Personalize Your Ayurvedic Journey (Part 9)

The Introduction to Ayurveda
Have you ever wondered what Ayurveda means? Its roots lie in the Sanskrit language, where 'Ayu' means the lifespan and 'Veda' means wisdom or philosophy. It's a holistic system of healing that includes natural supplements, therapies, medical oils, massages, Yoga, special diets to achieve wellbeing. Ayurveda is the science of life incorporated in 8 components or branches of study.

How can Ayurveda help you?
Ayurveda is one of the oldest forms of an established health system that advanced during the 'Vedic Period' in history. The science is five millennia old, with existential evidence of it dating to the Indus Valley civilization. Ayurvedic traditions from the Himalayas have existed from prehistoric times. The medicine traditionally revolves around the imbalance of the three doshas or bio-energies and unraveling wellbeing. Ayurveda emphasizes on prevention of imbalances and protection of health.
Scholars like Caraka and Sushruta, one of the earliest practitioners, organized this knowledge into textbooks Caraka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita, respectively. From the time of its origin, five thousand years ago, Ayurveda has stood the test of time and has proven to be one of the safest systems of health and longevity. Currently, Ayurveda is seen as a sister science of Yoga with a rich source of health information for individualized health care.

Ayurveda is a life of excitement and peace; some are driven by wanting to achieve everything in a single lifetime, whereas others enjoy the offerings as they tread through life.

Introduction to the orators
Vaidya Jayagopal Parla is the Founder and Director of Athreya Ayurvedic Integrative Health Center and the Co-Founder and Vice President of Athreya Herbs. He is an internationally known speaker, educator, and Ayurvedic and Yogic practitioner.Vaidya Jay completed his bachelor's from Bangalore University, India, and master's from Rajiv Gandhi University, India, and Southern California University of Health Sciences. With years of extensive clinical, teaching, and research experience, he worked as a Professor at American universities of Alternate and Complementary medicine and as a visiting faculty at the Japanese School of Ayurveda.

R.A Leslie - R. A. is the founder at She's an International life coach who has authored multiple books, a public speaker, and ultimately a mother of three. Fascinated about what makes people truly happy and curious to explore more, she spent the last thirty years transforming distressed lives and restricting beliefs to lives filled with purpose.

What are the spices that can be consumed regularly? Today, our experts will discuss some spices that one can consume daily and the health benefits of those spices.

February 02, 2023 | 35 minutes 58 seconds
By Vaidya. Jay Parla

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Introduction to the Podcast
At Athreya, it is our priority to bring Ayurveda to global awareness. Today Vaidya Jay is in conversation with R. A Leslie about the role of enthusiasm in the Ayurvedic journey.

Excerpt from the podcast
“Ayurveda has a sense of empowerment. It is a healthcare system that is both cumulative and educational and is not like getting a prescription that only reads about the possible side effects. Instead, Ayurveda goes over the specifics.”

Namaste! Athreya herbs podcast listeners and family members. We are in the process of knowing the Ayurvedic journey. What is essential to follow and how to take baby steps to come up with your Ayurvedic practice. Some of them are daily routine aspects like tongue scraping, and some of them are the herbal protocols, diet, and breathing. Thanks to R.A for sharing her journey with us about how she has been slowly but surely reaching a higher health experience, mentally, physically, and spiritually. She's following these routines and can hold on to some of the herbal protocols. From just a momentary excitement, how it became a sensory excitement and finally a part of her day-to-day life. For those who are just joining, R.A is a transformational intuitive life coach, an author, a speaker. Her Collective is called Seeuatnoon, where people, individuals, and groups come in touch with her. She encourages them to use dialogue and journaling techniques to bring out childhood trauma and issues with societal conditioning. She also helps her clients to shift their perspectives and release suffocated creativity. Welcome back, R. A.

R. A - Thank you so much. Namaste.

Vaidya - Namaste. I am Vaidya Jay, practicing and teaching Ayurveda for over 20 years. I love to inspire people to live a long healthy life of at least 100 years. Thank you so much for joining us. In the last podcast, we left off with a tempting topic about the gem of the Ayurvedic lifestyle, spices. Everywhere else, spices are herbs, but the ancient masters of Himalaya thought that herbs should be included in daily life and transformed into spices. The flavor, texture, color, and aroma all are essential parts of the spices. We'll touch the tip of the iceberg because we can't discuss everything, but we will discuss the most important ones for our listeners. R. A, where are you with your spice journey?

R. A - Hing is my new one this week.

Vaidya - You're brave enough to try that.

R. A - I bought one jar and liked it so much that I ordered two more. I think one of the most important things is to be inspired to take baby steps. The inspiration of learning is keeping me curious to find out more, and that's how my journey just keeps expanding.

Vaidya - Ayurveda has a sense of empowerment. It is a healthcare system that is both cumulative and educational and is not like getting a prescription that only reads about the possible side effects. Instead, Ayurveda goes over the specifics.

R. A - It's empowering. Start with one thing, and get used to that. If one starts oil pulling and does some research, they see how the Ayurveda techniques, practices, spices, herbs, meditation, and journaling lead to something else. All the things it leads to are positive and enlightening; it brings one into nature and helps one understand the whole beautiful web of nature and humanity. This week I added gum powder to my oral hygiene routine. I was doing the tongue scraping, the oil pulling and incorporated the neti pot a few weeks ago. Our listeners can see that it is the baby steps that lead to some giant leaps. After that, it gets more exciting and rewarding. In our society and culture, if one does not do something one day, one can do something else. That's important for people on a busy schedule. If you had tea today but didn't do the oil pulling, don't put pressure on yourself; instead, keep moving forward in that direction and remain curious because curiosity with Ayurveda leads to more knowledge and understanding.

Vaidya - It's so easy to be discouraged and not to follow through. You said that so well. You are doing the oral oil swishing with sesame oil, nutmeg, and clove in it, and you're also doing the gum powder. How much time does it take?

R. A - That's a good question. Like I said, on some mornings, one can't do everything. Pick what you can do and get on the routine; it is good for us anyway. If one goes to bed simultaneously, gets up early, and follows the chain for five or six days a week, then on the weekend, they can relax a bit. It's good to take a break and do something out of the routine. I can do the Abhyanga, the nasal oil, the neti pot, and the tongue scraping. It doesn't even take half an hour to do all of that. If you have the oil on, you can leave that on while doing some other things. You can do all of this within an hour. It's not that long when you take into consideration the benefits you're going to have.

Vaidya - Our listeners have to know that there is a need for repetition. Repetition has been our theme; we've been repeating this so many times that our audience will get into a mindset that it needs to be done, and if they miss one day, it's not the end of the world. Tell me about your experience with Hing.

R. A - I love it. We both were talking about why Ayurveda recommends not having garlic or onions in the cooking. I would love you to elaborate on a little because those are two ingredients that being Italian, I didn't want to let go of. It's not that I've let it go, but now that hing is introduced, I like it so much that I can easily replace it with garlic and onion.

Vaidya - Ayurveda doesn't discourage onion and garlic. It's coming from a higher dimension in the sattvic way of living. Sattvic means a state of mind that is not aggressive or passive. Suppose one wants to avoid the swings of the mind, whether it's anxiety, depressions, or two extremes. When the mind goes through that type of shift, one has to watch, not feeding it. Onions and garlic tend to aggravate the mind into its abnormal state. It doesn't come directly from Ayurveda but Yoga. In Yoga, people who are into a spiritual quest should have minimal or no onions. Ayurveda has the properties defined for onion and garlic and has a way to eat it. If I have a meeting where there will be a lot of critiquing of my work, I will avoid onions and garlic on that day. If I had to rebel against people critiquing me, I would eat a lot of onion and garlic before going there. It'll make you rebellious. The ancient people used the hing (Ferula asafoetida) for people who used to faint. It's part of the smelling salts. If you use it in large quantities, it can be strong and it goes into the head and neck region and wakes one up. One doesn't need to use a lot of hing. Just a pinch to a quarter teaspoon maximum is enough. What did you do with that?

R. A - It was a vegetable dish that I added with angel hair pasta. I used half a teaspoon of Hing.

Vaidya - I do the same thing while making pasta because it gives a beautiful flavor.

R. A - What you said about garlic and onion is vital for the ones having anxiety. If they didn't have garlic, onion, or coffee, wouldn't that help their anxiety or uneasiness of the mind?

Vaidya - Yes.

R. A - It's inspirational to have the hing and not garlic and onion because it helps with anxiety.

Vaidya - That's the influence of food on our mental state. Ayurveda has a complete category on how the mind gets influenced by nutrition. To use small quantities of hing is perfect. It's to cook, not just to rock and consume. Cooking takes away the intense, strong smell and milds it down. The Hing is known to balance the gut bacteria. It has unique and neutral chemicals and active principles that are capable of keeping gut bacteria under control. It also increases intestinal movements called Peristalsis. The Peristalsis improves because it makes the smooth muscles work more regularly, with less gas and bloating. Hing is a blessing for gut flora. The third use of hing in the classical Ayurvedic textbooks is to take care of menstrual pain or menstrual health. When it comes to menstrual health, whether it's abdominal cramping or low back pain, a tiny bit of hing in the diet can help to elevate or support the body to reduce those types of symptoms.

R. A - This goes back to the beginning, how each thing leads to something else. If somebody didn't do something in their diet that day and uses the Hing, it helps almost like a probiotic. If you don't do one thing, but you do the other, you're still on the path and doing good for the body, mind, and other relationships.

Vaidya - It is a trigger for change. Whatever spices we use, they are gradually but steadily shifting one lever at a time to improve our human experience. The spices work on the tongue. The tongue is a dual sense organ and helps to know the taste and to speak. If the tongue is healthy, we communicate better, get saturated with food, and overeat. The Himalayan masters were in tune with our bodies and selected specific spices for doing that. There is a ready combination of hing, called Hingvashtak. It is made from 8 herbs, but the primary herb is hing. It has black cumin, black pepper, long pepper, ginger, and Himalayan salt. Just sprinkle it on the meals. I use it; let's say I cut an apple, sprinkle this a little, and eat it. For some, an apple can be slightly astringent and constipating; it helps them take care of that symptom.

R. A - It's inspiring because it keeps going back to baby steps, how one thing leads to the next, and that no matter what you're doing, you're still doing something.

Vaidya - Although one may not notice gas and bloating, the mind sees it subconsciously. For example, if one started working out, the gas and bloating would prevent them from having a total experience of their physical activity or exercise. They may not notice it, but subconsciously their mind records everything and tells them to agree with that. Hingwashtak is an excellent way to relieve abdominal bloating. What is the next spice you tried?

R. A - I love ginger and turmeric; I'm doing some research on black pepper. I would love for you to discuss the benefits of black pepper because you mentioned last time that Black Pepper was more expensive than gold.

Vaidya - The use of black pepper came to Europe via the Silk trade routes. In the harsh winters, there were no vegetables or greens in the northern hemisphere, people ate a lot of meat and got sick. The meat was kept covered with the ice, but it would still go stale, and the symptoms of food poisoning were common. They found that when they added the black pepper, they would not have complications. The secret to maintaining gut health is black pepper, especially after a heavy meal that is difficult on the entire digestive system. The demand for black pepper grew so much that they started trading black pepper for a high price. I come from a state where black pepper grows naturally. It spreads on the palms like the coconut palm tree. It just climbs on them; one collects the fruits and dry them. Black pepper should be used as fresh as possible. Don't use the black pepper powdered a year and a half ago; that's available in the stores. When you go to a restaurant and order a soup, they will give you that small bag of black pepper that has been sitting there for who knows how long. I highly recommend cracking the black pepper.
At Athreya herbs, we have new badges coming in every year; within that time, our whole black peppercorn gets recycled, or a new purchase comes in. The benefit of black pepper is in its freshness. If one uses it fresh, they will have better health benefits. It opens the breath and the digestive passages to absorb better nutrition, air, or lifeforce through your brain. The black pepper optimizes the two sources of vitality through the breath and the gut. Black pepper is such a wonderful natural enzymatic spice that we often overlook. People sometimes are not interested in black pepper because of its smell and pungency. I would say small amounts of black pepper is the secret of maintaining healthy absorption and digestive activity.

R. A - We're emphasizing the importance of fresh herbs, fruit, food, and spices. Last time we discussed what herbs or spices to have before our meal. Then we were going to talk about what to have after our meal.

Vaidya - After a meal is fennel seeds. I usually carry it in a small container or my bag. Whenever I'm done with my meals, I gently chew a teaspoon of fennel seeds until it is almost liquid. When you're chewing fennel, don't talk. If it goes into your throat, it causes irritation and cough. Chew it for 3 to 5 minutes after the meal, mix it with saliva in your mouth, then chew on it and swallow it. Fennel helps in optimizing all the secretions that need to be released. After chewing, the saliva goes into the stomach, juices increase, goes into the intestine, the intestine juices increase. It is a herb that helps to improve our ability to digest food and is beneficial for any stomach irritation. The irritation can be due to acid present or because of spicy food. Fennel can calm down the gut. It is a mild spice; its aroma is also sweet.

R. A - I love it. We can add fennel to a lot of different foods. It is also present in the CCCFT.

Vaidya - Those who don't have time and can't chew seeds can keep a bag of CCCFT in their office or workplace. Just add the powder to hot water and ensure that you're taking the right spices after meals. Anything else that you started using.

R. A - No, I'm going slow because I'm still learning about the spices and the herbs, so I don't want to mix things wrong.

Vaidya - When two strong-flavored or aromatic substances are combined, they can completely ruin a dish. We will also inform our listeners about common spices, such as cinnamon, a beneficial spice that helps keep the blood healthy and the metabolism running smoothly. Cinnamon can be taken daily at the time of breakfast. If somebody is eating buckwheat or any hot cereal, cinnamon is an excellent spice to add. Cinnamon is harvested from many parts of the world. We have to avoid cassia cinnamon as much as possible because it only has the flavor but no active, vital principle in it. It's also called Chinese cinnamon. The preferred ones are Cinnamomum burmannii, or Cinnamomum zeylanicum, which is also known as Ceylon cinnamon.

R. A - Is that the same as cinnamon bark cinnamon bark?

Vaidya - The valuable part of cinnamon is the bark from the tree. It may be coming from cinnamon cassia, but it should say Cinnamomum zeylanicum is the second word, or it is also listed as Ceylon cinnamon. The country Sri Lanka is known as Ceylon, so Ceylon cinnamon. We need to remember that these spices need to be incorporated slowly and not at once. The stomach may feel uncomfortable because one ate too many spices.

R. A - Take one herb or one spice at a time and try to understand its properties and benefits. If you shouldn't have it, you're not going to get so frustrated; you just kind of ease your way into it.

R. A - There are many of the spices. Even the spices in tradition, like oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary, can be used. They can improve digestion. Each culture has its spice mixtures. Try them regularly so that you can keep your digestive system healthy.

R. A - These spices and herbs can be incorporated throughout the day in different ways. We don't have to do everything every day, but we can pick and choose if we have a cabinet full of things. The body starts to communicate with the mind.

Vaidya - I completely agree with you that your body will start communicating to the mind better. That is the secret to a long healthy life. We discussed a fair amount of spices for our listeners. At, we have information about coriander, cumin cardamom, and all these spices. Read through them, get a little more information so that whenever you feel ready, you can use one or two of them in your day-to-day cooking. Thank you so much for joining us from New York, letting our listeners start their Ayurvedic journey and continue to stay on it so that they can achieve a long healthy life.

R. A - Yes, thank you. It's wonderful.

Vaidya - Namaste.

Ayurveda is a journey of self-care, and routine is an essential aspect of the Ayurvedic journey. Do you think the Ayurvedic routine keeps one balanced?

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