Swarna Prashana: Ayurvedic “Vaccination”?

Swarna Prashana (also known as Swarna Bindu Prashana or Suvarnaprashana) is an Ayurvedic procedure involving the oral administration of Swarna Bhasma (gold ash) mixed with honey and ghee (often fortified with Brahmi, Shankupushpi, Vacha, etc.) to children, intended to potentiate the immunity and psychological and physical development for children from birth up to the age of sixteen years.

First referred to in the Kashyapa Samhita (c. 650 BCE), it has since ancient times been practiced as a means of promoting an optimal level of health, intellectual and physical development, psychological balance and enhanced immunity in young children. Swarna Prashana is considered to be one of sixteen Samskaras (life-event related sacraments, e.g., naming the child, first cutting of the hair, first solid food, ear-piercing etc.) mentioned in a variety of ancient texts. According to Acharya Kashyapa (Ka. Su. 18/4-5), the benefits of Swarna Prashana is utilized thus:

"Suwarna prashanam hyetamedagni balavardhanam ayushyam Mangalam punyam vrushyam varnyam grahapaham."
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Ayurvedic Treatment of Rotator Cuff Injuries

Rotator cuff repair surgeries are one of the most common procedures performed by orthopedic surgeons, with over 250,000 performed annually in the United States alone.

Despite its prevalence, there is concern regarding the ability of the rotator cuff to heal back to the insertion site on the humerus following repair. Clinical studies have shown radiographic failures at the repair site at 2 years in anywhere from 11% to 95% of patients, depending on the size and chronicity of the tear, presence of fatty infiltration, and the age and general health status of the patient.

Although patients with re-tears or failed healing may have pain relief, these studies show that they have inferior functional results when compared with patients with healed repairs. An understanding of the histology and biology that occur during the healing process may lead to therapies that can improve the healing rate and improve the functional results of patients following repair. It is known that rotator cuff healing occurs in 3 stages: inflammation, repair, and remodeling.
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Herb of the Season: Rujamari (Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis)

The Ancients were well acquainted with the shrub, which had a reputation for strengthening the memory. On this account it became the emblem of fidelity for lovers. It holds a special position among herbs from the symbolism attached to it. In the West, not only was it used for ornamentation at weddings, but also at funerals, for decking churches and banqueting halls at festivals, as incense in religious ceremonies, and in magical spells. At weddings, it was entwined in the wreath worn by the bride, being first dipped into scented water. The herb, aerial parts of rosemary and the roots are the most commonly used parts for its medicinal and commercial applications.

Research conducted at the University of California’s San Diego School of Medicine on participants in the age group 60 to 90 years or older have demonstrated that people who use this herb regularly have had virtually no cataracts, very few bone fractures, excellent heart health and significantly low rates of Alzheimer’s disease. The older residents who use the herb have exceptionally good microcirculation.

Ayurveda makes use of Rosemary essential oil for improving memory, Halitosis, headaches, stomach upset, insect bites, skin problems like eczema and skin infections. Ayurveda also uses Rosemary essential oil for aromatherapy treatments. When used as an essential oil, Rosemary is excellent tonic for skin and hair, augments memory, fights depression, fear and fatigue, and on the whole, is a ‘must-have’ essential oil in the medicine cabinet. Rosemary essential oil can help address a wide variety of health issues including dental problems, respiratory disorders, inflammation and pain, urinary problems, gastrointestinal troubles and weak immune system.
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Book Review: Doctoring Traditions: Ayurveda, Small Technologies & Braided Sciences

Doctoring Traditions: Ayurveda, Small Technologies & Braided Sciences
by Projit Bihari Mukharji
University of Chicago Press, Chicago (2016)

Like many of the traditional medicines of South Asia, Ayurvedic practice transformed dramatically in the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With Doctoring Tradition, Projit Bihari Mukharji offers a close look at that recasting, upending the widely held yet little-examined belief that it was the result of the introduction of Western anatomical knowledge and cadaveric dissection.

Rather, Mukharji reveals, what instigated those changes were a number of small technologies that were introduced in the period by Ayurvedic physicians, men who were simultaneously Victorian gentlemen and members of a particular Bengali caste. The introduction of these devices, including thermometers, watches, and microscopes, Mukharji shows, ultimately led to a dramatic reimagining of the body. By the 1930s, there emerged a new Ayurvedic body that was marked as distinct from a biomedical body. Despite the protestations of difference, this new Ayurvedic body was largely compatible with it. The more irreconcilable elements of the old Ayurvedic body were then rendered therapeutically indefensible and impossible to imagine in practice. The new Ayurvedic medicine was the product not of an embrace of Western approaches, but of a creative attempt to develop a viable alternative to the Western tradition by braiding together elements drawn from internally diverse traditions of the West and the East.
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Herb of the Season: Chandraprabha

Chandraprabha (also called Chandraprabha Gulika and Chandraprabha Vati) is an Ayurvedic classical medicine used for the treatment of a very wide variety of diseases of kidneys, bladder, urinary tract, pancreas, bones, joints, and thyroid gland. It is also recommended in the management of diabetes, male and female reproductive issues and mental disorders.

Chandraprabha is beneficial in difficulty in urination, kidney stones, frequent urination, urinary incontinence, benign prostatic hyperplasia, male infertility, erectile dysfunction, diabetes, dysmenorrhea, oligomenorrhea, amenorrhea, polycystic ovarian disease, anxiety, the effects of mental stress, and depression.

Chandraprabha is used as total health tonic and supplement for reducing general debility and increasing physical strength. The effects are due to the presence of shilajit and loha bhasma. It reduces fatigue and revitalizes the body. Its effects usually appear most expeditiously when it is taken with cow’s milk. Chandraprabha increases the excretion of harmful toxins like creatinine, urea and uric acid from the body. It corrects the natural functions of kidney and helps to eliminate the excess uric acid. However, it may not have effect on uric acid production, but it can reduce uric acid level by stimulating excretion of uric acid through kidneys. Chandraprabha is also useful in low backache, spinal arthritis and knee osteoarthritis. It has potent anti-inflammatory and mild analgesic characteristics. It reduces pain and inflammation in joint disorders. The name Chandraprabha (moon-glow) is given due to the effects of Chandra - the moon – as this medicine is said to be as calming and effective as the aura of moon.
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Ayurveda & the Treatment of Candida

Candida albicans yeast is a naturally-occurring intestinal inhabitant. Ordinarily held in check in a properly balanced intestinal biosphere, Candida infestation (Candidiasis) becomes a concern only when the intestinal population of beneficial bacteria are eclipsed by an overgrowth of this tenacious yeast. When present in a flourishing overabundance, Candida can enter the bloodstream via the enteric cycle and give rise to systemic yeast infection symptoms: poor appetite, persistent coughing, fatigue, insomnia, dizziness, difficulty in focusing and concentrating, tinnitus, decreased immunity, an assortment of body aches and digestive anomalies.

The most common manifestation of Candida overgrowth is vulvovaginitis, a vaginal yeast infection. Roughly 80 percent of women will experience a vaginal yeast infection at some point over their lifetimes, with at least half of these individuals suffering persistent and recurrent infections. They are most common in women aged 18 to 35.
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Ayurveda: Benefits of Drinking from a Copper Vessel

In Ayurveda, drinking water that has been cleansed and ionized in a copper vessel is a common practice. In India, this transformed, therapeutic water taken from a copper cup is called Tamra jal. Copperized water is a natural antioxidant that helps balance the three doshas of the body (kapha, vata and pitta). The trace amount of copper in a Tamra jal is safe and healthful, even when added to other normal dietary sources of copper.

To illustrate this point, have you ever wondered why after drinking multiple glasses of water a day, you still feel thirsty and not energized?

In order to make drinking water safe, water treatment plants use basic filtration systems to remove most contaminants. These systems make water safe for drinking but they also destroy water’s vital life energy and drastically shift its natural pH. By the time your drinking water has been treated, traveled great distances through water pipes and gets into your glass, it has lost much of its vitality, tasting “dead”. As a result, the water we drink is not easily absorbed by our cells, leaving us wanting more. The Tamra™ recharges the vitality of your drinking water. It ionizes, energizes, and balances the pH, making the water “alive” again. This energized water is better absorbed by your cells and therefore enhances hydration.
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Ayurveda in Treating Cancer: 6 Herbs That Can Help Reduce Risks

With the recent report of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) planning to come together with the All India Institute of Ayurveda and the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences to delve deeper into the probability of treating cancer with Ayurvedic drugs, it brings a sense of hope to many who have been turning to Ayurveda for an alternative treatment. Ayurveda, as we all know, consists of many remedies that have been successfully treating various health problems of people for centuries. While many claim that it has the power to treat cancer as well, medical experts disagree over the lack of scientific research. However, various health institutions are including Ayurveda in their treatment, along with radiotherapy and chemotherapy to reduce the side effects. A pilot study done by AIIMS also found that Ayurvedic drugs significantly reduced side effects in breast cancer patents.

Ayurveda originated in India more than 5000 years ago but modern science and allopathy now believe in its principle and more and more research is being directed towards ancient herbs and natural therapies. A lot of health centers and universities are integrating Ayurveda into their programs to combat the ever-increasing load of non-communicable diseases. All medical practitioners believe that prevention is better than cure and Ayurveda provides the path to a healthy lifestyle. Ayurveda sees health as a perfect balance between mind, body and consciousness. To achieve this it promotes a daily regimen of exercise, emotional balance and a healthy diet. This in itself is a great way to prevent the onset of many life style related diseases.
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Book Review: Healing Mantras: Using Sound Affirmations or Personal Power, Creativity & Healing

Healing Mantras: Using Sound Affirmations or Personal Power, Creativity & Healing
by Thomas Ashley-Farrand
Wellspring/Ballantine (1999)

Thomas Ashley-Farrand, Namadeva Acharya, (1940-2010) was one of the Western world's foremost authorities on the application of Sanskrit Mantra to life's problems. In December 2008 and June 2009, he and his wife received empowerments from Satguru Rama Mata, their lineage holder, to be gurus. In 1968, Ashley-Farrand began having experiences of a mystical nature, which over the next few years became more intense and profound. He began to read the spiritual literature of the East, where he found eloquent explanations of his specific experiences in the Upanishads. In 1972, he received Kriya initiation from the Self Realization Fellowship. Mr. Ashley-Farrand began practicing extensive mantra-based spiritual disciplines in 1973, when he became a student of Sadguru Sant Keshavadas and Satguru Rama Mata. He has published several books on mantram yoga and has lectured widely.
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ATRIAL FIBRILLATION: Cautions on a Common Part of Aging

Every year around 75,000 Americans learn that they have atrial fibrillation (popularly known as AFib), the most common type of arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm. While the abnormal heart rhythm itself isn't generally serious, the abnormal blood flow and strain to the heart it may cause can result in serious medical consequences. And having AFib doubles a person's risk of death. Over the past decade, both the incidence and prevalence of atrial fibrillation has markedly increased and, with it, the total number of patients potentially requiring long-term care. In 2009, the estimated number of atrial fibrillation diagnoses in the United States was 2.6 million with an equal distribution between men and women and well over three quarters over age 65. AFib can be either sporadic, in which case it is called paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, or chronic.

Causes of A-fib

What causes A-fib? When the heart beats, the atria (the two upper chambers of the heart) and the ventricles (the two lower chambers) alternately contract and relax in a rhythm to pump blood to your lungs and the rest of the body. These contractions initiate in a bundle of cells in the right atrium called the sinoatrial (SA) node, which then spreads electrical impulses through the atrial walls.
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