One of the primary ingredients of Suvarnaprashana or Swarnaprashana is ghee, along with swarna (Gold) bhasma, Madhu (honey), herbs, arka and so on. Cows ghee is the satwik sacred food commonly used in Ayurvedic medicines. This is also called super food.
Plain cow’s ghee itself is medicine in Ayurveda. It improves digestive fire, memory, intelligence, voice, luster, skin softness, immunity, strength, lifespan, eye strength. Traditional ayurvedic practitioners used old ghee or Puranic ghee such as 1 year, 10 year old and even 100 year old ghee as medicines. It was used in treating intoxication, epilepsy insanity poison fever etc.100 times washed ghee is commonly prescribed for treatment of wounds, burns, scars herpes leprosy and other skin diseases. It is a very good anti-aging moisturizer.
Ghee balances vata dosha and pacifies pitta. Medicated ghees form the major part of treatment in problems arising out of vitiated pitta dosha. Along with balancing the doshas it also acts on increasing the ojas – the subtle essence of the tissues that is responsible for life, radiant health, strong immunity, vigor, longevity and overall well being of an individual. The ageing factors in the body reduces ojas that is overcome by adding ghee in food. Ghee increases longevity slowing down the ageing process .
Cow’s ghee enhances physical as well as mental strength building the aura. Modern science says ghee lit lamp emit maximum satwik frequency that remain for hours even after the lamp stops burning. The subtle frequencies emanating from the ghee lamp activates soul energy of the worshipper and purifies the chakra. Ayurveda also mentions that ghee acts as aphrodisiac, relieves sins, poverty, toxicity and evil spirits.
It is the best fat suitable for human consumption. Children should always have ghee in their diet as It helps to promote better health, strengthen the body, improves the memory power. Cows ghee is very good source of nourishment of mother and baby. It can ensure the normal growth and development of the infant and prevent birth defects when taken during pregnancy.
Ghee is proved to beneficial in controlling cholesterol, blood pressure, thyroid dysfuntion, weight loss anti inflammatory and lot more. Our India’s indigenous desi cow’s ghee is a boon to us in treating many medical conditions where modern medicine has found no complete solution. Ghee is caesin free, gluten free and lactose free and very high in fat content. It is very good natural ketogenic diet. Ketogenic diet forces the body to burn fats rather than the carbohydrates.and diet is seriously recommended by many physicians worldwide for treating especially epilepsy and ADHD and there has been evidence of benefit in treating obesity, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease with this diet. These conditions are treated traditionally in Ayurveda using ghee preparations.
Ghee is known for the healing properties. It facilitates fast recovery from wounds and bedsores. It reduces inflammations by reducing the leukotriene secretion as well as prostaglandin. Majority of the fat content in the ghee consists of saturated fatty acids that contains 85% short chain fatty acids which are are easily digestible and immediately utilized by the body. So the medicated ghee used in ayurvedic treatments is absorbed into the system very fast and facilitate the transport of active principles of the herbs.
Ayurveda says ghee is yoga vahi that means it is used as carrier media for the transport of active principles in herbs and it assimilates the properties of the herbal ingredient without losing its own properties. The ghee being very good lipid base is used for transport of the active principles across the cell membrane even the blood brain barrier. Mostly memory & cognitive power enhancing medicines are ghee based.
Our body loves ghee because of its primary ingredient the butyric acid. Butryic acid is produced by the intestine on their own. The microbes of the gut breakdown the ingested fibre content in the food and convert them into butyric acid and this butyric acid supports the gut related immunity which delivers up to 80% of body’s overall immunity. The high concentration of butyric acid is believed to inhibit cancerous growth .Ghee is the most concentrated source of butyric acid.
Organic ghee is one of the highest natural sources of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) It is a special type of fat and has anti-oxidant property which promotes the healthy metabolism. which aids weight loss, prevents onset of diabetets with lowering insulin resistance .
The traditional ayurvedic cleansing technique known as panchakarma uses ghee for detox. It is given over series of morning in increasing amounts day after day.This ghee penetrates into nourishing and lubricating GI mucosa, stimulates biliary secretion and releasing more enzyme and hormones. It has lipophilic effect on other fatty acids and fatty toxins, it pulls out fat soluble toxins out of body. In ayurvedic terms, the vitiated doshas are pulled out and brought into the koshta for elimination. These wastes and toxins are brought back to the intestinal tractand expelled by procedures like vamana, virechana vasti, etc. This method also improves the ratio of HDL or good cholesterol to LDL the bad cholesterol.
Ghee has the ability to increase the level of fat soluble vitamins A,D,E,K in the blood by attracting them and making them digested along with itself. These micronutrients are important antioxidants and very essential for the healthy growth and development body as well as reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Ghee is the best oil for cooking and frying as it has the high smoke point and stable at high temperature.It doesnt break down to form deadly free radicals.It also has a long shelf lifeIts alkaline nature also helps to offset the acidity in the blood and maintain good health. According to Ayurveda, Ghee is the best among the four fats as it gets digests faster compared to others and also increases the digestive fire.
The benefits of using ghee is endless, consumption it on daily basis especially for children, old children and weak. It should be an essential ingredient in their food. The ingestion of Ghee is like offering the finest of fuels into the fires of digestion-Agni. Ghee is one of those dietary ingredients that can be consumed by all at all times. Make sure you add this in your life daily!
We found yet another extraordinary work by Dr.Vinarma Sharma: Toxicity Study of Suvarna Prashana in Albino Rats, KLE University.
Long term use of Suvarna Prashan has been recommended for neonate and claimed as a wide range of therapeutic efficacy in classics. Its modified form Swarnaprashana may have some unknown toxicity profile.This study was done to find out of possibility of toxicity of swarnaprashana.
The study shows that no sign of toxicity was observed in the chronic level of administration in Albino rats. No mortality and abnormal behaviour changes were found. Maximum increase in weight was observed in the Swarnaprashana group.
The present study shows that no signs of toxicity when used for longer term.
Today is Pushya Nakshatra, to administer Swarnaprashana (why?). Gold or swarna is the key elements in swarnaprashana. So we decided to write a detailed view about gold for the benefits of everyone.
Gold is the most loved and valued metal on earth. It is precious because of its uniqueness and wide applications. It is also an important metals for healing. The use of gold in medicine is seen throughout the history of civilization, especially in Indian and Chinese medicines. Edible form of gold is used in higher end form of food and beverages. Eating gold is always part of gastronomic luxury even today. Cosmetic industry uses gold in their premium products for anti-ageing.
The use of gold compounds in modern era began in twentieth century after the discovery of gold cyanide having bacteriostatic properties. The use of ant arthritic gold compounds have been in use since the introduction of the popular drug aura fin in 1985. Which is still one of the most effective drugs for reducing inflammation in joints the efficacy of gold in treatment of arthritis was better understood after Second World War. Subsequently gold therapy was introduced and now it is accepted as a part of medicine called chrysotherapy. The gold drugs were used in treatment of variety of arthritis and skin problems such as utricaria and psoriasis. The search for new therapeutic uses of gold other than rheumatoid arthritis has led to some interesting advances and achievement of major miles stones in cancer treatment.
Modern medicine and surgery finds lot of scope in its potential application most of the applications are largely related to the excellent biocompatibility and inertness of this versatile metal. Gold is resistant to bacterial infection and has been used in surgeries and implants that are at risk of infection. That is why our ancestors chose gold for piercing ears. Gold is radiopaque which means gold plated stents offer best visibility under X-ray, enabling them to be positioned accurately during surgery.
Nanotechnology is one of the most advanced technique in modern medicine. Gold nanoparticles possess vast potential for a variety of biomedical applications in imaging, diagnosis and therapeutics. Gold nanoparticles represent a major achievement in nanotechnology and milestone in cancer treatment. A potent anticancer compound attached to a gold nanoparticle can be delivered directly and accurately to a tumor without affecting the surrounding tissues. This is a major step forward towards cancer treatment.
Gold is used as nano particles in the form of colloidal gold, magnetic nano-gold particles, nano-gold sphere, nano-shell, nano-rods, gold cluster. Gold colloids are sold in market as mineral supplements that enhances brain function for sharper mental ability.
Ayurvedic medicines uses gold mainly in bhasma form. Bhasmas are one of the unique preparations in Ayurveda, they can be said to be one of the most ancient applications of nano-technology. Studies establish that these herbo-mineral formulations are nearer to nano-crystalline materials of modern era, similar in physico-chemical properties. The action of bhasmas can be compared to the bhasmas are readily absorbable, adaptable and assimilate without being toxic these attributes of bhasmas are comparable with the action of NPs in the body which are also biodegradable, biocompatible and non-antigenic in nature, Gold bhasma contains globular particles of gold with average size between 56 to 57nano metre. The gold bhasma and the gold nanoparticles prepared by modern method are quite comparable.
Swarna (gold) bhasma has been used in treatment of many diseases and for rejuvenation for ages. It is considered the best rejuvenators to improve longevity and prevent antiaging. This natural aphrodisiac is used in treatment of infertility and sexual weakness. It improves intelligence, memory, and speaking capacity. Impaired intelligence, loss of memory, pscychosis, epilepsy and many other nervous problems are treated with swarnabhasma. It increases digestion, and improves strength and immunity. Asthma, Malabsorption syndrome, dyspepsia, muscular weakness, general debility, and many other major illness involving Vata are treated using gold bhasma. The properties to improve metabolism of blood formation, digestion, assimilation, excretion and purification, and nervous coordination all the diseases of Vata and Kapha imbalance respond quickly to use of Swarna Bhasma. Swarna bhasma is usually given orally mixed with honey, ghee or milk.
In ancient text Ashtanga Hridaya Sutrasthana, it is mentioned that, if someone uses gold bhasma for a few months, the toxins cannot do any harm, just like a water drop that cannot touch the leaf of the lotus flower.
Gold posses lot of antioxidant properties and it is very beneficial for babies who were delivered with difficulty. During the process of delivery, oxidative stress to the baby and this can be relieved with the antioxidant properties of swarna bhasma in the swarnaprashana.
According to the acharyas, gold should be fed to the infant even before the breast milk secretion happens. Hence, it became a part of essential sixteen samskaras mentioned in ancient texts for pediatrics.
Do read our next article to know more about gold’s benefits (from a spiritual angle) in “Why do kings and queens wear golden crown?”
Further to the study by the SDM college of Ayurveda and Hospital, Hassan Karnataka, 30 children between the age group of 3-8 participated in the pilot clinical study. They were administered 1 ml swarnaprashana once daily for thirty days before food on empty stomach.
Symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections like cough, sleep disturbance, ronchi, tonsillitis, dyspnoea and pharyngitis were scored arbitrarily and noted before and after treatment.
- The infections reduced by 50-66%
- Sleep disturbance improved by 69.22%
We found an extraordinary journal published at International Journal of Research in Ayurveda and Pharmacy.
A multicentric public health initiative was conducted by the SDM college of Ayurveda and Hospital, Hassan Karnataka to understand and to note the preventive and promotive aspect of Swarnaprashana in children. It was conducted in their college and other identified swarnaprashana centres across Karnataka.
Over 3,14877 children participated in the public health initiative. Children aged between 0-16 years were administered swarnaprashana once in a month in 16 centers.
After the completion of 21 doses that is 21 months the results were assessed.
- 94.73% reported improvement in mental and physical health.
- 56.14% parents reported that the child is free from recurrent respiratory tract infections in past 6 months.
- 79.46% showed improvement in memory and concentration.
- 79.82% showed improvement in digestion related complaints.
Great work by respective people. Read the actual research journal here.
We are in mid of winter, many parents seems to worry more than other seasons. They all keep asking more questions about taking precaution. This trend is very good, an many people are looking for natural and alternative remedy to protect themselves and their family. But, apart from precaution, we can actually take advantage of winter season to keep our body healthy.
The positive side is, during winter the digestive capacity increases compared to other months. The food is digested faster. This is the good time to give kids heavy and nutritious food because there is active digestion and nutrient absorption happening naturally.
Ayurveda prescribes heavy food in winter because it provides sufficient heat and adequate nutrition which otherwise the digestive heat would start consuming the tissue elements of body for want adequate fuel.
- Foods that are unctuous, nourishing sweet, sour and salty in moderate amounts
- Meat soups, Honey, Cane juice, Raw rice or Rice flour based food, Payasm or Kheer, Cheese, Milk, Yogurt, Traditional fried snacks like Chikli, Atirasam, sweets and desserts, Fruit juices, Fruit salad,etc.
- Dehydration – Take sufficient amount of liquids. In winter, Stimulation of thirst will be reduced in winter season
- Constipation – drink more water and ea rich in fibers
- Avoid cold items like ice creams
Best time to do Oil massage
Oil massages are important in winter. It helps preventing dryness, retains enough moisture, promotes digestion, helps to get good sleep. The most important factor to be remembered is after taking oil bath heavy food should be taken during winter. Traditionally meat preparation were consumed after oil bath. Dry skin is common problem in children, this can be avoided by giving them oil bath weekly twice.
- Heavy food that is sweet, fatty and sour, that is warm
- Oil bath followed by heavy meal
- Weekly twice oil massages
- Drink more warm water
- Food rich in fiber
- Avoid exposure to dry and cold air
Enjoy the winter!
Immunity is one of the main benefits of swarna prashana. Many parents ask us or assume a lot about immunity; so, we decided to give a detailed version of Immunity from an ayurvedic point of view.
Immunity, as everyone knows, is the capacity of the body to fight against the disease, the concept of which is well explained in Ayurveda.
The 2 main principles of Ayurveda are,
“Swasthasya swasthya rakshanam;
Which means, to protect health of the healthy and relieve the suffering of the sufferer.
Theory of Immunity
Immunity in ayurveda is called vyadhi kshamathwam. Vyadhi means disease and Kshamatwa means tolerance.
“व्याधिक्षमत्वं नाम व्याधिबल-विरोधित्वम् व्याध्युत्पादकप्रतिबन्धकत्वमिति यावत् I”
Vyadhikshmatvam nama vyadhi bala virodhitwan vyadhiutpadhaka prathibhadakatwamll -Chakrapani
Immunity or Vyadhikshamatva means the capacity of body to act against diseases. Vyadhibala virodhitwam as well as capability of preventing diseases Vyadhiutpadhaka prathibhadakatwam
These both sub-types of vyadhikshamatva can be related to the non-specific and specific immunity of the present day.
Whenever we talk about immunity, we mean the prevention against all disease. The preventive medicine was given equal importance along with treatment of diseases.
Western medicine, which focuses on specific infections or diseases (like polio rubella), depends highly on immunizations and boosters to prevent diseases, whereas Ayurveda deals in just balancing the state of body and mind.
The modern medicines define immunity as the state of having sufficient biological defences to avoid infection, disease, or other unwanted biological invasion where as Ayurveda mentions about stopping the manifestation of disease along with fighting the disease. It includes the preventive and curative aspect too.
When there is a balance state of tridoshas, five senses working normally, mind body and consciousness functioning in blissful harmony, with proper function of digestive fire, and few other factors, he is considered to be a healthy and with good immunity.
How does the immune system work according to Ayurveda
The concept of immunity in Ayurveda is explained through many factors like the vital strength Bala and the vital energy of life Ojus that are responsible for the normal functioning of body and mind.
What is Bala and ojus?
These are the complementary forces and power in the body which are responsible for the prevention of disease and maintaining condition of good health and mind. Stamina or vital strength is Bala. Ojus is the vital essence of all the seven tissues in our body.
Bala or the vital strength is that which can be called as the outcome of the equilibrium of tridoshas and this is achieved through the ojus the vital essence of all the tissues. To make it simpler the Bala depends on the Ojus for its maintenance. Or the function of Ojas is to generate Bala. From the treatment point of view both Bala and ojus are the same. In short the immunity is the external manifestation of the Bala and this bala is responsible for the healthy functioning of mind and body of the individual.
Many a times though people have good knowledge about immunity and health when it comes to their children some of their doubts are left unanswered always.. Here are few of them and answers to them from Ayurveda
Why people fall sick even after taking healthy food?
Though some people follow healthy routine including good sleep, exercise, balanced food, suffer ill health whereas some people who do not follow any of these manage to live healthy. The reason is the bala and ojus. If the body is having a depleted amount of ojus and sareerabala, it is not capable of withstanding the strength of disease-causing factors.
The conditions when Bala or Ojus are depleted is explained in the following questions
What factors affect the Immunity or influence the condition of Bala and Ojas?
Various factors contribute towards immunity. They are normal doshas, equilibrium state of dhatus (bodily tissues), normal agni (digestive fire), patency of srotas (microchannels) etc.
Following are the factors that determine the condition of Bala and Ojas, which affects the immune status:
- Birth place – Being born in a region where people are naturally healthy or strong has a direct impact on the बल of a person. For instance, birth in Jangala desha or dry arid areas considered to be most beneficial than humid and marshy areas
- Healthy pedigree – birth in a family without any family history of immunodeficient disorders
- Time of birth – birth at a time when strength of people is naturally in the highest, the visarga kala. This is when the sun moves towards the southward direction, the moon is powerful and producing cold and pleasant atmosphere
- Favourable time – Favourable time in ones’ life brings happiness and enhancement of Bala
- Excellence in qualilty of sperm and ovum – The quality of the Beeja (the sperm and ovum) and Kshetra (the place where the foetus grows) have direct impact on the health of the offspring. This plays a very important role in building up the innate immunity with which the baby is born
- Excellence of diet – Wholesome food increases the bala. Ayurveda also explains eight factors to achieve wholesomeness of food
- Excellence of physique (sharirasampat) – Strong and compact built body type, the body parts in proper proportion and compactness of body parts are the factors indicating good Bala
- Excellence of suitability or adapted food and other habits – Wholesome food and other habits adapted in daily give good health. In fact, these proper habits can enhance the immunity and can be called as acquired immunity
- Excellence of mind – A Satvic (calm and balanced) mind promotes good health. When the individual is confronted with different negative emotions and stress, it affects his health too
- Strength of the individual – Refers to the characteristic Bala of an individual
- Youth – When one is young, naturally all the tissues are in the fully nurtured state and there will increase of Bala and hence immunity
- Activities – The physical activities the person is involved with like exercises, yoga, etc.
- Joyous atmosphere – When a person lives in a happy atmosphere keeping himself away from worries, anxiety, etc., there is increase of Bala or the vital strength
Who fall sick?
Those not having good bala, good defense mechanism, when the tissues are not properly nourished, and people having weak satwabala (because mind and body are interdependent), the person is prone to fall sick.
Persons obese, emaciated, weak, whose muscles and blood are diminished, debilitated, overconsumption of food and underconsumption of food with weak mental faculty are also prone to fall sick.
How to know if a person has enough Bala or Ojas
Generally the person who having good ojus looks satisfied has good complexion and strong body. Ojus provides strength, nutrition and satisfaction to the body and mind.
Susruta says a person with medium body will have the maximum strength.He is able to perform any activities,able to tolerate hunger, thirst,cold,hot,sun, rain,wind.
Charaka indicates that the bala is considered as the physical and mental strength of the individual and bala can be assessed by the ten attributes dasa vidha athura bala pareeksha as mentioned by Acharya Charaka
- Ahara shakti
- Vyayama shakti
- Vaya shakthi
Vagbhatta explains that physician should examine all above ten factors to understand the strength of his patients and treat them accordingly.
How to Boost Immunity
Immunity is achieved naturally by birth and acquired by other means. Ayurveda focuses on three major areas to increase the immunity.
- Rasayana and Vajeekaranas
Food which is easily digestible, wholesome, sweet, unctuous, cold in temperament increases ojas People who are used to take ghee, gingelly oil, milk, meat soups and food with all the six tastes always have good strength and capable of doing heavy tasks and live long life Ayurveda recommends milk, curd, ghee, meat soups, rice, red rice, fruits, wine and other herbs that increase the natural vital strength to be used. It also mentioned that for management of immune deficiency these herbs processed, milk, meat soups should be used along with food.
There are many specific code of conducts or practices in Ayurveda for all age group like things to be followed in different seasons etc.Food and activities have to followed accordingly to prevent disease and maintain good physical and mental health.These activities describes how to lead your life from to death for in healthy and peaceful way. Some of them are:
- For the welfare of pregnant women and desired offspring – follow garbhini masanumasic paricharya and punshavana karma
- To promote health of infant- Lehana Karma, various medhya rasayana (memory enhancing drugs)
- To perform the daily activities in a healthy way -Dinacharya
- Taking care of health in different seasons-Rtucharya
- Understanding the three important aspects of our life- The three pillar of our life-Tryoupastambhas- Food ,Sleep and Healthy sexlife
- Adopting sodhana (Panchkarma) according to ritu in healthy person
- Meditation for spritual growth
- Exercises- Daily exercise of up to 50% of one’s exertion capacity enhances digestion, strengthens tissue metabolism and promotes immunity
- Wholesome Diet-Regular meals with all the six tasteshelp to prepare the body for a time of nourishment by inceasing appetite and enhancing digestion
- The sixteen samskaras esp the jatakarma,karnavedana,annaprashana induce immunity
Rasayana and Vajeekarana
The various herbs diet regimen that increase longevity by delaying aging and preventing diseases can be called as Rasayan. The Ojas promoting herbs or rasayana and vajikarana yogas fulfills the deficiencies and improve the condition of the seven dhatus.
Use of rasayanas results in disease-free long life (dirghamaayu), smiriti (recapitulating power), medha, aarogyam (healthy well being), tarun vaya (youthfulness), prabha, varna (complexion), voice, strength etc.
Rasayana and vajikarana are immensely helpful in treating immunodeficient disorders.
Some of the popular rasayanas that are commonly used are Chyavanprash, Brahmarasayan, Kushmandarasayan, Triphala, etc. Some food items if taken daily are the best rasayana for eg: Ghee, millk, gingelly oil.
How can we enhance immunity in children?
In Ayurvedic mentions countless formulations for adults and children. A special formulation by the name of Lehana was mentioned in all the major texts to enhance immunity mainly for children. Lehana means intake of medicine by licking. Powders of herbs, gold bhasma, were mixed with honey and ghee were given to children. They were also processed into medicated ghee and given. Lehana is the easiest method to give medicine to children from newborn baby to elder children.
Some of the lehanas given with gold to infants are
- Svaran bhasm with kustha (Saussurea lappa), vacha (Acorus calamus), madhu (honey) & ghrita
- Svaran bhasm with paste of brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), sankhpuspi (Convolvulus pluricaulis), with honey & ghrita
- Svaran bhasm, arkpushpi, vacha, honey & ghrita
- Svaran bhasm, khaidarya, sweta durva, etc.
Swarnaprashana -The first immunization
The first lehana was given immediately after birth even before umbilical cord was cut and breast fed by mother. This was followed as a ritual and one among the sixteen samskaras. Gold was rubbed with honey and ghee and given to the baby by the father. This is known Swarnaprashana-the first immunisation. The antioxidative properties of swarnabhasma helps to cope with the oxidation stress the baby went through during the labour. It provide general immunity, prevents infections, helpful in growth & development & enhancing the intelligence.