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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Why should I eat my carrots you say???

Carrots are an excellent source of antioxidant compounds, and the richest vegetable source of the pro-vitamin A carotenes. Carrots' antioxidant compounds help protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer and also promote good vision, especially night vision.


Carotenoids protect vision, especially night vision. After beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the liver, it travels to the retina where it is transformed into rhodopsin--a purple pigment that is necessary for night-vision. Plus beta-carotene's powerful antioxidant actions help provide protection against muscular degeneration and the development of senile cataracts--the leading cause of blindness in the elderly.

Carrots are by far one of the richest source of carotenoids. Just one cup provides 16,679 IUs of beta-carotene, more than 250% of the RDA, and 3,432 REs(retinol equivalents), or roughly 686.3% the RDA for vitamin A. High carotenoid intake has been linked with a 20% decrease in postmenopausal breast cancer and an up to 50% decrease in the incidence of cancers of the bladder, cervix, prostate, colon, larynx, and esophagus. Carotenoids and Blood Sugar Intake of foods such as carrots that are rich in carotenoids may be beneficial to blood sugar regulation. Research has suggested that physiological levels, as well as dietary intake, of carotenoids may be inversely associated with insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels.

Falcarinol in Carrots Protects against Colon Cancer Although best known for their high content of beta carotene, carrots also contain a phytonutrient called falcarinol that may be responsible for the recognized epidemiological association between frequently eating carrots and a reduced risk of cancers.

Protection against Emphysema - A common carcinogen in cigarette smoke, benzo(a)pyrene, induces vitamin A deficiency.

So again, eat your carrots .. and don't make faces ... they are good for you!

Friday, April 23, 2010


With flavors that range from mildly sweet to tart and tangy,
blueberries are nutritional All Stars bursting with nutrition and
flavor while being very low in calories.. Recently, researchers at
Tufts University analyzed 60 fruits and vegetables for their
antioxidant capability. Blueberries came out on top, rating highest
in their capacity to destroy free radicals. Packed with antioxidant
phytonutrients called anthocyanidins, blueberries neutralize free
radical damage to the collagen matrix of cells and tissues that can
lead to cataracts, glaucoma, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, peptic
ulcers, heart disease and cancer. Anthocyanins, the blue‐red
pigments found in blueberries, improve the integrity of support
structures in the veins and entire vascular system. Anthocyanins
have been shown to enhance the effects of vitamin C, improve
capillary integrity, and stabilize the collagen matrix (the ground
substance of all body tissues). They work their protective magic by
preventing free‐radical damage, inhibiting enzymes from cleaving
the collagen matrix, and directly cross‐linking with collagen fibers
to form a more stable collagen matrix. Visionary Fruit Extracts of
bilberry (a variety of blueberry) have been shown in numerous
studies to improve nighttime visual acuity and promote quicker
adjustment to darkness and faster restoration of visual acuity after
exposure to glare. Better Brain with Blueberries In animal studies,
researchers have found that blueberries help protect the brain from
oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age‐related
conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Seven Sacred Plants of India


Humans have long understood the medicinal properties of plants and have imbued trees, plants and flowers with spiritual properties. In a cave in northern Iraq dating to 60,000 – 80,000 BP lay a neatly buried Neanderthal strewn with medicinal flowers (including yarrow, cornflower and grape hyacinth). This person may have been a shaman or healer. Archeologists found remains of garlands strung with gold in burials unearthed in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor in Egypt. In ancient Egypt, garlands were worn by loved ones of the deceased and left at the gravesite, just as we do today. And in the Alpine region on the border of present-day Austria and Italy, a 3,000 year old mummy (the Iceman or Oetzi) was found with tattoos. There is evidence that his tattoos were therapeutic since they were filled with a mixture of burned herbs and applied to acupuncture points (9, 12, 13, 15)

In India, the Indus Valley civilization thrived from 2,600 – 1,900 BP with cities, agriculture, organized religion and sophisticated art and architecture. Some researchers believe that the Vedic culture and early Sanskrit civilization (with early elements of Hinduism) arose from this Indus Valley civilization. Since ancient times, trees and plants have been considered sacred for a variety of reasons: a close association with a deity (neem and tulsi with Lord Krishna); sheltering an object of worship; belief that the plant was created from body of a god (the Flame of the Forest from the body of Lord Brahma); proximity to a sacred act (Buddha’s enlightenment under the peepal tree); and finally, a major role in the local ecology or economy.

Early Vedic texts describe the energies within plants and their use as medicine. The Rig Veda describes plants and their actions. The Atharva Veda mentions the therapeutic uses of plant medicines in greater detail. Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita, the two classic Ayurvedic texts classified all medicinal substances into three groups: vegetable, animal and mineral origin. Astanga Hrdaya and Astanga Samgraha deal with Ayurveda material medica.

According to the Atharva Veda, all of creation is a part of the cosmic web. This web was created by the one Supreme Spirit and is beyond all relative creation. The Supreme Spirit is within each person, so humans have the capacity to remold the web into a divine life on earth. Humans as well as devas/gods affect the web through their actions. Humans, societies, animals, and nature are all interdependent. When the energies are in balance, we have health and when they fall out of balance, we experience disease. This is true at both the individual and societal level.

Ayurveda texts describe a set of specific plants, alone or in combination as rasayana (nourishing the essence of life). Each herb embodies energies/vibrations that match an energy/vibration in the human body. Nature uses the same materials when creating plants, minerals, mantras, and human bodies. According to the Vedic sages, the building blocks of nature (subtle vibrations) are universal. Due to this belief in the likeness within all of nature, herbs, sounds, gemstones, colors, aromas, and foods all act as medicine when used properly. (2: pages 221 – 222; 7: pages 12 – 13; 8: page 140; 11, 16)

For this paper, I selected the following seven medicinal plants: amalaki, champaka, jasmine, neem, sandalwood, tulsi, and vetvier. For each plant, I listed their sacred associations, dosha effects, energetics, indications, actions and included a brief description of the plant, its distribution and uses. I plan to continue studying herbs and their sacred associations. Another goal is to study native Northwest plants and apply Ayurvedic concepts to their use.

Amla or Amalaki (Emblica officinalis)

Sanskrit name: Dhatri (mother, nurse)
Other Name: Indian Gooseberry
Sacred association: worshipped as Mother Earth in Hinduism
Part used: fruit, seeds, root, bark
Dosha effect: balances all three doshas, but pita in particular
Energetics: all tastes but salty, predominantly sour/cooling/sweet
Dhatus: works on all tissue elements and increases ojas
Systems: circulatory, digestive, excretory
Indications: Bleeding disorders, hemorrhoids, anemia, diabetes, gout, vertigo, gastritis, colitis, hepatitis, osteoporosis, constipation, biliousness, weak liver or spleen, premature graying or hair loss, general debility and tissue deficiency
Actions: nutritive tonic, rejuvenative, aphrodisiac, laxative, stomachic, astringent, haemostatic
Precautions: acute diarrhea, dysentery
Preparation: decoction, powder, confection

Amalaki is one of the strongest rejuvenatives in Ayurvedic medicine. The Charaka Samhita says it is the best of medicines to prevent aging. It rebuilds and maintains new tissues and increases red blood cell count and ojas. Amalaki cleanses the mouth, strengthens the teeth, nourishes bones, and causes hair and nails to grow. It improves eyesight, bleeding of gums, and relieves inflammation of the stomach and colon. It is very high in vitamin C (3,000 mg per fruit). It improves appetite, cleanses intestines and regulates blood sugar.

Amalaki includes all tastes but salty and is predominantly sour/cooling/sweet. It is sattvic in quality and gives good fortune, love and longevity – it is itself a long-living tree. It calms and balances the emotions of mothers who behave angrily towards their children. For children who have lost their mothers, it fills them with the sense that their mother is there.

Five grams of the powder, mixed in one cup of warm water, can be taken twice a day as a general tonic. It is used as a paste applied to the head for mental disorders. Triphala is a mixture of amalaki, haritaki and bibhitaki. It is the main ingredient in the famous medicinal jam chyavanaprasha, used for treating respiratory complaints and for rejuvenation.

It is also used in inks, shampoos and hair oils. (3: pages 157 – 158; 6: page 156; 7: pages 72 – 73; 16)

Champaka (Michelia champaca)

Sanskrit Name: Champaka
Other Names: Champaca, Champak, Champa
Sacred associations: offered to Lord Shiva as well as to Lord Krishna; it forms one of the darts of Kamadeva, the Hindu God of Love; flowers are also associated with Maitreya, the eighth Buddha.
Part used: flowers
Dosha effect: lowers pitta and kapha; increases vata in excess
Energetics: cooling, moisturizing
Dhatus: skin, reproductive
Actions: emollient, antipyretic, aphrodisiac
Aroma: delicately floral, sweet, reminiscent of neroli, ylang ylang, with some notes recalling clary sage

Champaca is a slender, medium sized evergreen tree related to the magnolia. The flowers range from pale yellow to deep orange and resemble a double narcissus. The absolute derived from champa is a brownish-orange liquid with a fresh, grassy top note that evolves into a delicately sweet, tealike fragrance with leafy undertones. It lends a floral, leafy note to perfume compositions and mixes well with rose, violet, sandalwood, rosewood, jasmine, cypress, lotus and vetvier. It can transport you to an enlightened point of reference. It is useful for irritated skin. On special occasions, closed buds are used to adorn women’s heads. Throughout the evening, the buds open, providing an elegant contrast with the women’s hair and releasing a scent reminiscent of tea, orange blossoms, and ylang ylang. The flowers are also floated in bowls of water to scent the room, as a fragrant decoration for bridal beds, and for garlands and hair ointments.

In addition to its use in incense, perfumes and cosmetics, the flowers are used to treat fever, venereal diseases, head ache and eye disorders. The wood is used for making posts, boards and furniture. (1: pages 114 – 115; 5: page 306; 11)

Jasmine (Jasminum officinale)

Persian Name: Jasmine (gift from the god)
Other Name: None
Sacred associations: associated with Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu (Arabian Jasmine tree)
Parts used: flowers
Dosha effect: lowers kapha and pitta; increases vata (in excess)
Energetics: bitter, astringent/cooling/pungent
Dhatus: plasma, blood, bone, marrow
Indications: emotional disturbances, headaches, fever, sunstroke, conjunctivitis, dermatitis, burning urethra, bleeding disorders, bacterial or viral infections, cancer of lymph nodes, bone cancer, Hodkin’s disease
Actions: Analgesic (mild), antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, carminative, cicatrisant, expectorant, galactagogue, parturient, sedative and a tonic for the uterus.
Precautions: severe chills, high Vata
Preparation: infusion (hot or cold, do not boil), powder, paste, medicated oil

Jasmine is an evergreen shrub or vine growing up to 10 meters high with delicate bright green leaves and star-shaped very fragrant white flowers. Jasmine is native to China, northern India and west Asia; and is cultivated in the Mediterranean, China and India. Sattvic in quality, Jasmine increases love and compassion. It carries psychic influences, makes the mind receptive and radiate the vibrations of mantras. Jasmine flowers are strongly cooling and calming. Their blood-cooling effects include strong antibacterial, antiviral and antitumor actions to stop bleeding. They strengthen the lymphatic system and are helpful in different kinds of cancer, including breast cancer. Jasmine is excellent for fevers and the oil helps relieve sunstroke. The whole flower is used for removing intestinal worms and is also used to jaundice and venereal diseases. The flower buds are useful in treating ulcers, vesicles, boils, skin diseases and eye disorders. The leaf extracts acts against breast tumors.

In China, one variety is used to treat hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, and dysentery; the flowers of another variety are used for conjunctivitis, dysentery, skin ulcers and tumors. The root is used to treat headaches, insomnia, pain due to dislocated joints and rheumatism. In the west, the common jasmine was said to ‘warm the womb’… and facilitate birth; it is useful for cough, difficulty in breathing, etc.

Jasmine oil is used extensively in the production of perfumes and incense. The concrete is produced in Italy, France, Morocco, Egypt, China, Japan, Algeria and Turkey; the absolute is primarily produced in France. Jasmine essential oil (concrete or absolute) is non-toxic, non-irritant, generally non-sensitizing and is good for dry, irritated and sensitive skin. It is also good for muscular spasms and sprains. It is helpful to treat depression, nervous exhaustion, and stress-related conditions. ‘It produces a feeling of optimism, confidence, and euphoria. It is most helpful to treat apathy, indifference, or listlessness.’(3: Page 176; 4: Pages 111 – 113; 11)

Neem (Azadiracta indica; Meliaceae)

Sanskrit Name: Nimba (bestower of good health)
Other Names: Indian Lilac
Sacred associations: one of the most sacred trees and is considered to be of divine origin; amrita (the elixir of immortality) was being carried to heaven and a few drops of it fell on the Neem tree; people believe the tree to be a manifestation of Goddess Durga; in some areas, the tree itself is believed to be a Goddess called Neemari Devi
Parts used: bark and leaves
Dosha effect: lowers pitta and kapha; increases vata
Energetics: bitter/cooling pungent
Dhatus: plasma, blood, fat
Indications: skin diseases (urticaria, eczema, ringworm), parasites, fever, malaria, cough, thirst, nausea, vomiting, diabetes, tumors, obesity, arthritis, rheumatism, jaundice
Actions: bitter tonic, antipyretic, alterative, anathematic, antiseptic, antiemetic
Precautions: diseases of cold and tissue deficiency generally
Preparation: infusion (hot or cold), decoction, powder, paste, medicated ghee or oil

The Neem tree, a member of the mahogany family grows throughout India. The history of the Neem tree is inextricably linked to the history of the Indian civilization. For centuries Indians planted this tree in the vicinity of their homes and practiced daily interaction with the plant. Neem proved an invaluable source of health, hygiene and beauty that was freely available. Having a bath with a decoction of Neem leaves keeps one’s skin supple and healthy. Neem leaf powder or crushed leaves incorporated into face packs provides emollient action. The antiseptic properties of Neem leaf extracts help control pimples and acne.

Neem is one of the powerful blood purifiers and detoxifiers in Ayurveda. Its medicinal properties are documented in the ancient Sanskrit texts and it is estimated that Neem is present, in one form or another, in 75% of Ayurvedic formulations. It cools fever and clears toxins in most inflammatory skin diseases or those found in ulcerated mucous membranes. It is a powerful febrifuge, effective in malaria and other intermittent and periodic fevers.

Neem can be taken whenever a purification or reduction program is indicated. It clears away all foreign and excess tissue, and possesses a supplementary astringent action that promotes healing. It is one of the best healing and disinfectant agents for skin diseases and anti-inflammatory for joint and muscle pain.

It is believed that Neem oil prevents baldness and graying of hair and has been used as anti-lice and anti-dandruff treatment. A teaspoon of dried Neem leaf powder, mixed with the same quantity of ghee (clarified butter) and honey helps control skin allergies. (3: Pages 178 – 180; 11; 14)

Sandalwood (Santalum album)

Sanskrit Name: Candanam
Other Name: None
Sacred associations: associated with Lord Dharukavaneswarar; used for rituals and ceremonies and in temples
Part used: wood and volatile oil
Energetics: bitter, sweet, astringent/cooling/sweet
Dosha effect: lowers pitta and vata, increases kapha or ama (in excess)
Dhatus: plasma, blood, muscle, marrow and nerve, reproductive
Systems: circulatory, nervous, digestive
Indications: eye diseases, cystitis, urethritis, vaginitis, acute dermatitis, herpes zoster, bronchitis, palpitations, gonorrhea, sunstroke
Actions: Antidepressant, antiphlogistic, antiseptic (urinary and pulmonary), antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, astringent, bactericidal, carminative, cicatrisant, diuretic, expectorant, fungicidal, insecticidal, sedative, tonic.
Precautions: high kapha, severe lung congestion; sandalwood is non-toxic, non-irritant, non-sensitizing.
Preparations: infusion (hot or cold), decoction, powder, medicated oil

Sandalwood is a small, evergreen, parasitic tree native to tropical Asia. It has leathery leaves and small pinky-purple flowers. Trees must be over 30 years old before used in sandalwood production. Sandalwood is currently a threatened species, although there are large tree plantations in India and Australia to meet the demand for this sacred and aromatic tree. The leaf of the plant possesses anti-bacterial properties. The roasted resin of the leaves controls dysentery. The latex heals cracks in the hands and heels and eases swelling of the lungs when taken internally. The wood from the tree is used to make cartwheels and is also a popular building material for temples. The dry leaves of the tree can be used like sandpaper to rub and clean woodwork.

Sandalwood is one of the oldest perfume materials, with at least 4,000 years of uninterrupted use. It is used as a traditional incense, cosmetic, perfume and embalming material throughout the East. In Chinese medicine, it is used to treat stomach ache, vomiting, gonorrhea, choleric difficulties and skin complaints. In the Ayurvedic tradition, it is used mainly for urinary and respiratory infections and for acute and chronic diarrhea.

A few drops of sandalwood oil applied to the 3rd eye will relieve heat and thirst, and is good for fever or overexposure to the sun. It is used to treat respiratory problems: bronchitis, persistent coughs, laryngitis, and sore throat. Sandalwood is also used to treat diarrhea and nausea. Sandalwood is a mood elevator and has been used to alleviate depression, insomnia, nervous tension and stress-related complaints. Sandalwood helps the awakening of the intelligence. It helps open the third eye, to increase devotion and promote meditation. It also aids in the transmutation of sexual energy.

Sandalwood is used in skin care for acne, dry, cracked and chapped skin, aftershave, and as a moisturizer. Formerly sandalwood was used as a pharmaceutical disinfectant. It is used extensively in soaps, detergents, cosmetics, perfumes and incense. It is also used as a flavor ingredient in soft and alcoholic drinks.

India is the primary producer of the essential oil, particularly the region of Mysore, although some oil is distilled in Europe and US. It blends well with many essential oils, most notably, rose, lavender, bergamot, rosewood, geranium, vetvier, patchouli, myrrh and jasmine. In India, it is often combined with rose in the famous scent aytar. Australian sandalwood (S. spicatum or Eurcarya spicata) produces a very similar oil, but with a dry-bitter top note. Amyris is known as West Indian sandalwood but is not related and is a poor substitute. (3: Pages 143 – 144; 4: Page 166; 11)

Tulsi (Ocimum basilicum)

Sanskrit Name: Tulasi
Other Names: Holy Basil, French Basil, Common Basil, Sweet Basil
Sacred associations: one of the most sacred plants in India; regarded as a goddess and a consort of Lord Vishnu; ceremonially married to Lord Vishnu every year, marking the beginning of the marriage season
Indications: insect bites; gout, muscular aches and pains, rheumatism, bronchitis, coughs, earaches, sinusitis, flatulence, nausea, cramps or scanty periods, colds, fever, flu, infectious diseases.
Actions: Antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cephalic, digestive, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, galactagogue, nervine, prophylactic, restorative, stimulant of adrenal cortex, stomachic, tonic.
Precautions: relatively non-toxic, non-irritant; avoid essential oil during pregnancy.

Tulsi, a native to tropical Asia and Africa, is now widely cultivated throughout most of the world. There are many varieties used for both culinary and medicinal applications. It is a tender annual herb, with very dark green, ovate laves, grayish-green beneath with stems bearing whorls of two-lipped greenish, or pinky-white flowers. The plant has a lovely aroma.

Tulsi is widely used in Ayurvedic for: bronchitis, coughs, colds, asthma, flu and emphysema. It is also used as an anecdote for insect and snake bites. It has been used against epidemics and fever, such as malaria. It improves blood circulation and the digestive system. Tulsi is sattvic and opens the heart and mind, gives love, devotion, faith, compassion and clarity; cleanses the aura and gives divine protection. It increases prana and develops pure awareness. Holy basil is used to relieve anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia, migraine, nervous tension. It clears the head, relieves intellectual fatigue and gives the mind strength and clarity.

Tulsi is an herbal remedy for various common ailments. The juice extracted from the leaf is given to cure fever, dysentery, skin infections, intestinal worms and to reduce vomiting. The stem is made into beads and used as rosaries by the Hindus.

Basil essential oil is produced in France, Italy, Egypt, Bulgaria, Hungary and the US. It is colorless or pale yellow with a light, fresh, sweet-spicy scent and balsamic undertone. It blends well with bergamot, clary sage, lime, opopanax, oak moss, citronella, geranium, hyssop amongst others. The oil is used in soaps, cosmetics, and perfumery; and also used in savory foods. (4: Pages 52 – 54; 7: pages 107 – 108; 11)

Vetvier (Veiveria zizanoides)

Sanskrit Name: None
Other Names: Cuscus, Cuss Cuss, Kuss-Kuss grass
Sacred Associations: Lord Shiva; it is also believed that Buddha attained enlightenment while meditating on a mat woven from kuss kuss grass
Dosha effect: lowers vata; will increase pitta and kapha if used in excess
Energetics: sweet, bitter; warm and grounding
Dhatus: skin, nerve, reproductive, joints
Indications: arthritis, root chakra blockage, nervousness, insomnia, rheumatism, stress, disconnectedness, anorexia, postpartum depression, aging skin, tired skin, irritate menopause, loss of appetite
Actions: antiseptic, tonic, relaxant, woman’s hormone balancer, grounding, regenerating, strengthening, aphrodisiac, rubefacient, moth repellent
Preparations: lotion, bath, massage oil, patches, perfumes, never use more than 5% in a blend
Precautions: non-toxic, non-irritant, non-sensitizing; when creating a lotion or perfume, it can overwhelm the other scents

Vetvier is a grass whose rootlets have been used for their fragrance since ancient times. It is native to south India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. It is now cultivated in various parts of the world and the essential oil is mainly produced in Java, Haiti, and Reunion with some distilled in Europe and the US. It is useful for aging or irritated skin. It is reputed to have an aphrodisiac effect and to be a female tonic and useful in post-partum depression. A decoction of the root is used to treat swelling and pain in joints, fever, jaundice, etc., and the oil is used to cure rheumatic pains. The roots relieve thirst and burning sensations, and purify and invigorate the blood, skin and genitourinary tract. It strengthens the digestive fire, digests ama, and calms both vomiting and diarrhea. It purifies sweat and urine; a strong decoction, cooled is good for inflammation of the urinary tract or the reproductive organs, and a weak decoction, cooled, can be sipped during high fevers. It benefits almost all pitta-caused inflammations, and its paste makes a good cooling application for pitta-induced skin diseases or in “hot” fevers.

The root has a pleasant aroma and when dried has been used to scent linens and clothes. It was also woven into mats that were sprinkled with water and hung like curtains to cool and scent the air in dwellings. In India, the grassy plant is sown wherever there is erosion of the soil. Its strong roots hold onto the soil and prevent loss.

The oil distilled from the roots is amber-colored and very sweet and earthy. Vetvier dilutes beautifully, lending richness to dry-toned blends and the smell of stems and leaves to rose-based perfumes. Vetvier is extremely long-lasting and is an excellent fixative. It mixes well with: rosewood, jatamansi, all citrus, sandalwood, dhavana, angelica, geranium, ylang ylang, rose, lavender, cinnamon, patchouli, oak moss and clary sage. Vetvier is very relaxing so is valuable in massage and baths for anyone experiencing stress. Incense or essential oil made with vetvier cools the mind and can improve concentration.

Vetvier is also used as a fixative and fragrance ingredient in soaps, cosmetics, and perfumes. The oil is used in food preservatives, especially for asparagus. (1: Page 92; 4: Pages 187 – 188; 5: Page 297; 6: page 160; 11)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Legumes are often cooked in combination with grains, because when the aminoacids they contain are combined this way they provide complete protein. .Beans are found in two places on the USDA's Food Guide Pyramid -with high-protein foods such as meat,eggs, poultry and fish, and also with vitamin-rich vegetables. The double dose of nutrition packed into beans make them a "musthave" in your daily diet.

Beans are an extremely beneficial component in all diets because they are high in complex carbohydrates, protein and dietary fiber, low in fat, and sodium, and completely cholesterol-free.

Protein Beans are an excellent, non-fat source of protein. 1cup has 18gms of protein.

Beans are loaded with complex carbohydrates-the nutrient that provides energy to the muscles and brain. Just one cup of beans can provide 15 percent of the carbohydrates needed daily.Plus, beans have the best type of carbohydrate for maximum energy-low or moderate glycemic index carbohydrates. Beans and other carbohydrates with a low t omoderate glycemic index have the unique ability to provide energy over a longer period of time by being slowly released into your bloodstream to provide sustained energy. A benefit for diabetics.

Beans are one of the best sources of dietary fiber, containing both insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber, generally thought of as "roughage" that moves quickly through the digestive system, is important in our diets because it helps promote a healthy digestive tract and can reduce the risk of some types of cancer.During digestion, soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance, which helps the body handle fats, cholesterol and carbohydrates. Soluble fiber plays a role in helping to lower blood cholesterol levels, one of the main risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease. A high-fiber diet helps control diabetes and maintain healthy blood glucose levels.

Calcium: The recommended calcium intake for adults is 1,000mg per day.A half-cup of beans provides as much as eight percent of the recommended daily allowance for calcium. Calcium is necessary to maintain bones and help prevent osteoporosis, a decrease in bone density that can lead to fractures and disability.

Potassium: Beans contain an abundance of potassium, which may help reduce your risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Just one-half cup of cooked dry beans contains as much as 480mg of potassium.

Folate:an important B vitamin that provides many health benefits. Of all foods, dry beans are the best source of folate. Cooked dry beans provide, on average, 264mcg of folate.

So ... Eat some beans folks! and Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Some Herbs and their Uses

Note: If you consume or recommend herbs. Please use or recommend responsibly.

1. Amla (Amalaki, Dhatri)
Emblica Officinalis
Dhatri: That which nurtures and supports the whole body like the Earth supports all living beings.
Part Used Fruit
Guna Light, dry, cold
Rasa All tastes except salty; Mainly sour
Vipaka Sweet
Veerya Cooling (Sheetha)
Effect on Dosha Pacifies all of the Doshas, especially Pitta
Main Action Rejuvenative, aphrodisiac, laxative, haemostatic, antiaging; The
world’s richest source of Vitamin C
 Locally: Paste applied on forehead in Pitta headaches, on the face to improve the
complexion and on blemishes on the skin and the head for early graying.
 Beneficial as a Rasayana: Nutritive to all of the Dhatus, rejuvenating (Chyavanprash)
 Good for the digestive system: Used as agnideepana, ama pachana, anulomana in
agnimandya, acid reflux, ulcers and liver diseases.
 Used in Pitta fever, skin problems, anemia and diabetes.
 Used in bleeding conditions such as bleeding gums, healing wounds, bleeding in the
eyes, redness of the eyes, nose bleeds, bleeding hemorrhoids and/or ulcers.
 Used as an aphrodisiac, for uterine debility, Menorrhegia and leucorrhea.

2. Ashwagandha
Withenia Somnifera
Ashva/Ashwa: Horse
Gandha: Smell
Part Used Root
Guna Light, moist
Rasa Sweet, bitter, astringent
Vipaka Sweet
Veerya Heating (Ushna)
Effect on Dosha Decreases Vata and Kapha, increases Pitta and Ama if taken in
Main Action Aphrodisiac, sedative, Rasayana, antiaging, nervine, analgesic
Forms Used Decoction, arishta, powder, ghrita, avaleha
The Herbs in Detail
Gives energy like a horse.

 Locally: Paste on enlarged lymph glands, oil in vata diseases.
 Beneficial in instances of infertility, sexual or general debility, low sperm count and/or
low vitality.
 Useful for pregnant women to strengthen the uterus and the growing fetus.
 Promotes sleep, used in stress, anxiety, nerve pain, muscle pain, overwork, emaciation,
insomnia and acts as a nerve tonic.
 Beneficial for arthritis, sciatica, rheumatism, MS and paralysis.
 Respiratory: Cough, Asthma, migraine headaches.
 The juice of Ashvagandha leaves is used as ear drops for ear discharge.
 Builds the Dhatus, especially mamsa and shukra.
 Used in debilitating diseases; Improves immunity.

3. Bala
Sida Cardifolia
Part Used Root, seeds, leaves
Guna Heavy, moist, slimy
Rasa Sweet
Vipaka Sweet
Veerya Cooling
Effect on Dosha Decreases Vata and Pitta
Main Action Rejuvenative, nervine, aphrodisiac, analgesic
Forms Used Oil, decoction, arishta, ghrita
 Locally: Paste for healing wounds.
 Strengthens the small intestine and improves digestion (useful in IBS and Crone’s
 Strengthens the lungs, heals ulcers and cavities in the lungs; Useful in Pittaja kasa
(cough) and asthma.
 Alterative, very useful in Raktapitta and Pitta (burning) hemorrhoids.
 As a tonic, it is useful in general debility, undernourishment (tuberculosis is an example
of this) and in the case of weak heart muscles.
 Strengthens all of the Dhatus but mainly mamsa and shukra.
 Aids in Vata disorders such as sciatica, neuralgia and facial paralysis (anuvasana bastis
are useful here).
 Beneficial for Rheumatism and chronic fevers.

4. Bibhitaki
Terminelia Belerica
Part Used Fruit
Guna Dry, heavy
Rasa Astringent
Vipaka Pungent
Uses Uses
Veerya Heating
Effect on Dosha Decreases Kapha and Pitta, mainly Kapha
Main Action Rejuvenative, expectorant, laxative, antihelmentic, antiseptic,
lithotropic (breaks gall bladder and kidney stones)
Forms Used Oil, powder, decoction
 Beneficial for cough, asthma, congestion, migraine headaches; Also works to clear the
 The partially ripe fruit works as a laxative.
 Gives tone to the body.
 The oil can be used in premature graying of the hair and as a hair tonic.
 Acts as an anti emetic and reduces excessive thirst.
 Beneficial for Deepana, Pachana, acts as an antihelmentic and stops bleeding.
 The seeds are used to treat insomnia.

5. Brahmi
Buccopa Monnieria
Part Used Leaves
Guna Light
Rasa Bitter, astringent, sweet
Vipaka Sweet
Veerya Cooling
Effect on Dosha Nervine, Antiepileptic and antihysteric by Prabhava
Main Action Decreases mainly Vata and Pitta
Forms Used Juice, powder, oil
 Locally: The juice can be applied on painful joints as an analgesic.
 Brahmi is useful to calm and cool the mind, especially in instances of high fever when it
reaches a state of delirium, marked by anxiety, disorientation, hallucinations, delusions,
and incoherent speech.
 Works as a brain tonic: Calms the mind, reduces dullness and enhances intelligence and
 Brahmi is used in Pitta conditions, Jatamansi in Vataja conditions and Vacha in Kapha
 Helps with epilepsy, mental retardation, depression, delusion and hallucinations.
 Helps relieve pain and inflammation.
 Works as a diuretic: Reduces burning and pain during urination.
 Acts as a Rasayana: Strengthens all of the dhatus except Rakta.
 Since Brahmi is rare, a similar nervine herb is often substituted: Mandukaparni
(Hydrocotyl Asiata).
 Brahmi leaves are smooth and have small black spots. Mandukaparni has rough leaves,
is good for the skin and is less nervine than Brahmi.
 Gotukola (Centella Asiata) which is commonly used in the US is another sister variety of
Mandukaparni with more diuretic effects. Gotukola is less nervine than Brahmi.
Uses Uses

6. Eranda (Castor)
Ricinus Communis
Part Used Oil, leaves
Guna Heavy, moist, sharp, subtle
Rasa Sweet, pungent, bitter
Vipaka Pungent
Veerya Heating
Effect on Dosha Decreases Kapha and Vata
Main Action Strong purgative
Forms Used Decoction, oil, paste, juice of the leaves
 Locally: Warm leaves are used on painful parts of the body while massaging the
abdomen with oil and saindhava in instances of gas and bloating
 The main use is for Virechana in Panchakarma. It causes purgation without cramping.
 Useful for any disease caused by Apana Vayu, chronic constipation, Agnimandya,
srotorodha. Acts as an Antihelmentic.
 Useful for treating hemorrhoids. The leaves are also useful to stimulate the liver and to
treat obstructive or hemolytic jaundice.
 In Amavata, the oil is given with a ginger decoction.
 Beneficial for Vata disorders such as tremors, facial palsy and sciatica.
 Helps in Asthma by removing Kapha in the stomach through purgation.
 Antiaging.

7. Ginger (Shunthi)
Zinzibar Officinale
Also called Vishvabheshaja. Remedy for almost all diseases.
Part Used Rhizome
Guna Dry Ginger: Light, moist; Fresh Ginger: Dry, sharp and heavy
Rasa Pungent
Vipaka Dry Ginger: Sweet; Fresh Ginger: Pungent
Veerya Heating
Effect on Dosha Both types decrease Vata and Kapha. The sweet Vipaka of Dry
Ginger does not aggravate Pitta while Fresh Ginger increases Pitta
Main Action Stimulates Agni, digestant, carminative, antiemetic, stimulant,
Forms Used Paste, powder, oil, candy, juice, tea
 Locally: The paste is used for sinus headaches and painful joints. The oil is used as nasya
for congestion.
 Works as an agnideepana and pachana as well as an antiflatulent. Because of this, it is
used in agnimandya, vomiting, colds, headaches and to treat abdominal pain.
Uses Uses
 Acts as an antihaemorrhoidal and antispasmodic. Removes srotorodha.
 Useful to treat cough, asthma, allergies and both morning & motion sickness.
 Purifies the blood, stimulates the heart and helps treat Kaphaja skin diseases and
 Acts as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic. Useful for treating arthritis (with caster oil
and Guduchi in instances of Amavata), pain, swelling and general sprains.
 Used in postpartum debility as it acts on all of the physical systems.

8. Guduchi (Amrita, Gulwel)
Tinosphora Cardifolia
Part Used Stems, leaves
Guna Light, dry and soft
Rasa Astringent, bitter, pungent
Vipaka Sweet
Veerya Heating
Effect on Dosha Balances all the three Doshas
Anupana Ghee in Vataja, sugar in Pittaja and honey in Kaphaja diseases
Main Action Dhatu agnideepana, ama pachana, Dhatu strengthening, Rasayana
(nutritive), alterative, antiaging, antipyretic
Forms Used Decoction, powder, arishta
 Locally: The oil is used to treat skin problems as well as physical aches and pains.
 Due to Dhatu agnideepana, Guduchi strengthens all of the Dhatus. It is the best
Rasayana herb.
 Strengthens the small intestine, so it is used in diarrhea, vomiting, Agnimandya, pain in
abdomen, parasites, amlapitta (GERD), liver diseases and anemia.
 Useful for treating all Pitta conditions such as burning hands, feet and body.
 Relieves chronic fevers and bleeding conditions.
 Guduchi satva is effective when treating cardiac debility.
 Useful in Vata conditions such as Amavata, arthritis, chronic pain and spasms.
 Is used in prameha to absorb kleda.
 Useful when treating eye, urinary, respiratory and digestive diseases that are primarily

9. Guggulu
Comiphora Mukul
Part Used Resin
Guna Light, sharp, subtle
Rasa Bitter, astringent, pungent
Vipaka Pungent
Veerya Heating
Effect on Dosha Decreases Vata and Kapha, increases Pitta
Main Action Analgesic, antispasmodic, ama pachana, rejuvenative, stimulant
 Acts as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibacterial, disinfectant and deodorant.
 Has a specific scraping action on excess Meda Dhatu and Kapha, so it is often used to
treat Diabetes, obesity and edema.
 Used to treat arthritis, facial paralysis, sciatica, gout and all Vata disorders.
 Rejuvenates the tissue of the body and increases strength.
 Useful for treating loss of appetite, constipation, liver diseases, piles and worms.
 Useful when treating many skin diseases.
 Many Guggul formulas (such as Triphala Guggul) are popular for reducing cholesterol.

10. Haritaki
Terminelia Chebula
Hara: Eliminates, removes; One which removes malas, aggravated Doshas and Disease.
Part Used Fruit
Guna Light, dry
Rasa All except salty, mainly astringent
Vipaka Sweet
Veerya Heating
Effect on Dosha Balances the Tridoshas (mainly Vata)
Main Action Rejuvenative, laxative, antihelmentic, expectorant.
Popular Products Triphala
Anupanas It can be used in the spring with honey, in the summer with ghee
and in the winter with raw sugar
Forms Used Powder, decoction paste
Contraindications Physical weakness, pregnancy, dehydration, after severe
exhaustion, after Panchakarma
 Locally: The paste is used to alleviate swelling, painful parts of the body. Decoctions are
used to cleanse wounds and for gargling.
 One of the main benefits of Haritaki is in balancing Vata. It is useful in instances of
weakness in the nervous system and brain.
 Works on all Dhatus by removing blockages in any and all of the channels.
 Digestive: Useful in instances of agnimandya, pain in the abdomen, constipation,
parasites, hemorrhoids, gas and/or bloating. Since it is Astringent, it works to strength
the intestines.
 Beneficial when treating Kaphaja Hemorrhoids: Haritaki, Vidanga, Kutaja, Chitrak with
 Beneficial when treating Amlapitta: Haritaki, Pippali and jaggery digest saama Pitta and
reduce burning in the chest.
 Works to strengthen Mamsa and Meda Dhatus by absorbing excess kleda and
strengthening Dhatuagni. Used to treat Kaphaja skin diseases and Prameha.
 Stimulates intelligence and strengthens the sense organs by decreasing excess Kapha
and Meda Dhatu.
 Excellent for treating eye problems: Wash the eyes with Haritaki tea. Triphala, Licorice
ghee and honey strengthen the eyes.
Uses Uses
 Useful for treating kidney stones and painful urination. Haritaki, Gokshura and Pashana
bhed tea with honey reduce burning and help break kidney stones and flush them out
of the body.
 Finely powdered Haritaki is used as a tooth powder that strengthens the gums.
 Used for respiratory rhinitis, cough, hoarseness of voice, hiccups and asthma.
 Useful in leucorrhoea. Acts as uterine tonic.
 Prevents the accumulation of pus in the skin.
 Works as a Rasayana to open the channels, remove malas from the Dhatus, and
cleanse all of the Dhatus. Works as an antiaging agent.
 Pathya: Removes blockage of the srotas and channels.
 Abhaya: Makes the individual fearless.

11. Katuka (Kutaki)
Picrorrhiza Currooa
Part Used Root
Guna Light, dry
Rasa Bitter
Vipaka Pungent
Veerya Cooling
Effect on Dosha Decreases Kapha and Pitta
Main Action Hepatoprotective, laxative
 Useful when treating jaundice, liver problems and for cleansing the liver, cleansing the
gall bladder of stones and treating constipation, flatulence and ascitis.
 Helps regulate heart beats and constrict the blood vessels. Raises blood pressure.
Useful when treating bleeding disorders.
 Improves Agni, so it is used to treat Anorexia and indigestion.
 Useful when treating cough, asthma and fever.

12. Kumari (Aloe Vera)
Aloe Barbadensis, etc.
Part Used Leaves
Guna Bitter, sweet
Rasa Sweet
Vipaka Sweet
Veerya Cooling
Effect on Dosha Decreases all three Doshas
Main Action Bitter tonic, rejuvenative, alterative
Forms Used Juice from the leaves
 Locally: Applied locally to reduce heat. The pulp moisturizes the skin while the fresh
juice is beneficial when applied to the eyes in case of infection.
 Has a laxative effect by irritating the large intestine.
KAA 101 | Page29
 Useful for treating benign in tumors.
 Used to treat anemia.
 Used to treat amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, menopause, inflammatory vaginal
conditions, swollen glands, fever and constipation.
 Used to treat common inflammatory skin conditions.
 It acts using deepana and pachana properties.
 The juice is used to treat loss of appetite, abdominal colic and worm infestations.

13. Manjishtha
Rubia Cardifolia
Part Used Root
Guna Heavy, Dry
Rasa Bitter, astringent, sweet
Vipaka Pungent
Veerya Heating
Effect on Dosha Decreases PKV
Main Action On the skin: Alterative, haemostatic
Forms Used Ghee, powder, decoction, kalka (puree)
 Locally: The paste is used to help heal wounds.
 Works to purify the blood, improve circulation, stop bleeding and reduce inflammation.
 Beneficial when treating skin conditions such as acne, freckles, blisters and skin
infections. Improves the complexion and cleanses wounds. Manjishtha ghee is used to
treat burns.
 Useful when treating all conditions related to menstruation: Dysmenorrhea,
amenorrhea and Menorrhegia.
14. Nagarmotha (Musta, Nutgrass)
Cyperus Rotundus
Part Used Rhizome
Guna Light, Dry
Rasa Pungent, bitter, astringent
Vipaka Pungent
Veerya Cooling
Effect on Dosha Decreases Kapha and Pitta
Main Action Stimulant, carminative, alterative, antispasmodic, antihelmentic
Forms Used Decoction, arishta, powder
 Locally: The paste can be applied to itchy skin rashes or on the breasts to cleanse breast
 Nagarmotha is the best deepana, pachana and grahi, so it is used to treat diarrhea,
malabsorption and indigestion.
 Serves as the key herb in all types of fevers (except chronic fevers).
 Beneficial for increasing and cleansing breast milk.
 Enhances memory and strengthens nerves.
 Beneficial for treating kidney stones and painful urination.

15. Neem (Nimba)
Azadirecta Indica
Part Used Seeds, leaves, bark and flower
Guna Light, dry
Rasa Bitter, astringent, pungent
Vipaka Pungent
Veerya Cooling
Effect on Dosha Decreases Pitta and Kapha
Main Action Antipyretic, alterative (blood purifying), bitter tonic, antiseptic,
antiemetic, antibiotic
Forms Used Oil, powder, swarasa (juice)
 Locally: The decoction can be used to cleanse wounds. The oil is benenficial in chronic
or diabetic ulcers, the mouth wash in dental caries and the smoke of burning leaves
cleanses wounds and the environment.
 Useful when treating skin diseases such as itching, dermatitis, eczema, scabies, chronic
wounds and burns.
 Benenficial for fevers, malaria, Pitta fevers and chronic Kapha fevers.
 Acts as an antiparasitic. Should be given with triphala and grape juice.
 Beneficial when treating diabetes, tumors, jaundice, rheumatism and arthritis.
 Several Neem products are available for external use, such as neem soap and neem
 Neem seed oil is very potent medicinally (1 part oil is mixed in 1 million parts of
 In the US, neem is used as a natural pesticide.

16. Pippali
Piper Longum
Part Used Fruit
Types Two: Dry and fresh (dry type described below)
Dry Type
Guna Light, moist, sharp
Rasa Pungent
Vipaka Sweet
Veerya Heating (mildly)
Effect on Dosha Decreases Kapha and Vata
Main Action Expectorant, carminative, analgesic
Forms Used Ghee, powder, asava
 Improves Agnideepana, acts as a carminative (vata anulomana), analgesic and mild
 Beneficial for treating Amlapitta and enlargements of the liver and spleen.
 Benficial for treating bronchitis, laryngitis, cough, asthma (it is an expectorant), Hiccups
and Tuberculosis.
 Strengthens Raktaagni, so it is useful in Anemia (the powder of pippali and amala).
 Digests ama, so it is useful in Amavata and sciatica.
 Pippali is used as a Rasayana: Vardhaman Pippali Rasayana strengthens all dhatus.
 Used during delivery to cause contractions of the uterus and help expel the placenta and cleanse the uterus after delivery.

17. Punarnava
Boerhvia Diffusa
Part Used Root, seeds, leaves, whole plant
Types Two: White and red
Main Action Reduces swelling, acts as a laxative and alterative
Effect on Dosha Decreases VPK
Forms Used Asava, paste, decoction
White Type
Guna Light, dry
Rasa Pungent, sweet, bitter, astringent
Vipaka Pungent
Veerya Heating
Red Type
Guna Light
Rasa Bitter
Vipaka Pungent
Veerya Cooling
 Locally: The paste is applied to swelling regions and followed by oil massage for pain
and swelling.
 Useful for water retention, hypertension, weight gain, swelling and ascitis. Haritaki,
ginger, deodar, guduchi, guggulu and Punarnava are useful in systemic edema.
 Useful when treating urinary problems such as urinary infections and kidney stones.
 Improves Agni and absorbs fluids. Because of this, it is often used to treat agnimandya,
abdominal pain and colitis.
 Improves the function of the liver and spleen. Used to treat Anemia.
 Used externally in many conditions of the eye.
 Strengthens the heart and increases Rakta Dhatu, so it is useful when treating low
blood pressure.
 Excretes dhatu malas along with regular malas, so it is cleansing to both the dhatus and
they general function of the body while it slows the process of aging.
 Used as a Rasayana in instances of general debility.

18. Shatavari
Asperagus Recemosus
Part Used Root
Guna Heavy, moist, soft
Rasa Sweet, bitter
Vipaka Sweet
Veerya Cooling (Sheeta)
Effect on Dosha Balances Pitta and Vata and increases Kapha if used in excess
Main Action Rasayana (nutritive), calming, cooling, aphrodisiac, diuretic
Forms Used Decoction, oil, ghee, powder, kalpa
 Locally: Used in oil for massage (narayan oil).
 Beneficial when treating or promoting the health of the female reproductive organs,
such as in instances of infertility, debility, impotence, menopause and leucorrhea.
 Reduces the blood pressure and strengthens the heart.
 Benefits digestive disorders such as ulcers, hyperacidity, diarrhea and dysentery.
 Shatavari, licorice and sariva (anant) strengthen Mamsa Dhatu in women and
strengthen the uterus.
 Benefial when treating respiratory ailments such as cough, chronic fevers or lung
 Treats the urinary (Mutravaha srotas) system, such as in instances of painful urination.
 Increases breast milk: Useful for lactating mothers.
 Strengthens Ojas and enhances memory.
 Increases sperm count and ovulation, prevents abortion and miscarriage and
strengthens the blood vessels.

19. Tulsi (Holy Basil)
Ocimum Sanctum
Part Used Leaves, seed, root
Guna Light, moist, sharp
Rasa Pungent, Bitter
Vipaka Pungent
Veerya Heating (the seeds are cooling)
Effect on Dosha Decreases Kapha and Vata; the seeds decrease Pitta
Main Action Antibacterial, nervine, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, blood purifying
 Acts mainly on the respiratory tract. Beneficial when treating cough, cold and Kaphatype
 Tulsi seeds are diuretic, so they are used to treat dysuria or burning sensations in the
 Acts as an agnideepana, so it used to treat agnimandya.
 Used to treat Kapha and Vata fevers.
 Acts as an insecticidal and deodorant. In India, every house has a Tulsi plant in their
front yard.

20. Yashtimadhu (Licorice)
Glycyrrizha Glabra
Part Used Root
Guna Heavy, moist
Rasa Sweet, Astringent
Vipaka Sweet
Veerya Cooling
Effect on Dosha Decreases Vata and Pitta
Main Action Demulcent, expectorant, tonic, rejuvenative, laxative, sedative
Forms Used Powder, paste, decoction, oil, ghee
 Useful when treating cough, cold, bronchitis, asthma, sore throat and laryngitis.
 Beneficial for urinary infections and bleeding disorders.
 Beneficial when treating diarrhea, dysentery, ulcers and heartburn.
 Strengthens Shukra Dhatu, Ojas and improves complexion as an external application.
 Strengthens the blood vessels and stops bleeding. Nourishes Mamsa Dhatu and
strengthens vision.
 Builds the Dhatus and slows aging.

If you use herbs. Please use them responsibly or find training for using herbs.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Indeed, avocados are much like a creamy dairy product that grows on trees. They contain a surprising amount of fat(about 15 grams per half)but fortunately, almost all of that fat is the monounsaturated kind (the same kind found in olive oil)that is believed to be good for the heart. They're also loaded with potassium, fiber and disease-fighting nutrients. Known for their deliciously rich flavor, Research shows that avocados rank highest in the following phytochemicals and nutrients and are among the 20 most frequently consumed fruits:

Lutein: Protects against prostate cancer and eye disease such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

VitaminE: A powerful antioxidant known to slow the aging process and protect against heart disease and various forms of cancer.

Glutathione: Functions as an antioxidant like vitaminE to neutralize free radicals that can cause cell damage and lead to disease.

Beta-sitosterol: Lowers blood cholesterol levels. Avocados contain four times as much betasitosterol as oranges, previously reported as the highest fruit source of this phytochemical.

Monounsaturated fats: Heart-healthy fats proven to help lower LDL(bad cholesterol and boost HDL(good)cholesterol.

Folate: Promotes healthy cell and tissue development. Folate is especially important for woman of child bearing age as it helps protect against birth defects.

Potassium: Helps balance the body’s electrolytes. Avocados contain 60 percent more potassium than bananas.

Magnesium:Helps produce energy and is important for muscle contraction and relaxation.

Fiber:Lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart attack.

So eat some Avocados today!! Yum.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Benefits of Artichokes

Artichokes are low in calories,with only 60 calories for one medium cooked globe and fat-free.It is a natural diuretic,a digestive aid,and provides nutrition to health-promoting bacteria in the intestinal tract. Some studies suggest that fresh artichokes help control bloodsugars in diabetics and lower cholesterol levels thus warding off arteriosclerosis. Although artichokes have a high amount of natural sodium, they are still lower than most processed foods, and a real good source of fiber, potassium and magnesium. Some claim an extended period of eating artichokes when in season will result in a cleaning and detoxification of the body.

The ancients considered artichokes to have many benefits. Artichokes, including the leaves, were thought to be anaphrodisiac, adiuretic, a breath freshener and even a deodorant. Decoctions of artichoke leaves have been used as blood cleansers, cholerics, to improve bile production and secretion and to detoxify the liver and the skin.

LiverBenefits : Current research is showing benefits to the liver from cynarin, a compound found in the artichoke's leaves. Silymarin is another compound found in artichokes that has powerful antioxidant properties and may help the liver regenerate and heal the tissues.

NutrientRich : Artichokes are nutrient dense, so, for the 25calories in a medium artichoke, you're getting sixteen essential nutrients!

Artichokes provide the important minerals magnesium, chromium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, iron and calcium. For example, that 25 calorie artichoke provides 6%of the Recommended Daily Value of phosphorus, 10% of magnesium, 8% of manganese,10%of chromium, 5% of potassium, 4% of iron and 2% of calcium and iron.

Artichokes are low in calories and sodium, have no fat and no cholesterol.

As a part of a wellbalanced, high- fiber diet, Artichokes can help reduce the risk of certain types of heart disease,cancers and birth defects.

So Enjoy Them. We will be featuring a lot more vegetables and talking about their properties and benefits! Bon Apetit!

Friday, April 9, 2010


I honor the place within you
In which the entire universe dwells

I honor the place within you
Of Truth, of Love, of Light, of Peace

I honor the place within you
Where if you are in that place within you
And I am in that place within me
There can be but one of us

-Ram Das

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar has compiled a listing of 15 Super Foods that you should try and incorporate into your diet.

1. Whole Grains: Quinoa, Amaranth, Brown Rice, Barley, Oats

2. Mixed Beans & Legumes: Mung, Black, Kidney Beans

3. Oils: EV Olive, Coconut, Sesame, Ghee

4. Leafy Greens: Spinach, Leeks, Kale, Cilantro, Collard Greens

5. Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage

6. Lean Meat: Fish, Salmon, Turkey

7. Root Vegetables: Carrots, Sweet Potato

8. Colorful Fruits: Mango, Kiwi, Cantaloupe, Orange,
Pomegranate, Avocado, Dark Grapes, Papaya, Apples

9. Colorful Veggies: Red & Orange Pepper, Tomato, Artichoke,
Green Chili, Bokchoy, Squash, Zucchini

10. Spices: Turmeric, Ginger, Cinnamon, Black Pepper, Cumin

11. Mixed Nuts: Almonds, Walnuts, pecans, brazil nut, pine nut

12. Dairy Products: Low Fat Milk, Low Fat Yogurt, Ghee

13. Mixed Berries: Blue, black, cran, rasp & strawberries

14. Seeds: Flax, Sesame, Pumpkin, Sunflower seeds

15. Sweeteners: Maple Syrup, Honey, Jaggery, Sucanat

We will be featuring foods from each category and explaining their healing properties. Today we will begin with broccoli:

Recent research indicates that Broccoli contains a substance
called Sulforaphane that has been shown in animal studies to
dramatically reduce the number, size, and reproduction of
malignant tumors, as well as delay the onset of these tumors.
This appears to relate directly to cancer risk in humans,
particularly in breast, stomach, colon, rectal, and lung cancers,
and it is believed to be a powerful preventative for these
diseases. It is also rich in fiber, carotenoids, and vitamin A,
vitamin C and vitamin K, (which is a known stomach and colon
cancer preventative).

Due to it's high levels of vitamin C, beta carotene, and fiber, Broccoli is a powerful antioxidant that is believed to prevent damage to cells caused by free radicals, which are believed to be a factor in cancers, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, arthritis, and in the aging process itself, suggesting that a diet high in these substances may prevent or at least minimize the effects of these diseases.

Broccoli is a powerful anti‐carcinogen, since it stimulates the body to produce its own cancerfighting substances. But broccoli doesn't stop there; it can also help prevent cataracts, heart disease, arthritis, ulcers, and viruses. The best way to prepare and eat broccoli is to steam it or eat it raw.

Oh yeah, and by the way you can find Broccoli in your local super market or even better in your local farmer's market at a very good and inexpensive price!

For more information about our education please visit our website.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ayurveda Philosophy

Ayurveda is a word in the Sanskrit language of India that literally translates to the science [or wisdom] of life. Ayur translates to life and Veda translates to wisdom, knowledge or science. Since its origin thousands of years ago, Ayurveda has a continuous tradition of professional practice, research and education. It has become an inseparable part of the culture and daily lifestyle of traditional families in India. During the last thirty years, many original Ayurvedic Sanskrit texts have been translated into various European languages, including English. This has gradually led to the current popularity of Ayurveda in the West.

What Makes Ayurveda Special?

 It respects the uniqueness of the individual.
 It considers all the levels of the individual – Body, mind and spirit.
 It offers natural ways of treating diseases and promoting health.
 It emphasizes prevention.
 It empowers everyone to take responsibility for their own well-being.
 It is cost-effective.
 It works.

Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of creating and maintaining positive health. Its focus is on preventing the imbalances that lead to disease. For prevention as well as for treatment, an individualized, multi-dimensional approach is taken.

Ayurveda is strikingly different from other medical sciences because it recognizes that each person is made up of a unique body type and a unique psychological personality. Thus, instead of assuming that all of us are identical machines or guinea pigs, Ayurveda respects the uniqueness of each person. Secondly, Ayurveda does not limit itself to physical or psychological dimensions. It considers all the levels of a person, which include the spiritual, emotional, intellectual, behavioral, physical, familial, social, environmental and universal levels.

The Science of Life

Ayurveda is a part of the Vedic system of knowledge. Among the four Vedas—Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda—Ayurveda is a part of the Atharva Veda.
Between 1000 – 700 BC, Ayurveda developed into eight branches or specialties and two schools: Atreya, the school of physicians and Dhanvantari, the school of surgeons.
The chanting of mantras and the religious aspect of medicine in the Vedas was gradually supplemented by observations based on scientific thinking. The material scattered throughout the Vedas was collected, subjected to rigid tests for efficacy and then rearranged. Such compilations are called Samhita when written in Sanskrit:

1. Charaka Samhita
2. Sushruta Samhita
3. Ashtang Hridaya Samhita

These are the three oldest, most authentic and most respected Samhitas. They are called the Brihat Trai, or Great Trio.

Charaka Samhita
 A classical text book of Internal medicine (Kayachikitsa).
 Considered the prime work on the basic concepts of Ayurveda.
 Represents the Atreya Sampradaya, or Atreya School of Physicians.
 A systematic work divided into eight sections which are further divided into 120 chapters.

Sushruta Samhita
 Represents the Dhanvantari School of Surgeons and is considered in Ayurveda to be the father of surgery.
 Contains sophisticated descriptions of surgical instruments and various procedures such as plastic surgery.

Origin and Background

 Contains descriptions of the marmas—vital points in the body that are comparable to the system of acupuncture meridians in Chinese Medicine.
 Hastam eva pradhan yantram. The word surgery comes from the Greek word meaning manual operation. Sushruta emphasizes that among all surgical instruments, the hand is the most important because all other instruments are useless without it.

Asthang Hridaya
 Vagbhata wrote the Asthang Hridaya in poetic verse form.
 Broken into two sections: The Ashtanga Sangraha and Ashtanga Hridaya.
 The Ashtanga Sangraha is the third important composition of the great triad. It deals with all eight branches of Ayurveda (Ashtanga: eight, Sangraha: collection). This is divided into 150 chapters.
 Ashtanga Hridaya is more concise than Ashtanga Sangraha and is written in verse—a beautiful poetry form; this makes it easier for a student to remember important subjects in a
concise form.
 The word Ashtang or Ashtanga translates to eight

1. Kayachikitsa | Internal Medicine
 Deals with the prevention, etiology, prognosis and management of disease.
2. Shalya Tantra | Surgery
 Various surgeries are described. The first plastic surgery was described in the Sushrut Samhita.
3. Shalakya Tantra | Ear, Nose, Throat and Eye Diseases
 The Ayurvedic branch of ophthalmology and Oto-rhinolaryngology - diseases of eye and ear, nose and throat.
4. Kaumarbhritya | Pediatrics
 Deals with prenatal and postnatal baby care and with the care of the mother
before conception and during pregnancy. Various childhood diseases and treatments come under this branch.
5. Agada Tantra | Toxicology
 This branch deals with the toxicity and purification of herbs as well as mineral and animal products.
6. Bhuta Vidya | Psychiatry
 Ayurveda is equally concerned with mental diseases
and their treatment. Treatment methods include not only diet and herbs, but
also yogic methods for improving the state of mind. There is ample material for research on this branch in the Atharva Veda and other Ayurveda chapters.
7. Rasayana| The Science of Rejuvenation
 This therapy is used to prevent disease and
promote healthy living.
8. Vajikarana | The Science of Aphrodisiacs
 This branch deals with the means of
increasing sexual vitality and efficiency. For achieving healthy and intelligent progeny, the therapy of Rasayana and Vajikarana are closely interrelated. Vajikarana medicines also act as rejuvenatives.
 Ayurveda describes several methods for conceiving a child.

Ashtanga Ayurveda
8-Fold Classification

There are six fundamental systems of philosophy derived from the Vedas or Vedic Systems often referred to as Shatdarshana. The word shat translates to six and darshana translates to philosophy or understanding. These systems include the Sankhya, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Yogadarshana, Mimamsa and Vedanta. They are considered the most important philosophies derived from the Vedic texts.

Sankhya Philosophy
 One of the oldest philosophical theories.
 The word sankhya is derived from sat meaning truth and khya meaning to realize.
 Another definition of sankhya is a number that is related to the 24 elemental building blocks (principles) which constitute the Sankhya view of the universe:
Purusha | Pure Consciousness
 The origin of creation
 Conscious ground for creation
 Passive in creation
 Reflects in each and every living being
 Male energy
1. Prakriti | The First Step of Creation
 The entire universe is created from Prakriti
 Contains prime attributes behind all things as forms of perception
 Has three qualities called Gunas: Sattva, Rajas and Tamas
o Sattva Guna is knowledge, clarity, and purity
o Rajas Guna is action, mobility, stimulus
o Tamas Guna is ignorance, inactivity, heaviness and darkness
 Prakriti and its three Gunas are responsible for the diversity in the universe while the existence of Purusha is responsible for unity.
 Prakriti and Purusha are the ultimate, causeless, omnipresent and all pervasive causes of the universe. When they combine, creation begins.

The Philosophical Foundation

2. Mahat | Cosmic Intelligence
 The First Manifestation of Prakriti
 The cosmic intelligence, intuition and/or wisdom
 Buddhi is individual intelligence
 In every cell of an individual there is inborn intelligence. This intelligence puts
everything in its proper place.
3. Ahankara | The Cosmic Ego
Ahankara represents the power of differentiation or diversification, the awareness of the self, or the feeling I am.
The three Gunas manifest here in the form of Sattvic Ahankara, Rajas Ahankara and Tamas Ahankara.
4. Manasa | Mind
Manasa represents the formulating principle of emotions and ideas, as well as the individual consciousness projected by Rajas Ahankara. It connects the inner and outer worlds
10 – 14 Panchakarmendriyani | The Five Organs of Action
1. Vocal Chords
2. Feet
3. Hands
4. Urethra (Urogenital Tract)
5. Anus

The Five Organs of Action derive from Rajas Ahankara. As organs of action, Rajas is called Kriya Shakti, which translates to the actions directed toward all that is, or the nine powers of action.
15 – 19 Tanmatras | The Five Causal Elements
1. Shabda | Sound
2. Sparsha | Touch
 The word Pancha translates to five
5 – 9 Panchagyanendriyani

The Five Sense Organs
1. Ears
2. Eyes
3. Skin
4. Tongue
5. Nose

The five sense organs are derived from Sattvic Ahankara. They perceive sound, vision, touch, taste and smell respectively. The entire knowledge of the universe is obtained through these sense organs. Therefore they are called Gyana Shakti, or the knowledge of all that is.

3. Rupa | Vision
4. Rasa | Taste
5. Gandha | Smell

The Five Causal Elements derive from Tamas Ahankara and represent the unmanifested forms of the five elements.

20 – 24 Panchamahabhutas | The Five Elements
1. Akash | Space
2. Vayu | Air
3. Tejas | Fire
4. Aap | Water
5. Prithvi | Earth

All matter is created by the combination of these five material elements. Therefore Tamas is called Dravya Shakti, which translates to the power of substance.

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