Most of us have averseness towards bitter tasting foods. According to texts of ayurveda the bitter taste is made up of Akasha (space element)  and  Vayu (air element). This taste cleanses the mouth. Once we taste the bitter foods or herbs, it becomes difficult to identify other tastes immediately. It temporarily numbs the taste buds and makes them insensitive to other tastes.

Functions of bitter tasting foods-

Bitter tasting foods help to increase appetite. They prevent growth and development of intestinal parasites. Herbs with this taste are used in health conditions like Leprosy, skin diseases, fever and nausea.

Herbs and foods which taste bitter reduce pitta and kapha. They tend to dry moistness and fat contents of tissues. Hence increased consumption of bitter foods and herbs reduce body fat, can cause constipation and dryness of skin.

When bitter tasting herbs are used they cleanse the breast milk, increase intelligence, clear throat and help in weight loss. When used in excess they may cause depletion of dhatus (body tissues) and give rise to diseases of vata origin. Increased consumption of bitter foods can cause dry skin, migraine, reduced quality and quantity of semen.

Best Examples of bitter tasting herbs are neem and bitter gourd,

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salty taste ayurveda, lavana rasa

salty taste ayurveda, lavana rasa

Salt makes every recipe tasty. It is being used from ages to enhance the taste, flavor and texture of food. Salt is used as a preservative in every part of world. Salt is an essential nutrient. Texts of ayurveda consider salt among six important tastes or six rasas. It is known as Lavana Rasa in ayurveda.

According to principles of ayurveda, salt or salty tasting foods increase moistness in mouth by increasing salivation. When we consume salt, we feel as if our cheeks and throat are burning.

Functions of salt in body – salt helps to reduce rigidity of tissues. When consumed in required quantities it helps to remove blockages in ‘srotas’ or minute internal body channels. The digestive activity increases when salty foods are consumed.  Salt in proper quantity causes sweating. It penetrates deep tissues and increases taste of food.

When salt is consumed more than required quantity, it vitiates blood (rakta) and increases its volume. Even vata gets vitiated by increased salt consumption. This also causes baldness, hair loss, premature graying, early aging and skin wrinkles. It lowers body immunity and leads to herpes (herpes, genital herpes or oral herpes) outbreaks.

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Benefits of drinking water are manifold. Ayurveda acharyas explain health benefits of drinking water in various hours of day. In yogaratnakara the advantages of drinking water in early morning has been explained beautifully.  Before starting this procedure one must evacuate bowels and urine. The teeth and face must be cleaned.

Benefits of drinking water in morning- An ayurveda View

Benefits of drinking water in morning- An ayurveda View

(Savithasthu udayakale prasuthihi salilasya pibedashtau |
Roga jaraa parimuktho  jeevedtsarashatam saagram || )

In morning when the sun is about to rise man must drink eight prasruti (8 times his hand full= approximately one big glass) of water. By doing this the aging process slows down, the signs of aging diminishes and he gets immune to diseases. His life span increases.

When man drinks water during Sunrise, his three doshas (vata, pitta and kapha) get balanced. Agni gets improved and normalized. This method also acts as Vajikara. It increases man’s libido and sexual energy.

Apart from these, drinking water in morning helps to reduce diseases like piles, edema, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, allergies and back pain.

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Texts of ayurveda contain a special chapter known as “Vajikarana Adhyaya”. This chapter deals with the treatment methods ( Vajikarana Therapy ), herbal recipes and herbal preparations which are beneficial in improving potency of men. These preparations which are also known as “Vajikarana preparations” increase sexual energy and stamina by leaps and bounds.

The ayurvedic texts “Yogaratnakara” recommends one such herbal recipe which is superior to all other recipes. It is superior because it contains best aphrodisiac herbs as its ingredients. This recipe is known as “Rativriddhikara Modaka”. The meaning of word “Rativriddhikara” is – the preparation which increases libido.

The method of preparation goes as follows

Ingredient herbs:
1.    Gokshura (tribulus trrestris)
2.    Ashwagandha
3.    Makhana (fox nut)
4.    Shatavari
5.    Musali or shweta musli
6.    Kapikacchu
7.    Yashtimadu
8.    Bala

All the above mentioned herbs have to be powdered and taken in equal proportion. Measure the weight of herbs. Mix milk which weighs eight times the total weight of herbs. Add ghee which weighs equal to herb mixture. Take sugar which weighs twice the weight of herbs and add it the above mixture. Heat the whole mix of herbs, milk, ghee and sugar in a thick bottomed vessel. Remove it from flame when mixture thickens and starts leaving the surface of vessel. Prepare round ball like modakas. These have to be administered after determining the strength of agni in a patient.

Easy way to understand weight measurements of ingredients-

1.    Gokshura (tribulus trrestris) – 10 gms
2.    Ashwagandha – 10 gm
3.    Makhana (fox nut) -10 gms
4.    Shatavari – 10gms
5.    Musali – 10 gms
6.    Kapikacchu – 10 gms
7.    Yashtimadu – 10 gms
8.    Bala – 10 gms

The total weight of herbs 80 gms
Milk  – 8 times more than weight of herb mix – 640 gms (80 X 8)
Ghee – Equal weight of herb mixture – 80 gms
Sugar – twice the weight of herbs – 160 Gms (80 X 2)

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Amla rasa is one among six tastes of ayurveda and means sour taste. According to panchabhoutikatwa of substances, amla rasa is made up of element agni (fire) and element ap (water). When this rasa is consumed, it increases salivation of mouth. Excess consumption of this causes tingling of teeth. We squeeze our eyes and eye brows involuntarily when foods with this taste are consumed..

Functions of Amla rasa or sour taste: Amla rasa stimulates agni and is good for heart. It increases digestive actions and kindles appetite. The potency of this rasa is hot, hence increases body heat. Vata dosha gets normalized and traverses its normal path when amla rasa is consumed in required quantities. But its effect on other doshas is different. When this rasa is consumed in normal quantity it increases pitta , kapha and Rakta (blood).

What happens when sour tasting foods are consumed in excess?

  • When sour foods or foods with amla rasa are consumed in excess, it vitiates pitta, kapha and rakta (blood).
  • It drains the strength from tissues and causes giddiness.
  • Giddiness can cause temporary loss of vision.
  • Increased consumption of amla rasa can cause itching on skin and scalp.
  • It causes outbreaks of herpes.
  • Swelling, small boils may appear on skin surfaces.
  • Increased thirst and body temperature are other symptoms which appear when sour foods are consumed in excess

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Texts of ayurveda recommend numerous herbal preparations to increase libido of men. These preparations are known as Vajikarana preparations.  They help to increase quality and quantity of semen also. Herbs like Onion, tribulus terrestris  (gokshura), kapikacchu, ashwagandha etc, are used in these preparations .  Here are two such recipes which help as herbal remedy for erectile dysfunction

Recipe -1:
Sitaphalandu rasa – “Sita” means sugar . Phalandu is onion. The preparation made from Sugar and onion is “Sitaphalandu rasa”. Mix sugar, honey, milk, ghee and juice of honey in a container and stir it well. The preparation is ready to consume.  According to Yogaratnakara consumption of this helps to increase body strength and slows down aging process. Its effectiveness is so good that it makes even an aged man to get strength of a youngster.

Recipe – 2:
Gokshura Churna:-  Gokshura or Tribulus Terrestris is a known herbal aphrodisiac. Powder of gokshura has to be boiled in milk of goat. When it gets cooled honey has to be added before consumption. Consumption of this preparations increases strength and rectifies erectile dysfunction. Yogaratnakara recommends this recipe as a remedy for erectile dysfunction.

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Indigestion is a common ailment of digestive system.  Indigestion can lead to constipation, bloating of stomach, flatulence and loss of appetite. Texts of ayurveda recommend various herbal remedies for indigestion. Here are two very effective ayurvedic home remedies for indigestion. These can be prepared using ingredients available on kitchen shelf.

Clove tea:  Clove tea is a liquid remedy recommended in “Yogaratnakara”.

Ingredients:
1.    Clove  – 5  in number
2.    Haritaki  (harad )powder – 1 tea spoon
3.    Water – 200 ml
4.    Sendha namak (rock salt) – ¼  tea spoon

Method – Coarsely powder the cloves. Mix clove, Haritaki powder and water. Boil this till ¼ of water remains. Add sendha namak or Rock salt to this. Filter this to get a clear decoction of herbs. This tea helps in indigestion and also relieves constipation by loosening the stools.

Coriander and ginger tea:

Ingredients:
1.    Coriander seeds – coarsely powdered – 1 tea spoon
2.    Dry ginger powder – 1 tea spoon
3.    Water – 200 ml
4.    Lemon juice– ¼ tea spoon
5.    Sendha namak (rock salt) – ¼ tea spoon

Method: Mix all ingredients. Boil this till ¼ th of water remains. Add lemon juice and Rock salt after filtering the decoction.  This helps in indigestion which has occurred after the consumption of heavy foods. It also relieves stomach pain and increases appetite.

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Ayurveda acharyas eulogize the nutritional qualities of milk. The nutrient treasure of milk can be completely harnessed by using certain methods. Milk can prove harmful when used with some foods. Here is a list of ayurvedic dos and don’ts for drinking milk.

  1. When milk is consumed with sugar candy or sugar, it increases quality and quantity of semen. It enhances shukra dhatu and nourishes body.
  2. When jaggery is added to milk, the combination helps in conditions like urine retention. But this blend increases kapha and pitta.
  3. Milk should always be used after boiling.
  4. Never mix starch, salt, fermented beverages, green gram (moong) with milk. These combinations act as opposite foods and imbalance doshas.
  5. Milk can be mixed with mango pulp, raisins, honey, ghee, butter, long pepper, black pepper, ginger, jaggery, and sugar.
  6. As an exception, milk can be consumed with amla (Emblica Officinalis) and Sendha Namak or rock salt.
  7. Milk should never be used with fish, meat, radish and alcohol

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We all know that honey has innumerable medicinal properties. Now people use honey regularly as a substitute for sugar. Honey can be used externally on skin. According to principles of ayurveda honey has cleansing properties. It cleanses the body when consumed internally. This sweet nectar removes toxic plugs and rejuvenates body tissues.

The same action can be seen when it is used externally. It clears the clogged skin pores and rejuvenates skin. Its anti aging properties help skin to look younger. Wash face thoroughly with suitable face wash. Pat dry skin. Take 2 tea spoons of organic honey and apply on face.  Leave it for 15 minutes. Wash it off with luke warm water. Honey facials increases fairness and glow of skin. It helps to reduce wrinkles and other aging signs.

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Raisins health benefits

According to principles of ayurveda Vitis vinifera or grape has the body cooling properties. Hence its use in burning micturition  (burning sensation while passing urine) is very well appreciated. Soak 8-10 raisins 9dried grapes) overnight in a cup of water. Next day morning blend these with same water and consume in empty stomach. This helps in conditions like cystitis or “infection urinaire”.

Ayurveda acharyas eulogize grapes and raisins as “trishnaghna” or substances which quench thirst in conditions like fever and dosha imbalance. In these conditions we feel increased thirst which cannot be satiated by plain water. For this boil 20 – 25 raisins in a liter of water and cool it. Sip this water frequently and chew the boiled raisins in between.

Benefits of raisins during pregnancy are innumerable. Raisins are rich source of iron and fibers. Hence they help to fight anemia and constipation which usually occur during pregnancy.  They also help in menstrual disorders. Usually women face menstrual disorders like cramps and excessive bleeding. Iron deficiency anemia surfaces when there is increased menstrual bleeding. Consumption of raisins definitely helps in menstruation problems. For all the above mentioned conditions the following home remedy with dry grapes can be tried. Boil 20 – 25 dry grapes in a cup of water. Allow it to cool. Mash these grapes along with water and add a tea spoon of honey. Consume this twice daily. This home remedy with raisins helps in pregnancy related constipation.

The above mentioned remedy is useful in constipation experienced by normal persons. Raisins are known to increase shukra dhatu. Hence it can be used by men who suffer from constipation and erectile dysfunction.

People who are underweight can reap the benefits of this fruit. Raisins help to gain healthy weight. While explaining Brihmana therapy (weight gain therapy), ayurveda  acharyas recommend preparations of dry grapes or draksha. Drakshadi rasayana is one such preparation of raisins which helps in weight gain.

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