Preventing Seasonal Imbalances from Progressing

3 Doshas

Imbalances that arise in the physiology from the effects of the seasons should not be allowed to persist beyond the change of season or they will likely give rise to problems. Most people have experienced that they are more likely to get sick at these junctions, particularly between winter and spring and between summer and fall. The transition between spring and summer is generally less problematic, because Kapha, whose influence dominates in spring, is by nature stable.

Those with adequate financial resources (~$5,000) and time (7 days) can take the royal road and go for intensive, in-residence Pancha Karma (5 Actions), the traditional approach for both seasonal rejuvenation and treatment of more deep-rooted disorders. The rest of us will have to settle for a home detoxification program.

Two to six weeks of gentle detoxification is easy to accomplish and brings many benefits. It will leave you feeling lighter and more energetic. It will also prepare your body to receive the full benefit of Rasayanas such as Maharishi Amrit Kalash Ambrosia and Nectar. Rasayanas (literally, "that which enters the essence") are intended to negate old age and disease by entering into and strengthening bodily tissues at the most subtle level.

Here are my suggestions for a home program that is affordable, generally safe, and does not require radical changes in routine. It is suitable for those who are not suffering from major imbalances or accumulation of Ama. If your Ama Score is no higher than 25-30, you may proceed. Otherwise, it's better to have a personal consultation or invest in a period of Ama reduction.

The full home program involves the following phases:

  • Preparation
  • Oleation
  • Purgation
  • Restoration and Herbal Therapy

You will get significant benefits from as little as two weeks of warm liquids, light diet and herbs during the transition between seasons. Oleation and purgation can provide significant additional benefit. Even so, the procedure adds a layer of complexity that many are not able to comfortably accommodate. Review the instructions below and then make an informed decision. If you decide that oleation and purgation are not for you, just go with the light diet with or without detoxifying herbs (i.e., combine the Preparation and Restoration phases).

If you tend to be over-weight, you may wish to take this opportunity to develop the habit of doing a modified fast one day a week. On your fasting day, rest at home or at least limit yourself to light activity and take only warm liquids such as Kanji, Peya, Kichari (see recipes below), soup, fresh fruit juice or fresh vegetable juice. Ayurveda does not recommend total fasting, which is stressful to the physiology, reduces Ojas and may harm bodily tissues. If you begin a program of fasting one day a week, for maximum benefit, try to be as regular as possible with the habit.

List of Heavy Foods

Preparation

Favor warm liquids and shift to a diet that is lighter in quality and quantity for 1-2 weeks before oleation and purgation. Reduce or avoid heavy foods (see graphic). If you take heavy foods, have them at lunch time when the digestion is better able to handle the load without adverse consequences. This initiates the detoxification process.

  • Establish a plan that fits with your lifestyle, schedule and the recommended restrictions
  • Choose a day for purgation on which you can rest at home
  • Order any desired herbs (MAPI Product Orders)

Women should not plan for purgation during menstruation. Oleation is not generally advisable during extremely hot or bitter cold weather. During the period of oleation and purgation, it's important to observe the following restrictions:

  • Moderate the use of oils in the diet since your body will be working hard to digest the ghee
  • Avoid daytime naps
  • Avoid ice cold food and beverages
  • Avoid cheese and full-strength yogurt (lassi is fine with lunch or as an afternoon snack)
  • Avoid strenuous physical exercise
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to cold and wind. Especially protect your head when going outside.
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid caffeine and chocolate, but do not use this period to withdraw
  • Abstain from sexual activity

Oleation

Ghee is used to prepare the body for purgation. It softens impurities and makes them easier to mobilize and eliminate. Ghee should be measured by volume when liquefied by gentle warming. Alternatively, you can use a kitchen scale and measure by weight in a small Pyrex custard cup that can later be warmed (my preference).

Ghee should be taken on an empty stomach, preferably about an hour before bed. Optionally, and in case the weather is very cold, ghee can be taken in the early morning. If you take ghee in the evening, limit yourself to an early, light and not-too-unctuous dinner. According to the following schedule, take ghee preferably by itself or, optionally, mixed with boiled milk. You may add a little whole cane sugar if needed for palatability. After about 1/2 hour, sip some hot water to aid the assimilation of the ghee.

Additional sips of hot water will help if you experience nausea. If you take ghee in the evening, you will likely have few problems and experience normal appetite the next day unless you have opted to continue for more days and a larger dose. In any case, don't eat regular food until hunger returns. Meanwhile, you can have Kanji if necessary to substitute for any missed meals. For those with normal bowel function, 3 days of ghee is sufficient. For those who are somewhat prone to constipation or dryness, a 4-5 day course would give added advantage. For those who are suffering significantly from dryness or constipation, the process can be continued up to 7 days maximum.

  • Day 1: 4 tsp. (14 gm.)
  • Day 2: 6 tsp. (21 gm.)
  • Day 3: 8 tsp. (28 gm.)
  • Day 4 (optional): 10 tsp. (35 gm.)
  • Day 5 (optional): 12 tsp. (42 gm.)
  • Day 6 (optional): 14 tsp. (49 gm.)
  • Day 7 (optional): 16 tsp. (56 gm.)

Purgation

Pick a day that you can completely devote to rest at home and work backwards to determine when to begin oleation. It is ideal to wait about three days from completion of oleation until purgation, but it's OK to shorten the interval. During the waiting period, continue a light, warm, nourishing and unctuous diet.

You will be taking castor oil either the night before or in the early morning of the target day. Prior to taking the castor oil, have a 20 minute hot tub bath. The heat helps to move impurities to the intestines.

For maximum benefit, do a thorough and vigorous Abhyanga (self oil massage) and then rest for about 20 minutes before your bath.

Castor Oil Dosing

Average women can then take 1.5-2 Tbs. of castor oil in ½ cup warm water (you can bite a lemon wedge after to counter-act the taste). Average men can take 2-3 Tbs. If you normally tend to have loose BMs, or if you had 10 or more BMs last time you took this amount, take less. If you do not get at least 3 BMs, you may repeat the castor oil the next day or suitable occasion at a higher dose.

If you take castor oil at night, have an early, light supper beforehand.

  • Do not take anything by mouth until bowel movements have subsided
  • Sip Kanji water or Peya (see below) throughout the remainder of the day
  • Expect at least 3 BMs (please keep a record including time)
  • If BMs have ceased for at least a few hours and you are hungry, you may have plain Kichari (see below) at supper time
  • If you have many BMs go very slowly in progressing to your regular diet. Minimize or avoid ghee, butter and oil for 1-2 days.

Purgation Aftercare

It is very important to introduce food slowly after purgation. Stay on a light and not-too-unctuous diet at least one day after following the above process. Otherwise, the digestive fire will be overwhelmed. If that should happen, you will suffer discomfort and considerably negate the benefits of the procedure.

Restoration and Herbal Therapy

Following purgation, you can begin detoxifying herbal therapy if desired. After you have completed this program, you can begin Rasayana therapy.

Take a few weeks to gradually shift to a diet appropriate to your Doshas, state of balance or imbalance and the new season. See the chart at right for guidance. If there is significant imbalance, that generally takes priority for choice of diet. Please contact me if you have questions.

The following 3 types of herbal preparations work synergistically together to eliminate toxins and strengthen the physiology. They are available from MAPI.com under the category Herbal Supplements - Detox or by phone 800-255-8332. If you order herbs or personal care products from MAPI as a new customer and choose to give my name as the referring provider, they will give you a 20% premium in Loyalty points applicable to future orders and I will receive a 20% commission going forward.

Women should temporarily stop herbal therapy during menstruation.

Elim-Tox or Elim-Tox-O

Choose Elim-Tox-O if you have a significant degree of Pitta in your constitution (sun-sensitivity, heat intolerance, ravenous appetite, hot temper or critical nature) or any signs of Pitta Imbalance on the Dosha Imbalance Assessment. Otherwise, take regular Elim-Tox.

Take 2 tablets after lunch and dinner. With Elim-Tox, it's better to start with 1 tablet twice a day for the first 2 weeks. With either, plan on 2-6 weeks of therapy (2-3 bottles). If you routinely take Maharishi Amrit Kalash Nectar and/or Ambrosia, stop it during this time.

Genitrac

Take 2 tablets before lunch and dinner. Plan on 1-2 months of therapy (1-2 bottles).

Digestone or Herbal Cleanse

Digestone is a classic Ayurvedic formulation for balancing the Doshas and supporting good digestion and elimination. It also has Rasayana (health promoting) value and can be taken long term in conjunction with Maharishi Amrit Kalash Nectar. Take 2 tablets at bedtime with warm water or milk. I generally recommend a minimum of 3 months of therapy (3 bottles, 60 tablets each).

Herbal Cleanse is also a good choice for supporting the detoxification process. It contains senna and has a stronger laxative effect. Take 2 tablets at bedtime with warm water. Plan on 1-2 months of therapy (1-2 bottles) to coincide with the period during which you take Elim-Tox or Elim-Tox-O. If you have had a tendency to constipation, after the detoxification consider switching to and continuing on Digestone.

Recipes

Kanji - Rice Water

  • 1/4 cup basmati rice rinsed
  • 4 cups water
  • Slice of ginger, pinch of rock salt, pinch of cumin
  1. Bring to boil, cover and cook on lowest heat for 1 hour
  2. Strain off the liquid and keep in a thermos
  3. Sip small quantities frequently

Peya - Rice Gruel

  • 1/4 cup basmati rice rinsed
  • 3-4 cups water
  1. Bring to boil, cover and cook on lowest heat for 1 hour
  2. Add a slice of ginger, a pinch of rock salt, a little black pepper and a pinch of cumin in the last few minutes of cooking
  3. Mash or blenderize and enjoy - Do not reheat

Plain Kichari

  • 1/4 cup basmati rice rinsed
  • 2 Tbs. red lentils or mung beans
  • 2 cups water
  1. Bring to boil, cover and cook on lowest heat for 1 hour
  2. Add a slice of ginger, a pinch of rock salt, a little black pepper and a pinch of cumin in the last few minutes of cooking
  3. Do not reheat