Ayurveda has been practiced in the U.S. for only about 30 years, yet it is a 5,000 year old Indian system of medicine and yoga’s sister science. Readers are invited to submit questions for “Ayurveda Q & A” to email@example.com.
Q: I am a 32-year-old woman with a predominately pitta (fire element) constitution. My health is good, but I have a continuous problem with acne all over my body. I limit pitta-provoking foods and take aloe vera juice every day. What else can I do to clear up my skin?
A: According to Ayurveda acne is known as yauvana pidaka or mukahadushika. Although acne is caused by the vitiation of all the doshas (elements), pitta (fire element) aggravation is the predominant cause. The aggravated dosha circulating in the bloodstream pollutes it and creates acne pustules under the skin.
Many factors contribute to these flare-ups, including: hard to digest foods such as red meat, eggs and dairy; emotional issues; a polluted environment; exposure to chemicals; bacterial infections; too much sunlight; excessive use of stimulants; unsatisfactory bowel elimination and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in women. These factors can interfere with digestion, leading to mandagni (poor digestive metabolic fire) and aggravation of pitta dosha.
- Mix equal amounts of cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. Brew tea with one cup of water and one-half teaspoon of the seed mixture. Drink this tea three times a day after meals for two weeks.
- Rub some fresh melon on the skin at bedtime, and leave it on overnight.
- Make tea with one-half teaspoon of amalaki powder (Indian gooseberry) and drink it two to three times a day.
- Make a paste of methi (fenugreek) powder and rosewater and apply to skin.
- Make a paste with a 2:1 ratio of aromatic turmeric and sandalwood and apply on the face and affected area. When dry, rinse.
Panchakarma: Highly personalized Ayur-vedic detoxification process under the guidance of qualified Ayurvedic physician or practitioner, who can assess the type of acne and your body constitution.
- Simhasana (lion pose).
- Chandranamaskar (moon salutation) to cool the mind-body.
- Left nostril breathing (cooling) for 5 to 10 minutes.
Q: I am a 34-year-old man and recently started practicing yoga. Will steady, dedicated practice of yoga (I’m going to class three times a week) help me with some health concerns, specifically depression and anxiety?
A: A steady and regular practice of yoga that is appropriate for your mind/body constitution can be beneficial for many health issues including depression and anxiety. A pilot study investigating brain scans showed a healthy boost in levels of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) immediately after a one-hour yoga session. [See citation at end of article]. Low brain levels of GABA are associated with anxiety and depression.
According to yoga and Ayurveda, symptoms of depression and anxiety can be triggered by physical and mental stress. Yoga is shown to help reduce stress, create a peaceful state of mind and promote a positive outlook on life, which are great weapons for fighting depression and anxiety. Yoga asana (postures), controlled breathing, meditation and Ayurvedic lifestyle recommendations work together to help ease the mind that is plagued by anxiety and depression. Controlled breathing helps to focus the mind and to achieve relaxation, while meditation helps to calm the mind.
- Asana: maintains a healthy nervous system,
- Pranayama: to increase self-awareness and acquire a more peaceful state of mind.
- Meditation: for a stronger concentration and focus of the mind that can help in overcoming anxiety.
Yoga and Ayurveda developed together. Ayurveda is the science of healing the body and mind. Yoga is the science of self-realization and depends upon a well-functioning body and mind.
Note: Learn an appropriate and personalized practice from a qualified yoga and Ayurvedic practitioner. Together they will be much more effective in overcoming depression and anxiety than either one alone.
Q: I am a 50-year-old woman in good health. I had my first colonoscopy recently, and they did not find anything unusual. But ever since I have had a fever blister on my lip and my digestion hasn’t felt right. Is there anything Ayurvedic I can do?
A: With limited information, it is hard for me to assess your condition. However, according to Ayurveda, you have jeerna jwaram (pyrexia of unknown origin), a sign of ama (toxins) in the circulatory system, due to poor digestive or metabolic fire. Any invasive procedure can bring about a change in the digestive metabolic fire leading to indigestion and formation of ama (toxins). This leads to toxicity of the rasa dhatu (the body’s basic vital tissue or plasma), aggravating inflammation and leading to fever.
- Put a handful of cilantro leaves in a blender and add ½ cup water and blend thoroughly. Strain the pulp. Take two teaspoons of the remaining liquid three times a day.
- Mix equal amounts of tulsi (holy basil), lemongrass and fennel. Take one teaspoon of the mixture and brew into a tea using one cup of water. Drink two to three times a day for seven to ten days.
- Soak one teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in a glass of water for a couple of hours, and drink that water two to three times a day.
- Apply aloe vera gel on the blisters.
- Clean and wash the blisters with triphala water.
Some people are very sensitive to anesthesia so the best is to cleanse the body of its after-effects. Panchakarma (Ayurvedic detoxification) under the guidance of an Ayurvedic physician or practitioner is recommended to cleanse and strengthen the body’s immunity.
- Vajrasana (diamond pose)
- Paschimottasana (seated forward bend)
- Trikonasana (triangle pose)
Before using any of the above Ayurvedic remedies, consult with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare provider. The information given here represents the opinions and recommendations of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of LA YOGA Ayurveda and Health magazine.
Dr. Ram Tamang B.A.M.S. is a licensed Physician in India and Nepal and is the Director of Panchakarma at The Healing Gardens based in Costa Mesa and West Hollywood, CA.http://www.thehealingardens.com
By Dr. Ram Tamang
Doug has had a long and varied career in the magazine business in sales, marketing, editorial, and printing. As one of the original partners of Healing Retreats & Spas magazine Doug experienced publishing in the mind, body, and spirit space and has never looked back.
In 2003 he dove headlong into the online space with the wellness website and e-commerce store Find Bliss based on the concepts he developed at Healing Retreats & Spas. He joined forces with Felicia Tomasko in 2011 to create the Bliss Network with the merger of Find Bliss, LA Yoga Magazine and Bliss Kit.