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

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Reading Time: 14 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 responses in the body.

Commercial dairy practices have spread antibiotics, hormones and synthetics into our dairy.

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.

Beta caesin has 13 variants of which A1 and A2 variant are the most common.  A2 Milk comes from pure bred Asian and African cattle. In this milk, a nucleotide called PROLINE is the 67th position of the amino acid chain. The nucleotide variation in this single position contributes to the difference between A1 and A2 milk.

Native indian cow - milk safe and nourishing for consumption

With the migration of cattle to Europe, a mutation developed in this 67th position in the amino acid chain in Beta Casein. Instead of Proline, European cattle mutated to HISTIDINE in the 67th position in the chain. Initially the entire bovine population contained only the A2 allele. The A1 allele developed after the histidine mutation when bovine cattle migrated to Europe. This is a mutation that did not occur in human or other animal species even though they too migrated to Europe.

European cattle have mutated to a special amino acid protein called histidine which affects human beings

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

Apart from these issues, consumption of A1 milk has also been linked to SIDS, autism, schizophrenia type 1 diabetes, etc. 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

Eating incompatible foods is a primary cause for Atopic dermatitis as per Ayurveda

  • 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)

Withholding natural urges like teh urge to use a washroom is an important trigger for Atopic dermatitis

  • 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.

Ayurveda recommends the use of ayurvedic herbs, medicated bath steeps, lepas and oils to improve skin in Atopic dermatitis.

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

A pathya diet is recommended in Ayurveda to avoid triggering skin diseases

  • 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.

Specific skin healing herbs are used in Ayurveda to treat Atopic dermatitis like Nannari (Indian sarsaparilla).

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.

The Krya sensitive line of skin care products for adults with atopic dermatitis, psoriaisis, etc

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.

Krya baby ubtans are ideal to cleanse sensitive itchy skin

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

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

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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5 ways to balance aggravated Vata dosha to heal dry hair and skin

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

Do you have dry hair and dry skin? Are your bowel movements sluggish with a feeling of incompleteness? Do you have scanty periods? Is your hair generally rough and dry? You could be experienced dryness due to vata dosha aggravation. Read on for Ayurveda can help tackle both rough and dry hair and the underlying vata aggravation behind this.

We recently received a consultation request from a 36 year old lady, who was experiencing very high hair fall and hair dryness. From our investigation, we found 3 signs of high vata aggravation:

  • She found it difficult to fall asleep despite being very tired. In her email she said: “I toss and turn at night for nearly an hour before I fall asleep”.
  • She described her bowel movements as being sluggish and incomplete. The bowel movements felt hard , compacted and were difficult to pass out
  • She described her periods as being scanty and variable in their nature – so menstruation cycles varied from 29 days to 36 days every month

Nature of vata dosha and its role in the body

Vata is the most powerful dosha in our body – it governs the action of the other 2 doshas in our body as neither have mobility without vata. The 3 doshas in our body are made up of the pancha bhootas or the 5 basic elements – and vata is made up of air (vayu) + space(akash). This gives Vata dosha the quality of movement, lightness, swiftness and speed.

5 ways to control aggravated vata dosha: Vata dosha is powerful and a mobile dosha

All of are made up of a mixture of the 3 doshas. Naturally, for each of us, one or two doshas show pre-dominance making up our general character and determining our attitudes, behavior in situations and the kind of illnesses we are prone to, etc.

Apart from our basic dosha nature, the doshas in our body can increase or decrease depending upon what we eat, how we behave and how the environment around us changes.

Why does Vata dosha get aggravated easily in city people?

Acharya Charaka says that 50% of diseases occur due to aggravation of vata dosha. Vata aggravation is extremely high in cities. By their very nature and by the nature of our demanding jobs, there is a natural increase in vata in urban dwellers.

 5 ways to control aggravated vata dosha: CITY LIVING AGGRAVATES VATA

This is because we tend to travel long distances so we expose ourselves to high mobility and wind (both of which are components of vata), work late (again a characteristic of vata dosha), eat food which is high in vata (potatoes, bread and other baked goods, urad, cauliflower, cabbage, fried food), drink stimulating drinks like tea and coffee (which remove moisture and therefore increase vata).

Where does Vata aggravation show up in our body?

Vata governs all mobility and downward movements in the body. So if your back feels stiff, your knees crack or pop, or if your wrists tingle or hurt from excessively using your smartphone, then Vata has been over used and is hence aggravated.

Vata governs all downward movement. So for correct and regular bowel movement where the stools are not excessively dry or hard, and where the bowels are completely emptied in ONE shot, Vata needs to be at the optimal level.

So, if you have dry stools, a feeling of incomplete bowel movements, and the system does not do “its job” correctly, on time every day without external stimulants like coffee, then Vata is aggravated.

Similarly if you have scanty periods where timing is uncertain and there is a lot of variability in the cycle, your body is aggravated with too much Vata dosha.

Vata aggravation also shows up in the state of our hair, nails, skin and feet. Excessively cracked heels which do not respond to any form of moisturisation can be attributed to aggravated Vata dosha. Similarly chronically dry skin and hair can also be a result of vata aggravation. People who lose weight very quickly or find it very difficult to gain weight may also be naturally high in vata dosha.

 5 ways to control aggravated vata dosha: severely cracked heels is a sign of aggravated vata

Vata aggravated people find it difficult to get high quality , restful sleep. They either find it difficult to fall asleep, or do not stay in deep sleep for long – so they wake up feeling fatigued, run down and low on energy. This makes them choose stimulants like tea and coffee which are again high in Vata dosha, starting a vicious cycle.

What can aggravate Vata even if our prakriti is not high in Vata dosha?

Not everyone’s constitution is basically high in Vata dosha. Yet, we CONSTANTLY see symptoms of aggravated Vata at Krya. This is because all of us are doing certain things which are calculated to drive up Vata dosha in our bodies. What are these?

 5 ways to control aggravated vata dosha: excessive media usage aggravates vata

  • Chaotic days without a proper , regulated schedule of eating or sleeping – Vata thrives in chaotic environments. The more chaos you subject yourself to , the more Vata dosha is increased
  • Late nights with high media activity – Vata dosha aggravates during night time. So if you habitually work late or stay up late, you will be over using vata dosha
  • Eating foods which are high in Vata dosha: Ready to eat Noodles, Instant foods, Breads, breakfast cereal and vegetables like potatoes and cauliflower whichconsume a lot of oil, are deep fried and which are hard and crisp are high in Vata dosha. In times of stress, people tend to consume these foods preferentially over others. This in turn severely aggravates Vata dosha.

 5 ways to control aggravated vata dosha: Junk food aggravates vata

How to tackle aggravated vata dosha : Tackling dry skin & hair at the root cause

Vata is “rooksha” (dry), “laghu” (light) and “Sheetya” (cold) , “vishada” (non slimy), “khara”(coarse) and “Daruna” (instable).

Therefore, it is NO WONDER, that when Vata is aggravated, the very same symptoms are manifested at the level of the skin and the hair. So to permanently reverse this condition of dryness, we have to BRING DOWN Vata dosha from its current abnormally high level in the body. How do we do that?

5 point program to bring down aggravated Vata dosha and improve dry skin and hair:

  • FIRST, apply oil all over the body, especially in the primary vata seats (ears, abdomen, wrists, knees, joints, etc). This oil should be vata pacifying and should be applied WARM to counter the cold nature of Vata dosha. Oil Abhyanga traps scattered vata dosha and forces it back to its original place. For very high Vata, Abhyanga can be done DAILY. Else, twice or thrice a week. More abhyanga instructions can be found here.

 5 ways to control aggravated vata dosha: abhyanga controls aggravated vata dosha

  • Apply oil FREQUENTLY and REGULARLY on dry skin & hair. For chronically dry skin, we suggest twice a day application of Krya Moisture Plus skin oil. For hair, we have many options like Krya conditioning hair oil, Krya harmony hair oil, etc. Oil application has to be FREQUENT and REGULAR. This helps trap scattered vata dosha, nourish scalp and skin deeply and help proper, re-generative and correct skin and hair growth.

 5 ways to control aggravated vata dosha: Apply oil regularly and frequently

  • REGULATE your exposure to cold and dry winds carefully. Strong wind, cold air, long distance travel and office air conditioning all aggravate Vata . To control this impact, plus your ears and cover the head while travelling. Keep your body warm in cold temperatures by wearing layers of clothing and additional garments like a shawl for warmth. Layering of clothing is an extremely practical and effective way of controlling vata .

 

  • CUT DOWN on your use of electronic media especially post 6 pm. We have seen earlier posts on how use of smartphones and electronic media interferes with sleep patterns and excites Vata. So when vata dosha is aggravated, use of devices that stimulate it should be controlled.

 

  • MONITOR your diet – In times of stress, all of us gravitate towards vata aggravating food (pizzas, burgers, fries, cola, caffeine, etc). The more such foods are consumed, the more they throw our doshas out of balance and the more dry our hair and skin get. Read here for more insights on choosing the correct food for you.

To sum up:

All skin and hair issues are indicative of a deeper underlying imbalance. Ayurveda, therefore, treats at the root cause level. So even dry skin and dry hair are analyzed for what they truly represent: aggravated or imbalanced vata.

Skin and hair systems are not just important for aesthetic reasons. They are our early warning systems through which our body communicates with us and lets us know of underlying problems.

Chronically dry skin and hair point to deeply aggravated vata . Vata dosha is a critical dosha in our prakriti which governs many important functions. As it is the only dosha capable of movement, it also does the job of transporting the other 2 doshas where they are supposed to be. So when Vata is aggravated the functions of the other 2 doshas are also impaired.

City living easily and quickly aggravates Vata dosha. This post explored different aspects of how we can bring aggravated Vata dosha back to balance in easy, do-able ways.

If you have any questions on aggravated vata , or would like our advice , please write to us.

Krya products suggested to bring aggravated Vata dosha under control:

  • Krya Abhyanga Skin Oil : A traditionally formulated ayurvedic abhyanga oil designed to balance all 3 doshas. Can be used everyday.

  • Krya Women’s Ubtan and Men’s Ubtan : to completely cleanse skin and remove excess oil after an Abhyanga without drying, dehydrating or damaging Srotas of the Skin
  • Krya Moisture Plus Skin system (consists of Krya Moisture Plus skin Oil, Moisture plus face mask and Moisture plus Face wash) to help chronically dry skin

 

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Men’s skin care basics: caring for and maintaining skin through Ayurveda

Krya men's skin care basics: a 5 step ayurevdic skin care routine for Men
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Is men’s skin care even required as a category? This question has promoted thousands of searches online with people wanting to find out the exact difference between men’s skin and women’s skin. It has also triggered the rise of a high range of men’s skin care products. Is this interest in men’s skin care justified? What are the differences between Men’s skin and women’s skin? How does Ayurveda recommend we care for Men’s skin? Today’s post will explore this topic.

Men’s skin care – skin structural differences:

Dermatological and hormonal research tells us that the composition of hormones in the body determine several factors in the skin. The hormone composition in the body determines the thickness of the skin, its texture, its smoothness, the oil secretion in the skin and the way it ages.

Testosterone and the androgenic male hormones help produce coarser and thicker skin, and thicker hair. This set of hormones also influences sebum production – so men’s skin is oilier then women’s skin. The collagen structure in Men’s skin is different from women. Due to the presence of cross links, Men’s skin sags lesser compared to women, and therefore ages less.

Krya post on basics of Men's skin care: Men's skin is structurally different

When androgenic hormones are elevated, or unbalanced, skin becomes oilier, and adult acne occurs.

Estrogen and its sub set of hormones which are found abundantly in women, and to a lesser degree in men also influences Skin. Estrogen has a strong influence on skin moisture. Estrogen can increase or decrease the presence of glycosaminoaglycanes (GAG) in skin. GAGs can increase collagen production skin, helping skin stay firmer and less wrinkled longer. GAGs also maintain epidermal thickness and internal moisture. So skin stays plumper and hydrated and wrinkle free longer.

Krya men's skin care basics: women's skin is naturally clearer, smoother and softer.

When estrogenic hormones are elevated, the skin develops conditions like hyper-pigmentation, melasma, etc. This is a common phenomenon during pregnancy.

Men’s skin care– common problems we have noticed at Krya

At Krya, we have noticed certain special problems in Men’s skin which has to do with its structure and composition. In general, pitta dosha is extremely aggravated and unbalanced in Men. Therefore we see very unbalanced and high sebum production, with constant breakouts, and large, visible open pores.

Krya men's skin care basics: men's skin often has high oil production, visible open pores

Culturally (although this is changing), Men are not as aware of skin care and good routines as women are. We have many complaints of acne scars and blemishes which are due to unchecked picking of acne while young.

We have observed a lot of impatience when dealing with common Pitta problems like Acne among our male consumers. They choose very harsh oil control face washes and soaps to cleanse skin. This is from the mistaken belief that harsher cleaning will remove oil better. But in fact, as we have discussed before, this harsh cleansing only aggravates greater and denser oil production aggravating the problem.

Krya Men's skin care basics: harsh cleansers increase skin oiliness by aggravating skin

Oil production is very high around the hair follicles. So we see greater acne breakouts in the beard and chin area among men. Again, due to impatience, many men simply shave over acne, spreading the micro organism over the face, aggravating the breakouts.

Men’s skin also is much more exposed to pollution and environmental toxins. Due to the thickness of epidermal and dermal layer, the Srotas are thicker and longer in Men. This means there is greater space for dirt and toxins to hide inside the srotas. This makes the skin look dull and feel coarse if the skin is not cleansed periodically and properly.

Krya Men's skin care basics: smog and environmental pollution increase toxin accumulation in men's skin

A good set of men’s skin care products should therefore tackle all these identified issues.

An Ideal Ayurvedic men’s skin care routine

Men’s skin suffers from aggravated Pitta-Kapha dosha when skin is not maintained or cleansed properly. This results in greasy, oily skin, white heads and blackheads, and dense breakouts when younger. As age increases, the pores enlarge, skin texture becomes rough and leathery and pores become more and more visible.

Therefore, the key in Ayurveda to caring for Men’s skin is twofold. The first part lies in balancing pitta and kapha using the correct herbs. Next, Srotas have to be cleansed gently, yet thoroughly. We must not over cleanse the srotas, and we must leave them toxin free, yet supple and elastic.

Krya men's skin care basics: Important to cleanse skin correctly. Skin should retain its elasticity and yet be completely clean

Men’s skin, especially as it ages, can get dehydrated if there is high sun exposure. High sun exposure removes moisture from the topmost layers of skin. This traps heat and dust within skin as the srotas become dry and unable to expand and contract and perform their role of toxin elimination.

Therefore, a good skin care programme must also focus on nurturing the skin and supplementing moisture, to prevent photo aging and dryness.

The 5 step Ideal Ayurvedic men’s skin care routine:

  1. Cleanse skin with cool water and using a completely natural, Sulphate free, detergent free, gentle cleansing face wash. We recommend using the Krya Men’s face wash. Avoid hot water and foaming cleansers on Men’s skin.
  2. Through the day, if you are indoors, revive tired and Pitta aggravated skin by spraying rose water or splashing , pure, clean, cool water on skin. If you are travelling outdoors, protect skin by covering it with a full frontal helmet. Once you are back home, cleanse skin with a gentle herbal Men’s face wash to remove any accumulated dirt and toxins.
  3. At night, apply a pitta balancing, evenly nourishing skin oil. Do not use petroleum based moisturisers as they will simply clog skin further. We recommend using the Krya Classic skin facial serum instead.
  4. Once a week, we recommend application of a healing Lepa. If your skin is acne prone, we recommend the Krya anti acne face mask. If you travel outdoors extensively and have high sun exposure, we recommend the Krya after sun face mask. For everyone else, the Krya Classic face mask works.
  5. Aggravated Pitta responds very well to an abhyanga and frequent hair oiling. Many of our male consumers find a reduction in photo sensitivity and pitta related skin issues with regular hair oiling. The Abhyanga is a once a week re-set which is a must for Men. It helps balanced aggravated vata and pitta and greatly improves skin and hair health.

What goes into the Krya men’s face wash?

The Krya men’s face wash is our carefully formulated offering for Men’s skin. We use 33 skin nurturing, pitta balancing, oil balancing and skin improving Ayurvedic herbs, lentils, flowers, roots and fruits in this formulation.

To help deep cleanse hidden impurities and toxins, we use a special mixture of medicated Lentils and grains including Tavakshira, Desert Date, and our medicated Whole heritage Mung bean. This unique combination helps deep cleanse skin of hidden impurities, and toxins without robbing it of its natural oils and elasticity.

Krya men's skin care basics: krya men's face wash is a specially formulated unique herbal facewash powder

To scoop clean the longer and thicker Srotas, we use a special mixture of millets that improve circulation, brighten complexion and help scoop out toxins. These millets include heritage, organic Red Sorghum grains renowned for their skin brightening effect.

To balance oil, balance Pitta ad heal breakouts, we use Pitta balancing , astringent, healing herbs like Bael fruit, Khadira, Kala Jeera. Woody fragrant herbs like Indian Sarsaparilla, India Liquorice, Durva and Punarnava help correct scars, and improve skin texture and appearance.

How to use an herbal face wash powder?

Readers may be taken aback when they realise that all of Krya’s face wash products are powders. By maintaining a powder format, we are able to concentrate a high amount of nutrition by using whole herbs in our products. We also completely avoid the use of synthetic preservatives, fillers and thickeners giving you a toxin free product.

To use our herbal face wash powders, simply take the required quantity and mix in clean water to make a thick paste. Apply this paste gently in an upward direction over your face and neck avoiding the eye area. Leave it on for 30 seconds before rinsing off with cool, clean water.

To sum up:

The structure of Men’s skin is different physiologically from Women’s skin. These differences have to do with the interplay of hormones in the body. When the hormonal balance changes, there are corresponding changes and problems in the skin’s structure.

Due to the influence of androgenic hormones, men’s skin is naturally thicker, has a better collagen matrix and is well supplied with sebum. However, the sebum balance is delicate and can easily get aggravated in polluted environment, with a poor diet or when aggressive cleansing products are used.

This could result in large visible open pores, unchecked oil production and frequent breakouts leading to blemishes and scars.

This post discussed a detailed, holistic and completely natural, men’s skincare routine that helps care for and nurture men’s skin. If this routine is followed along with a healthy diet and good lifestyle, we can prevent skin aging and maintain the health and aesthetic appearance of men’s skin.

In case you have any queries on how to maintain your skin, or would like to gift our products to the wonderful men in your life and have queries, please write to us.

 Krya products suggested for Men’s skin care :

Cleansing:

Lepa (Herbal face mask)

Krya after sun face mask to soothe and nourish sun ravaged skin.

Facial serum:

Pitta Reducing Products:

Krya Men's abhyanga system: helps balance and re-set doshas. Recommend to be used atleast once a week every week.

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