India, which is the Mother of ALL knowledge, embodies within its scriptures and within its customs and practices, the most perfect knowledge - of preventive health care, of the body, of nutrition, of disease and of the processes of restoring health.
When God made man, He made him quite complete. That is to say that God did not make man in such a manner that he would require to examine his food in the laboratory to find out if it was "balanced' and nutritious or if it was lacking in any way. God provided a laboratory in the body itself - the total experience of eating! the tools used by this laboratory are our senses of perception - our eyes, our sense of smell, our sense of touch and above all our sense of taste!
The entire experience of eating is geared towards:
Our sense of taste is the ultimate in laboratory testing. Apart from testing the food for its "fitness" it holds the key to good health, to ill health, and to restoration of health! (How - is explained later.)
Yet, the tragedy is that it is the Western module of "Biology" that is being propagated through the education system. And what is even more tragic is that in our keenness to appear "scientific" we are now bending over backwards to force the Ayurvedic and Homoeopathic streams of medicine to follow the "modern diagnostic methods".
These so-called "modern" methods were designed to suit the western physician's perception of disease. Allopathy looks at a patient in terms of his body parts - his "eyes" and "ears", his "liver" and "lungs" and disease in terms of "pathogens" or "germs". Treatment is then by "body part" specialists (ENT, Heart, Skin etc.) attacking the germs and pathogens with chemicals and drugs.
Violence is the hall mark of allopathy. First the tests are invasive and violent, then the medicines are violent - aimed at "killing" off the germs (through antibiotics and other drugs). These violate the body's natural balance killing off even beneficial bacteria and fungi. If medicines do not answer, we cut off the offending part!
(For some obscure reason, all natural ways of healing have acquired the collective name "Alternative Medicine". The truth is that these natural systems have been around a lot longer than the present incarnation of allopathy. We will refer to the natural way as the Holistic way.)
The holistic health sciences look upon the patient as an "individual" - quite unique in his individuality. Disease is not made up of "germs" and "pathogens" which can be "detected" in the laboratory. On the contrary disease is looked upon and treated as a "deviation from balance". This deviation may then invite germs to come and live in the patient, (who becomes the obliging host) - that is not the concern of the healer. The healer is only instrumental in helping the patient to "return to balance". When this happens, the body's built-in immune system takes care of the "invaders" or "germs".
Carl Jung, after a visit to India in the 1930's said :
"India has not yet withdrawn into the capsule of the head. It is still the whole body that lives.... When you walk with naked feet, how can you ever forget the earth?"
We address ourselves to our Indian brothers and sisters - do you recognise this description of you?
Urban India - in particular North India - has forgotten to walk barefoot (literally and figuratively). We have lost "touch" with Mother Earth. (The excellent and most hygienic system of leaving our shoes outside the home has not only disappeared from North India - it is looked down upon as belonging to a barbaric age).
And yes, we have withdrawn into the "capsule of the head" - where our brain constantly dwells in the world of sensuality, and its inherent vices of "kama" (desire), "krodha" (anger), "lobha" (greed), "moha" (attachment), "mada" (pride) and "matsarya" (envy).
Not long ago Indians knew (without knowing that they knew), what to eat, at what time of day or night, what to abstain from, what spices to add ore remove in order to quickly bring the body back into balance. This "knowledge", like the knowledge of the mother tongue, the knowledge of how to breathe, how to walk, how to see, was casually and unknowingly passed from parents to children.
Then along came the "western" module of education accompanied by its arrogance. Although India has long been independent, the western education module has continued to colonise the Indian mind. We rejected what our parents had taught us as being "unscientific" putting their convictions into a convenient category called "superstition". The knowledge of carbohydrates and fats, proteins and vitamins was far more "acceptable" to us because it was "scientific".
Unfortunately, the same conditioning continues today through the very same education system accompanied by the merciless onslaught of the television and the consumerism it advocates.
Instead of drinking the sweet nectar of sun-ripened fruits, we are in the grip of "kola yuga".
What is this "Indian" knowledge we speak of ?
The Ayurvedic system of healing embodies within it all aspects of life - it is a philosophy of right living - allowing for legitimate desires, and their fulfillment, without dogmas and fanaticism, but emphasising the "oneness" of creation. Within the "oneness" each being is recognised as a unique individual, with a unique constitution.
Treatment of disease therefore, is unique for every person depending on his or her constitution.
The subject of the "individual constitution" is as vast as it is fascinating. The more we study it the more there is that we do not know. Understanding this is a life-long process and we feel that healers, doctors and health care professionals (of all systems) would be richer by trying to understand this science. With this knowledge you are encouraging the patient to look within for most answers.
For parents who have growing children, it is invaluable. Life assumes a great simplicity when the knowledge of Doshas seeps into us. The importance of "preventive" health care cannot be over-emphasised - we dot need to fall sick before we understand "health". It is our hope and prayer that this knowledge will be passed on to children in every home, so that they are motivated to understand "themselves" before they embark on the voyage of adult life. Their present school syllabi falls woefully short of preparing them for life.
Indian "medicine" is all about returning to Mother Nature. We pray to
Her that in Her compassion She heals all her children and this beautiful
GENERAL PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS OF DOSHA IMBALANCE
SYMPTOMS OF AGGRAVATED DOSHAS
THE SIX TASTES AND HOW THEY AFFECT
PACIFYING/ AGGRAVATING FOODS FOR THE 3 DOSHAS
BEWARE - OF NON-OJAS DIET!
"Dosha" is a Sanskrit word meaning "blame" or "sin". While this is the literal meaning, in the context of health care it would be more appropriate to translate :Doshas" as "forces in the body that easily go out of balance".
There are 3 Doshas:
Vata, Pitta, Kapha.
Vata means a force that generates and possesses the qualities of "air" (and space). Vata is not "gas" but a force, which when in excess, produces gas.
Pitta means a force that generates and possesses the qualities of "fire". Pitta is not "bile" but a force, which produces bile and acid.
Kapha means a force that generates and possesses the qualities of "water" (and earth). Kapha is not "mucous" but a force, which causes mucous to be produced.
Each one of us is made up of all the three Doshas. At the time of conception, Nature decides the permutation -combination of the Doshas within each one of us. That is what makes each of us quite unique.
The Doshas have :
Doshas can be "managed" by the 6 tastes - salty, spicy (chilly), astringent, bitter, sweet and sour. These tastes can aggravate and pacify different Doshas.
With this knowledge we are able to prevent disease, heal ourselves and understand our interpersonal relationships better.
Let us take a very simplistic example.
Anger is a Pitta quality. Let us say I am a Pitta "type" and anger is one of the attributes of Pitta I have in abundance. I also know that Pitta is aggravated by salty taste, spicy (chilly) taste, and sour taste. I I find my anger getting me into trouble day in and day out I would try and reduce and if possible severely curtail my consumption of these three tastes. I further know that Pitta is pacified by bitter, sweet and astringent tastes. I would make certain that my food contains some of all these tastes. Over a period of time I would find that I could manage my anger better.
Taking the same example, let us say I have a very important meeting coming up where tempers are expected to fly. On that day, (and probably on the day prior to the meeting as well!) I would completely abstain from the "offending tastes" and eat a little of the pacifying tastes just before the meeting. Since cold also pacifies Pitta, I would also arm myself with a glass of cold water during the meeting.
In exactly the same way other attributes and diseases can be managed.
Of course, this system is wonderful as a preventive measure, and works
very well to set right minor imbalances but gets quite complicated when
serious diseases arise. In serious diseases, all three Doshas are usually
out of balance and the trick lies in trying to find the one that is easiest
to balance without further aggravating the other two. This can happen,
because what can pacify one Dosha usually aggravates another Dosha.
|Note: It is important to understand that the fundamental common sense information which we have shared with you in SS - Diet and Lifestyle over-rides the information contained in this section. If we speak of "sweet" pacifying Pitta Dosha, we mean "acceptable" sweets - e.g. jaggery. In fact each food has a hidden taste which is not apparent immediately. For example - wheat is sweet and so also is pumpkin.|
In order to understand ourselves, our problems, and the solutions that can solve these problems, we need to evaluate our personality "type". Given below is a tabulated check-list of qualities pertaining to each of the Doshas under various heads. In order to find out you body type, tick off the one that most closely describes you.
Please understand that there are no "right" answers and no "wrong" answers. There are only "true" answers and "untrue" answers. Do not perceive yourself as you would like to be but as you are. Our innate personality is going to be with us for a lifetime and learning to recognise our "negatives" is the first step in trying to live with them in harmony by providing checks and balances to keep them at manageable levels.
V is for Vata; P is for Pitta; K is for Kapha.
Add your score of V's, P's and K's to discover your predominant Dosha/Doshas.
|V -||Irregularity, cold, dry|
|P -||Irritability, hot, oily|
|K -||Stability, cold, wet|
|V - Too tall, too short, thin, bony, poorly developed.|
|P - Medium build, good muscles, medium weight.|
|K - Short (or tall), stout, well developed bones, heavy, obese.|
|V - Dull, dark|
|P - Red, flushed|
|K - Pale.|
|V - Dry, rough, prominent veins, easily cracked, poor circulation.|
|P - Pink, warm, moist, moles, freckles, good circulation.|
|K - Soft, smooth, cool, oily, good circulation.|
|V - Scanty, coarse, dry, wavy.|
|P - Moderate, fine, early greying and balding.|
|K - Thick, lustrous, oily.|
|V - Small.|
|P - With folds.|
|K - Large.|
|V - Small, thin, unsteady.|
|P - Moderate, fine.|
|K - Thick, bushy.|
|V - Short, dry, firm.|
|P - Short, thin, fine.|
|K - Long, thick, oily, firm.|
|V - Small, dull, unsteady, dry.|
|P - Medium, red (inflamed), piercing.|
|K - Wide, prominent, attractive (doe-eyed).|
|V - Thin, small, crooked, often dry.|
|P - Medium.|
|K - Big, thick, oily.
|V - Thin, dry, unsteady, dark.|
|P - Medium, soft, red.|
|K - Large, soft, pink, moist, firm.|
|11.||TEETH AND GUMS|
|V - Irregular, crooked, receding gums.|
|P - Medium, even, gums, soft pink, bleed easily, cavities.|
|K - Large, even, healthy teeth, pink gums.|
|V - Narrow, small, flat.|
|P - Medium.|
|K - Broad, big, well developed.|
|V - Narrow, small, poorly developed.|
|P - Medium.|
|K - Broad, big, well developed.|
|V - Thin, short (or too long), prominent veins.|
|P - Medium.|
|K - Large, thick, well developed.|
|V - Thin, cold, dry, rough, unsteady (fissured).|
|P - Medium, warm, pink.|
|K - Large, oily, firm, cool.|
|V - Small, hard.|
|P - Loose, soft.|
|K - Round, firm.|
|V - Small, thin, dry, rough, fissured, unsteady.|
|P - Medium, soft, pink.|
|K - Round, firm.|
|V - Small, thin, dry, unsteady, cracking.|
|P - Medium, soft, loose.|
|K - Large, well-built.|
|V - Irregular, ridges and depressions, nail-biting.|
|P - Soft, strong, rubbery, pink.|
|K - Large, pale, thick, symmetrical, oily.|
|V - Scanty, difficult, colour less.|
|P - Profuse, yellow, red, burning.|
|K - Moderate, whitish, milky.|
|V - Scanty, hard, dry, gas, often constipated.|
|P - Soft, abundant, loose, burning sensation.|
|K - Regular, well formed, mucus.|
|22.||SWEAT AND BODY ODOUR|
|V - Scanty, no smell.|
|P - Profuse, hot, strong smell.|
|K - Moderate, cold, pleasant smell.|
|V - Variable, erratic.|
|P - Strong, sharp.|
|K - Constant, low.|
|V - Low, weak, hoarse.|
|P - High, pitch, sharp.|
|K - Pleasant, deep, good tone.|
|V - Quick, inconsistent, erratic, talkative.|
|P - Moderate, argumentative, convincing.|
|K - Slow, definite, not talkative.|
|V - Quick, adaptable, indecisive.|
|P - Intelligent, penetrating, critical.|
|K - Slow, steady, dull.|
|V - Poor, learns easily, forgets easily.|
|P - Sharp, clear.|
|K - Slow to notice but retains long.|
|V - Fearful, anxious, nervous.|
|P - Angry, irritable, contentious.|
|K - Calm, content, attached, sentimental.|
|V - Erratic, changeable.|
|P - Determined, fanatical, leader|
|K - Constant, loyal.|
|V - Light, tending to sleeplessness.|
|P - Moderate, may wake up but falls asleep again.|
|K - Heavy, difficulty in waking up.|
|V - Nightmares, flying, restless, frightening.|
|P - Colourful, passionate, vivid, in control.|
|K - Romantic, sentimental, can't remember dreams.|
|V - Likes moving, travelling, parks, plays, jokes, stories.|
|P - Sports, politics, painting, hunting, forests, streams, nature.|
|K - Lakes, water, sailing and flowers.|
|V - Hyperactive, fast, erratic, unsteady.|
|P - Motivated, purposeful, steady.|
|K - Slow, steady.|
|V - Low stamina, starts quickly, stops quickly.|
|P - Medium but poor in heat.|
|K - Slow in starting but strong high endurance.|
|V - Variable, intense, quickly spent, low fertility.|
|P - Balanced, average fertility.|
|K - Steady, slow to arouse, high fertility.|
|V - Dislike cold, wind and dryness.|
|P - Fears sun, heat and fire.|
|K - Fears cold and damp, likes wind and sun.|
|V - Poor and variable.|
|P - Medium, prone to infection.|
|K - Good, consistent.|
|V - Nervous system, pains, arthritis, mental disorders, constipation.|
|P - fevers, infections, inflammations, skin.|
|K - Respiratory, mucus, oedema (and resulting diseases).|
|39.||RESPONSE TO THERAPY AND MEDICATION|
|V - Quick, low dosage required.|
|P - Medium (sensitive to aspirin which should not be used).|
|K - Slow to heal, high dosage required.|
GENERAL PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS OF DOSHA IMBALANCE
The following are good pointers to finding out
which dosha is unbalanced. However, more than one dosha may be unbalanced,
so please be aware.
|Colour (of discharges, discoloration, vision etc.)|
|V - Black, brown, blue black, blue, pink, lessening or absence of normal colour.|
|P - Red, purple, yellow, green, black, smoky.|
|K - White, pale.|
|V - Intense, throbbing, biting, churning, beating, tearing, variable, moving, intermittent.|
|P - Medium, burning.|
|K - Mild, heavy, dull, constant.|
|V - Moderate, variable (up & down).|
|P - Very high, burning, thirst, sweating, irritability, delirium.|
|K - Low grade fever or constant high temperature, dullness.|
|V - With sound (discharge of gas, cracking of joints etc.)|
|P - Bleeding, pus, bile.|
|K - Mucous, salivation.|
|V - Astringent taste, dry.|
|P - Bitter or pungent taste (also burning) increased salivation.|
|K - Dry, rough, pain and tightness on swallowing.|
|V - Dry, rough, pain and constriction of esophagus.|
|P - Sore throat, inflammation, burning sensation.|
|K - Swelling, dilation, oedema.|
|V - Irregular appetite, frequent belching and hiccups, sense of constriction.|
|P - Excessive appetite, sour or pungent belching or vomitting.|
|K - Slow digestion, sweet or mucouid belching or vomitting.|
|Liver and Gall Bladder|
|V - Irregular activity.|
|P - Soft to palpate, excessive bile production (jaundice)|
|K - Enlarged, heavy, sluggish, gall stones.|
|V - Dry, distention, gas, constipation.|
|P - Profuse secretions, inflamed, ulceration, abscesses, cancer, bleeding, perforation.|
|K - Mucous, slow action, obstruction, distention, oedema, tumours.|
|V - Constipation, painful and difficult bowel movement, dry, small quantity.|
|P - Diarrhoea, watery stools, quick, uncontrollable, burning, frequent, moderate quantity.|
|K - Solid, less frequent, large amount, containing mucous, with itching.|
|V - Scanty, difficult to pass, increased frequency OR absence of urine, colour less.|
|P - Profuse, burning, increased, fermented, yellow, brown or red.|
|K - Profuse, decrease in frequency, containing mucous, white and pale.|
|V - Scanty, irregular.|
|P - Profuse, hot strong smell.|
|K - Moderate, constant.|
|Mind and Senses|
|V - Delusion, fear, apathy, sorrow, loss of consciousness, insomnia, desire for hot and hatred of cold things.|
|P - Weakness of senses, intoxication, restlessness, violent emotions, delirium, loss of sleep, dizziness, fainting, desire for cold things.|
|K - Slow perception, lack of desire, lethargy, stupor, excessive sleeping, desire for hot things.|
|Onset of Disease|
|V - Rapid, variable, irregular.|
|P - Medium with fever.|
|K - Slow, constant.|
|Time of day when aggravated|
|V - Dawn, dusk|
|P - Noon, midnight.|
|K - Mid-morning, mid-evening.|
|Season when aggravated|
|V - Autumn, early winter.|
|P - Summer, late spring.|
|K - Late winter, early spring.|
|External aggravating factors|
|V - Wind, cold, dryness.|
|P - Heat, sun, fire, humidity.|
|K - Dampness, cold.|
THE SIX TASTES AND HOW THEY AFFECT THE DOSHAS
Decreases Pitta and Vata
Important: Sweet does not mean white refined sugar.
Increases Kapha and Pitta.
Increases Pitta and Kapha.
Decreases Pitta and Kapha.
Note: The following are bitter : karela (bitter
gourd - this being the best), turmeric, fenugreek (methi), spinach, lemon
|Important: When more than one or all doshas are out of balance, start the day with the bitter taste - it helps to bring our sense of taste back into balance so that our body does not crave the wrong foods - foods to which we are addicted and which may have caused our problems in the first place. A few slices of karela (unpeeled) or juice of one karela are excellent for restoring our senses to balance.|
Increases Vata and Pitta.
These include chillies, onion, garlic (uncooked),
radishes (mooli), ginger, spicy foods in general.
Decreases Pitta and Kapha.
These include beans, lentils, apples, pears, cabbage,
broccoli, caualiflower, potatoes.
PACIFYING/AGGRAVATING FOODS FOR THE 3 DOSHAS
VATA PACIFYING FOODS & LIFESTYLE:
|General||:||Sweet, sour, salty; heavy, oily, hot. Regular habits, quiet (avoid
TV), fluids (not junk drinks), handling stress without stress, rest, warmth,
good regular nourishment, til oil massage.
|Favour||:||Warm foods, moderately heavy textures, soothing and satisfying foods.
|Vegetables||:||Asparagus, beets, carrots, cucumber, green beans, okra (bhindi), onions
and garlic (not raw), radishes, sweet potatoes, turnips.
|Fruits||:||Bananas, coconuts, dates, mangoes, melons, peaches, all sweet fruits
|Grains||:||Oats, rice and wheat (preferably cooked soft)
VATA AGGRAVATING FOODS & LIFESTYLE:
|General||:||Pungent, bitter, astringent; light, dry, cold. Irregularity, too much
variety and excitement, skipping meals, exercising by fits and starts,
talking or watching TV while eating, TV per se, stimulants like smoking,
alcohol, junk food, sugar, tea (esp. long leaf teas and green tea), brown
rice, A/C, fans, applying soap.
|Vegetables||:||Cabbage, cauliflower, celery, brinjal, leafy green vegetables, mushrooms,
peas, peppers (simla mirch) potatoes, sprouts, tomatoes, zucchini (tori).
If you do have these vegetables cook them in pure desi ghee or unrefined
til oil. Tomatoes are best avoided except as a small addition to salads.
|Fruits||:||Apples, pears, pomegranates.
PITTA PACIFYING FOODS & LIFESTYLE:
|General||:||Sweet, bitter, astringent; cold, heavy, dry. Moderation, coolness,
attention to leisure, exposure to natural beauty, balance of rest and activity,
music, aesthetic surroundings, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil, green coriander
(dhaniya), coriander seeds, cardamom, sprouts and raw foods.
|Favour||:||Cool or warm but not steaming hot foods, moderately heavy textures,
|Vegetables & Fruits
||:||Pittas can eat most vegetables and fruits. Exceptions are given below.|
|Grains||:||Barley, oats, wheat, parboiled rice.
PITTA AGGRAVATING FOODS & LIFESTYLE:
|General||:||Pungent, sour, salty, hot, light, oily. Stimulants like smoking, alcohol,
coffee, eating in a ruffled atmosphere or mood, unpleasant or disorderly
surroundings, pickles, vinegar, fried foods, spicy foods, fermented foods,
curds, almond, corn, til, mustard oil.
|Vegetables||:||Beets, carrots, brinjal, garlic, hot peppers, onions, spinach, tomatoes.
||:||Sour and unripe fruits. If there is aggravated
Pitta avoid grapefruit, papayas, peaches, bananas, apricots.
|Grains||:||Brown rice, corn, millet, rye.
|General||:||Pungent, bitter, astringent; light, dry, hot. Stimulating activity,
regular exercise, weight control, variety of experience, warmth, dryness,
reduced sweetness (honey being an exception). Massage with mustard oil.
|Favour||:||Warm light food, dry food cooked without much water, minimum of butter,
oil and sugar, stimulating foods (ginger, chillies, pickles), raw foods,
||:||Generally all vegetables are good, but if you
are suffering from any kapha disorder like lung congestion, congestive
asthma, sinuses, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high cholestrol, then
avoid all sweet juicy vegetables such as cucumbers, pumpkin family,
sweet potatoes, tomatoes, tori, ghiya etc.
|Fruits||:||Apples, apricots, pears, pomegranates, dried fruits in general (apricots,
figs, prunes, raisins)
|Lentils & Legumes||:||If the dosha is not aggravated all except tofu and kidney beans are
|Grains||:||Barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, rye, bajra (in winter).
|Herbs and Spices||:||All are good - ginger is best for improving digestion, turmeric is
excellent for drying out the mucous, chillies are excellent for removing
KAPHA AGGRAVATING FOODS & LIFESTYLE:
|General||:|| Sweet, sour, salty; heavy, oily, cold. Desserts, sweets, ice
cream, deep fried foods, possessiveness, miserliness, laziness.
||:||As given above.|
|Fruits||:||All sweet juicy fruits in general. When kapha is out of
balance, stick only to the fruits listed above.
|Lentils & Legumes||:||Tofu and kidney beans.
|Herbs and Spices||:||Reduce salt.
BEWARE OF NON-OJAS DIET!
|"Have no thorn of hate in your mind, develop love towards all. Desire
is a storm, greed is a whirlpool, pride is a precipice, attachment is an
avalanche, egoism is a volcano. Keep these things away so that when you
recite the name of God or do Meditation, they do not disturb the equanimity.
Let love be enthroned in your heart. Then there will be sunshine and cool
breezes and gurgling water of contentment feeding the roots of faith"