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Prevention of Aging with Ayurveda
|by Dr. V. V. Lakshmiprasuna|
Aging is an inevitable change for all living organisms. Most people go panic about getting old. It's not the aging, but the consequences of aging which troubles them. By following the principles of ayurveda it is possible to slow down the process of aging, restore physical and mental strength and prevent the consequences of aging up to certain extent. In ayurveda old age is called jara. It is of two types.
1. Akala jara- premature aging
Akala Jara- Premature Aging
Akalajara or premature aging or early onset of aging comes to those who don't follow the proper diet and behavior regimen. The main reasons for this are1(cha.chi.1/2/3)
Amla, Lavana, Katu rasa ati sevana (More intake of Sour, salt, pungent, foods), Laghu, Sushka saka and mamsa (Dry meat, vegetables and very light food), More intake of gingely, rice varieties, More intake of sprouts, Incompatible diet, Unsuitable diet, Excessive dry and alkali food, Heavy foods, Untimely eating, Irregular food habits
Sleeping in the day time, Excessive indulgence in sex, Excessive indulgence in alcohol, Excessive exercise, Extreme Fear, anxiety, anger, depression, lust, physical exertion
With these improper diet and behavior makes people prone to early aging. Excessive intake of katurasa (hot and spicy) food induces excessive influx of calcium ions in neurons which damage them. Laghu ruksha ahara means the food deficient in micro nutrients like magnesium, zinc etc.
Excessive exercise induces damage to mitochondria and DNA of muscle cells. Timely sleeping in the night time bestows health, longevity, happiness, strength, etc. night time is awaking in the night time cause the vata to get vitiated and induces dryness to the body. Untimely sleeping causes lot of ill-effects on the body; it may even take away the longevity and health (caraka sutrasthana21/38-40).
We all know how mental faculties like fear, anxiety, and depression affect the body and cause many psychosomatic disorders. These are all the precipitating factors for early aging.
The word rasayana contains two words rasa and ayana. Rasa means the body fluid which is responsible for the nourishment of the entire body. Ayana means to channelize in a proper way/ to bestow/. This rasa circulates in the entire body, penetrates into minute channels and nourishes the body. This rasa should be of good quality should be in adequate quantity, it should be properly circulated to provide the nourishment the cells need and it enables healthy long life. This rasa circulates in the body and transforms into dhatus. If it is deficient qualitatively and quantitatively it hampers all the dhatus leading to various diseases.
Rasayana is defined as
Caraka defined rasayana as a way to attain excellent rasadi dhatu and it imparts healthy long life, good memory and other benefits2.
Chakrapani defined that if rasayana taken by healthy persons it bestows strength to the ojus and dhatus of the body.3
Gangadhararay in his commentary jalpakalpataru defined that the therapy which prevents jara (old age itself is disease) as rasayana4.
Sushruta defined rasayana as a measure that prolongs longevity, improves mental faculties, develops positive health, and provides resistance and immunity against diseases5. Dalhana defined that rasayana is a measure to yield excellent pharmacokinetics and it restores the youthful healthy long life6.
Sarangadhara defined that the therapy which prevents from aging and disease is rasayana7.
The benefits of rasayana (rejuvenation) therapy are:
the promotion of memory and intelligence; immunity against disease and decay; the preservation of youth, luster, complexion and voice; the maintenance of optimum strength of the body and sense; it confers the capacity or the achievement of what is said; and the command of the respect and regard of people and the promotion of bodily glow2.
So to prevent the old age and to attain healthy long life, rasayana therapy is the best choice. To prevent the akala jara achara rasayana is the best rasayana therapy.
Achara rasayana is a mode of living behavior and conduct. It envisages a code of conduct to lead stress free life which in turn fetches longevity. The persons who wish to live longer and stay away from diseases should follow these principles. (Ca.Chi.1/1/7)
Speaking pleasant and truthful words always, Maintaining mental peace, Should have control over the mind and mental faculties, Should be Courageous, Reciting the mahamantras and should be interested in purification therapies, Tapahsampannata, Should always associate with donations and righteous things, Kindness towards all includes animals like cow etc., Respectful and friendly attitude towards the elders, teachers, parents, learned ones and god, Knowledge of yukti (rational thinking), Awareness of time and place, Belief in god., Healthy habits and thoughts, Philanthropy, Regular use of ghee and milk.
Things to be avoided
Anger, violence and jealousy, Indulgence in liquor and sex, Fatigue due to excessive strain, Roughness in words, Cruel and sinful acts.
Kalaja Jara- Timely Aging
Timely aging means which comes naturally to every one. Human body is called shareeera, has been defined as "jiryate anena iti shareera" means which gets decayed and decomposed every moment.
So the change is inevitable. But the process of aging can be slowed down by following rasayana therapy. The onset and manifestation of each decade can be postponed by using the rasayana therapy.
Selection of Rasayana according to age
Sarangadhara mentioned a very beautiful quotation about aging. With each passing decade childhood, growth, luster/beauty, intellect, luster of skin, Vision, sexual ability, physical ability, thinking ability, and locomotion starts to loss from the body (Saragadhara samhita purva khanda). A monograph prepared by K.N.Udupa and R.H.Singh shows the guidelines for selecting drug for specific decade.
In the last decades drugs are not effective.
Rasayana drugs as per the constitution9 (su.chi.27/6 Dalhana)
Every individual is bestowed with specific prakruti (constitution) from his birth time itself. According to their prakruti, Vata persons are prone to suffer from dry rough skin, etc; pitta persons are prone to suffer from premature graying of hair, wrinkles, etc; kapha persons are prone to suffer from weight gain, inability to loss weight etc; so regular intake of this ghee, milk, honey makes them less prone to those disorders. Regular intake of these rasayanas a/c to their constitution prevents the diseases which are more prone to them.
Other rasayana regimens
- by following brahmacharya sukra dhatu which is the essence of all dhatus gets restored in the body, and that is greatest strength to the body. (ca.su.25/44.)
Regular oleation- (ca.su.14) with regular oleation aging can be delayed/ slowed. (manda jara)
Regular use of ghee, milk, amalaki, prevents all complications of old age.
Some important rasayanas:
1. Medhya rasaynas: these promote intellect. (ca.ci.1/3/33,34)
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11/06/2014 07:58 AM