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Six Ayurvedic Herbs to Induce Sound Sleep: From Brahmi to Ashwagandha and More!

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Have you been sleeping at wee hours of the night or have you been an insomniac since quite some time? Considering such fast paced lives that we lead nowadays, stress and anxiety are common problems, which lead to insomnia and other sleeping disorders. You may have tried various ways to try to relief your hyperactive mind, but in vain. Ayurveda, the traditional system of medicine that is based on the tenet of balance in our bodily systems, suggests some herbs that should be consumed in order to attain sound sleep.

According to Ayurveda, when we have excess Vata and our minds are active with too many thoughts, it becomes impossible for us to relax. So, it is imperative to relieve the stress from our brains, which eventually will help in inducing sleep.

Here are some sleep inducing Ayurvedic herbs that will not only help you get sound sleep, but will also relieve excessive stress and anxiety that causes various sleep disorders.

1. Brahmi

Brahmi or Bacopa is one such herb that supports a restful sleep, calms emotional turbulence and also helps improve concentration and alertness. Brahmi, in Ayurveda, is called brain tonic, and is known for curing digestion problems. It also improves blood circulation, further supporting the body's natural healing process.

2. Shankhpushpi

Shankhpushpi is a herb that contains flavonoids, glycosides and alkaloids that help soothe your nervous system by bringing relief to mental fatigue. It acts as a natural tranquilliser for anxiety neurosis that further helps in sleeping better.

3. Vacha

Vacha has calmative effects on your brain, helping you to cure tension and insomnia. It acts as a coolant that relaxes the nerves thereby inducing sleep. Scientifically known as Acorus Calamus, this herb is a nervous system tonic that will ward off stress and various other issues.

4. Sarpgandha

Also known as Rauwolfia Serpentina or Indian Snakeroot, Sarpgandha contains more than 50 alkaloids in it. These alkaloids help in reducing high blood pressure or hypertension that can cause sleeping issues.

5. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is known to promote sound sleep. Researchers have found an active compound known as triethylene glycol, which works wonders to induce sleep. Ashwagandha treats people from their daily woes such as anxiety, stress and exhaustion.

6. Jatamasi

Jatamasi is a natural brain tonic and a memory enhancer; also facilitates calmness and relaxation to a hyperactive mind. It helps in inducing sound sleep while rejuvenating and nourishing the nervous system.

Switch to these herbs only after referring to a physician or a doctor in case of severe disorders.

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Foods To Cure Angry Or Hostile Mood: Ayurvedic Home Remedies And Diet To Cool Temper

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Anger is an emotion that is difficult to react to, understand and most importantly bring under control. And yet, it's one of the most relatable human emotions. It's seldom easy to understand or break down the root cause of anger when it's coming from someone else, let alone control it or tame it when it's stemming from inside you. We often become pretty illogical when we're angry, and end up saying and doing things, which we ordinarily wouldn't. This often leads to embarrassment and/or acts of passion which lead to frayed relationships. Psychology has a number of behavioural and medical therapies that are administered to people prone to frequent angry and emotional outbursts and hostile behaviours. But no branch of study or science has understood the body and the mind as thoroughly as the ancient Indian practice of Ayurveda. There are hardly any physical or psychological problems that Ayurveda doesn't have answers to. Ayurveda has suggested practices to calm anger as well and it involves a couple of simple exercises with readily available foods and drinks.According to the book, The Complete Book Of Ayurvedic Home Remedies by Dr. Vasant Lad, anger is caused when the Pitta dosha or the fire energy of the body is aggravated. He writes, "Pitta is necessary for right understanding and judgement, but when it gets disturbed or out of balance, it creates misunderstanding and wrong judgement, leading to anger and hostility." Dr. Lad has suggested some home remedies to calm the fire energy and bring temper under control.

Here Is An Ayurvedic Diet To Control Anger
Dr. Lad has dedicated an entire chapter in his book to map a 'pitta-pacifying diet', which involves avoiding foods that generate heat in the body, including hot, spicy and fermented foods. He has also suggested avoiding citrus and sour fruits until the pitta has calmed down. He has also advised to consume simple, bland and cooling foods when you're angry and one must also keep away from alcohol and caffeinated foods and drinks during that time. More specifically, he has recommended two drinks for those looking to pacify their pitta.

Herbal Tea: Chamomile Tulsi Rose Tea

To prepare this tea, take one part chamomile, one part tulsi or holy basil and one part rose powder. Steep half a teaspoon of this mixture in a cup of hot water and keep it for some time, until the water cools down. Drinking this tea three times a day can soothe the aggravated pitta.

Pitta Pacifying Drink: Grape Juice Potion With Cumin, Fennel Seeds And Sandalwood

To make this potion, take one cup of grape juice and add half a teaspoon each of cumin or jeera, fennel or saunfand sandalwood powder or chandan to it. This drink, when consumed, might settle angry feelings in the body and also heal any burning sensations in the stomach.

Other than the diet, Dr. Lad also recommends breathing exercises and meditation, as ways of calming the aggravating pitta. These remedies makes sense as the ingredients involved in the food have a cooling effect on the body. So in conclusion, every time you feel angry or upset and want to snap at someone, take a few deep breaths and go make yourself a calming tea!

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Some Ayurvedic Tips To Gain Weight

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Are you tired of hearing the latest pitch on how to lose weight, when all you want to do is to just gain some kilos instead? Unfortunately, this is the truth; there is way too much information on how to lose weight but barely anything on how to gain weight, especially in a healthy and balanced way. But the good news is that you can turn to Ayurveda for some solutions to put on weight the right way and the best part is that it determines your optimal weight not by the number on the weighing scale but by your body constitution- kapha, vata and pitta. Here are few important strategies that may help you gain weight in a way that it does not hamper your overall health. The Ayurvedic approach is healthy, simple and holistic along with being effective.According to Ayurvedacharya Dr. Partap Chauhan, Director, Jiva Ayurveda, "A person should always maintain healthy weight - not too much and not too less. Ayurveda recommends 'balance' or an 'optimum state' in everything, including your body weight. That said, if you are recuperating from an illness or you are very thin and you want to gain weight, do it gradually and naturally. Do not rely on weight-gain supplements which may cause liver and kidney problems. A healthy person, with appropriate weight for his or her age and height is more likely to have good immunity and lead a happy life."

As per Ayurveda, people with Vata dominant physiology are typically thin, while people with Kapha dominant physiology tend to be overweight. So, if you have a Vata body-type, there is a limit to how 'fat' you can become. Instead of worrying about gaining weight, it is imperative to focus on being strong and healthy.

Dr. Chauhan lists down some tips that Ayurveda suggests in order to gain weight in a healthy way-

1. Include soy bean in diet. Soy is high in protein and is perfect if you are a vegetarian looking for good sources of protein. Eat a fruit or drink fresh fruit juice, if possible every day or at least three times a week. If your diet includes non-vegetarian foods, you can add any meat of your choice twice a week.

2. Include more curd, ghee, milk, sugarcane, rice, black gram and wheat in your daily diet. These are all good for gaining weight in a healthy manner.

3. Gaining weight doesn't mean you don't have to exercise. In order to gain weight healthily, one must exercise regularly to allow the body to metabolize the food you have consumed and further keep your appetite strong.

4. Small quantities of spices such as cinnamon, garlic, ginger, cardamom, clove and black pepper in your diet help in stimulating your appetite.

5. Sleep well at night. Get at least eight hours of proper sleep. Avoid distractions before going to bed, like mobile phones or laptops. Drink a glass of cow's milk with a pinch of turmeric for a sound sleep.

6. Eat in a normal speed, neither too fast, nor too slow. Eating at a normal speed stimulates the salivary glands, which aids digestion.

7. Do not watch television, use your mobile phone or read while you are eating. Eat actively and allow your body to be engaged in the act of eating.

8. Choose a clean and noise-free environment to have your meals.

9. Do not drink a lot of water before or after meals. You may take small sips during meals if you need. In winters, you can sip lukewarm water during meals.

10. Massaging the body with sesame oil allows the muscles and bones to become strong. It also promotes blood circulation which will carry nutrients to all parts of your body.

As per Ayurveda, people with Vata dominant physiology are typically thinHome remedies to gain weight

-Take equal amounts (50 grams) of figs, almonds, dates and raisins. Add 100 grams of gur (sugarcane jaggery). Saute it in cow's ghee until it takes a jelly-like consistency. Eat this twice daily, after meals.

-3 - 5 grams of Ashwagandha and Shatavar powder taken every morning and night with milk will help you gain weight.

So, if you are looking to add those extra kilos, make sure you do it in a healthy way.

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No Onion And No Garlic Diet: Does Ayurveda Really Suggest This?

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The usage of onion and garlic in an Indian kitchen is indispensable - thanks to the exceptionally amazing flavour they offer to curries, stir fries, stew, soup and what not. Both the ingredients, belonging to the allium family, not only add to the flavour, but also have numerous health benefits to offer. However, Ayurveda suggests that one shouldn't consume excessive amount of onion and garlic. Ayurveda defines nutritional properties of food based on six tastes that include sweet, salty, bitter, sour, pungent and astringent, and their qualities namely, sattva, rajas and tamas. While both onion and garlic are considered excellent foods, they still are not favoured by Ayurveda.

According to Ayurveda expert from NirogStreet, Ram N Kumar, "Ayurveda is not against eating onion and garlic; in fact, garlic is deemed as an important medicine in Ayurveda. However, onion is considered tamasic (makes people irritable) and garlic is known to be rajsic (disturbed sleep and drained energy) in nature, which means both these ingredients produce heat in the body. While body needs some amount of heat, excessive heat may only lead to increased risk of health problems."

Undoubtedly, Ayurveda prizes onion and garlic as powerful medicines and do not recommend avoiding them. Ayurveda principles are generally confused with spirituality and yoga that recommend a no onion and no garlic diet, as they both are believed to distract an individual's focus and attention.

Health Benefits Of Onion And Garlic

Both the ingredients have a long list of health benefits. Garlic has often been considered as a wonder drug. It has been used to prevent infections due to its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties, and it is also known to reduce chances of cancer; thanks to its anti-carcinogenic properties. Onions, on the other hand, are known to reduce inflammation, remove toxins, normalise digestion and reduce cough. These are just a few health benefits attributed to the two humble kitchen ingredients.

So, go ahead and add these two foods in your daily diet; just remember anything in excess is bad for your health and moderation is the key.

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Nasya : Ayurveda Treatment and It's Benefits...!

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According to Ayurveda, the delicate skin of the nasal passages and the Eustachian tubes of the ears require lubrication to stay healthy, balanced and protected in the colder months.

Traditionally, a saline or salt water solution was used during neti to flush the sinuses. Salt water is very drying to the skin and will dehydrate the delicate nasal mucosa if not followed with lubricating nasya.

Dry sinuses are easily irritated by pollutants, pollens and dry air. After performing neti, always follow it with nasya. While neti offers powerful support for sinuses, the therapy wasn’t traditionally considered complete until nasya was also performed.

Nasya Herbalized Oil Therapy
Administering nasya is aimed at lubricating the sensitive tissues of the nasal cavity, so that they are less reactive to dryness and airborne irritants. The result is a more complete therapy that won’t create a dependency on either one.

Nasya Therapy Procedure
Nasya is a simple procedure where 3-5 drops of an herbalized oil, usually sesame or olive oil, is applied into the nostrils and sniffed. This lubricates the nasal mucosa, leaving them cleansed by the neti and lubricated by the nasya.

Nasya is best done immediately after neti.
Use a properly prepared oil, which is made by slowly cooking lubricating and soothing herbs into the oil.
Warm the oil by putting oil in the dropper and holding it under hot water until it is just above body temperature (test temperature on forearm). You can also warm the whole bottle in a cup of hot water.
Tip your head back as far as possible and exhale fully. If you like, you can lay on the edge of a bed or sofa. Drop 3-5 drops of oil into each nostril and sniff deeply. Start with 3 drops and increase if comfortable.
Use daily for two weeks after neti and as needed afterward.
Important Notes:
Nasya is best done on an empty stomach.
It is best not to do nasya before bed to prevent dripping into the larynx.
It is normal to taste the oil in the back of the mouth or to have some oil drip out of your nose for a minute or two afterward.
In addition to happy sinuses, nasya has some unexpected benefits like greater clarity of mind and a calmer nervous system.

Need Support?
Have Dr. Douillard design an herbal program for you with a phone consultation.

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nasya-oil_340_whiteLifeSpa’s Nasya Oil is a USDA certified organic blend of Ayurvedic herbs and oils traditionally used to lubricate and cleanse the nasal passages. Regular sinus care supports the cleaning of brain and CNS lymphatics as well. Following neti (salt water irrigation) with nasya (herbalized nasal oil therapy) is a powerful tradition.

Neti Pot for Nasal Cleansing:Neti_group The precursor to Nasya, Neti is a system of nasal irrigation, or cleansing, that helps keep the nasal passages free of dust, pollen, and other irritants from the air. LifeSpa’s ceramic model is chosen by most people as their primary nasal cleansing pot for use at home.

Neti Salt: The Neti method uses a saline solution of water and salt to irrigate and cleanse the nasal passages. This Nasal Cleansing Salt may be used with any brand of nasal cleansing pot or a nasal saline rinse squeeze bottle.

Ayurveda Challenge Supply Kit: This Supply Kit includes all the supplies that you need to successfully complete the 28-Day Ayurveda Challenge Online eCourse

Dr. Yogesh Patil
Dr. Yogesh Patil
BAMS, Ayurveda Family Physician, 8 yrs, Pune
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Dr. Vijay Mane
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Dr. Kedarnath Kalyanpur
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Dr. Akshay Choudhari
Dr. Akshay Choudhari
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda Infertility Specialist, 2 yrs, Pune
Dr. Zainab Shaikh
Dr. Zainab Shaikh
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