the skin

        How to Increase Ojas:
            - Develop good digestion (see subsections on food/digestion in section of Overall well-being above)
            - Follow a balanced diet
            - Be positive in feelings, speech and behaviour
            - Practice love, joy and appreciation
            - Panchakarma
            - Herbal remedies

        How Ojas is Decreased:
            - Stress
            - Entertaining negative emotions
            - Hurrying
            - Overexercising
            - Excessive fasting
            - Rough or very light diet
            - Overexposure to sun and wind
            - Staying awake through most of the night
            - Excessive loss of body fluids (e.g. blood)
            - Overindulgence in sexual activity
            - Injury or trauma to the body
            - Alcoholic beverages

    Ama
        What Ama Is:
            - The consequence of poor digestion of food, emotions or experience
            - Toxic byproducts which build up and interfere with our connection to the body's innate intelligence
            - Blockages in the channels of flow, blockages in joints, eyes, or arteries etc, and inability to experience love and happiness
            - Results in fatigue, pain, inflammation, swelling, infection, etc
            - Excess buildup of toxins manifest as gout (excess uric acid), gallstones (excess bile) etc

        How to Prevent Ama:
            - Maximize digestion (e.g. eat when you are hungry, don't overeat, leave a few hours between meals to allow the previous meal to be digested, avoid large quantities of liquid before/during/after a meal, make lunch your biggest meal, chew well, avoid ice-cold food and beverages, avoid large quantities of raw food, do not eat when upset, do not eat too quickly or too slowly, start your day with a stewed apple, have a ginger pickle (slice of raw ginger root with a pinch of salt and lemon juice) unless you have heartburn/ulcers/reflux, cook with turmeric, don't overdo or overwork, meditate, avoid overstimulating media, balance mental activity with physical activity)
            - Consume only the purest (e.g. eat predominantly vegetarian food, eat fresh, organic foods, avoid disturbing influence and enjoy uplifting books/art/music, think positively and expect the positive to happen (you are not only what you eat, but also what you think and feel)
            - Optimize the environment for digestion (e.g. eat while sitting in a calm, settled atmosphere without distractions, eat at regular times, sit quietly for a few minutes after a meal, don't eat right before bed, eat food that is pleasant to the senses and prepared by a happy cook, ensure uplifting and positive personal and professional environments, take time for reflection)


The Three Doshas (bodily humours or main components of the physiology, made up of different combinations/energies of the five elements)
    Vata (Space + Air)
        Qualities: Moveable, Changeable, Light (weight), Cold, Clear, Dry, Dark, Rough, Coarse, Subtle
        General bodily functions: Movement, Transportation, Communication
        Specific functions: Movement, Inhalation, Expiration, Enthusiasm, Proper development of dhatus (bodily tissues), Proper development of malas (bodily waste products)
        Factors that can aggravate Vata: Stress, Irregular routine
        General Signs of Vata imbalance: Lack of enthusiasm, Anxiety, Insomnia, Joint pain, Weight loss, Constipation
        Signs of Vata Imbalance with respect to specific areas of the physiology:
            - Appetite: Variable, including from one day to the next
            - Digestion: Poor and variable
            - Urine: Frequent, light-coloured
            - Stool: Prone to constipation, dark, dry, hard
            - Menstruation: Irregular menstrual cycles with severe cramps and scanty blood flow
            - Movement: Cramping or spastic
            - Physical activity: Addicted to movement
            - Sexual activity: wide variation in desire, or loss of desire
            - Sleep: Prone to insomnia, light
            - Speech: Fast, erratic
            - Voice: Prone to hoarseness, Weak, easily tired
            - Hair: Dry, brittle
            - Joints: Cracking
        Signs of Vata imbalance without Ama (toxins): No constipation, No foul smell, Pain is relieved by touch, Clear tongue (no coating), Dry mouth with astringent taste, Light and dry body, More emaciation, Tissue depletion, Less fatigue
    
    Signs of Vata imbalance with Ama present: Constipation, Foul breath and feces, Thick tongue coating, Abdominal pain and distention, Intestinal gas and cramping pain, Low appetite, Heaviness, Weakness
        Common Vata disorders: Arthritis, High or low blood pressure (depending on Vata excess or deficiency), Cracking or popping joints, Urinary/bladder disorders, Muscle stiffness, Tension headaches, Dry skin, Insomnia, Constipation, Dizziness, Tinnitus (ringing in the ears), Gas, Bloating, Premature aging, Chronic fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Food allergies
        Ways to balance Vata: Meditation, Sleep, Abhyanga, consuming warmer, heavier, more moist foods with sweet/salty/sour tastes (salty/sour are better) and reducing those with bitter/pungent/astringent tastes (bitter is worse) e.g. have milk, ghee, pasta, cottage cheese ... and avoid (until the system is rebalanced) cold drinks, salads, crackers

    Pitta (Fire + a little Water)
        Qualities: Hot, Sharp, Intense, Pungent, Flowing (but grounded, like fire), Sour, Slightly oily
        General bodily functions: Digestion, Metabolism, Transformation
        S
pecific functions: Sight, Digestion, Metabolism, Heat, Thirst, Hunger, Softness, Lustre, Cheerfulness, Good intellect
        Factors that can aggravate Pitta: Overdoing, Extremely spicy/acidic foods
        General Signs of Pitta imbalance: Lack of contentment, Irritability, Skin rashes, Heartburn, Inflammation, Loose stools
        Signs of Pitta Imbalance with respect to specific areas of the physiology:
            - Appetite: Extremely strong, irritable when skipping a meal
            - Digestion: Extremely strong, easily aggravated by hot, spicy foods
            - Urine: Often in excess, bright yellow
            - Stool: Soft, loose, burning, lighter in colour, frequent bowel movements or diarrhea
            - Menstruation: Regular but possibly heavy or prolonged blood flow
            - Movement: Determined stride
            - Physical activity: Overdoing, vigourous exercise, extremely competitive at sports
            - Sexual activity: Extremely strong sexual appetite, too easily aroused
            - Sleep: Light, early morning awakenings
            - Speech: Sharp, direct
            - Voice: Loud, often piercing
            - Skin: delicate, oily, prone to acne and rashes
            - Hair: Premature greying, hair loss
            - Relationships: Extremely intense, manipulative, stubborn, jealous, egotistical, demeaning
        Signs of Pitta imbalance without Ama (toxins): Excessive appetite, Excessive thirst, Red or inflamed tongue without coating, Clear or reddish or blackish urine, Hot flashes, Sharp perception
    
    Signs of Pitta imbalance with Ama present: Loss of appetite, Little thirst, Yellow tongue coating, urine and feces, Heaviness in stomach, Bad breath, Bitter or sour taste in mouth, Burning sensation, Skin rash, Cloudy perception

        Common Pitta disorders: Heartburn, Hot flashes, Skin rashes, Psoriasis, Ulcers, Inflammation, Canker sores, Diarrhea, Liver disorders, Bad breath, Bloodshot eyes, Food allergies to nuts, Excessive hunger and thirst
        W
ays to balance Pitta: Meditation, Spending Time in Nature, Laxative modalities (e.g. ghee), consuming cooler, drier foods with sweet/bitter/astringent tastes (bitter is better) and reducing those with salty/sour/pungent tastes (pungent is worse) e.g. have zucchini, cilantro chutney (see recipe section for recipe), pomegranate juice ... and avoid (until the system is rebalanced) citrus foods, onions, garlic, tomatoes, peppers

    Kapha (Water + Earth)
        Qualities: Sweet, Soft, Strong, Stable, Cool, Moist, Heavy, Sticky, Slimy, Oily
        General bodily functions: Lubrication, Structure, Strength/Immunity
       
Specific functions: Oiliness of the body, Binding, Firmness, Strength, Potency, Heaviness, Forbearance, Patience, Absence of greed
        Factors that can aggravate Kapha: Lack of exercise, Heavy foods
        General Signs of Kapha imbalance: lack of affection, weakness, lethargy, weight gain, swelling, susceptibility to colds and flus
        Signs of Kapha Imbalance with respect to specific areas of the physiology:
            - Appetite: Weak, often not hungry upon waking
            - Digestion: Often weak, slow metabolism
            - Urine: Infrequent, white and foamy
            - Stool: Well-formed, often with oily coat
            - Menstruation: Regular but prone to water retention and clotting
            - Movement: Slow, graceful
            - Physical activity: Avoids physical exertion though capable of vigorous activity
            - Sexual activity: Steady desire
            - Sleep: Deep, often snores, rested upon waking
            - Speech: Slow, deliberate
            - Voice: Thick, low, melodious
            - Hair: Thick, oily
            - Relationships: Attached, greedy
 
        Signs of Kapha imbalance without Ama (toxins): Watery or liquid or frothy mucous, Sweet taste in mouth, Normal appetite, No mucous, No pain, Clear tongue
    
    Signs of Kapha imbalance with Ama present: Cloudy or sticky or thick mucous, Mucous coats tongue and forms threads from saliva, Sour or salty taste in mouth, Congestion, Tightness in chest, Mucous in stool or urine, Low appetite, Heaviness, Dull aches, General fatigue
        Common Kapha disorders: Obesity, Diabetes, Colds and coughs, Yeast conditions, Lymphatic system disorders, Water retention and bloating, Some types of sinus congestion, Congestive heart failure
        Ways to balance Kapha: Meditation, Exercise, Ayurvedic Fasting (which is not fasting in the typical sense as in going without food, but rather, replacing a meal or more in a day with liquids or liquid foods e.g. fruit or vegetable juices, soups, broths, stews), consuming warmer, drier foods with pungent/bitter/astringent tastes (pungent is better) and reducing those with sweet/salty/sour tastes (sweet is worse) e.g. have ginger, greens, beans ... and avoid (until the system is rebalanced) sugar, dairy ... and reduce meat

* Almost all health issues boil down to one or some combination of the following five:
    - Loss of Ojas
    - Buildup of Ama
    - Vata imbalance
    - Pitta imbalance
   
- Kapha imbalance

   
Vata Subdoshas (flows or movement in the body):
    Prana Vata
        Location: Brain, Lungs
        Functions: Cognition, Lower respiratory flow
        Common Conditions: Anxiety, Overactive mind, Insomnia, Spaciness, Lung diseases
        Other Imbalances: Lack of mental clarity, Poor memory, Talkativeness, Asthma
    Udana Vata
        Location: Throat, Lungs
        Functions: Speech, Motivation, Upper respiratory flow
        Common Conditions: Sinus congestion, Sore throat, Allergies, Difficulty speaking up for oneself, Fatigue (lack of motivation)
        Other Imbalances: Ear disorders, Speech disorders
    Samana Vata
        Location: Stomach, Small intestines
        Function: Peristalsis
        Common Conditions: Reflux disease, Anorexia (loss of appetite), Migraine headaches
        Other Imbalances:
IBS, Slow digestion, Esophagitis
    Apana Vata
        Location: Colon, Bladder, Thighs to knees, Reproductive system
        Functions: Elimination of wastes, Reproductive system functions
        Common Conditions: Imbalances: Constipation/Diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome/Bloating, Hip/Knee pain, Menstrual problems, Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy
        Other Imbalances:
Bowel problems, Dysfunction in the reproductive system,  Pelvic problems, Urinary/bladder dysfunction, Gas, Sexual dysfunction (erectile dysfunction, low libido), Hemorrhoids, Other prostate disorders (prostatitis, prostate cancer)
    Vyana Vata
        Location: The microcirculation, Peripheral nervous system
        Functions: Circulation, Blood pressure, Sense of touch
        Common Conditions: Hypertension (high blood pressure), Hypotension, Tension headaches, Nervousness
        Other Imbalances: Cold hands and feet, Nervous exhaustion, Arrhythmia

Pitta Subdoshas (fires or transformation in the body):
    Pachaka Pitta
        Location: Stomach, Small intestines
        Functions: Transforms (or "cooks") the food, Separates waste from food
        Common Conditions: Ulcers, Hyperacidity, Stomachache, Weak digestion
        Other Imbalances: Hunger, Just having eaten, Stomach acidity, Intense hunger after just having eaten, Heartburn
    Ranjaka Pitta
        Location: Liver, Gallbladder
        Functions: Blood formation, Protein manufacture, Blood sugar regulation, Cholesterol regulation
        Common Conditions: Early morning awakening (over forty), Skin rashes, Allergies, Irritability, Loose stools, PMS
        Other Imbalances: Liver/gallbladder disease, Anemia, High cholesterol, High triglycerides, Menorrhagia, Bleeding tendencies, Eye disorders (bloodshot eyes, dry eyes, yellow sclera), Jaundice, Autoimmune disease, Hot flashes, Diabetes
    Sadhaka Pitta
        Location: Heart
        Functions: Fulfillment, Contentment,  Decision making (wisdom from experience), Physical heart function
        Common Conditions: Discontentment, Loss of passion, Difficulty making decisions, Sadness, Depression,Mental illness, Heart disease
        Other Imbalances: Stress on the heart, Big decisions or when your heart is not in what you are doing, Broken-hearted or feeling hurt, Memory loss, Bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia
    Alochaka Pitta
        Location: Eyes
        Functions: Sight, Insight, The third eye
        Common Conditions: Eye irritation, Eye strain, Vision problems, Lack of insight, Strain on the third eye
        Other Imbalances: Eye disorders
    Bhrajaka Pitta
        Location: Skin
        Functions: Skin metabolism, Skin luster or glow
        Imbalances: Skin disease, Boils, Acne, Rashes
        Other Imbalances: Psoriasis

Kapha Subdoshas (lubrication or structure in the body):
    Kledhaka Kapha
        Location: Stomach
        Functions: Stomach lubrication, Moistening of food
        Common Conditions: Dull digestion, Ulcers
        Other Imbalances: Indigestion, Just having eaten
    Avalambhaka Kapha
        Location: Lumbar region, Chest
        Functions: Supporting structure in lumbar spine, Fluid in the chest (heart and lungs)
        Common Conditions: Low back pain, 2nd chakra issues,
        Other Imbalances: Pneumonia, Congestive heart failure, Sciatica, Mid-back pain, Fatigue, Lack of support
    Bodhaka Kapha
        Location: Tongue, Throat
        Functions: Moistening of tongue, Secretion of mucous, Taste
        Common Conditions: Gum disease, Canker sores, Loss of taste, Lack of secretions
        Other Imbalances: Speech problems
    Tarpaka Kapha
        Location: Cerebrospinal fluid, Head
        Functions: Nourishment of the mind, Integration of experience, Maintenance of spinal fluid
        Common Conditions: Problems integrating new information, Problems learning from experience
    Shleshaka Kapha
        Location: Joints
        Functions: Lubrication of joints throughout the body
        Common Conditions: Joint problems, Joint stiffness, Arthritis


The Seven Dhatus (bodily tissues)
    Rasa
        Tissue: Blood Plasma
        Byproduct: Lactation, Menstruation, Surface layer of skin
        Function: Hydration, Overall nourishment Status
        Reflection of Rasa on Skin: Hydration of skin
        Causative factors for imbalance: Not drinking enough water, Weakening Agni, Poor sleep
        Imbalance of Excess: Water retention, Congestion, Colds
        Imbalance of Deficiency: Chronic fatigue, Dehydration, Emaciation
        Corrective measures: Pure water, Juicy fruits, Sleep, Daily Abhyanga, Decreased salt intake (in case of water retention)

    Rakta
        Tissue: Formed Blood Elements
        Byproduct: Bile, Small tendons
        Function: Hemoglobin status, Inflammation
        Reflection of Rakta on Skin: Complexion of skin
        Causative factors for imbalance: Acidic foods, Alcohol, Anger, Frustration, Caffeine
        Imbalance of Excess: Bleeding, Menorrhagia, Hypertension
        Imbalance of Deficiency: Anemia, Dry, rough skin, Craving for spicy foods
        Corrective measures: Rose petal jam, Fresh carrot juice, Raisins each day, Neutral tastes, Forgiveness and letting go

    Mamsa
        Tissue: Muscle Tissue
        Byproducts: Large tendons, Bursa, Earwax, Nasal crust
        Function: Muscle status, Tendon status
        Reflection of Mamsa on Skin: Skin tone 
        Causative factors for imbalance: Leftovers, Poor quality food, Deep-fried foods, Insufficient protein consumption
        Imbalance of Excess: Fibroids, Bursitis, Tendonitis, Muscle aches, Itchy ear canals, Excess ear wax
        Imbalance of Deficiency: Muscle atrophy, Emaciation, Dry, cracking lips

        Corrective measures: Exercise, Vegetarian diet, Amalaki, Dates

    Meda
        Tissue: Fat Tissue
        Byproduct: Cholesterol, Hormones, Synovial fluid, Ligaments
        Function: Fatty tissue status, Carbohydrate metabolism, Hormone status
        Reflection of Meda on Skin: Lubrication/Oiliness of skin and Subcutaneous fat
        Causative factors for imbalance: Eating too much fat or sugar, Overeating, Deep-fried foods, Meat and cheese

        Imbalance of Excess: Weight gain, Thyroid disorder, Boils, Abcesses
        Imbalance of Deficiency: Night sweats, Hot flashes, Emaciation, Weak ligaments
        Corrective measures: Exercise, Reducing fats and oils in diet, Bran, barley and/or quinoa, Green, leafy vegetables

    Asthi
        Tissue: Bone Tissue
        Byproduct: Cartilage, Teeth, Nails, Hair
        Function: Bone health, Cartilage/Teeth/Nail/Hair health
        Reflection of Asthi on Skin: Hair on skin
        Causative factors for imbalance: Mental stress, Vata-aggravating factors, Excessive exercise, Insufficient protein consumption
        Imbalance of Excess: Calcifications
        Imbalance of Deficiency: Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, Cracking joints, Nails breaking, Dental issues
        Corrective measures: Walking in the early morning sun, Increasing protein intake, Ashwagandha, Amalaki, Vata-balancing methods

    Majja
        Tissue: Bone Marrow, Nervous System
        Byproduct: Tears
        Function: Nervous system energy status, Central nervous system health, Chronic Disease/Immunity
        Reflection of Majja on Skin: Sensation on skin, Sensitivity of skin
        Causative factors for imbalance: Overwhelming stress, Exhaustion, Lack of sleep, Alcohol, Drugs
        Imbalance of Excess: Excessive sleep, Bipolar disorder
        Imbalance of Deficiency: Adrenal fatigue, Frequent infections, Insomnia, Nervous system disease
        Corrective measures: Meditation, Sleep, Walnuts, Pecans or almonds, Asparagus, Abhyanga

    Shukra
        Tissue: Reproductive Tissue
        Byproduct: Ojas
        Function: Ojas status, Reproductive system health, Chronic Disease
        Reflection of Shukra on Skin: Glow or Ojas, Pleasing appearance of skin
        Causative factors for imbalance: Exhaustion, Excessive exercise, Excessive sex

        Imbalance of Excess: Prostatitis
        Imbalance of Deficiency: Infertility, Amenorrhea, Anovulation
        Corrective measures: Meditation, Sleep, Abhyanga, Milk


The Three Malas (bodily wastes)
    Stool
    Urine
    Sweat


The Seven Chakras (energy centers)
    1st Chakra
        Location: Base of Spine
        Governing Planet: Saturn
        Subdosha: Apana Vata
        Purpose: Foundation
        Function: Physical Identity, Self-Identity, Self-Preservation, Security and sense of belonging
        Emotional Complex: Fear, Control, Holding On
        Signs of Deficiency: Disconnection from body, Fearful, Anxious, Restless
        Signs of Excess: Obesity, Overeating, Hoarding, Material fixation
        Disease Examples: Constipation, Arthritis
        Healing Strategies: Ayurvedic yoga, Effortless meditation, Reconnecting with body (Abhyanga, Panchakarma, dance, weight-lifting, etc), Utilizing sense of touch (Abhyanga, Panchakarma, massage), Overcoming illusions with affirmations and meditation
        Qualities to develop to clear/balance the 1st Chakra: Divine Faith, Letting Go, Leaving Things to God
        
    2nd Chakra
        Location: Lower Abdomen
        Governing Planet: Moon, Venus
        Subdosha: Avalambhaka Kapha / Apana Vata
        Purpose: Connection, Emotional Flow, Enjoyment
        Function: Emotional Identity, Self-Gratification
, Emotions and one-on-one relationships

        Emotional Complex: Attachment, Attachment to things rather than people
        Signs of Deficiency: Denial of pleasure, Fear of emotions
        Signs of Excess: Addiction (including to sex and food), Emotional dependency
        Disease Examples: Low backache, Pelvic infection, Prostatitis, Impotence, Frigidity
        Healing Strategies: Ayurvedic yoga, Effortless meditation, Movement therapy (Tai chi, dancing), Emotional release (for chakra deficiency) OR containment (for chakra excess), Abhyanga, Ayurvedic spa treatments (facials, milk baths etc), Ayurvedic counselling, Aromatherapy
       
Qualities to develop to clear/balance the 2nd Chakra: Divine Freedom, Pleasure in the Divine, Finding the Bliss Inside

    3rd Chakra
        Location: Solar Plexus
        Governing Planet: Mars, Sun
        Subdosha: Ranjaka Pitta
        Purpose: Transformation
        Function: Ego Identity, Self-Definition, Self-esteem and sense of autonomy
        Emotional Complex: Low Self-Esteem, Competitiveness, Egoism, Irritability, Anger
        Signs of Deficiency: Weak will, Low self-esteem
        Signs of Excess: Dominating, Controlling, Manipulative, Power hungry, Arrogant, Conceited
       
Disease Examples: Skin rash, Allergies, Ulcerative colitis, Cirrhosis
        Healing Strategies: Ayurvedic yoga, Effortless meditation, Deep relaxation (Shirodhara - a Panchakarma treatment -, meditation), Vigorous exercise (aerobics, martial arts, sit-ups) for chakra deficiency, Ayurvedic counselling regarding self-worth/shame/ego strength, Virechana (laxative therapy) to decrease Pitta for chakra excess
        Quality to develop to clear/balance the 3rd Chakra: Divine Worth

    4th Chakra
        Location: Heart
        Governing Planet: Venus
        Subdosha: Sadhaka Pitta / Avalambhaka Kapha
        Purpose: Love
        Function: Social Identity, Self-Acceptance (and acceptance of others), Benevolent and Divine Love
        Emotional Complex: Hurt, Self-protectiveness, Unemotional
        Signs of Deficiency: Critical, Judgemental of self and others, Fear of intimacy
        Signs of Excess: Inability to discriminate, Hurt, Victimhood
        Disease Examples: Discontent, Depression, Heart disease
        Healing Strategies: Ayurvedic Yoga, Effortless meditation, Utilizing sense of touch (Abhyanga, Panchakarma, massage), Ayurvedic counselling, Behavioural rasayanas (connecting with children or pets), Aromatherapy
        Qualities to develop to clear/balance the 4th Chakra: Divine Love, Self-Love as a child of the Divine

    5th Chakra
        Location: Throat
        Governing Planet: Mercury
        Subdosha: Udana Vata
        Purpose: Communication, Intellectual Creativity
        Function: Creative Identity, Self-Expression, Will to create and to express
        Emotional Complex: Unassertiveness
        Signs of Deficiency: Fear of speaking one's truth, Difficulty with putting feelings into words
        Signs of Excess: Excessive talking, Dominating conversations, Using talking as a defense
    
    Disease Examples: Sore throat, Difficulty speaking up, Thyroid disease
        Healing Strategies: Ayurvedic Yoga, Effortless meditation, Utilizing sense of sound (chanting, singing, toning), Silence (for chakra excess), Learning listening and communication skills, Voice lessons, Journalling, Nasya, Ayurvedic counselling
        Qualities to develop to clear/balance the 5th Chakra: Divine Will, Divine Power

    6th Chakra
        Location: Forehead
        Governing Planet: Jupiter
        Subdosha: Prana Vata / Alochaka Pitta
        Purpose: To see into things
        Function: Archetypal Identity, Self-Reflection, Ability to perceive
        Emotional Complex: Over-intellectualizing
        Signs of Deficiency: Difficulty visualizing, Denial
        Signs of Excess: Delusions, Obsessions
    
    Disease Examples: Insomnia, Psychosis
        Healing Strategies: Effortless meditation, Mandalas, Colour therapy, Creative visualization, Shirodhara, Ayurvedic counselling
        Qualities to develop to clear/balance the 6th Chakra: Divine Intuition, Divine Knowing

    7th Chakra
        Location: Crown of Head
        Governing Planet: Ketu
        Subdosha: Vyana Vata
        Purpose: Liberation
        Function: Universal Identity, Self-Knowledge, connection with the Divine Truth
        Emotional Complex: Denial (particularly of spiritual development)
        Signs of Deficiency: Spiritual cynicism, Lack of connection with the Divine, Excessive focus on lower chakra issues (materialism, greed, power over others, etc)
        Signs of Excess: Dissociation from the body, Spaciness, Spiritual addition
    
    Disease Examples: Headaches, Ignorance, Dementia, Inability to evolve
        Healing Strategies: Effortless meditation, Ayurvedic yoga, Psychotherapy, Shirodhara
        Quality to develop to clear/balance the 7th Chakra: Divine Consciousness


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    Please Note: I generally don't measure the ingredients during food preparation except for the churnas, so many of the quantities of the ingredients in the recipes below are approximate guesses. Also note that the general Indian physiology and American physiology are quite different, so the hot spices may be too heating for the already overheated American physiology that often has a) high levels of toxicity in the blood, liver and gallbladder areas due to diet, and b) high levels of Vata imbalance due to stress, over-stimulation and an irregular routine. Therefore, please adjust the proportions to suit your taste and tolerance (for example, if you have heartburn or other inflammatory condition, you can use ghee, olive oil, or sunflower oil instead of sesame or safflower oil, and reduce or omit mustard seeds, white onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and cayenne pepper). My own meals are smaller and simpler than the examples provided below, owing to my relatively small size, domestic lifestyle and desire for simplicity and less work (e.g. my breakfast typically consists of one stewed apple, ten blanched almonds, and a cup of milk boiled with ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and/or black pepper, with or without raw honey added at the end; a snack before lunch is usually a banana, an orange, and a handful of blueberries if available, etc. Meals with family, however, are more involved and "kid-friendly"  e.g. breakfast/brunch consists of stewed apple, pancakes, and hot cocoa).

Breakfast:
    * Stewed Apple:
        - Ingredients: 1 apple (Red Delicious, Golden Delicious or Fuji varieties work best – the less tart, the better), peeled, cored and cut into small pieces; 2 whole cloves; 1/4 cup water
        - Preparation: Put all ingredients in pan, bring to boil, reduce heat to medium, cook for 5-10 minutes, discard cloves before eating.

    * Almond-Date Milkshake:
        - Ingredients: 3/4 cup milk; a pinch of cinnamon; 1 medjool date, with pit removed; 5 blanched almonds
        - Preparation: To blanch almonds, place almonds in boiling water for a few seconds, transfer almonds into cup of cool water for a few seconds, slip off and discard the skin, and set almonds aside. Boil milk and cinnamon, cool until warm, strain into blender, blend with date and almonds for 5 minutes (for a smoother consistency, you can boil the pitted date along with the milk and cinnamon, and remove the outer skin of the date after the date has cooled).

    * Creamed Wheat Porridge (optional):
        - Ingredients: 1 tsp ghee; 2 Tbsp cream of wheat; 1/2 cup water; 2 tsp turbinado sugar
        - Preparation: Melt ghee in pan over medium heat, add cream of wheat and mix well, add water and stir to dissolve lumps, wait until it bubbles, cover and set aside for 5 minutes, mix in honey.

    * Upma – South Indian creamed wheat preparation (as an alternative to the above porridge):
        - Ingredients: 1/4 cup cream of wheat; 1 Tbsp ghee; 1/8 tsp cumin seeds; 1/16 tsp mustard seeds; 1/8 cup chopped onion; 1/8 cup chopped carrot; 1/8 cup peas; 1/4 tsp grated ginger; 1/16 cup chopped cilantro; 1/4 tsp salt; 1/8 tsp turmeric; 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper; 3/4 cup water
        - Preparation: Dry roast cream of wheat in pan over medium heat until fragrant and crispy but not brown and set aside, melt ghee in pan over medium heat, add cumin and mustard seeds and when seeds start to pop, add onion, cook until slightly browned, add carrot, peas, ginger, cilantro, salt, turmeric and cayenne pepper, stir, add water, slowly pour in cream of wheat while stirring contents in pan after water comes to a boil, cover and set aside for five minutes.


Lunch:
    * Basmati Rice:
        Ingredients: 1/4 cup rice, rinsed well and soaked in water for 20 minutes; 1/2 cup water; melted ghee (optional)
        Preparation: Discard rice soaking water, add 1/2 cup water, bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. (You can sprinkle a little ghee over the rice on your plate just before eating)

    * Cooked Spinach:
        Ingredients: 4 cups baby spinach, rinsed; 1 tsp minced garlic; 1 Tbsp olive oil; 1/8 tsp cumin seeds; salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
        Preparation: Heat ghee in pan over medium heat, add cumin seeds, add black pepper, cayenne pepper and garlic when cumin seeds start to sizzle, add spinach and mix well, add salt to taste

    * Tofu (or Egg) Curry:
        Ingredients: 1 lb block of firm tofu, diced (or 2 eggs, boiled and halved lengthwise); 1 bulb worth of green onions, thinly sliced (or 1 onion, finely chopped); two tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded and chopped; 6 sprigs' worth of cilantro leaves, chopped; 1 tsp grated ginger; 2 tsp minced garlic; 2 Tbsp sesame, safflower or sunflower oil; 1/2 tsp cumin seeds; 1/4 tsp mustard seeds; 1/4 tsp turmeric; 1 Tbsp water; salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
        Preparation: Heat sunflower oil in pan over medium heat, add cumin and mustard seeds, add turmeric, black pepper, cayenne pepper when seeds start to sizzle and pop, mix, add ginger, garlic, green onion and tomato and mix again, add water, add tofu (or egg halves) and mix gently to coat tofu (or eggs), add salt to taste (add salt before eggs if using eggs)

        Ingredients: 1/4 cup yoghurt; 1/2 cup water, 1 tsp maple syrup
        Preparation: Blend yoghurt, water and syrup together in bowl with whisk


Dinner:
        Ingredients: 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour and 1/4 cup white flour for a less bitter taste); 1/8 tsp salt; 1/2 Tbsp melted ghee; about 1/8 cup water; extra melted ghee for serving
        Preparation: mix flour and salt, add ghee, add water a little at a time while kneading for 5 minutes until you get a smooth, semi-firm ball of dough, cover with damp cloth and set aside for 30 minutes, pinch off a 1" diameter ball of dough, roll between the palms of your hands to make a smooth ball, roll out with a rolling pin on a floured board into a 5" chapati, turning the chapati as you roll it out, heat skillet on medium-high heat, place chapati on skillet, flip after tiny air bubbles form underneath, press with bunched up ball of cloth to make chapati puff up, remove from stove, brush both sides with melted ghee while hot, repeat with the rest of the dough

    * Dal (Lentils):
        Ingredients: 1/4 cup moong dal, rinsed well until water runs clear and soaked for 30 minutes; about 2 1/4 cups water; 1 zucchini peeled, chopped and steamed; 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves; 1 tsp minced garlic; 1 Tbsp ghee or sesame, safflower or sunflower oil; 1/4 tsp cumin seeds; a pinch of asafoetida; 1/8 tsp turmeric; salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
        Preparation: Discard soaking water, bring moong dal with 1 cup water to boil, skim off foam, reduce heat and let dal simmer, add 1 cup hot water when water runs low (make sure dal doesn't burn), set aside when dal is cooked and soft, heat ghee in pan on medium heat, add cumin seeds, when seeds start to sizzle, add asafoetida, turmeric, black pepper and cayenne pepper, add garlic, add zucchini and stir, add dal, then cilantro and mix well, add salt to taste, add 1/4 cup water (or more or less to make the dal the consistency you want) and stir

        Ingredients: 1 potato, peeled and chopped; 1 carrot, peeled and chopped; 1/4 cup peas, shelled; 2 bulbs' worth of green onions, thinly sliced; 2 Tbsp sesame, sunflower or safflower oil; 1/2 tsp cumin seeds; 1/4 tsp turmeric; salt and cayenne pepper to taste
        Preparation: Steam potatoes, carrots and peas, heat sunflower oil in pan over medium heat, add cumin seeds, when seeds start to sizzle, add turmeric and cayenne pepper, add green onion and stir, add vegetables and stir, add salt to taste

    * After-Dinner Mint (not as hoity-toity as it sounds!):
        Ingredients: 3/4 tsp whole fennel seeds; 1/2 tsp turbinado sugar
        Preparation: mix the above ingredients and take it at the end of the meal


Bedtime (optional):
   
* Milk
        Ingredients: 1/2 cup or 1 cup boiled and cooled to warm Milk (or Milk boiled with spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cloves and/or cardamom if you want more flavour, or Date –no almonds- Milkshake, or Almond-Date Milkshake if you want something a little heavier)


Snacks (optional, between breakfast and lunch, and/or between lunch and dinner):
    * Fresh Fruit:
        Ingredients: Orange (the Navel variety is easier on the stomach), Blueberries, Strawberries, Plums, Cherries, Mango (the Chamoagne variety is easier on the stomach), Papaya, Cantaloupe, etc (note that very tart or acidic fruit can cause some discomfort in the stomach, mango can cause diarrhea, and melons can cause water retention)
        Preparation for orange: The way my father would serve me the orange when I was a child, and which became my favourite way to eat it, was to: remove rind, separate segments, and remove skin and seeds from segments before eating.

    * Sautéed Spiced Cashews (this can also be eaten instead of a protein dish for lunch):
        Ingredients: 12 cashews; 2 tsp sesame oil; salt and dry-roasted cayenne pepper to taste
        Preparation: Melt oil in pan on medium heat, add cashews, stirring constantly until cashews turn a light pinkish-golden brown, lift out and transfer cashews to bowl, add salt and cayenne pepper


Throughout The Day:
    * Sipping Warm or Room Temperature Water during meals or when you feel thirsty (or, if trying to lose weight or flush toxins or just feeling cold, taking a few sips of hot water every half an hour). Avoid cold beverages as that hinders digestion.


    1. Spices
    2. Animal Products
    3. Dairy
    4. Oils
    5. Sweeteners
    6. Nuts and seeds
    7. Legumes
    8. Vegetables
    9. Fruits
    10. Grains
Therefore, you can modify the effects of the food you consume by adding certain spices to it.


Properties of Spices
    Spices and Herbs can have the following properties, among others not listed below:
        - Alterative: purifies the blood, cleanses lymphatics, anti-infectious and anti-bacterial, resolves sores, boils and tumours, treats flus and other infections, can be used externally on sores and ulcers
        - Analgesic: relieves pain
        - Antibacterial: acts against bacteria
        - Antidiarrheal: stops diarrhea
        - Antihelmintic: dispels worms and other intestinal parasites, and bacterial, fungal and yeast infections
        - Antispasmodic: relieves involuntary muscle spasms
        - Astringent: has a firming action on tissues, stops excessive discharges (including bleeding -hemostatic-, diarrhea -antidiarrheal-), heals inflamed skin and mucous membranes
        - Carminative: relieves flatulence, pain and bloating, settles digestion, increases absorption of nutrients
        - Diaphoretic: induces perspiration to cool and purify the body, relieves muscle tension and joint pain, promotes eruption and resolution of skin inflammations, reduces edema, relieves headache to to cold or congestion
        - Diuretic: increases urination to purify the body, stimulates kidneys and bladder
        - Emmenagogue: promotes regular menstruation, promotes circulation
        - Expectorant: promotes discharge of mucous and phlegm, clears lungs and nasal passages
        - Hemostatic: stops bleeding
        - Nervine: strengthens nervous system, mind and mental health, most nervines are also antispasmodic, relieves bronchospasms (asthma), menstrual cramps and headache
        - Stimulant (Digestive): stimulates digestion; contraindicated in case of dehydration and mucous membrane inflammation
        - Tonic: nurtures tissues
        - Vulnerary: heals wounds

    Here are some properties of spices that are commonly used in Ayurvedic cooking and home remedies:
        - Asafoetida: heating, analgesic, antihelmintic, carminative, emmenagogue, stimulant
            Good for: indigestion, flatulence, abdominal distention, colic, constipation, arthritis (apply paste to joints), worms
            Precautions: use only very small amount, and do not use if pregnant or in case of high Pitta states (e.g. fever, hyperacidity, rash)
        - Basil: heating, antibacterial, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, reduces fever, nervine, purifying
            Good for: colds, flu, cough, bronchitis, arthritis, rheumatism, fever, abdominal distention, topically applied for ulcers
            Precautions: pregnancy, breastfeeding, high Pitta states (fever, hyperacidity, rash)
        - Black pepper: stimulant, relieves congestion, stimulates digestion
        - Cardamom: carminative, expectorant, increases appetite, stimulates digestion
            Good for: mouthwash and oral problems, nausea with vomiting, reflux, excessive thirst, burning sensations, congestion in chest, bronchitis, some forms of asthma, loss of taste
            Precautions: inflammatory condition, hyperacidity

        - Cayenne pepper (or red chilli pepper): stimulant, relieves congestion, anti-tumour
            Precautions: can increase heat
        - Cinnamon: heating, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant
        - Clove: warming, diaphoretic, expectorant, aids digestion, remove toxins
        - Coriander (seeds = coriander, leaves = cilantro): cooling, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, stimulates digestion
            Good for: reducing toxins, relieving upper respiratory problems, pain and swelling, reducing heavy menstrual flow, inflammatory skin lesions (apply paste made from cilantro leaves)
            Precautions: excess Vata imbalance with tissue depletion
        - Cumin: heating, carminative, diuretic, stimulates digestion (can create some heat but not as much as ginger), reduces toxins, purifies blood
            Good for: improving eyesight, skin problems (apply paste for eczema), loss of appetite, vomiting, indigestion, abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, urinary tract infection (have some roasted cumin seeds mixed with sugar)
            Precautions: high Pitta states (fever, hyperacidity, inflammation)
        - Fennel: cooling, antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic, stimulates digestion without creating heat (unlike ginger)
            Good for: abdominal cramping, spasms, bloating, gas, irritable bowel syndrome, malabsorption, indigestion, weak digestion, colic, promoting menstruation and milk flow in breastfeeding mothers
        - Garlic: heating, carminative, diuretic, stimulant, rejuvenative tonic, antibiotic
            Good for: pain and swelling, stimulating nerves, intellect, clarity, senses, eyes, functioning of heart and liver, rreproductive organs, bone fractures, skin, itching (juice applied externally), ear pain, breathing problems, relieves respiratory congestion, use as a natural antibiotic, osteoarthritis (taken with milk), rheumatoid arthritis, high cholesterol, can apply externally for arthritis and sciatica, muscle tissue enhancement in case of fibromyalgia (taken with milk)
            Precautions: pregnancy, high Pitta states (fever, inflammation, hyperacidity)
        - Ginger (dry): heating, carminative, diaphoretic, expectorant, stimulant, stimulates digestion, reduces toxins, reduces bloating and gas, good for heart and cholesterol problems, good for any Vata-type
(i.e. where there is no inflammation) of pain (for joint pain, apply ginger paste), good for Vata-type headache (apply ginger paste to forehead), good for Vata-type of dental pain (apply warm, thin film of ginger paste to cheek)
            Precautions: do not use in case of high heat or inflammatory conditions
        - Ginger (fresh): heating, carminative, diaphoretic, expectorant, stimulates digestion, reduces toxins

            Precautions: do not use in case of high heat or inflammatory conditions
        - Mustard seeds: expectorant, stimulant
        - Turmeric: heating, alterative, astringent, carminative, hemostatic, vulnerary, strengthens digestion (especially of proteins), anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-tumour
            Good for: purifying blood, promoting formation of new blood tissue, proper functioning of liver to clear toxins, improving intestinal flora, minimizing buildup of toxins, topical application for sprains, strains, bruises or itching
            Precautions: too much turmeric can cause indigestion, gas, nausea, stomach upset, or (in case pf pregnancy) miscarriage ; do not take supplemental turmeric if you are breastfeeding or if you have stomach or gallbladder problems; do not use if you are taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs/herbal preparations or aspirin; do not use if you are taking antacids or drugs to reduce stomach acid; turmeric can lower blood sugar levels so be careful if you are already taking medication to lower blood sugar


Churnas (spice mixtures)
    You can add your choice of the above spices while cooking to alter the flavour, properties and effect of the food that you eat. To balance a certain dosha that is out of balance, you can grind, store and use a teaspoon or so of one of the following spice mixtures to a dish while cooking (for example, for the egg curry recipe mentioned above, you can add a teaspoon of the Kapha Churna instead of the various individual spices to balance Kapha):

    * Vata Churna
        2 Tbsp fennel seeds
        1  Tbsp coriander seeds
        1 Tbsp cumin seeds
        1 Tbsp ground turmeric
        1 Tbsp dried basil
        2 tsp powdered ginger
        2 tsp salt
        1 tsp asafoetida

    * Pitta Churna
        2 Tbsp fennel seeds
        2 Tbsp coriander seeds
        2 Tbsp cumin seeds
        2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves (or 1 tsp dried mint leaves)
        1 Tbsp ground turmeric
        1 Tbsp cardamom seed kernels (not the whole pod)

    * Kapha Churna
        2 Tbsp coriander seeds
        1 Tbsp fenugreek seeds
        1 Tbsp ground ginger
        1 Tbsp cumin seeds
        1 Tbsp ground turmeric
        1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
        1 tsp ground clove
        1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or red chilli powder)


Chutneys (food mixtures)
    Alternatively, you can grind or blend a mixture of certain foods and spices and eat small portion of it along with your meal to balance a certain dosha. The spices can be dry-roasted in advance for added flavour.

    * Raisin-Date Chutney (Vata)
        1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
        1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
        3 tsp ground coriander
        1 1/2 tsp raisins
        3/4 cup dates, pitted and chopped
        3/8 cup orange juice
        2 Tbsp peeled minced ginger root
        1/4 tsp nutmeg
        3/8 tsp salt

    * Cilantro Chutney (Pitta)
        2 pears
        1 cup fresh cilantro
        1/4 tsp salt
        Juice of 1-2 limes

    * Ginger Chutney (Kapha)
        1 Tbsp lime juice
        1/3 cup orange juice
        3/4 cup peeled chopped ginger root
        1/2 cup raisins
        

    Instead of (or in addition to) churnas and chutneys, you can make the following teas to balance a certain dosha. Use 1/2 tsp of the  mixture of ground spices per cup of water.

    * Vata Tea
        1 part licorice
        1 part cardamom
        1/2 part ginger
        1/8 cinnamon

    * Pitta Tea
        1 part licorice
        1 part cardamom
        1/2 part dried ground rose petals
        1/8 part cinnamon

    * Kapha Tea
        1 part ginger
        1 part cardamom
        1/4 part cloves
        1/8 part turmeric
        1/8 part black pepper
        1/16 part saffron


    This is a decoction of spices in a quart of boiled hot water that is sipped throughout the day to balance the system. The basic spice water recipe is as follows: 
    * Basic Spice Water Recipe:
        Ingredients:
            1 quart water, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp fennel seeds
        Preparation:
            Boil water, pour into thermos, add spices and let steep all day. Periodically sip the liquid portion only of the spice water from the thermos.

    This recipe can be fine-tuned to correct specific imbalances in the bodily tissues by adding the following spices to the basic spice water formula:
    * Spice Water Addition for Rasa Dhatu (Blood Plasma) Imbalance:
        For Excess: add 1/4 tsp dry ginger
        For Deficiency: add 1/4 tsp mint or 1/4 tsp ground cloves
        For Ama: add 1 dime-sized slice of fresh ginger root

    * Spice Water Addition for Rakta Dhatu (Formed Blood Elements) Imbalance:
        For Excess: add 1/4 tsp hibiscus
        For Deficiency: add 1/4 tsp pomegranate seed or 2 stems of saffron
        For Ama: add 1/4 tsp hibiscus

    * Spice Water Addition for Mamsa Dhatu (Muscle) Imbalance:
        For Excess: add 1/4 tsp hibiscus
        For Deficiency: add 1/8 tsp ground cloves
        For Ama: add 1/4 tsp hibiscus

    * Spice Water Addition for Meda Dhatu (Fat) Imbalance:
        For Excess: add 1/8 tsp fenugreek + 1/4 tsp cinnamon
        For Deficiency: add 1/4 tsp cardamom
        For Ama: add 1/8 tsp fenugreek + 1/4 tsp cinnamon

    * Spice Water Addition for Asthi Dhatu (Bone) Imbalance:
        For Excess: add 1 dime-sized slice of fresh ginger root
        For Deficiency: add 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
        For Ama: add 1 dime-sized slice of fresh ginger root

    * Spice Water Addition for Majja Dhatu (Bone Marrow) Imbalance:
        For Excess: add 1/4 tsp tulsi (basil)
        For Deficiency: add 1/4 tsp poppy seeds
        For Ama: add 1/4 tsp tulsi (basil)

    * Spice Water Addition for Shukra Dhatu (Reproductive System) Imbalance:
        For Excess: add 1/4 tsp tulsi (basil)
        For Deficiency: add 2 stems of saffron
        For Ama: add 1/4 tsp tulsi (basil)

    Some foods, when combined, will not be properly digested and can produce Ama (impurities) which can hinder an individual from obtaining proper nutrition and energy. The accumulation of Ama can eventually lead to diseases such as allergies, skin conditions and high cholesterol. Here are some examples of foods to avoid combining:
    Milk and Alcohol
    Milk and Fermented foods (e.g. apple cider, soy sauce)
    Milk and Citrus foods (oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, lemons)
    Milk and Eggs
    Milk and Meat
    Milk and Salt
    Milk and Yoghurt
    Milk and Bananas
    Soymilk and Bananas
    Eggs and Cheese
    Eggs and Fruit
    Eggs and Potatoes
    Melons and Anything (i.e. eat them alone)
    Cooked Honey and Anything (never cook honey)
Some of the above combinations, when cooked together in the same dish, can become more digestible than if cooked separately but consumed together.

    Individuals with arthritis, eczema, acid reflux, cystitis, lupus and psoriasis may benefit from avoiding the nightshades, which include the following:
        - Potatoes
        - Tomatoes
        - Green bell peppers
        - Eggplant
        - Chilli peppers
        - Tobacco
        - Belladonna
        - Mandrake
        - and others that belong to the nightshade family

    Ideally, milk should be boiled (with or without spices) and cooled to warm before drinking. Boiling the milk relaxes the protein structure, making it more digestible. Cold milk (and other chilled dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt and ice cream) can be very congesting to the system, resulting in nasal congestion, abdominal discomfort, etc.


    The above example for one day's worth of meals provides fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, nuts, beans, protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, micronutrients and so on. Experiment with different ingredients and proportions and see what you like and what tastes and feels better e.g. for stewed apple, add a pinch of cinnamon; for almond-date milkshake, use two dates instead of one, or leave out the almonds; for spinach, omit cumin and add mushrooms; for dal, omit cilantro and use steamed carrots and zucchini instead of just zucchini; for vegetable curry, add steamed green beans and red bell peppers, and/or add coconut milk after adding the vegetables; use more or less or different spices for different effects (e.g. more turmeric for a more yellow colour, though too much will make the dish bitter; more cayenne pepper for more heat; coriander for a cooling effect; cumin and/or fennel to aid digestion; cloves for pungency; cinnamon and cardamom for fragrance); if you don't have upma for breakfast, have it for lunch instead of rice, and have rice for dinner instead of chapati; make up new dishes of your own using your imagination; etc.


* Please note that some of the recommendations that I list above are ones that have worked well for me, my family, and my friends, and it doesn't necessarily mean that they will also work well for you. This document is for educational purposes only and the information provided is not to be used as, used as a substitute for, or considered to be medical diagnosis, treatment or prescription. The content of this page is not medical advice and does not substitute for consultation with a qualified licensed healthcare provider. Therefore, please use your judgement and common sense as you review the information on this web page, and consult your physician or a licensed healthcare professional a) if you have a medical condition, or b) if you are taking any medications or supplements, or c) if you are in doubt as to whether any of the recommendations will work for you or conflict with your current physical and mental condition, or d) before using any herbs or herbal products, or e) before starting any new exercise or health regime, or f) for any persistent problem or complaint. For more information, there are numerous books (e.g. by Deepak Chopra, Paul Dugliss and Vasant Lad), websites (e.g. jiva.com, mapi.com, banyanbotanicals.com), videos (e.g. Homeveda channel on YouTube) and blogs on various Ayurvedic tips and home remedies.*


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Tying it all together ...

    My discovery of New World Ayurveda School from which I graduated as a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner occurred through an unforgettable coincidence that convinced me that prayers are indeed heard and answered, and that the Universe is a fluid, intricate web of time, space, coincidence and consciousness: during a day when my beloved child had been difficult enough and I sensitive enough that I was driven to despair and tears (feeling just like those traditional Indian women slapping their foreheads and wailing, "Ayyo! Na Karma!"), I had prayed to God to give me a sign that It existed, and an hour later, I came across New World Ayurveda School on the web (which I had somehow not seen during previous searches for schools teaching Ayurveda), it offered distance learning, an independent study option that suited my needs perfectly, the price was reasonable, and the one clinical intensive that I needed to attend in person was going to be held in the very town where I lived!!!! I had also grown averse to travelling in recent years, and was reluctant to travel long distances for the course. The coincidence was amazing, as if God had heard and answered my prayers. I had always wanted to be a doctor but chose engineering for selfish, practical reasons (and it turned out that the detached drugs+surgery focus of modern medicine didn't quite resonate with me anyway). Ayurveda is perfect for me in every way. It is natural, holistic, nurturing, and allows me to be an effective healer (through food and consciousness) right away to the people most important to me: my loved ones, as well as myself. I believe that this is my Dharma, my duty in accordance with my individual nature as well as the cosmic order. This striking serendipity is what Carl Jung would call "synchronicity", with multiple events "falling together in time" that are not necessarily causally related but are at least meaningfully related. Among the various other synchronicities that occurred during the course of study was that my certificate was mistakenly issued in the name of "Surekha Satyam". Satyam was my father's first name, and unbeknownst to anyone at the school, Dad's death anniversary had occurred only three days prior to my graduation, during the last week of school, during that one clinical intensive that I had to attend in person. Dad has been a tremendous source of strength and inspiration for me, and his spirit continues to guide me to this day. A personal memoir that I had written in 2009 about him and our perfect father-daughter relationship (titled "Satyam: Notes and Letters from My Father, My Hero, My Friend") is a testament to the enduring love and closeness that we had shared, and I feel that our spirits, and our destinies, are bound together forever. This time, the day of the anniversary of my father's death also coincided with yet another (and final) profound, life-transforming insight from my guru Dr. Paul Dugliss during class, and another surreal coincidence at home. I believe that God does work in mysterious ways, and is revealed through direct personal experience, whatever or whoever one's God may (or may not) be.




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