Ayurveda For Parents
BECOMING A PARENT is both an important and a difficult task. According to sastra, the parents' duty to the child begins at conception. The consciousness the parents have at conception greatly influences the mentality of the child. The child should be wanted, valued, and loved. This usually occurs when the marriage is loving and stable. If either parent is nervous, dep¬ressed, unsatisfied, or irritable, this is not good for bringing up children. The mother's role is one of endless patience, faith, and love, and her husband must be supportive. Mutual love and understanding in the service of Krishna is the best basis for a family. Our children should be physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy. The health of a baby begins before conception with the samskaras recommended in sastra. Vaishnava culture should be practiced in all spheres of the baby's life, so that his or her life is completely spiritualized.
Ayurveda gives practical advice for conception, pregnancy, and child-raising. The act of impregnation and conception (garbha-dhana-samskara) can be performed in service to Krishna once a month. Srila Prabhupada advised chanting fifty rounds of the Hare Krishna maha-mantm beforehand. The days favorable for garbhadhana-samskara are: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, and 15 days after the end of the menstruation cycle (the uneven numbers for a girl, and the even for a boy). According to the lunar cal¬endar it is unfavorable to conceive a child during these times: the first ninety-six hours of the woman's monthly period; the full moon (purnima) or new moon (amavasia); the 8th (ashta-mi), 11th (ekadashi), 13th (traiodashi), or 14th (chaturdasi) days of the luanr month; fasting days (vrata); or when one's spouse is weak or sick. Unsuitable places are: temples, sacred places (tirthas), crematoriums, the guru's ashram, the home of another Vaishnava, under a sacred tree, the cowshed (goshala), in the forest, and in water. The best time is between 21 and 24 p.m., avoiding midnight. The most appropriate place is Your own home and bed. Women are recommended to fast or follow a light diet (without grains, fat, or heavy food), and men ihould have a feast (rich in ghee, sweets, and so on).
During pregnancy the recommended diet is a mild and nour-shing one, which calms both vata and pitta. Avoid sour, salty, lot, spicy, fried, dry, pungent, too sweet, and difficult-to-digest bod. Salt should be taken only in small quantities. Milk and lomemade milk products (such as ghee and paneer) are recommended. Avoid food that upsets vata and causes constipation, such as, dried fruit, salad, spinach, potatoes, and bitter food.
Avoid working with computers, watching television, and tak-ng hot baths. Avoid strong herbs (e.g. laxatives), artificial itamins, aloe vera (both before pregnancy or when you are Iready pregnant), and unpleasant sounds, smells, and sights, ension and stress are dangerous during pregnancy. Rest, ranquility, relaxation, abstaining from heavy physical work nd heavy exercise, less travel, and less staying in the sun are all scommended. Taking early-morning walks lowers pitta and alms the body and mind. Sexual contact and strong negative motions are unfavorable. They can seriously affect the child in the womb and bring troubles later in life.
A woman who is pregnant is very sensitive. The father should be especially kind, attentive, and patient. The emotions of the expectant mother increase as the pregnancy goes n and she can react strongly even to small things. Violence, even in slight forms, directed against a pregnant woman, is jnsidered a great sin. We should treat an expectant woman with respect and love. She should feel the support of her hus-jnd, family, and society.
In the morning, before having a warm bath, the mother should ive a relaxing, softening oil massage (whole body) with slight-warmed oil. To calm vata use sesame oil; pitta, coconut oil; ipha, maize oil. Fresh cow's milk is essential for a pregnant aman and the baby. It is most important during the first month •cause this is the time when the embryo's head forms. If it uses too much mucus it can be diluted with the same volume water as milk, and then boiled with a pinch of turmeric, gin-r, cinnamon, or cardamom.
To help combat drowsiness and vomiting the mother can take warm milk (with a few drops of rose water), coconut milk, and early, light breakfast. An empty stomach may be the cause of morning sickness. It is good to eat small meals six times daily. Do not eat too much. During pregnancy, the mother needs extra calcium. To get this, soak ten raw almonds in water overnight and in the morning peel and eat them. Almonds have abundant protein and its absence, as well as the absence of calcium, may be a cause of morning sickness. If the mother frequently vomits, then she should drink more water to avoid dehydration. A good cure for this is the juice of a lemon, 2 tea¬spoons of unrefined sugar, a pinch of salt, and a liter of water. One cup of this drink can be taken every two hours. During the eighth month avoid taking honey, especially with milk.
To avoid urinating at night the mother may take a handful of white, ground sesame seeds, with a teaspoon of molasses or other unrefined sugar. This will calm vata. Do not take any drinks less than two hours before going to bed. Exclude drinks such as black and green tea, coffee, Coca-cola, and hot chocolate.
If the mother suffers from swelling then she can take cumin, coriander, or fennel tea two or three times a day. Mix equal quantities of these spices and cook them (1 teaspoon of the mixture for 1 cup hot water). The swelling may also be caused by a protein deficiency or a lack of ferrum or folic acid. In this case she should look for qualified medical help and advice about her diet and medicine. During pregnancy, and especially in the ninth month, more hearing (smvanam) and chanting (kirtanam) of the Lord's holy names is recommended. Reading Srimad Bhagavatam aloud is especially recommended, so that the child will also hear it. All activities performed with devotion will be especially favorable for the child's spiritual life. It is not good for the mother to be lazy, because the child will be slow and idle as a result.
Traditionally, the best food to give a newborn is ghee. The father would repeat the 700 verses of the Bhagavad-gita and put the middle finger of his right hand in a pot of ghee. When the baby was cleaned after birth, the ghee was immediately given by the father to the child by putting a little on the baby's tongue.
The easiest way to create the child's healthy eating habits is for the parents to practice good eating habits. Yoga-asanas prop¬erly done are also helpful for children and can help the child maintain its health
Children between two and three tend to be obstinate. If a par¬ent threatens or hurts them physically it will block the love and trust in the relationship. Punishment through early childhood (up to age five) is counter-productive, because the child can¬not understand why they are being punished. They should be trained and taught but not punished. When the child is older and is punished, he or she will accept it and understand it only if there is already an established loving relationship with the parents.
When children enter puberty, discipline is best encouraged by establishing a friendly relationship. This is the most difficult period for the child. Be encouraging in such a way that the child becomes eager to be self-disciplined.
Ayurveda can help parents and children make the most of their lives. Hare Krishna!
Medicinal Oils (Tayla):
In comparison with the other methods of treatment, in Ayurveda oils are more often used. They are mainly applied for vata-disbalance. In fact the high vata causes almost all of the diseases, that’s why the oil therapy is a method for treatment of most ones. For example, the nervous system, the bones and the deeply situated tissues may be treated mainly by external use of oils: ghi, (siddha grita), sesame oil, coco-nut oil, mustered oil, jojoba oil, etc. The oil can be applied through massage of the skin or as eye or ear ointments (for smearing wounds and ulcers); for oil enemas (basti), vaginal tampon, oiling of the mucous membrane of the nose (nasya), as well as internally by adding different herbs, depending on the disease and the constitution. When vata constitution is present, different herbs (marsh air, sweet root, clove, camphor, saffron, sandal, turmeric, asafetida, jasmine, ginger, mint, etc.) can be prepared in sesame oil; this can be used externally for different complaints; oil washing of the head (saro-dhara) is also recommended – it helps central and periphery nervous system troubles as well as diabetes. When pitta-constitution is present the upper herbs can be prepared in coco-nut oil. Ghi is thoroughly recommended for internal use for all constitutions. It can also be used externally, together with different herbs and medicinal substances, especially when kept for a long time (purana grita) in silver or copper container. Internally ghi may be used as anupana (recepting environment), sometimes the ghi itself may have a separate anupana (milk, water, etc.).
There exist two oil groups, the so called heavy oils or carrier-oils and the fragrant (ethereal) oils, which are used in small quantities, added to the main heavy oils. The carrier-oils are heavy oils (sesame, coco-nut, etc). They are used in big quantities, and they help the ethereal oils penetrate deeply in the tissues, stimulating their effectiveness. The ethereal oils are not suitable for direct use on the mucous membrane, close to the eyes or internally. They can be smeared directly, but in small quantities, on the places of the chakras of the body. The aroma of the fragrant oils itself heals – the thin, sharp, high and awakening scents are suitable for kapha (cause kapha needs refreshment, clarification and raising up). The sweet, flower scents are suitable for vata and pitta (the most suitable for pita is the sandal oil).
The most suitable carrier-oil for vata is the sesame oil. It is hot, heavy and has good oiling characteristics. That’s why it can normalize vata (for hair, skin, nails, bones, nerves and mind). It penetrates very deeply, beyond the seven layers of the skin, and can reach all inner tissues. Almond and olive oil are also good for vata, but when serious complaints are present, the sesame oil is thoroughly recommended. The ethereal oils (camphor, cinnamon, musk, sandal, rose and jasmine) are good for vata, used independently or in combination with the main bearer.
The most suitable carrier-oil for external use for pitta is the coco-nut oil. It calms, cools and suppresses the hotness. The sandal oil is also suitable, it has the same characteristics. Ethereal oils good for pita: sandal, gardenia, jasmine, rose, iris, lotus, lemon grass, lavender and mint.
For high level of kapha it’s often better to stop the usage of oil at all. But if it is necessary for massage, you can use mustard, jojoba and sun-flower oil. They are hot, light, stimulating and suppress mucus. The ethereal oils good for kapha are: cedar, pine, camphor, muscus, pachuli, cinnamon and holy oil. Although the kaphas prefer the sweet aromas, but it’s better for them to use sharp and fresh scents.
Medicinal oils (siddha tayla) can be used both internally and externally. They are obtained through cooking herbs in the oils themselves. Ghi, sesame, coco-nut, sunflower-seed and caster oil are the most often used. The main method to obtain siddha taila is the boiling at gentle fire of 1 part of herbs, 4 parts of oil and 16 parts of water for 4-8 hours. The whole water should evaporate and a drop of water put in the oil should burst. You need 60g herbs, 1 cup oil and 4 cup of water to obtain 1 cup of medicinal oil.
There is also another method – we prepare the infusion, mix it with equal quantities of oil and the mixture boils until the whole water evaporates. This method is suitable when there should not be particles of herbs in the oil (for eye ointments, for instance). Then the infusion should be filtered repeatedly.
There is a method, according to which herbs are added to oil without heat treatment (that’s for susceptible to heating plants, such as jasmine, camphor, mint, etc.). After the preparation the composite should be left to steep for 24-48 hours and should be filtered before use.
Unsusceptible to heating plants (such as paprika, clove and mustard), are recommended to boil in the oil at gentle fire fore a few hours.
To be able to prepare medicinal oils, we should know the herbs favorable for the different organs. This will help us to orientate in our choice. Here are some examples showing the influence of plants on the body:
Brain – marsh air, basil, brahmi
Thyroid gland – trikatu (three spices –ginger, pippali, black pepper)
Lungs – cow-parsnip, ginger, pippali
Heart – lotus seeds, saffron
Stomach – cardamom, cumin, fennel, pepper
Gall-bladder – turmeric, golden seal
Back-stomach gland – pomegranate, turmeric
Female reproductive system – aloe vera, raspberry, shatavri
Male reproductive system – ashvaganda, bala
Small intestines – aloe vera, cumin
Large intestine – triphala, marsh grass
Liver – aloe vera, chamomile, manjishta
Kidneys – coriander, gokshura
Lymph system – mirth, ehinacea
Female breast – fennel, shatavari (asparagus can also be used), dandelion
1. Ghi with triphala (Calms pitta; it is recommended for conjunctivitis, poor eyesight, eye troubles, constipation and other settling processes in the organism. Triphala infusion should be prepared: 1 part triphala boils with 8 parts water until 3/4 of the water evaporates; equal parts of the infusion and ghi are to be mixed; then water is added (the quantity equal to the amount of the composite); all this boils until the whole water evaporates; after that it’s filtrated; 1-2 tea spoons twice a day, anupana – milk. Some of the next recipes can be prepared in the same way.
2. Ghi with roots of marsh air (It is used internally, 1-2 tea spoons twice daily, anupana – milk or water. Externally it can be smeared on the mucous membrane of the nose when there’s a cold, sinusitis, headache, convulsion and epilepsy. When there’s pain and strain in the muscles, massage can be made – it refreshes and stimulates the blood circulation. The air has an influence on the higher brain functions and tissues, it helps the enlargement of the consciousness and its clarification. It’s suitable for narcotic dependent and hallucinating persons. For babies raw marsh air root (through which a warmed up gold strand is stretched) is mixed with the mother’s milk – 1/2 -1 tea spoon per day.
3. Ghi with sweet root (Recommended for internal use when having diabetes, ulcer, gastritis, bronchitis, colds, asthma and gall-bladder troubles).
4. Ghi or any other oil with turmeric (Recommended for external use when having inflammations, pimples, etc.).
5.Clove oil (Recommended as analgesic resource when having toothache or gum trouble). Boil 5 cloves in 1 soup spoon of sesame oil; they are left in the oil for some hours; it’s warmed up before use; this oil raises pitta and can be used to control vata and kapha. When having a cough or secretion-blocked bronchial tubes inhalations can be applied (a few drops of the oil is added in boiling water).