Date: April 01/2018
According to Ayurveda, good digestion is the key to great health. A bad digestion is an open invitation to all kinds of diseases. Digestion is crucial because it is the major gateway of all kinds of foreign elements to get inside the body, whether nourishing or disease-causing.
- Digestion kills the pathogens and harmful foreign elements in the gut itself.
- Digestion prevents putrification of the ingested food and thus prevents the formation of toxins in the body.
- Digestion is the doorway for all kinds of nutrition in the body
- Digestion is the main excretory process of the body
- Digestion helps to maintain an optimal body temperature by modulating heat generation through digestive chemical reactions.
Therefore it is important to preserve digestion at all cost.
The major problem of digestive tracts normally occurs in the intestines, like colitis, Irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease etc.
However, we have nature’s gift for the intestines, a herb that offers multifold benefits to the intestines and the overall body – Bilva or bael fruit.
Bael, as a tree, is bestowed with multiple qualities. The parts used are fruit, leaves, roots, and bark of the Bael tree.
According to Charak Samhita – Bael is mentioned to have qualities to cure edema and piles. It is also a great herb for Basti treatment in Panchkarma.
In Sushrut Samhita, it is mentioned in various classifications like Varunadi, Ambasthadi, Dashmoola and Brihat Panchmool.
The various names of Bilva mentioned in various Ayurvedic texts also reflect it various medicinal qualities –
- Bilva – the one that destroys the diseases
- Shadilya – the one that relieves the pain
- Sahlush – the one that is found in the mountains
- Shriphala – the tree with an auspicious fruit(with great medicinal properties)
- Malur – the one that enhances the beauty( good for skin)
- Gandhgarbh – with sweet smell inside a tough shell
Effects on Dosha
Bael creates dryness and lightness in the body. Because of being dry, astringent and pungent in taste, Bael is extremely effective in all types of Kapha dosha like a cough and cold, respiratory diseases, diseases related to head, mouth and throat like sinusitis, migraine etc.
Bael fruit has excellent results on indigestion, heaviness after the meal, acidity, Abdominal Distention, Belching etc. It helps to improve the appetite, especially in Kapha related disorders.
It has hot temperament or Virya. This means that during digestion it produces more than average heat produced by other foods in the body. Because of this, Bilva is a good choice for an immediate result in Vata related disorders like constipation, bloating, flatulence, IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome), colitis and loose motion.
However, regular Bael consumption for long term is not considered beneficial. Because of qualities of dryness, lightness, astringent and pungent taste, it tends to increase Vata dosha and disturb the Tridosha balance.
Effects on the Physiological Systems
Ayurvedic herbs do not have selective action on the body. They do not target a specific organ or system in the body. They have a very comprehensive effect that covers almost all the parts of the body.
Similarly, Bilva is good not only for the above-mentioned diseases but also for multiple other body systems. Different parts of Bael tree offer a huge variety of medicinal benefits.
Unripe fruit of Bilva is an excellent digestive and astringent. It helps to enhance the digestive power and control loose motions. It is a very effective medicine for intestinal diseases like diarrhea, dysentery, IBS(Irritable Bowel Syndrome) etc.
Interestingly, the ripe fruit of Bilva is astringent in taste and is a mild laxative. It also has an excellent tonic effect on the body.
Roots and leaves of Bael have a hepatoprotective action. They have incredible results in the case of jaundice.
Bilva is good for heart and blood vessels. It helps to accelerate the blood clotting time. It also helps to control edema and inflammation.
It helps to lower the blood pressure and is a very good herb for hypertension.
It has very beneficial results in respiratory diseases from a seasonal cold to a migraine because of its Kapha relieving properties.
Bilva helps to reduce the amount of urine and thus helps to control the amount of blood sugar. It is also very beneficial for kidney disorders.
Bilva helps to remove uterine swelling and is good for endometriosis. It is also used for regulation of menstrual cycle and relief from metrorrhagia(excessive bleeding during menstruation).
Apart from the above benefits, juice of Bilva leaves offers antipyretic properties and can be used to naturally control fever.
Cooking with Bilva
Bilva is used as a cooking ingredient in Indian cooking.
- Chutney made of Bilva is frequently used in Indian houses. This chutney is normally made from ripe Bilva fruits and offers all the benefits of that the fruit has to offer.
- Bael juice/ sharbat is an excellent coolant, widely used during the summer season.
- Bael Murraba or marmalade is used to cure digestive disorders like loose motions, stomach ache, acidity etc.
Some Important Home Remedies with Bael
Take 20 mg of bael pulp and mix 10gm of jaggery in it. This mixture should be consumed early morning to relieve constipation. However, this remedy should not be used for more than 2-3 days at a go.
100 ml of Bael juice mixed with a pinch of black pepper, black salt and ½ teaspoon of Ajwain(carom) is an excellent remedy for stomach ache due to indigestion, dysentery or diarrhea.
In case of acute or chronic diarrhea, take 1 tsp powder of ripe Bael fruit with warm water twice or thrice a day for natural relief from loose motion.
Boil 10 gm of powdered Bael roots in 200 gm of water till only half the water remains. Drink the above solution thrice a day in case of jaundice.
Boil 4-5 Bael leaves and drinks 10 ml of the solution 3 times a day. This home remedy will help to reduce excessive menstrual bleeding.
Precaution while using Bael
Bael fruits, according to Ayurveda, cause bloating and flatulence if used in excessive quantity or for a very long time. Therefore, it is important to use it with care. Medicines containing Bael should be used strictly under medical supervision.
Date: May 03/2018
The liver is one of the most important organs of the body, indispensable for digestion, blood maintenance, temperature regulation, fat storage and multiple other important functions. Therefore, it is imperative to have a healthy liver.
Now, our liver is affected by lots of factors on daily basis since one of its important functions is to detoxify the toxins or bacteria that we ingest. Unfortunately, we are consuming huge amounts of artificial chemicals like artificial flavors and colors, emulsifiers, preservatives, acidity regulators etc that are normally found in almost all packaged food. We expose our liver to a huge amount of vegetable oil present in junk food and sugary soft drinks. On top of it, we have random dietary and lifestyle habits, we over-eat and seldom exercise. That’s quite a lot to suffer even for a hard-working organ like the liver.
Another big factor that affects our liver is the frequent use of Antibiotics. Because of bad dietary habits and haphazard lifestyle, most of us have a very low immunity towards diseases. Almost all people tend to consume a course of antibiotics at least twice in a year. In case of chronic infections like a cough, cold, tonsillitis etc., a person consumes far more antibiotics in a year’s time. Antibiotics have a direct effect on the liver as the liver is the organ that removes them eventually from the bloodstream.
Now, there are some ways in which we can effectively prevent the damage to our liver by including the use of some herbs in our everyday food. All these herbs naturally enhance multiple functions of the liver. Esp for people who have to take a frequent dose of antibiotics, the following herbal remedies will be very beneficial.
Following herbs which can be easily grown in a small space of a garden pot, yet they have immense benefits for the liver. Consumption of these plants can protect the liver and almost all other organs of the body from diseases and boost overall immunity. Here I have also shared some of the easy and tasty ways to incorporate them into our daily food.
Blood purification is one of the most important functions of the liver. Bhumi Amla is a herb that enhances the blood purification capacity of the liver. It has anti-cancer properties. It is diuretic and helps to maintain the health of our kidneys.
It is a small herb, just 1/2-1 feet in height and has short roots. It can be easily grown in a small garden pot. It needs moderate sunlight and water. It is a seasonal plant that grows in rainy season until the end of winter. It completes its lifecycle in the summer.
Home Remedies using Bhumiamlaki
Take 50 gm bhumi amla, add green chili, 2-3 cloves of garlic, coriander, 1 tomato and grind it in a mixer to make a chutney. This chutney has similar taste as a normal tomato-coriander chutney but is more beneficial. This chutney can be stored in a refrigerator and used for 2-3 days. It is important that all the five parts (panchang), that is leaves, flowers, fruits, stem and the roots are used for consumption.
This chutney is very useful for people suffering from anemia, anorexia and liver cirrhosis. It is esp. beneficial for people suffering or recuperating from all kinds of jaundice and hepatitis.
Bhumi Alma is mildly sour in taste. You can crush 10 gm of Bhumi alma plant and use it for making a herbal tea. It is always better to use jaggery instead of sugar. This tea is especially beneficial for patients with liver cirrhosis, alcohol addiction or fatty liver.
Bhumi alma can be used raw as a salad decoration just like coriander or thyme.
Guduchi is a very famous herb for management of diabetes as it has the qualities to improve the secretion of insulin. Guduchi is the magic herb for diabetes. It helps to promote the natural secretion of insulin by stimulating pancreatic secretion. Another name of Guduchi is Amruta, as it has elixir like properties for the body. It is a great herb for diabetics and pre-diabetics. People who have a family history of diabetes must have this herb in their house because the use of fresh leaves is any time better than ready-made medicinal preparations.
It is basically a creeper that can be grown in a small space. It needs a moderate amount of water and sunlight. This plant is a perennial plant (stays for more than a year) and can protect you from harsh sunlight during the summers by covering your balconies!The most useful part of Guduchi is the stem/branches etc. However, leaves are also used for consumption.
Home remedy using Guduchi
Take 50 gm of fresh Guduchi stem and cut it into small pieces. You can also grind the stem into a paste if possible. Add 10 gm each of turmeric, black pepper, 5-6 Tulsi leaves and a crushed slice of ginger to sliced/ground Guduchi. Add 200 gm water to the entire mixture, boil it for 10 min and drain the solution. You can add jaggery or salt according to your preference.
This solution consumed in 10 ml every 1 hour helps to reduce all kinds of fever. It also prevents damages caused by antibiotics.
This solution is very helpful in liver diseases like jaundice, liver cirrhosis, fatty liver and alcohol addiction.
This solution can be taken 10 ml early morning and evening to keep diabetes in check. Pre-diabetics can benefit immensely from this solution.
1-2 tsp of Guduchi powder consumed early morning empty stomach and 1 hour before meals help to keep mild diabetes in check naturally.
Above mentioned solution is also very helpful while recuperating from any disease. It helps to purify the blood and enhance the production of WBC in it. Therefore it boosts the overall immunity of the body.
Hope these home remedies help you stay healthier and happier! In our next blog, we will be writing about some of other extremely healthy herbs for the Liver. They are –
Kutaki and more
So keep watching this space for more action!
Date: June 06/2018
The kidney is one of the most important of our organs. It is the filter that helps to keep out blood clean. If this filter goes wrong than the cleansing system of the entire body goes haywire. Malfunctioning of the kidney is like the breaking down of the sewage system.
Our kidneys are at high risk because of our unhealthy lifestyle. Most of the people do not drink enough water. Alcoholism, smoking, obesity, lifestyle disorders like diabetes, hypertension, all of these factors contribute to kidney disorders.
However, the health of the kidneys can be perfectly preserved by using the following detoxification methods for kidney health.
There are many Ayurvedic herbs that have an excellent effect on the overall functioning of kidneys. Pashanbheda and Gokshur are some of the best-suited herbs for kidney health. These herbs can be used on a daily or weekly basis as a detoxification therapy for the kidneys. It is esp. advisable for the people suffering from chronic kidney disorders like kidney stones, inflammation or swelling of kidneys, diabetic neuropathy and in autoimmune diseases like lupus nephritis.
Preventive Ayurvedic lifestyle for Healthy Kidneys
Daily Water Detoxification
An Ayurvedic daily routine starts with Brahma-paan. Brahma –paan is the ritual of drinking 2-3 glasses of normal water early in the morning, ideally before sunrise. This ritual kick starts the kidney function in the morning and drains out all the impurities of the blood and the body. Therefore it is like an internal bath for the kidney as well as for the body.
No Unnatural Control of Natural Urges
Supposing you are in an important meeting, you would curb your desire to pee. As for thirst, most of the people have learned to overlook it. According to Ayurveda, a person should never retain the natural urge to drink water or to urinate. Both of these activities cause gradual but severe damage to the entire urinary system including the kidneys. Once we start to control these natural urges, the body gets habituated to them. It makes some adjustments to accommodate the artificial external control and these adjustments interfere with the normal functioning of our body.
Don’t Eat Acid
Too much of acidic food causes problems in kidney functioning. It increases the rate of inflammation and aging in the body. Since kidneys are the ones to filter out all the waste from the blood, they are severely affected by the amount of acidic food that we consume. Ideally, one should refrain from eating too much sour food like tamarind, lemon, vinegar, soya sauce, pickles etc, too much salty food, junk food, aerated drinks etc.
According to Ayurveda, there are no rules for the amount of water a person should drink. It can differ according to the climate, physical activities, and age of the person. However, it is very important that we should be sensitive to the feeling of thirst and drink the appropriate amount of water whenever thirsty. We should never try to postpone drinking water when thirsty.
Herbs for Healthy Kidney
Following Ayurvedic herbs have excellent effects on kidneys. They help to preserve the kidney health and eliminate diseases at an early stage.
Pashanbheda – This herb is a miracle drug for kidney stones. It can dissolve the kidney stones and save the patient from any invasive surgical treatment. It also helps to prevent the reoccurrences of kidney stones.
Gokshur – This is another very important herb which offers multiple health benefits for the kidney. It has diuretic properties. It prevents renal stones, swelling, and inflammation in the body. It is also an excellent tonic and helps to improve immunity and rate of metabolism.
Poonarnava – This herb has shown significant benefits to control inflammation related to autoimmune activity in the body. It helps to control blood pressure and is helpful in blood purification. Thus it helps to reduce the work-load on kidneys.
Ushir mool (Khas)– This herb is one of the best diuretics. According to Ayurveda, it mollifies the imbalanced Pitta Dosha. This implies that it helps to control fever, inflammation, and degeneration in the body. It helps to drain the toxins from the kidney and helps to rejuvenate the nephrons.
Palash – This herb also has diuretic properties. It has a very good effect on diabetic neuropathy and renal disorders. It helps to relieve dysuria, frequent micturition, and urinary tract infections.
Weekly Detoxification for Kidneys : Fasting
Fasting once a week gives time to your body to detoxify and rejuvenate. Water or milk-based fasting once a week is esp. good for kidneys. This fasting routine is great for normal healthy people. However, it is more relevant for people suffering from kidney disorders like renal stones, renal colic, swelling or inflammation of the kidney.
When we skip eating hard food like grains, our digestive and excretory systems get a break from the normal routine. They can then focus on deeper detoxification of the body. Therefore fasting is like a healthy holiday for our kidney.
Herbal Detoxification for Kidneys
One day herbal detox, followed once a month is good for a normal person in order to prevent kidney disorders. Ideally, one should not eat grains for complete kidney detox, which means that you will be fasting during this time.
The best time for kidney detox is summer when the water requirements of the body are higher than the normal. Most of the kidney disorders start with an improper intake of water, esp. during the summer.
General Herbal Dosage for Detox
Pattarchata 1-2 leaves twice a day
1 tsp Gokshur powder early morning empty stomach
100 ml of Ponarnava juice with Jaggery once a day, preferably in the morning.
It is best to consult a physician for a more personalized recommendation.
Food Recommended for Kidney Detox Fasting
A tentative list of kidney detox food includes Sugarcane juice, Chandan / Khas Sharbat, Brahmi juice, Kheera / cucumber salad, Watermelon, pineapple, litchi, coconut water etc. Any fruit or vegetable that is naturally juicy and sweet will do.
Avoid food items like tomato, spinach, chaat masala, dry mango powder, tamarind, lemon(excess).
Ensure that the fruits and vegetables are ripe. Raw fruits/ veggies are acidic in nature.
Tentative Meal Plan for Kidney Detox Fasting
1 bowl of Boiled potato/ sweet potato/ carrot/ beetroot
200 ml plain milk /
1 bowl fruit/vegetable salad with cucumber, coriander, mint, and radish sprinkled with black pepper, black salt/ etc according to taste.
1 bowl Cut watermelon or mango
100 ml buttermilk
1 bowl Lauki/ pumpkin soup
Mid-meal Snack: Coconut juice/sugarcane juice/watermelon
Regular detox will help you to maintain baby-like kidneys and reduce the overall rate of aging. Hope this information helps you to prevent all kidney disorders and have a long and healthy life!
Dr. Kanika Verma
Dr. Kanika Verma (BAMS, MMS, PGDHHM) is an Ayurvedic physician with a 6 years experience in dealing with chronic diseases. Dr. Verma has a strong focus on preventive Ayurvedic therapies and Ritucharya (Preventive Seasonal Ayurvedic Regimen). She is one of the first Ritucharya Consultants in India.
She helps people develop a healthy seasonal food and lifestyle regimen in order to prevent lifestyle disorders. She also has a demonstrated history of successful treatment in autoimmune diseases like vitiligo and rheumatoid arthritis.
Dr Verma is a published author. Her first book “Ritucharya” was released in 2016. She is also an active Ayurveda blogger. She is currently working on Ayurvedic psychotherapy and effects of meditation on the body.