In India, especially the urban centers, obesity or even being overweight is becoming a new epidemic. The increases in consumption of fast foods, sedentary lifestyles and stress have increased the incidence of this problem. This has in turn, led to an exponential increase in the cases of diabetes, heart diseases and blood pressure among a host of other problems.
The Ayurvedic approach
Ayurveda is a discipline, which has been practiced over many millennia and contains the collective wisdom to effectively treat problems of obesity or being overweight without side effects. According to Ayurveda, the body is made up of 7 elements or Dhatus:
However, if you are overweight then it means that due to an imbalance of the ‘Kapha’ dosha, you are accumulating more ‘meda’ or fat. Ayurveda has some very effective actions to prescribe through which you can lose weight very effectively. Some of these tips are mentioned below.
Drink a mixture of lemon, honey and water first thing in the morning: Drinking a mix of lemon, honey and water helps to jump start your metabolism and boost your digestive system. Drinking this regularly over a period of a few months and would help reduce your weight very quickly.
Meditate for at least 10 minutes a day: This is a very important step as meditation helps relax your mind, muscles and nerves and reduces stress. This enables you to take better decisions throughout the day. It also controls your appetite thus stopping you form binge eating. Meditation and relaxation have also been shown to contribute to weight loss by keeping the metabolism regulated.
Do at least 30 minutes of exercise: It is important that you do at least 30 minutes of exercise daily as it would regulate your metabolism and help you to keep burning fat throughout the day. Incorporating light yoga along with a brisk walk is possibly the best way to safely and easily lose weight. Some of the easiest poses to lose weight would be
Dhanurasana or Bow pose
Setubandhasana or Bridge pose
Bhujangasana or Cobra pose
Vakrasana or Half spinal Twist pose among many others.
Consider your diet according to season: According to Ayurveda, you should be careful about what you eat during the various seasons as this will ensure maximum nutrient absorption without the deposition of fat.
Eat three meals a day, not more: According to Ayurveda, you should have three meals a day without any snacks in between. Have a heavy breakfast as that tends to set the tone for the day, followed by a comparatively light lunch and an even lighter dinner. This is because your digestive system functions most effectively in the morning, fairly fast at noon, but it is the most sluggish at night.
Go to bed early and rise early: This is often propagated as disturbances in the Circadian rhythm or the natural sleep and waking cycles are a big contributor to weight gain. Once this is properly regulated, it could result in weight loss because of your body metabolism being properly regulated.
You must have come across Marigold, a common flower that is bright orange in color as it holds a prominent position during festivals and other occasions. It is commonly known as "Genda" and is used as a “thorana” which means garland. Though it is not an aromatic flower, it is preferred for a garland due to the reason that it can repel insects.
But apart from its usage as an aesthetic element and insect deterrent, did you know it can offer numerous health benefits too?
Marigold comes with a host of benefits that might be simply unbelievable, but the alternate form of medicine Ayurveda has long known about it. Some of the surprising benefits of marigold are as enumerated below.
1.Phenomenal antioxidant properties: The marigolds possess excellent antioxidant properties, the reason for it being used as a homemade treatment for the skin. It is used for soothing sunburns, bites, warts, and acne. Moreover, it is helpful in the treatment of wounds, burns, and rashes. It has been found that Marigold has the ability to promote the growth of fresh skin tissues, increases the flow of blood to the area of the skin which has been affected and boosts up the production of collagen making the skin firm which speeds up the process of healing to a significant extent.
2.Anti-inflammatory properties and lowers free radical damage: The flowers of marigold contain a number of active chemicals which has been found to reduce the number of cells that are being damaged by the free radicals. At the same time, it also helps in fighting the growth of bacteria at the places where the skin is wounded.
3.In addition to this, the marigold flowers have excellent anti-inflammatory properties which help in the easing of the symptoms of bowel disease or colitis. The tea prepared from marigold is extremely beneficial for the treatment of gastritis, ulcers and acid reflux. Also, it helps to reduce cramps in the stomach and menstrual cramps as well.
4.Treatment of eye diseases: Marigold plays a vital role in the treatment of many eye diseases. It helps to reduce the inflammation of the eye, treatment of conjunctivitis and a number of other chronic ocular inflammatory conditions. It speeds up the treatment of the infections in the eyes.
5.Boosting up of the immune system: The extracts from marigolds are extremely helpful in managing the symptoms of the common cold, flu coughs fevers or sore throats. It greatly enhances the immune system of the body to a significant level.
Aloe vera is one of the most popular medicinal plants that have been in use for thousands of years. It is particularly famous for the treatment of skin injuries although it offers a host of health benefits. This short stemmed shiny plant stores moisture in its leaves and is widely used in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food industries. The gel within the aloe vera stem contains bioactive compounds found in plants such as vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids.
Some of the notable health benefits of Aloe Vera include the following,
It contains antibacterial and antioxidant properties: Aloe Vera is known to contain the most beneficial antioxidants called as polyphenols. These polyphenols, as well as other similar compounds found on aloe vera, can prevent the growth of bacterial infections in human beings.
Helps in healing cuts and burns: Aloe Vera can also be used as a topical medicine by applying the gel on the skin. It has been used since ancient times for the treatment of sores, cuts and burns which also includes sunburns. Aloe Vera is the first FDA approved ointment that got the status of an effective over-the-counter medication in the year 1959. It can, therefore, be used in first and even second degree burns.
Prevents dental plaque: Tooth decay, as well as gum diseases, affect almost all individuals over the world. One of the best ways to steer clear of the oral infections is to prevent plaque buildup which is the bacterial biofilms on the teeth. The aloe vera mouthwash is as effective as chlorhexidine solutions in reducing the problems of dental plaque by killing the harmful yeast called Candida albicans and bacterium named Streptococcus mutans.
Aids in the treatment of canker sores: Most people have experienced mouth ulcers or canker sores at least once in their lifetime. It mostly affects the area underneath the lip or inside the mouth and can be very painful at times. Several studies show that aloe vera gel helps in accelerating the healing process of canker sores.
Reduces constipation: The latex of aloe vera has been found beneficial in the treatment of constipation. The latex is the sticky yellow residue underneath the leaf skin and contains aloin and barbaloin which offers effective latex effect.
Prevent formation of wrinkles: Topical aloe vera gel assists in slowing down the ageing process with regular usage. Using aloe vera gel regularly helps in boosting the production of collagen and improves skin elasticity within three months of regular usage.
Lowers down blood sugar levels: There was a time when aloe vera was used as a conventional remedy for diabetes. Aloe vera helps in enhancing insulin sensitivity as well as managing blood sugar levels. It has been used in numerous animals and humans affected with type 2 diabetes and the results are impressive enough to regard it as an alternative treatment option.
Along with these benefits, aloe vera juice is regarded as a sustainable way of weight management which has made it a well-favoured choice of overweight people all over the world.
Shankhpushpi is a perennial herb. It is considered to be one of the most wonderful gifts of nature to mankind. It is a type of morning glory that belongs to the Convolvulaceae plant family. Its scientific name is Convolvulus Pluricaulis. The flowers are blue, pink or white in color, and are about 2mm – 5mm in size. They grow in rocky and sandy areas under xerophytic conditions and is mostly found in areas of Bihar and Punjab in India. It is also seen in the deserts of the Sahara.
Importance: Shankhpushpi is a very important herb of Ayurveda due to its therapeutic benefits. It mainly takes care of the nerves by supporting and promoting healthy brain and mind. It enhances brain power, improves memory and concentration and the ability to recall. When combined with other herbs, the formulation created is used for treating conditions, such as schizophrenia, depression, epilepsy and aggressive behavior disorders.
Parts Used: Shankhpushpi is often used as a paste, powder and tonic for different formulations. The parts that are used for these formulations are the leaves, flowers, stem, roots, seeds and ashes.
The Shankhpushpi plant has lots of health benefits
Shankhpushpi syrup is very good for brain development of children. It is effective if children take it regularly for three months. It improves their memory, learning, grasping power and intelligence. It should be given to them along with Bramhi, Sharkara, Nimbu Satva and water
It rejuvenates the nervous function by promoting memory and concentration
It helps in relieving stress and has the ability to calm a mind
It supports the flow of blood in the brain
It treats fatigue, nervous debility and low energy level
A tonic made from Shankhpushpi works as a psychostimulant and tranquilizer
Shankhpushpi tonic is often used to treat hypotensive syndromes
It improves the balance and vitiation in kapha-vata-pitta doshas
It works as antioxidant and antacid
The herbal extract possesses spermatogenic properties, so it is used to treat cases of sperm debility
It can treat urinary system ailments
It is important to keep in mind that to get the best results, one has to use the best quality herbs in the right quantity. Shankhpushpi is a wonderful remedy for a number of problems, however, no herb should be taken without consulting an Ayurveda practitioner.
Also known as the 'queen of herbs', holy basil or tulsi makes for the most sacred herb in India. It is widely used in culinary practices. For ages, it has been known for its medicinal uses in Ayurveda that makes it an effective remedy for several ailments. According to the book Healing Foods by DK Publishing, holy basil contains a range of natural antioxidants that can help protect the body tissues against free-radical damage. Tulsi in all forms- dried, fresh and powdered has several healing properties. Chewing on a few tulsi leaves regularly can be super beneficial for you, but did you know sipping on tulsi tea can be even better?Here are some reasons why you should definitely skip sipping on your regular tea and instead opt for tulsi tea-
1. Prevents Respiratory Disorders
Tulsi tea helps prevent certain respiratory illnesses ranging from cold and cough to bronchitis and asthma. It has immunomodulatory (helps to enhance immunity), antitussive (helps relieving cough) and expectorant (helps in expelling out the phlegm) properties that provide relief in the respiratory system. It has certain oils that help relieve congestion too.
2. Beats Stress
According to quite some studies, tulsi tea helps in maintaining normal levels of cortisol hormone in the body that is known as the stress hormone. It lowers the levels of cortisol, leaving you stress-free. In fact, it is known to subside various symptoms of depression, which may include anxiety.
3. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Move over the regular milk tea and opt for this one as it helps lower the blood sugar levels significantly. Daily intake of tulsi tea may also help facilitate metabolism of carbs and fats, further ensuring that the sugar in the blood is utilized for energy.
4. Maintains Dental and Oral health
The presence of anti-microbial properties in tulsi tea help combat against harmful bacteria and germs in the mouth. Acting as a mouth freshener, it may curb bad breath too.
5. May Prove To Be Great For Patients With Arthritis
According to the book Healing Foods, Eugenol, a constituent of the oil in the basil has an anti-inflammatory effect on joints and the digestive tract.
How to make the perfect tulsi tea (Tulsi tea recipe)?
Tulsi tea is simple to make; all you need to do is to take a cup of water in a pan and add 2-3 basil leaves in it and bring it a boil. Let the water absorb its colour and flavour. After about three minutes, strain the tea in a glass. You can drink this tea as it is or add a teaspoon of honey and a half teaspoon of lemon juice in it for extra flavour and benefits. In fact, you can also add cardamom and ginger while preparing the tea.
So, go ahead and make some amazing tulsi tea for yourself and ensure a healthy and fit self!