Hello to all! I am Dr. Priyanka from Goa. A regular Ulite reader and admirer. I thought of making another good use of my little knowledge of Ayurveda by posting some interesting things as told by our ancient texts to enhance the beauty in truly Ayurvedic manner. So for this I want to say thanks a lot to our dear Rati. All this information I have referred and translated from Sanskrit into English from our one of the most important text called as ‘Charak Samhita’.
Apart from just drugs and plants there are several procedures or regimen which are told in the texts to be included in our daily life for enhancing one’s own natural beauty e.g. for keeping hairs strong, maintaining the health of the eyes, skin, etc. All the below procedures are told under one topic called ‘Swasthvritta’, meaning ‘the ways to keep health’. On the first look these seems to be time consuming and messy but believe me when once you start doing it you will never feel like leaving it due to the results, it shows. It’s same as doing exercise or yoga, we do it every day and know that it will help us in the long run in some way or the other. These all procedures are done mostly in the morning and can be followed not only by ladies but by the whole family. I have tried to give the explanation in brief. And there are lot many things remaining to be told. But for now, let us get familiar about it one by one.
1. Anjana: in simple words it means a thick honey like consistency medicinal substance to be applied in the eyes for maintaining their health and prevent diseases. There are two types of it, first is called as Souvir anajana i.e. it should be put daily in the morning. I am not talking about anything different but it’s our own lovely kajal or Surma that we apply every day. Second type of Anjana is the Ras anjana i.e. prepared with honey, berberis aristata and goat’s milk. This is a little strong type and is put in the eyes only during night time. This is available in the Ayurvedic Pharmacy or one can try putting one drop of pure honey in the eyes at night. This stings the eyes a bit and eyes start watering. Due to this any redness, impurities or foreign bodies are washed away and in just few minutes one realizes the eyes are cleaned up. Also it imparts good sound sleep. This Anjana is told to be used only for 5 to 8 nights continuously every month and not to be exceeded above that. Only that one should not see bright light or watch tv, computers after this is done. So one should put it just before going to sleep.
2. Dhumapaan: it is not exactly smoking as the name seems to be but it is somewhat similar to it. Don’t get scared… it involves a complete different principal. In this a cigarette is prepared with Ayurvedic medicinal plants like Priyangu, Keshar, Chandana, Dalchini, Elaychi, Khas, Padmaka, Mulethi, Jatamansi etc and many others… the dried powders of these plants are mixed in water and dried to get a shape of a cigar. This cigar is then burnt at one end and kept in the cigarette holder. The person is den told to inhale deeply the smoke coming out in one of the nostril and told to exhale it out from mouth and not from nose (it can harm the eyes if exhaled through nose). Likewise the smoke is taken twice from each nostril alternately. This method when done daily can prevent any type of headache, falling and graying of hairs, relieves stress, gives strength to eyes and can prevent all the diseases of head and neck.
3. Nasya: it involves administration of drops of medicated oil or ghee in the nose i.e. Nasika. For this one must sleep by keep the pillow under the neck so that the head is tilted backwards such that the nostrils became perpendicular to the ground surface. Then one has to take the warm medicated oil in a dropper and put two drops in each nostril. After this one must inhale the oil by continuously by sniffing for about 100 seconds till the oil reaches in the throat. This should be spitted out and not to be swallowed. The oil which is used for this purpose id Anu Taila which is readily available in any Ayurvedic pharmacy. This procedure when followed prevents untimely graying of hairs, hair fall and headache, also the facial muscle tone is maintained, the blood vessels, bones, ligaments of face are well maintained and they become strong, the voice quality is improved, the distribution of fat and muscles on the neck, and chest is uniform, also in the old age the senses remains intact.
4. Danta Dhavana: Its nothing but brushing. As teeth play important role in bestowing ones beauty, they were never neglected by Acharya Charaka too. Brushing of teeth is told to be done in morning and evening after food. For brushing a dried stem of trees like Arjuna, Madar, Asana, karanja, malati etc are told. The trees should be bitter, astringent or pungent to taste. Sweet tasting trees are told to be avoided (unlike today all the toothpastes are sweet), as it is not good for the teeth and can damage the teeth structure.
5. Jivha nirlekhana: it is scrapping of the tongue. It is to be done with a scrapper made out of gold, silver, copper brass or bronze. The scrapper should not be blunt and should be curved. By scrapping, the dirt from the throat is cleared and it gives clarity to the voice.
6. Sugandhi Dravya Dharana: keeping aromatic substance in the mouth. This checks the foul smell from mouth… after all one would never want people to run away when you open the mouth. The medicines like nutmeg, clove, lata kasturi, kankola, karpura, elaychi etc are used for this purpose.
7. Gandusha: the name seems funny but the procedure involves tightening of the facial muscles or is a form of facial exercise. In this one tablespoon of warm oil is kept in the mouth without swallowing. The oil is kept till the mouth is inflated with saliva at its maximum. And then only it is spitted out. With this, the facial muscles are toned and it prevents wrinkles, the blood vessels of face are strengthened, which imparts glow to the face.
8. Shiro Tarpana: oiling of head. Head is the home for all our senses and the governor of the whole body, so to pamper it oiling is the best. It is done by pouring a handful of warm oil on head and massaging slowly with fingers. It should be done daily if not then at least thrice a week for preventing hair loss, graying, to get the glow to the face and last but not at all the least to get good sound sleep. Even those who suffer from insomnia can try oiling the head every night and feel the difference.
9. Karna Poorana: Filling the ears with warm oil. For this the head is tilted sideways and 8 to 10 drops of warm medicated oil is poured in the ear. It is kept for approximately 5 minutes and head is tilted the opposite side to remove the oil. Same procedure is repeated for the other ear. This is an effective way to strengthen the ligaments and bones of the ear. It also is a stress reliever. It prevents neck and jaw stiffness. You can try this with coconut oil too. Promise you will just love the feeling especially when oil comes out after tilting the head.
10. Snehan: massaging the body with warm medicated oil. Its winter time and most of us must be trying out this. Apart from relaxing the mind and body it also boosts the beauty of skin, prevents skin dryness, increased the physical strength, skin becomes soft and toned, prevents wrinkles at early age. Soon after this one can have bath to wash off the excess oil.
11. Snan: Sponging and bath. Sponging the body with wet cloth relieves stress, body odour, itching and skin rashes (may be it functions as a scrub). Having bath daily has been told as giving long life (due to cleanliness the disease frequency is less and thus increases the life), also the mind is rejuvenated and body is pampered.
12. Anulepana: it is applying scents or putting flowers in hairs for its fragrance. This gives a sense of freshness and confidence. The mind remains pleasant, clears away dullness and tiredness.
13. Ratna dharana: Putting ornaments and accessories. It gives good fortune, enhances life, increases beauty, takes away negative thoughts, sorrows, mind feels pleasant.
14. Kesha kartana: Regularly cutting of hairs. After all, hairs are the dead cells of our body and is considered as a waste product out of the metabolism in our body. So it is important that we maintain them by timely cutting and grooming them up. This is told to be a sign of purity and prosperity, it increases the want of the person among family and friends, keeps one tidy and beautiful.
15. Wearing shoes: the Sanskrit word was a bit difficult and so could not include it here. One should never ever walk with bare legs . As we all know it prevents cracking of feet, saves them from injury, it is hygienic and also helps in maintaining health of eyes.
16. Chatra Dharana: holding an umbrella while going out of the house. It is a form of protection to the body against wind, sun, dirt, water etc. it is also told to be lucky.
With this we can say that, the concept of our culture is not limited just to food and clothing but also includes these ways to healthy living. All of the above procedures are obviously not new to us but some of them might appear so. It’s very surprising to note that, we Indians included all these procedures in our daily life a very long before the western world was just learning to speak. Today some of these are forgotten in the winds of time. Mainly because they were considered as time consuming and messy. These basics Indian lifestyle are now seen only in the spas with a modern look to them and with heavy commercialization.