What knowing your DOSHA might help you understand.

An Introduction to Your Mind-Body Type

Could learning a little Ayurvedic tradition guide you to a better life? Is it possible that a pearl of ancient wisdom has enough merit to make a difference in our modern world lifestyle? Perhaps learning HOW we interact with the elements might hold the key.

The 3 Doshas Elements and Attributes

The Ayurvedic Institute explains this way: “We know that fire is hot and that water and earth are cold. It is these ELEMENTS that act upon us. The way we each experience these elements is unique to each of us.” These earth elements are labeled attributes. They are air, water, fire, earth, and ether. They are described as “states of matter.”

Simply put, the quality of the aforementioned states of matter.” is experienced differently by each your Dosha or type. These three main types are called Kapha, Pitta, and Vata. These mind-body types or Doshas possess unique emotional as well as physical characteristics.

Ancient Wisdom

This 5-6,000- year-old practice of Doshas is still practiced in India but is becoming a tool for people today who want to gain knowledge and insight into HOW they should be living their lives. There is much to learn from age-old practices. From the foods that should be eaten for your best energy to how to obtain your highest level of personal enlightenment. All of these might be clues that lie in your mind-body type.

The wisdom lies in knowing what elements a substance is made of. It is in this way that we can understand the effect it produces. The effects ARE the attributes. The message is that we can optimize our health by knowing how we respond to these elements.


WHAT DOES YOUR DOSHA REVEAL ABOUT YOUR PERSONALITY?

VATA

The Vata dosha governs your heartbeat, breathing and all movement which would include bodily functions. The elements represented are air and ether. In Hindu philosophy, Prana or life force comes into the body with each breath, the food we eat, and from the earth and ethers. Deep breathing is important for everyone but especially important for the Vata type. This air and ether are related to as ‘wind.”

When a Vata type is in balance they are creative, adaptive and full of vitality. Energy bursts are not uncommon. Movement helps them to stay in balance and tend to be slim and slender. There is also an appreciation and affinity for warmer climates. This type really does not like the cold. Vatas frequently have cold hands and feet as well as dryer hair or skin. You might also notice the Vata dosha when agitated, is much like a hurricane. A good example of the air/wind that it represents.

When not in balance the Vata type can easily be anxious and fearful. To stay in balance the Vata type must breathe, minimize stress and find something that fuels their creativity. Movement and change are part of the nature of your type. An imbalanced Vata dosha may find themselves with digestive challenges or weight loss. You will find an ULTIMATE GUIDE for Vata here.

PITTA

Pitta represents the elements of fire and water. They have a fiery nature. in both body and mind. If you add fire to water is easy to understand that the Pitta type means “that which cooks.”

Pitta controls metabolism, body temperature, nutrition, and digestion. A Pitta type also typically has an athletic nature with a sturdy frame and medium build. The governing organs of the Pitta body are the small intestine, stomach, liver, spleen, pancreas, blood, eyes, and sweat.  The Pitta dosha nature is quite intense. Most Pitta types are sound sleepers and have a strong sex drive.

Speaking of digestion, you might find a Pitta gravitating toward hot spicy foods akin to their nature. This can lead to an imbalance and too much heat. Cooling foods are a fast fix. You see many Pitta types as entrepreneurs. And don’t expect a Pitta to give it to you gently. They will eagerly speak their mind. These traits when imbalanced can cause them to be a little overbearing or demanding.

Mostly, you will find the Pitta dosha to have great intellect and a buoyant personality. If they are not balanced, they will make your life miserable. You will be showered by bitterness and rage.

Learn more here about Pitta.

KAPHA

The elements of earth and water describe the Kapha dosha. Kapha is the representation of everything that is dense in the body such as bones, teeth, and muscles. Kapha means “that which sticks” and makes sense considering that our bones and other connective tissue are what hold us together.

Kapha is typically a very grounding and nurturing soul if you find them in balance. Love and compassion are the strong suits of Kapha. They like the lighter side of life and enjoy frequent relaxation breaks. You will find this much more opposite than the other two doshas which like to go, go, go.

Kapha is the dosha that is most affected by digestion issues if they are not careful with what they eat. Especially too much salt. They don’t really DO stress. But when not balanced it can become a bit stagnant or even lazy. When this happens it is similar to a swollen, boggy swamp. Sluggishness and depression occur. Kapha types like to have a routine to follow and that routine does not need to include excitement. Kaphas are ok with that.

To learn more about which dosha you might be (or a mix of ), you can take the quiz below.


Dosha Quiz link HERE.

Chart courtesy of FABIO De GIOVANNI

Make Over Your Medicine Cabinet

Top 7 Natural Anti-inflammatory Herbs

Sandra Miller/Nutritional Therapist

Lots of folks are turning to natural remedies for their families today because of their safety and success rate. If you have wanted to “makeover” your medicine cabinet, we can start the process with some natural pain remedies. Take note that some of these remedies work on not only pain and inflammation but may have other benefits to health.

The Inflammatory Process Explained.

Our bodies have to stay on the defense and keep alert for anything that looks to attack our system. Daily assaults in our environment force our bodies have to fight the “fires” of inflammation always. After all, inflammation is a natural process, and we would not survive without it.

Visualize white blood cells rushing to the scene of an injury or bug bite. The area will immediately swell, get warm and turn red. A process that indicates things are working correctly. It is no different for sprains, strains, or headaches.

We have to fight off free radicals every day that steal vital electrons from our cells, and without antioxidants, we could not replace that lost electron. The best way to describe an antioxidant is that they are “electron donors.”

Excess inflammation can set in for the simple reason that we don’t have enough electrons to replace what is lost. It is like trying to fight a house fire with a spray bottle. A diet high in anti-inflammatory foods helps to accomplish this goal.

The Inflammatory Cascade.

Two of the main enzymes that are involved in the inflammatory process are called COX-1 and COX-2. These enzymes convert arachidonic acid to prostaglandin, resulting in pain and inflammation. Pain relievers’ work on the COX-2 enzyme to short circuit the inflammation process.

When it comes to something like osteoarthritis, just dampening down the inflammation does not FIX the problem. It only makes it easier to live with. Occasionally a particular food is causing inflammation, and your joints may be the target.

Below is a quote from About.com on osteoarthritis

http://osteoarthritis.about.com/od/osteoarthritismedications/a/cyclooxygenase.htm

Today our pain relievers are nothing short of miraculous, but miracles don’t come cheap. NSAID use causes many health challenges.

Modern solutions, modern problems.

Did you know that there are more hospitalizations due to NSAID bleeding that all American war casualties put together?

http://www.healthsentinel.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2668:more-hospitalized-from-nsaid-bleeding-than-all-american-war-casualties&catid=5:original&Itemid=24

NSAIDs are “nephrotoxic” which means toxic to your kidneys.  Studies show links to acute deterioration of renal function, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. (See References) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15847359. They also harm our gut lining, which affects our entire body. If you are on an NSAID for more than a day or two a month, your health depends on finding a better solution.

Natural remedies are safe alternatives for most people, and the side effects may be few and far between if at all.

Some of these natural remedies even further enhance our health. You can start stocking your new natural remedy cabinet with a few herbs and essential oils. With just a few simple items, you will replace much of your needs. Simple solutions for reducing pain, inflammation — handy remedies for common symptoms for the entire family.

Try these age old solutions that really work!

1) Cat’s Claw (Uncaria Tomentosa)

Also known as “Una de Gato,” This herb was used in Peruvian medicine for digestive ailments and wound care. Cat’s Claw has come to be one of the best-selling herbs in the USA for its anti-inflammatory properties. It has been the focus of studies and research since the 1970s since its healing power has been well sought out.

Cat’s Claw grows all over South America. According to Dr. Ray Sahelian:

“Cats Claw has anti-inflammatory benefits, and it is a remarkably potent inhibitor of TNF alpha production.” The primary mechanism for the cat’s claw anti-inflammatory actions appears to be the effect on TNF or tumor necrosis factor. It is not clear how it compares to NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen.” http://raysahelian.com/catsclaw.html

What we do know for sure is that it contains potent antioxidant properties. So by also donating that electron, in turn, helps put out the fire of inflammation. Now that’s bang for your buck!

2) Boswellia (boswellia serrata)

3) Proteolytic Enzymes

Proteo what? No worries. Proteo means “an enzyme that breaks down protein.” You probably have heard that papaya enzyme or “papain” helps with digestion. Bromelain is another derived from pineapple. What I bet you didn’t know is that these enzymes work powerfully toward reducing inflammation.

4) Licoice for heartburn

This traditional herbal remedy has an ancient history used worldwide. Modern research has shown it to have effects upon, digestion, the endocrine system, and the liver. Constituents of Glycyrrhizin have been shown to metabolize into molecules that have a similar structure to the adrenal cortex hormones.

Some holistic doctors use this when someone has low cortisol. Licorice has shown not only anti-inflammatory benefits but also anti-hepatotoxic benefits meaning beneficial to the liver.

 Licorice appears to aid the liver in its ability to get rid of toxins. Licorice is a favorite in allopathic and homeopathic medicine as a treatment for peptic ulceration, gastritis, and ulcers. There are even benefits for the relief of abdominal colic.

The form that most used for digestive purposes is called DGL. This form removes the glycyrrhizin, the component that can raise blood pressure.

If you have blood pressure issues, DGL (or de-glycyrrhizinated licorice) would be a better form for you should you decide to try licorice. Here is a look at licorice and inflammation from the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2841253/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25918809 and another showing a positive effect of all substances mentioned in this article.

Here is a quote from the article:

“We concluded that neem and licorice are more effective than ibuprofen in suppressing LPS-induced inflammation in C2C12 cells.” They also proved even more effective than boswellia!

4) Neem

Azadirachta indica, commonly known as neem; is heavily used in Ayurveda and homeopathy. It is a very structurally complex compound, and more than 140 active constituents have been documented form all parts of the plant.

It has even shown to be an immune modulator. Many natural toothpaste remedies include Neem for its anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-infectious properties.

5) Ginger

From body aches to nausea and digestive ails, Ginger’s natural anti-inflammatory properties have been relied upon for thousands of years by the Chinese to cure pain. Ginger helps aid symptoms of nausea, arthritis, headaches, menstrual cramps, and muscle soreness. Ginger makes a great addition to teas and beverages and has a savory but pleasant taste.

5) Guggul

The resin of the guggul tree is a detoxifying herb used in Ayurveda. Guggul resin has been found to have anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering effects. Many find guggul helpful for fibromyalgia and rheumatism. Guggul can be found in raw gums and resins but also powder, capsules, and tablets.

Note: Guggul has blood-thinning properties and therefore, should not be used together with other medications that have blood-thinning properties.

6) White Willow Bark (Salix alba)

Willow bark acts a lot like aspirin, so it does not surprise its used for pain, including headache muscle pain, menstrual cramps and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis, gout. Like aspirin, willow bark may bring down a fever, and even has “appetite-suppressing effects.” It does work a bit slower when dampening inflammation, but has longer lasting effect and with less stomach upset than is noticed with aspirin.

Back in the days of Hippocrates, people would be advised to chew on the bark to help alleviate pain and fever. The active ingredient in willow bark is “salicin,” which converts to salicylic acid in the body.

.Salicin is a very similar compound to that in aspirin. You might have heard that Beethoven ingested large amounts of salicin before his death. When performing his autopsy, it was clear his kidneys showed damage due to excessive salicin.

Remember that natural compounds are what most commercial drugs are made with>  You must always take care to use only for limited amounts of time. Use the same caution as their pharmaceutical counterparts. It should not be taken by those who are allergic to aspirin or on blood thinners.

 7) Essential Oil of Thyme

Scientists have proven that certain essential oils work in similar ways to inhibit the COX- 2enzyme and the latest to show promise is thyme oil. Carvacrol is the active constituent for this herb. Now scientists have finally proven that the anti-inflammatory properties of six essential oils work in similar ways that compare to NSAIDS against the COX2 enzyme.

Other oils of note were rose, bergamot, eucalyptus, and fennel. Among the six essential oils studied, thyme’s anti-inflammatory action is found to be the most potent. Its oil is capable of reducing levels of COX-2 enzymes by as much as 75 percent. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triterpenoid_saponin

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