Traditional Ayurvedic Technique Now Fashionably known as ‘Oil Pulling’

Ayurvedic Oil Pulling

Ayurvedic Oil Pulling

This ancient traditional technique of Ayurveda know as ‘gandusha’ has been recently commonly brought to light  as Oil Pulling. A practice which has been a health ritual in India for over 5000 years.

As the oil is retained in the mouth, it mixes with the saliva becoming thinner in consistency and white in colour. This subtly draws toxins from the local area and the blood by the enzymatic stimulation and lipophilic action, collecting all the accumulated fat soluble toxins ready for expulsion beyond in the mouth and beyond. If the oil is still yellow it could indicate that the pulling needs to be done for longer. Cured sesame is widely used in Ayuveda for this and numerous other treatments for it therapeutic actions on the body.

The Benefits

The health benefits for using this technique are plentiful. Here are a few of to get you thinking:

  • Brilliant for oral healthcare, preventing gum disease, cavities, firmly rooted teeth, heals bleeding gums, prevents sensitivity of the teeth and tooth aches.
  • Keeps breath freshen by removing local toxins
  • Pulls toxins and removed mucous from the mouth, throat and head
  • Improved taste and digestive metabolism
  • prevents dryness in mouth & throat
  • Invokes a clearer mind, reduces headaches
  • Helps keep sinuses clear and healthy
  • Strengthens jaw and voice

Try it for yourself:

Do this technique in the morning before Breakfast and on empty stomach.

After brushing teeth, and using a tongue scrapper. Take a table spoon or body temperature cured sesame oil or coconut oil. Retain in the mouth swooshing gently from side to side for 10-12 minutes and then expel the oil. Simple, easy, inexpensive, harmless and effective.

please note: this used should not be swallowed as it has become laced with toxins

Reference: Charaka Samhita. Ch 5. V78 -80 (Ayurvedic classical text)

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The Ayurvedic Perspective of Gastritis

Gastritis, otherwise known as urdhvaga amlapitta in ayurveda is an inflammatory condition of the mucous membrane and glands of the stomach. Pitta types are more prone to this conditions and it is a vitiation of the pitta dosha where stomach acids such as Hydrochloric acid and other digestive enzymes secreted by the stomach become inflamed and results in the increase of these liquid secretions leading to indigestion and symptoms such as, loss of appetite, nausea, headaches, dizziness, vomiting, abdominal pain, heartburn coated tongue, foul breath, increased salivation, sour belching, irritable bowels.

The typical root causes could include, excessive intake of alcohol, strong tea/coffee, sauces, vinegars, anger, worry, grief, strong drugs such as NA

In managing and treating this condition it is advised to avoid the causative factors such as alcohol, spicy and sour foods, fried foods, yoghurts, pickles, chutneys, chocolate, caffeine, smoking, stress, aspirin. Do increase intake of boiled milk, vitamin C (not from oranges), rice and dahl, kitchari, ghee, bitter gourd, pomegranate, barley, wheat, honey.

A panca karma approach would consider a purgation treatment to eliminate the excess pitta dosha out if the body. In terms of herbs there are various options depending on the type of condition that prevails and these can include simple herbs such as yasti madhu (liquorice), Shatavari (asparagus racemosus) and Amla (Emblica officinalis) amongst other specialist compounds.

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Ayurvedic Abdominal Massage Treatment – Nabhi Abhyanga

digestive healthAyurveda & Yoga places great importance to healing the abdominal area as the Nabhi (naval centre) is located here which is considered to be one of the most important position in our bodies. Seventy-two-thousand Nadis (channels of the body) are regulated by the Nabhi imbalances residing in the Nabhi, often caused by emotional or physical trauma can affect the entire physiology of the mind and body.  Warm herbal oils are massaged into abdomen followed by gentle stretches. Sometimes the naval centre may become displaced causing uncomfortable aches, pains and digestive disturbances in such cases corrective procedure can help restore balance

The body is always talking to us, if we only take time to listen. Louise L. Hay. You Can Heal Your Life. P127

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Insight into ayurvedic food combining

Ayurvedic Incompatible Foods

Ayurvedic Incompatible Foods

Unlike the traditional view of a balanced diet consisting of basic food groups, such as dairy, grains, fats, meats, fruit and veg. Ayurveda suggests an approach for correct diet based on the individual’s doshic constitution (vata, pitta, kapha). Every food has its own taste (rasa), a heating or cooling energy (virya) and post-digestive effect (vipaka). When we combine food that consist of different tastes, energy and post-digestive effect, the digestive fire (agni) gets disturbed, slows down and start producing toxins in the system.

Not only can incompatible foods remain in the stomach for several hours, combining foods improperly can cause indigestion, fermentation, putrefaction and gas formation. If prolonged it can lead to toxemia and lead to various other diseases.

When foods are eaten correctly or separately they can aid digestion. eating bananas with milk; egg with fish; radishes with milk, bananas or raisins; lemon with yoghurt; melons with any other foods; raw foods with cooked foods; fruits and grains, are some examples of incompatible foods.

What happens when we eat for example melon and milk? Well milk has a laxative effect and requires more time to digest and melon is a diurectic. The digestive enzymes required to digest melons cause the milk to curdle due to the sourness. This type of constant digestive confusion can be the cause of many diseases, especially related to respiratory or skin conditions.

An Ayurvedic practitioner will be able to offer suitable dietary guidance considering nutritional value, constitution, seasons, age and any disease condition. The key to all of this is to start slowly, one thing at a time such as beginning with separating fruits from other foods.

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New Year, New Ayurvedic Outlook

Ayurvedic Herbal TeasSo we are well into the new year and so many of us made a resolution to start a ‘detox’, lose the holiday weight, stop drinking and get back into the gym. How many of us actually last past the first few weeks or even the first few days? So many people fail to complete a detoxifcation cleanse in January as it does not fit in with their lifestyle, they are not mentally prepared and lets face it, there’s still plenty of indulgences lurking in the cupboards. But do not fear all is not doom and gloom, changing diets drastically during the winter months is not conducive to our overall health and according to Ayurveda the ideal time to go through a detoxification programme is in Spring time, so plenty of time to plan and prepare.

Ayurvedic advocates following a seasonal regime to support our well being, we are in the hemanta and shishira months (December to March) and our Agni (digestive fire) is at its strongest during these months, hence the tendency to feel increased hunger. The quest to lose weight can have an adverse affect on our metabolism at this time as we starve our body of essential nutrients.

Without radical dieting, we can adopt methods to pacify winter ailments such as fatigue, mental confusion, digestive problems, aches, pains and persistent cold while giving ourselves time to prepare for a deeper cleanse and weight loss in a more suitable season. Winter is essentially a vata and kapha period and a vata pacifying diet is most suitable.

  • Avoid the causative factors such as refined sugars, fried, leftover or cold foods saturated fats, and heavy dairy.
  • Eat foods that are naturally sweet, sour and salty by taste to help pacify vata dosha, such as soups, stews, hot teas and stewed fruits.
  • Favour foods that are wholesome and easy to digest including, carrots, tomatoes, figs, dates, cane sugar, nuts, seeds, seasonal root vegetables, wheat, gram flour, rice barley, rye, milk products, edible oils such as ghee and olive oil
  • Immunity is connected to digestion and when digestion is strong then immunity is robust, so drink warm/hot water and digestion enhancing spices such as ginger, cumin, coriander, cardamom and cinnamon. Strengthen your immune system with chywanprash, a jam packed full of immune boosting herbs.
  • Good news, Ayurveda says that a glass of warmed red wine can be and beneficial in winter, you can warm with cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, fennel, nutmeg and black pepper
  • Opt for regular massage and hot or steam bath
  • Arise at 7am and take plenty of exercise to keep lymph moving and prevent congestion,
  • sexual activity is encouraged
  • Wear warm clothing of cottons, silks and wools.
  • Take exposure to sun when possible
  • Engage in calming meditation

Following a more natural regime will ensure that the body is able to cope with a detox and expel the toxins out of the body more effectively. Consult a practitioner for one to one guidance on your constitution and a personalised detox plan for the Spring.

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Contact Geeta Vara Ayurveda for an appointment for ayurvedic consultations and treatments

Pomegranate, one of life’s wonder fruits

pomegranate juice

pomegranate juice

Punica granatum, or commonly known as pomegranates are not only  a delicious juicy fruit, they have numerous health benefits too. Right from its rind and leaves down to its flowers and kernals. Each part of this fruit has a positive effect on our health. Traditionally in the ancient asian culture, they were a sign of fertility, abundance and good luck.

As a powerful antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous, it is very effective in fighting heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, anaemia, nausea infertility as well as acting as an aphrodisiac.

Pomegranates are great for maintaining balance of the three dosha (vata, pitta, kapha) in the body. With an astringent dominant taste, here is also, sweet, sour and bitter tastes coming through. Although pomegranates are highly effective on the digestion it does not aggravate the pitta dosha. There is also sweet, bitter and sours tastes.

The juice of pomegranate is useful in digestive problems such as dyspepsia (indigestion), purifies blood and anti bacterial effects. The rind, due to the astringent taste and high tannin content offer protection against free radicals and therefore help boost the immune system, the fruit rind can be beneficial in cases of diarrhoea, dysentery, parasites and haemorrhages. So when juicing, get it all in!

A decoction of the flowers can be gargled to relieve oral and throat inflammation. The flowers have also been traditionally used in cases of diabetes.

Nutritionally pomegranates are high in vitamin C, potassium and a good source of fibre whilst being low in calorie content. For me pomegranate juice is a definite winner for some funky non alcoholic cocktails and a great twist to salads and as a garnish to many dishes!

An Orally Good Ritual …

ImageEver since I was a young child growing up closely with my grandparents, I picked up some age-old traditions and one of which was using a tongue scraper after brushing my teeth morning and night. I thought it was perfectly normal until I realised that none of my western friends used it! So out of embarrassment, I stopped for a short period and my routine felt really incomplete; so what was the purpose of a tongue scraper, and why was I brought up using one? Well bacteria does not just accumulate on our teeth, on the contrary, what about the rest of our oral cavity? our gums and tongue, and throat for that matter?

Overnight bacteria and toxins (ama) build up and are deposited on the tongue from the process of digestion. It has been suggested that various types of digestive and respiratory problems can result from the ingestion and reabsorption of this waste material that should rather be expelled from the body.

Cleaning the surface of the tongue is an important part of daily oral hygiene along with brushing, flossing the teeth and retaining oil in the mouth (sometimes referred to as oil pulling). Gently scraping the tongue from the back to the front first thing in the morning can reduce the accumulation of toxic and bacterial substances which can lead to bad breath and disturbed digestion. This quick and easy ritual can eliminate the white or sometimes yellow coating found on the tongue as well as enhance the function of taste buds which stimulates the oral enzymes (the key sensory organ in digestion). According to Ayurveda, a healthy tongue should be pink in colour and free from any coating. Our tongue is the guidebook of our digestion, it can really tell us what is going on in there.

So next time you wake up to brush your teeth, check out your tongue too, is there stickiness or a coating? Maybe it’s time to add a tongue scraper to your routine.