NEH Ayurveda Presentation
NEH Ayurveda Presentation
Dr. Laina Karthikeyan
Associate Professor ( Biological
New York City College of Technology
Brooklyn , NY
Practice of ayurveda dates back to 5000
Officially recognized by the World Health
Organization in 1976
Ayurveda gives a comprehensive knowledge
about spiritual, mental and social health
Ayurveda can be used in conjunction with
Western Allopathic Medicine to help a
person recover faster after being treated with
drugs or surgery
This ancient healing system has three main
1) Healing illness
2) Prevention of disease
In essence, Ayurveda explains the laws of
nature that cause health or disease. The
main factors that cause poor health (also
described as imbalance) are
1) Poor digestion
2) Weak immune systems
HOW DOES AYURVEDA
Ayurveda’s emphasis is on prevention of
Each person has a particular pattern of
energy-an individual combination of
physical, mental and emotional
characteristics which comprises their own
Tridhosa Theory:The basic view of
Ayurveda is that all life are combinations of
three energy-elements: air (called Vayu or
Vata), fire (called Pitta), and water (called
When these elements are balanced, one is
Illness is defined as an imbalance of these
elements; all disorders are excesses of one or
THE THREE DOSHAS
Vata or Vayu meaning wind, is composed of
the elements air and space. Vata is the
subtle energy of movement
Pitta, or bile, is composed of the elements
fire and water and is the energy of digestion
Kapha meaning phlegm, is composed of the
elements, earth and water. Kapha is the
energy that forms the body’s structure
WHAT MAKES AYURVEDA SO
This spiritual science offers numerous
It looks at people as individuals, not as a
It heals the root-cause of an illness, not
merely treating the symptoms
Only natural therapies are offered
No side effects develop from the therapies
Therapies are inexpensive and effective
PEOPLE AND ELEMENTS
A person's constitution (dosha) is
predominantly one or more of these
Each element relates to certain body types,
foods and health concerns
By nature, whatever a person's constitution
is, they have a tendency for it to become
The subtle energy associated with Movement
(SPACE AND AIR)
Governs breathing, pulsation of heart, and all
movements including in the cytoplasm and cell
In Balance – Creative, Enthusiastic and Adaptable
Out of Balance – Fearful, Anxious
Principle of Stability (WATER AND EARTH)
Kapha supplies the water for all bodily parts and
Physically Strong - Good endurance, Muscular
In Balance -Steady, Consistent, Loyal, Loving and
Out of Balance- Greed and Envy
Principle of Transformation (FIRE AND
Governs digestion, absorption, metabolism and
Physical appearance- Medium Built
In Balance – Bright, Good decision maker, Sharp
Out of Balance – Angry, Judgemental And Jealous
BALANCING VATA DOSHA
Oil massage. Avoid dry and raw foods. Cook with oil or add ghee. Use
butter, cheese, warm milk, avocado, coconut milk, banana, chicken,
eggs, shrimp, fish.
Avoid windy weather, autumn season, high altitude, running, jumping,
flying, and staying up late. Do not consume light foods, fasting, and
alcohol. Use heavy bedding and clothing. Daytime sleep can be good.
Nutmeg milk or garlic milk at night. Valerian, skullcap, and vidhari
are herbs that ground vata.
Avoid exposure to cold food, weather, season, or room. Keep warm
and avoid air conditioning. No cold drinks, coffee, smoking, ice cream
or frozen yoghurt. Eat warm, spicy food. Good spices are ginger, black
pepper, cumin, mustard seeds.
No rough, raw foods. Do not sleep or sit on a rough surface. No black
beans, pinto beans, aduki beans, chick peas. Avoid hard, rough
behavior. Be gentle, loving, and kind.
Avoid psychedelic drugs and alcohol. Be aware of subtle emotions.
Avoid erratic or excessive physical or mental activities.
Do not use repeated enemas, colonics, or drastic
purgatives. Avoid obsessive cleaning, such as repeated
baths or hand washing. Do not smoke or drink alcohol.
Astringent Avoid unripe or astringent foods, such as apple, pear,
Ashvagandha, Shatavari, Bala, Vidhari, or Dashamula as main herb
base (5 parts). Add with Aloe vera gel for irregular menstruation.
Jatamamsi for anxiety. Tagar for sound sleep. Licorice for low blood
pressure. Gokshura or Gokshuradi Guggulu for kidneys-bladder. Sat
Isabgol psyllium husk for constipation if Triphala doesn’t work.
Slippery elm and licorice for dry cough. Ginkgo or Brahmi for brain,
Yogaraj Guggulu or Maha Yogaraj Guggulu tablets - 3 to 6 tabs, 2 to 3
x per day.
BALANCING PITTA DOSHA
Avoid activities in the middle of the day. No prolonged sunbathing. No
hot, spicy food, especially cayenne pepper and mustard. Avoid hot
drinks, citrus fruit, anger, hate, envy, jealousy and aggressive behavior.
Keep cool, calm and collected - “Chill out.”
No alcohol, tobacco, marijuana.
Avoid prolonged fasting and only eating light meals. Heavy exercise or
intense competitive sports and bright light should also be avoided.
No hydrophilic (water retentive) foods, such as yogurt, salt, apricots,
Avoid fatty fried food, sesame oil, peanut butter, sharp or fatty or salty
cheeses, and fatty yogurt.
Do not become aggressive or be highly competitive. Be watchful of these
activities in your daily life and calm these tendencies.
Sweat of pitta have a strong smell. Avoid fermented foods and strong
perfumes. Use mild, natural odors such as sandalwood, jasmine, chamomile.
Avoid sour fruits, such as grapefruit, lemons (lime is OK), green grapes,
tamarind. No sour or acidic food, such as vinegar, tamarind sauce, storebought yogurt or more than 1000mg per day of vitamin C. Eat sweet, bitter,
and astringent tastes.
No spicy food, such as salsa, chilis, cayenne pepper, and mustard.
Shatavari or Guduchi as main herb base (5 parts). Kaishor Guggulu for skin
problems and-or burny- hot-red arthritis, Tikta or Kutki with Aloe vera gel for
liver, Brahmi - Shankhapushpi for anger, Shankha bhasma or Kama dudha for
acid belly, Arjuna - Passion flower for heart, Sitopaladi for lungs with yellow
mucous, Musta for pain, Punarnava for liver-lungs, Bilva or Sat Isabgol
psyllium husk for diarrhea or loose stool, Ashoka for heavy menstrual flow or
menorrhagia, Neem - Turmeric - Manjishta - Bakuchi for skin problems.
Echinacea or Mahasudarshan for immunity, Ginkgo or Brahmi for brain,
Skullcap for sound sleep, Amalaki, Tikta ghrita (bitter ghee), Pomegranate
syrup. Virechana (mild purgation using Amalaki, Bhumyamalaki or Triphala)
is useful for many pitta disorders.
BALANCING KAPHA DOSHA
No meat, such as beef, pork, and other dark meats. Avoid wheat,
pasta, pancakes, cheese, yogurt, and fatty food. Ideally avoid meat,
dairy and eggs all together - be Vegan. Emotions such as depression,
greed, and hopelessness are heavy and should be avoided.
Avoid a slow, sedentary lifestyle and daytime sleeping. Depressed, slow,
melancholy mood further increases slow quality. Keep active and do
No meat, frozen food, dairy products. Use spicy food, brahmi +
pippali with honey.
Avoid cold drinks and cold, frozen food. Don’t become emotionally
cold by suppressing emotions – let go. Eat warm, spicy food and hot
drinks. Honey and hot water is good, especially with lemon. Pippali,
cumin, black pepper, ginger, garam masala.
Avoid fatty, fried food and cheese, yoghurt, and fatty meat. Drink warm
water, from a pure copper container if possible, with honey.
Avoid smooth or overcooked food. Eat raw vegetables and millet, corn,
barley, dry oats, and buckwheat. Drink hot water with honey and cider
Avoid meat, cheese, and other dense foods. Daytime sleeping
should be avoided as it increases kapha molecules.
Do not sleep on a soft bed or water bed. Sleep on a hard mattress.
Avoid a sedentary lifestyle and excessive sleep. No sleeping during
daytime. Don’t use remote controls and do a lot of physical
Minimize your liquid intake and the use of hydrophilic substances
such as salt and yoghurt. Dry massage is good.
Avoid cheese, yoghurt, and other heavy, sticky foods.
Avoid refined sugar and sweets.
Avoid table salt and excessive use of salt.
Punarnava, Chitrak, Kutki for fatty liver, Pippali for lungs, Talisadi
for lungs with white mucous, Trikatu, Gokshura for kidneys,
Chandraprabha for weight and diabetes, Shilajit for kidneysprostate, Gokshuradi Guggulu for kidneys-bladder, Punarnavadi
Guggulu for edema, Arjuna for the heart, Echinacea or
WHAT THERAPIES DOES
AYURVEDA OFFER ?
Using a holistic approach, Ayurveda offers
therapies for each of the five senses because
different people learn better through different
Taste: Herbs and nutrition
Touch: Massage (abhyanga), Yoga, exercise
Sight: Color therapy
Hearing: Music therapy and spiritual therapies like
mantra meditation and chanting
Knowing yourself as an energy field
Tool to quiet the mind
All diseases begin because we unconsciously
make bad choices, eg. smoking, overeating
and wrong diet
Over a period of time this manifests in
Key is to cultivate consciousness
(awareness) that is to quiet the mind, so we
can evaluate what we’re doing
Being present in the moment
Health means balance. Each constitution has a natural
tendency to become imbalanced or excessed. By eating
foods and living a lifestyle that reduces the excesses,
one remains balanced. Balancing produces healing,
prevention, and slows the aging process
Many people have two or even all three elements in
their constitution. In these cases, both elements tend
toward excess. Thus foods and lifestyles that reduce
both elements need to be followed
Lad, Vasant. Ayurveda: The science of self healing.
Lotus Press: Santa Fe, 1984
Lad, Vasant. The Complete Book Of Ayurvedic
Home Remedies. Harmony Books: New York, 1998
Morrison, Judith H. The Book Of Ayurveda: A
Holistic Approach to Health and Longevity. New
York: Simon & Schuster Inc., 1995, A Fireside Book.
Special thanks to Dr. Rakesh Kumar for his