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 Weight Control 


Ayurvedic Remedies for Obesity

In Ayurveda underweight and overweight are signs that the vata, pitta, and kapha systems are out of balance. This can happen irrespective of how much or how little food you eat. Weight control problems happen when your food intake is not balanced by a proper digestion or metabolism.

Overweight or obesity is mostly found in people with predominantly kapha-type constitutions. This dosha is composed of water and earth. When it is imbalanced, the heavy characteristics of these elements become exaggerated.

However, obesity can be found in people with the other two doshas also. For example, people with pitta dosha are generally of medium build. But they can suffer from poor digestion if their digestive fire is too low because they have burned themselves out. As a result, food isn't processed properly, and that, in turn, can result in weight gain or obesity. 
For people with vata dosha the problem generally is that of underweight rather than overweight. They cannot properly absorb nutrients. However, they can become overweight when imbalanced if they attempt to eat sweet, oily foods in an attempt to calm their vata imbalance.

The Ayurvedic approach to achieving your ideal weight is based on taking a realistic look at your body type and what it can be, and then nourishing it back to natural health. It is about getting to know your body and becoming in tune with its rhythms.

In Ayurveda, you will permanently reset your mind-body's ability to regulate itself by calming the nervous system, enhancing your digestive fires, and regulating the storage of energy and fat.

In Ayurveda, there is no universal approach to solving problems. Strategies are designed for each person after a careful analysis of the condition of the person - mind, body, and the soul. The specific approach depends on the dosha of the person.

In general, the doctor will advise you to:

1. Follow a Daily Lifestyle Regimen and diet for your constitution.

2. Increase your intake of foods that enhance your digestive fire.

The foods that are especially beneficial are:
Bitter melons
Dark, bitter greens

Other Strategies to increase your digestion include:

  • Sip hot water throughout the day.
  • Fast one day a week on liquids. You may have fruit or vegetable juices, warm skim milk, light soups, teas, etc.
  • Drink ginger tea 2-3 times per day.
  • Chew a thin slice of fresh ginger root a few minutes before meals. Or grate a little ginger, mix with some lemon juice and salt, and eat a pinch or two.
  • Use herbs and spices that are primarily pungent (spicy), bitter, or astringent. Common useful spices include: cumin, ginger, mustard seed, cayenne, and black pepper. Use them generously in your cooking.
  • Use Ayurvedic herbs such as gotu kola, amalaki, and shilajit in powder or capsule form.
  • Exercise regularly according to your body type. 

3. Reconnect with your inner self and your present life.

How do I feel? 
What weight do I want to be? 
Am I hungry for something other than food? 
Am I using food to fill a void that is created by being unsatisfied emotionally or psychologically? 
Am I nourishing all my senses?

4. Eliminate ama

All the above measures for stimulating the digestive process are also effective for reducing ama, which by definition is a byproduct of inefficient or incomplete digestion. Ama tends to clog up the circulatory, lymph, and other channels of the body. People who are overweight almost always have an excess of ama in their bodies. Getting rid of the body of its ama is a primary strategy of Ayurvedic treatment.

According to Deepak Chopra, M.D., "It is highly impractical to treat any imbalance of the physiology when ama is present-and it is extremely difficult, perhaps impossible, to lose weight. This is why so many people who have limited their diets to the point of virtual starvation still have failed to accomplish their goals. Therefore it's essential to take practical steps to eliminate ama in order to lose weight and keep it off permanently. Ama is, quite simply, a key in the pathogenesis of obesity. After all, one of the principal qualities of ama is heaviness."

The following herbs and compounds are effective in reducing ama:

Ayurvedic herbal compounds trikatu (a combination of equal parts of black pepper, ginger, and pippali or Indian long pepper)
Tripbala (a combination of amalaki, bibbitaki, and haritaki)
Guggulu - Take this in combination with triphala.

5. Relaxation and oxygen

Relaxation and oxygen are two nutrients essential to achieving balance in your life. Practice yoga, meditation, and pranayama (breathing exercises) daily. (For more recommendations on relaxation, please visit holisticonline.com Stress Management Infocenter.

6. Exercise

Exercise is very important. Use a form that is most beneficial for your dosha.

For example,

  • Vata types need movement with a gentle pace, such as tai chi, many forms of yoga, and perhaps a light amount of dance aerobics and resistance training (weights).
  • Pitta types do best with challenging and vigorous hikes surrounded by green nature and blue skies, and competitive sports.
  • Kapha types require very vigorous activity, such as running, dancing, hiking, swimming, and triathlons.

Ayurvedic Herbal Remedy

To stimulate weight loss, Ayurvedic physicians generally prescribe a light diet, fasting, spicy herbs to stimulate digestion, mild laxatives, and tonic herbs such as guggul. 

Take a teaspoon of guggul two or three times a day mixed with ginger and honey.

Combine 1 part each chitrak (Plumbago zeylonica), kukti, and trikatu. Take 1/2 teaspoon of this herbal blend with a mouthful of warm water. Swish around your mouth, and swallow.

Take this herbal remedy once a day if you are less than 20 pounds overweight. Take twice a day if you are more than 20 pounds overweight.

This herbal remedy is recommended for everyone irrespective of their dosha. Supplement it with dosha-specific remedies given below.

Vata Therapies for Overweight

o Taste: Choose bitter, pungent, and astringent tastes, such as those found in the spring churna. Add sweet taste in the form of rice and dates. Add a little oil to your foods.

o Smell. Essential oils with sweet, warm aromas help calm vata and your nervous system, so choose jasmine, clove, rose, cinnamon, and orange scents for your aromatherapy.

o Sight. The color yellow-green is recommended.

o Hearing. Listen to the late-afternoon raga or music between 4 PM and 7 P.M.

o Touch: Get daily full-body oil massage (abhyanga). 
Combine 3 drops of rose essential oil with 2 teaspoons sesame or almond oil. Apply this to your wrist and to the back of the head where the skull meets the neck bones (occipital ridge).

Pitta Therapies for Overweight

o Taste: Emphasize bitter, pungent, and astringent tastes, such as those found in the spring churna. Eat plenty of bitter foods such as bitter melon, dark green leafy vegetables, bitter lettuces such as arugula, and tart apples.

o Smell. Use essential oils with sweet, cool aromas such as honeysuckle, mint, and jasmine scents for your aromatherapy.

o Sight. The color indigo blue is recommended.

o Hearing. Listen to the midmorning raga or music between the hours of 10 A.M. and 1 PM.

o Touch: Give yourself a 10- minute garshana (dry) massage every morning using a silk glove.

Kapha Therapies for Overweight

o Taste: Bitter, pungent, and astringent tastes are recommended. Ginger and spring-churna are especially recommended.

Recommended Drink: Mix the juice of 5 large slices of fresh pineapple with the juice of 2 slices of hot peppers, pimentos, or paprika.

Herbal remedy: Mix 1 part each turmeric, triphala, and trikatu with 2 parts honey; take 1/8 teaspoon once a day with 1/2 cup of warm water.

oSmell. Warm, spicy aromas help stimulate kapha to burn fat. Recommended essential oils: eucalyptus, pine, musk, and sage.

o Sight.- The color red is recommended to stimulate sluggish kapha.

o Hearing. Listen to the sunset raga or music between the hours of 7PM and 10 P.M.

o Touch: Get a daily dry massage (garshana) using a silk glove. It is very stimulating. Make an herbal paste of 1 part millet and 1/2 part each dashmoola and bala (Sida cordifolia) mixed with a little spring water. Rub this vigorously onto your skin wherever you have fatty deposits, then rinse.

See Also:

Herbs for Weight Management

Diet Therapy

More Information

Please visit  Ayurveda Infocenter in Holisticonline.com for more information about Ayurveda.

To learn more about herbs, please visit Herbal Medicine Infocenter in Holisticonline.com

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