By: Vaidya Mishra
Have you ever wondered why despite our increasing medical expertise health issues and epidemics are growing? How the world seems to be getting sicker despite our technological know-how? It is true that life expectancy has increased, but have you noticed how we are living longer yet sicker? We now have longer disease-laden years where we depend on at least one medication. Taking medicines, despite their lethal side effects, has become the norm rather than the exception. How many friends or family members do you have who do not at least take one medicine for cholesterol? For blood pressure? For heartburn? For migraines? For muscular pain? For sleep problems? And the list goes on…
Is it supposed to be like this? Where is the happy healthy world we were promised in so many ancient texts by the ancient seers? Were they wrong? Can’t we do anything about it all?
All the ayurvedic shastras or ancient texts say that if digestion (Agni- Vyapar), or metabolism, is compromised, then ama or toxic residue results. Normally, the metabolic processes in the physiology operating on all the gross and more subtle tissue levels should result in the total transformation of food materials. The ingested food goes through different levels and is broken down to nourish the tissues, rebuild the cells, and re-generate energy in the physiology to support ongoing activity. If metabolism is compromised, and this can happen due to several factors, then instead of getting energized and nourished by your food, you will experience fatigue, sluggishness, sadness, and more unwanted symptoms. Ama is simply food that was not fully or properly digested, that is left to hang around here and there interfering with your body’s proper functioning.
If you do not remedy the production of ama, if you do not find a way to evacuate it, burn it up by eating more agneya or digestive foods such as ginger, or spices, then this ama gets to sit around in your physiology (it can accumulate in your belly, in your waist, in your thighs, etc) it ferments and becomes more and more toxic. Like the kitchen trash that you get too lazy to throw out! You let it sit there for days and days, and a couple of weeks later, it smells so bad you don’t even want to open the receptacle to throw out the nasty acidic fermented trash! When ama is left to site undisturbed in your body, it turns into amavisha or poisonous toxins that are sharp and reactive in nature. When ama becomes amavisha, it disturbs every performance of the cellular system, DNA, the source Agni at the molecular level, creates inflammation that can result in numerous diseases.
In our bodies, the primary site of transformation of particularly our food and drink is in the stomach. Whenever we eat or drink anything, we are directly filling our stomach. What happens in the stomach? There are three primary energies or properties at play in our stomachs. One of the first lessons of Ayurveda explains that the physiology is governed by the dosha-s or the bodily equivalents of the cosmic creational elements of Soma, Agni, and Marut : Vata , Pitta, and Kapha. The interplay of Soma, Agni, and Marut in the universe is translated in our bodies as the activities of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha and all their sub-dosha-s, that is their sub-functions. Our stomachs, house one of each sub-doshic function, namely: Samana Vata, Pachak Pitta, and Kledak Kapha. Samana Vata is what keeps the mobility in our stomachs, Pachak Pitta supplies the fuel for cooking the food, and Kledak Kapha acts like the lubricating agent so that the mixture will not burn, as if it were being cooked on a raw pan without oil or water!
These three subdoshas are primarily responsible for proper digestion. What does proper digestion mean? It means: totally ama free digestion. Why is this so important? Because the primary outcome of digestion is Rasa dhatu, or the first tissue also known as the lymph tissue.
This first level or byproduct of digestion serves as the raw material for all other six dhatus. All other six bodily tissues depend on this first level for their existence! If the first level is faulty or problematic – if you eat less food than you are supposed to, or if you eat toxic food, or eat too much food than your body can handle – then that problem gets transmitted down to all the levels. So if ama is being produced in the rasa dhatu, then that ama will be carried over to all the other dhatus or tissues. And this is exactly why one of the synonyms of roga, or disease, is amaya. Many rishis repeat: no ama no disease.
Sadly, in this day and age, there are many hetu-s, or etiological factors, that create ama in rasa dhatu. It is true that our awareness of eating practices has improved, that it is common knowledge nowadays to discuss the ingestion of “proper” food items (definitions tend to differ based on points of view), “proper” quantities (again, opinion tends to differ much on what can be considered proper quantity for all), and “proper” timing. Despite the proliferation of formulas and recipes taunted to be the best for your perfect digestion, our condition does not seem to improve. This is partially due to the fact that the understanding of the human physiology is not as complete and thorough as the one offered in the ancient ayurvedic shastras. The understanding of the relationship between the food we ingest and how it impacts not only our immediate needs but the overall health and production of our tissues and organs is very little understood. Eating food that will results in ama-free digestion and production of rasa dhatu and all subsequent dhatus for perfect blissful health remains a mystery to western science. But it is not only food that can hamper digestion. There can be a variety of factors. Foremost amongst these, yes! You guessed it: stress.
Consider, for example, the following condition, where an individual is familiar with ayurvedic precepts, and maintains a proper ayurvedic diet, but is still having digestive issues and health problems. How could this be? It is important to determine the primary hetu or etiological factor of the condition. In this case, the hetu could be none other than stress.
How does stress aggravate your digestion and impact your overall health?
According to Ayurveda, mental stress aggravates prana vata. Prana vata is the master vata dosha. It is located in the head. It is in direct relation to samana vata, located in the stomach. Samana vata is the balancing factor that keeps all other 4 vata subdoshas in check, including prana. In this day and age, due to the overload of mental activity or pressure, nine out of 10 people’s prana vata is out of balance. When prana vata is out of balance, the entire energy that circulates in the spine goes off.
When one subdosha goes off, the others may try to come to the rescue to salvage the situation. In this case, the primary vata subdosha, samana vata, that is located in the stomach, tries to assist prana vata. But by doing so, it loses its primary function of balancing the stomach’s energy, and particularly of keeping the balance between pachak pitta and kledak kapha.
Samana vata works closely with the other four vata doshas, even though prana vata is the master dosha. If it goes out of balance, the other four follow suit. But if any of the four are also compromised, then samana vata tries to compensate for them, and this also throws it off its track. This is why mentally stressed people do not feel hunger even at lunchtime when, according to the ayurvedic shastras, everyone should experience most hunger.
The relationship between your stomach and your mind take place on a subtle vibrational level. So much so, that if someone experiences lack of appetite and goes to a medical doctor or ayurvedic physician to remedy their eating problems, it is common to find that they are not able to correct the condition without unsettling the rest of the physiology, and even then at the price of side-effects. With the ayurvedic practitioner, for example, you may get a prescription of agneya appetizing herbs and spices such as ginger, cumin, black pepper, ajwain. While these spices will physically enhance your appetite when ingested in the form of a tea or powder mix or churna/masala, they will only aggravate the condition, because the hetu or root cause for the lack of appetite lies elsewhere. Even though it is true that samana vata has been thrown off and has slowed down digestion, adding more agni to the stomach will make the stomach hot, burn off the kledak kapha by increasing the pachak pitta and this in turn will throw samana vata off even more, and will impact the prana vata even further, making the person even more stressed out and anxious!So physically ingesting these herbs or spices to fix the appetite in this condition could be risky for high pitta-high agni, or pitta aggravated types.
Another example is if someone has hyper acidity in the stomach, or if someone’s sadhak pitta emotional balance is off, it can create bigger problems by further aggravating these subdoshas. Worse case scenario: such a recommendation can create high pitta-low agni or high agni-low pitta. So what can be done? Of course, taking calming herbs to restore balance to the prana vata is essential. Eliminating the source of stress is also the first thing to do. But sometimes, even after eliminating the hetu, it is hard to restore the balance in the stomach. What to do then?
The SVA tradition has innovated the use of vibrational energy for practical ends. While the ingestion of physical herbs and spices has an immediate effect on the physiology, it comes at a price and side- effects when not handled with proper care. So in this case, the vibrational energy of the herbs and spices (which are calming, balancing, and open the channels at the same time) helps without any side-effects.
Vaidya Mishra’s latest new formulation for vibrational herbal support is a transdermal cream called Pro-Pachaka . The Pachaka pitta subdosha is located in the stomach and is the powerful factor that digests the soma in our food. It is a powerful part of the digestion process, but it does not stand alone. It works in cooperation with samana vata (controls the timing and quantity of digestive enzymes) and kledaka kapha (mucous lining that protects the stomach tissues and balances the pitta in the stomach) to digest the food in a balanced way without harming the body. This complex system can easily loose its balance in today’s world.
If pachaka pitta is too weak for the food we eat, the digestive process creates ama (undigested food particles). This ama can create a host of problems if it is not cleared properly from the body. Pro-Pachaka will help the pachaka pitta regain its balanced state so that the ama will not be created in the digestive process.
Vaidya Mishra has developed this formula based on the knowledge that was imparted to him through his father, Vaidya Kameshwar Mishra, who taught him that pachaka pitta was an integrated part of digestion. One cannot focus directly on the pachak pitta or it will throw off the other two subdoshas that are present there, namely kledaka kapha and samana vata . The way to balance pachaka is to open the nadis (vibrationally intelligent channels), balance samana vata, and through the natural intelligence of samana vata, pachaka will come back into balance without disturbing the integrity of kledaka kapha. So what’s in the cream?
Ingredients Capsicum annum: Opens the physical channels of the body. Black Cardamom: Supports protein metabolism, encourages healthy agni or metabolic fire. Cumin: Enhances absorption, burns ama (toxins from undigested food particles), supports digestion and metabolism without overheating the system. Black Pepper: Opens the micro and macro channels of the body and brain, enhances the oxygenation in the channels of the brain, supports the kidney channels. Ajwain: Opens the tough physical channels, even if they are blocked with ama, unclouding the digestive system. Ginger: Supports digestion, burns ama without overheating the system. Grapefruit and Sweet Orange: Natural anti-oxidants that help preserve the subtle qualities of the herbs. In a base of Shea Butter and Beeswax: excellent lipid soluble bases
Directions: Apply on the stomach area and close your eyes sit down quietly. Application method: clockwise 7 times gentle touch massage to your stomach. The blocked samana vata will probably be evacuated through udana vata (located in the chest) and this may lead you to burp. If you do not burp, depending on different factors, apply the same cream on your lower spine/back area. In addition, add to 4 oz of water, 2 drops of pro-pachaka Nectar (same ingredients except for Ajwain instead of Capsicum, in a vegetable glycerin base).
Drink this slowly.
If you are not hungry or you have slow digestion after eating a meal, whether big or small, the cream and drops will either increase your hunger or support your digestion by balancing your samana vata. By balancing samana vata you are also pacifying all the other vata sub-doshas, including prana vata. This will result in better overall feeling and better satiation after lunch. You can use the cream and the nectar drops after breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
You can also add this for EMF management and/or mental stress. Same principes apply in both cases. However, if you are experiencing emotional challenges, this hetu will create a different pathogenic circle, or samprapti. Emotional stress aggaravates sadhak pitta which is located in the heart, then sadhak pitta aggravates pachak pitta. Pachak pitta is the master pitta sub-dosha just like prana vata is the master vata sub-dosha.
In such situations, sometimes high pitta-high agni, too much hunger or too much uncontrollable craving for sweets can occur. If too much digestive fire is present, it can also result in amavisha. This has to be avoided or corrected as well.
In this situation, Pro-Pachaka transdermal cream can also help by opening the channels of the stomach and diffusing the accumulation of heat and distributing it evenly. Eating some good sweet fruits, such as stewed pears, or some other good healthy sweet.
If you are experiencing low agni-high kledak kapha, due to your body type or heavy kapha weather, or you ate a heavy meal, or due to the lack of exercise, then you can use the SVA Mango Ginger pickle, or make a mixture with some freshly shredded ginger, freshly squeezed lime juice and a pinch of Soma Salt. However, if your channels, particularly the physical and vibrational channels are clogged, and they have some heat stuck in between, then consuming spicy or heating food materials will not be recommended. In this case, the Pro-Pachaka cream and Nectar drop will help best, because they open the channels safely, cleaning the gaps, the burners.
But remember: all these tips do not substitute proper food intake, at the right time. Those are always the prerequisites. Bon appétit!
About Vaidya Mishra:
He holds a GAMS (Graduate of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery) degree from Bihar University and a Sanskrit degree from KSD University. Upon completing his formal institutional education he interned with his father, Kameshwar Mishra, for seven years, mastering the art and science of diagnosis and specialized remedy formulation as handed down in his ancestral lineage.
©Adishakt, LLC 2012. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. It has not been evaluated by the FDA> If you have a medical condition consult with your medical physician for proper care.