How to manage Atopic dermatitis (eczema) – an ayurvedic approach by Krya

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Reading Time: 13 minutes

Do you or your child suffer from Atopic dermatitis or dry, itchy, easily irritated skin? Have you been asked to use a special medicated soap or a lotion to help control the skin itchiness? Are you looking for natural remedies and safe skin care alternatives to manage this condition better? Read on for more information on Atopic dermatitis, the extent of the problem, possible causes and triggers and Ayurvedic advice on this condition.

What is Atopic dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is defined as a chronic condition where the skin is dry, itchy , sometimes reddish and irritable for a long period of time. Even when they subside, there is always a chance that the condition can flare up and trigger in the skin. The rash can sometimes inflame and then ooze clear fluid. If the skin is severely dry and cracked, it may also bleed.

Atopic dermatitis is a non contagious chronic skin condition with dry itchy irritable skin

Atopic dermatitis is not considered contagious. However western medical science is unable to pinpoint an exact cause / trigger. It is considered a genetically inherited condition. It is also linked to other allergic conditions like asthma, wheezing, allergic rhinitis. This condition also tends to flare up in the presence of environmental allergens like cosmetics, laundry products, perfumes, make up, pollen, dander, cold & dry weather, stress, etc. It can also flare up with high sweating, high stress and high physical exercise.

Common Atopic dermatitis triggers are stress, sweat, cold weather, etc

Western medicine suggests that atopic dermatitis cannot be completely cured. The skin can be managed with the aid of corticosteroid based topical application products. It usually manifests before 5 years in 90% of Adult sufferers.

How common is Atopic dermatitis in India?

The Indian journal of Dermatology estimates that Atopic dermatitis currently affects nearly 15% of the population in India and has been increasingly rising with time (earlier estimates pegged it at 5% of the population). Studies from developed countries indicate that treatment and management of Atopic dermatitis is a “significant burden on health care budgets”.  The condition almost always starts in childhood and can continue throughout adulthood flaring and subsiding on and off.

Researchers across the world have called Atopic dermatitis a “costly and expensive disease”, both emotionally and financially. An estimate in UK suggests that parents spent 47 million pounds to manage Atopic dermatitis among children between 1 – 5 in one year alone : 75% of this went towards OTC prescription creams, ointments and soaps to manage this condition.

Atopic dermatitis is a financially and emotionally draining skin care condition

Costs in India are also high. The Indian journal of Dermatology estimates that Atopic dermatitis is as expensive a disease as chronic Adult Diabetes with high recurring costs. A recent study in an OP department of a hospital estimated that parents spent Rs. 12000 annually to manage Atopic dermatitis – which was about 15% of their stated family income! This estimate increases with an increase in severity of the disease. In countries like Australia, severe Atopic dermatitis cost families nearly $1225 annually (close to 40, 000 Rs).

What are the trigger factors for Atopic dermatitis ?

The Indian Journal of Pediatrics cites several studies, white papers and discussions in various symposia on the phenomenon of Atopic dermatitis. While there is no conclusive “ONE” factor that contributes to this disease, we have several practical hypotheses to explain why Atopic dermatitis occurs.

Many of us know the standard theories behind the spread of these “idiopathic” conditions like Atopic dermatitis.

Hygiene theory as a cause for Atopic dermatitis:

Atopic dermatitis is much more common in urban , and relatively higher sanitary conditions. This is especially true of Western countries.  As the immune system is relatively “untested” due to clean surroundings , repeated use of strong cleansers, the immune system tends to aggressively respond to relatively harmless antigens leading to development of Atopic dermatitis.

Studies indicate that the severity of Atopic dermatitis is much higher in countries like U.K and U.S.A compared to India due to the above reason.

This and the hereditary theory are the main 2 theories behind skin conditions like Atopic dermatitis (eczema). Apart from the above, we would like to highlight, 2 very critical hypotheses behind the spread of Atopic Dermatitis.

IgE triggers -cause for Atopic dermatitis

IgE is Immunoglobulin E. This is an antibody produced by the body’s immune system in response to invasion of the skin by micro organisms or allergens. When the body is introduced to certain allergen triggers, IgE production along with Basophils and Activated Eosinophils leads to a hypersensitivity reaction.

Here the body responds to this allergen threat by doing 2 things to control the entry of the allergen into the body:

  • It seals off the skin by tightening the brick and mortar structure of the skin: so skin pebbles up and feels tighter
  • It contains the allergens inside a sealed closed off environment in the form of red, visible, external bumps / cysts
  • It restricts the airway passages restraining the amount of allergen filled air being breathed in: simultaneously, it triggers mucous formation, enabling the body to sneeze, cough and expel the allergens that have invaded, OUT of the body

The body's normal response to allergens is intelligent & well thought out.

This response is a well thought through, fantastic piece of intelligent and adaptive design in our body. But, it is designed for an obvious, temporary allergen dose. It is not designed for frequent, in-your-face , subtle allergen attacks.

The question will arise: where are these frequent, in-your-face, subtle allergen attacks to be found?

Enzyme based detergents & household products – trigger Atopic dermatitis

A common IgE triggers is the enzyme Der P1 analogous to Papain . Der P1 is an enzyme present in the feces of the house dust mite. Dust mites can breed in homes where there is limited sunlight, where there are food sources available for the dust mite (they prefer feeding on fungal dandruff flakes form your head!) and also where bed linen is not changed periodically.

Even if you do not have a dust mite infestation, you could still be triggering an IgE reaction. How?

By using enzyme based household products like laundry and dishwashing detergents, contact lens cleaners !

Enzymes can also be found in cosmetic face washes and cleansers, make up removal products, cleansing wipes and sometimes even in synthetic processed foods.

Industrial enzymes, a common trigger for Atopic dermatitis are ubiquitous in a modern home

Another known IgE triggering enzyme is Subtilisin , a bacteria derived enzyme. Subtilisin is a protease enzyme that is linked to both allergic rhinitis, allergy triggered asthma and atopic dermatitis. Subtilisin has been identified as a IgE trigger for both air and skin allergic reactions over the last 40 years.

Enzyme activism – strongly opposed by Industry

Any activism to sensitize users to the potential effects of using these enzymes always faces a strong backlash from the industry. Despite several studies linking the handling of industrial enzymes to contact allergies in workers and animal models, the Industry continues to state that industrial enzymes are safe for home use. They insist that at these doses, it is not possible to develop IgE triggers or allergic reactions.

Allergic reactions need only very minute doses of allergens to trigger the Immune response. Estimates suggest that the average pollen allergy sufferer is exposed to 1 millionth of a gram per year – however even this dose is enough to produce asthma, allergic rhinitis and even anaphylaxis in extreme cases.

The enzyme onslaught around is very high: they have even found their way into food and medical applications. Papain, is commonly used in meat processing to tenderize meat. Chymopapain, a closely linked variant, is used in medical sciatica procedures – one of the rare documented side effects of chymopapain is anaphylaxis!

Papain an industrial enzyme used in food and cosmetic applications can also trigger Atopic dermatitis

A1 dairy linked allergic pathway to Atopic dermatitis:

In the last few years there has been a tremendous amount of research work that has emerged on the inflammatory and allergy inducing properties of commercial dairy. A dairy allergy is fast emerging as a quick diagnosis after nuts and shellfish allergies. Medical practitioners and patients who see a quick reversal in allergic symptoms, reduction of atopic dermatitis and eczema and improvement in asthmatic conditions erroneously conclude that the fault lies in dairy as a whole.

Ayurveda and traditional sciences teach us about the dhatu building and curative properties of carefully sourced dairy. The key point to note here is that “dairy: in Ayurveda and Siddha assumes dairy products sourced for the indigenous, humped Desi cow, which produces A2 milk. Unfortunately, a majority of us today consume commercially extracted, A1 milk. The milk is many times adulterated. The commercial dairy industry , like the commercial poultry industry is notorious with pumping hormones, weight enhancers, and antibiotics into dairy cattle – all of this trigger a wide ranging set of response sin the body.

But apart from the commercialization of dairy and the consequences of drinking this milk, there is another critical issue with the dairy products we receive today: most of commercial dairy farming is sourced from cross bread Jersey / Holstein cattle which usually produce A1 milk or a mixture of A1 and A2 depending on the cross breeding.

 Histidine mutation in modern A1 milk – possible trigger to Atopic dermatitis

Casein is the main milk protein in milk forming about 80% of the protein constituent of milk. Casein is divided into 4 groups, which are represented in milk: S1 Alpha, S2 Alpha, Beta & Kappa type.  Beta Casein is a very important component of milk protein – it forms 30% of Milk’s total protein content.

There are 2 genetic types of Milk – A1 and A2. A2 Milk comes from pure bred Asian and African cattle. In this milk, a protein called PROLINE is the 67th protein in the 209 amino acid protein chain of milk. With the migration of cattle to Europe, a mutation developed in this 67th position in the amino acid protein chain in Beta Casein. Instead of Proline, European cattle mutated to HISTIDINE in the 67th position in the chain. This is a mutation that did not occur in human or other animal species even though they too migrated to Europe.

With modern breeding techniques, European dairy cattle have developed further mutations along the 209-amino acid protein chain, but the most significant change from A2 native cattle is the presence of histidine.

Histidine and Proline are processed very differently in the human body. During digestion, Proline is much more stable compared to histidine . Histidine can cleave and break during digestion to release Beta Casomorphin (BCM) oppoid peptides including a variant called BCM-7.

While there has been research on Casomorphins for over 30 years, it was only post 2009 that researchers started focusing on the effect of CMs and BCM-7 release in the body after consuming A1 milk.

BCM 7 in particular and other variants of BCM do the following:

  • Reduce gastric motility increasing constipation:
  • Slows down time taken to digest food – leading to higher Ama buildup in the body
  • Interfere with nutritional uptake in the body by increasing mucous in the GI system
  • Alter the pattern and behavior of the Gut Immune system – leading to greater risk of inflammatory gut disease

Most importantly, for this article, Beta Casomorphins trigger the IgE response, leading to increased wheezing, rhinitis and atopic eczema and Atopic dermatitis, particularly itchy, inflamed skin.

 Diet linked Allergen pathway to Atopic dermatitis:

We have already explored the correlation between enzyme exposure,  certain kinds of Dairy and allergy induced Atopic dermatitis. Apart from these triggers, natural triggers for Atopic dermatitis include the following:

  • Pollen allergy
  • Dust mites
  • Shell fish
  • Eggs,
  • Nuts and tree nuts (these allergens differ by country and exposure)

Causes for Atopic dermatitis from an Ayurvedic perspective

Ayurveda lists many causes / Hetu for development of Vicharchika (Atopic dermatitis / eczema) and other skin disease. Apart from these reasons, we can add the above to the already existing reasons of allergens and pollutants as a cause.

  • Ahara Hetu – Food based causes
    • Viruddha ahara – incompatible food combinations – radish + curd, sour fruits + milk / curd, honey + hot water, eating new cereals and pulses, excessive intake of sesame and jaggery, etc
  • Vihara Hetu (Habits / Lifestyle based causes)
    • Exercising and sun exposure after meals
    • Day sleep
    • Withholding natural urges (like the urge to go to the toilet due to fear of contamination, etc)
  • Achara Hetu (Mental conduct / thinking based causes)
    • Earing money by adharmic means
    • Behaving badly towards good people
    • Being disrespectful of Guru / Acharya and Wise and learned men

Ayurvedic Line of treatment suggested for Atopic dermatitis:

Ayurveda recommends the use of herb infused bath steeps, Lepas, Oils and bathing powders that are based on skin health improving herbs to manage Atopic dermatitis and eczema. Panchakarma treatment to correct deranged Kapha and Pitta are also recommended to correct the dosha imbalances in the body.

Apart from this, as a high percentage of Atopic dermatitis is linked to environmental allergens and food allergens, necessary changes are advised to ensure exposure to these allergens are limited.

Ayurvedic diet (pathya) & herbs to manage Atopic dermatitis

Ayurvedic pathya (diet) for Kushta (skin diseases) is also very strict and asks the patient to avoid certain standard skin disease triggering foods. These include:

  • Pitta-Kapha aggravating foods like Sesame seeds, Jaggery, Eggs, Curd, Cheese, Paneer, Cashew (all nuts in general trigger Pitta and Kapha unless processed properly, eaten in the right season and chosen as per body type)
  • Kushta (skin disease) triggering foods like brinjal, eggs, commercial poultry, fish
  • Reduction of extremely sour, salty and spicy food
  • Eating native gourds, aged grains and cereals,
  • Eating grains like wheat, barley, etc is also considered pathya for these skin conditions

Some of the herbs recommended for Atopic dermatitis are:

  • Khadira
  • Manjishta
  • Karanja
  • Kusta
  • Daruharidra
  • Haridra
  • Guduchi
  • Nannari, etc.

The choice of herbs will depend upon age of the patient, season and symptoms . For example, if the presentation involves a higher Pitta based reaction like redness, inflammation, burning sensation, warmth, Pitta balancing herbs should be chosen over other herbs like Nimba, Khadira, etc.

If the presentation is Kapha based, for example scaling, thickening or oozing, Kapha balancing herbs should be chosen like Kushta, Haridra, Daruharidra etc. Such cases can also benefit by using herb based dusting powders to dry up the area.

Krya’s range of products for Atopic dermatitis, & psoriasis in Adults

Krya has a good range of products designed to help manage skin conditions. Our Sensitive skin line for Adults has a Sensitive skin cleanser and a Sensitive Skin Oil to help manage Atopic dermatitis, Dry eczema and Psoriasis in adults. We use a broad spectrum range of Ayurvedic herbs and skin healing oils like Chaulmoogra oil, Tamanu Oil, Babchi Oil and Neem oil in our range.

 

Adults with such challenging skin conditions greatly benefit by following an Ayurvedic Pathya diet and in severe cases benefit greatly by getting a proper Panchakarma process done. It is important to do this under the auspices of a well qualified Vaidya who has good experience in treating these disorders.

 

Adults should also follow the 3 pronged approach of examining their Ahara (food), Vihara (lifestyle) and Achara (mental conduct) and eliminate any skin disease inducing patterns. Many modern food diets and “health practices” fall under the list of Vriddha Ahara – like the practices of eating fruit and vegetable smoothies with curd, over dependence on jaggery and high use of nuts like sesame, cashew, etc.

Achara (mental conduct) is extremely critical in managing chronic skin conditions. There is a strong link between dosha aggravation and mental states as described in Ayurveda. Our diet influences our thinking and our moods and vice versa. So if you have strong rage issues, anger management issues , envy, jealousy, etc, these are all manifestations of unchecked Pitta dosha working on your mental and emotional state. Such mental states and ways of thinking WILL contribute to flaring up of conditions like Atopic dermatitis.

Krya’s range of Sensitive skin products for children with Atopic dermatitis:

A simple shift from a  commercial skin cleanser and moisturizing lotion to Krya’s baby cleansers and baby oils greatly helps young babies with itchy, irritable , Atopic dermatitis prone skin. A further important step would be to “detox” your home and remove all potential allergens like enzyme based synthetic cleansers, aerosols, cosmetic wipes, baby wipes, etc and adopt clean , non allergenic food.

Babies respond very quickly to these changes and there is a good improvement in their skin condition without having to use medicated corticosteroid based creams, special soaps and cleansers.

For babies with itchy , irritable and sensitive skin, parents can use the Krya gentle baby bodywash powder (unisex) OR the Krya baby girl ubtan OR the Krya baby boy ubtan to cleanse baby’s skin instead  of a soap / liquid bodywash.

A regular abhyanga (pre bath skin massage) also greatly nourishes and help’s heal dry, itchy, sensitive skin. Krya Palmarosa &Rose nourishing baby massage oil is recommended for dry , non oozing skin conditions like dermatitis, dry eczema. It is not recommended for oozing skin conditions.

Krya Lemongrass & Grapefruit nourishing baby massage oil is Recommended for dry , non oozing skin conditions like dermatitis, dry eczema (sensitive skin). This product is not recommended for oozing skin conditions. It can also be be used from the time a baby is 1-2 days old.

Krya’s sensitive skin products for toddlers and older children:

As skin conditions like Atopic dermatitis fully manifest around 18-24 months or so, we have a special cleansing product designed for toddlers to help manage this condition better. The Krya Toddler bodywash – sensitive variant is a herbal bodywash powder formulated with 23 ayurvedic skin healing and health restoring herbs and 3 ayurvedic cold pressed plant oils.  We have formulated this product with powerful skin healing ayurvedic herbs like Kalmegh, Neem flower, Indian Banyan, Peepul, Kushta bark and cold pressed skin healing oils like Karanja Oil & Neem Oil.

When children are bathed everyday with this special herbal bodywash powder, there is an excellent reduction in itchy irritable skin. Skin is calmer, and the severity of skin irritation reduces. Long term use of this product can greatly help control the severity of Atopic dermatitis.

A weekly abhyanga with one of the Krya baby massage oils recommended above also helps improve skin health considerably.

When parents follow the dietary recommendations for kushta and also take the effort to remove environmental and food based allergens, the effect is further enhanced. The biggest and best change you can do for food is to switch to unpasteurized, indigenous A2 cow’s milk for the family. This has excellent health, nutritive and skin benefits. Please ensure you also follow the relevant changes in Vihara suggested below to help your child.

Vihara (lifestyle) modifications & changes to help reduce flare up of Atopic dermatitis:

  • Avoid bathing in very hot water – luke warm water is best
  • Sun all bed linen thoroughly every fortnight to reduce incidence of dust mites
  • Choose your detergent and cleaning products very carefully. Avoid any products which focus on high stain removal and these are likely to contain industrial enzymes.
  • Avoid using fragrance based cleaning products, even if choosing natural products. Unscented products are based
  • Switch to carefully sourced genuine, unpasteurized A2 milk. Avoid commercial dairy preparations like cheese, paneer, Greek yoghurt, milkshakes, ice creams, etc
  • Avoid synthetic cosmetic products especially soaps and moisturizing lotions. Use a home made ubtan or a genuine ayurvedic ubtan. A regular abhyanga with the correct ayurvedic oil will also help the skin condition.
  • In summer, high pitta aggravation can cause the sweat secretion in the body to be extremely acidic, which in turn provokes atopic dermatitis. Ensure you follow the correct ayurvedic diet in Summer to avoid spiking Pitta. A natural ubtan will also help cleanse skin and Srotas thoroughly to avoid this problem.
  • For adults, a gentle exercise programme helps better with Atopic dermatitis. Avoid very strenuous and intensive exercise regimens.
  • Manage stress by doing less, regular hair oiling , nourishing food and sufficient time out to “stop and stare”. Stress is a strong trigger for Atopic dermatitis.

 

To sum up: Understanding & managing Atopic dermatitis naturally

We hope this article was able to help you understand how Ayurveda analyses, diagnoses and treats chronic skin conditions like Atopic dermatitis. By adopting safe, natural, tried and tested ayurvedic herbs and oils, many of our consumers have been able to control the severity and incidence of chronic skin conditions like Atopic dermatitis.

As with all ayurvedic advice, following a multi pronged approach of internal medication, the right diet, positive and uplifting thinking helps work on such chronic skin conditions more holistically and effectively. Ayurveda is a thorough and detailed science. For all internal treatment, we advise going to experienced and renowned Ayurvedic physicians who can diagnose your condition correctly and suggest the right treatment that can help you.

If you need any help on choosing the right Krya products to manage Atopic dermatitis, please call us or email us.

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Krya Body-Washes & Ubtans : Natural Intelligence for your skin

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Artificial Intelligence & machine learning in non-human systems is an accepted reality now. If it seems incredible that some human jobs could be replaced by AI, then even more incredible is natural intelligence, which is all around us but often not appreciated.

An excellent example of natural intelligence is the interaction of a good Ayurvedic Ubtan or bodywash with your skin.

Natural Intelligence for your Skin

In the Ayurvedic system, a herb & grain based powder is the ideal recommendation for clean, healthy and radiant skin. (they also recommend that you regularly apply a good skin oil pre-bath to balance aggravated doshas and nourish the skin)

All the natural orifices of the body like the ears , eyes , nose, axillia, genital organs , skin pores (sweat) and scalp secrete  waste material called “mala” , throughout the day and night. If this “mala” is not removed properly, the body loses its health and appearance of well being. This is one very important reason why a “Snana” is recommended as the first act of the day and is considered to be very beneficial.

The 3-Level cleansing process of a Ubtan & Body-wash Powder

Soaps use a purely surfactant method of dissolving all the oils and dirt on the surface of your skin , which are then removed as you pour water.

The Krya Ubtans & Body-wash powders work by combination of gentle exfoliation , natural surfactants and adsorption. The Ubtan powder is first made into a paste with water and then this herb paste is gently rubbed on the skin. This paste adsorbs excess oil, dead cells and dirt from your skin and then leaves it fresh and clean, as you pour water to wash off the mixture.

Because of the powder format and the quality of the herbs, this paste also gently opens up the Srotas or fine channels on your skin and cleanses the “mala” in them by suction. As the ubtan cleans, the herbs and grains also coat the skin with nutrients, oils and other bio-actives.

The Krya Ubtans and body-washes are also designed at a mildly acidic pH to match your skin so that your  skin’s micro-biome is properly maintained. So in this medium only those microbes that the skin deems beneficial are allowed to prosper while it eliminates other harmful bacteria.

Due to this highly intelligent cleaning method, your skin is nourished, thoroughly cleansed, and the skin’s moisture is protected. So you feel light and refreshed after an Ayurvedic Snana. Due to the deep cleaning of the Srotas, you will be protected from body-odour for several hours naturally without any recourse to artificial deodorants.

So a properly formulated Ayurvedic Ubtan or bodywash powder will cleanse at 3 – Levels

  1. The surface of the skin
  2. The fine channels or “srotas” and
  3. Protect & Nourish your skin micro-biome without destroying friendly microbes.

Soaps are NOT intelligent

Soap making technology was known to all ancient cultures and yet it was never accepted by Indian systems of medicine, and for good reason too. Synthetic soaps have a detergent like action that dissolves only the surface level oil and dirt on your skin and wipes it dry after your bath. Since the deeper level srotas have not been cleaned, soon after a bath, the sweat and poorly cleaned srotas will cause body-odour. Certain soaps may also unnecessarily load the srotas with scum and buildup, clogging the srotas further.

In this broad-spectrum cleaning , the soap also dries out the natural sebum of the skin , making it dry and crying out for a moisturizer. Also, because of their alkaline pH (your skin is at a mildly acidic pH) , soaps will also destroy the skin microbiome of friendly bacteria and make the body more vulnerable to disease causing organisms.

So effectively a soap bath is a superficial clean, and a deep level disturbance to your skin. It leaves your skin dry, unclean from within and robbed of its friendly microbial protective layer – this is NOT very intelligent.

The Difference between A Krya Ubtan & A Krya Body-Wash

A Krya ubtan has been formulated with special herbs to remove excess oil on an  Abhyanga (oil-bath) day. Whereas, a Krya body-wash has been designed for use on regular non-abhyanga days for use on plain , un-oiled skin. It is an ideal replacement to care for your skin by replacing harsh soaps. Customers who use our body-wash regularly are always surprised by the fact that their skin feels refreshingly clean, without needing an external moisturizer and is also naturally deodorized for several hours.

At Krya we have 14 different Ubtans and Body-Washes for men, women, kids & babies and by your skin type.

Buy natural intelligence for your skin here 

 

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Pitta Balancing Diet Part 2: pitta channelizing Dravyas & Spices

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Reading Time: 9 minutes

A pitta imbalance is responsible for many skin and hair conditions we see today like premature greying, hair thinning, heat rashes, acne, etc. Pitta imbalance is also the cause behind gastritis, GERD, IBS and high Blood Pressure.

Pitta imbalance leads to agner management issues and other hair, skin & health issues

Whenever we see signs of dosha imbalance reflected in skin and hair, it makes sense to correct the diet so we do not further overload the body. When these diet modifications are adopted ALONG with good quality ayurvedic oils and choornas, and external products and Dinacharya practices are followed, we can see a good improvement in the skin and hair condition. It can also positively impact internal issues as well.

Dravyas and Spices which are pitta channelizing:

In the first part of this series on Balancing Pitta through food,  we saw how introducing certain Rasas (tastes) into the food, helped balance aggravated Pitta dosha. Apart from this, aggravated Pitta always means that Agni is not channelized properly in the body. Aggravated Pitta dosha can travel and irritate other organ systems like skin, hair etc, as the Fire in the body is TOO high.

Aggravated pitta flows through the body aggravating other organ systems

Therefore, an important part of keeping Pitta in check is to channelise the flow of Fire (Agni) in the body. This makes the difference between an out of control forest fire which how aggravated Pitta dosha can be visualised vs a steadily burning , lamp , which represents Pitta in balance.

Dravyas and spices that are pitta channelizing help rein in and control Agni, improving the ability of Pitta dosha to work in the body and enhance metabolism and nutrient extraction while eating.

When pitta is balanced, it regulates all organ systems and keeps teh body in health & harmony

 

This is why reining in Pitta is very tricky – we cannot abruptly cool, freeze or totally bring down Pitta in the body as it is vital for digestion, metabolism , warmth and life in the body. So controlling excess Pitta does not mean dousing our Fire. It means subtly altering the fire and controlling it by using fire subduing rasas (tastes) AND by channelizing the fire by using certain spices and cooking methods.

Pitta should not be doused or frozen.

We saw some of these dravyas when we read about how the use of Opposite rasas can pull down aggravated Pitta, like Ghee. But these Dravyas are so critical to a Pitta Shramana diet, that we have discussed them separately again here.

Dairy based Dravyas for pitta channelizing:

Milk, Ghee and Buttermilk prepared to be pitta channelizing (Well churned, non-sour, watered down) are 3 important agni balancing dravyas that should be a part of a Pitta shramana diet.

All 3 of these should be preferably made from non pasteurised, organic A2 cow’s milk at home and not bought outside. We will put up a separate post on how these 3 dravyas can be taken by different Prakriti based individuals for best effect.

Carefully sourced and processed dairy help channelize pitta well

Milk (Ksheera) for pitta channelizing:

Warm, freshly boiled milk sourced ethically from an Indian desi cow is considered an elixir. It is prana positive, ojas building and is “brhmana” or nutritive and nourishing to the body and is also pitta channelizing. Depending upon your capacity to digest milk, you can have one or 2 small glasses of Milk a day as a meal in itself.

Desi cow milk is an elixer

Milk should ideally be had on an empty stomach and considered a full meal in itself. Most of us are unused to drinking plain Milk. So we recommend starting with a small glass (50 ml) of Milk , first thing in the morning to start with.

If you have any pre-existing health conditions like Diabetes, please check with your health practitioner before starting on this.

Given below are milk processing techniques for different prakritis.

Milk for Kapha leaning prakriti:

If you are overweight or have a strong leaning towards Kapha prakriti (catches colds and coughs often, tendency to put on weight) or have been diagnosed with Kapha disorders like hypothyroidism, PCOD, etc, please try this Milk combination. for effective pitta channelizing.

Boil Milk with 25% water added until the water evaporates. This is the basic ayurvedic milk boiling technique. 

Flavour this milk with a pinch of turmeric and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Drink warm and unsweetened. Drink this first thing in the morning after bowel movement, around 6 am – a small glass (50 – 75 ml) would do.

Turmeric and black pepper are ideal for milk for kapha prakriti

Give a gap of atleast 2 hours before eating breakfast and do your daily exercise in this time.

Milk for Vata leaning Prakriti:

If you are underweight, restless, prone to insomnia and are easily stressed, have panic attacks, etc, please try this Milk combination to channelize aggravated pitta.

Boil Milk in the ayurvedic way as given above.

To this Milk, please add a pinch of pepper, 1 – 2 roasted and powdered cardamom pods and organic mishri (sulpharless sugar). Start with 50 ml, and gradually build it up as you find your absorption level improving. You can drink upto 150 ml of Milk / day for this prakriti. however, Vata leaning individuals have varying digestive capacity – so the body must be gradually accustomed to this drink.

Cardamom and sugar should be used to spice milk for vata prakriti

Drink this milk after bowel movements, first thing in the morning. Gentle yogic exercises should follow, 30 minutes after this drink.

Milk for Pitta leaning Prakriti:

If you have stable body weight, are neither under / over weight and are generally Pitta prakriti prone, please try this Milk combination for pitta channelizing.

Boil Milk the ayurvedic way, as given above.

To this Milk, please add a small amount of sugar (sugar level in between Kapha and Vata Milk), and a powdered spice mix of 1 elaichi pod, a pinch of turmeric, a pinch of pepper and 2 pinches of dhania (coriander seeds) powder, roasted and ground. Pitta leaning individuals can start with 75 ml and go upto 125 ml of Milk.

Dhania and pepper should be used to process milk for Pitta prakriti

Do light household chores after this Milk (if unused to Milk) like light sweeping, folding of clothes, clearing up, watering plants, etc. and then go onto yoga.

Ghee (Go Ghrita) to balance Pitta:

A2 organic ghee is an elixir to the body. Small amounts of melted ghee help rein in aggravated pitta, channelizes pitta better, help the body absorb nutrients better and improve metabolism. This view of Ghee is not shared by Allopaths and Western Medicine. If you have a pre-existing Medical condition that frowns upon the use of Ghee, please check with your health practitioner before starting on this.

For those in good health, Ayurveda advises adding ghee to every meal. 1 – 1.5 teaspoons of melted cow ghee can be added to every meal. This helps each meal to be absorbed and assimilated better by the body. This is especially useful when Pitta is aggravated.

We have a longer, more detailed post explaining how Ghee should be sourced, why it is important to source Desi, A2 cow ghee. Please go through this post.

Takra (well churned buttermilk) to channelize pitta:

Ayurveda lists many ways of preparing Takra (buttermilk). This varies depends upon the prakriti of the individual. However, to be on the safe side, and to ensure Takra can be had by all, we suggest making well churned, fat free Takra (buttermilk).

Curd is considered Pitta-kapha aggravating and abhisyandi (producing excessive mucous secretion) as per Ayurveda. Hence it is prohibited for everyone , except in certain health conditions. When eaten, it must be eaten only in certain seasons and only with the addition of certain dravyas in it to reduce some of its harmful effects. We will delve into this in a separate post.

Curd is pitta kapha aggravating as per ayurveda

But when we churn curd with water and extract butter from it, we get Takra or buttermilk. The ayurvedic qualities of Takra are very different from Curd. Takra is astringent to the body although it is also slightly “ushna” or hot in nature.

Hence, it is allowed only in measured quantities for Pitta aggravation, provided the curd it is made from is freshly made and not sour. This Takra can be had 2 – 3 times a week or even everyday if Pitta aggravation is not too high. It helps reduce inflammations, and is very useful in conditions like Hemorrhoids, which is a common Pitta complaint.

Buttermilk or takra is slightly hot, digetsive and astringent as per Ayurveda

How to make Takra:

Watered down Takra is made by adding 4 – 6 parts Water to freshly set, home made, full-fat, desi A2 curd and churning at slow speed in a mixer or using a hand blender. The butter that separates should be carefully strained and removed and can be stored aside to make ghee.

The churning is an important part of the ayurvedic process to transform Curd into Takra.

Churn curd until butter separates to make buttermilk

The strained Takra is seasoned with rock salt, roasted jeera powder, pepper, black salt, etc, depending upon the need, and then consumed. Do not drink chilled or ice cold Takra – it is better to allow curd to come to room temperature before making Takra.

Properly prepared and spiced Takra is extremely Pitta channelizing. It is digestive and carminative in nature without overloading Pitta dosha and sharply aggravating Pitta’s qualities.

Agni balancing spices:

In our earlier post on Pitta aggravating foods, we had discussed how certain spices like cayenne pepper, red and green chillies, etc severely aggravate Pitta as they are ”teekshna” (intense), “katu” (spicy) and “ushna” (hot) in nature.

However, spices are essential in cooking as per Ayurveda. They help enhance taste, cut down some of the undesirable qualities of food , and help kindle Agni and also help metabolise food better.

For pitta aggravation, Ayurveda recommends using the following spices: Rock salt, Pepper, Jeera, Curry Leaf, Dhania (leaf and seed). Additionally spices like Fennel ,Elaichi and Cardamom can also be used.

Certain spices like Jeera help channelise Pitta dosha very well

Rock Salt:

Rock salt (saindhav lavana) is considered to have a cooling effect on the body , which is unusual given its taste. Hence it is recommended by Acharya Charaka to be used everyday in meals. Rock Salt is much better for health than using refined, chemical salts which are commonly available in a super market. This is also available as Himalayan salt, Himalayan Pink salt, or plain Rock Salt.

Saindhava lavana is a pitta balancing salt

Ayurveda tells us that using the right salt , in quantities that are appropriate for our prakriti, aids digestion. Saindhava lavana improves digestion, aids metabolism, clears blocked channels, and aids nutrient absorption. Hence when Saindhav lavana is properly used it is pitta channelizing.

If we use too much of even Saindhava lavana we aggravate Pitta dosha. If we use iodized table salt, even in small amounts, we SEVERELY aggravate Pitta dosha. If we eat hotel food, which is often laced with high amounts of MSG, we are even MORE SEVERELY aggravating Pitta. If we eat food preserved in Vinegar and commercial salt like pickles, pickled vegetables and even so-called healthy foods like Kimchi, we are adding Petrol to the Forest Fire.

MSG laced foods aggravate Pitta severely

Mildly Ushna Spices:

Maricha (pepper) and Jeera (Cumin) are ushna  (hot), and digestive spices. However, they are considered essential for aiding digestion, taste and metabolism. When used in small amounts they help channelise Pitta and do not set it on edge. But spices like chillies, cayaenne pepper, commercial salt and vinegar all aggravate Pitta. Hence, “teekshna” or intense Pitta aggravating spices should be replaced with these Ushna, Pitta channelizing spices instead.

Digestive, Pitta balancing spices:

Certain spices like Dhania seeds, Fennel seeds, Elaichi are only mildly ushna and Pitta balancing in nature. These should be an essential part of a Pitta balancing diet and should be used to spice and season food as often as possible.

Spices like fennel should be used to make pitta balancing spice blends

For Pitta aggravation, it is worth replacing traditional masalas with specially made masalas that use the above spices. For example, Sambhar powder can be made using Mung dal(roasted) instead of Tuvar dal and pepper instead of red chilies to suit and balance Pitta aggravation.

To sum up – channelizing pitta through certain foods & spices:

In the second part of our Pitta balancing through food series, we explored the properties of Dairy based dravyas like Milk, Takra and Ghee and also looked at how they should be processed to suit various prakritis. We also looked at the benefits of a few Pitta balancing spices and seasoning substances like Rock Salt and understood their role in pitta channelizing restoring the body to a state of harmony.

Ahara niyama (food rules) are essential to maintain health and well being according to Ayurveda. The Samhitas tell us that these niyama should be subtly altered as per our individual prakriti to ensure that we what we eat support and heals our body, restoring it to a state f balance.

Pitta aggravation is a common aggravation we come across at Krya – this leads to certain skin and hair issues like premature greying, oily scalp, hair thinning, skin allergies, rashes, acne, etc. When this aggravation is tackled through food, lifestyle and external products, there is a much more holistic sense of balance achieved by the body. Therefore we are able to tackle skin and hair problems much faster.

In the 3rd part of this series, we will explore how controlling meal timings can greatly help control aggravated Pitta. We will also look at sample menu plans we could adopt if we would like to balance aggravated Pitta dosha.

For help choosing the right hair and skin products to control aggravated Pitta dosha, please call us (0-75500-89090) or write to us.

 

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Eating for Good Health – An Ayurvedic Perspective : Part 2

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Reading Time: 6 minutes


krya on ayurvedic eating

As I had written in Prat 1 of this article, many Ayurvedic diet prescriptions do not go with modern notions on health and nutrition. In fact, they seem contrarian and sometimes weird or even “unscientific” as per modern and often western expectations.

However, as I have always maintained, good health reflects in great skin and hair. At krya we get many queries every day on tackling skin & hair care problems, which cannot be solved with the just use of external products alone, so we do end up gently nudging people to take a second look at their diet and lifestyle.

So here is part 2 of my post on eating sensibly according to Ayurveda. As with all new information, please read this with an open mind.

IMPORTANT NOTE :This article does NOT discuss the ethical consideration behind these food choices as some of the Ayurvedic prescriptions use animal derived products. At this point of time, I am simply talking about how Ayurveda analyzes each food choice in terms of its dosha and how it would impact human health alone.

1. Ayurveda follows a holistic approach to eating. There is no measurement of micro nutrients or break up of food into the terms we measure today like protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals etc.
Instead, Ayurveda and all traditional medicine talks about eating a balanced meal. And is concerned about eating local and seasonal food that is right for each dosha type. This cannot be compressed into a simple diet chart but has to be worked out according to the needs of the individual, their current state of health and the environment they live in and the nature of their work, etc.

So for example, the diet prescribed for me, a Pitta-kapha type would consist of foods that are cooling but do not cause mucous. So if I am prescribed milk, I would be asked to have it unsweetened. Milk is considered as “Madura rasa (sweet taste)” which means it is already high in kapha qualities. As milk calms pitta but can also increase kapha – I might also be asked to drink with a pinch of turmeric, and drunk warm to ensure that my dosha is not aggravated. I would also be asked to have only native cow’s milk and not buffalo milk, as cow’s milk is lighter and does not have the quality of tamas that buffalo milk has .

I might also be asked to cut down completely on consuming jaggery and sesame if my pitta dosha is aggravated or during summer . Both increase pitta, and would perhaps not be ideal for me to eat given my constitution. I would also be asked to include shitali pranayama as part of a yoga practise to cool down my body.

Someone with a high kapha dosha, who often gets mucous filled coughs and colds, would be asked to cut down dairy completely. They would also be asked to cut down sweets, perhaps eat millets for a meal instead of rice, and do brisk exercising or surya namaskar to melt excess kapha in the body and encourage its release.

2. Ayurveda and many new lifestyle diets or ethical diets do not go together. So there is no Vegan Ayurveda. Or Gluten free Ayurveda. Or Paleo Ayurveda. Or Grain free Ayurveda.

Ayurveda prescribes the use of limited quantities of dairy products for good health. This is non negotiable among 3 classes of people: children, people above 60 and pregnant women. For everyone who falls in between, certain kinds of dairy can be avoided as long as they are in good health. Ghee appears to be universally prescribed for everyone as it is considered extremely good for the body and useful to bring down both vitiated pitta and vata.

Many Ayurvedic medicines are made using ghee, honey and sometimes curd and even bone marrow. Each medicine has been formulated keeping the health condition in mind and depending upon what medium will deliver the medicine fastest to the patient.
In certain conditions like vitiated vata, ghee is used extensively to quickly bring down vitiated vata. Every fat is treated separately in Ayurveda, and the qualities of taila, ghrita and majja (oils, ghee, bone marrow) have been extensively documented. In cases where ghee is required, it is cannot be substituted with a vegetable oil, even with coconut oil.

In cases of extreme emaciation, the text books recommend giving very weak, debilated patients mamsa rasa (meat soup) to quickly build up strength. I have seen documented evidence of this treatment working, and working well.

Again here, Ayurveda does not treat plant protein and animal protein as the same. Both are said to have different qualities and are used in different situations. For example, plant protein like lentils is considered as high in vata. So in cases where patients are suffering from vata vitiation driven weakness and emaciation, animal fat like ghee or in extreme cases animal soup (which is considered higher in kapha) is given to build strength.

3. Raw food, is considered as difficult to digest and is considered as stressful to the digestive system. Also, raw food is considered extremely high in vata, and the quality of the food changes depending upon how it is cooked.

So foods already high in vata like cabbage, cauliflower, millets, bread, cornflakes must be eaten only after their basic nature is tempered by the way we prepare them. The texts suggest that these foods should not be eaten raw, and should be cooked in fats like ghee or coconut oil, and must be eaten warm and not cold to bring down their vata increasing effect. Spices like turmeric and jeera should be added to make it easy for the body to digest them. And they should be eaten at peak digestive capacity which is during noon and not after sunset.

For this reason, if your vata dosha appears to be high, eating cornflakes or toast for breakfast would be an absolute no. Both would further aggravate vayu. Instead, you might be best served eating a rice and mung dal pongal / khichdi, or a rice based upma.

4. The ideal meal plate in Ayurveda – would vary by season but would consist of a higher proportion of grain and lentil and a smaller proportion of mainly cooked, seasonal vegetable. This is in direct contrast to what many of us believe – in fact a lot of us consume a much higher proportion of both raw and cooked vegetables than rice/ wheat or lentils. Ayurveda believes that the essential nature of many vegetables and lentils is that it is high in vata. So it must be balanced by eating rice which is laghu (easy to digest), madura (sweet and kapha promoting) and which helps balance the vata nature of lentil and vegetable.

A meal which consists only of vegetables, or vegetable + lentils or only fruits would be extremely unbalanced according to ayurveda and promote vata.

5. Food combinations and prohibitions: The Charaka Samhita mentions many improper food combinations and restricted food, which is unhealthy and sometimes downright lethal to your body. I have listed a few basics below.

• Curd – considered very high in heat and difficult to digest. Only very young people and people who do a lot of high physical exercise are considered strong enough to eat curd. As it is high in heat, curd can be eaten in limited amounts, only in extremely cold weather, and that too only during the day (when the digestive system is very strong). Prohibited in pregnancy, other seasons, at night, and for people with high pitta dosha.

• Heating honey or honey in hot drinks – honey is an amalgamation of flower nectar sourced from many types of flowers, plus bee saliva. Some of the flowers from which nectar is collected could be mildly toxic. When honey is heated, it breaks down to its individual combinations and could release these toxins and become poisonous to the body. So honey is never used in cooking or heated in any way. So drinking honey in hot water is absolutely prohibited. As is adding honey to hot liquids like tea or coffee.

• Drinking large amounts of tea and coffee (even green tea) – tea and coffee are high in vata and are astringent in nature. They should not be consumed at all, and can only be consumed y people who live in regions where they naturally grow. They should definitely not be consumed immediately after meals.

• Drinking large amounts of water – puts a strain on the kidneys and removes nutrients from the body. Water should be drunk when you are thirsty (unless you work in an unnatural environment like an air conditioned office, in which case you should monitor your water consumption).

• Dairy with fruits / vegetables – Dairy is considered heavy to digest and a meal in itself. Most fruits have the opposite qualities of dairy, so by combining them, we are putting a strain on our digestive system. For example, a banana or chikoo milkshake is an absolute disaster.

• Milk with a meal – milk is considered a meal in itself. And difficult to digest. So when milk is prescribed, it should be consumed as a separate meal. And you should give your system atleast a few hours to completely digest it before eating the next meal

This list does attempt to be a complete prescription or a substitute to visiting a qualified Ayurvedic Vaidya. This is merely a starting point to think about what you put into your body and your health. As with everything, your body and your health are unique and what works for you is something you will have to evolve with time and experimentation.

As always, do remember that good health has no shortcuts. You have to eat your apple everyday and not seven on Saturday night to keep the doctor away. Great skin and hair comes from every meal you eat and every liquid you drink.

click here for part 1 of the article .

 

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What Everyone Must Know about ayurvedic oiling

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

The practice of ayurvedic oiling , i.e using ayurvedic skin and hair oils is essential for maintaining skin and hair health. Regular ayurvedic oiling improves hair and skin health, helps restore and repair these organ systems, balances dosha imbalances and gives many other important health benefits for the body.

 

ayurvedic oiling is an excellent practice ti give health and transform hair & skin.

Ayurveda also recommends the balanced consumption of “sneha” or oils & fats to keep the bones and joints in good working condition. Certain organs like the brain and the eyes are high in fat composition so the regular intake of good fats is recommended to keep these organs in good working order.

Properties of different vegetable oils – as per Ayurveda

Every vegetable oil / fat has a different quality as per traditional medicine.

Cow ghee:

Cow ghee is considered tridoshic in its nature, and helps calm down pitta and vata without increasing kapha greatly. So if your skin and hair is extremely dry or chemically damaged, the addition of cow ghee in your diet will be very beneficial. To avoid aggravating Kapha, it is better to consume only melted cow ghee. Do keep in mind that this ghee should be made the ayurvedic way from the milk of hormone and antibiotic free, A2 desi cows only.

 

Cow ghee is an excellent tridoshic fat to be consumed regularly

Sesame Oil:

Sesame oil is considered “the” base oil in Ayurveda. It goes into every external abhyanga, hair and skin formulation at Krya. Sesame is fantastic at balancing vata dosha, so if you have a lot of aches and pains, external application of sesame can go a long way in correcting this.

Sesame, however, can increase pitta – so if you have a high pitta constitution, it is better to cut down on the consumption of sesame seeds and oils, although you can continue to use this externally. High pitta dosha manifests itself as premature greying, balding, a quick volatile temper, skin that is dry due to excess heat, burning and inflamed skin conditions and hair that tends to have a reddish / brownish hue.

Sesame oil is the base oil of choice in Ayurveda. It is nourishing, intense and hot in nature

Coconut Oil:

Coconut oil is extremely nutritious and good for the body. Its composition is close to that of human breast milk, so it is very beneficial for the body. However, it is very cooling and can increase mucous in the body and also stimulates hair growth. So if you have a kapha prone body tend to catch colds easily and are also slightly hirsute, it is best not to apply coconut oil on the body.

Coconut oil is highly nutritious but very cooling and kapha aggravating

In the Winter season, coconut oil is best avoided on skin for everyone. However, it can be used for the hair , after processing with herbs, as it helps stimulate hair growth and cools the brain, scalp and eyes.

Some issues with Sneha (vegetable oils and fats)

What we have stated above are facts given in the Samhitas. However, in modern times, the properties of these wonderful base oils are altered due to the way they have been extracted. Also, we have seen that each base oil comes with its own suitability issues.

Issues due to sourcing:

We have written a detailed post on Cow ghee and how it should be sourced and consumed. If we are having ghee made the commercial way where we are not extracting ghee from naturally fermented curd / cream, or sourcing ghee form hormone and antibiotic pumped A1 cows, then we will not get the benefits of ghee that are outlined in the Samhitas.

Issues due to the essential nature of Oils:

For example, Sesame oil is a wonderful base oil, but its essential nature is pitta aggravating. So in conditions of high Pitta aggravation, it is better to temper down the properties of Pitta present in sesame. Similarly, we have seen that Coconut is hair growth promoting but is also kapha aggravating. So how do we continue to use its beneficial properties without aggravating mucous or stimulating hair growth? Let us see how we tackle both of these problems at Krya.

Issues due to extraction method followed:

All commercial brands of cooking oil unfortunately follow the chemical extraction method where “food grade” hexane is used as a solvent to extract oil. In this method, an oil seed can release almost 70 – 80% of its oil content. The recovery process in the mechanical chekku /  ghani is only upto 40%.

The solvent extraction process allows us to extract oil from even brand and husk, where oil content is very low – this explains how we are seeing new oils today like rice bran oil which were traditionally unheard of, as it is impossible to mechanically extract oil from rice bran using a chekku / ghani.

Cold pressed organic oils used at Krya : the first step towards ayurvedic oiling

We use only old fashioned chekku (in tamil) / ghani (in hindi) extracted oils that have been pressed from organically grown seeds. The chekku / ghani is a wooden press that uses mechanical pressure, sometimes aided by the use of cattle to squeeze out oil from an oil seed like copra, sesame seeds, mustard etc.

 

This kind of oil is also called a “cold pressed oil” although this is a misnomer strictly speaking as the chekku / ghani also generates a small amount of heat as the wooden crushes uses force to crush seeds and extract oil.

This “old fashioned” method of extracting oil is safe, retains the aroma of the oil and is extremely nutritious to the body.

Some of the qualities of a chekku / ghani extracted oil is that there is some degree of moisture preset in the oil. Also, the oil contains minute volatile compounds that oxidize releasing a characteristic aroma for each type of oil. As the oil ages and is exposed to oxygen, these volatile compounds start to ferment , so the oil with time will have a “riper” aroma and will eventually go rancid. This is why a chekku / ghani extracted oil will never have a shelf life of more than 9 months – it will start to go rancid.

Cold pressed oil extraction is a traditional method that retains nutrients in oil

A high quality, cold pressed oil pressed from organic seeds & nuts is the first important step in ayurvedic oiling. 

Compare this with the 3 year shelf life of a hexane extracted oil – this oil has been chemically extracted, refined, bleached and deodorised to remove all its individual characteristics and has been made to unnaturally stay edible for 2 – 3 years.

If an external products company like Krya does not use commercially extracted oil for our hair and skin oils, then you should certainly not use these oils for edible purpose at home. Think of the effect using these oils can have on your body.

Transforming a vegetable oil for for ayurvedic oiling: Tila Paka veedhi process

By sourcing only cold pressed, ghani extracted vegetable oils from organically grown nuts and seeds, we are able to solve one part of the oil sourcing  problem at Krya. We are able to avoid any chemical contamination and begin with only the purest and best form of the vegetable oil.

But how do we handle the fact that the vegetable oil is suitable only for certain prakrities? We widen its suitability and improve its bio-availability by cooking it with herbs to change its properties and make it suitable for ayurvedic oiling.

When the Tila Paka veedhi process is done correctly using the right herbs, the right process and the right temperature, the base vegetable oil TRANSFORMS. It becomes a potent, bio active rich oil by transferring the actives from herbs into the oils through this process. In this process, the base oil absorbs the properties of the herbs and its nature subtly transforms.

 

Tila Paka veedhi is a transformative ayurvedic oil manufacturing process

Depending upon the herbs used, we can make the oil less kapha aggravating (in the case of Coconut oil), and less intense (Sesame Oil). By judiciously formulating the right mix of base oils, herbs that go into the final oil, we can create an oil which is readily penetrative without being “teekshna” or intense, and which is nourishing / nurturing without enhancing mucous production. This is why we say that an oil made from an organic cold pressed oil and then further transformed using herbs by the Tila paka veedhi process is the ideal oil for ayurvedic oiling. When ayurvedic oiling is done with this kind of oil, you can see holistic and widespread benefits in hair, skin & health.

How is the Tila Paka veedhi process done?

The Tila Paka Veedhi is an ayurvedic oil manufacturing process. One of the reason this process is not used widely is because it is slow, and highly labour intensive . For example, it takes between 6 – 10 hours of SLOW boiling in the Tila Paka Veedhi process to get an oil ready for use. And it needs to be gently stirred throughout this time – so it is really tough to create but totally worth the effort.

When we do this process correctly, we start by extracting nutrients in 3 separate ways: through Herb deocotions (Kashayas), Herb Cold pressed Juices (Swarasas) and Herb churned pastes (Kalpa). Depending upon the herb you are incorporating into the oil, you should be following one of these 3 extraction methods which depends upon the nature of the herb. Juicy herbs lend themselves well to swarasas. Woody herbs to Kashayas.

Kashaya - one of the 3 bio actives added to an oil in Tila paka veedhi

Once the extraction is done correctly, each of these is added to the oil, and cooked with the oil, slowly stirring the oil mixture throughout the process. This disperses the actives which we have extracted into the oil. This also slowly and gently “nano-ises” the oil, breaking it down to smaller particles.

At the end of the process, the oil we get is highly potent and penetrative. Its texture, color and aroma are completely new and different from the base oil and it is absorbed very QUICKLY by skin and hair, allowing the body to absorb the nutrients we have so painstakingly extracted and incorporated.

Tila paka veedhi is a transformative ayurvedic oil manufacturing process

To sum up:

In this blog post, we discussed the important topic of ayurvedic oiling and explained its importance in maintaining and improving skin and hair health. The Samhitas are emphatic about the many skin, hair and health benefits we can see with frequent and regular oil application.

 

But simply using a cold pressed oil may not be enough / suitable for us. There may be issues of dosha imbalance. Also,  with the rampant use of harsh synthetics in the commercial extraction technique, these oils would be contaminated by these chemicals as well as the additives that are routinely added to vegetable oils.

We saw how we address both these important concerns at Krya . We source only authentic, organically grown cold pressed oils. We then process these oils using herbs in a special ayurvedic process called Tila Paka veedhi. Through this process, we transform the oil making it suitable across prakritis and also make it more potent, penetrative and therefore a much more effective product to help with skin and hair concerns.

If you too would like to experience the holistic benefits of ayurvedic oiling for hair & skin, do explore our wide range here. If you would like help choosing the right Krya oil for your skin / hair type, please call us (0-75500-89090) or write to us.

 

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The Ayurvedic Dandruff Primer: how an ayurvedic anti dandruff hair oil can help heal chronic dandruff

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

Looking for a safe, effective and completely natural ayurvedic anti dandruff hair oil? We just finished making our most recent batch of the Krya all natural, ayurvedic anti dandruff hair oil and thought we would share a small update on how we create our formulation, why it works so effectively against dandruff, etc.

 

The Krya ayurvedic primer to dandruff

Consider this your complete ayurvedic primer to Dandruff!

The Genesis of the Krya ayurvedic anti dandruff hair oil

We started experimenting with Krya’s range of Ayurveda inspired hair oils in 2016. The first set of formulations we created after research were an ayurvedic anti dandruff hair oil and an ayurvedic hair oil for premature greying and hair growth.

With R&D & feedbakc, we kepy on workingon and improving our ayurvedic anti dandruff hair oil formula

Our earlier test batches were much more simpler formulations with 9 – 10 ingredients. As we tested, re-tested and kept on working on each batch taking consumer feedback, we worked more and more on the formulation and adding different kinds of herbs, fresh vegetables and fresh juices to make the formulation even more potent.

How is dandruff caused according to Ayurveda?

Dandruff is described as a minor “roga” in Ayurveda and there are several minor differences in the presentation of dandruff depending upon which dosha is aggravated. With all Dandruff, there is itching / irritation in the scalp, flaking of the scalp, sometimes thickening of the scalp flakes, and hair loss .

Dandruff can be of two types and are commonly called Dry dandruff and Oily Dandruff.

In Dry dandruff there is an aggravation in Vata dosha, caused primarily by the use of strong drying shampoos on the hair and neglecting regular hair oiling. This is further exacerbated by eating dry, crisp , hard foods, high mental stress, long commutes and a vata aggravating lifestyle.

Dry dandruff caused by excessive shampooing, infrequent oiling

 

 

Oily dandruff is often referred to as seborrheic dermatitis . This manifests as thick, yellow oil looking flakes, with scab formation and scalp thickening in these areas. There is intense itching and when the scalp is scratched, there is a visible sticky clump of scalp flakes that is dislodged form the scalp.

Oily dandruff has a Pitta-Kapha aggravation along with Vata aggravation. Pitta contributes the oily, smelly scalp secretions that attract fungal micororganisms to the scalp. Kapha contributes to the thickening of the scalp due to the oily, fat rich deposits in the sebum. Vata contributes to the scalp prickling and irritation and painful, scratchy feeling.

Oily dandruff is due to tridosha aggravation plus a fungal infestation

How oily / fungal dandruff progresses in the scalp:

When you have a serious Lice infestation or a serious Oily / Fungal dandruff issue, apart from scalp damage, you tend to see very high hair fall. This tends to alarm everyone and they seek to address this first – but we have seen that UNLESS the underlying issue of Lice / Fungal infestation is addressed, the hair and scalp health will become increasingly worse.

In the case of Oily / Fungal dandruff, the  actual problem starts internally . Perhaps due to an improper diet, lifestyle changes, there is an internal dosha imbalance. The quality of all secretions from the body (sweat, urine, semen, etc) is determined by the quality of food we take. So when our system has a pitta kapha imbalance, the sweat will also be rich in pitta and kapha based substances. To repeat: the  underlying body imbalance causes the sweat emanating from the scalp to have a composition that is sweet & fat rich. This attracts the presence of otherwise benign fungal organisms which then begin rapidly multiplying on the head.

Sweet oily scalp secretions attract fungal organisms that trigger dandruff

As the condition develops, there is itching, thickening and scaling of the scalp with thick, oily , large, creamy looking flakes. Due to incessant scratching, there could be micro tears in the scalp, which offer more food to the fungal micro organisms. In very chronic cases, at these infestation spots there is poor hair growth, and sometimes the hair falls out in clumps in these areas.

Challenges behind creating an ayurvedic anti dandruff hair oil for Oily / Fungal dandruff:

We face a unique challenge in creating the Krya  ayurvedic anti dandruff hair oil to discourage fungal dandruff. Ayurveda does not ever recommend the use of harsh “silver bullet” products which harshly discourage fungal organisms. As the underlying imbalance is not addressed, such products tend to give only temporary relief but also severely damage the scalp and make it very dry. This is why dandruff tends to be such a chronic problem.

A commercial Anti dandruff shampoo can be harsh and very drying on the scalp

The tricky part of creating an ayurvedic anti dandruff hair oil is this: All ayurvedic oil formulations that encourage good hair growth essentially need to be Madhura (sweet), and Sheetya (cooling) in nature. But such formulations are tasty and give more nutrition to fungal micro organisms. So we cannot use a regular ayurvedic hair oil formulation to tackle dandruff.

Instead, an ayurvedic anti dandruff oil formulation needs to be bitter, slightly astringent and cooling in nature – this will cut down the growth medium of the micro organisms and encourage proper scalp growth without the thickening and flaking we see. To encourage proper scalp nutrition, mildly bitter ayurvedic herbs are used, which continue to nourish the scalp WITHOUT encouraging fungal growth.

Ayurvedic formulations to discourage dandruff are bitter, not sweet.

Therefore, our Anti dandruff formulation is HIGHLY bitter. We use different herb , fruit and vegetable compositions from our regular hair oils, selected to discourage the organisms we are dealing with.

 The Krya ayurvedic anti dandruff hair oil : an ayurvedic hair oil made with 25 herbs + 4 cold pressed oils

The Krya ayurvedic anti dandruff hair oil is made from 25 ayurvedic herbs processed in 4 organic , cold pressed hair oils. Some of these herbs are repeated across Swarasa (fresh juice), Kashaya (herb decoction) and Kalpa (herb paste) to increase their potency in the formulation. Each method of extracting them selectively extracts different kinds of actives from the herb / vegetable. The Samhitas guide us with the right extraction method for each herb – so for example, Bhringaraj is always used fresh as a Swarasa / Kalpa, never as a Kashaya as it loses its potency this way.

Krya oil is made using many ayurvedic extraction methods of herbs

For this formulation, we add a mixture of highly bitter , moderately bitter and mildly bitter herbs ! So we can see Bitter gourd, Bottle gourd, Ridge Gourd, sometimes Ash gourd and sometimes Snake gourd in the formulation!

Potent anti bacterial and anti fungal herbs like Krishnatulasi, Neem, Triphala and Desert date help discourage the growth of fungal micro organisms. Herbs like Jushta and Ratanjot soothe the scalp, improve scalp health and reduce the scalp irritation and itching we see in dandruff.

Moderately and mildly bitter herbs like Bottle gourd, Neem, Manjishta, Fenugreek and Ratanjot boost scalp health, help seal micro tears and improve scalp blood circulation and encourage healthier hair growth.

Krya ayurvedic anti dandruff hair oil - made from 25 potent ayurvedic herbs and 4 cold pressed oils

 Tila Paka veedhi: the ayurvedic oil processing method followed at Krya that boosts nutrition

We are proud to say that we make all our oils using the approved Ayurvedic manufacturing technique of Tila Paka veedhi at Krya. In this method, base oils are slow boiled and “cooked” over 8 hours with a large volume of fresh herb juice (Swarasa), herb decocotions (kashayas), and fresh and dry herb pastes (kalpas). Generally the oil volume in this mixture is only about ¼ the volume of all other ingredients put together – this can vary depending upon application and formulation .

Tila paka veedhi is a potent ayurvedic oil manufacturing process

When the oil is processed this way, the nature of the base oils change completely. The addition of these different mediums of herbs (fresh juice, boiled decoction, and paste) delivers potent bio actives to the oil. Due to repeated boiling and stirring the oil is gently broken down over the process and the particle size of the oil becomes smaller, making the oil easier to penetrate skin and scalp. The oil also becomes less dense, less sticky and more penetrative.

Tila paka veedhi is a transformative process

The tila paka veedhi method is a transformative process. It transforms a good vegetable oil to a nutrition rich powerhouse – which can give your scalp and hair quicker and much more deeper and holistic benefits.  We use this manufacturing technique across all Krya oils to boost their potency and increase the bio availability of the herbs that are delivered via the oil to hair or skin.

User feedback for Krya ayurvedic anti dandruff hair oil :

The Krya ayurvedic anti dandruff hair oil has often been termed slightly unpleasant to use by many users because of its bitter aroma and fragrance, but it is loved for its very high EFFECTIVENESS.

We have been able to help even very chronic cases of scalp psoriasis, very long term fungal dandruff which has lasted for years. No amount of ketoconazole / coal tar products can work as effectively as this oil – this is something we have seen and experienced repeated with users.

The Krya anti dandruff hair oil - potent and effective against chronic dandruff

The best part of using this oil? Unlike ketoconazole and coal tar products, the scalp is left well hydrated and healthy. The regular use of this product promotes scalp micro circulation and boosts root health.

The Krya Anti Dandruff hair system:

For best results, we recommend the use of the the complete Krya anti dandruff system with the  Krya anti dandruff hair washKrya anti dandruff hair mask along with the Krya ayurvedic anti dandruff hair oil. Use of all 3 products multiplies the bitter principle effect and helps effectively create an environment which is unpleasant for fungal organisms, helping solve the problem faster.

The Krya anti dandruff system : holistic and highly effective for chronic dandruff

The Dandruff discouraging Diet:

All dandruff starts with an improper diet which leads to the sweet / fatty secretions that fungal organisms seem to love. So it is important to watch your diet and cut down pitta – kapha aggravating foods like curd, cheese, sweets , etc.

Here is a quick list of foods / lifestyle modifications we suggest that can help fungal dandruff:

Cut down on:

  • Maida
  • Curd / yoghurt
  • Ice creams
  • Cakes, pastries
  • Sweets
  • Chocolates
  • Cheese
  • Paneer (especially if bought outside)
  • Oily , fried food
  • Do not binge eat
  • Avoid getting dust into your hair (cover with a scarf)

Ensure that you:

  • Eat strictly on time
  • Eat home made food
  • Eat food spiced with turmeric, black pepper, ginger and other Pitta-Kapha balancing spices
  • Include fresh Amla in your diet regularly
  • Drink warm water regularly
  • Have a light dinner, early
  • Exercise regularly to balance aggravated Kapha
  • Ensure you do a regular abhyanga to balance doshas better

 

To Sum up:

In this post, we have described how an authentic ayurvedic anti dandruff hair oil is crafted. We also discussed how Ayurveda suggests we tackle dandruff holistically, yet effectively.

As we have seen, when the right products are used along with the correct diet and holistic lifestyle, there is a more rapid control of the problem. If you or a loved one have been suffering from chronic dandruff and are seeking a safe and effective way of tackling this problem, do try out the Krya anti dandruff hair system.

If you have any questions on our products or how to use them, please call our friendly Customer Service team on (o)75500-89090 or write to us .

 

The Krya Anti Dandruff Range of Products:

 

 

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A better , natural floor cleaner: a Krya launch update

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The term “natural floor cleaner” is a popular search on the Krya website. There used to be a time when households used plain water to mop the floor after thoroughly sweeping the floor. Sometimes if the season was particularly muddy, or if this was pre festive season, a canny housewife would sprinkle cow dung / dried cow dung cakes plus a handful of turmeric powder into this water, and use this solution to mop the floor. Cow dung was considered a sacred dravya, infusing pranic energy into the home and also an effective insect repellent and anti bacterial agent.

Cow dung was used in ancient India to cleanse homes and floors and infuse positive energy within the home

Slowly, to increase their share of business anti bacterial liquids began to advertise, extending their use to cleaning the floor. Evocative images of babies eating off the floors, pets sleeping on the floor would be used to illustrate that our floors (the horror!) were JUST not good enough to eat off .

Just when households started getting reluctantly used to the smell of a strong anti bacterial liquid on the floor, convincing their families that the hospital like odour was for their own good, someone finally launched a specialised floor cleaner. In several toxic fragrance options.

Concerns with synthetic floor cleaners:

At Krya, we have several concerns over the rampant use of synthetic floor and toilet cleaners. We have listed these below:

99% germ removal or 100% growth of Super bugs?

Urban Indians today already suffer from “too clean” homes which are almost sterile. Children rarely play outdoors and schools and homes are sterile, air conditioned environments already.

Urban children live in too-clean, sterile environments

In this scenario, using a strong floor cleaner encourages the growth of antibiotic and triclosan resistant “super bacteria”. This is already an issue in India. Using such strong cleaners in Urban homes is an overkill – and promotes the growth of resistant bacteria And does not stimulate our immune response enough

No transparency in declaring contents

Household cleaners constitute what is called “Household hazardous waste”. This means that they cannot be disposed WITHOUT risk to human , animal or plant life. An example is this: is you are trying to get rid of your old synthetic toilet cleaner, there is no safe way to dispose it. You cannot pour out the liquid, put it into a water body or pour it onto the ground either. All of these will pose a risk for any form of life that may accidentally ingest the product.

 

Given that almost all synthetic household cleansers are hazardous waste, it is surprising that there is no declaration of their ingredients or any attempt to educate customers on their proper disposal. This is worrying in a country like India where literacy levels are low and waste is picked and sorted down the line by possibly illiterate sanitary workers, rag pickers and children.

Economically backward children, rag pickers are at risk when we dispose toxic household cleaners

Highly toxic and unstable formulae

All floor , surface and toilet cleaners come with severe warnings to be kept out of reach of children, pets, etc. Accidental ingestion can seriously harm or even kill children and pets. Skin contact is also supposed to be avoided. Eye contact can make you blind potentially. Also the contents cannot be mixed with other common cleaners like acid, phenyl etc and can lead to volcanic reactions.

household cleaners are toxic to use & dispose

Given these issues, we would be tempted to question why we are using actual poisons to clean our floors. We may also be right in asking how using a toxic cleaner to clean the floor somehow makes it safe for babies and pets crawling / licking these floors? The answer is that it is of course not safe – we get away with the use of these cleaners because we use them in small concentrations. But they obviously pose many risks.

A better alternative: natural floor cleaner research by Krya

We have been researching, piloting, experimenting and tweaking with a Krya answer to a safe, natural floor cleaner for sometime now. This product has been LONG in the making.  While researching the formulation, we turned to the Ayurvedic Samhitas for ideas on the use of herbs and how they should be combined for best use.

Ayurvedic approach: cleansing both etheric and physical spaces in the home

Studying Ayurvedic pediatric care texts (Bala chikitsa) is very useful in understanding the role of herbs and how they can cleanse both the physical and spiritual energy in a home.

This is of very great importance in Ayurveda to maintain a spiritually charged, positive and prana forward energy in the home for a small baby / child.

 

Ayurveda believes that infants and young children are very easily influenced by negative energy. Hence we are advised to use spiritually charged, Prana positive herbs to keep up the positive energy of the home and counteract these negative forces.

Ayurveda recommends charging the home with positive pranic energy

Techniques like “Dhumapana” (herbal smoke on the baby and mother’s person),  “Rakshoghna Praksalana” (washing of baby’s linen with natural, herb infused detergent), burning of “Dhoopa “(herb infused incense), and “Rakshoghna Bhumi Swacchakara” (cleaning of floors with Prana positive herbs) are all used for this.

The use of herbal smoke cleanses Vayu (air) and Akash (space) within the home.

Dhoopa is an ayurvedic cleansing technique that uses herbal smoke to cleanse vayu and akash within the home

In addition, the home is further charged with bunches of herbs, placed in the direction of the wind, so herbal fragrance wafts through the home uplifting the senses and increasing the positive vibration within the home.

Working on improving the etheric energy within the home by using prana positive , aura altering herbs is an important role of a Bhumi Swacchakara (Floor cleaner).

The Krya natural floor cleaner: in 2 variants

The Krya floor cleaner comes in 2 variants.

The Krya Scented Floor Cleaner  is made using 20 powerful ayurvedic herbs, resins and essential oils including Citriodora Oil, Pine Oil & Tamanu Oil. The formulation is very effective at repelling crawling insects like cockroaches, ants , etc. It is a good , safe, broad spectrum anti bacterial and anti fungal formulation which is adaptogenic.

krya natural floor cleaners use powerful rakshoghna & kirmighna herbs

As we use pure plants and plant essential oils, there is no question of microorganisms learning from and developing resistance to the product as plants vary across seasons and weather conditions and are far more adaptogenic compared to bacteria and fungi.

The Unscented Krya floor cleaner is made from  24 Ayurvedic Rakshoghna (anti bacterial) and Krimighna (insect repelling) herbs and plant resins like Vacha, Shirisha, Khadira, etc. This formulation is suggested for homes with very small children , premature infants, patients,  sensitive geriatrics and those with respiratory allergies / issue s(asthma, wheezing, hayfever, etc).

 

Both Krya floor cleaners contain prana positive, spiritually uplifing herbs and dravyas as suggested in the Ayurevdic Samhitas to cleanse the spiritual and etheric energy of the home.

The all natural floor cleaner by Krya

Pet safety:

Pets are extremely sensitive to odours in fine concentrations. Tea tree oil for example is a powerful and very effective anti bacterial E.O. However it is poisonous to cats and dogs at high doses. This is why I am perplexed to see so many brands putting up tea tree oil scented pet grooming powders – this is NOT safe!

There are Ayurvedic Samhitas that focus on veterinary science, but only large animals (horses, elephants) are covered, not small household animals like dogs and cats. Because of this, and because we do not have any experience with living with 4 legged friends, we have stayed away from making Krya products for household animals – although we have many many pending requests.

But, for homes with 4 legged friends, it is imperative to have a safe floor cleansing solution. This solution has to be safe for pets themselves and also handle any organisms that could be transmitted by the pets indoors. This needs much more R&D from our end. However, we promise to work on this. Please give us time – we will come back with a separate option that has been tested to be effective and is also safe for 4 legged friends.

Until then, if you have pets, please do not use either Krya floor cleaner – as an alternative, you can mop the floor with Krya detergent / Krya floor cleaner (unscented) alone.

Using the Krya natural floor cleaner:

The Krya natural floor cleaner is an ayurvedic choorna (powder format). We provide a cloth pouch along with every pack of this product. The choorna can be used either in the pouch or directly in your mop bucket.

 

Add the suggested quantity of the product to the pouch / directly into the bucket and add water as required. Allow a few minutes for the product to percolate into the water well or manually squeeze the pouch or disperse the product into the water. Use this charged water to mop the floor.

Available from:

Both Krya floor cleaner variants will be available on Viajaydasami Day (October 19th 2018) on the Krya website.

 

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Pitta balancing diet Part 1: Using specific Rasas (tastes) to balance Pitta

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If you are suffering from a visible Pitta imbalance like premature greying, acne outbreaks, then a Pitta balancing diet can help holistically heal your condition. Ayurveda believes in following a holistic approach to understanding skin and hair issues. Hair and skin reflects the body’s state of balance. Diet, emotional well being, quality of sleep, quality of daily Vyayama (exercise) all affect the body. These factors create changes in the subtle alignment of doshas in our body. This reflects in the quality of our skin or hair.

Pitta dosha: qualities and life stage

Pitta is “snigdha” (oily), “teekshna” (sharp), “ushna” (hot), “laghu” (light) “vishra” (mal-odourous), “sara“ ( flowing / laxative), and “drava” (liquid).

Hence when we have Pitta aggravation in our body, we could experience sharp discomfort in the abdomen, diarrhoea, gastritis, temper flares, strong body odour, high sweating, oiliness on hair and skin, etc. We could also develop acne flare ups, experience premature greying & also hair thinning.

Pitta aggravation can cause strong body odour

Ayurveda tells us that every lifestage is dominant in a certain dosha. Middle age, i.e. 30 – 60 years is considered Pitta dominant lifestage. In this age period, we naturally tend to harness and utilise Pitta’s qualities to help us focus on our career, manage our responsibilities, etc. Hence at this stage, we become even more sensitive to Pitta aggravation.

Pitta aggravating foods:

We had written earlier in detail about foods that trigger or aggravate Pitta in the body. This includes fermented foods, salty foods, spicy foods, and sour foods. We have a pretty detailed list of don’ts in the earlier blog post. This list includes commercial packaged RTE foods which are high in hidden salts and imported delicacies like Greek yoghurt, tahini sauce and hummus.

Consumption of these foods is tolerable when our doshas in balance. At this time, Pitta drayvyas help stimulate appetite, aid digestion and allow for appropriately timed digestion in the body. The problem occurs when we have already aggravated Pitta dosha.

In a Pitta aggravated person, a single helping of curd or 2 meals with idlis and dosas in them can act like a lit match on a petrol doused bundle. Pitta sharply flares up and you will notice an increase in rage issues, skin oiliness, breakouts and inability to switch off and sleep on time.

A single helping of curd can tip teh balance if you are already pitta aggravated

Basics of a Pitta balancing diet:

The Pitta balancing diet is based on 3 principles to help balance aggravated Pitta:

  • Introduce Tastes (Rasas) that are opposite to Pitta to bring Pitta down
  • Introduce Agni balancing dravyas and Spices
  • Ensure Pitta is not spiked by controlling meal timings

Each of these work in a slightly different way to harmonise aggravated Agni. In this post , we will explore the use of Rasa (tastes) to help balance aggravated Pitta dosha.

 

Using Opposing Tastes (Rasas) to balance Pitta:

A Pitta balancing diet uses “bitter”, “sweet” and “astringent” tastes that act like a countermeasure to Pitta which is “amla” (sour), “lavana” (salty) and “katu” (spicy) in taste. The tastes are added in this order: Bitter, Sweet and Astringent for best effect on aggravated Pitta.

 

Using Bitter taste “Tikta Rasa” to balance excess Pitta:

Bitter taste (Tikta rasa) is very pitta balancing. Bitter taste has the quality of “dryness”, coolness” and “lightness”. Hence it helps balance the oiliness and heat caused by aggravated Pitta dosha. Therefore, including foods, herbs and seasonings which are rich in Tikta rasa, is an essential part of a Pitta balancing diet.

Many local vegetables and greens are inherently “Tikta” in rasa. For example, parwal, lauki, ridge gourd, ash gourd are native gourds. All of these gourds have an inherent “tikta” or bitter rasa. These vegetables can be added to vegetable / dal dishes to impart a bitter taste to food.

Local gourds are naturally rich in Tikta rasa

 

“Shukto” and Vempampoo-rasam (Neem flower rasam) are also examples of bitter rasa found in traditional cuisine. Neem flower rasam is introduced in Indian cuisine at the beginning of the onset of Summer, when Pitta is high.

Traditional cooking also has included many tikta rasa rich dishes seasonally

Certain spices and seasonings also have a “tikta rasa”. An example is fenugreek seed which is recommended to be eaten by diabetics and pre-diabetics in Ayurveda. Bitter rasa in moderate amounts is useful to control Pitta aggravation and Kapha aggravation. Similarly, rosemary, oregano and parsley seasoning also has a mild Tikta rasa.

Tikta dravyas can aggravate Vata dosha when eaten in excess and cause dryness in the body. Hence, as always, please follow moderation when planning your meals.

Some examples of Tikta Rasa dravyas:

  • Vegetables
    • Bitter gourd
    • Methi greens
    • Parwal
    • Lauki (Bottle gourd)
    • Ash gourd (white pumpkin)
    • Ridge gourd
    • Non sour locally available greens
  • Spices & seasonings
    • Turmeric
    • Fenugreek seed
    • Rosemary
    • Oregano
    • Thyme

Turmeric is rich in Tikta rasa and is highly nutritious

  • Ayurvedic Tikta Herbs used in Krya products
    • Neem
    • Neem flower
    • Kalmegh
    • Vetiver
    • Sandalwood

Sandal is cleansing and good for skin and high in tikta rasa

Meal plan suggestions:

From this list, we can look at including the following naturally Tikta (bitter) foods  to craft a Pitta balancing diet :

  • Local gourds added to liquid / gravy dishes in a rotational basis like Lauki, Parwal, etc
  • Use of Tikta herbs in cooking to season food like turmeric, Fenugreek, etc
  • Occasional use of Tikta dried herbs to flavour food like Rosemary, Thyme, etc wherever appropriate

Include seasonal local gourds into your cuisine

Using Sweet taste “Madhura Rasa” to balance excess Pitta:

Madhura Rasa is “guru” (heavy), “sheetya” (cold), “snigdha” (oily) and is nourishing and grounding due to the predominance of Prithvi Panchamahabootha. Hence it helps calm down and ground aggravated Pitta. This does not mean that we should gorge on desserts and sweets. These are artificially sweet due to the presence of sugar in them. In Ayurveda, when we say “Sweet” or “Madhura rasa”, we mean that the tongue recognises the substance as “sweet” (Rasa) and that its taste post digestion in the body (Vipaka) is also sweet.

An example of this is Milk. A2 cows milk when freshly boiled has Madhura Rasa (tongue taste) and Madhura vipaka (taste post digestion). Hence it is used to balance Pitta aggravation in the diet.

As Madhura Rasa is also “snigdha”, eating too much of this can trigger excess oiliness and heaviness in the body. Hence do not eat artificially sweet substances, or eat too much of Madhura rasa.

Some other examples of Madhura dravya / Substances are the following:

  • Cereals
    • Aged rice
    • Aged Wheat
  • Sweeteners
    • Mishri (unprocessed sugar candy)
    • Guda (jaggery)
  • Vegetables
    • Fresh coconut pulp, milk and water
    • Naturally sweet Vegetables like sweet potato, beetroot, Kaddu (yellow pumpkin), carrot

Beets and naturally sweet vegetables are rich in Madhura rasa

  • Fruits
    • Dried Black Raisins (draksha) – Munakka variety
    • Seasonal Sweet, juicy fruits
  • Dairy
    • Freshly boiled , unpasteurised A2 cow milk
    • A2 ghee
  • Ayurvedic Madhura Herbs used in Krya products
    • Liquorice
    • Guda (Jaggery)
    • Guduchi (Madhura vipaka only)

Meal plan suggestions:

From this list, we can look at including the following naturally Madhura (sweet) foods in our diet to help balance aggravated Pitta.

  • Melted A2 cow ghee – across all meals in small amounts
  • A2 cows milk – unpasteurised and freshly boiled – one small glass everyday

 

A2 Cows milk is nourishing and madhura in nature

  • Seasonal sweet, juicy fruits
  • Rotation of Natural sweet vegetables
  • Carefully sourced Aged organic Rice and wheat
  • 2 – 3 soaked Munakka (large black grape) raisins 3 – 4 times a week

Dried raisin is an excellent pitta balancing dry fruit

 

Using Astringent taste “Kashaya Rasa” to balance excess Pitta:

Kashaya rasa is a taste that is most often missing in modern-day foods. This is an important rasa which is vital to our health. Foods rich in Kashaya rasa usually have a lekhaniya (scraping effect) and are very useful in healing the body of excess fat, fluid collection, inflammation, etc. Kashaya rasa has “rooksha” (drying), “sheetya” (cold) and “laghu” (light) qualities- hence it helps balance Pitta dosha.

Kashaya rasa is wound healing, absorbs excess secretions and clears mucous. It helps clarify the tongue and skin and is calming and healing to the body. It is also a good blood clarifier.

In excess, Kashaya rasa can be excessively drying and vata aggravating on the body. Please do not overindulge in this taste.

 

Some examples of Kashaya Rasa dravyas:

  • Vegetables
    • Broccoli
    • Lettuce
    • Fennel
    • Banana flower

Banana flower is naturally kashaya in nature

  • Fruits
    • Amla (Indian gooseberry)
    • Pomegranates (choose well ripened, sweet fruits and not sour)

Pomegranate is a medicinal fruit which has strong Kashaya rasa

  • Sweeteners
    • Honey
    • Indian Date – Kharik

Indian date is Kashaya in nature

  • Herbs & seasonings
    • Parsley
    • Coriander
    • Basil
  • Ayurvedic Kashaya herbs used in Krya products
    • Amla
    • Haritaki
    • Vibhitaki
    • Triphala(combination of above 3 herbs)
    • Khadira
    • Arjuna Twak (bark)
    • Lodhra Twak (bark)
    • Sappanwood

 

Meal plan suggestions:

From this list, we can look at including the following naturally Astringent (sweet) foods in our diet to create a Pitta balancing diet .

  • Amla made in different methods 2 – 3 times a week: Can be made as a raita (using buttermilk or thin curd), Chutney, Preserve, or as a souring agent into Dal / Sambhar

Include Amla in your diet frequently

  • Pomegranates – 2 times a week – choose sweet fruits only
  • Chutneys / Dips / Pesto made from Basil / Coriander – twice a week
  • Overnight soaked Khajoora eaten once / twice a week

 

To sum up:

In part 1 of our post describing the Pitta balancing diet, we explored how using specific Rasas (tastes) in your meals can help bring down aggravated Pitta.  Using rasas which have opposing qualities as that of Pitta help balance spiked Pitta levels and also bring in better nourishment and satiety to the body, improving health.

In the next part of our blog post, we will explore how using specific dravyas and spices like milk, ghee, coriander seeds, etc help counter excess Agni in the body. In the case of certain dravyas, we will also explore how different prakritis (body types) should have these dravyas for optimal health. Part 3 of our post will have detailed daily meal plan suggestions that can help you plan a Pitta balancing diet.

 

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Why krya recommends A2 Cow Ghee for Good Skin and Great Hair

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

The Ayurvedic Recommendation :

Based on Ayurvedic texts, krya recommends regular dietary use of Desi A2 cow ghee for all prakritis. When we say “desi ghee” we usually refer to ghee made from the milk & curd of indigenous Indian cow breeds,  with a prominent “hump” on their shoulder . Theseindigenous breeds are derived from the primary strain of “Zebu cattle” , descended from Indian Aurochs.


Approximately 268 – 232 BC – representation of Zebu cattle on Rampurva Capital of the Pillars of Ashoka, excavated in Rampurva-West Champaran District, Bihar

 

What is commonly available today ?

What is available commonly today is A1 milk, curd and ghee. A1 milk is derived from the European version of Bos, which migrated away from the Asian and African heartland close to 4000 years ago. This species developed a slightly different version of Beta casein in the Milk which is now called A1 beta casein, as opposed to A2 Beta casein found in Indian indigenous cattle.

Why we recommend desi A2 Milk ?

As per Ayurveda and recent research, A2 milk is easier to process and digest by our bodies. In practice, we have found that A2 milk is usually less fatty, causes less bloating and digestive discomfort, and exhibits all the properties of Milk we have studied as per Ayurveda.

Issues with Commercial dairy farming and A1 Milk

When we buy Dairy from large conglomerates, they follow a collection + aggregation model . Here Milk is sourced from small dairy farmers with any breed of cow or buffalo , mixed together, homogenised to follow government
standards of fat percentage and then sold as toned milk, full fat milk, etc.
This is the case for all major co-operative dairy conglomerates across India.

• Milk is sourced from different kinds of daily cattle and mixed together: so we have desi (A2), foreign (jersey – A1), hybrid (desi+jersey), buffalo, and sometimes goats milk being mixed together . The properties of each of these are different and will have a different effect on the body. Depending upon the mixture we get, the body may accept it better or it may not.

• As Dairy farmers are rewarded for fat percentage of Milk (higher cost paid for higher milk fat), they are incentivised to replace lean indigenous breeds with foreign breeds which are naturally high in fat. Again to conserve milk fat, they restrict the animal’s movement and can feed the Animal high fat and unsuitable diet in order to extract high fat milk.

• Unnatural, cruel dairy farming practices: To extract maximum yield from Cows, dairy farmers unnecessarily induce lactation through hormone injections. The animals are often kept in crowded and unsanitary conditions leading to diseases and antibiotic injections. As the animal is subjected to so much strain, her natural life comes down to half.

• End user contamination: Often due to the presence of a very large cold-chain, on and off there is adulteration of Milk – Urea, Detergent powder, etc are used to preserve milk for a few days till it reaches you

Ayurvedic recommednation on sourcing Milk

Milk must be sourced from a farm where the animals are treated well. When we take Milk from a cow, we are taking a portion of food that she has produced for her calf. So we incur a Karmic debt towards the Cow and her Calf. We must ensure that we treat the Cow and her Calf well, look after their health and ensure they live happily with us to reduce that Karmic debt slightly. Hence these practices are specified in Ayurveda

• Milk must be taken after the calf has had her full
• Cow must not be subjected to extended lactation period simply to get more Milk out of her
• Cow and calf must be housed in clean, hygienic and pleasing environment
• Cow and calf must both be healthy and willing to spare excess Milk. We must not take milk from a cow who has lost her calf, or whose Calf is sick.
• Cow and calf must be allowed to graze and eat their normal diet. We must not give them food that is not suitable to them and which makes them ill (both are common practices in commercial dairy practice).
• As far as possible, we must take Milk from locally available breeds – their fat content and other nutrient parameters are most suitable for the climatic conditions we live in.
• We must source Raw, unpasteurised cow’s milk which we then boil at home as per prevalent Ayurvedic practice. Hence it is “cooked” for the first time when it reaches us.
• Dairy is precious. It is made by a Mother from her dhatus for us. We must use it as necessary and should not over indulge in it or waste it.

What to look for when sourcing Desi A2 Ghee ?

If you look at the above, it is ideal to make your own Desi A2 ghee from the Milk you buy everyday from a farm that you know of personally. This is a process – many of Us may not be there as yet. So here are some guidelines to determine whether the Ghee you are planning to buy is physically and spiritually correct for you and your family

• How are the Cows treated: A conversation / visit should have you enquiring about the health of the cows. Please remember sourcing ghee from badly treated cows is going to increase your spiritual / karmic debt. Ayurveda tells us that all food is endowed with “gunas” or spiritual qualities. The state of the people making the food, the state of the cow are both important to source truly good ghee. Therefore, it is preferable to source from smal local dairy farms or gaushalas which you can trust, to source ghee & milk.

• Milk – Ghee ratio: It takes about 30-36 litres of Desi A2 Milk to make 1 Kg of Desi A2 Ghee . This ratio is assuming normal fat proportion of Bos Indicus strains which is always lower than A1 strains. If you assume this ratio to be a factor in costing, Desi A2 Ghee should cost around Rs. 1200 – 1500 / Kg or more. Again costing depends upon many factors, primarily the fat percentage of the Milk produced by the Indigenous strain. Certain breeds like Gir and Red Sindhi have slightly higher fat percentage compared to certain strains like Kangeyam. So price will vary accordingly. If it costs less than Rs.700 / Kg, you should check whether it is actually Desi A2 cow ghee.

• How is the Ghee made: We are looking for Ghee to be made using the Ayurvedic method. Hence, Malai (cream) is taken out from Milk and stored. Curd starter is added to this Malai to make a thick curd. This is churned to extract Butter + Buttermilk (fat free chaas). This butter is then heated to make Ghee. This ghee is sweet, digestive, pitta balancing and chakshushya (good for the eyes). Many households also modify this process by adding Cream removed from curd along with Cream obtained from Milk – In this case, by the time we get to making butter, the cream has already become curd due to the presence of curd starter bacteria. Sometimes this can make the cream very smelly – so we recommend the first Method.

Generally if you use good quality A2 milk, you can make about 250 gm of ghee after saving Malai for 2 – 3 weeks.

How should Ghee look / taste and smell ?

Good quality ghee should have a characteristic pleasing, ruchi inducing aroma. It should not smell burned in any way (indicates that butter was excessively heated). It should be light and easy to absorb in your food.

Good quality A2 cow’s milk and ghee can have an excellent impact on your overall health and of course will help you build good skin and hair systems. It will be an excellent one-time investment of your time to switch to a good local brand so that you can ask the farmer all the relevant questions to re-assure yourself.

 

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The Krya Mini Abhyanga Guide : A Bridge to the Full Abhyanga

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On the Krya blog, we have consistently extolled the benefits of the Abhyanga Snana as a very important Dinacharya ( Daily Habit). All the classical Ayurvedic textbooks have clearly defined the wide range of health benefits of a regular Abhyanga-Snana.

The full Abhyanga Snana involves a vigorous head-to-toe oil self-massage followed by Snana with a herb based bath powder.  And the Ayurvedic Acharyas recommend that all healthy adults can have a daily Abhyanga.

The Need for a Mini-Abhyanga

The very thought of a Abhyanga-Snana seems extremely daunting to many of us who have a packed, hassled morning routine. A quick shower with soap and shampoo is the most that many of us can cotemplate on a week-day

We have received a large number of message from our customers on how to get over the initial time and scheduling hurdles to incorporate this important habit into their routine – hence this guide which introduces the Mini-Abhyanga.

The Krya Mini-Abhyanga Guide

A Mini-Abhyanga should take around 10 minutes, focuses on key body parts that suffer dosha-aggravation and gives a few of the benefits of the full Abhyanga. You just need a Abhyanga skin oil and an ubtan to get started and it is recommended for all healthy adults.

We have designed this Mini-Abhyanga as a bridge to the full , proper Ayurvedic Abhyanga Snana. It will help new comers to get started and experience some of the important health benefits and motivate them to graduate to a full Abhyanga. For the regulars, it will help you to incorporate a mini-abhyanga when you have less time or when you are travelling.

The Mini-Abhyanga is not meant to replace the full Abhyanga. You can read about the full Abhyanga here .

In this guide we have given the instructions for both men & women and the different precautions to be taken.

Download the Krya Mini Abhyanga Guide  & do use it realize the wonderful health benefits of this important Ayurvedic Dinacharya.

 

 

 

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