Ayurveda suggests paying attention to clues from our body to create a life of physical, mental, and emotional balance. One such clue can be found in the appearance of our nails. Ayurveda views fingernails as the waste product of bones or Ashti Dhatu in Sanskrit. The formation of bone begins with nutrient consumption, building cells, forming tissues, organs, and systems in the body. Any unusable tissues for bone formation are expelled through hair and fingernails, making them an indicator of the body's condition. Fingernail health can often linked to an imbalance in the doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. Those with a vata constitution tend to have brittle, dry, dark, crooked, and rough fingernails, while those with a pitta constitution have soft, pink, tender, and pliable nails with a sheen. Individuals with a kapha constitution have thick and durable, soft-textured nails with a uniform shape. Healthy circulation and pranic flow are indicated by large moons or lunula present at the nail bed base, indicating a healthy digestive fire or agni. The absence of lunula suggests compromised digestion, poor metabolism, and potential toxin buildup in the system, according to Ayurveda. Pale nails may indicate anemia, while bluish nails may indicate poor oxygen absorption or a heart condition. Yellow nails may signify poor liver function or the presence of liver toxins, while red dots or excessive redness may indicate an excess of red blood cells. By observing their color, texture, and shape, we can gain important insights into our health.
Below are some nail abnormalities due to dosha vitation:
1. Bluish-Purple Nails: Fingernails that appear to have a blue-purple hue may indicate a lack of oxygen in the body system, potentially causing hypoxia or cyanosis (oxygen-deficient tissues). This may be due to derangement of vata, which consists of air and ether, or a pulmonary infection such as chronic bronchitis, asthma, or emphysema.
2. Clubbed Nails: Although rare, clubbed nails resemble a club's form by overgrowing the tip of the finger and indicate a frail heart and lungs. Poor circulation of prana, the life force, causes clubbed nails, indicating that body tissues lack oxygen.
3. Nail Biting: Excessive Vata in the body can be indicated by nail biting, which is a common symptom of high anxiety, worry, or fear. This habit can either be chronic or acute, and those with this habit often do it unconsciously, resulting in nails that don't grow beyond the nail bed.
To rebalance vata, consider incorporating a balancing practice like pranayama or yoga into your daily routine and engaging in calming activities like self-massage or drinking warm ginger tea.
1. Red and Puffy Nail Fold: A red, puffy border along the nail fold is typically a sign of parasites or infection in the system. Parasites are prevalent in many individuals and have multiple causes. A less common cause of the red nail fold can be through Lupus or another connective tissue disorder.
2. Horizontal Lines or Grooves: According to Ayurveda, a deep line that runs horizontally to the nail is an indication of a strong illness, infection, or depletion that occurred during the time that specific part of the nail was growing. It can also mean an issue of metabolism, showing vitiated digestion at the time of growth. If there are multiple horizontal lines on the nail, this indicates a recurring issue and most likely shows a chronic condition (whether metabolic, infection, depletion, etc.). In some cases, these multiple lines can relate to the involvement of an under-active thyroid.
3. Pitting of the Nails: Pitting of the nails, which appears as small holes in the nails, may indicate inflammatory skin disorders like eczema or psoriasis, or connective tissue disorders like alopecia or lupus. This condition suggests increased or aggravated pitta within the body system.
To balance heat, incorporate cooling and soothing flavors, colors, and activities into daily practice, and avoid skipping meals and consuming hot, sour, or bitter flavors.
1. “Parrot” Nails: Fingernails that grow into a parrot beak shape with a hooked and pointed tip may suggest the possibility of a chronic cough. In addition, a bump at the end of the fingernail could indicate a disturbance in kapha, which may signal a chronic lung infection.
As kapha is characterized by the elements of water and earth, restoring balance to this dosha may involve maintaining an active lifestyle and following a regular, invigorating routine.
Combination of the Doshas in Nails
1. White Spots: White spots on nails are very common among a large number of individuals. However, if this is just a one-time occurrence, it may just be due to trauma to that part of the nail. Often, however, this is seen on more than one nail and is a recurring issue. If so, this simply means that there is a calcium, zinc, and/or magnesium deficiency in the body. This may be due to a poor diet or could be the result of malabsorption. Once this issue is removed, the white spots should stop appearing after the nail has grown out.
2. Longitudinal Lines: Longitudinal lines or ridges in the fingernails suggest malabsorption of nutrients in the body. The deeper or more prominent the lines, the more severe the deficiency. This texture indicates primarily vata imbalance, although derangement, inflammation, or toxins in the gastrointestinal tract may mean that pitta or kapha is disturbed.
3. Yellow nails: Yellowish fingernails suggest the presence of a fungal infection, which can affect one nail or many. It can be more common during old age, and may also be a result of genetic predispositions to liver disorders or tuberculosis, weakened immunity, lung infection, toxins in the body, or side effects of medication.
4. Pale Nails: Pale nails indicate a decrease in red blood cells in the body or anemia, which may be caused by an iron, folate, or vitamin B12 deficiency, excessive bleeding from menstruation or an injury, chronic diseases, or other autoimmune conditions. In extreme cases, spoon nails (Koilonychia) that appear concave in the center of the nail may result, so it is best to address pale nails at the first signs.
Paying attention to the clues offered by our nails can help us take proactive steps towards maintaining our health and wellbeing. Consulting an Ayurvedic practitioner can be helpful in understanding the possible underlying dysfunctions in the body that may be related to nail abnormalities. Such a practitioner can provide guidance on the appropriate treatment options, which may include dietary changes, lifestyle modifications, herbal remedies, and other natural therapies. It is always advisable to seek professional help from a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner for a comprehensive assessment and personalized treatment plan.
Waking up early in the morning has long been considered a beneficial practice by various cultures, texts, and scientific reasoning. In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian healing system, waking up between 4 and 6 a.m., also known as Brahmamuhurta, is believed to be the most spiritually charged time of day. It is considered an auspicious time for meditating, practicing yoga, and performing other practices in the Ayurvedic tradition. This early morning practice is said to connect you with the sun, a symbol of our eternal, expansive, unlimited being.
According to Ayurveda, there are three troublesome elements present in the human body - Vata (Air and Ether), Pitta (Fire and Water), and Kapha (Earth and Water). The amount of these elements keeps fluctuating according to the time. Vata is associated with the muscular and tissue movements, Pitta is related to digestion and metabolism, and Kapha is related to the body's structure. By balancing these elements through holistic wellness activities during Brahmamuhurta, one can cure various body-related problems, improve creativity, flexibility, intelligence, and overall health.
Moreover, waking up early has numerous mental health benefits. It helps curb negative thinking and depression, improves mood, increases mental clarity and positivity, and strengthens the ability to fall asleep earlier at night, which can improve overall sleep quality. Ayurveda also teaches that we are naturally full of sattva and that connecting with nature during Brahmamuhurta is the conduit for infusing your day with positivity, hope, harmony, and peace.
If you're not accustomed to waking up early, gradually adjust your waking time by setting your alarm back 15 minutes each day or every other day until you're waking up comfortably at 6 a.m. or earlier. With the combination of Ayurvedic practices and waking up early, one can restore their innate connection with the natural world and achieve a more holistic and healthy lifestyle.
According to Ayurveda, grapes are “Draaksha Phalottamma”, meaning of all fruits, grapes are the superior. Grapes are a unique fruit that offers a range of health benefits, such as quenching thirst, moisturizing tissues, and boosting metabolism. Unlike other foods that increase metabolism, grapes do not cause dryness and unlike other foods that moisturize tissues, grapes do not slow down metabolism. They are easy to digest and provide instant energy, making them ideal for those recovering from illness or overworking themselves mentally or physically.
In Ayurvedic medicine, grapes are used as a tonic to restore health and balance in the body. They are sweet and slightly sour, making them effective as a liver tonic, and they are also useful in treating conditions such as inflammation, menstruation, and infertility. Grapes contain resveratrol, a chemical that has been linked to increased lifespan and reduced risk of heart disease, as well as beta carotene, which is particularly beneficial for the eyes.
Grapes also contain high levels of fiber, iron, and other nutrients, but their high sugar content makes them unsuitable for diabetics. They have a calming effect on the mind and liver, making them useful in treating conditions such as eye strain, insomnia, and alcohol-related issues. However, it is recommended to buy organic grapes, as conventional grapes are heavily sprayed with pesticides and have low genetic diversity.
Below are some remedies using grapes:
1. To combat excessive thirst: Drink a mixture of 1 cup of diluted Concord grape juice with a small amount of sandalwood powder, vetiver, and honey.
2. For relief of excessive thirst: Apply drops of diluted Concord grape juice in the nostrils.
3. To reduce excess heat: Drink a mixture of 1 cup of diluted Concord grape juice with 2 tablespoons of aloe vera and a few drops of rosewater.
4. To alleviate burning sensations: For relief of burning in the stomach, urination, or hotheadedness, drink a mixture of 1 cup of diluted Concord grape juice with 1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder, 1/2 teaspoon of fennel powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of sandalwood powder.
5. To treat fever: Drink a mixture of 1 cup of diluted Concord grape juice with 1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder, 1/2 teaspoon of fennel powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of sandalwood powder.
6. To ease constipation: Soak a handful of raisins in water overnight and consume them in the morning.
7. To relieve shortness of breath and chest pain: Drink a mixture of 1 cup of diluted Concord grape juice with 1 teaspoon of honey and 1/2 teaspoon of dry ginger powder.
For cough relief: Boil a handful of raisins and drink the resulting tea.
8. To enhance sexual vitality: Drink a mixture of 1 cup of diluted Concord grape juice, 1 pinch of pippali (long pepper), and 1/2 teaspoon of turbinado sugar. Add 1/2 teaspoon of ashwagandha for vata, or 1/2 teaspoon of shatavari for pitta and drink one hour before bedtime.
9. To treat cystitis: Drink a mixture of 1 cup of diluted Concord grape juice with 1 teaspoon of cumin powder and 1 pinch of rock salt 2 to 3 times a day.
To combat anemia: Soak a handful of raisins in water overnight and eat them in the morning with a teaspoon of honey
UTIs are a common type of infection that happen when bacteria infects the urinary tract. Symptoms can include burning while urinating and needing to go more often. Women are more likely to get UTIs because their urethra is shorter and can be infected more easily. Other factors that can increase the risk of UTIs include having diabetes, bowel incontinence, kidney stones, being immobile, not drinking enough fluids, and being pregnant.
According to Ayurveda, a type of traditional Indian medicine, urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by an imbalance of the Pitta dosha, which represents heat or fire. A diet and lifestyle that increases Pitta is often the cause of a UTI. Increased intake of sour, salty, bitter, oily, spicy and fried foods and tea, coffee and alcohol beverages aggravate Pitta. Working in the sun or hot weather and excessive physical exertion also aggravates the condition. Increased Pitta can lead to the production of heating toxins in the body, which can accumulate in the urinary channels and disrupt the body's ability to fight infection. This can lead to bacterial growth and UTIs. While conventional drugs may target the bacteria, they may not address the underlying imbalance, which can cause the infection to recur. Ayurvedic medicine aims to restore balance to the urinary system and alleviate heating toxins for long-term relief from UTIs.
To prevent and treat UTIs, Ayurveda recommends a combination of dietary changes, herbal remedies, and lifestyle adjustments. Some of the key Ayurvedic remedies for UTI include:
1. Increase the intake of liquids in the form of water, coconut water and other cooling drinks
2. Stay away from working in areas with intense heat, including the sun and places with high temperatures, such as near boilers or furnaces.
3. Consume more herbs that help balance Pitta, such as green cardamom, coriander, red sandalwood, and licorice root.
4. Take cold water baths 2-3 times a day and add 1/2 teaspoon of powdered red sandalwood to the water.
5. Avoid intake of hot, oily, spicy, sour, salty, and bitter foods
6. Home remedy: mix 3 tablespoons of powdered coriander seeds and 1 tablespoon of powdered rock candy (or refined sugar) in a container, preferably an earthen pot, containing 3 cups of water. Allow it to sit overnight. In the morning, mix the solution well and drink 1 cup of it 3 times a day. This is a very effective remedy for balancing Pitta in the urinary tract.
It is important to note that UTIs can be a serious medical condition and it's always best to consult with a qualified healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment.
Overall, Ayurveda offers a holistic approach to treating and preventing UTIs by addressing the underlying imbalances in the body and promoting overall health and wellness. By incorporating Ayurvedic principles into your daily routine, you can help to keep your urinary tract healthy and reduce your risk of infections.
Dealing with summer heat can be thwarting. Dehydration, sweat, and skin eruptions become familiar friends with individuals gasping for cool retreats, especially here in South Florida. What better way than Ayurveda to tackle the hot, sharp, penetrating Summer! Pitta dosha, or the subtle energy that takes charge of the metabolism and transformation in the body, becomes aggravated during summer. This tends to flare as the temperature rises. The imbalances include hot flashes, acne, exhaustion, heartburn, diarrhoea, anger and impatience. Does this sound quite familiar to you? Beat the heat with best ayurvedic tips this summer.
These are the best Ayurvedic tips to follow during the summer -
Summer is the season for Pitta as the heat is on. Ayurvedic remedies shield you from the dampening impact of the season with ideal dietary choices, routines, and habits. The beautiful thing about Ayurveda is that it has guidelines to help us find balance in every season, something called Ritucharya. Embrace Ayurveda in your daily life to stay cool this summer season.
To learn more about how you can align yourself with nature’s cycle and find balance, contact Susama Ayurveda- where we bring Ayurveda to life.
Importance of Shirodhara in Ayurveda
Ayurveda is defined as the holistic and nurturing science of longevity and well-being and has been in practice in India for thousands of years. Found in several Vedic scriptures, Ayurvedic components have the power to improve health, enhance the soul and promote emotional balance. Most Ayurvedic practices are done with the help of different herbs, oils, spices and other similar natural components. Shirodhara is one such Ayurvedic practice that not only heals the mind and body but also brings them to one harmonious level.
What is Shirodhara?
A classic Ayurvedic therapy, Shirodhara is hailed as one of the most rejuvenating and purifying treatment processes. Shirodhara is designed in a way that not only eliminates toxins from an individual’s body but also removes mental exhaustion and stress and also cures several other disorders. In this therapy, warmed medicated decoctions, medicated oils or other liquids are poured on the forehead steadily so that it induces a relaxed state of mind. The whole process aspires to achieve a psychosomatic balance in the individual. When undergoing the Shirodhara treatment, one would feel totally relaxed, mental lucidity and a rich experience of the soul connecting with the body.
Different types of Shirodhara
In Ayurveda, Shirodhara is advised to someone when there is found an aggravation of Pitta and Vata Doshas in body and mind. The therapy focuses on the third eye, i.e., the center of the forehead where stimulation and balance of the pituitary and pineal gland occurs. The feeling of the oil slowly dripping on the forehead creates a meditation-like effect on the person. This leads to an aura of stillness in the mind, thereby diffusing tension and stress from the brain.
There are different types of Shirodhara therapy. Take a look at the following to know about them:
Why is Shirodhara practiced?
Shirodhara eliminates mental toxins and purifies the doshas by bringing them to a proper balance. The therapy stimulates the major points on the head so that blood circulation is enhanced. As the Ayurvedic medicine is massaged on the scalp, the medicated oils infuse deep into the head and give a sense of ultimate comfort and relaxation. This process goes as deep as into the internal peripheral nerves of the forehead.
Shirodhara has lots of health benefits. Get in touch with an Ayurveda professional at Susama Ayurveda to know how this therapy can improve your overall being.
Everything you Need to Know About Ayurvedic Detox
Ayurveda is an alternative medicine system going back thousands of years, with its origins in ancient India. It focuses on natural, holistic healing and is widely regarded as the oldest treatment science in the world. Ayurvedic detox has also gained immense popularity due to its effectiveness in reducing the levels of toxins in the human body. It follows the principles of Vedic medicine to heal in a way that leaves one rejuvenated and full of vitality.
Ayurvedic medicine is mainly centered around the concept of three 'doshas' or humors, namely Pitta, Vata, and Kapha. Based on its fundamentals, most illnesses and diseases are a result of the three doshas being out of balance. Through tried-and-tested detoxification treatments, thousands around the world are healing up from serious ailments. Ayurvedic detoxification methods can have life-changing benefits for people across ages.
Valuable Insights about Ayurvedic Detox
Ayurveda divides the world into multiple elements i.e. Vayu, Prithvi, Aakash, Teja, and Jala. These represent air, earth, fire, space, and water, respectively. The science states that the humors or ‘doshas’ of an individual are combinations of the above-mentioned elements (Vata is made of air and space, Pitta of fire and water and Kapha of water and earth). The toxification of an individual’s body can lead to a host of unwanted issues and conditions like skin problems, chronic fatigue, anxiety, diarrhea, arthritis, constipation, UTIs (urinary tract infections), and asthma. The main objective of Ayurveda medicine specialists is to help those affected by such conditions to experience the benefits of powerful and natural remedies. Take a look at some of the key practices below.
Key Practices of Ayurvedic Detoxification Treatments
Panchakarma - The detoxification process of Panchakarma is one of the most important procedures recommended by experienced Ayurvedic practitioners to eliminate accumulated impurities from the mind and body. It is divided into three main phases known as Purvakarma, Panchakarma and Paschatkarma. The first phase of Purvakarma employs methods such as steaming, warm oil treatment, and oil massage to assist in loosening and lubricating waste products (ama) from bodily tissues in preparation for their removal. Panchakarma, the second phase, consists of five detoxification processes named virechan (emesis), vaman (purgation), basti (enemas), rakta moksha (blood-letting) and nasya (nasal administration of medicated oil). All of these aim to purify the elements of one’s body by removing toxicity, however, not all clients with receive all 5 panchakarma treatments. Each one serves to expel different imbalances. Therefore, recommended procedures will be based on an individual’s specific doshic vitiations. The third and final stage, Paschatkarma, consists of individualized rejuvenation therapies which may include recommended herbs, diet, and lifestyle changes that help restore and replenish the bodies’ digestive fire and bodily tissues. A panchakarma is one of the superior ways to treat imbalances and heal from within.
Dietary changes – A simple Ayurvedic detox can be done with dietary changes. An Ayurvedic detox will always involve the reduction of the consumption of foods that are ama-producing. Ama is translated as undigested food waste and can accumulate in the system via incorrect food choices, poor dietary habits and a compromised digestive fire. It’s best to choose warm, light, cooked, fresh and easily digestible food during a cleanse. Often times a kitchari cleanse is recommended. Kitchari is a dish consisting of mung dal, white basmati rice and spices according to your constitution. A mono-diet of kitchari is ideal for cleansing because kitchari is tridoshic, meaning it is beneficial in balancing all three doshas. It is also extremely easy to digest, it’s a complete protein, and due to its inherent loosening and scraping properties, removes ama from the system. Ayurveda supplements may also be recommended to enhance outcome
Purifying massage (Abhyanga)- Frequent massages with warm oils containing herbs help to combat lymphatic issues, remove toxins, curb early aging, calm the nervous system and also enhance skin health. Yoga is also recommended alongside massages, which should all be done under the supervision of trained Ayurveda treatment professionals.
Meditation - Meditation is a crucial step in detoxification. It involves several practices such as breathing exercises, meditation, and mindfulness tactics. All of these lead to reduced stress and anxiety levels, which results in better healing. It is often said in Ayurveda, that all disease starts in the mind; if we are able to heal our minds, our bodies will follow suit.
There are so many ways to detoxify through Ayurvedic methods. At Susama Ayurveda, we will recommend and provide an individualized Ayurvedic cleanse with specific therapies according to your imbalances to launch you into a new level of health you never knew possible. Get in touch with us today to gain further insight and avail these treatments! Susama Ayurveda is located in West Palm Beach, FL and is seeing clients online as well.
Ayurveda places huge importance on dinacharya, or daily tasks that help integrate our being with nature’s cycles, and teaches us how establishing a daily routine that promotes self-care can improve overall health and wellbeing. Adopting a consistent daily routine is one of the most nurturing things we can do for ourselves that invites health and vitality into our lives.
While dinacharya is one of the core concepts of Ayurveda, there is no single template that can satiate the requirements of everyone. Ayurveda practitioners modify the general template to match one’s specific needs. Irrespective of how different these routines might look, adopting a dinacharya can significantly improve your approach to life.
Dinacharya daily cycles
Ayurveda mentions two dinacharya cycles that carry distinct types of “dosha” or energy. These relate to different elements of nature. These are as follows:
● Kapha: 6:00 am – 10:00 am and 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Associated with balance, this cycle is best saved for some light work and preparation for the day of work ahead.
● Pitta: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm and 10:00 pm – 2:00 am
Pitta is related to high energy, meaning one’s body is the most active during this cycle. When awake, focus on tasks that require high productivity. Meanwhile, when asleep, your body focuses on detoxification of its system.
● Vata: 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm and 2:00 am – 6:00 am
Vata is associated with air and lightness. The best activities during this period are ones that require movement or creativity.
Ayurvedic dinacharya cycles - how to integrate daily routines into your life
While this is only a simplified overview of thousands of years of teachings, the aforementioned information on ayurvedic dinacharya has enough to get you started on building your own self-care routines to live more in tune with nature. For more information on doshas and the benefits of Ayurveda, you can get in touch with experienced Ayurveda practitioners at Susama Ayurveda Holistic Care.