Top Reasons to Use Nasya Nose Oil & How it Protects against Viral Attack

The word Nasya means 'through the nasal route'. There are several advantages to nasal route administration of any substance according to modern science.

-Avoidance of liver first pass effect
-Avoidance of metabolism through gastrointestinal tract
-Fast onset of therapeutic effects
-Rapid absorption, high bioavailability
-DIrect entry of herbal formulation into the Central Nervous System

Anatomical and physiological study of the nose shows that nasal mucosa (olfactory mucosa) is the only site which directly connects the brain and the external environment. The delivery of any instillation from the nose to the CNS (central nervous system) occurs via the olfactory pathway, has the potential to bypass the blood brain barrier.

According to Ayurveda, the sinus cavity is the gateway to the brain, mind, and consciousness. Herbal formulations delivered through the nostrils reach the Shringataka marma (formed by the union of blood vessels supplying to nose ear, eye and tongue) by nasal channels and spreads into the head/brain by way of the eye, ear, throat and opening of the vessels. Because the nose serves as the gateway to the brain, keeping the nasal passages well hydrated promotes mental clarity, sharpens the memory, and cultivates emotional stability.

To address imbalances related to memory, emotions, thoughts, and any physical imbalances above the clavicle bone such as tension in the throat, neck, jaw, shoulders and head, treatments like Nasya are often administered. 

Nasya is the ancient practice of lubricating the nasal cavities and sinuses by gently placing a few drops of herbal or non-herbal oil into each nostril. This can be self-administered (with proper instruction) or given by an Ayurvedic practitioner in a warm and comforting Nasya treatment. Using oil in the nose lubricates the nasal cavity and sinuses, offering protection from the recycled air, and creating a barrier against pollen and environmental pollutants. Nasya fosters deep inhalation by opening up the nasal passage, allowing prana to flow, aiding in relaxation, releasing stress, and preventing blocked energy.

Furthermore, practicing Nasya & receiving regular Nasya treatments clears stagnation from dry accumulated mucous, relieves congestion, strengthens the membranes, sharpens the sense of smell, and reactivates your breath through the nose.

The Subtle Effects of Nasya from an Ayurvedic Perspective

Nasya also offers support for imbalances related to prana vayu, sadhaka pitta, and tarpaka kapha—the three sub-doshas that govern inhalation, processing emotions, and lubrication.

Prana Vayu

When prana vayu is out of balance, a person may experience anxiety, insomnia, inability to concentrate, and neurological disorders. Prana vayu is located in the cranial cavity. It moves downward and inward in the head and is responsible for inhalation and the movement of the mind, which includes our perception, sensations, feelings, thoughts, and emotions. How prana vayu flows is determined by our thoughts and it plays a role in our emotional response. If the mind has excess movement, is unstable, or there is excess dryness in the body, it can disturb the nervous system. This can impact how we breathe and, in turn, affect the flow of prana throughout our body.  

For example, if there is sinus congestion (from excess kapha) it could hinder the flow of prana, possibly causing stiffness or pain in the neck, head, and face. This can impact our ability to concentrate or discern our thoughts, and create frustration stemming from the inability to breathe, smell, or even sleep.

An herbal-based Nasya treatment offers support by quickly reaching the brain, mind, and consciousness. Nasya treatment provides nourishment and balance by bringing beneficial herbs and oil to lubricate, cleanse, and rejuvenate the nasal passages. By alleviating stress, releasing tension, and clearing stagnation, breathing becomes easier, and prana (life force & vitality) flows freely. Plus, it feels good!

Please note: Avoid nasya when pregnant, feeling ill or experiencing a sinus infection, and immediately after using neti pot for nasal rinsing.

Notes on Preventing Viral Attack by Dr Marc Cohen

The first line of defense against a viral infection is the nasal mucosa and upper respiratory cavities. They are lined with epithelial cells that secrete a watery mucus that is sticky on the surface. That mucus is designed to capture particulate matter &  virus to present them to the immune cells, that also line the mucosa, so they can develop antibodies against them and to keep that mucosa moving (about 1mm a minute) through cilia. It moves approximately 10-15x a second into the pharynx until you spit it out or swallow it. So that would be the normal way your body would protect your body and get rid of unwanted pathogens.

Keeping a warm humid environment also strengthens the mucosa in your sinus and chest. Indoor house plants, pots on the stove, humidifiers, steam shower, breathing steam, diffusing anti-viral essential oils, even a mask creates a humid microclimate around your nose and mouth. 

COVID is a respiratory virus with a lipid envelope, and it becomes unstable at above 55-60 C. This isn’t the temp of your lungs, but it is up in your and nasal cavity. Respiratory viruses enter into the coldest part of the body, which in winter is the nose. When your nose is in the sauna, its the hottest part and tries to cool down and filter the air. The nose is an important heat exchanger. Viruses prefer the cold and cannot sustain under that heat. These viruses don't have sophisticated repair mechanisms to cope with heat, whereas humans have very sophisticated systems. My takeaway is that masks can help, especially in the cold season to keep the nose warm and moist and prevent invasion.

In a time of a pandemic, emergency causes a fight or flight response and produces cortisol that activates your sympathetic nervous system, so you can battle an enemy for example.  It directs all energy outwards into the eyes, brain, & extremities to prepare for keen reactions. The digestive system and healing systems are suppressed so all energy goes to fight or flight. When we are in this pattern on a long term basis, it makes us more susceptible to illness, disease, and chronic ailments because we have become weakened.

We are already exposed to so much toxicity in our food, water, frequencies, society and debt, now we have a pandemic which triggers more disease. Self Care is more vital now than ever.

10 Hacks to Relax - From WIred & Tired to Chilled & Fulfilled

-Touch all your fingers - stimulates the largest part of your brain

-Wiggle your toes

-Soften your Stomach

-Breath thru your nose

-Smile

-Swallow

-Sing

-Flutter your eyelids

-Going within

Emotional FIrst Aid

There’s a battle for our immune system going on. The info coming from authorities is “wear a mask, cough in your sleeve, stay at home, social distance, wait for vaccine” Not about how to support our immune systems. The wisdom of Ayurveda completely empowers you to take charge of your own health and needs.

-Sigh

We have potentially outsourced our immune systems to the western medical system and to vaccines and drugs, rather than build up our own resilience. The usual situation is for our bodies to be exposed, like we are to so much already, and for our bodies to build antibodies and strengthen our immune systems. For example,  our ability to develop fever or increase heat to fight viral infections, we can tolerate higher temps more than viruses can. We can use this against the virus. Creating heat, steam, sauna, sweating,etc.. 

Get off your screens and tune in to what’s around you, and focus on fun. It’s not frivolous during this time, when we have restrictions we have to nurture our inner being and tap into what brings us joy.

Heat is a very powerful force so use caution.  It turns on and actively activates your immune system. Yet like any intervention it can help or hurt you. Find your own natural balance and tolerance, comfortably uncomfortable. It’s important to note that water transfers heat 25x faster than air, so a steam sauna may be tolerated less time than a dry sauna.

When you have heat stress, your plasma volume increases, your heart strokes and cardiac output increases, and when you start to feel your head pounding do not exceed past this point.

After, allow your body to cool down safely, and alternate between hot and cold, and this helps increase your heat tolerance.  Heat and cool together enhances immune function and improves your general physiological response to any stress. Regular treatments with heat, prevent and reduce respiratory infections.

I hope you have gained a morsel of wisdom from these words. I am passionate about sharing, learning, & educating regarding health, wellness, and especially Ayurveda.

Please contact me with any questions or comments and to learn more about Nasya treatments!

Amalaki: Highest Source of Vitamin C

Amalaki: Highest Source of Vitamin C

Amalaki: Highest Source of Vitamin C

The fruit of the Amla tree (amalaki) contains the highest amount of vitamin C than any other known source. There is approximately 750 mg of vitamin C in 10g of fresh fruit. Visually, it looks like a large white grape when fresh. If a person found an amla tree and bit into the fruit, they would experience an extremely sour taste, but the flavor soon turns sweet. (After amla has been cooked and processed in medicinal form, it will no longer have an extremely sour taste- it will be just mildly sour.)

Even though Amalaki is sour, it has a cooling effect on the body- making it especially useful for pacifying the pitta dosha. Normally the sour taste is contraindicated for individuals with high pitta in their bodies. However, amla has a prabhava, or special quality of cooling, and is an exception to this rule.

Like many ayurvedic herbs, Amalaki works on many systems in the body. For example, it can increase reproductive fluids and sexual potency- so is considered an aphrodisiac. It has an affinity toward the rakta dhatu, or blood tissue. Due to this, it purifies the blood, is a heart tonic, and can heal bleeding disorders. It can also lower cholesterol and help rectify arterial damage.

Digestively speaking, Amla is especially useful in inflammatory disorders- such as ulcers, colitis, gastritis, and bleeding conditions. In small doses, it can be constipating, but in large doses it can be a laxative. It extracts toxins from the liver. It has the rare quality of increasing agni, or digestive fire, without aggravating the pitta dosha.

Amla can increase energy- so it is a great immune system tonic and builder. It is a main ingredient in Cyanaprasa- the superb and ancient Ayurvedic rejuvenative tonic. It can be used to strengthen a person if they are weak or experiencing debility. In addition to being rejuvenating, this herb has been called an adaptogen and has been indicated in slowing the aging process. It increases virility, vitality, and is an immune-restorative.

Amalaki pacifies vitiated sadhak pitta, which is a sub-dosha of pitta that deals with the way information is digested in the mind. In other words, if a person is feeling mentally “on fire” or aggravated, amla can help relieve this. It has been known to impart a peaceful state of mind and quality of wellbeing on a person’s psyche.

Amla is also very nourishing for the hair. You will find it in ayurvedic hair products or in henna hair powders as a conditioner and nourishing ingredient. It alleviates hair loss and early greyness as well.

 

Ashwagandha Lattes

Ashwagandha Lattes

Ashwagandha Lattes for Abundant Energy and Peaceful Sleep

Ashwagandha for both abundant energy and peaceful sleep? How is that possible? I’m here to answer that question and to provide you with two delicious ashwagandha latte recipes that will harness these dualistic properties of ashwagandha, so you can kick off your day with healthy energy and relax into restful night’s sleep.

An adaptogen, ashwagandha is useful in all conditions that are caused by stress. Read the full article on Ashwagandha here.

Ashwagandha maximizes the body’s ability to resist and respond to stress in a healthy way, while also calming the nerves and sustaining vital energy throughout the day. It helps reduce excess heat, relaxes the muscles, and calms the nervous system so you can let go of the day, both physically and mentally, and can then drift off to sleep.

Ashwagandha has multiple benefits as a nighttime beverage. In fact, its botanical name, Withania somnifera, tells us something about its connection to sleep. Somnifera translates to “sleep-inducing,” reflecting its relaxing and calming properties that bring us energy by supporting deeper rest.

Welcome ashwagandha into your day with these warm ashwagandha drink recipes. The morning latte will give you an energized yet calm and balanced kickstart to your day, and the second recipe will help your mind and body relax and wind down for sound sleep. This is only a taste of what ashwagandha can do for you! 

Good Morning Ashwagandha Matcha Latte

Ashwagandha’s powers are accentuated by matcha in this recipe. Matcha, a powdered green tea, is made from the whole tea leaf and is loaded with natural antioxidants, providing a sense of calm while also promoting awareness.
Matcha also contains high levels of an amino acid called L-theanine, which calms muscles. Plus, matcha contains moderate amounts of caffeine for a gentle energy lift. Blend this superfood with the goodness of ashwagandha and you will be ready to take on the day.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces heated water
  • 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  • 1 teaspoon ashwagandha powder
  • 1 cup whole grass-fed milk (or substitute, see below for suggestions)
  • Maple syrup to taste
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon powder

Directions:
Add matcha and ashwagandha to a large mug. Pour in water (heated to approximately 180 degrees), and mix vigorously with a whisk until completely dissolved. Stir in heated milk, sweeten with maple syrup to taste, and top with a pinch of cinnamon.

 

Good Night Ashwagandha Chamomile Latte

Ashwagandha’s ability to help the body relax into a restful night’s sleep is strengthened in this recipe with the aid of other popular herbs. Well-known as a sleep aid, chamomile (both European and Egyptian) has been consumed for centuries for its calming and relaxing effect on the nervous system. The floral flavors work well in this recipe with the earthy ashwagandha.

Turmeric works its magic while you are sleeping, easing excess heat, boosting the immune system, and supporting healthy intestinal flora. The ginger and cardamom aid the digestive process, while the cinnamon can help to support healthy blood sugar. Nutmeg crowns this golden latte, calming the mind, while also adding its warming and fragrant nature.

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces purified water
  • 2 tablespoons dried chamomile
  • 1 teaspoon ashwagandha powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ inch ginger root, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • ¼ inch piece of cinnamon
  • 1 cup grass-fed milk (or milk substitute, see below suggestions)
  • Maple syrup to taste
  • 1 pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (powdered is also fine)

Directions:

In a small pot bring water to a boil. Add chamomile, ashwagandha, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon. Lower heat to a simmer and cover for 5 minutes. Strain the herbs from the concentrated liquid and pour into a mug.
While the herbs are simmering, bring the milk to a gentle boil. Remove from heat.  

Once the herbs have finished simmering, pour the liquid into a mug while straining out the herbs. Pour milk over the tea. Sweeten to taste with the maple syrup. Add a pinch of nutmeg to finish.
Sip on this delightful drink a half hour to an hour before bed, before you begin your bedtime routine.

Milk Substitutes

Please feel free to use a milk substitute for either of these recipes. A creamier type is recommended, such as coconut, or even macadamia.
You can also use other nut milks as substitutes. I encourage to you choose a substitute that is appropriate for your dosha, be it vata, pitta, or kapha, and to make your own nut milk rather than store bought. It will not contain stabilizers or preservatives and generally be healthier for you. And yummier too!

Ashwagandha Almond Butter

Ashwagandha Almond Butter

Ashwagandha Almond Butter

Raw almond butter can be tedious to make, but it is worth the patience, especially when you know the health of your adrenals is on the line. Having this adaptogenic version of almond butter on hand is as useful as it is delicious. You can use it as an ingredient in other dishes or add it as a topping on things like toast with honey and cinnamon.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almonds, raw
  • 2 teaspoons ashwagandha powder
  • 1 teaspoon ghee or coconut oil, if needed

Directions:

Using a food processor or heavy duty blender, add almonds and begin blending on a low to medium-low speed. Blend until a smooth butter forms. This could take anywhere from 10–30 minutes. Add the ashwagandha powder towards the end. You may need to stop to scrape the sides of the blender. A small amount of oil such as ghee or coconut oil can help if the almonds seem dry or aren’t blending. Refrigerate in an airtight container.
Energy Balancing Truffles

Energy Balancing Truffles

Energy Balancing Truffles
Nothing says comfort food like a sweet dessert. After you push your dinner plate to the side, you can pull out these truffles made with ashwagandha and ojas-building dates. They’re sure to make you and your adrenals smile.

Ingredients:
10 dates, dried and pitted
2 teaspoons ashwagandha powder
½ cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon coconut oil, refined
Sea salt and sesame seeds for topping

Directions:
Using a blender or food processor, blend the dates and ashwagandha into a paste. Roll into small balls.
If too sticky to shape, and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small pan over medium heat. Stir frequently. Dunk the date balls into the chocolate to coat, and rescue with a spoon.

Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with sea salt and sesame seeds. Refrigerate or freeze to set chocolate.
Eat while slightly chilled to avoid melting.