Anti Aging with Ayurveda
Stop Aging with Ayurveda!
Do you know that the popular term, geriatrics, is derived from the Greek, geri [old age] and latrics [care]?
Geriatrics is the branch of medicine related to elderly care and treatment. It is called vridhopacharana, in ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of holistic health and well-being. An introduction to the wholesome therapy which you can use to stop aging!
By Rajgopal Nidamboor
If you noticed, the word, geriatrics, seems to be closely allied to the Sanskrit word, geeryadi, which corresponds to the expression, degeneration.
Ayurveda classifies the human body into seven constituents, or Sapthadhathus:
- Rasa [related to lymph].
- Raktha [blood].
- Mamsa [flesh].
- Medas [fat].
- Asthi [bone].
- Majja [marrow].
- Sukla [sperm, or fertility].
Ayurveda believes that these seven constituents [dhathus] get weakened due to our body’s prolonged structural changes, as we age.
Agreed that the ability to boost the capacity of dhathus may not be possible as we grow old, an inevitable part of life, but ayurveda implies that it can be cared for and revitalized.
Origin of Anti-Aging Therapy
It is believed that the ancient sage Maharishi Chyavana first propounded the idea of anti-aging therapy. When the Maharshi was bogged down by old age, and low energy levels, and married a young lady, he started taking chyavanaprasha, an astonishing tonic and anti-aging medicine [rasayana]. He soon found himself on the road to complete recovery. Not only that. The rasayana also helped him to rediscover his youthful vitality and vigour.
Gooseberry [Phyllaanthus emblica, or amla] is the main constituent of chyavanaprasha. The herb, thanks to its anti-aging attributes, holds a pre-eminent place in the treatment of dementia, or loss of memory medhakshaya which afflicts the elderly in all climes.
Gooseberry is a useful medicine for old age diseases, thanks to its memory-boosting properties. It can also protect the eyes and improve vision.
When taken with honey, it makes a refreshing combination, and improves energy levels in all age groups.
Rasayana: Nectar of Life
Rasayana is a special ayurvedic treatment plan. It has two modules kutipravesika and vatatapika. The first ascribes itself to confining the patient in a small shelter with only one tiny door. It also calls for small perforations in place of windows. The length of stay for the patient is subject to the nature of any given illness and its severity.
During the treatment, the patient is evaluated and given suitable rasayana, following which there is total restoration of health and, freedom from illness.
In the vatatapika form of treatment, the patient can take suitable rasayana without rigid limitations.
Whatever the aim of either rasayana treatment, the objective, however, is the same to support the patient in healing from the disease and promote youthful longevity.
There are many ingredients that are used for rasayana therapy. The most celebrated is the rasayana prepared from bhallathaka [Semi-carpusanacardium]. Otherwise a poisonous nut, bhallathaka can produce unpleasant and dangerous side-effects when not effectively purified for use. In its purified form, the substance is, of course, nothing short of nectar!
A decoction is prepared from the nut with a specific quantity of ghee [clarified butter] added. This mix is briskly stirred with adequate quantities of sugar and milk, and kept in an air-tight container for 7-8 days. The resultant formula is called Amrita Bhallathaka Grytha. Amazingly yummy, the rasayana is renowned to slow down the process of aging.
In addition, rasayana preparations such as sankupushpi [Butterfly Pea or Clitoria ternatea], brahmi [Gratiola monnieria] and mandukaparni [Indian Pennywort, or Hydrocotyle asiatica], have also been found to be equally effective. When mixed with honey, the rasayanas also promote sleep naturally and improve memory.
The rasayanas may ideally be taken on the advice/supervision of an ayurvedic physician/therapist.
In like manner, the application of abhayanga [massage], by way of gingilly [til] oil, all over the body, is said to protect the eye and stop greying of hair, fatigue, muscle spasm, joint pains, and so on.
This is not all. There are other forms of rasayana substances such as nasyam, vasti, and sirovasti, which have curative benefits for a host of ailments. To derive the best results, it would be most useful to speak to a physician/therapist specialized in ayurveda.
Last, but not the least. Ayurveda believes that adherence to truth and discipline, or following a life free from resentment, anger, or hatred, and excessive ostentation, are absolutely essential for optimal health, longevity, and also to feel and look young in both mind and body!