Ayurveda Approach to Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an inflammatory, autoimmune condition. It occurs when the immune system sends out faulty signals that speed up the growth cycle of skin cells. It is a complex disorder that involves all three doshas, making it rather tricky to treat. It involves both the skin and the joints, which are governed by Pitta and Vata, respectively and is often attributed to a vitiation of both Vata and Kapha dosha. Only a consultation with an Ayurveda expert trained in pulse assessment can reveal an individual’s exact needs in this area and can determine the specific course of action that should be taken to eliminate this uncomfortable condition.

There is one old remedy, however, that may help by gently cleansing impurities from both skin and joints.

Mothers around the world have used castor oil as a home laxative for many generations. In addition to being a natural laxative, castor oil can be used to gradually draw accumulated impurities and toxins from the cells and tissues into the eliminative organs. Small quantities of oil can be used for this purpose without creating a laxative effect. To help the castor oil penetrate into the joints and cells, take up to one teaspoon of castor oil with your main meal — which should be at lunch — for six months. If a laxative effect occurs, simply reduce the quantity of castor oil.

If the idea of taking castor oil by the spoonful is too unpleasant, try making castor oil cookies;

  1. Take a handful of organic whole-wheat flour and add enough water to make sticky dough.
  2. Add a teaspoon of caster oil
  3. Add sweetener: raw sugar, stevia, and maple syrup. Do not add honey. According to Ayurveda, honey should never be used in baking, as it becomes a toxin when exposed to heat. If you use honey in your tea, wait until the tea is comfortable to sip before adding the honey.)
  4. Bake the cookie at 375 for around 10 minutes.

Panchakarma therapies are often recommended for those with psoriasis. Panchakarma provides a full range of treatments to pacify the doshas responsible for the outbreak. It also allows for the successful elimination of harmful toxins, which may be triggering the body’s autoimmune response.

For more information on Ayurveda treatments for psoriasis, contact The Raj, Ayurveda Health Spa.


Ayurveda and Hypertension

While hypertension (high blood pressure) is treatable, each individual has his or her own unique way of manifesting symptoms — and Ayurveda understands this uniqueness. An Ayurveda consultation that includes the ancient technique of pulse assessment is necessary to determine the specific imbalances that are causing hypertension in any one individual. But everyone can benefit from the approaches of Ayurveda.

Foremost among these approaches is the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique.

A 1991 study of African-Americans (who are three times as likely to suffer from hypertension as the rest of the population) found that the blood pressure of those who practiced the TM technique was reduced by twice as much compared to a group who practiced a muscle relaxation technique. And blood pressure actually increased slightly in another group that followed the usual recommendations for reducing hypertension.

In 2013, a report from the American Heart Association concluded that the TM technique lowers blood pressure and recommends that that specific meditation may be considered in clinical practice for the prevention and treatment of hypertension.

The purpose of the report, entitled “Beyond Medications and Diet ­Alternative Approaches to Lowering Blood Pressure: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association,” was to inform physicians which alternative approaches to lowering blood pressure (BP) have been shown by research to be effective.

After considering meta-analyses and the latest clinical trials on different types of meditation, the report stated that while TM is recommended to lower BP, there is not enough scientific evidence to recommend other meditation or relaxation techniques.

The National Institutes of Health has granted over $20 million to study the effects of TM practice in preventing and treating heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

Lifestyle Changes to Help Hypertension

In addition to practicing the TM technique, general recommendations for anyone suffering from hypertension include:

Make sure your midday meal is relaxed and substantial (this should be the largest meal of the day). If the midday meal is rushed, digestion will be incomplete and the body will not be prepared for the more hectic second half of the day. This will put pressure on the nervous system and exacerbate the symptoms of high blood pressure.

Follow a good Ayurvedic routine: rise during Vata time or at least at the beginning of Kapha time in the morning (Kapha starts at 6:00 a.m.), go to bed by 10:00 in the evening. Eat regular meals. Exercise regularly, but do not over-exercise.

These life-style changes are the first line of defense against hypertension and create the foundation for any other approach dietary or herbal approach. This is because stress can put extreme pressure on the sympathetic nervous system to the point of creating an anti-stress response. The anti-stress response triggers stress-fighting adrenal hormones, which increase heart rates, and put pressure on both the nervous system and circulatory system. This pressure aggravates both Vata and Pitta dosha.

For more information on Ayurveda programs for hypertension, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:


Creating Health Bite by Bite: The Wonders of Diet and Digestion

The process of eating and digesting is a wondrous thing. It is magic. It is alchemy. Ayurveda acknowledges this. In our Western culture the process of eating has become mindless or, at best, a form of entertainment. Too often as we eat we watch TV, have meetings or socialize or, worse, we eat standing or on the run. The consequences of this disconnection to the process of eating and digestion are seen in the growing prevalence of problems such as malabsorption, irritable bowel, food sensitivities, bloating, gastritis, indigestion/heartburn, and excess gas. It also leads to lowered immunity. Before opting for a flu shot this winter, think about fine-tuning your eating habits.

There is an ancient Ayurvedic proverb: “Without proper diet, medicine is of no use. With proper diet, medicine is of no need.” When we think of proper diet we need to think not just of what we eat but also how we eat and how we support our ability to digest and assimilate what we have eaten.

Let’s think about what happens when we eat. We take in vegetables, grains, and animal products and we transmute those materials into their fundamental components in a form that our cells can assimilate. From that we create tissues, organs, bones, and fluids. We eat a tomato and turn it into a heart. We are recreating ourselves everyday through a process to which we give little to no thought or attention.

According to Ayurveda, food is a tiny package of intelligence. The reason we eat is to extract and assimilate that intelligence. If digestion is incomplete or if we eat food that is essentially devoid of intelligence, we are deprive ourselves of the basic building blocks needed to create healthy balanced physiologies. What is the secret of good health? Choosing the right diet and maintaining a strong digestion. Everything else is icing on the cake. If you are looking to avoid colds and flues during the winter, if you are trying to avoid binge eating, if you are looking for more energy and focus, the answer may simply be to elevate eating to a position of proper respect and priority.

Let’s look at these two aspects of creating health.


Ayurveda focuses on enhancing digestion so that we are able to get the most from the food we eat. Below are some general guidelines. However, if your digestion is compromised, you may benefit from an Ayurveda consultation in which individualized recommendations can be given to address your specific doshic imbalance and state of balance.

Eat only when hungry—when your digestive fire is strong. If you do not feel hungry, try eating a small slice of ginger with salt as you first sit down. This stimulates the digestive process.

Avoid cold foods and cold drinks while eating or immediately after meals. These will “douse the fire of digestion”.

Eat in a settled and quiet atmosphere. Avoid the telephone, television, reading material, and over-stimulating conversation during meals.

Avoid eating when upset.

Avoid eating when standing (or walking).

Savor each mouthful and chew your food well. When you chew your food, your body releases digestive enzymes in the stomach that help to break down the food. Saliva also contains digestive enzymes, so the longer you chew, the more time these enzymes have to start breaking down food, making digestion easier. When large particles of improperly chewed food enter your stomach, they may remain undigested when they enter your intestines. This may lead to gas, bloating, constipation, cramping and other digestive problems.

Eat until you are satisfied—but not full. Avoid overeating.  Leave room in your stomach for the digestive process to take place.

Sip small amounts room temperature or hot water during your meal.

After you are finished, sit quietly for at least 5 minutes. Don’t immediately jump up from the table.

Healthy Foods

The food you eat should contain lively intelligence. Processed food, canned and packaged foods are essentially “dead”. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fresh dairy products can provide the intelligence your body needs to build healthy tissues every day.

Choose organic foods, when possible, so that you are not introducing harmful chemicals into your body. In addition, studies have shown that organic foods contain between 20 to 40% more antioxidant activity than conventional foodstuffs. These antioxidant compounds, which go by names like carotenoids and flavonoids, protect cells from the effects of aging and from the sort of damage that can lead to cancer.

Food without intelligence or heavy foods such as meat and fried foods tax the body’s digestion capabilities and end up creating ama in the body. Ama blocks the body’s channels of communication and delivery. Thus as well as not supplying your body with needed intelligence, these foods end up blocking other sources of intelligence from reaching your cells.

For more information on gastritis, constipation and other digestive disorders or to schedule a consultation, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:


Nourishing Your Brain with Ayurveda: Tips to Keep Your Brain Young and Healthy

Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, a brain disorder affecting the parts of the brain controlling thought, memory and language. About 4.5 million older Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s. The number of cases are expected to quadruple by 2050. Ayurveda, the original health science of India, offers much needed knowledge on how to reverse the aging trends, even in cases of brain deterioration such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Early detection provides a greater opportunity to delay or reverse the existing symptoms of aging disorders. Maharishi Ayurveda, a systematic revival of Ayurveda, offers a comprehensive system of effective interventions.

Detection begins with a consultation with an Ayurvedic health expert using the ancient technique of Ayurvedic pulse assessment. This will help identify specific imbalances in the body which can predispose an individual to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders. This individual diagnosis is a powerful tool for designing an individualized treatment program and home recommendations.

Factors Affecting Alzheimer’s

Drugs, alcohol, stress, the buildup of toxins and poor nutrition are all factors whose effects accumulate over time and contribute to the degeneration of our brain’s ability to function properly. While available drugs have been shown to be somewhat effective in reducing some aspects of cognitive decline, changes in diet and lifestyle remain the only proven means of affecting the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s.

Don’t Let Your Brain “Dry Up”

The thousand year-old texts of Ayurveda indicate that with advancing age, the brain and body gradually become more agitated and dry. Alarik Arenander, Ph.D, a UCLA-trained neuroscientist with degrees in Molecular Biology, Developmental Biology, and Neuroscience, notes that Alzheimer’s is often associated with marked shrinkage of the brain. “The ‘drying’ effect of Alzheimer’s”, says Arenander, “must be remedied by proper diet, digestion and routine. This is the specialty of Ayurveda.”

Ayurvedic experts can offer individualized recommendations to regain balance in the physiology and nourish the brain in an effort to counteract the brain’s natural “drying” influence and establish an optimum level of mental and physical function.

In addition, Ayurvedic treatments and massages help to increase lubrication and stability and sustain quality of functioning, thereby decreasing drying, agitation and distruption of body and mind. These treatments also remove accumulated toxins and impurities which are associated with the degeneration of optimal functioning of the mind and body. The traditional Panchakarma treatments of Ayurveda are the only known means of effectively removing fat-soluble toxins from the body. Otherwise these toxin remain in the body for up to 30 years and can be passed on to one’s children.

Ayurvedic Tips to Nourish Your Brain

  • Stay physically active: Recent studies suggest that exercise which raises your heart rate for at least 30 minutes several times a week can lower your risk of Alzheimer’s. One study, conducted at the University of Chicago, looked at two groups of mice. One group was allowed to exercise and the other was not. The brains in the physically active mice had 50 to 80 percent less plaque than the brains of the sedentary mice. In addition, the exercising mice produced significantly more of an enzyme in the brain that prevents plaque.
  • Mental activity: stay mentally alert by reading, playing cards, crossword puzzles and writing.
  • Eat a wide variety of green vegetables and include milk products (only milk contains significant levels of B12 which is absolutely essential for proper nervous system function) in your diet. If you are feeling mentally weak and are experiencing memory loss, have your doctor check your vitamin B levels, especially vitamin B1
  • Include plenty of antioxidants in your diets. Free radicals and oxidative stress are major factors in premature aging. Include plenty of organic fruits and green vegetables in your diet.
  • Include high quality oils in your diet. It is good to sauté spices such as tumeric and black pepper when you use oils. Your brain is composed of over 50% fat. Nervous system tissue is most nourished by oils, especially ghee, or clarified butter. Organic ghee and olive oil are the best cooking oils. Tumeric and freshly ground black pepper have the ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier, which helps lubricate the brain. In India, where tumeric is used in great quantity, the rate of Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases are very low.

The treatments and techniques of Ayurveda are based on age-old wisdom of how to maintain perfect balance in the physiology. This ancient wisdom sheds light on how to maintain and promote healthy, youthful brain functioning.

Learn more about Ayurvedic programs to optimize brain functioning at The Raj, Ayurveda Health Spa website: