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Every human on earth confronts always with health problems and aspires for sound health, a disease free state for deducing pleasure and satisfaction. Can this state of health be achieved by observing ayurvedic prophylactic measures? Yes, ayurvedic art of living is the only way to achieve sound health and spirit.
Ayu: kamayamanena dharmarthasukha sadhanam
Ayurvedhopadesheshu vidheya: paramadhara
This means that ayurvedic rules, regulation and advice are needed to everyone for those who aspires for achieving the aims of life (purushartham, ie., dharma, artha, kama and moksha). Ayurveda is the science of life developed by great acharyas and seers on the principles of Pancha Bhudha, Saptha dadhu and Tridhosha. Humans are part of this nature and are made of Pancha Bhudha (air, earth, sky, fire and water). His body structure is made up of Sapthadadhu (Ras, blood, flesh, fat, bones, bone marrow and reproductive system). The body functions are managed by Tridhosha (Vata, piutta and Kapha). Any undesired events (in food style, habitat, life style, seasonal, geographical or accidental factors) cause dramatic changes in the structure of one or more Sapthadadhu. Thgis in turn aggravate the humours and affect their equilibrium, causing diseased conditions. So, on must give importance to prophylactic measures that maintain the structure as well as functions of the Sapthadadhu and Tridhosha, in the direct directions respectively. During the life time the Sapthadadhu are nourished and maintained and these functions are controlled by the three humours. By-products like sweat, urine and stool are formed and excreted, during the above processes. Thus, the working of Tridhosha are for the well being of man. Vata is responsible for the functions of breathing, internal and external gestures, structural functioning of Sapthadadhu and the excretion of sweat, urine and stool. Pitta functions for vision, body temperature, hunger, thirt, body handsomeness mental pleasure, cognition etc. The working of Kapha is pertained to strengthening of joints, vigor, daring nature, body weight and flexibility, patience etc. Thus, Vata, Pitta and Kapha are cardinal for the functions of the body.
Rhoghsthu: Dhosha vyshamya: dosha samaya maroghata
The aggravation of the doshas (three humours ) is called disease. In non-diseased (healthy) state, the dhoshas are not disturbed.
Vayoo: Pittam Kaphaschethi thrayodhosha Samastha:Vikritha vikritha Dheham ghnanthi thea varthayanthi cha
These verses tell that vata, pitta and Kapha are the three different humours. When these humours are agitated, they can destroy the body. But, when the humours are not agitated and their equilibrium is maintained, the body can be saved from the disease.
Thae yapinopi hrinna bhyora dhomadhyardhwsamsraya
Vayohorathirbhugthanam thenthyam Madhya dhika: kramal
These three humours are spread all over the body. But, vata is present below umlicus (naval region) pitta above the naval region and kapha in the chest, predominantly. Prevalence of the thridhoshas vary with age of a person, daily and diet routine.
Thikthoshna kashayalpa rooksha pramitabholanai:
Dharanodheerana nisa jaghara thyu chabhashanai:
Kriyathiyogabhi soga chintha vyayama mydhunai:
Grishma horathri bhukthanthe prakupyathi sameerana:
Vata aggravation is happened when there are :-
a) Sour, hot and pungent food intake
b) Fourteen Vegas are withheld or not released.
c) Insomnia, loud speaking, over virechana or vomiting, frightfulness, sadness, heavy mental and physical work load, over sexual intercourse, and
d) At the end of greshma (summer) season, end of day time, night time and during digestion.
Pittam kadwamla theeshnoshna padu krodha vidha hibhi:
Saranmadhyanna rathryardha vidhaha samayaeshu cha:
Pitta aggravates when one
a) Intake of hot, spicy, sour and salty food,
b) Has bad temperament, exposure to excessive heat on chest, and
c) During sarath(autum) season, noon time, mid night and digestion timings
Swadhawamla lavana snigthagurva bhishya nthe seethale:
Aasya swapna sukhajeerna dhiwaswapnathi brahmanai:
Prachardhnadhya yogena bhugtha mathra vasanthayo
Poorvannae poorvarathrea cha sleshma dhwandhonthu samkaral
Misribhaval samasthanam sannipatha sthada puna:
Kapha aggravation occur during the following:
1) Intake of sweet, sour and salty food and smooth food that dissolves mucus.
2) Exposure to cooled or frozen items, sleep while sitting, indigestion, sleep at day time, food that fattens the body, improper vamana procedures, and
3) Beginning of Basanth (spring) season (6-10 AM) and during digestion of food. 6-10 PM
Sankeernajeerna vishma virudha dhya sanadhibhi:
Vyapanna Madhya paneeya suskha sakha ma moolakai
Pinnyakamrinna vasura poothisuska krisa meeshai:
Dhosha thraya karai sthy sthy: thadhanna parivarthanai:
Yrithordhushtal puray vatal grusavesa dhwishal gamal
Dhustamal parvata slayshad grahairjanmar kshapeedanal
Midhya yogacha vividhal papanach nishe vanal
Sthrinam prasava vyshymyal thada methyopacharada:
Pradhiroghamithi kurdha roghadhi shtana gamini:
Rasayani: prapadhyasoo dhosha : dhehae vikurvathae
Thridhoshas are produced due to
1) Intake of half cooked food, complicated food habits, indigested foods, purified milk, Virudhnna(non-compromised toxic foods)
2) Repeated intake of food (overeating), overdrinking of old water and wine, eating dried vegetables, eating of raw tubers, eating of oil cakes, soil, fresh toddy, putrefied and dried meat.
3) Unhealthy seasonal variations toxic exposure, indigestions, unwanted and unethical activities, unethical matters that hampers the activities during pregnancy induces
tridhoshas aggravation which affects nadis and spread all over the body.
More details about food habits will be discussed later in this article.
Swasthavrita is the healthy state and to maintain this one has to follow certain rules and regulations in his daily life.
As per the daily routine healthy persons should get up in the auspicious hour (2 ½ hours before dawn) and start the dhinacharya.
Brahmaemhoorthe uthishtel : swasthorakshartha mayusha:
Further, daily routine are simple and easy to practice.
Sarira chintham nirvarthya kritha savycha vidhistha tha:
Arkannya growdha khadira karanja kuku bhadhikam
Kaninyagra samasthoolam sukoorcham dhwadhasangulam
Prathar bhukthwa cha mridhwgram kashaya kaduthiktakom
Bhakshye dhantha dhavanom dhandha mamsannya bhadhayan
A healthy person, after he wake up, should examine his physique first and then find out whether the dinner he took has been digested properly or not, whether anything has been happened to the body or not and if so, think of suitable remedial measures. Then he could go for primary needs.
The next routine is tooth brushing. Select a suitable tooth brush (12 Angulam long x small finger size, one side is pound to form a smooth brush) which has sour, pungent and hot (spicy ) properties. Tooth brushes are made of roots of madar (Calotropis gigantia) banyan tree (Ficus benghyhalenisis), catechu tree(Acatia catechu), Kahua (Terminalia arjuna) etc. Brushing has to be done slowly without affecting the gum in the morning and after food.
Nadhyadha jeerna vamadhu swasa kasa jwara dhirti
Thrishnasya paka hrinnethra sira:karnamaye Chathal
Tooth brushing using the above mentioned brushes should not be done in those persons having indigestion, vomiting, asthma, fever, Ardhitham, thirst, diseases of skull, stomatitis, heart diseases, eye diseases and ear diseases.
Saweeramanjanam nithyam hithamashno stha thodbhajel
Lojane thene bhavatha susnigdha ghana pashmani
Vyaktha thrivarne vimalae manonjne sooshmadharsane
After tooth brushing one has to apply sawveeram on the eye lashes, daily. This results to have healthy and delightful eyes with distinct colors like back white and ‘Arunam’. In case of kapha aggravation in eyes, it could be excreted by using Rasanjanam
Thathonavana grandhoosh dhooma tampula bhag bhavel
Thamboolam kshatha pittasra rookshol kupita chakshoosham
Vish moorcha madhartha namapathyam soshinamapi
After the eye lash application, one could go for nostril application (nasyam), gargling and betel chewing. Betel chewing is not good for those who have tuberculosis (Rajayeshmavu)
Importance of abhyangam is explained here in following verses.
Abhyanga majare nithyam sa jharasrama vata:
Dhrushti prasadha pushtyayuswpna suthwaktwa dhardhyakrit
Sira sravana patheshutam viseshena silayel
Varjyobhyanga : Kaphagrustha krita samsudhya jheernabhi:
Daily practice oil application (abhyangam) is good for removing tiredness and vata. Also, it is good for delighted vision, strengthened physique, increased life span, sound sleep, strong and smooth skin. Oil application is also required for head, ears and soles. Abhyangam is denied for those who have very high aggravation of kapha.
The next step in the routine is exercise.
Lakhavam karma samarthyam dheepthoghir medha sa:kshaya:
Vibhagtha ghana ghathrathwam vyayamu dhupa jayathe
The advantages of exercise are feeling of lighter body weight, liking for more work, increased digestion, removal of obesity and strengthening of every organ.
Vata pittomayibhalo jheerni ch tham thyajel
Exercises are designed for children, aged and to those who have indigestion.
Thrishna kshya prathamako rakhtha pittam srama: klama:
Athivyayamata: kasajwaran: chardhischa jhayathae
Over exercise cause thirst, debility, breathing difficulties, fatigue, fever and vomiting.
Ardha sakthya nishe vyasthu bhalibhi: snikdha bhojibhi:
Seeta kale vasanthe cha manthamevata thonyadha
Tham krithwanusukam dheham mardhayecha samanthata:
Exercise must be advised to those who are strong and to those who consume more oily or fatty food.
Vyayama jaghara dhwa sthree hasya bhashya dhi sahasam
Ghajasimha evakarshan bhajannati vinasyati
Repeated and continues exercises, insomnia, traveling, sex, smiling and speech cause self ruining of one’s own body. This is similar a strong lion’s ruin when it holds back strong elephant in motion.
Udhwarthanam kaphaharam medhasa : pravilayanam
Sthirikarana manghanam thwak prasadha karm param
Massaging helps to remove kapha (mucus). It also remove excess fat and strengthen various organs and brighten the skin.
Snanam dheepana mayooshyam vrushya moorjha bhalapradam
Kandoo mala srama swedha tandhra thride dhadha papmajhil.
Bathing helps to regain mental delightfulness, and eradicate itching (due to dirt), sweat, fatigue, laziness, thirst, heat and sin.
Ushnambhunadh: kayasya parisheko bala vaha:
Thenai va thutha mangasya bhalahril kesachakshu sham
Hot water bath is good for the body. But, hot water bath for head debilitate the strength of hair and eyes. So it is good to use regular water for head bath and hot water for rest of the body.
Snana mardhita nethrasya karna roghati sarishu
Adhmana peenasajeerni bhukthavalsuja gharhitham
Bath (showering) must be avoided in patients who are suffering from Aardhitham (a type of vata disease), eye diseases, ear disease and sinusitis. It is also advised not to take shower immediately after food consumption.
Susrutha and Charaka prescribed the use of right costumes, ornaments or garlands suited to winter, monsoon and white clothes for visiting patients. In all instances, cleanliness was very cardinal.
Instructions for baby care are presented in charakasamhita children should not frightened with horror stories, toys must be smooth and derived of sharp edges their clothes must be washed daily, disinfected by fuming using guggule (Commiphora mukul) children must bathed on time, fed and send sleep on time. Healthy, humble, clean and loving nurses should be selected for nursing.
Jheernehitham mitham chadhyanna veghaneerayedh balal
Naveghino nya karaya nna jhithwa sadhya ma meyam
One has to eat suitable food in optimum quantity and further consumption should be done only after completion of digestion (of the earlier consumed food). There are fourteen veghas and forced functioning of vegas are dangerous. Holding of Vegas and doing other things are also dangerous.
Special dieting is a part of ayurveda therapy, as in other systems of medicines. This is similar to exclusion of sugar to diabetic patients or salts to hypertensive and jaundice patients. In allopathic system, the symptoms are suppressed by medication and so dieting is not necessary.
‘Pathya’ are the rules or means that facilitate to reach healthy state. Those who observe Pathya very rarely succumb to diseases. In such cases, simple therapy is required to cure diseases. In other words, the intensity of the disease will be at low profile in such cases. Pathya observation is good for heart and mind and non- Pathya (apathya) create sadness and disturbed behavior for those who have (swasthavrutha). There is a saying “No treatment is required for those patients who observe ‘Pathya’. Spontaneous cure (in the absence of medicines) is possible in patients who are under Pathya. And for ‘apathya’ patients, even if you administer the strongest medicines the symptoms would not be suppressed. Even if it is subsided, it would be temporary. In disease recurring patients, strong medication can cause severe side effects too. Acharyas explained the guidelines of prophylaxis to be observed in daily and seasonal routines. Diseases generated due to non pathyas can be controlled with pathya.
Dietry restrictions must be followed while administering ayurvedic medicines. This is similar to the advice of modern medical doctors, to diabetic or hypertensive patients to avoid sugar and salts respectively. In the case of Ayurveda, dietary restrictions are recorded for each and every disease. The following are some general rules for patients:
We eat food for nutrition so as to maintain good health. In some, food is not digested and absorbed. That means good digestion is warranted. Mostly, diseases start with indigestion. In such cases, the required nutrition are not absorbed and wastes are excreted. This adversely affect the maintenance of seven prime elements of the body, thinking ability, mental satisfaction and happiness.
Hot and spicy food must be avoided as it causes unhappiness. Non tasty and old stored food and rotten food should be disregarded. The digestive system of man is not suited for non-vegetarian food. But, meat and fish are regularly included in our foods.
Non-vegetarian food is regarded as one of the causative agents of diseases. Repeated use of meat and fish causes worm infestation in the stomach and intestine. Uric acid content in the blood increases with increased meat consumptions which causes joint arthritis and so also heart diseases. Meat proteins are not good for cancer patients. Animals are frightened before they were killed and adrenalin is produced in bulk. Adrenalin infested meat could be a source for many diseases. Increased use of meat and eggs increases cholesterol. Alcohol consumption cause hinderance to vitamins assimilation, hypertension, cerebral palsy, angina pectoris, breast cancer, etc. Red wine increases HDL cholesterol.
Human body structure cannot be compared to that of meat eating animals. Man has no sharpened nails or incisors. Simple teeth system helps to chew vegetables. Meat eating animal’s saliva is acidic while human saliva is more towards alkaline. Man likes to pluck and eat fruits. Meat eating animals have short intestine, but for men it is twelve times the body length. So, one has to think that vegetarianism is very much suited to man.
According to some Ayurvedic pandits, there are four parts (by volume)of the digestive system. Two parts (out of four) has to be filled with food, one part with water and remaining with air. Besides the above, one has to select suitable digestable food that does not create gas and acidity and those factors facilitate microbial or germ infestation. Also, distinguish and use those food that strengthen the prime elements and immunity. When the resistance of the body weakens the disease like common cold to cancer occurs. One must make sure that he consumes enough nutritious food containing vitamins. Vitamin A is plentily available in leafy vegetables and fish. Vitamin C is available in goose burry , papaya, sweet potato vegetables etc. Garlic has the power to kill bacteria and parasites and to some extend control blood pressure, angina pectoris, arthritis, skin diseases, eye diseases, clarity of sound, urge for sex, etc. Uncontrolled use of bakery items and sweeteners deteriorate the strength of teeth, promote pimple formation and increased blood or urine sugar levels in diabetic patients. Fast food culture is a menace to mankind. Many kind of synthetic chemicals and preservatives are added to foods to get sensory appealing, brightening colors and texture. Nowadays, these unnatural food items and style have been affected behavioral patterns of children.
Inclusion of curry leaf (Murraya koenighi) in curries is a detoxification agent and control diarrhea, intestinal pain, etc. In insect bite cases, the toxicity, oedema and pain are controlled by application of a paste made of curry leaves (boiled milk). Consumption of curd preparation containing curry leaves and turmeric mixed with ‘Ashtachoornam’ is a good digestive agent and control all stomach discomforts. Similarly, coriander leaves and seeds are also used widely in curries for taste and flavor.
Use of ginger mixed with sugar candy is good to control diabetes. Use of ginger and salt mixture instantaneously control acidity, flatulence, nausea and stomach pain.
Turmeric is an excellent anti-microbial and detoxification agent. It is used to control discomfort, pain and swellings due to snake bite or insect bite. A lepam made of Neem leaves and turmeric is excellent in making relief to insect bitten patients.
Pepper (piper nigram ) is also known as black pepper. A mixture of black pepper, butter and honey is good enough to fight against cough and its use at night gives good sleep and digestion.
Addition of Jeera (Cuminum cyminum) and fenugreek give good flavor and taste. Coconut oil is extensively used in food in many parts of the world. Its medicinal value is already recorded in Ayurvedic texts. Recently, it has been reported that coconut oil is an anti HIV agent. In Kerala and Srilanka people use in foods and for body application. It is one of the main of the ingredients in many Ayurvedic oil preparations.
Vegetables(cultivated using natural fertilizers, compost) are extensively used in Indian community and they are quite safe. Different types of salts, sugars and hot spices are also used in foods. Use of onion is widely accepted and hence does not require any more details.
According to some Acharyas food intake is required only two times daily, morning and evening. Hunger is an indication to show that the consumed food is digested. If food intake is punctual, hunger will also be punctual. Hunger feeling gives lightness of mind and stomach and clear hic-ups. Persons will have no feeling of hunger when they have mental disturbances, sadness, anxiety, etc. In such conditions, food intake and digestion may not be proper. So, this indicate intrinsic mind relationship of Physique and stomach.
Digestion will be perfect when food is chewed and mixed with saliva properly and swallowed. There are no teeth for intestines. One should sit peacefully and eat, medicated water could be taken during meals. Cold drinks will make the peristaltic movement little slow. Once the hunger is over, stop taking food. Water could be taken many times daily. Consumption of more food is not good when the stomach is full.
As mentioned earlier, no food should be consumed before digestion of earlier food. There are many don’ts in mixing of different food items. Some food items when mixed with others get antagonistic properties. Eg: milk and fish, equal proportions of butter and honey etc. stored food in deep freezer must be avoided. No one should engage in hard exercises or work just after food intake. Tea or coffee could be taken in optimum quantities. A stroll is good after food. Don’t drink lot of water once a person is too hungry as this retards the digestive capacity. The author wishes to add few more tips here so as to benefit everybody.
1. One should consume balanced food according to the digestibility.
2. Take little ginger mixed with salt 15 minutes before food intake. This increase the digestibility.
3. Hard food must be digested clearly well before subsequent consumption.
4. Food must be tasty and appealing.
5. Food must not either too hot or too cold.
6. Water intake till 15 minutes before food intake. After food, take water sip by sip. Drink water in the day time, preferebly.
7. No hard food for dinner. Take dinner 2 hours before sleep. A small stroll after dinner is preferred.
8. Take rest after food intake.Do not involve with any heavy physical or mental stress.
Final aim of all living things is to derive happiness and satisfaction and this could be obtained through his /her own deeds. So one should get away miscreants and collaborate with good hearted people. One should sympethetic to those who are down trodden, sick and suffering from sadness. Give equal respect and regards to every one irrespective of sex, race and religion. Talk and behave good with smiling face. Don't disregard aged people and guests. Our behavior should be pleasing to others, in other words it should not disturb sensory organs. Don't eat, or sleep at dawn or dusk. One should have the ability to control the functions of the physique, words and mind. These are some of the good manners and behavior of gentlemen. Gentleness and good heartedness last long in a healthy person.
Things that are proper to the body like good food, disciplined way of work and behavior are highly essential for healthy existence. Think before you do anything, its' pros and cons. Uncontrolled activities with eyes, nose, ears, limbs and sexual organs should be avoided. Be compassionate and benevolent to needy. Both happiness and sadness are two sides of the same coin and must face them with equal importance. Be honest always and pardon to those who are accused. Take advice from learned. The above mentioned advice are also needed and are good enough to achieve the state of proper health and spirit.
The period of sexual activity is between sixteen to seventy years of age. Marriageable age of girls is twelve and twenty one for boys. Reproductive age for girls is after sixteen years and twenty five for males. Charaka also explained unapproachable woman and amorous seasons. Bride should be graceful and obedient. Charaka restricts sexual activities according to seasons. Winter and spring are good seasons for sexual activities than summer.
Now let us see how dhadhu pushti (strengthening of dhadhu) can be achieved through consumption of medicines.
1. Ikshoora ghokshoora markkadi bheja,m musali sathavari salmalisaram
Ashtadhinam pratidhukta sametham vyvana kamini sanga sahasram
A milk decoction made from the seedsof Hygrophila auriculata, Tribulus terrestris, Mucuna puriens, roots of Asparagus racemosus, Curculigo orchiodes and the gum of Bombax malabaricum has found to be beneficial to most of the convaleseing patients.
2. Kameswari leham is an excellent dhadhupushti generating medicine prepared using seventy four ingredients. This rasayan is good against many types of diseases. Above all, it promotes strength vitality and spermatogenesis, correct erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. Its consumption increase libido by improving renal circulation to the genital organs of both sexes. This rasayam was developed by poojyapada mahshri.
For the existence of life, food is required. It must be proper and optimum. Under or over nourishment or misuse are invitations for diseases. Sensory organs must be properly used. Unsuited sound, touch, taste, smell and vision cause disease to sensory organs. Mind must be delighted and one has to think sensibly, otherwise, it will lead to mental disorders. Lack of proper exercise is also a reason for diseases. "Ojus"in ayurveda means immunity. It is the indicator of one's own health. Loss of Ojus due to hunger, sadness and hot temper can cause diseases. Drugs and alcohol have properties that are just opposite to the properties of ojus. Therefore. long term use of drugs and alcohol cause loss of Ojus and diseases.
In the atmosphere, thus disease germs exists, but its entry to a healthy person may not be that easy. It can infest or attack a person when suitable conditions are developed. It is something like germination of seeds in the presence of good climatic conditions, water supply, light, soil etc. When the conditions are not satisfied, the seed will never germinate to become a grown up plant. So, in ayurveda, these prophylactic measures are of great importance.
'Susrutha' described guidelines to protect the attack of transmitting and epidemic diseases due to microorganisms. Close contact with such patients (by touch, wearing ornaments, sleep in the same bed, food intake from the same plate, use same clothes etc.) can cause tuberculosis (Rajayushmavu), eye and skin diseases. A person with proper 'ojus' need not worry even if the causative agents enters in him as they are driven out easily. Certain purification methods in ayurveda (fumigation, hosting of medicated clothes in the open air, disinfecting the atmosphere by growing medicinal plants in the court yard, etc) are some of the preventive measures to get away fromm epidemics and atmospheric polution. (Charakasamhita).
In most of the ayurvedic texts, prophylatic measures are mentioned in the first part followed by treatment. This means that defensive techniques are rather important than treatment. Every body must be aware of the importance of daily routine from dawn to dusk. Incidence of diseases due to change of life style, food habits, seasons, hindrances of 'sarira vegas'(body functions) could be avoided. Observance of the laws of ayurveda help to get rid of all disgusting mental and physical problems of men. Old age disease could be controlled by vajikaran and rasayan procedures. These procedures can even get rid of angina pectoris, cancer, blood pressure, diabetes and give happy and prolonged life.