Clinical and laboratory research from India has proven that an Ayurvedic formula used for liver infections halts the often deadly hepatitis B virus.
Indian scientists utilized a formula that has been referred to as HD-03/ES. This is an Ayurvedic herb liver formulation made up of the extracts of two herbs: Cyperus rotundus (also referred to as Java grass or Nut grass) and Cyperus scariosus (referred to as Cypriol or Nagarmotha). Continue reading →
Researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina have confirmed that using copper metal surfaces at hospitals significantly reduces hospital-acquired infections. What the study didn’t mention was that copper cups and devices have been used for wellness in Ayurveda for thousands of years.
The Neti Pot naturally cleanses, refreshes, and protects the nasal passages, one of our body’s first lines of defense against illness.
In the U.S., sinus problems are the #1 reason people see a doctor. With increasing pollution and chemicals in our environment, there is an enormous rise in the number of people who suffer various forms of nasal congestion and respiratory illnesses. Alternative health practitioners throughout the world recommend the regular practice of nasal cleansing using a saline solution as part of a regular regimen of health and wellness, a basic health-maintenance activity equal to flossing your teeth. Neti pot is a gentle, safe, efficient way to deliver a good cleansing dose of saline to the nose.
Although the practice of nasal irrigation originated in India, today there are numerous people in Europe and the United States who use neti pot as part of their daily routine.
People practice Neti on a daily basis to help keep their sinuses clean and to make their breathing easier and more free. Once they try it, most people find Neti to be a soothing and pleasant experience.
If, like a lot of people, you find that your nasal passages are blocked because of pollution, pollen, dust and other irritants, you may find this simple nasal irrigation technique to be of invaluable benefit to you.
The practice of nasal cleansing – known as Neti – has been used by practitioners of Ayurveda and Yoga in India for thousands of years. Neti is one of the 6 purification techniques performed prior to practicing yoga as a way of preparing the body for the yoga practice.
While there exist advanced techniques using various herbal oils and herbs, the simplest Neti technique uses water for the irrigation process. Lukewarm water is used to gently cleanse the nasal passages. A soothing, gentle stream of salt water, the same concentration as tears, flows through your nose, washing away pollens, mucus, viruses and bacteria. Use of a neti pot is recommended to ease this process.
Many health practitioners consider the nasal passages to be the doorway for most diseases. The nasal passage, with its finely-tuned mechanism of hairs and mucus membranes, which are intended to catch and restrain foreign entities from entering our bodies, actually is one of the ways nature protects us from diseases. Unfortunately, this filtering mechanism can become overloaded through high exposure to pollution, chemicals, fragrances, pollen and dust. Cleansing this filter regularly allows it to operate more efficiently.
A simple yet very powerful technique, neti works wonders for chronic sinusitis, and allergies. It has a remarkable effect on upper respiratory tract infections, especially hay fever. In fact, neti is so beneficial that responses usually change from “YUK, there is no way I am ever going to try that” to “WOW. That is fantastic. I am hooked for life” after just one trial.
Your neti pot should be right for YOUR nostrils: Choose a neti pot with a smoothly tapered conical tip at the spout end. This facilitates support on the nostril walls of varying sizes. More importantly, this minimizes spillage as it ‘plugs’ the inlet nostril.
How neti is done
A neti pot is filled with warm, slightly salted water and the spout of the pot is inserted into one nostril. The position of the head and pot are adjusted to allow the water to flow out of the other nostril.
The technique is not as uncomfortable or difficult as you may think at first. You will be pleasantly surprised at this simple and effective practice for maintaining your health.
Once learnt, neti can be done in about 3 minutes and is easily integrated into a daily routine of body cleansing such as showering or brushing your teeth.
Neti pot instructions:
1. Prepare the saline solution with lukewarm water and fill the neti pot. Hot water is irritating and dangerous. Cool water is not soothing.
2. Tilt your head to the side as shown in the picture at the beginning of this article…
3. Insert spout of neti pot gently into the raised nostril creating a seal between the neti pot and the nostril. If it drains out of your mouth, lower your forehead in relation to your chin. Relax. If you are calm, the water flows right through. But if you aren’t, it just won’t flow. If you keep breathing through your mouth, relaxed, the water should gently flow through the nose on its own. There’s no forcing it.
4. Raise the neti pot slowly to develop a steady flow of saline solution through the upper nostril and out the lower nostril.
5. During the process breathe through your mouth.
6. When you’re done, exhale firmly several times to clear the nasal passages.
7. Reverse the tilt of your head and repeat the process on the other side.
SYRACUSE – Hypnosis has potential therapeutic value in children with respiratory disorders for alleviating symptoms such as habit cough or unexplained sensations of difficulty breathing and for lessening a child’s discomfort during medical procedures. Proper utilization of hypnosis as an adjunct to conventional treatment and its ability to use the mind-body connection to bring about physiological changes are explored in a provocative paper in Pediatric Asthma, Allergy & Immunology, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The paper is available free online.
Ran D. Anbar, MD, Professor of Pediatrics at SUNY Upstate Medical University, in Syracuse, NY, recommends hypnosis as a treatment option when a child’s respiratory symptoms appear to have a psychological component. In his paper, “Adding Hypnosis to the Therapeutic Toolbox of Pediatric Respiratory Care,” Dr.Anbar points to symptoms such as difficulty taking a breath, a disruptive cough, hyperventilation, noise on inspiration such as a gasp or squeak, and difficulty swallowing despite normal lung function as possible indications for the use of hypnosis to supplement medical therapy. Symptoms that are absent during sleep, can be associated with a particular activity or location, or are linked to or triggered by an emotional response may be particularly responsive to hypnosis.
Published data support the benefit of hypnosis in children with respiratory disorders with a large mind-body component such as vocal cord dysfunction and habit cough. Hypnosis can also help lessen sensations of difficulty breathing and anxiety in other respiratory diseases such as cystic fibrosis and asthma. Hypnosis is also a valuable tool for easing a child’s anxiety and helping patients control their response to discomfort.
Dr. Anbar cautions that hypnosis should not be attempted or considered for use by someone who is not a health care provider and has not received appropriate training in the technique.
“Dr.Anbar has added hypnosis to our therapeutic toolbox. When breathing problems have a large mind-body component, resolution with hypnosis can dramatically reduce the need for expensive testing and medications,” says HaroldFarber, MD, MSPH, Editor of Pediatric Asthma, Allergy Immunology, and Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Section of Pulmonology, at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.
Although it’s common to have the occasional sleepless night, insomnia is the lack of sleep on a regular basis.
Before starting any natural remedies, consult your doctor. Chronic insomnia can itself be a symptom of another condition, such as depression, heart disease, sleep apnea, lung disease, hot flashes, or diabetes, so it’s important to see a doctor if you are having trouble sleeping.
Natural Remedies for Insomnia
Here are fourteen natural remedies that are used to treat insomnia.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a herb that has been long used as a remedy for insomnia. Today, it is an accepted over-the-counter insomnia remedy in Germany, France, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy.
Exactly how valerian works in the body is still not well understood. Some studies suggest that like conventional sleeping pills, valerian may affect levels of the calming neurotransmitter GABA.
Unlike many other sleep medications, valerian is not believed to be addictive or cause grogginess in the morning. But valerian doesn’t work for everyone. And although studies in labs have been encouraging, clinical trials are still inconclusive.
Valerian is usually taken between an hour before bedtime. It takes about two to three weeks to work. It shouldn’t be used for more than three months at a time. Side effects of valerian may include mild indigestion, headache, palpitations, and dizziness. Although valerian tea and liquid extracts are available, most people don’t like the smell of valerian and prefer taking the capsule form.
Valerian shouldn’t be taken with many medications, especially those that depress the central nervous system, such as sedatives and antihistamines. Valerian shouldn’t be taken with alcohol, before or after surgery, or by people with liver disease. It should not be taken before driving or operating machinery. Consultation with a qualified health practitioner is recommended. For more information about valerian.
Melatonin is a popular remedy to help people fall asleep when the sleep/wake cycle has been disturbed, such as in shift workers or people who with jet lag.
Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the body. The pineal gland in the brain makes serotonin which is then converted into melatonin at night when exposure to light decreases.
Melatonin is typically taken about 30 minutes before the desired bedtime. Some experts caution that melatonin should not be used by people with depression, schizophrenia, autoimmune diseases, and other serious illness. Pregnant and nursing women should not use melatonin.
The University of Alberta study examined 17 studies with 651 people and found no significant side effects when used for three months or less. The long-term effect of melatonin supplementation is not known. For more information about melatonin, read
Kava is an anti-anxiety herb that may be helpful for anxiety-related insomnia. However, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an advisory to consumers about the potential risk of severe liver injury resulting from the use of dietary supplements containing kava. To date, there have been more than 25 reports of serious adverse effects from kava use in other countries, including four patients who required liver transplants. Learn more:
4) Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques are one of the most effective ways to increase sleep time, fall asleep faster, and feel more rested in the morning. They require a minimum of 20 minutes before going to bed. There are many different techniques:
Visualization involves imagining a relaxing scene. You can try it in bed before falling asleep. Involve all your senses. If you’re imagining yourself on a tropical island, think of the way the warm breeze feels against your skin. Imagine the sweet scent of the flowers, look at the water and listen the waves–you get the picture. The more vivid the visualization and the more senses you involve, the more effective it will be.
Relaxation Response – A mind/body technique based on the principles of Transcendental Meditation.
Mindfulness – A type of meditation that essentially involves focusing on your mind on the present.
Yoga combines deep breathing, meditation, and stretching. A Harvard study found that daily yoga for eight weeks improved total sleep time, the time to fall asleep. If you’ve never tried yoga before, not to worry. There are many gentle yoga styles to choose from.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a promising natural remedy for sleep. If you’ve never tried a relaxation technique before, this technique is easy to learn and simple to master.
Cut out caffeine
Caffeine can have a pronounced effect on sleep, causing insomnia and restlessness. In addition to coffee, tea, and soft drinks, look for hidden sources of caffeine such as chocolate, cough and cold medicine, and other over-the-counter medicine.
Although sugar can give a burst of energy, it’s short-lived and can cause uneven blood sugar levels. This can disrupt sleep in the middle of the night as blood sugar levels fall.
Eat foods that help you sleep
Tryptophan is an amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin, which is then converted to melatonin. Carbohydrate snacks such whole grain crackers before bedtime may help to promote sleep. Just be sure to stay away from sweets.
Eat magnesium-rich foods
Magnesium is a natural sedative. Deficiency of magnesium can result in difficulty sleeping, constipation, muscle tremors or cramps, anxiety, irritability, and pain. It has also been use for people with restless leg syndrome.
Foods rich in magnesium are legumes and seeds, dark leafy green vegetables, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, and whole grains.
The scent of English lavender has long been used as a folk remedy to help people fall asleep.
Research is starting to confirm lavender’s sedative qualities. It’s been found to lengthen total sleep time, increase deep sleep, and make people feel refreshed. It appears to work better for women, possibly because women tend to have a more acute sense of smell.
The good thing about lavender is that it begins to work quickly. Try putting a lavender sachet under your pillow or place one to two drops of lavender essential oil in a handkerchief. Or add several drops of lavender oil to a bath — the drop in body temperature after a warm bath also helps with sleep.
Other aromatherapy oils believed to help with sleep are chamomile and ylang ylang.
If you have trouble falling asleep at night, you may need more light in the morning.
Light exposure plays a key role in telling the body when to go to sleep and when to wake up. Try taking a walk first thing in the morning. Just be sure to wear sunscreen to protect your skin from ultraviolet rays.
On the other hand, if you find you’re waking up too early in the morning, you may need more light in the afternoon. Try taking a walk in the late afternoon.
Gentle, slow music is another remedy that can help to improve sleep without medication.
Music has been found to improve sleep quality, decrease nightly wakenings, lengthen sleep time, and increase satisfaction with sleep.
Acupuncture may help with insomnia. A University of Pittsburgh analysis concluded that acupuncture may be an effective treatment for insomnia. A preliminary study found that five weeks of acupuncture increase melatonin secretion in the evening and improved total sleep time.
10) Traditional Chinese Medicine
In traditional Chinese medicine, insomnia often stems from kidney energy weakness. This syndrome is not necessarily related to kidney disease in Western medicine. A few signs of kidney energy weakness are low back ache, tiredness and fatigue, and a burst of energy at about 11 pm in the evening. Women in menopause often experience this type of insomnia. People who are taking anti-estrogenic drugs such as tamoxifen also experience this type of insomnia, however, they should not take herbal combinations such as the herbal formula liu wei di huang that may increase estrogen levels.
11) Ayurvedic Medicine
In Ayurvedic medicine, insomnia is often associated with a vata imbalance. Vata regulates breathing and circulation. People with a vata imbalance often notice irritability, anxiety, and fear with insomnia. One Ayurvedic treatment is the application of oil on the head and feet. For the pitta type, room temperature coconut oil is used, for the vata type, warm sesame oil is applied, and for the kapha type, warm mustard oil is often applied.
Lack of exercise can contribute to poor sleep. Muscle tension and stress build in the body. Exercise can promote deep sleep that night. However, intense exercise too close to bed can increase adrenaline levels, leading to insomnia.
13) Other Natural Remedies
For hot flashes, a thin, flat foam pillow insert, called a Chillow, can help to cool the head throughout the night.
Chamomile, hops, passionflower, lemon balm, and ashwagandha are other herbs that are often used for insomnia. Some people may find benefit from simply having a cup of chamomile tea one to two hours before going to bed. Chamomile can reduce anxiety, calm the digestive system, and relieve muscle tension.
Feng shui, which originates in the Chinese philosophy of Taoism, instructs on how to arrange rooms, furniture, offices, houses, and other arrangements to maximize favorable energy flow throughout living spaces. Here are some recommendations that may help promote relaxing sleep:
Try not to have the bed in a corner of the room. The corners are where energy tends to be stagnant.
Avoid putting your bed next to a window. Energy can be drained this way.
The bed shouldn’t be positioned so that the soles of the feet, when lying face-up in bed, directly face the doorway.
When lying in bed, you should have full view of anyone coming in the door. If you can’t do this directly, hang a mirror to reflect the entranceway.
Try to avoid facing sharp corners from desks, bookcases, and other pieces of furniture.
Bilberry fruit is a close relative to the American blueberry. It’s a common ingredient in pies, cakes and jams. The active constituents are thought to be antioxidants called anthocyanins.
Why Do People Use Bilberry
Bilberry is primarily used for eye conditions and to strengthen blood vessels. During World War II, British Royal Air Force pilots reportedly found that eating bilberry jam just before a mission improved their night vision which prompted researchers to investigate bilberry’s properties.
Bilberry is also used for glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts.
The anthocyanins in bilberry may strengthen the walls of blood vessels, reduce inflammation and stabilize tissues containing collagen, such as cartilage, tendons and ligaments. Grape seed contains similar substances, however, bilberry’s anthocyanins are thought to have particular benefits for the eye.
Because bilberry is thought to strengthen blood vessels, it’s sometimes taken orally for varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric disorders in the world. We take a look at these disorders.
Everybody feels anxious at times. Anxiety gears you up to face a threatening situation and rouses you to action. In general, it helps you cope.
But if you have an anxiety disorder, this normally helpful emotion can do just the opposite – it can keep you from coping and disrupt your daily life. Anxiety disorders aren’t just a case of “nerves”. They are illnesses, often related to the biological makeup and life experiences of the individual and they frequently run in families.
There are several types of anxiety disorders, each with its own distinct features. Many people have a single anxiety disorder. But it isn’t unusual for an anxiety disorder to be accompanied by another illness, such as depression, an eating disorder, substance abuse or another anxiety disorder.
What are the different types of anxiety disorders?
Phobias are the most common form of anxiety. (See the Post “ Phobias – 540 Common Phobias” . They are characterized by an intense, irrational and almost paralyzing fear of a specific situation or object. Adults with phobias realize their fears are irrational, but often facing, or even thinking about facing, the feared object or situation brings on a panic attack or severe anxiety.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). People with GAD usually expect the worse and worry excessively about everyday life circumstances (such as their health, job, raising of children or finances), or minor matters (such as household chores or renovations – even just getting through the day becomes problematic). The person’s worries are much more than normal day-to-day anxiety. They are excessive, unrealistic, chronic and relentless.
Panic disorder. Panic attacks are characterized by a sudden rush of fear, usually accompanied by a pounding heart, shortness of breath, a choking or suffocating sensation or other physical symptoms. They often occur in response to a stressful situation or during a period of chronic emotional stress. Attacks can occur in the most familiar and seemingly non-threatening settings, at the grocery store, in church or while driving along a familiar road. Sufferers often describe a feeling of unreality during the attack. Someone experiencing a panic attack may feel on the verge of losing control or even dying.
Obsessive-Compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD is characterized by obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are persistent, intrusive and unwanted thoughts; compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts, often linked to obsessions. The obsessions and compulsions are distressing and time-consuming and often lead to impairment in functioning.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As a result of exposure to traumatic events, many people display symptoms such as intrusive memories of the event, nightmares, avoiding reminders of the event, feeling anxious or down, detachment from others, and a restricted range of emotions. A diagnosis of PTSD is made if these symptoms are present for more than three months and interfere with functioning.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), also called Social Phobia, is an intense, persistent fear of being humiliated or embarrassed in social situations. Sufferers tend to think other people are very competent in public and that they are not. Small mistakes make appear much more serious than they really are. Blushing may seem painfully embarrassing, and they feel as though all eyes are focused on them. Exposure to the feared social situation or anticipation of the situation can produce an intense and immediate anxiety reaction, including physiological symptoms such as sweating and blushing.
BOSTON – There’s some disturbing news for those who use ayurvedic medicine: Many of the herbal products sold on the Internet for ayurveda contain dangerous leavels of lead, mercury and arsenic, according to a new study.
Ayurveda is an ancient form of medicine that orginated in India and uses herbal products, including some known as Rasa shasta that deliberately mix herbs with metals, minerals and gems. Ayurvedic experts believe that if such products are prepared and administered properly they are safe and effective.
But several studies have indicated that the levels of toxic metals found in these products may be unsafe. To try to get a sense of the safety of the products sold over the Internet, RobertSaper at the Boston University School of Medicine and his colleagues identified 25 websites featuring 673 ayurvedic medicines. They randomly selected, purchased and tested 193 products made by 37 manufacturers.
More than 20 percent of the products contained detectable lead, mercury and/or arsenic, the researchers reported in this week’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Products made in the United States were no less likely to contain the toxins than those produced in India, the researchers found. Rasa shasta products were more than twice as likely to contain metals and had high concentrations of lead and mercury.
All the products containing metal exceeded at least one standard for acceptable metal intake and several of the products made in India could result in lead and/or mercury ingestions 100 to 1,000 times greater than acceptable limits, the researchers reported. Among the products containing metal, 95 percent were sold by U.S. websites and 75 percent claimed to follow “Good Manufacturing Practices.”
The researchers said the findings underscore the recommendations of a 2005 National Academy of Sciences report that Congress give the Food and Drug Administration greater authority to regulate herbal remedies.
Study shows moderate health insurance premium growth for employer-sponsored coverage
NEW DELHI – The world’s oldest surviving system of medicine called “Sowa-Rigpa” -popular in the country’s Himalayan region and said to be taught by GautamBuddha himself – got official approval from the Indian government Thursday.
The decision to approve it as part of the Indian medicine system was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister ManmohanSingh, and later announced by Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni.
The government’s decision came following representations from many quarters for granting recognition and legal status to the system.
Sowa-Rigpa, commonly known as ‘Amchi, is one of the oldest surviving systems of medicine in the world and is practiced in India in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling in West Bengal, Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, a statement issued here said.
According to the statement, the theory and practices of Sowa-Rigpa are similar to Ayurveda and also include few principles of traditional Chinese medicine.
“The fundamental text book of Sowa-Rigpa is believed to have been taught by Buddha himself and is closely linked with Buddhist philosophy,” it said.
To give the system legal sanction, amendments will be carried out in sections 2,3,8,9 and 17 of the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970.
“It is expected that the legal recognition of Sowa-Rigpa will lead to the protection and preservation of this ancient system of medicine and will help in its propagation and development,” the statement said.
“This will also open new vistas leading to collaborative research and scientific validation of the Sowa-Rigpa system, besides conservation and protection of the medicinal plants used in the system,” it said.
Also, its recognition will lead to setting up a mechanism to regulate its education and practice.
Chyawanprash is a comprehensive herbal tonic with multiple health benefits, prepared according to an ancient Ayurvedic formula. Used by people around the world today, and especially in India, it is a proven energizer, immunity booster and pre-emptive tonic.
History, Myth & Origin
It is believed that the formula of Chyawanprash was discovered by the sage Chyawan. He was the first to prepare this tonic, and used it to regain his own youth and longevity. CharakSamhita, the ancient Ayurvedic treatise written by sage Charak in the 4th century BC, contains the first historically documented formula for Chyawanprash. According to this ancient text, Chyawanprash is “the foremost of all ‘rasayanas’ or herbal formulations.
A Proven Recipe
This unique ‘jam’ is a mix of 49 powerful ayurvedic herbs with ‘amla’ (Indian gooseberry) or Emblica officinalis as the base. The other ingredients in this traditional recipe include ashwaganda, pippali, cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon in a base of clarified butter and honey. This ‘elixir’ is good for all, irrespective of age and gender, and creates a harmonious synergy in the body leading to better metabolism. Here’re some specific health benefits of Chyawanprash.
Digestive and Immune System
Chaywanprash’s basic ingredient amla has 30 times more vitamin C than orange and helps in strengthening the immune system and expediting the healing process. Regular intake of chyawanprash strengthens digestion, absorption and assimilation of food and balances stomach acids.
Heart and Brain
The perfect blend of Ayurvedic herbs acts as a cardiac stimulant and helps in smooth functioning of the heart. Chyawanprash nourishes the brain cells by supporting the nervous system and enhances co-ordination and memory power. The tonic is good for students as it increases retention and recall.
Lung, Liver and Kidneys
The smooth functioning of the lungs is facilitated by the regular intake of chyawanprash. Moisture balance is maintained in the lungs and gives new energy to respiratory system. Chyawanprash helps purify blood and invigorates the liver and helps to eliminate toxins. It helps the downward flow of energy in the body and eases constipation. Apart from these, the herbal jam eliminates wastes from the body without overworking the urinary system.
The holistic traditional formula of chyawanprash improves skin complexion, glow and fights dermal bacterial infection. It promotes hair growth and helps absorption of calcium resulting in strong bones and teeth. It is especially good for alleviating cough and asthma. The anti-oxidant properties of the tonic act against the ageing process and maintain youthfulness. Chyawanprash enhances fertility, keeps menstruation regular and helps to overcome difficulties in conception. It also improves muscle tone by enhancing protein synthesis effectively.
The age-old Chyawanprash is regarded as an all-embracing herbal health tonic by one and all, and has become an indispensable part of a healthy family.