Saturday, November 2, 2013

Ayurvedic, Synthetic products, and its role in a baby's early growth & development

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Childcare in Ayurveda begins a long time before the child is actually born. 'Kaumarbhratya' , one of the eight branches of Ayurveda, is dedicated to this subject. The aim of Ayurveda is not only to heal, but also to maintain health.  Kaumarabhratya  plays an important role in achieving this aim. If children are conceived and brought up in a healthy environment and receive proper guidelines for diet and lifestyle at an early age, the society will be more healthy and peaceful.

A lot of children in the modern age suffer from attention deficit disorder (vata prakriti), allergies (weak immunity) and deficiency diseases. These children sometimes have a hard time socially and act out counter culturally. Many of these conditions that manifest in the teenagers years or preadolescence can be traced back to improper pre-natal and post-natal care of a child.

 
Childcare is compared to planting a tree that requires preparation of land (healthy uterus), good quality seeds (sperm and ovum), proper time (fertile period) to sow the seed and watering and protecting the plant from harmful climatic conditions (prenatal care). Ayurveda emphasizes on importance of each one these four factors. Negligence in any one of these four can cause serious imbalance in children.

How can Ayurveda helps  : Kashyap Samhita describes natural ways to build the immunity of the child. Instead of using vaccinations ,oil massage (Snehana) is often used for increasing the immunity and vitality of children. Massage with bala taila (oil medicated with Sida cordifolia) is the first therapy they receive after birth. The child is then offered a mixture of ghee and honey and continues to take ghee for the first four days. Snehana (oil massage and ghee) is anabolic and increases mental capacity such as memory and retention power as well as general vitality. Infant skin is more permeable than adult skin so application of herbs topically with oils is a very effective method of treatment. In addition to snehana, general hygiene like a bath with medicated water, cleaning the mouth, proper clothes, bedding and handling the baby are part of Ayurvedic childcare.
Ayurvedic Tonics or Vaccinations
The vaccinations are discoveries of modern age. In Ayurvedic Samhitas there are descriptions of various tonics that build up the child's strength to fight diseases. The tonics also provide supplementary nutrition. They enhance the child's intelligence and are useful in improving the learning of new skills such as speech. Some tonics found in ancient Ayurvedic texts are described below. They should always be taken under the supervision of a qualified Ayurvedic doctor.
·         Gold Svarna bhasma with paste of brahmi (Centella asiatica) and sankhapuspi (Convolvulus pluricaulis), given with ghee and honey. This is good for general immunity and intelligence and given mainly to newly born children.
·         The powder of Vaca (Acorus calamus), jatamansi (Nordostachys jatamansi), apamarg(Achyranthus aspera), satavari (Asperagus racemosa), sariva (Hemidesmus indicus), brahmi(Centella asiatica), pippali (Piper longum), haridra (Curcuma longa), kustha (Saussurea lappa) and saindhava (rock salt) with honey. This is good for general infections of chest, cold, cough, and asthma.
·         Ghee medicated with the paste of ashwagandha (Withania somnifra) and milk. This is very nutritious and strengthening.
General childhood disorders
There are a number of diseases that occur in children. Conditions like tonsillitis, cough, asthma, sinusitis, ear infections, fever, skin diseases, diarrhea, indigestion, lack of appetite, attention deficit disorder and emotional disorders can be taken care through Ayurvedic treatments. As children have weak immunity and their body is very delicate, it is advised to give them small doses of herbs. Herbs are given in the form of decoction, fresh juice, powder mixed with honey or milk. Medicated ghee and oil are also used generally for external use. It is important that a qualified Ayurvedic doctor is consulted before administering any Ayurvedic treatment for children.
As a primarily botanical healing system, Ayurveda recommends the use of herbs and herbal compositions for various health conditions. For example, the combination of Thyme-Leaved Gatriola (Brahmi), Calamus (Vacha) and Bindweed (Shankhapushpi) with Honey and Ghee improves overall immunity and intelligence in children. Similarly, Celery (Ajamoda) and Cumin (Jeeraka) are potent digestives and are beneficial in the treatment of colic. Indian Gooseberry (Amalaki) relieves respiratory problems, Turmeric (Haridra) and Neem (Nimba) alleviates skin disorders, while Pomegranate (Dadima) and Ginger (Sunthi) are recommended for treating diarrhea and nausea, respectively.
Oil massage plays an important role in baby’s growth. Various benefits of oil massage have been also been recorded in recent times. Ayurvedic texts refer to massage or Abhyanga with oils of herbs like Country Mallow (Bala) and Sesame (Tila) to protect baby’s skin against topical infections. Bathwater should also be disinfected with herbal extracts of Sandal (Chandana) and Banyan Tree (Vata), which are fragrant and possess antimicrobial properties respectively.
Ayurvedic Herbs for Skin Problems
Skin care for children is a topic worth mentioning. First, I'm sure every parent of an infant would like to know a simple trick for dealing with diaper rash. One of the best remedies for this is to add 1 to 2 teaspoons of Kumari (Aloe vera) juice into the baby's drinking water. This helps to relieve excess pitta in the body and can sooth the rash relatively fast. This works great as a preventative or along with topical treatment. Kumari juice is also a good rasayana for the entire body and can be given daily in small doses throughout the early years of life to tonify the tissues and organs, aid digestion and elimination, as well as to enhance the health of the rasaand rakta dhatu, and twak, or the top layer of the skin.
Rashes such as eczema and psoriasis are quite common amongst children, and all too often are treated with cortisone creams that merely suppress the symptoms. This approach can cause the problem to worsen over time. Ayurveda views such rashes as relating mainly to high pittaand ama in the liver, plasma, and blood tissue. Although pitta is the primary dosha considered in such conditions, the characteristics of the rash may vary depending on whether other doshasare present. If vata is involved there can be much dryness, scaling, and cracking, When kaphais present, then there may be more swelling and weeping.  There is often an immunological and emotional component connected to skin conditions that should also be considered and addressed.
The most basic treatment consists of dietary restrictions, which include avoiding excessive intake of salty, pungent, and sour tasting foods, acidic fruits, as well as deep fried, fermented, and hot spicy foods. Bitter herbs such as Neem, ManjistaHaridra (Turmeric), and Guduchihave an affinity to the roots of rasa and rakta vaha srotas, the liver and spleen, and are commonly used for such ailments. Cooling nervines like Brahmi (Gotu kola) as well asJatamansi, both of which also have alterative properties, are perfect for cooling and calming the mind, as well as clearing heat from the blood and liver. Traditional compounds such as Kaishore guggulu, Tikta gritam, Maha manjistadi kwatha, and Panchnimba churna are also useful, but treatment should always consider the prakruti, other secondary doshas involved, and reduce any aggravating factors.
In my experience, local treatment with oils and creams will not cure the condition but can provide some relief of itching, scaling, redness, and painful cracking. Good oils for topical application are Neem leaf oil in a coconut base, Tikta gritam, Bakuchi oil, and castor oil.
It is worth noting that it can be almost impossible to convince children to take herbal formulas in tea form, especially bitter herbs, so powdered herbs can be encapsulated in single “O” size vege capsules or taken in tablet form (which can be broken in small pieces to facilitate swallowing). Another “possibility” to mask the bitter taste of herbs is to mix them with a little fruit juice or a sweet substance such as maple syrup, which is also pitta pacifying. Some Ayurvedic herbal formulas can also be found in syrup form.
In modern medicine Zinc oxide creams is generally prescribed for nappy rashes , eczema which sometimes creates allergy . Corticosteroid in skin problems are very common . CS like prednisolone causes :-
Bleeding of the Stomach or Intestines
Thin Fragile Skin
Cushing's Syndrome
Low Amount of Calcium in the Blood
Small Red Skin Lesions caused by Dilated Blood Vessels
Dry Skin
Puffy Face from Water Retention
Generalized Edema

Treating Parasites and Worms with Ayurveda
Another health concern that is common in children is krimi (worms and parasite infestations). Symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, flatulence, anemia, anorexia, increased appetite, pica (tendency to eat unusual or strange foods), and itching of the anus.  The causes are many and include eating contaminated foods and drinks, or foods that are difficult to digest, poor eating habits, or contact with animal feces and uncleanliness, to name a few. Ayurveda views that krimi are born of excess dosha and ama, and that developing some simple healthy habits can help prevent such situations. A few good tips are to avoid eating excess sweets, fried foods, fast foods, uncooked grain flour such as cookie or bread dough, and raw jaggary. It is also important to have children wash their hands after touching any animals, including their own pets, and especially before eating.
A simple household remedy for worms like thread, pin, and round worms, is to take 3 to 5 drops of fresh onion juice diluted in one teaspoon of water 3 times daily. Another good worm remedy consists of mixing equal parts of Neem and Vidanga that can be easily administered in single "O" size capsules. Two capsules taken twice daily is a good dose for children. A general herbal compound is made with equal parts Neem, Vidanga, Kutaja, and Shardunika. One or two single "O" size capsules of this formula can be taken twice daily before meals. Also, a pinch ofHing (Asafoetida) mixed with one to two teaspoons of rapadura (dehydrated organic sugar cane juice) or sucanat can be eaten half an hour before food.
Some typical medicines used by Ayurvedic practitioners for parasitic conditions are Kutajarishta, Vidangarishta, Kutaja parpati, and Krimikuthar ras. Older kids (7 to 12 years old) can take 20 grams of rapadura or sucanat in the morning, followed after 10 minutes by Ajwain (celery seeds) and salt (2 grams of celery seeds per one gram of salt) with warm water. This recipe eliminates all types of worms. It is important to note that because treatment of krimi should be continued for at least a month to prevent re-infestation, it is good to have the guidance of a skilled practitioner.
Albandazole, Mebenedazole MBZ though are very effective but sometimes causes  Nausea, vomiting, transient abdominal pain, heart pain, diarrhea, slight headache, fever, dizziness, exanthema, urticaria, and angioedema.

Treating Colds and Fever with Ayurveda

Treating the common cold or flu in children with herbal and dietary guidelines is an effective means of supporting and strengthening their immune system. Generally speaking, the common cold is often associated with the cold and damp qualities of kapha and ama (toxins), which cause symptoms such as low appetite, nasal or chest congestion, malaise, and sometimes mild to moderate fever. First and foremost, the child should rest and drink plenty of warm liquids to support the agni (digestive fire) and the elimination of ama. If their appetite is low, because of diminished agni, it is best not to force food upon them, as this could contribute to the formation of ama.

Warm ginger tea is a good remedy to kindle agni and when combined with equal parts Yashti madhu (Licorice root) and a little raw honey it helps liquefy and expectorate phlegm. Because of the possible link between honey and botulism in infants, only high quality, organic raw honey should be used. If there is chest congestion or restricted breathing, then warm Mahanarayan or sesame oil, or ghee with a pinch of rock or black salt, can be massaged onto the chest followed by a eucalyptus steam inhalation. Tulsi (Holy basil) works wonders for soothing coughs, decongesting the lungs and sinuses, as well as lowering a fever by promoting sweating. Tulsitea can be prepared by adding1 teaspoon of Tulsi powder to 1 cup of hot water. This can also be given before bedtime to break a fever when nothing else works. Other typical Ayurvedic formulas for the practitioner to consider in the treatment of common cold, flu, and upper respiratory infections are Sanjivani guti, Tribuvankirti ras, Sitopaladi churna, Talisadi churna, and Lavangadi vati,Jwara (fever) is the body's natural way of burning ama. It is important not to suppress it whenever possible, although fevers above 102 degrees should be lowered and kept within safe limits. A remarkable home remedy for lowering fever consists in rubbing fresh onion juice to the child's navel region while applying a cool cloth to the forehead to protect the brain. Also, pomegranate or fresh orange juice is nutritious and effective to control fever, but drinking too much can increase ama and orange juice may provoke pitta if it is too sour and acidic, so it should be diluted if taken frequently. The compound Mahasudarshan is also very useful for high fevers. Because of its strong bitter taste, it is best given in tablet form, in doses of 250 to 500 mg with warm water.
Antibiotic , Ant-histaminic CPM /pseudoephedrine has their own side effects which can trouble child very easily  by  dry mouth, nose, or throat, headache, nausea, nervousness, trouble sleeping, dark urine or pale stools, difficulty urinating, excessive sweating, frequent urination. Acetaminophen  PCM is the another major product in modern medicine for fever /cough /cold . its prolonged use may cause liver damage, drowsiness , extreme tiredness , lack of concentration etc.

Ayurvedic Herbs for Colic and Constipation

Because food is our first and foremost form of nutrition, it should be considered our primary medicine. In Ayurveda many common fruits, vegetables, and culinary spices are used to help with a variety of childhood health complaints without the need for any other treatment. For instance, constipation in young children can be corrected by drinking a cup of warm milk before bedtime with one teaspoon of ghee added to it. Likewise, a good measure consists in including in the diet foods that have a natural laxative effect such as soaked raisins or dates, honey, bran, sesame seeds, mango, papaya, grapes, and fresh figs. Furthermore, encouraging proper eating habits and food combining when possible, sufficient water intake, high quality oils, and providing plenty of high fiber foods can be helpful in the prevention of constipation.
In the case of infants, the mother can apply a small amount of castor oil to her nipple before breastfeeding. For babies with intestinal colic, mix equal parts of Cumin, Fennel, and Coriander powder and add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of this mixture to a cup of hot water, let it steep for 15 to 20 minutes, then strain well. This tea can be given as needed to correct vata in the colon. The mother can also drink it to reduce the qualities of vata in her breast milk. In the case of infants, it is useful to administer the tea with a baby medicine dropper, available in most baby supply sections, and dilute it a little, if needed, to make it more palatable. There are a variety of Ayurvedic herbs and formulas that can be quite effective for constipation in toddlers and children, such as Triphala churna, Sat isabgol, Gandarva haritaki ,or Avipattikara churna, but care should be taken to choose the one that is most appropriate for the overall condition and constitution of the child. Other typical formulas used for colic and intestinal disorders are Eladi churna and Hingwastak churna. It is good to keep in mind that a good dosage for children is about one third the normal adult dosage, and even less for infants. Allopathic laxatives and strong laxative herbs should be avoided.
Lactulose syrup and other modern carminatives are not 100% relieving so sometimes problem persists and generates other troubles like severe constipation, flatulence abdominal discomfort and severe colic pain .

Rejuvenating and Nourishing the Mind with Ayurveda
Mental development of a child is extremely important in Ayurveda. The concept of Balagraha lists herbal solutions for common mental and psychosomatic disturbances that could affect children. Inclusion of aromatic herbs such as Rasana (Pluchealanceolata) and Spikenard (Jatamansi) are recommended in massage oils and bath water to soothe, relax and calm young children. Tonics or rasayanas like Chyavanaprasha, which contains Thyme-Leaved Gatriola (Brahmi) and Indian Pennywort (Madukaparni) amongst others, enhances a child’s concentration ability and intelligence. In fact, recent research studies have found that Thyme-Leaved Gatriola and Indian Pennywort are indeed beneficial in maintaining cognitive functions, improving memory and learning abilities.
Learning is a large part of being a child, so we should not forget about herbs that rejuvenate the mind. One of the most common rasayana herbs for the brain is Shanka pushpi. Shanka pushpi is a popular tridoshic herb for promoting memory and intelligence, and is commonly prepared in a syrup form for this purpose. It is also used to treat depression, psychosis, and epilepsy. In the case of children diagnosed with ADD, it can be combined with Brahmi.
Brahmi (Gotu kola or Bacopa, aka Herpestis monnieri), is also worth mentioning when it comes to the mind. Brahmi means "cosmic consciousness." Its name is also associated with Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom, because it is one of the best nervine tonics for rejuvenating the mind. It is used for addressing a wide variety of mental and nervous disorders. Gotu kola is tri-doshic and Bacopa has a heating energy. Both herbs facilitate the balance of tarpaka kapha, sadhaka pitta, and prana vayu, the doshas present in the brain. They can be used alone or with other herbs such as Jatamansi, Shanka pushpi, Vacha, Ashwagandha, or Jyotishmati for improving memory.
For speech impediments, these two herbs combine well with equal parts of Vacha (Calamus). A common formula used for treating speech disorders, as well as a wide variety of vata disorders of the mind, nervous, and digestive system, is Saraswata churna, It contains herbs likeAshwagandhaVachaShanka pushpiAjwan, Cumin, and Rock salt. It is safe for children and its flavor is somewhat palatable too. Saraswata churna is a good example of the truly holistic approach that Ayurveda takes in compounding herbs to address the many qualities of a doshaand its possible and common effects on the entire system. It has herbs that have an affinity to all of the organs, dhatus, and srotamsi that relate to vata dosha. Other typical Ayurvedic medicines to consider for rejuvenating the mind and the nervous system are Brahmi vati, Smriti sagar ras, Brahma rasayana, Ashwagandharishta, and Brahmi ghee.

Nothing as brain tonic in modern medicine

There is no end to the variety and usefulness of Ayurvedic herbs and home remedies for children. Most herbs are safe and very effective when used skillfully, constitutionally, and in appropriate doses. Before resorting to stronger herbal based medicines it is best to use whole foods and simple herbs and spices. Often times less is more and the right medicine in small amounts can do wonders. Therefore, achieving doshic balance, promoting healthy habits, and strengthening immunity and agni in early childhood can set the foundation for optimal growth and development, and overall health in the future.
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