Ayurvedic Remedies for Obesity
In Ayurveda underweight and overweight are signs that the vata, pitta, and kapha systems are out of balance. This can happen irrespective of how much or how little food you eat. Weight control problems happen when your food intake is not balanced by a proper digestion or metabolism.
Overweight or obesity is mostly found in people with predominantly kapha-type constitutions. This dosha is composed of water and earth. When it is imbalanced, the heavy characteristics of these elements become exaggerated.
However, obesity can be found in people with the other two doshas also. For example, people with pitta dosha are generally of medium build. But they can suffer from poor digestion if their digestive fire is too low because they have burned themselves out. As a result, food isn't processed properly, and that, in turn, can result in weight gain or obesity.
For people with vata dosha the problem generally is that of underweight rather than overweight. They cannot properly absorb nutrients. However, they can become overweight when imbalanced if they attempt to eat sweet, oily foods in an attempt to calm their vata imbalance.
The Ayurvedic approach to achieving your ideal weight is based on taking a realistic look at your body type and what it can be, and then nourishing it back to natural health. It is about getting to know your body and becoming in tune with its rhythms.
In Ayurveda, you will permanently reset your mind-body's ability to regulate itself by calming the nervous system, enhancing your digestive fires, and regulating the storage of energy and fat.
In Ayurveda, there is no universal approach to solving problems. Strategies are designed for each person after a careful analysis of the condition of the person - mind, body, and the soul. The specific approach depends on the dosha of the person.
In general, the doctor will advise you to:
1. Follow a Daily Lifestyle Regimen and diet for your constitution.
2. Increase your intake of foods that enhance your digestive fire.
The foods that are especially beneficial are:
Dark, bitter greens
Other Strategies to increase your digestion include:
Sip hot water throughout the day.
Fast one day a week on liquids. You may have fruit or vegetable juices, warm skim milk, light soups, teas, etc.
Drink ginger tea 2-3 times per day.
Chew a thin slice of fresh ginger root a few minutes before meals. Or grate a little ginger, mix with some lemon juice and salt, and eat a pinch or two.
Use herbs and spices that are primarily pungent (spicy), bitter, or astringent. Common useful spices include: cumin, ginger, mustard seed, cayenne, and black pepper. Use them generously in your cooking.
Use Ayurvedic herbs such as gotu kola, amalaki, and shilajit in powder or capsule form.
Exercise regularly according to your body type.
3. Reconnect with your inner self and your present life.
How do I feel?
What weight do I want to be?
Am I hungry for something other than food?
Am I using food to fill a void that is created by being unsatisfied emotionally or psychologically?
Am I nourishing all my senses?
4. Eliminate ama
All the above measures for stimulating the digestive process are also effective for reducing ama, which by definition is a byproduct of inefficient or incomplete digestion. Ama tends to clog up the circulatory, lymph, and other channels of the body. People who are overweight almost always have an excess of ama in their bodies. Getting rid of the body of its ama is a primary strategy of Ayurvedic treatment.
According to Deepak Chopra, M.D., "It is highly impractical to treat any imbalance of the physiology when ama is present-and it is extremely difficult, perhaps impossible, to lose weight. This is why so many people who have limited their diets to the point of virtual starvation still have failed to accomplish their goals. Therefore it's essential to take practical steps to eliminate ama in order to lose weight and keep it off permanently. Ama is, quite simply, a key in the pathogenesis of obesity. After all, one of the principal qualities of ama is heaviness."
The following herbs and compounds are effective in reducing ama:
Ayurvedic herbal compounds trikatu (a combination of equal parts of black pepper, ginger, and pippali or Indian long pepper)
Tripbala (a combination of amalaki, bibbitaki, and haritaki)
Guggulu - Take this in combination with triphala.
5. Relaxation and oxygen
Relaxation and oxygen are two nutrients essential to achieving balance in your life. Practice yoga, meditation, and pranayama (breathing exercises) daily. (For more recommendations on relaxation, please visit holisticonline.com Stress Management Infocenter.
Exercise is very important. Use a form that is most beneficial for your dosha.
Vata types need movement with a gentle pace, such as tai chi, many forms of yoga, and perhaps a light amount of dance aerobics and resistance training (weights).
Pitta types do best with challenging and vigorous hikes surrounded by green nature and blue skies, and competitive sports.
Kapha types require very vigorous activity, such as running, dancing, hiking, swimming, and triathlons.
Ayurvedic Herbal Remedy
To stimulate weight loss, Ayurvedic physicians generally prescribe a light diet, fasting, spicy herbs to stimulate digestion, mild laxatives, and tonic herbs such as guggul.
Take a teaspoon of guggul two or three times a day mixed with ginger and honey.
Combine 1 part each chitrak (Plumbago zeylonica), kukti, and trikatu. Take 1/2 teaspoon of this herbal blend with a mouthful of warm water. Swish around your mouth, and swallow.
Take this herbal remedy once a day if you are less than 20 pounds overweight. Take twice a day if you are more than 20 pounds overweight.
This herbal remedy is recommended for everyone irrespective of their dosha. Supplement it with dosha-specific remedies given below.
Vata Therapies for Overweight
o Taste: Choose bitter, pungent, and astringent tastes, such as those found in the spring churna. Add sweet taste in the form of rice and dates. Add a little oil to your foods.
o Smell. Essential oils with sweet, warm aromas help calm vata and your nervous system, so choose jasmine, clove, rose, cinnamon, and orange scents for your aromatherapy.
o Sight. The color yellow-green is recommended.
o Hearing. Listen to the late-afternoon raga or music between 4 PM and 7 P.M.
o Touch: Get daily full-body oil massage (abhyanga).
Combine 3 drops of rose essential oil with 2 teaspoons sesame or almond oil. Apply this to your wrist and to the back of the head where the skull meets the neck bones (occipital ridge).
Pitta Therapies for Overweight
o Taste: Emphasize bitter, pungent, and astringent tastes, such as those found in the spring churna. Eat plenty of bitter foods such as bitter melon, dark green leafy vegetables, bitter lettuces such as arugula, and tart apples.
o Smell. Use essential oils with sweet, cool aromas such as honeysuckle, mint, and jasmine scents for your aromatherapy.
o Sight. The color indigo blue is recommended.
o Hearing. Listen to the midmorning raga or music between the hours of 10 A.M. and 1 PM.
o Touch: Give yourself a 10- minute garshana (dry) massage every morning using a silk glove.
Kapha Therapies for Overweight
o Taste: Bitter, pungent, and astringent tastes are recommended. Ginger and spring-churna are especially recommended.
Recommended Drink: Mix the juice of 5 large slices of fresh pineapple with the juice of 2 slices of hot peppers, pimentos, or paprika.
Herbal remedy: Mix 1 part each turmeric, triphala, and trikatu with 2 parts honey; take 1/8 teaspoon once a day with 1/2 cup of warm water.
oSmell. Warm, spicy aromas help stimulate kapha to burn fat. Recommended essential oils: eucalyptus, pine, musk, and sage.
o Sight.- The color red is recommended to stimulate sluggish kapha.
o Hearing. Listen to the sunset raga or music between the hours of 7PM and 10 P.M.
o Touch: Get a daily dry massage (garshana) using a silk glove. It is very stimulating. Make an herbal paste of 1 part millet and 1/2 part each dashmoola and bala (Sida cordifolia) mixed with a little spring water. Rub this vigorously onto your skin wherever you have fatty deposits, then rinse.
Herbs for Reducing Obesity
Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)
Aloe vera juice improves digestion and cleanses the digestive tract.
Astragalus (Astragalus gummifer)
Astragalus increases energy and improves nutrient absorption.
Caution: Do not use this herb in the presence of a fever.
Bee pollen stimulates the metabolism and helps to curb appetite. Take up to 1 teaspoon daily.
Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus)
Bladderwrack contain iodine, which helps to enhance thyroid function. Dosage: Take 150 milligrams at breakfast and another 150 milligrams lunch for two months.
Caution: Check with your doctor before taking this herb if you have a thyroid disorder, high blood pressure, or heart problems. If you are allergic to shellfish and/ or sensitive to iodine, do not take this herb. Also do not take kelp and bladderwrack at the same time.
Brewer's yeast will help to reduce various cravings for food and drink.
Chickweed (Stellaria media)
This herb a great folk reputation for shedding weight.
You can eat it raw in salads. Alternately, you can steam it and eat it like a vegetable. For a great weight loss salad, mix chickweed, dandelion, evening primrose, stinging nettle (cooked and cooled), plantain and purslane. Add this to your regular salad.
Coconut oil, extracted from coconuts, is a rich source for medium chain triglycerides. Medium chain triglycerides (MCTS) are special types of saturated fats separated out from coconut oil that range in length from six to twelve carbon chains. Unlike regular fats, MCTs do not appear to cause weight gain; they actually promote weight loss.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Dandelion may flush out the kidneys, boost metabolism, and off- set a craving for sweets. Eat the leaves raw in a salad or make a tea by boiling 2 to 3 tsp of the root in a cup of water for I 0 to 15 minutes. Drink three times a day.
Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis).
This herb is a good source for tryptophan which is believed to help in weight loss. Take a half-teaspoon of evening primrose oil three times a day.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Fennel removes mucus and fat from the intestinal tract, and is a natural appetite suppressant.
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
Fenugreek is useful for dissolving fat within the liver.
Green Tea (Camellia sinensis)
Green tea enhances the ability of the body to burn fat. Choose a standardized extract containing 50 percent catechin and 90 percent total polyphenols and take 300 milligrams thirty minutes before breakfast and another thirty minutes before lunch. Do not take more.
Guggul (Commiphora mukul)
This is a popular herb used in Ayurveda. Guggul is frequently recommended by Ayurveda practitioners for weight control in addition to use in lowering cholesterol. In clinical trials, intake of guggul derivatives regularly for three months results in four times the weight loss compared to placebo.
Dosage: 2.25 grams twice a day
Kelp (Fucus spp.)
Kelp is a type of seaweed that’s rich in antioxidant vitamins and iodine. It is believed to stimulate a hormone produced by the thyroid gland that’s responsible for boosting metabolism, so you’ll burn more calories by the hour. You can also get other kinds of seaweed in your diet by adding them to soups and salads. Kelp is very useful for thyroid-related obesity.
Dosage: Take 300-1,500 mg daily as directed on the label.
Caution: Check with your doctor before taking kelp if you have a thyroid disorder, high blood pressure, or heart problems.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Licorice root strengthens the adrenal glands, thus helping to sustain a regulated blood-sugar level and reduce cravings for sweets. Licorice tastes sweet.
Dose: Take a cup of licorice daily, one week out of every month for up to three months. Licorice can also be added to other teas to sweeten them.
Caution: Do not take licorice by itself on a daily basis for more than five days at a time, as it can elevate blood pressure. Do not take it at all if you have high blood pressure. This herb should be used with caution. Check the herbal database for other important safety information.
Malabar tamarind (Gareinia cantbogia)
The Malabar tamarind is a yellowish fruit that is about the size of an orange, with a thin skin and deep furrows similar to an acorn squash. It is native to southern India, where it is dried and used extensively in curries (especially fish). It looks black when dried.
The dried fruit of Malabar Tamarind contains about thirty percent hydroxycitric acid. It is a powerful lipogenic inhibitor. (Lipogenic inhibitor is a substance which helps prevent the production of fat.)
In animal studies, hydroxycitrate has been shown to be a powerful inhibitor of fat formation. One study showed that hydroxycitrate produced a "significant reduction in food intake, and body weight gain" in rats. The results in humans are not yet proven.
In addition to inhibiting the production of fat, hydroxycitrate may also suppress appetite.
Note that hydroxycitrate only inhibits the conversion of carbohydrates into fat. It will have no effect if a high-fat diet is consumed.
Recommended Dosage: 500 mg three times per day. Take it along with a supplement of Chromium for best results.
Pineapple (Ananas comosus)
Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which helps digest both proteins and fats.
Herbalist Dr. Duke reported that one person in Costa Rica lost 100 pounds by eating one whole fresh pineapple per day. Pineapple is loaded with nutrition, and is also great for your digestion.
Plantain or psyllium (Plantago)
Psyllium is the seed of Plantain. Metamucil is a commercial product that contain psyllium.
Herbalists say that the weight-loss effect of plantain and psyllium is related to the spongy fiber (mucilage) in the seeds and to specific chemicals (polyphenols) in the leaves.
In one Italian study, scientists gave women who were seriously obese (over 60 percent over their recommended weight) three grams of plantain in water 30 minutes before meals. The plantain group lost more weight than a similar group of women who simply cut back on their diet.
Dose: Take a teaspoonful of psyllium mixed well with a glass of juice or water. Take it before each meal.
Caution: If you are allergic to this herb, stop its use immediately.
Red pepper (Capsicum), Hit Mustard, and other hot spices
Scientists have found that people who took hot spicy foods (adding a teaspoon of red-pepper sauce and a teaspoon of mustard to meal) raised their metabolic rates by as much as 25 percent. The hot spice also stimulates thirst, so you drink more liquids that also helps in gaining less weight.
Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus Senticosus)
Siberian ginseng helps to stabilize blood sugar and reduce cravings for sweets. It is also a natural energizer.
Dose: Choose a standardized extract containing 0.5 percent eleutheroside E and take 100 milligrams daily, two weeks out of every month, for up to three months.
Caution: Do not use if you have high blood pressure.
A study of more than 25,000 Seventh-Day Adventists showed that those who ate the most nuts were the least obese. Walnuts are rich in serotonin. Serotonin is shown to make us feel full; so we eat less as a result.
The following herbs are helpful for those with signs of coldness:
The following herbs are helpful for those with signs of heat:
Diet Therapy for Obesity
Nutritional and diet therapy are the first line of defense against weight gain used by many people.
In general, the treatment involves eating differently, not eating less. There are many dieting approaches that use different ways to manipulate our intake of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Here are some sensible guidelines.
Eat the proper foods. Rotate your foods. Eat a variety of foods. Eat meals that consist of a balance of proteins, complex carbohydrates, and some fat. Proteins can increase your metabolic rate by as much as 30 percent, and help to balance the release of insulin by prompting secretion of the pancreatic hormone glucagon. Protein-induced glucagon mobilizes fats from the tissues in which it is stored, thus aiding in weight loss. By eating balanced meals you get more steady blood sugar levels and the ability to burn stored body fat for long-term weight loss.
Incorporate high-fiber and unrefined complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains because the body is less successful digesting these and feels full sooner than with refined carbohydrates, such as sugar and white flour.
Eat raw or lightly cooked vegetables
Consume protein with low amounts of saturated fat, including dry peas and beans.
Eat your main meal in the middle of the day, when you will burn off more of the calories you take in. A large meal eaten at night, when you are more sedentary, is less easily digested and absorbed.
Replace daily consumption of soft drinks, fruit juices, and milk with six to eight glasses of water.
Avoid diets that count calories. They increase your risk for developing eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
Limit sugar intake.
Drink plenty of purified water each day.
Altering eating habits
Using nutritional supplements such as zinc, B vitamins, chromium etc.
A typical first step in devising a treatment program for obesity is start a food diary where you record the following information:
What foods do you eat each day, including all snacks and portion sizes?
When and where do you eat?
Are you alone or with other people when you eat?
What is your mood or stress level while eating?
When are your bowel movements?
This information can help a nutritional therapist assess the best treatment for you.
Recommended Foods To Take
Complex carbohydrates with protein
Plain baked potatoes (no toppings, except for vegetables)
Low fat meat and fish
Low- calorie, low-carbohydrate fruits
Sea vegetables are rich in minerals and amino acids. They regulate metabolism and help to control weight.
Cold-pressed flax oil provides hormonal balance for those who have eaten excess animal products. Two teaspoons of flax oil can be poured over food each day; or eat three tablespoons of soaked or crushed flaxseed. Eat soaked seeds alone to make digestion easier.
Goat's milk normalizes the weight of the body. Take it raw.
Foods to Take in Moderation
Vegetables/Fruits with High Calories
Products with Essential Fatty Acids
Limit the consumption of these to no more than twice a week.
Raw nuts and seeds
Foods containing small amounts of essential fatty acids
Foods to Avoid
Fried or greasy foods
Sources of Animal Fat
White flour products
Fast food restaurants and all junk foods
All products containing refined sugar
(including white sugar, brown sugar, and corn sweetener)
Recommended Snacks to Take Occasionally
Celery and carrot sticks.
Low-fat cottage cheese topped with fresh applesauce and walnuts.
Unsweetened gelatin made with fruit juice in place of sugar and water.
Natural sugar-free whole-grain muffins.
Freshly made unsalted popcorn.
Rice cakes topped with nut butter (but not peanut butter).
Watermelon, fresh fruit, or frozen fruit popsicles.
Unsweetened low-fat yogurt topped with granola or nuts and fresh fruit.
Poultry and fish should be broiled or baked, never fried.
Eat fresh fruits and an abundance of raw vegetables. Have one meal each day that consists entirely of vegetables and fruits.
Eat foods raw, if possible. If foods are heated, they should be baked, broiled, steamed, or boiled. Never consume fried or greasy foods.
Drink six to eight glasses of liquids daily. Herbal teas and steam-distilled water with trace minerals added are good. They are nonfattening fillers that also help to dilute toxins and flush them out of the body. Herbal teas mixed with unsweetened fruit juice are very satisfying low-calorie drinks and are also very filling. Use these between meals and when a desire for sweets hits you. Drink sparkling water mixed with fruit juice in place of sodas.
Pay particular attention to the fat in your diet. Some fat is necessary, but it must be the right kind.
Eliminate saturated fats from the diet completely.
Sugar triggers the release of insulin, which then activates enzymes that promote the passage of fat from the bloodstream into the fat cells.
Follow a fasting program once monthly.
For a quick energy boost, try taking a spirulina tablet. Use wheatgrass to calm the appetite. This is a very nutritious fuel from whole food that assists metabolic functions. Kelp is also beneficial.
Do not consume alcohol in any form, including beer and wine. Alcohol not only adds calories, but it inhibits the burning of fat from fat deposits. It can also interfere with your judgment, so you may find yourself eating things you ordinarily would not.
Use powdered barley malt sweetener instead of sugar. This is highly concentrated but not dangerous. It contains only 3 calories per gram (approximately 2 teaspoons). This sweetener is also beneficial for people with diabetes or hypoglycemia.
Use extra fiber daily. Guar gum and psyllium husks are good sources. Take fiber with a large glass of liquid one-half hour before meals.
Note: Always take supplemental fiber separately from other supplements and medications.
CLASSICAL MEDICINES FOR OBESITY
7GUGGULU TIKTAKAM KASHAYAM
Ayurveda Natural Weight loss Therapy
Udvartana (Herbal Weight loss & Obesity Massage)
This is a specialized ayurveda herbal massage treatment for effective weight reduction. An herbal paste / powder is applied all over the body and deeply massaged with specific movements by two therapists for one hour everyday.
This therapy is very effective in naturally reducing weight. It also helps remove cellulite, revitalizes the sense of touch , gives a good complexion to the skin, removes toxins from the body, and tones the skin & muscles after child birth.