Archive for February, 2014

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Thursday, February 27th, 2014

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Thursday, February 20th, 2014

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WATER CHESTNUT

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

The water chestnut is not just a culinary delight, but has many health benefits, says naini setalvad
Year ago in Calcutta, my aunt made a simple but sublime dish of water chestnuts, by simply sautéeing them with a touch of hing and sea salt. As I gorged on it,my love for this vegetable, knows as paniphal or singhodha, was born.
We often find it at the vegetable market, or on street corners, sold either in its knobby green raw form, or in its steamed black avatar, where it makes a chic contrast to the ivory white flesh. In its raw form it is crisp and crunchy, and in its cooked form, rather dense and starchy, with a mild nutty flavor.
It is a native to south east Asia and India, and grows in marshes. The knobby vegetable with papery brown skin is a staple in Chinese cooking, where it is often combined with bamboo shoots, ginger, and snow peas. The water chestnut is actually not a nut at all ,but an aquatic vegetable. The name “water chestnut” comes from the fact that it resembles a chestnut in shape and colouring.
Water chestnuts are relished most commonly in their raw form, peeled, but can also be steamed or even sauted.
Dried water chestnuts can be powdered into flour. The Chinese use them to make water chestnut cakes, which is common as part of dim sum cuisine, while in India they are often used to make rotis during fasts, when consumption of grains is forbidden.
Quite apart from its culinary feats, the water chestnut has many health benefits.
Medicinal uses
It is a great cure for urinary infections drinking a cup of sweet water chestnut soup can terminate the pain.
The juice of water chestnut can also bring relief to nausea or a feeling of indigestion. Water chestnuts are recommended for those battling jaundice as they are zero in fat and help nausea.
Due to its detoxifying properties and high water base, it is a cleansing food. It is also a good source of energy, and small quantities will keep you satisfied due to its high fibre content.
It has a high potassium content and helps prevent water retention as well as keep blood pressure low in sodium, and fat is virtually non-existent.
The calcium content is also significant, therefore it would be great to include regularly.
Precaution
Water chestnuts have only moderate amounts of antioxidants. They are also extremely laxative in nature.
If not eaten in moderation, water chestnuts could lead to stomach gas problems and bloating.
Buy water chestnuts which are firm and with unwrin-kled skin, especially when raw. Avoid ones which are soft.
Water chestnuts can be stored in the refrigerator for few days.

Piquant pomelo

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Popularly called the king of citrus fruits, pomelos are packed with goodness and add an extra zing to your food
Ever wondered what those gigantic mosambis in your fruitwallah’s cart are? They are called pomelos, papanas or chikotru. Pomelo is also known as the king of the citrus fruit kingdom. The texture, taste and seeds of each varity are different from other.
Pomelos are paked with goodness. From the outside, they look like huge lemons. From the inside, however, pomelos vary in colour. The most commonly found in our country is usually pinkish inside.other varities include white to yellow coloured flesh. They grow in abundance in the ganges belt from rishikesh to eastern india. They are also grown in Maharashtra, Gujarat and other parts of India. Pomelos are mostly available throughout the year. Choose fruit that is heavy and firm. The quality of the outer skin does not affect the taste.
Pomelo is invigorating. Boosts flagging spirits, and increases stamina according to some scientists. It is an excellent fruit for those wanting to lose weight as it satisfies hunger and speeds up the breakdown of fats and proteins in the body. Like all fruits, pomelos are cooling with natural sugar and salts, making it ideal for consumption in the summer.
The pomelo is a citrus fruit, which means it is a great source of vitamin c. it builds up immunity and helps to maintain the health of our arteries. It is also easy to digest and being high in fiber, keeps our systems clean. And if you need one more reason to eat it, think glowing skin and shiny hair, along with improved eyesight.
pomelos are also extremely high in flavanoids and antioxidants which are not only helpful in combating all kinds of cancers, but also get rid of various toxins caused by free radical damage.
In addition, the fruit helps prevent urinary tract infection. It also promotes fast healing of wounds, teeth and gums and prevents anemia, osteoporosis, leg cramps, cold and flu. The skin of the fruit is very rich in biofiavonoid, which helps top reduce pancreatic,intestinal and breast cancer and also prevents cancerous cells from spreading further. The fruit has proved to be effective for diabetes, insomnia, fever, and sore throat. The juice of pomelo has an alkaline reaction on the body which helps digestion. It also contains pectin which has been proven to be effective in reducing accumulation of arterial deposits in the body, while cleaning out the whole system and removeing all impurities. It also helps to reduce cholesterol in the body, stabilize blood pressure and prevent atherosclerosis.
The pomelo is a versatile fruit and lends itself well to all types of salads. It goes particularly well with all kinds of lettuce, adding that extra zing to the dish.
You could also eat it the way you eat your orangecut, peel and pop the segments in your mouth.when dipped into a bit of black salt, the flavor is irresistible. You could also blend it to retain the fiber content. It is however, always advisable to eat your fruit, rather than drink it.
The nutritional value of 100 grams pomelo is 9.62g of carbohydrates, 1g of dietary fibre, 0.04g fats, 0.76g of proteins, 61 mg of vitamin c, 0.11mg of iron, 6mg of magnesium, 0.017mg of phosphorus, 216mg of potassium, 1mg of sodium and 0.08mg of zinc.

Cornucopia

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Whether eaten roasted, boiled, spiced, or along with vegetables, corn makes for great taste packed with nutrition, says Naini Setalvad
No sooner does the first drop of rain touch the ground, than my instinct urges me to reach out for a scrumptious roasted corn on the cob. It is one of the most popular cereals in the world and forms the staple food in many countries including USA and Africa. Closer home, it is commonly seen during the monsoon, with bhutta vendors on the streets, roasting corn on the cob on fiery red hot coal, finished off with a dash of salt and chilli powder, and a smear of lemon juice. Quite simply, the perfect way to enjoy the rains!
Corn incidentally, is packed with nutrition. Though technically labeled a grain, many people use corn kernels as a vegetable. Despite being a grain, corn contains relatively high fibre content. Unlike refined grained and white rice that can lead to constipation, corn keeps your digestive tract in good shape. Being a grain, it is classified as a carb, but its protein content makes it a nutritive food.
Corn has a positive effect on your moods, and is good for overall heart health. This is due to its magnesium content. Magnesium is an essential mineral as it works with the heart muscles and our neurology so that it can improve the cardio vascular health as well as
Regular consumption of corn helps in preventing and lowering hypertension, ensuring stable blood pressure.
Manage a stable mood. In addition, it contains zero cholesterol, which works well for most people. Potassium is also abundant in corn. This nutrient is essential in ensuring stable blood pressure. Regular consumption of corn will definitely help in preventing and lowering hypertension. Potassium also helps regulate the mood and improves the communication between our brain and the rest of the body, thus helping us to relax!
As we know, corn can be made in many different ways. The most popular and easy way to eat corn is by boiling the kernels, and mixing them with chaat masala, lemon, salt and may be a little pepper. This tangy snack tastes great, and is widely available in cinema theatres, malls, and street corners. Since it is cooked, it is safe to eat.
When you buy corn, press one of the kernels. If a milky white liquid oozes out it shows that the kernels are succulent and juicy. Corn in India is available in two verities white and yellow. The latter is also known as American corn or golden corn.
Corn is also a great addition to salads. Because of its low calorie content and high fibre, it can be a good substitute for fried paneer in the popular palak paneer dish. Substitute fried croutons or a dollop of cream in soups with boiled corn kernels. Kids love watching the golden kernels bobbing in the soup. Corn flour is ideal for makai ki roti, a Punjabi specialty eaten during winter along with sarson ka saag.

SCOPE OF PANCHAKARMA IN CHRONIC DEBILITATIVE DISORDERS

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Ayurveda is the science of life it deals with the entire creation with special emphasis on the biology of life. The chief objectives laid down before these sciences are preservation of health and prevention of diseases, as it evident from:
Ayurvedic approach for a treatment of a disease consists of two major procedures viz. Samshodhana Chikitsa and Shamshamana Chikitsa. The Samshodhana Chikitsa is a radical treatment of a disease and is supposed to eradicate or eliminate the vitiated doshas, thus completely preventing or curing the disease.
Samshamana Chikitsa is the conservative treatment which consists of conservative measures of treatment like, Langhana and Pachana by administration of appropriate drugs, designed for alleviating the vitiated doshas, thus preventing temporarily or subsiding the disease.
The Samshodhana therapy consists of a number of psycho physiological measures advocated in the treatment of a disease, of which panchakarma therapy is an integral part. As a matter of fact, the indispensable place of panchakarma measures in Ayurvedic management of patients is the unique and fundamental character of Indian system of medicine.
The therapeutic measures comprehended by panchakarma therapy are the anchor in Ayurvedic approach to the treatment of a disease, which have proved the test of time and are equally applicable, rather more useful in today’s busy world with polluted environment consisting of lipophilic toxins that accumulate in the fatty tissues of body.
Emphasizing the importance of panchakarma therapy, the Ayurveda says that sadhana strikes at the root of the disease and thus the disease treated it by do not reoccur again, while treated with other methods might reappear.
Unfortunately such an important component of Ayurvedic therapeutics gradually declines in practices, which need to be popularized and increasingly practiced for the welfare of the mankind.
The panchakarma therapy is been a subject of discussion in almost all the texts of Indian medicine. The scope described for this therapy is very comprehensive like purificatory, preventive curative, rejuvenative, preparation for surgery, virilising therapy etc and similarly there are very comprehensive claims about its efficacy.
As the name suggest the panchakarma consists of five fold therapeutic procedures viz. Vamana, Virechana, Niruha Basti, Anuvasana Vasti and Sirovirachana. Which are preceded by the two preparatory procedures of Snehana and Swedana. Snehana stands for external and internal oleation therapy, which render the body oleos and thus makes the vitiated doshas/toxins easily eliminated out of body. Induction of sweating prior to main panchakarma procedure is known as Swedana or Fomentation therapy.
Vamana consist of inducing therapeutic vomiting and thereby eliminating the doshas out of the body through oral route is a specific thereby for Kaphaja disorders. Virechana is the process of eliminating the vitiated doshas out of the body through anal route it is specific procedure for Paittika disorders. Vasti is another purificatory measure, which consist of induction of suitable medicaments in the form of enema through rectal, vaginal and urethral routes. The object is to eliminate vitiated doshas with the returning enema material and to produce the effects of the enematically introduced medicaments which may be essentially on oleos or non – oleos based upon the type of vasti viz. Anuvasana and Asthapana respectively. Vasti karma is supposed to be principal and specific therapy for vatic disorders.
Sirovirachana is the procedure by which required medications are introduced through nasal passage either in liquid or powder forms. Besides it role in panchakarma therapy, Sirovirachana has specific role in Shiro ragas i.e. Diseases of Head and Brain.
Sushruta also includes Rakta Mokshana under panchakarma, which indicates the special significance of Rakta Mokshana in Surgical practice. Rakta Mokshana i.e. Bloodletting or Venesection and is used for disorders such as Urticaria, Skin rashes, Acne, Leucoderma, Itching and other dermatoses. Proper administration of rakta mokshana resuts in stimulation of antitoxin substances in blood stream, improving the immune mechanism of the body.

FEEL SLEEP AS A DAILY REGIMEN

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Sleep is considered as a circadian phenomenon, a daily rhythmical change in physiological process. Sleep is one of the daily regimen which gives energy to the body to precede day to day activities. But most of the people do not consider sleep as a daily regimen and do not give the body and mind enough sleep. As a result, in the present world about 50 % of the people suffer from one or the other sleeping disorder.
According to an Ayurvedacharya Charaka, “sleep is the state of body & mind wherein the sense organs are divorced of the sense objects from their respective senses.
Sleep is a state of consciousness that differs from alert, wakefulness by a loss of critical reactivity to events in the environment with a profound alertation in the respiration. When the sense organs get exhausted due to exertion, the person goes to sleep.
When the mind including sensory or motor organs is exhausted and they dissociate themselves from their objects, then the individual sleeps.
More than half of the life is invariably spent in sleep, hence if it is not enjoyed properly may lead to several disturbances and at the same time if it is enjoyed properly it proves the most beneficial to life, keeps the body healthy and mind sharp and sound.

One’s happiness, strength, nourishment, knowledge, life and their opposite qualities are all depending upon his sleep. Any anomaly in the sleep whether it is insufficient, excessive or irregular is likely to lead to disease and death.
Most of the people especially on our country have the habit of sleeping during day time which is usually not advisable as it makes them fat, causes heaviness of the body and reduces one’s digestive capacity which is considered to be the root cause for all the diseases in our body. Ayurvedic science says that day sleep is good for all during summer season as it helps to keep Vata – one of the three humours (basic concept of Ayurveda) in balance that gets aggravated due to sleeplessness, by reducing dryness of the body.
Day sleep is indicated in persons who do not sleep at night due to some accustomed conditions. They should compensate by sleeping half time of their night sleep in day time without taking any food.
Clearly there is relationship between the cycle of the sun and the cycle of the sleep. During the course of any day, half the planet faces interstellar blackness. The gravitational pull on that half exposed to the sun is less than that of the dark side, for the Sun’s gravitational pull compensates in a very small way for the mass of the Earth when sun is overhead. Similarly when the Sun is on the other side of the planet from where one is living; both sun & Earth are pulling in the same direction towards the mass of the planet. In sleep the Spinal cord stretches out parallel to the plane of the Earth’s Surface, giving maximum exposure to surface area to the direct pull of gravity.
Vital organs like heart and brain does not rest at night. Heart does not have the normal workload of the day during sleep, hence it can pump blood and supply throughout the body with minimum effort. Brain or nervous system is relieved of countless commands dictated by a conscious system during sleep, circulation by the brain increases as the whole head is provided with more oxygen and vital force.
SLEEPLESSNESS
(IMSOMNIA)
Insomnia is the condition of sleeplessness.
This condition is growing among people day by day
Because of the present stressful life.
Some of the causes of insomnia according to
Ayurvedic sciences are:
• Mental tension
• Excessive thinking
• Dry foods
• Uncomfortable bed
• Unsuitable time
• Mal nutrition
• Freshness of the mind
• Diseases

SLEEPING AND AGE

Sleeping time differs with age physiologically
Depending upon the requirement to the body.
Infants – 16 hours per day
Teenagers – 9 hours per day
Adults – 7 – 8 hours per day

Studies have shown that sleep is essential for normal immune system function 7 to maintain the ability to fight against disease and sickness. Sleep is also essential for normal nervous system function both physically and mentally. In addition, sleep is essential for learning and for normal healthy cell growth.
When we cut down our sleep we learn less, we develop less, we are less bright, we make worse decisions, we accomplish less, we are less productive, we are more prone to errors and we undermine out true intellectual potential.
Measures to induce sleep:
Intake of milk, sugarcane juice, rice that is more than 60 days old, bath in cold water, application of oil in head and body, nourishing eyes, ears by filling them with oil, free and unattached mind. These are some of the measures to induce sleep in people those who suffer from loss of sleep.
Sleeping well appears to be one of the most important factors underlying success in learning. Sleep is a mechanism provided by nature to restore inertia of the body. As good and bad to the body depends upon sleep, a circadian (physiological) phenomenon.

Health Tourism: THE HEALTHY WAY AHEAD

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

India is fast becoming a hub for medical tourism. People from west prefer Indian hospitals for surgery, as the cost here is less prohibited than in that in the western countries. The waiting period to avail the medical facilities that their government provides is too long often ranging from 3 to 6 months for a minor operation. All this has further contributed to the inflow of tourists seeking medical aid in India. Indian doctors are abreast of the technology without losing touch with humanity. Also since time immemorial India is renowned for its hospitality.
Substantial number of tourists also comes here to get rid of their chronic health problems or to simply rejuvenate their body and mind through Ayurveda and spirituality, both of which go hand in hand. Many allied therapies like yoga, crystals, chanting of mantras also form part of Ayurveda. However the most significant part of Ayurveda is the preventive medicines. To maintain the health of a healthy individual, Ayurveda has in great detail explained the daily regime one needs to follow and also the variations to be made in the same depending on the season, place where a person resides and his or her constitution. In case a person, is unable to follow this regime either through ignorance or due to lack of control on his or her mind and falls ill, then a variety of therapies are prescribed for an individual depending on their constitution.
The greatest gift to mankind is ayurvedic panchkarma or the five procedures described in Ayurveda to establish equilibrium between the various doshas. Ayurveda believes that imbalance of dosha is the root cause of all the diseases. Panchkarma help to set this equilibrium again.

However it may prove to be a boon or a bane depending on whether it is done scientifically or not. Since we are discussing the benefits of ayurvedic therapy for the sick and healthy individuals it would be apt to describe the panchkarma procedures briefly before we proceed to the rejuvenation therapy. Also it’s a norm to detoxify the body before rejuvenating it as this helps to augment the benefits of rejuvenation therapy. The best method to detoxify the body is through panchkarma.
Panchkarma has the name suggests is a group of five therapies. The therapies described by different school of thoughts vary slightly but for our convenience we would consider the following widely accepted ones.

Vaman: detoxification of the body by inducing emesis is known as vaman. It is important to differentiate vaman and vomiting. Vomiting could be a result of some pathology in body e.g. indigestion, hyperacidity, raised intracranial pressure, or diseases of internal ear etc. However any kind of vomiting cannot be labelled as vaman. Vaman is a therapeutic vomiting induced in patient to treat various diseases or as a preventive medicine to prohibit occurrence of diseases. All the panchkarma are preceded by certain procedure known as ‘purvakarma’. These are to be carried out properly in order to avoid complications that panchkarma may cause. Vaman is particularly helpful in treating disorders caused by vitiated kapha and up to certain extent those caused by vitiated pitta. Thorax, upper part of stomach and head are considered to be the predominant areas of kapha. Healthy kapha being about the function of lubrication in body and prevents wear and tear of its tissues. However if there is imbalance of cough it may lead to various problems such as cold, cough, asthma, etc. To eliminate problems like these and various other problems like obesity, hysteria, skin diseases, anaemia, indigestion, some diseases affecting ear, nose, throat and eyes etc. Vaman is induced. Patients unfit for vaman are patients suffering from haemoptysis, heart diseases, anuria, gout, piles, diseases affecting the vision like retinal detachment, tumours, pregnant women, very weak individuals etc are advised not to undergo this therapy. Most of the procedure involved in panchkarma have to be followed by certain other treatments like “gandush”, “dhoompan” etc. Also a stringent diet regime has to be followed for 3 – 7 days after the procedure. However describing all the procedure in elaborate details along with the preceding and succeeding procedures is beyond the scope of this article.

Virechan: Induction of purgation to treat various ailments caused by vitiated pitta. The predominant area of pitta in the body is the duodenum and liver. The procedure of virechan can cleanse the whole alimentary canal and is comparatively safe. For very delicate and weak persons mild form of virechan may be given using raisins, milk etc. An ailing person who is capable of and in need of stronger purgative may be given seeds of croton tigluim, pichrorrhiza kurroa etc. Formulations containing these herbs are available in market and generally used to induce purgation. The diseases in which purgation is helpful in various skin diseases, splenic disorders, as cites, hepatitis, haemorrhoids, fissures etc. Again it is important to carry out purvakarma like oleation and fomentation before the virechan is given. Dietary restrictions have also to be followed before all the procedures and hence it is inplied that they will be carried out in all the panchkarmas.
Basti: It is the most potent of the five procedures. It gains importance from the fact that it is used to treat vitiated vata. Vata is responsible for most of the diseases. Although vitiated kapha and pitta are also responsible for diseased states, these doshas need help from vata to carry out functions (physiological as well as pathological) in our body. Secondly, basti can carry out seemingly opposite functions such as slimming down or putting on weight or it may be used to treat constipation and also to treat loose motions depending on the medications used. Basti can be safely given to infants as well as geriatric patients. Hence some ancient masters regarded basti as a complete treatment in itself.
Basti literally means bladder. In olden days animal bladders were cleaned, processed and used for giving medicated enemas to the patients. This procedure of giving medicated enemas is known as basti. The predominant site of vata dosha is the colon and hence giving medicines via rectum is the closest and the fastest route to strike balance of this dosha. In general various substances can be given via rectal route to treat different ailments. Commonly used substances are decoctions, herbal oils and medicated milk. These are used to treat various acute or chronic ailments like constipation, diarrhoea, lumbago. Sciatica, paralysis, failure to gain weight, obesity, infertility, sexual problems, renal calculi etc.
Basti is classified into many categories depending on the substance used for the basti, route used for administration of drugs, or the function that the procedure carries out. However the three main categories of basti are:
1) Niruha basti also known as aasthapan basti : In this mainly decoctions are used to treat the patient and these are administered via the rectal route. This type is contraindicated in haemorrhoids (piles), intestinal perforation, as cites, diarrhoea especially where the patient has fever and other toxic symptoms, skin diseases etc.
2) Anuvasan basti: Oil, either plain or medicated, is mainly used in this procedure. However animal fat, ghee and bone marrow of various animals may be used in some cases. This is comparatively easy to give and may be given to most in varying proportions. The only contraindications are indigestion, obesity, diabetes and person who sleep during the day.
3) Uttar Basti: This is given not via rectal route but through the urethra or vagina and after administering niruha basti. Medicated oils, decoctions etc may be used for uttar basti.

Nasya: A relatively simpler yet beneficial procedure. Nasya means administration of drugs through the nasal route. These drugs could be either extract of juices of various plants, medicated oils, dried powders of different herbs etc. It is mainly used to treat the diseases afflicting head. done systematically it is helpful in treating premature greying of hair or hair fall, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, migraine, cluster headaches, fractures afflicted on upper limbs etc. Regular use helps improve vision and hearing capacity of an individual. Only contraindications for nasya are a person who has acute attack of cold, asthma, etc. Pregnant ladies, or women who have delivered recently, a person who has recently undergone vaman, virechan or basti (less than 15 days ago), or any individual who has just had a heavy meal, or head bath, alcohol, diet rich in fat etc.
Raktamokshan: This is a procedure in which impure blood is removed from the body of patient by various means. It may be done using venesection or leeches. Leech therapy gives instant results in reducing pain in patients of rheumatoid arthritis, infections joint disease etc. It is also easier to be carried out as compared to venesection. After determining whether the patient is fit for the procedure, only precaution one might need to take while using the leeches is to determine whether they are poisonous or not. Ayurvedic texts have elaborately described the kind of leeches as regards to their colour, length etc. That can be used for the procedure. In many European countries this procedure is already in use. Although, they discard leeches after single use, it is possible to re – use the leeches after the treatment them with turmeric and salt immediately after use. This treatment induces vomiting in leeches and the impure blood they have sucked from a patient’s body is thus removed. After ensuring that the leeches are free from the toxic blood, they are rested in clean water for a period of 15 days and then re – used. Venesection is rather skilful procedure and needs expertise. The vein to be punctured is determined by the ailment that a person is suffering from. In olden days hollow horn or pumpkin was used to withdraw blood after venesection. However presently doctors use syringe for the same. This method is useful in treating skin problems like psoriasis, erysipelas, herpes, gout, benign, tumours, abscesses etc. However this procedure should never be implemented in persons with bleeding disorders, pregnant women or in women who have just delivered a baby, person having jaundice as one of the symptoms, persons suffering from paralysis, piles, anaemia, dropsy, tetany etc.
Although panchkarma helps fast and complete detoxification of the body, it may prove to be cumbersome for a person who is either too delicate or ignorant of its benefits. Such persons who need to rejuvenate their bodies may detoxify them through fasting followed by detoxifying diet of fresh fruits and vegetables or their juices, milk, honey etc. And then proceed for rejuvenation. It is every person’s dream to stay youthful, healthy and full of vigour and vitality. This basic need of mankind was observed by the ancient masters and hence two branches of Ayurveda developed to cater to this need. These are rasayan and vajikaran. The former deals with retaining the youth and health while the latter deals in improving the fertility and sexuality of mankind. Although with changing times it is not possible to follow everything described to Ayurveda completely as many ancient herbs are extinct now and so are the animals. Also population and pollution have risen exponentially. However even now with right kind of diet and lifestyle these benefits can be reaped up to a large extent. Long and healthy life, boost in memory, glowing complexion, erect posture, remaining control over one’s mind, improving sexual life, enhancing vision, hearing power, olfactory senses and voice quality are just some of the benefits a person may experience with regular rejuvenation therapy. However, good habits have to be formed consciously like observing right kind of diet and lifestyle. After ensuring the body is free from toxins, may procedures can be adopted depending on the person’s needs and physician’s judgement. These have been improvised over a period of time.

Medicines as Food

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

M
any of the vegetarian food materials that we use are medicines according to Ayurveda and they supplement and compliment our general health. Some are listed here:
Fenugreek
Fenugreek is commonly used as a spice in cooking. Fenugreek is a member of the Fabaceae family and is commonly cultivated in India, Egypt, the Middle East and North Africa.
The seeds of the plant have been used as a traditional remedy for numerous conditions including gastrointestinal disorders, gout, wound healing and inflammation, hyperlipidemia and diabetes.
Bioactive compounds isolated from fenugreek seeds include saponins, alkaloids, amino acids, some of which act as insulin secretogogues, coumarins, mucilaginous fibres, nicotinic acid and other vitamins and minerals.
Clinical studies of fenugreek have been conducted in subjects with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In many adequate descriptions of study designs (randomization, blinding) and patient characteristics make it difficult to assess the quality of the research. But in general, studies have shown a decrease in both fasting (up to 30%) and postprandial blood glucose levels (20 – 35%), haemoglobin A1C (12%), and in some cases cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Much of the hypoglycaemic effect of fenugreek seeds in clinical studies is likely due to the inhibitory effects of mucilaginous fibres on glucose absorption. In one study subjects receiving fenugreek were consuming approximately 80 grams of fibre per day although additional effects of fenugreek on glucose uptake and utilization have been noticed in peripheral tissues. Fenugreek has also been shown to improve dyslipidemia in subjects with diabetes.
Typical studies of fenugreek used in research studies have varied a great deal. Studies using higher doses have incorporated powdered fenugreek seed into foods such as bread products. Research studies using fenugreek have reported few significant side effects with use up to six months.
Side effects associated with high doses of fenugreek are primarily gastrointestinal in nature, cramping, diarrhoea and flatulence, but uterotonic properties and hypersensitivity reactions have also been noted. In addition fenugreek may alter the absorption of medications taken concurrently due to its high fibre content and may enhance anticoagulant medications and interact with MAO inhibitors and hypoglycaemic medications.
Panax quinquefolius (ginseng)
The term ginseng is used to refer to several distinct plant species with differing effects. American and Asian or Korean ginseng belongs to the Panax family of ginseng and are believed to have more similar effects than Siberian ginseng which is not a true ginseng, ginseng is the most widely purchased herbal supplements in the United States and is purported to act as an “adoptogen”, improving the body’s ability to respond to illness and stress.
It is reported to improve stamina, cognitive function and general well being. These effects are not clearly supported by clinical research studies. Panax Ginseng root has been studied in two studies in subjects with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Study design was better than for other botanical products with placebo controls, blinding and randomization utilized. Ginseng supplements significantly improved fasting blood glucose level, haemoglobin, and postprandial blood glucose levels. It has been hypothesized based on animal research that ginseng may alter GI absorption of glucose, increase glucose transporter number and glucose uptake and increase insulin release. The active constituent of ginseng root is reported to be a mixed group of ginsenosides or panax glycans. Many of which appear to have opposing physiological effects.
Other compounds in ginseng may also contribute to its biological activity and include various vitamins, sterols, peptides, adenosine and flavonoids. The dose of ginseng used in clinical trials in subjects with diabetes varied widely with one using three grams per day and another 100 – 200 mg/day. Typical doses of ginseng used for other purposes range between 100 – 600 mg/day standardized ginseng extract in one or two doses.

Home remedies Respiratory System

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

COMMON COLD
It is a viral infection caused by over 200 strains of viruses. It is a type of communicable disease. There is an old saying that if you treat common cold it will go in 7 days, if you don’t would take a week. This means that the disease usually runs its own course. Since it is a viral disease, anti – biotic or anti – allergic have very little role to play. Hence the proverb – ‘prevention is better than cure’ holds good in this case.
Signs and Symptoms
Running and stuffy nose; itching and watering of eyes; Headache: Throat ache; Mild Fever may also be present; itching in ears (sometimes).
Home Remedies
Although common cold takes it own time to heal palliative treatment can be given to reduce the intensity of the symptoms.
• Make a decoction by boiling the following: 11 crushed leaves of Tulsi, 2 – 3 crushed black pepper, crushed ginger and a pinch of rock salt. Heat the above ingredients in 1 cup of water and boil it till half the quantity of water evaporates. Alternatively, similar decoction can be made using crushed black pepper, tulsi leaves and jaggery. This is to be consumed after every 3 – 4 hours.
• Boil 1 tea spoon of turmeric in one cup of cow’s milk, add sugar and ghee – one teaspoon each and drink it while it is still hot.
• 1 tea spoon ginger juice consumed with 1 tea spoon of honey is particularly helpful to combat running nose.
• Immediately increase the intake of vitamin C at the earliest stages, Lemon and amla are good sources of Vitamin C.

Diet and lifestyle considerations
• Take a diet that is steaming hot and easy to digest. Non – vegetarians can have chicken soup.
• Cut down on refined sugar and milk products.
• Although you may feel sleepy avoid sleeping during day time. Ayurveda dissuades sleeping during day – In most cases it is recommended only for certain individuals and that too there are regulations are as follows.

Ayurvedic Remedies
• Mahalakshmi vilas ras – one table twice a day with honey is useful in running nose.
• Talisadi Churna – 1 teaspoon + ¼ tea spoon turmeric mixed with honey should be consumed 4 – 5 days in a day.
• Cap Nilsin (phytopharma) – 1 Cap twice a day is very effective in viral infections.

COUGH
A cough is a natural reflex mechanism to any irritation, inflammation or blockage in the airway. It is the symptom which accompanies many respiratory illnesses such as cold, bronchitis, broncietasis, etc. Since it is body’s mechanism to defend itself, and to keep the respiratory tract patent, cough should not be suppressed without treating the initial cause. There are two types of cough – dry cough and productive cough.

Home Remedies
• Mix the ingredients given below and have one tea spoon every 3 – 4 hours
i. Juice of tulsi – 2 table spoon
ii. Juice of onion and ginger – 1 table spoon each
iii. Honey 2 table spoon
• Poppy seeds 1 tea spoon, 12 tulsi leaves and liquorice to be crushed and mixed with powdered sugar and consumed with warm water.
• Turmeric milk is effective for cough too.
• Powdered seed of mango ¼ tea spoon to be taken with warm water 3 times a day.
• Amorphous borax powder ¼ tea spoon with honey is particularly helpful in productive cough especially when the phlegm is stickly and stubborn and is not expectorated easily.
• Honey 1 tea spoon, tulsi juice 1 tea spoon, 2-3 black pepper and a pinch of sugar and hold it in mouth.
For bouts of any type of cough one can take couple of cloves and cardamons, add a pinch of sugar and hold it in mouth. Gargling with decoction of triphala churna is also helpful.
Diet and Lifestyle considerations
Avoid cold and phlegm, producing food items like curds, bananas, guava, milk products, etc. Food which is heavy to digest, example non – vegetarian food is best avoided. When possible drink only hot water.
Ayurvedic Remedies
• Sitophaladi churna with honey, ¼ tea spoon every 2 hours till the intensity reduces.
• Dasamoolkathuthreya, kashayam is especially helpful for dry cough. Take 15 ml of kashayam, after mixing it with equal quantity of warm water consume it twice a day.
• If secondary infection is evident from fever or yellow green phlegm, then drugs like rasasindoor + abhrak + bhasm + shringa bhasm 125 mg each can be taken with honey for a duration not exceeding 7 days.
• Mix equal quantities of Vasakasava, drakshasava and amritharisht and take 20 ml of this mixture with equal quantity of warm water twice a day after food.

ASTHMA
Asthma occurs when the airways go into spasm as a reaction to contact with allergens. The allergens can be anything from dust, pollen, smoke, strong fragrances, certain food items to cold weather. The onset of disease is usually in childhood although it may start at any age.
Signs and Symptoms:
Usually upper respiratory tract infections like phargngitis, common cold, etc may precede an attack: wheezing: chest tightness; cough: breathlessness which increases in lying down position or during an activity; expiratory dyspnoea i.e. difficulty and longer duration during exhalation is present; increasing heart rate.
Home Remedies
Asthma is not generally a problem that should simply be tackled at home. It requires professional help. However mild attacks and measures to prevent further attacks or at least to reduce their frequency can be taken at home.
• During an attack hot chest pack given regularly helps relieve congestion and relaxes the strained muscles. Place the patient’s feet in ankle and deep hot water and simultaneously consume 3 powdered black pepper with honey, loosen the patient’s clothes. If enough phlegm and congestion is evident, then administer ¼ tea spoon of powdered fenugreek seeds in warm water or milk.
• Decoction made of liquorice root in 1 cup of water which is reduced to half by boiling is given along with sesame seed oil. One can also add jaggery if desired. Sip it when hot from time to time till attack subsides.
• Tulsi leaves juice teaspoons mixed with honey can be given every 3 – 4 hours. Similarly onion juice with honey can be administered.
• Long pepper powder, with rock salt, ginger juice and honey can be given in very initial stages.

Diet and lifestyle considerations
• Have warm and easy to digest food.
• It is observed that if asthmatic constipates it precipitates attacks. Hence one has to take precaution that the bowel habits of the patients are regular. To facilitate proper bowel movements one can consume ½ cup of warm milk mixed with equal quantity of hot water and finally adding a tea spoon of ghee to it. This can be consumed at bed time. ¾ teaspoon of triphala churna can also be consumed with warm water.
• A gap of at least 3 hours is recommended between dinner and retiring.
• Make it a habit to walk slowly for 30 mins after dinner.
• As far as possible, keep the upper respiratory tract free of infection. This can be achieved by gargling and steam inhalation whatever one feels congestion in throat or nose.
• Apply sesame oil inside each nostril whenever you are going out.
• Keep the house well ventilated, warm, clean and free from dust mites.
• Drink only hot water and hot beverages
• Deep breathing exercises like inflating balloons or blowing of candles from increasing distances also helps. Alternatively, various pranayama types like bhastrika, ujjayi can be done.
• Swimming is also helpful in reducing the frequency of attacks. However, some persons might be allergic to chlorine. Such individuals should not use public swimming pools.
• Avoid cold and phlegm producing items
• Avoid sleeping during the day.
• Avoid pulses and rice especially during the dinner.
• Avoid air conditioned rooms and if it’s mandatory to use air conditioned rooms then change/clean filters regularly.

Ayurvedic Remedies
• Sitophaladi churna 5 grams, yasthimadhu churna 2 grams and tribhuvan kirti rasa 125 – 250 mg (depending on the weight of the patient) to be mixed with honey and had three times a day.
• 20 ml of each of Somasav + kanakasav mixed with 20 ml of warm water and taken after food is helpful.
• Agastya rasayan 10 gms with milk in the morning can be consumed throughout winter and spring when the attacks are more likely.
• 10 gms of bharangeeguda taken with one boiled fruit of haritaki is also a good remedy for asthma and also regularises the bowels.
In severe cases, short duration courses of following medicines can be given only by a qualified doctor.
• Shwaskuthar ras
• Shwaskachintamani ras, etc.

LARYNGITIS AND PHARYNGITIS
Laryngitis is an acute inflammation of larynx or the voice box. Pharynx is the initial part of the respiratory system and is made up of three parts – nasopharnyx (from nose to the roof of the mouth) to oropharnyx (from the roof of the mouth to the voice box) and laryngopharynx ( the part around the voice box). Various bacteria infect the larynx and pharynx. They are also irritated from over straining by shouting, smoking, coughing too hard, etc. This produces swelling in these areas.

Signs and Symptoms
Throat pain; difficulty in swallowing; hoarse voice or complete reversible loss of voice; fever; cough and running nose.

Home Remedies
• Local treatment by gargling with salt and turmeric mixed in hot water 3 – 4 times a day is quite effective.
• Steam inhalations
• Chew 2 betel leaves after food or crush 3 black pepper with honey and lick it.
• Crush one garlic clove and have it with sugar.

Diet and lifestyle considerations
• As mentioned earlier, sleeping during the day is dissuaded in Ayurveda. However, lying down and sleeping even during night is contraindicated for patients suffering from laryngitis and pharyngitis. But they can sit in an easy – chair and sleep.
• Rest the voice and eat only hot food.
• Have a lot of citrus fruits and hot beverages

Ayurvedic Remedies
• To prevent bouts of cough, one can such khadiradi vati if there is too much phlegm, karpuradi vati if there is burning of throat and the phlegm is yellow or greenish in colour which indicates predominance of pitta. Whenever vata dominates, the pain in the throat is excessive and such patients should suck on lavangadi vati to prevent bouts of cough.
• Sushmatriphala tablets 2 tabs twice a day to be taken with 10 ml of Septilin cough syrup.
• Kanchanar guggulu 2 tabs thrice a day with warm water after food.

INFLUENZA
It is a viral infection of upper respiratory tract. It is a similar to common cold but is more severe and exhausting in nature.

Signs and Symptoms
Different viral strains produce different symptoms. The more common ones are listed below:
Fever; Muscle ache; Headache; General weakness; Cold; Cough with lasts for longer duration.

Home Remedies
• 1 teaspoon of turmeric to be boiled to milk, add sugar if desired and have it hot
• Boil 21 tulsi leaves and 7 crushed black pepper in 8 cups of water, and continue boiling till only 1 cup remains. Add honey and consume half cup twice a day.
• Grind 1 tea spoon of dried amla powder with ½ tea spoon of cooking soda on a grinding stone. Have 1 tea spoon thrice a day with warm water. Precautions are to be taken to see that the ingredients are ground well to form a homogenous mixture.

Ayurvedic Remedies
• Tribhuvan kirti rasa 1 tab to be consumed twice a day along with honey and ginger juice.
• 1 tab Trishun thrice a day with warm water.
• Amrutarishtam 20 ml with equal quantity of warm water thrice a day after food.