By Life Positive March 2001 As the human body gets riddled with the side-effects of allopathy, natural therapies as integrated medicines are coming of age in New Age. Life Positive presents a smorgasbord of healthy bites culled from its archives Tibetan Medicine – Bodhisattvas of Balance In his Health Through Balance, D.R. Yeshi Donden, chief physician to the Dalai Lama, writes: ‘The root of disease is ignorance. Due to its force we are caught in cyclic existence. From obscuration, phlegm disorders arise. From desire, all types of wind disorders arise. Hatred is like fire, from it, bile and blood-bile disorders arise.’ These words underscore the spiritual base of Tibetan medicine, which is an intricate balancing act of body, mind and spirit to maintain equilibrium. According to the Buddha, propounder of the four basic tantras or treatises of Tibetan medicine, there are 84,000 afflictive emotions, such as desire, hatred, ignorance and obscuration. These emotions impel karma and create potencies in the mind that may ripen later as specific diseases. Going by this doctrine, Tibetan medicine lists 404 basic disorders, divided in groups of four. The first group comprises 101 disorders that result from the karma of previous lifetimes. These are usually fatal unless treated immediately through medication, confession of past sins and virtue. The second group is of 101 disorders of this lifetime, which have their causes in early life and manifest in the same lifetime. The third group has 101 disorders resulting from spirit activities. Tibetan medicine is based on the Buddhist belief that there are numerous unseen forces that can affect and even harm a person. To cure such ailments, the spirit needs to be exorcised or, if it has gone out of the body, cajoled into coming back. The final group comprises 101 superficial disorders, so-called because they can be removed by simply following proper diet and behavior. The study of this 2,500-year-old science is arduous. In the first year, the student memorizes the Root Tantra, which outlines the basic philosophy of Tibetan medicine with visual aids, called the Illustrated Trees of Medicine. Next comes the Explanatory Tantra, which covers everything from embryology to causes of various disorders. In the third year, the Last Tantra is studied which deals with diagnosis and the two most important precepts of Tibetan medicine—pulse reading and urine analysis. During the fourth year, the student spends time observing doctors treat patients and learns various medical commentaries including the Oral Tradition Tantra. Tibetan medicine utilizes three levels of potency: actual medicinal ingredients, power of mantras and power of stabilization. First, the physician gathers medicinal ingredients, puts them in a begging bowl or imagines they are in one, takes refuge in the Buddha, the Doctrine and the Spiritual Community and then generates an intention to become enlightened. Every medicine is prepared after completing specific rituals. In these rituals, the lama or a physician imagines him or the medicine to be a deity and thus activates it. At a time when alternative therapies are increasingly gaining respect, Tibetan medicine may finally achieve a long-due recognition as a panacea for body, mind and spirit. Raw Food – Nature’s Kitchen By Arundhati Mishra The new mantra doing the rounds is that any cooked food is avoidable. ‘In cooked food,’ says Jehangir Palkivala, a yoga therapist, ‘life forces are taken away from the food. Raw food can be consumed easily without exerting pressure on our organs.’ Dr Nand Kishore Sharma, a naturopath, feels that most diseases are caused by bad food habits. ‘Unnatural food generates toxins that gradually poison the body,’ he says. From his ‘Fireless Kitchen‘, Dr Sharma gives patients regenerative or natural food for degenerative diseases. This, he claims, has cured many. ‘I have even seen people grow new teeth and hair at 60 and 70 years of age,’ he says. Urvashi Rawal is a case in point. A homeopath from Mumbai, she suddenly lost her voice in 1988. During this time she met Rishi Prabhakar, who introduced her to his Siddha Samadhi Yoga (SSY) and put her on a complete raw food diet. ‘I suffered from severe diarrhea for the first few days. In the process, natural food flushed out all the toxins from my body,’ Rawal (now Ma Urvashi) recalls. Within six months, she regained her voice. Raw food is usually defined as that which is not cooked, applied to fire or fragmented. Uday Chotai, a naturo-hygienist from Mumbai, adds: ‘According to naturopathy, there are two types of food—sun-cooked and uncooked. Fruits that ripen in the sun fall into the category of sun-cooked food. Uncooked or raw food have not ripened at all.’ Both types have highpranic value. In their Prakritik Vyanjan, Dr Nand Kishore and Savita Sharma affirm that nature is a most effective resource manager. During summer, we get juicy fruits and vegetables, which have a cooling effect. In winter, there are dry fruits and dates. The authors discourage having non-seasonal fruits and vegetables since they have low nutrition value. Moreover, the nutrients that the body gets from seasonal fruits and vegetables are assimilated and kept in store for coming seasons. Colour Therapy-Healthy Hues By Ambica Gulati In ancient Egypt, temples had healing rooms where the sun dispersed the seven colors of the rainbow. Today, this ancient healing technique is making a popular comeback under the quasi-scientific label of chromo therapy. But how do colors work their healing power? ‘The seven colors of the rainbow are associated with the seven chakras of our body,’ explains Dr M.C. Verma, a chromotherapist. ‘Each chakra in turn is related to a specific gland. So proper use of color helps heal ailments.’ Ayurveda also recognizes the close relation that the five elements of the body—ether, fire, air, water and earth—have with the world of colors: ether is associated with light blue, water with deep blue, air with green, fire with red and earth with yellow. Any disturbance in these elements leads to an imbalance in the physical, mental and spiritual body that can be corrected by boosting the color concerned. To do this, naturopaths harness the elements in colored bottles. ‘We fill a colored glass bottle three-fourth with water or oil and keep it in the sunlight, exposing it to the ether,’ says Dr Verma. ‘Air fills up the little space left in the bottle. Thus, all the elements are collected in the bottle.’ What would life be without colors? Superfoods – A mouthful of Manna By Anupama Bhattacharya Super health foods act as food supplements and provide all the necessary nutrients to keep you fit. SpirulinaA highly nutritious form of algae, spirulina has been lauded by Japanese scientists as a panacea for health problems. Believed to be one of the first forms of life on earth, spirulina is a veritable powerhouse of nutrition. Research proves that 1 kg of spirulina is equivalent to 1,000 kg of assorted vegetables. It also has six times more protein than eggs and 20 times more than milk. It is the richest source of iron and beta-carotene, as well as vitamin B12 and has every essential amino acid besides enzymes and minerals. Spirulina helps prevent heart problems, diabetes and anemia. This wonder algae also helps overcome stress and improves stamina and immunity.Branded spirulina is now easily available. Ginseng A group of closely related herbs that grow in China, Siberia, Korea and North America, ginseng is the single most widely used herbal food supplement. Chinese medicine attributes to it healing properties and also an ability to prolong life. Ginseng is a shrub with a large root system. Though it is not known to cure any specific diseases and many western scientists still attribute its effectiveness to the power of suggestion, it is considered a complete food supplement. Considered a yang (male) plant, ginseng is said to have aphrodisiac properties. The root has been processed into a variety of palatable forms such as capsules and tea. Wheat grassWith chlorophyll, beta carotene, more than 80 minerals, 18 amino acids and many vitamins, research has shown that 1 kg of wheat grass matches the nutritional value of 22 kg of ordinary garden vegetables. Wheat grass is generally consumed as juice, which is a complete food with regenerative and protective qualities. Its regular use improves perception and increases calmness. It aids in digestion, prevents graying of hair, skin diseases, asthma, arthritis and diabetes. Because of its blood purifying qualities, wheat grass is used in the treatment of leukemia. Alfalfa The Herbalist Almanac of the Indiana Botanic Gardens, USA, says of alfalfa: ‘We believe no other single plant in the vegetable kingdom contains so many health giving properties as are contained in alfalfa—the richest land grown source of nutritional trace minerals.’ Alfalfa is rich in potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, chlorine and silicon-all perfectly balanced. It also contains vitamins A, B, D, E and G, proteins and some important amino acids without any fat content. Alfalfa is also highly alkaline which works wonders for problems like fatigue and tension. It strengthens heart muscles, relieves arthritis, lowers blood pressure and provides complete nutrition. Sprouted alfalfa is now available in health stores. Tofu Also known as bean curd or soy cheese, tofu is low in cholesterol and calories, and high in protein and vitamins. It is a complete food supplement that can be consumed without any worry of side-effects. It is prepared by soaking soy beans overnight and then putting the contents through a specially designed machine.
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