By Mark Toomey, Ph.D.
Director of Ayurvedic Programs, The Raj Maharishi Ayurveda Health Spa, Fairfield, Iowa
As part of the company's commitment to make ayurveda available to everyone, MAPI has launched an ambitious initiative to bring you the best ayurvedic preparations in the world at the best prices possible. They are starting with key ayurvedic formulations that support heightened balance in seven important areas of health: Digestion, Sleep, Stress, Heart, Energy, Mind and Immunity.
When your body is out of balance, it's like an instrument out of tune. Maharishi Ayurveda products act as a tuner, bringing specific aspects of consciousness and the body into balance, eliminating the problem at its deepest level, at the source.
To do this ayurveda uses many modalities, or tools, including a variety of traditional plants, selected, harvested and prepared in painstaking, precise, traditional multi-step processes. We use whole herbs instead of a single, concentrated, isolated "active ingredient." This improves assimilation, creates holistic balance and prevents negative side effects. And then there is the formulation of a number of herbs into one balancing, focused botanical mixture. The traditional science of blending herbs is called sanyog — the science of combining to create results far greater than the benefits of each herb in isolation. So every herb has a specific function.
Here now are the first seven:
This is an herb that everyone should keep in their medicine cabinet. At The Raj, Bio-Immune is our first herbal formula of choice for our guests and staff to support healthy immune function. You know an herbal formula will have powerful effects if it takes over six months to prepare. Bio-Immune is unique, as it has a combination of both purifying herbs and nourishing minerals. Viruses and bacteria are opportunistic; they will have an effect only if the system is weak. Bio-Immune helps eliminate digestive impurities and toxins that can block the body's natural defense system.
Organic Premium Amla Berry (formerly ReGen Vitality)
Organic Premium Amla Berry consists of just one herb, Amalaki (Amla). The ancient texts refer to Amalaki as divaushadi, "the divine medicine." It has five of the six tastes, which gives it a profound balancing effect on the mind and body. This Amalaki is prepared in a special way. The herb goes through a 21-step process that enlivens the divine qualities of the herb, making it the best among rejuvenative herbs. Organic Premium Amla Berry nourishes ojas, the master biochemical of the physiology; it enhances food absorption; it is medhya, or that which nourishes the intellect; it is excellent for the heart, lungs and reproductive tissue; it increases vitality and is chakshushya, or strengthening to the eyes. This herb is best chewed; you will feel the power of the Organic Premium Amla Berry on your taste buds.
Organic Digest Tone
Organic Digest Tone is based on an ancient ayurvedic formula called Triphala. This formula, to which Cabbage Rose has been added, is considered a companion herbal to all other ayurvedic formulas. Taking Organic Digest Tone regularly cleanses not just the bowel but, because of its effect on the tissues, it is said its cleansing effect extends through the dhatus to the medha or fat tissue. It helps remove ama (undigested sludge/waste) from the tissues and has a cleansing effect on the blood. This makes it excellent for keeping our skin healthy. It gives balance to Apana Vata, that subdosha of Vata that means downward-moving Vata, governing all lower intestinal and pelvic actions such as elimination. This is because it has a mild laxative effect. It is safe and does not cause any problems if taken long-term.
Do you ever notice your mind sometimes is going round and round with thoughts, like an autumn day when the wind is blowing all the leaves? This is excess Prana Vata, the subdosha of Vata that governs thinking. Worry Free is a timeless formula of herbs to balance the mind, quieting that constant background noise of thoughts, allowing one to be settled and think clearly under all circumstances. The main ingredients are renowned medhya herbs that support mental function; these are Aloeweed (Dwarf Morning Glory), Gotu Kola, Indian Tinospora and Licorice.
Organic Youthful Mind
Avoiding those senior moments becomes important as one gets older. It is said in neuroscience that the older brain becomes more proficient at pruning out what it does not need; the trouble is that sometimes our brains prune out too much. Organic Youthful Mind supports learning, retention and memory. It helps maintain resistance to stress, a clear mind and stable emotions. Organic Youthful Mind is a medhya Rasayana — "that which is good for the intellect." This means that it supports the three types of mental ability; acquisition (dhi), retention (dhriti) and recall (smriti). One of the important herbs in Organic Youthful Mind is Shankapushpi (Dwarf Morning Glory), described in the ayurvedic texts as the foremost herb for developing mental functioning.
Heart health is essential for a long, happy life. From a Western medical perspective, the heart is a truly amazing pump. It is responsible for circulating blood through an estimated 60,000 miles of blood vessels. It pumps more than 3,000 gallons a day, or 2.4 million gallons a year, and this estimate applies only when you are sleeping. So when you are active, it's a lot more. In the ayurvedic texts the heart is described as Hrdaya. This is a Sanskrit word used as a synonym: Hr — to receive; Da — to give; Ya — to move. So in the name one can find the qualities. It is further described as: Mahata — great; and Artha — serving all purposes. It is an organ par excellence.
The herbal masterpiece Cardio Support nourishes both the physical and emotional aspects of your heart. It supports balanced heart functioning as well as ojas - the body's master biochemical - which is seated in the heart. It is said that the heart is the seat of longevity and bliss. The herbs in Cardio Support ensure both of these qualities. These herbs include Arjuna, which balances Sadhaka Pitta and nourishes both the physical and the emotional heart; Rose Petals, which are cooling and nourish ojas; and Guggul, which has been shown in research studies to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
The tendency to wake between 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. is a sign. In ayurveda, this is when the mind processes emotions (Sadhaka Pitta). Deep Rest supports uninterrupted sleep and balance excess Pitta. It supports emotional stability. It is neither habit-forming nor leaves you feeling drowsy; it actually supports a good memory. You will wake feeling refreshed and your spirits revived.
The herbs in Deep Rest are a masterpiece of synergy, where the collective benefit is much greater than that of isolated, individual herbs. Indian Valerian and Spikenard (Jatamansi) are natural sleep aids. Indian Tinospora and Ashwagandha are Rasayanas — they promote life-extension (Ayushya effect). They also increase the quantity and quality of ojas, the master coordinator between consciousness and the body. The result is normal, refreshing sleep. A sleep expert once told me that "America is a nation of walking zombies. The greatest debt the people carry is their sleep debt." Recent research has shown that eight hours of sleep a night is the best for everyone to support optimum mental and physical functioning. Deep Rest contains a balance of herbs to nourish and calm the mind while supporting the emotions and ojas. Remember what it was like to wake refreshed? Many people have reported to me that they actually experience their sleep as blissful.
Poppy Seed Chutney and a Pomegranate "Churna"
Chutneys and spice mixtures (churnas), made correctly, are delicious and healthy. They support digestion, balance the doshas and elevate the senses.
We have two recipes for you — one made with organic poppy seeds, and the other made with organic dried pomegranate fruit. These memorable, delicious ayurvedic condiments can be used as a flavoring on food at almost any meal. Either is an unforgettable addition to your diet, and you'll wonder how you ever did without them.
The word "chutney" describes a type of spicy thick sauce used as an accompaniment for a main dish. Chutneys usually contain a mix of complementary spices and vegetables. The poppy seed chutney is a good example of this.
The pomegranate spice mixture is a flavorful ground powder that tastes amazing, and at the same time supports digestion and elimination without aggravating Pitta. It supports healthy levels of stomach acid, and helps decrease digestive gas. This is a recipe that's easy to make and incredibly delicious.
And remember, whatever you are making: Eat naturally-intelligent foods. This is a fundamental principle of Maharishi Ayurveda and a foundation of an ayurvedic diet. Close to three-quarters of the products sold by grocery stores in the United States contain genetically-modified ingredients. And many of the chemicals and pesticides used in growing foods have been linked to numerous diseases. Processed foods, genetically-modified foods, and foods to which additives or artificial preservatives have been added are no longer alive with the intelligence of nature. According to ayurveda, the human physiology is a reflection of the laws of the universe, and the more in tune our lives are with nature, the healthier we are likely to be. Our bodies possess the natural intelligence to process those foods best that are closest to nature — whole grains, organically-grown vegetables and fruits, and wild-crafted herbs. Help your digestion function optimally by choosing organic foods when possible. Your health is worth the added effort and cost.
Poppy Seed Chutney:
- 1 teaspoon white poppy seeds
- 1 teaspoon coconut powder (fresh-grated is best)
- Pinches of organic ground cumin and turmeric
- 1-2 tablespoons of organic ghee (clarified butter)
- Mix white poppy seeds with coconut powder.
- Add small amounts of water while mixing to form a thick paste.
- Melt ghee in a frying pan until it becomes clear (cloudiness is gone).
- Add turmeric and cumin; mix well.
- Remove from heat immediately; simmer off heat until color and aroma change.
- Add to poppy seed mixture, stir well, let stand 5 minutes.
- Add a little salt to taste.
Remember, the clarity of the ghee is important in the cooking. When the ghee becomes clear, the temperature is just right for bringing out all the benefits of the herbs. Enjoy.
Ayurvedic Pomegranate Seed Spice Mix:
- Dried organic pomegranate seeds — 8 teaspoons
- Rock salt (or some natural salt) — 2 teaspoons
- Organic black pepper powder — ¼ teaspoon
- Organic cumin seeds — 2 teaspoons
- Citric acid (or dried lemon juice) — ⅛ teaspoon
- Organic pure cane sugar (Sucanat or Florida Crystals are good) — 2-5 teaspoons
- Grind and powder all herbs and seeds separately. (For grinding the pomegranate seeds, you will need a grinder that can handle wet as well as dry herbs.)
- Mix the first two herbs together.
- Add one herb at a time, mixing well before adding another.
- Produces a powdered mixture.
- Store in an airtight container, for up to a month.
Sprinkle this organic spice delight on your favorite food as desired. Enjoy.
Tips For Balancing Pitta
- Drink Organic Pitta Tea and use Organic Pitta Churna with meals.
- Keep cool. Avoid hot temperatures and foods.
- Favor cool, heavy, dry foods and sweet, bitter and astringent tastes.
- Reduce pungent, sour, salty tastes and warm, oily and light foods.
- Don't overwork; any activity in moderation.
- Allow for leisure time.
- Be regular in mealtimes; have lunch at noon.
- Do abhyanga (ayurvedic oil massage) with Soothing Herbal Massage Oil or coconut oil.
© 1999, 2021 Maharishi AyurVeda Products International, Inc. (MAPI). All Rights Reserved. MAPI does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. See additional information.