Avoid Allergies and Colds with an Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse

dandelion-111015_640Our bodies are more susceptible to health problems when the seasons are changing because our body functions differently in each season. For example, our agni (or digestive fire) can fluctuate dramatically during the change from hot to cold or cold to hot. Poor digestion can lead to a build up of ama (or toxins) in the body.

This is why respiratory illnesses and allergies are so prevalent in the autumn and early spring. We see this especially in the early spring. As the weather starts to warm up the ama accumulated during the winter starts to melt from our tissues, flooding the tiny channels of circulation (shrotas) and taxing our immune system. Unless our body’s immune system is strong we can become susceptible to bacteria and allergens.

On top of this flood of toxins, the body at this time also has to deal with an accumulation of mucus.  From mid-february to May is the kapha time of the year. During this time wet, heavy, and cold properties begin to dominate the body. The body is responding to the long build-up of vata (from the cold, dry, windy conditions of late fall and early winter) by producing mucus to counter vata’s drying influence.

As the weather switches from cold to warmer termperatures the mucus in the body begins to liquefy. The sticky liquid can cause congestion in the mucus membranes that line our respiratory and digestive tracts, contributing to allergies and sinus conditions.

This is why late winter/early spring is the optimal time to cleanse mucus and toxins from our body. The classical texts of Ayurveda recommend specific detoxification treatments —called “panchakarma”—during the change of seasons.

Spring is nature’s natural detoxification season as the progression of the cold of winter to the warmth of spring triggers a natural process of releasing the winter’s accumulation of fats and toxins. Because our body is already engaged in flushing out toxins and lubricating the channels, going through Ayurveda detoxification treatments at this time provides a boost to the process, allowing for a more thorough and efficient removal of these unhealthy substances.

If you have high cholesterol, a coated tongue, joint pain, constipation, dull skin and eyes, gas, or excess mucus, you have the physical symptoms of ama. You may also feel the build up of ama as fatigue, dullness and/or irritability. Panchakarma treatments help remove years of accumulated ama (along with excess vata, pitta, and/or kapha) and also help to return agni to its normal level of functioning.

Enjoying Panchakarma as an in-residence guest allows the body to get a profound rest. Pluses of an in-residence stay include not having to travel to and from a clinic every day, being protected from weather conditions, and, best of all, complete ease in following a prescribed daily routine and diet, allowing you make the most of the rejuvenation experience. If you don’t have the opportunity for a residential stay, however, day treatments are highly recommended.

Tips for Kapha Season

There are also adjustments that you can make in your home routine and diet that will help you during this winter to spring transition.

1. Sip hot water throughout the day

2. Eat more leafy greens. Favor the kapha-pacifying tastes of bitter, astringent and pungent.

3. Favor organic, fresh foods. Avoid processed foods, cold dairy products, fried and high-fat foods. Remember, light, warm foods counter the cold, heavy qualities of kapha.

4. Put a little zip in your food: spices like ginger, chili, cloves, and pepper help counter the cold quality of kapha.

5. Do not sleep later than 6:00 in the morning. Sleeping into the kapha time of the day can increase kapha qualities in body and mind.

For more information on Panchakarma treatments, visit The Raj web site @

http://theraj.com/allergies/index.php

(Photo of Dandelion. Source: Pixabay. The image is used under the terms of Creative Commons: http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/deed.en . This photograph and credit do not constitute an endorsement of this blog or products mentioned.)

DDT and Alzheimer’s — Ayurveda Can Help!

A recent study published in JAMA Neurology found that patients with Alzheimer’s had four times as much blood levels of DDT as healthy people. While the findings are not conclusive, researchers believe the chemical increases the chance of Alzheimer’s and may be involved in the development of amyloid plaques in the brain, which contribute 6a00d83451e0d569e201156e4f87e6970c-800wito the death of brain cells. Even though DDT has been banned in the US since 1972, the average American still ingests small amounts of the toxic chemical every day.

The good news? The ancient science of Ayurveda provides a means to remove this harmful chemical from the body.

Current mainline thinking is that the only way to eliminate DDT from the body is to let nature take its course. DDT’s half-life — the time it takes to naturally fall to half it’s original value — is 2 to 15 years. But a published research study conducted on the traditional Ayurveda detoxification treatments at The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa and Treatment Center in Fairfield, IA showed that 50% of DDE levels (DDE is the by-product of DDT found to be linked to Alzheimer’s) can be eliminated through a 5-day treatment program. A good investment in one’s future! To read more about the study visit http://theraj.com/rajresults/index.php

(If PK is not in your budget, daily massage with organic sesame oil can be helpful. See more tips at the end of the blog.)

DDT

DDT is harmful to the nervous system and is a known carcinogen. It belongs to a group of chemicals (along with PCBs and dioxins) that are fat-soluble. This means the chemicals adhere to the fat in insects, animals and people. The chemicals remain stored in the fat until their natural dissolution. This can take from 4 to 30 years. Although DDT is no longer made or used in the US, our water, air, soil are so contaminated that the chemical still poses a threat to our health.

Exposure to DDT

DDT and its by-products are persistant, bioaccumulative and can be transported long distances through the atmosphere. They can travel in the water systems and can end up in produce, dairy and meats through irrigation. DDT can build up in sediment in rivers, lakes, and coastal areas, and then accumulate in fish and shellfish. It is still in our soil and can be absorbed by some plants and by the animals or people who eat them. The largest fraction of DDT in a person’s diet comes from fish, meat, poultry, and dairy products. Leafy vegetables generally contain more DDT than other vegetables, possibly because DDT in the air is deposited on the leaves. DDT also comes to us in food from other countries. Infants may be exposed by drinking breast milk.

Removing DDT

The purification treatments of Ayurveda start with a week of “home-prep”, an individually recommended protocol that primes the body to get the most out of the up-coming treatments. One aspect of home prep is a fat-free diet. When the detox treatments begin, pure oils are massaged into the body day after day, penetrating deeper and deeper into the tissues and organs of the body. Because the restrictive diet has reduced the body’s natural fat saturation, the fat-soluble chemicals respond joyously to the pure lipid infusion, detaching from the cells and attaching to the new lipids.  These then get flushed out of the body with daily elimination therapy. To date this is the only proven way to remove fat-soluble toxins from the body.

Avoiding DDT

1. Begin each day with a warm oil massage. Sesame oil is the most penetrating of the oils but those with a more pitta constitution may develop itchy skin or a rash. If you have sensitive skin, try using sweet almond oil, olive oil or coconut oil. Warm the oil slightly before using. Sit for 10 minutes after application and follow with a warm shower.

2.  Favor organic foods, especially organic foods grown in the U.S. Many countries still use DDT to contain malaria. The run-off from spraying can contaminate the water systems and get onto food through irrigation (even into so-called organic farms).

3. Wash all fresh produce thoroughly in water, especially leafy greens, beans, root vegetables, and fruits and berries, to remove soil and any residues of DDT or DDE on the surface of the food.

4. If you are not a vegetarian, choose lean cuts of meat, poultry and fish. Trim excess fat from meat and poultry.

5. Consider a yearly commitment to Panchakarma treatments. A five-day treatment can accomplish what nature takes 2 to 15 years to do.

To learn more about Ayurveda detox and purification programs, visit The Raj website:

www.theraj.com

(Photo of older man with younger woman. Source: Google Advance Image Search.
Creative Commons. The image is used under the terms of Googles Creative Commons rules:http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en. This photograph and credit do not constitute an endorsement of this blog or products mentioned.)

Optimizing Fertility with Ayurveda

carry-on-stress-free-1It is not uncommon for parents of toddlers to stress over getting their children into top pre-schools so that they will have the best possible start in life. But according to Ayurveda, getting the best start for your child should begin months before the child is even conceived. While it has become more common for mothers-to-be to be alert to their diets and life-style before conceiving, modern science is just now catching up with the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda in encouraging both parents to take early steps in preparation for making a baby.

The big news in 2013 was that what men eat — and specifically if they are eating their vegetables —seriously affects the mobility and health of their sperm and the health of their future children.

In a recent Boston study, male participants who ate the most carrots had the best sperm mobility. High levels of beta-carotene, the pigment that gives carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkins their bright color, was linked to better swimming ability of sperm.

The same study found that lycopene, a bright red phytochemical found in tomatoes, red bell peppers, watermelon and papayas (but not strawberries and cherries) was linked to more properly shaped sperm. Both mobility and proper shape can affect fertility.

At the same time, a Canadian study on mice revealed that baby mice with fathers deficient in folic acid (a form of vitamin B) were 30 percent more likely to have birth defects.  The lead researcher, Dr Kimmins, of McGill University in Montreal, concluded, ‘Lots of attention has been paid to a mother’s health (during) pre-conception yet the health of the father has been pretty much ignored…. the focus has been on women because they are the incubators of the pregnancy…. But both men and women need to think about what they are doing pre-conception… Men need to eat their greens.”

Where can we find folic acid? Beans, peas and lentils, dark leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, celery, carrots, squash, okra, brussels sprouts, citrus fruits, avocado, seeds and nuts all are high in this important compound.

The classic texts of Ayurveda offer a great depth of knowledge on how to properly prepare the body before pregnancy. This knowledge forms the basis of the Pre-Conception Program offered at The Raj, Ayurveda Health Spa and Treatment Center in Fairfield, IA.

The program begins at least eight weeks before a couple plans to conceive and starts with a week of detoxification treatments to purify and strengthen their physiologies.  These detox treatments are recommended for two reasons:

1. Accumulated impurities in parents can act as obstacles to proper nourishment. Once these toxins are removed, parents-to-be are more able to respond to dietary changes, resulting in more balanced physiologies.

2. According to the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group (EWG), most infants come into this world “pre-polluted,” with over 200 toxic industrial chemicals circulating in their bodies.  These findings were consistent no matter where parents lived. We are exposed to chemicals by means of our air, water, soil, and food and household products. And research has shown that the earlier in life toxic exposure occurs, the more powerfully these chemicals affect a child’s development going forward.

While pre-pregnancy detox programs are becoming more and more popular, research shows that only the traditional Ayurvedic purification treatments are able to remove fat-soluble chemicals such as DDT, PCBs and dioxins. These are all hormone-mimicking chemicals known to interfere with fertility.

According to Ayurveda, it takes six weeks for the entire process of digestion and formation of the bodily tissues to take place. Thus for six weeks following the detox treatments, husband and wife follow an individually prescribed organic diet that targets specific imbalances which could be passed on to their children. The diet also provides optimum nourishment to create healthy ovum and sperm.

A healthy child is the result of healthy parents. By strengthening the basic material that makes a child, parents can increase the chance of bringing strong and healthy children into the world.

For more information on optimizing fertility visit The Raj:

http://theraj.com/infertility/index.php

 

( Picture of pregnant woman. Source: Google Advance Image Search.
Creative Commons. The image is used under the terms of Googles Creative Commons rules:http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en. This photograph and credit do not constitute an endorsement of this blog or products mentioned.)