Diseases like cold, cough, psoriasis, dry skin, arthritis, winter depression, viral fever, etc surface during winter or Hemanta Ritu. Following Hemanta ritucharya or seasonal routine helps to boost immunity and keep these diseases under control.
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Hemanta Ritucharya or Seasonal Regimen
Our body is susceptible to these diseases when our immunity is low. But ayurveda acharyas have framed certain diet and lifestyles methods which boost immunity in winter season. These essentially boost body immunity if followed regularly. Thus you can keep winter disorders, at bay by following this regimen. Texts of ayurveda call seasonal regimens as “Ritucharya”.
Hemant ritu Diet
During winter the digestion power increases. According to ayurveda this happens due to increase in fire (agni) component of body. In Hemanta ritu the agni will be strong. Hence living beings experience good strength. This strong agni or digestive power has to be fed well. If not it will digest body tissues and lowers strength and immunity. This is explained as follows in ayurveda
Since nights are long in this ritu persons feel very hungry. Hence sumptuous and nourishing foods have to be taken. Include whole wheat bread, fresh corn, black gram, milk, citrus fruits, amla, (emblica officinalis or amalaki) vegetable oils, Sendha namak or Rock salt and sugar cane products in your daily diet. Dishes which are sweet, sour and salty have to be savoured in this season. These foods are high in calories and help to release sufficient energy to maintain body temperature. They also help to supply adequate nutrients required to increase the immunity level of body. Sour fruits like amla or Indian gooseberry provide ample of Vitamin C which help to fight common cold and cough.
Always drink warm water till the winter season ends. This helps to maintain body temperature at normal level. A little drop in body temperature can invite virus attack. Warm water aids easy digestion of food. Patients suffering from arthritis and joint pain are more benefited by consumption of warm water.
Skin and Hair Care During Hemanta Ritu
Massage your body with warm herbal oil take bath in warm water. Acharyas recommend regular body massage or “abhyanaga” during this season. Use Ksheerabala oil (Sesame oil infused with herbs like Bala or Sida cordifolia ) or Pure Sesame oil for body massage. Warm the oil before applying. This keeps the skin soft and prevents drying. Dry skin, psoriasis etc can be prevented by regularly massaging the skin with oil.
Head massage with oil is known as “murdha taila”. This is highly recommended in hemanta ritu. Applying oil on hair prevents drying of hair and scalp. Murdha taila is an effective ayurvedic remedy for hair loss.
Use warm water for bathing and washing purposes. Instead of harsh soap use herbal powders as bath scrub . Herbs which have astringent taste (kashaya rasa) should be used. This ayurvedic body scrub can be made at home using simple ingredients.
Cover yourself with warm clothes from head to toe. Take care to cover head, ear and feet. Use warm woolen or cotton clothes. Keep the house warm and moist with room heaters and humidifiers. This protects skin and also helps to maintain body temperature.
Lifestyles for Hemant ritu
Exercise regularly in this season. This eases joint movement and also increases body temperature. Body massage and Good exercises are best ayurvedic remedy for insomnia and these induce good night sleep.
Keep your home well lit. Well lit house help to reduce seasonal disorders like winter depression. Practice Yoga and Meditation to keep the stress levels down. Increased stress lowers body immunity.
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