Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Drink Your Vegetables and Fruits for Sustaining Best Health


Amla (Indian Gooseberry) Juice

Gooseberry (English), Nellikkai (Tamil), Amla (Hindi), Amalaki (Sanskrit), Emblica officinalis (Botanical).
Indications: Best among rejuvenatory fruits; Cold in potency; Balances Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Recommended for: Anemia, Asthma, Bleeding diseases, Constipation, Cough, Skin diseases,  Diseases of heart, Jaundice, Weight loss
Ingredients: Gooseberry or Nellikai - 100gm; Jagery - 50gm; Water - As Required
Preparation: Light steam boil the fruit after removing seeds. Blend the gooseberry fruit. Add required water and jagery. 
Beetroot Juice

Beetroot (English), Beetroot (Tamil), Beetroot (Hindi), Beta Vulgaris (Botanical),
Recommended for: Antioxidant, Blood pressure,  Blood vessel widens, Detoxifier, Improves Blood circulation, Cancer prevention, Digestion diseases,Lowers bad cholesterol level
Properties: Alkalizer, Aphrodisiac, Balances pitta and kapha, Blood purifier, Healing, Nourishing , Improves immunity in children, Protects liver, Rich in magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and calcium as well as small amounts of copper, selenium, zinc, iron and manganese.
Ingredients: Beetroot  - 100gm, Palm sugar - 30gm, Lime Juice - one tsp , Water if required
Preparation: Extract the juice from the carrot in a blender. Add palm sugar to the extracted juice.  Add lime juice and stir well. 

Carrot Juice


Carrot (English), Karat (Tamil), Gaajara (Hindi), Gaajara (Sanskrit),  Daucus carota (Botanical)
Recommended for: Bleeding diseases, Cold and cough, Laxative,  Piles, Sprue, Ulcers.
Properties: Alkalizer, Aphrodisiac, Balances pitta and kapha, Blood purifier, Healing, Nourishing , Improves immunity in children, Protects liver, Rich in beta carotene (i.e, anti-cancerous properties, especially lung Cancer), Calcium, Iron, phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Sulphur, Vitamin A and C and other minerals.
Ingredients: Carrot  - 100gm, Palm sugar - 30gm, Lime Juice - one tsp , Water if required
Preparation: Extract the juice from the carrot in a blender. Add palm sugar to the extracted juice.  Add lime juice and stir well. 
 Cucumber Juice

Cucumber (English), vellerikkai (Tamil),  kakdi (Hindi), karkati (Sanskrit), Cucumis utilissimus Linn (Botanical)
Recommended for: Cancer, Difficulty in passing urine, Heart diseases, Loss of appetite, Relieves Eczemas
Properties: Antidote. Anti-poisonous,  Balancing of three doshas, Binds stools,  Cools Body, Dietary Fiber, Digestion Problems, Diuretic, Fluid Restoration, Rich in Vitamin C, Folate and Potassium, Thirst Quencher,
Ingredients: Cucumber (medium) 100gm; Buttermilk 50ml; Rock salt 3gm; bunch of chopped curry leaves and coriander leaves
Preparation: Extract juice from the cucumber in a blender; Grind & squeeze the juice of coriander leaves & curry leaves. Add buttermilk, a pinch of rock salt, chopped curry leaves and coriander leaves and beat the ingredients again and serve. 

Dates Juice

Dates (English), Pereecham pazham (Tamil), Chuhada (Hindi), Karjura (Sanskrit), Phoenix sylverstris (Botanical)
Recommended for: Anemia, Aphrodisiac, Burning sensation,  Injury, Gain weight, Improves Kapha and Semen, Weight Gain and Weight loss.
Properties: Binds the stools, Blood purifier, Cold in potency, Digestion Problems, Nourishing, Reduces Vata and Pita Doshas, Unctuous in quality, Rich in protein,minerals and essential amino acids.
Ingredients: Coconut (Riped) – 1, Dates – 15 gm, Water – as desired
Preparation: Extract coconut milk from the scraped coconut. Soak the seedless dates in it for 1 hour. Make a paste of this mixture. If required, a little water may be added. 

Papaya Juice

Papaya (Papaya), Pappali (Tamil), Papita (Hindi), Eranda Karkati (Sanskrit), Carica papaya (Botanical)
Recommended for: Allergies,  Amenorrhea,   Anemia,  Asthma, Cardiovascular diseases, Colon cancer, Osteoarthritis, Sports injuries, Trauma.
Properties: Appetizer and Digestion improver, Balances kapha and vata, Binds stools,  Boosts immunity, Increases pitta, Reduces inflammation,  Rich in anti oxidant nutrients,
Ingredients: Papaya – 1 medium size fruit, Palm sugar – 30 gm, Water : Desired quantity
 Preparation: Peel and de-seed papaya. Dice and blend it in a mixer. Add palm sugar and  water if required. Beat it again and serve.  

Plantain Pith Juice



Plantain (Plantain), Valaithandu (Tamil) Kela (Hindi), Kadali kanda (Sanskrit), Musa paradisiaca (Botanical)
Recommended for: Obesity, Urinary stones, Ulcers, Burning sensation,     Acidity, Diabetes, Bleeding disorders, Menorrhagia
Properties: Alkalizer, Bitter & astringent in taste, natural diuretic, Cold in potency, Reduces cholesterol,     Its astringent quality helps in blood coagulation,
Ingredients: Plantain’s pith of the stem – 100gm; Buttermilk – 50 ml; Rock salt – 3 gm; Water – 50 ml
Preparation: Put the plantain stem in juicer and extract the juice. Add little buttermilk, water and rock salt. Stir well and serve. 
 Pumpkin Juice


Pumpkin (English), Poosanikkai (Tamil), Petaa (Hindi), Kooshmaanda (sanskrit),  Cucurbita maxima (Botanical)
Recommended or Beneficial for:  Chronic Fever, Calculi, Diabetes, Difficult urination, Excessive bleeding, Excessive thirsty condition, Fever due to Pitta, Internal fever, Leucorrhoea, Loss of appetite,  Obesity,   Skin diseases, Toxicity
Properties:  Aphrodisiac,   Balances Pitta dosha, Clears the urinary tract, Diuretic,  Laxative, Nourishing, Relieves three doshas.
Ingredients: Yellow Pumpkin Pulp – 300gm, Jaggery or Sugar  – 20 gm, Water – Desired Quantity
Preparation: Extract juice from pumpkin using blender. Add desired quantity of sugar or honey (in case of obesity). 

Tender Coconut Water

Tender Coconut (English), Ilaneer (Tamil), Nariyal Pani (Hindi), Narikela Pani (Sanskrit), Cocos Nucifera (Botanical)
Properties: Aphrodisiac,  Cooling, Diuretic (mild), Light to digest,  Reduces Pitta & Vata doshas,  Refreshing Tonic,  Rehydrator (replace saline), Rich in mineral salts, Urinary bladder Cleanser,
Recommended for: Diabetes, Heat boils, Itching, jaundice, Measles, Nausea, Pimples,  Prickly heat, Sun burn, Urinary diseases, Urinary stones, Vomiting , Worm infestation (for children)
Ingredients:  Tender coconut water
Consume in its 1. Natural form 2. With  Tender coconut water add 2 spoons full (10 ml) and milk 50ml. 3. Tender Coconut water - 150 ml add few drops of Lemon juice.
 
Reference: Medindia. net, Ayurvedic Diet, Juices.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I Am Your Hair: Anatomy, Physiology and Growth

Look here! It;s me, your hair speaking. Are you surprised? You can feel my presence on your scalp. You will also find me on all the major visible surfaces of your body – eyebrows, above lips, cheeks, chin, arm pits etc.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Men and women are worried about my (hair) health. Remember that only my healthy presence could enhance beauty and youthfulness. I am totally responsible for your gender identity. Women folk are very keen about my appearance. They are ready to spend more time in beauty spas or hair dressing saloons to improve my appearance.

Do you know that I have much more complicated anatomy than my outward appearance? It is always useful to understand the biology. My unique structure and functions will provide completely renewable growth. This article explains about the basics of my constitution and growth.

Hair Shaft

How I am Structured? I have two different structures. What you see on your scalp is known as hair shaft. It is nothing but the dead shaft seen above the scalp. These colored strands are attached to your scalp. It is my outward structure. Each hair shaft is made up of there essential layers i.e. cuticle, medulla and cortex. Cuticle is the outermost layer. Cuticle protects medulla and cortex. Simply cuticle is a transparent structure and only this layer gives shiny appearance. If this outer layer is not healthy then you will get dull appearance. Medulla is the innermost layer constituted by large size cells. Cortex constitutes the middle layer. Cortex possesses the protein called keratin and coloring pigments. It is the cortex that determines my strength and size.

Keratin: Protein Constituent

Do you know about hair shaft constitution? The main constituent is the wonderful protein called Keratin. This protein safeguards hair shaft from wear and tear. Your nails are also constituted mainly by keratin. You will also find keratin within the feather of a bird and in the claws of animals. The large molecules of keratin are constituted by tiny amino acid beads forming a chain like appearance. My other constituents include the pigment called melanin (responsible for hair color), certain fat, small quantity of vitamins and traces of minerals like zinc etc. My constitution also includes 10 to 15 per cent of water and this helps me to maintain my moisture and balance the biochemical and physiological properties.

Hair Follicle

The other part or structure is called follicle. This pouch like structure is sunken inside your scalp. The follicle is encircled by two protective sheaths i.e. inner sheath and outer sheath. The hair shafts are well protected and molded by these two sheaths. The follicle also provided with an oil gland called sebaceous gland. The sebaceous gland is responsible for the production of sebum – a natural hair conditioner. You will produce sebum after you attain puberty. The women folk produce lesser sebum as they grow older. The men folk also produce some what lesser sebum but it is more when compared with women folk.

The hair shaft has its root in the follicle. Hair shaft comes out from the follicle. At the bottom there is a projection called hair papillae. The hair papillae have tiny blood capillaries to nourish my hair root. The thickness of the shaft totally depends up on the follicle size. It is the follicle that is responsible for my health.

However the follicle could support its nourishment till the shaft is pushed out of the follicle base. Afterwards the shaft could not derive nourishment from follicle and hence they die. After the death the shaft gets transformed into harder protein called keratin. Simply understand that only the bottom portion of your shaft is nourished by follicle.

Follicle Development

You will be surprised to learn that the development of hair follicles takes place in the fetus itself during 22nd week (child development stages). The child will have around on million follicles on the scalp. The more you grow older the density of follicles decrease.

Hair Follicle Cycle

Have you ever tried to understand my (your scalp hair) growth rate per year? My growth at your scalp will be around six inches per year. You will get hair growth of 0.03 to 0.04 mm only and you will get this much hair growth. You will have random hair growth or hair loss. It is not cyclic or seasonal. Simply understand that in a given period of time you will have a random number of hair growth and shedding on your scalp. Your hair growth involves three stages: (1). Anagen, (2). Catagen, and (3). Telogen.

Anagen

It is the active hair growth phase. There is active cell division at your hair roots. More and more new hairs are formed and your hair follicles push out the club hairs out of your follicles. Every 28 days you will get rapid hair growth around 1 cm. The hair grown during this growth phase will remain for about two to six years. Some of you might have felt problem of hair growing beyond certain length. It may be due to short phase of growth (Anagen). Some of you might be blessed with very long hair and reason is simply long phase of growth. Have you ever noticed that there is short active hair growth phase on your arm pits, limbs, eyelashes, and eyebrows? There is a very short active growth phase at these regions i.e., about 30-45 days. Active phase of growth is not warranted at these regions.

Catagen

It is the transitional phase. The Catagen is the phase that follows active hair growth phase called Anagen. Once your Anagen phase gets completed your hair undergoes a transitional stage. About three per cent of your hair undergoes this transitional process at any given period of time. This phase will lasts for about a period of three to four weeks. During Catagen your hair growth gets stopped. The outer sheath of your hair root undergoes shrinking process. There your hair gets attached firmly.

Telogen

It is the resting phase. The Telogen is the phase that follows transitional phase called Catagen. Your hairs undergoes the resting period. About 10-15 per cent of all of your hairs undergo this resting process at any given period of time. Telogen is the resting phase and accounts for 10-15% of all hairs. This phase will lasts for about a period of 100 days (for your scalp) and it will be more than 100 days for hairs present on your limbs, armpits, eyelashes, eyebrows etc. Your hair follicles are put at rest during this phase. Your hair development cycle gets completed. Your hair root will have a whitish dry, hardened solid substance. Every day you may be shedding about 75 to 100 Telogen hairs during this phase.

Reference Sources:
1) Hair follicle http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hair_follicle
2) Hair http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hair
3) Sebaceous gland http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sebaceous_gland

Article published by R.Muthusamy, on May 15, 2009, Category  in Scienceray
I Am Your Hair: Anatomy, Physiology and Growth  http://scienceray.com/biology/human-biology/i-am-your-hair-anatomy-physiology-and-growth/2/

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Aromatherapy, a form of alternative medicine or therapy, is designed to treat the whole person with systematic use of volatile plant oils or essential oils. The objective of the therapy is to treat the whole person; it is not aiming for symptomatic treatment. We are able see and believe that aromatherapy is helping and bringing relief to millions of people where conventional medicine currently fails.

Do you feel that aromatic substances can benefit mankind in treatment or prevention of diseases? How best the systematic use of volatile plant oils will improve our health?

Wikipedia: Aroma Therapy

Aromatherapy, a form of alternative medicine or therapy, designed to treat the whole person with systematic use of volatile plant oils or “essential oils.” The use of aromatherapy can benefit you in many ways. However the benefits you get mostly relies on a set of factors: a. your body type; b. your brain’s reaction with scents or aroma; and c. the kind of aromatherapy you receive. The objective of the therapy is to treat the whole person; it is not aiming for symptomatic treatment i.e., treatment for cold, cough etc.

Many centuries ago the mankind has found the mysterious world of smells, having learned to receive aromatic essences from plants. These plant essences have been used throughout the ages for healing. The French chemist Rene Maurice Gettefosse, who is known as the father of modern aromatherapy, first coined the term “aromatherapy” in 1920. He dedicated his life in the application of distilled plant volatiles for treatment or prevention of disease. The Indian Ayurvedic medicine includes aromatherapy as a form of treatment and uses aromatic oils in massage.

Essential oils or distinct fragrant oils are extracted from plants – i.e., flowers (Jasmine oil), leaves (eucalyptus oil), stem / wood / bark (sandalwood oil), roots (zingiber), and seeds (almond oil). The process of extraction is known as solvent extraction. Modern aromatherapy obtains essential oils from more than two hundred plants and trees. Absolute are fragrant oils extracted from flowers. Hydrosols are the by-products of the distillation process e.g., rose water. Carrier oils are plant based triacylglycerides used to dilute essential oils for external applications on the skin. Always essential oils must be mixed with carrier oils and used only for external applications; you are warned not apply essential on your skin directly. Be cautious while applying aromatic substances on children; and all such treatments must be on the advice of trained aroma-therapist.

You may use the essential oils as your massage oils or diffusers and burners or room sprays, compresses and (few drops) in your bathing water. The aromatic treatments physiologically regularise, balance, heal, and maintain your body system.

How our body systems absorb the essential oils? How the molecules of the aromatic substance help to provide the desired healing?

Aromatherapy uses essential oils to diffuse and permeate through our olfactory system or nostrils to reach the brain

 Aromatherapy uses essential oils to diffuse and permeate through olfactory system or nostrils to reach respiratory system. Our skin rightly absorbs the substances or the volatile substance permeate into our nostrils and enter into our lungs.

 Aromatherapy uses essential oils to diffuse and permeate through the pores of our skin membrane to reach muscular system. There are substances which can get along with our blood circulation. Even some tiny portion of the substace can do the desired absorption into our body system.
As a result some unique properties of the substance can increase your blood circulation; some other specific properties of the substance may flesh out toxins; few more friendly substance properties may induce cell growth.

Stress can change the complex chemistry of our bodies and affect our immune system. Body ache, head ache, indigestion etc., are the symptoms of stress. The prolonged stress influences the increased secretion of adrenalin and cortisol. The aromatherapy has solution to alleviate the problems of stress.
Modern research has ascertained that Jasmine / lavender oil could be used as an effective relaxant and efficient medicine for promoting sleep.

Aromatherapy relies on massage as its principal method for the application of essential oils. Full body massage is often found appropriate and at times the chosen limbs or body where discomfort is felt, are considered for massage. Massage is an efficient application to rejoice aromatherapy. The essential oils are fully absorbed by the body and the act of massaging also bring greater relief to discomfort. Massage also helps our body to get rid of toxins by stimulating our lymphatic system.
Aromatherapy reduces depression, relax our nerves and restores balanced mind. A handfull of essential oils i.e., Clary Sage, Frankincense, Lavender, Sweet Marjoram, Sandalwood, and Ylang Ylang are found to influence the secretion of neuro-stimulant known as “serotonin”. The serotonin is known for its relaxant and sleep inducing properties.

Aromatherapy is finding its application as a form of complementary and alternative medicine. We are able see and believe that aromatherapy is helping and bringing relief to millions of people where conventional medicine currently fails.

Article published by R.Muthuamy on July 17th, 2008 in HealthMad

Aromatherapy: An Alternative Therapy http://healthmad.com/alternative/aromatherapy-an-alternative-therapy/ 





Friday, February 7, 2014

Siddha Alchemy (Rasavatham): the Ancient Protoscience of Tamil Siddhas

Rasavatham or Alchemy is the branch of ancient proto-science and secretive Tamil Siddha knowledge system developed and practiced Tamil Siddha tradition. Of course modern biology, chemistry and medicine branched out from the science of alchemy. The Tamil Siddhas are a kind of (Hindu religious?) mystics lived between seventh and eleventh centuries in South India. They are Saiva Siddhantis followed the tradition Lord Shiva and Saiva Siddhanta. Siddhas achieved spiritual perfection and the power to control the physical world and their practices often related with cosmology and Tantricism. Some of the Siddha alchemists and their contribution to rasavtham (alchemy) is shown below:

Agathiyar Siddhar: manuscripts  Vaidiya Sigamani, Chendhooram - 300, Mani-400, Sivajalam, Sakthijalam etc.
Bhogar Siddhar: Bhogar's contribution on the synthesis of mercury, mercurial compounds and arsenical compounds are note worth. In Bhogar's Pogar (Bogar)-7000 aka. Saptakanda he reveals details ofvarious medicinal preparations to his disciple Pullippani Siddhar (so named as he is believed to have wandered in the forests atop a puli or tiger) and at every stage he quotes his guru Kalangināthar Siddhar as the authority. It is considered that the statue of Lord Dhandayudhapani (Palani temple) was concocted with Nava pasana (Nine arsenical compounds).
Konganar Siddhar: Out of all Konganar's works more than 40 deal with the alchemy and the elixir (muppu) of life. 
Therayar Siddhar is considered as the master of all the fields like astrology, mysticism, alchemy, medicine and language.
Edaikadar Siddhar: Edaikadar's contribution towards Rasavatham/Kayakalpam is remarkable.
Chatta Muni Siddhar: Chatta Muni took kalpam to change the body thathuvas and by which he     evolved 96 thathuvas.

 Kalanginathar Siddhar
Bhogar Siddha

Pulipani Siddhar
Siddha alchemy is unfathomable. Alchemy is a study of the basic elements called fire, water, earth and air. It is the study of transmutation. It was first studied to learn how to change lead into gold. It is similar to chemistry, but much older. People who studied alchemy were called alchemists.

According to Siddha alchemy and Siddha Tantric parlance, mercury is the representation of male (Shiva) form Shiva’s metal (Shivadhatu with divine (seminal) energy consciousness ). Whereas sulphur, the chemical element associated in the solidification process, is considered as the representation of female (Shakti or Gauri, consort of Shiva) form.

Mercury is the deadly poisonous substance obtained in semi-liquid form. Siddhas conducted amazing experiments with purification and transformative rituals to bring forth hidden qualities  of mercury. They treated mercury with metals and other poisonous substances and developed the secretive mystical alchemical science.  Alchemy deals with the basic elements known as fire, water, earth and air. All living and non-living subjects in this cosmic universe include these basic elements. Alchemy is the discipline concerned with transmutation. The science of alchemy paved way to develop number of scientific disciplines such as alchemy (modern), biology, bio-chemistry, bio-physics, chemistry, medical sciences, and pharmaceutical and therapeutic sciences. 

What are the goals and the purposes of alchemy? The two major goals of alchemists were : the transmutation of lead and other base metals into gold, and the discovery of the "elixir of life". Alchemy of transmutation is known as chrysopoeia which aims the creation of a panacea, and the discovery of a universal solvent.

During the alchemy process, the metals and other poisonous nature of substances are transmuted into a powerful new form with bio-chemical, therapeutic, and spiritual properties for treating intractable diseases.

They even formulated  the “transformation” and “purification” and “refinement” processes and documented the processes of alchemy in  uniquely coded Tamil poetic form. With the art and science of alchemy they aimed to achieve many perfections and Siddhis. When mercury is refined through alchemical process (108 sanskars of mercury), it starts to acquire certain higher dimensional energetic qualities. Mercury alchemy leads to Siddha pharmaceutical system wherein lots of oxides (bhasmams) and other Siddha preparations are developed to treat number of diseases as well as rejuvenate the body and promote longevity.


The process of solidification of mercury is the surreptitious process documented by Tamil Siddhas. Pada-rasam is the given In Tamil to mercury and the Siddhas carved Shiva Lingam from solidified mercury and called as Rasalingam. Modern science develops the mercury amalgam (solidified mercury amalgam) by treating with few metals. Siddha alchemy solidifies mercury by submerging the fluid prepared with certain medicinal herbs and few other pharmaceutical substances and allow to settle under shadow light for a specific period of time. 

Another important quest of alchemy is the transmutation of low value metals (example lead) into precious metals like gold and silver. Changing the element requires changing the atomic (proton) number. The precious metals have been subjected to incineration process for the conversion and preparation of metallic oxides (bhaspams), and reduce metals into red (chendhrams) and white (chunnams) calcinated salts (metallic nano-particles) to treat chronic diseases as well as to promote longevity.

Tamil Siddhas were concerned with the unique discovery of 'Muppu.' What is 'Muppu?' Muppu is termed as the universal solvent prepared by combining three salts representing  three natural elements i.e, water, air an fire. Muppu was used in the consolidation process of mercury into pills as well as for rejuvenation purposes. There are different types of muppu preparations classified and documented by Siddhas. To make it clear, the constituents of the universal solvents differed depending upon the application of muppu in internal alchemy, external alchemy, pharmaceutical and therapeutic uses. Muppu was potent enough to reduce minerals into white (chunnum) or red (chenduram) calcinated powders and invigorate the medical potency. In total muppu is the rejuvenating medicine and to maintain human body young, energetic and free from diseases.  

Reference
A critical study of the chronology of Sidha by KV.Ramakrishna Rao http://www.hinduwebsite.com/hinduism/essays/siddhas.asp
Alchemy – A Siddha Science by Kaulabhairav http://kaulabhairav.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/alchemy-a-siddha-science/
Siddhar’s Methods Of Processing Therapeutic Mercury http://openmed.nic.in/2740/01/thomas.pdf

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