Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Back to the Plants: CHINESE MEDICINE and Herbal Remedies

The Pen ts'ao, 1249 C.E. Printed with woodbloc...
The Pen ts'ao, 1249 C.E. Printed with woodblock, this illustrated book discusses Chinese herbal medicine.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In Chinese medicine, everything has a place and a structure in order to help with healing.  All of these are natural approaches to bringing holistic health in an individual.  One of the concepts that Chinese medicine uses in relation to this is herbal remedies.  By combining a variety of elements, there is the ability for the herbs to help in healing everything.

The basis behind herbal remedies is to combine a series of herbs in order to bring about the desired effect.  Usually, there will be a formula of four herbs used in combination with each other.  This is done in order to treat secondary illnesses that may have been affected by the primary illness.  It also helps to balance and strengthen the body while it is healing.

When Chinese medicine begins to divide the various herbal remedies, they will do so by a hierarchy.  At the top of this hierarchy is the emperor herb.  This will be used to cure the major illness that is taking place.  Underneath this is the ‘ministers’ of the herbal remedy.  This is used to treat any secondary illnesses that are taking place.  After this, herbal ‘assistants’ will be used to support the other two herbs.  The last set of herbs will be the messenger herbs, which will tell the primary and secondary herbs where to go and how much of an effect to take on the body.

The herbal remedies that are placed together after this will be divided by the specific symptoms that are being seen.  Like all other parts of Chinese medicine, these will first be found through the five elements and how they relate to the body.  For example, some herbs will be spicy in order to relate to areas of the body that need this extra element to begin a better flow of Qi.

The last part of herbal medicine from ancient Chinese remedies is to determine the type of energy that is needed by a person.  This is found by diagnosis and examining the Qi that is in a person.  After this, a specific mixture of these four hierarchies will be mixed together in order to help change the energy flow that is in someone.

By examining the Qi and finding respective remedies through herbs, one is able to find the best solutions using a holistic method.  This allows one to benefit from the use of Chinese medicine and herbs in order to fight off an illness or a block of energy in their system.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

ASHAWAGANDHA - the Indian Ginseng

English: This herb -Withania somnifera was pho...
This herb -Withania somnifera was photographed at Pune. Common name- Ashwagandha. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ashwagandha - also known as Indian Winter Cherry has the Botanical name Withania Somnifera  -It is a shrub belonging to Solanace family. It is grown in the western India, Gujarat, MP, Punjab and in the Himalayas.

Ashwagandha gets its name because its roots have the odor of horse. (Ashwa = horse, gandha = odor). It is called by another name Varaha karni because its leaves resemble pig’s ear. 

Ashwagandha has light (laghu) and sticky (snigdha) properties, bitter and sweet taste. On digestion the sweet taste dominates. The main part used is the root of this herb.

Medicinal properties of Ashwagandha

The various medicinal properties of ashwagandha are attributed to compounds known as withanolides which are present in it.

Ashwagandha is used as an adaptogen (as it enhances endurance), rejuvenating tonic and sedative. Hence many herbalists refer this herb as Indian ginseng.

Effects on mind: As it balances vata and kapha, it improves memory, counteracts the effects of stress and calms the mind. It has an ability to relieve stress. It acts as a sedative. Stressed patients with insomnia are benefited by this herb. 

This herb can be used in Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, and insomnia. 

Effects on general health: It acts as balya and strengthens the body. Generally, ashwagandha stimulates the immune system and strengthens it. It increases body energy level.

Convalescent patients’ gain more energy and can spring back to normal routine quicker when this herb’s preparations are used after an illness.
The immediate relapse of disease is prevented on use of Ashwagandha. This supports HIV patients by strengthening their immune system. 

Anti-inflammatory properties: It has anti-inflammatory properties and has been successfully used in adjuvant therapy for arthritis. It reduces inflammation of joints and eases movements.

Effects on digestive system: Ashwagandha increases appetite . It normalizes digestion and bowel movements.

Effects on the reproductive system:  This magic herb increases shukra dhatu, sperm count, and sperm motility. It increases libido and known as best Vajikara dravya (aphrodisiac) 

It is also used as a uterine tonic and to enhance female libido.

Ashwagandha retards aging process when used as rasayana (rejuvenating preparation).

It reduces hypertension and also acts as a diuretic.

Effects on a pregnant woman: Ashwagandha is very effective in conditions like habitual abortion, threatened abortion. It stabilizes pregnancy and balances hormones which stabilize pregnancy.

Useful preparations of Ashwagandha:

1. A paste of ashwagandha leaves when applied on a local inflammation acts as anti-inflammatory.  

2. The herbal massage oil which includes this herb is useful in many conditions like paralysis, epilepsy, sleeplessness etc.

3. The preparation of Ashwagandha which is processed with ghee, sugar, and honey is a very good aphrodisiac and increases semen quantity, sperm count and motility. It is effectively used in Erectile dysfunction, low libido, and premature ejaculation.

4 Ashwagandha roots, when used regularly, helps to improve the conditions like emaciation of children, senile debility, rheumatism, in all cases of general debility, nervous exhaustion, brain-fag, low of memory, loss of muscular energy and spermatorrhoea.  It increases body energy and vigor. It helps to rebuild the body system which is worn out due to chronic diseases like syphilis, rheumatism etc. It also replenishes the lowered energy of a body due to over-work, mental exertion thus preventing early aging.

5 Ashwagandha when used regularly, is very useful for emaciated children. It increases body weight and body energy.

6 Regular use of ashwagandha helps to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

7 Fine powder of ashwagandha well mixed with oil is very use full in many skin conditions.

8 Ashwagandha also acts as galactogogue and thickens the milk when given to nursing mothers.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

ASTROLOGY - Planets and the Signs - Part 3

International Astrology Day
Photo  by /\ \/\/ /\ 
This is the continuation of my previous article where I discuss the effect of Mars, Mercury and Venus on a person's personality. In this article, I will talk about the effects of Jupiter and Saturn.


Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system. Jupiter is the planet of good luck, success, and positive thinking. The position of Jupiter in your birth chart indicates what things are lucky for you. It also tells you what career is most suited for you and what areas in life will bring you the most luck. In mythology, Jupiter was known as the supreme God. If Jupiter is well placed in your chart then it means you are outgoing, you are very lucky in terms of money and possessions. Also if Jupiter is well placed in your chart, it means that you will never have to worry too much, things will come easily to you but at the last minute. You also are popular among people and successful in your career. With all the good things it has to offer, there does not seem like there would be a negative influence of the planet. But there is a bad part and that is excessive goodness. Like with everything, the excess of anything is not good, if you get everything it can make you lazy and you will never develop strength of character.


Saturn is the second largest planet. Saturn is the planet of responsibility and symbolizes hard work. Anyone going through the phase of Saturn will learn to be hardworking and will face a lot of trials and difficulty which will make him strong of character. Saturn also teaches a person discipline. It is the planet of self control, patience, maturity, and realism. It might seem like a very harsh and cold planet but you should see it as a strict parent who is trying to teach you all the good things in life so that you can be a good and responsible person. Saturn will put you through a lot of difficult situations just to test you and give you a lesson but don't worry since whatever it gives would never be more than what you can handle. If Saturn is placed in a strong position in your chart then it means that you are patient and responsible. If Saturn is placed poorly in your birth chart, it can make you selfish, unhappy, and solitary and a pessimist. But as I said before, don't be scared of it, accept what Saturn has to offer and you will end up thanking it for whatever you leaned.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

ASTROLOGY - Planets and the Signs - Part 2

The astrological symbols/glyphs used in Wester...
The astrological symbols/glyphs used in Western astrology to represent the planets in astrology
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Influence of different planets in different signs can play an important role in understanding your birth chart and in turn your personality.


Mercury is the second smallest planet in the solar system and the planet is closest to the sun. I am sure you know all this but what you don't know is the effect that mercury has when placed in different signs. Mercury reflects the way you see, hear and understand things. If mercury is strong in your chart then it will endow you with a good memory and makes you eloquent and also you love traveling. If mercury is weak in your chart it tends to make you critical, sarcastic and argumentative.


Venus is the planet of love and it rules your capacity to express affection and to enjoy the beauty. When Venus is strong in your chart then it endows you with a very easy going nature and it makes you a lover of everything that is beautiful. It also tells how you relate to the opposite sex, and also tells about your social relationships. The negative side of Venus, on the other hand, makes you a narcissist and you lack in willpower.


Mars is the planet of physical energy. It is the planet of passion, sexuality, and force. People with a strong Mars influence have a very strong personality with a lot of energy and you are quick and active and hate to be bossed around. On the other hand, if Mars is not well positioned in your chart, it can make you argumentative and quarrelsome and it may cause problems in the personal relationship. It can also make you impulsive and impatient.

This is a very general idea of how the planets affect your personality, for the effect of the rest of the planets on your personality read my other articles.

Friday, August 10, 2018

ASTROLOGY - Planets and the Signs - Part 1

Birth chart example 2
Birth chart example (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Birth chart: a birth chart is divided into 12 parts called 12 houses and the planets are signs are placed in these houses. Each planet in a different house and different sign signifies something different. Birth charts are very precise as it is very hard to get the exact same chart as someone else but remember that they are not perfect as there are things that are beyond science and calculations and no one can explain them.

While analyzing your birth chart you need to take the houses, planets and the zodiac signs all into consideration. Earlier you must have thought that you are a Virgo or a Leo or a Gemini. But now you will realize that all the signs play an important role in your chart and all of them contribute to your personality and your future. Below I will talk about what sun and moon.

Sun is the most important planet in our solar system (all of us know that, nothing new in it.). It helps in the sustenance of life in this world. It provides us with warmth, energy, and food that essential to our life. Although the sun is a star in astrology it is referred as a planet. The position of the sun in your birth chart governs your personality, how you react to things in life, your goals in life, your individuality, and style. Your sun sign will tell you about your general traits that can be seen by others. The other traits that people won't notice but you can notice are the ones caused by the influence of different planets in different signs in your birth chart. Understanding your sun sign will help you understand yourself better and help you grow as a person.

Moon is again not a planet but in context of astrology, it is referred as a planet. Moon is the 2nd most important planet after sun while understanding your personality. The moon signifies your inner self; it helps you in understanding your emotions and instincts. The moon personality is that part of yourself that you want to keep hidden, the part that feels anger, jealousy, the spontaneous joy, fantasies. The moon has power over the emotional sphere, hence it influences your receptivity to others and how other people feel about you. Sometimes you might feel that you are always in a conflict as to what to do then you should read more about your sun and moon sign and learn both the positive and negative traits and apply the positive things in your life and try to work around the negative traits.