Most people are under the misconception that Ayurveda takes longer to heal damaged tissues and restore health, so it may not be effective in managing acute illnesses such as allergies, food sensitivities, or poisoning.
However, this is not true. Ayurvedic treatments also include the use of antidotes that can neutralize toxins in the body. Following is a brief discussion on the use of Ayurvedic herbs as food antidotes.
What is an antidote? An antidote is a substance that counteracts or neutralizes a medicine, food, or unpleasant sensation. Sometimes the food we eat can cause problems like nausea, vomiting, rashes, diarrhea, gastric problems, and asthma. These negative effects can occur due to the person's overindulgence or hypersensitivity to that particular substance.
While you should ideally avoid overindulgence, it's hard to resist temptation every time. In addition to food, there are several factors such as excessive sun exposure and travel that can also affect our well-being.
Ayurveda allows you to counteract the negative effects of these factors by using natural herbs. Below I have listed some powerful natural antidotes that you can use to counteract the "not so healthy" effects of certain things.
Excesses and their antidotes:
The worst effect of excessive alcohol consumption is on liver cells. Alcohol can have an adverse effect on liver functions, resulting in hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease, ascites, and eventually liver cancer.
Although the effects cannot be completely reversed, a noticeable reduction in liver damage can be achieved through the use of turmeric. It is recommended to take 1 or 2 pinches of this herb in a glass of water or add it to normal cooking as part of your general routine.
Drinking hot water with a pinch of turmeric can also relieve a hangover. The stimulant and depressant effects of alcohol can be avoided by eating 1 or 2 cardamom seeds or by chewing a pinch of cumin seeds.
Other herbs that can help treat hangovers include those that can restore high energy levels and promote Ojas. Ojas refers to your vigor or vitality which forms the essence of life. Improving the Ojas would improve your digestion. It is believed to be the main link between consciousness and our body. It is considered the material equivalent of happiness and provides us with mental clarity and resistance to disease. Natural remedies that promote Ojas and act as antidotes include honey, amla, and dates.
In Ayurveda, chocolate is considered a classic example of a "Shrotas Blocker". Srotas are the "channels" in the body that must be kept clear to ensure good health and vitality. When these channels are clogged or blocked, unpleasant symptoms appear, resulting in the development of diseases.
The main culprits in chocolate are the high level of carbohydrates and milk solids. You can counteract the negative effect of chocolate by drinking hot water with cardamom pods. The hot water will "melt" improperly digested food and the cardamom pods will reopen the Srotas or channels.
Shellfish are naturally "hot" and have been known to cause digestive fire-related problems such as heartburn, acid reflux, gastritis, and indigestion. The best antidote to counteract the effect of shellfish is mint tea. Reduce stomach heat and avoid unpleasant symptoms.
Irritation, itching, or redness of the eyes occurs for a variety of reasons, including infections, overuse, and sun exposure. An effective and proven antidote for irritated eyes caused by sun exposure is rose water in the form of an eye spray.
Add 2-3 tablespoons of rose water to a glass of water and splash your eyes or make an eye wash with cold milk. Putting cucumber slices on both eyelids will also counteract the effect of intense sun rays on the eyes.
The best antidote to relieve the symptoms of sunburn is aloe vera gel. It is considered highly therapeutic for sun damaged skin. You can apply it regularly to prevent skin damage and speed up repair.
Ayurveda recommends freshly squeezed ginger juice to reduce motion sickness. Take 1/4 teaspoon of ginger juice and add some lemon juice and a pinch of salt to it. Just lick the spoon dipped in this mixture to get rid of the sensation.
Most people will be surprised to learn that excessive coffee consumption can cause unpleasant symptoms. Coffee contains caffeine, which overstimulates the nervous system, resulting in insomnia. Drinking a glass of warm milk or 2-3 glasses of warm water will counteract the effect of excess caffeine on your body and help you have a restful sleep. The harmful effects of coffee can also be avoided by using powdered nutmeg.
Besides these, there are several other substances like cheese, eggs, meat, yogurt, and fish that can have a negative effect on our body. Since the adverse effects of these foods are known, it is recommended to combine them with the appropriate antidote foods listed below:
Eggs, in their raw form, can increase kapha and, in cooked form, worsen pitta dosha. Counter this by adding turmeric or eating raw onions with them.
Cheese promotes mucus production and congestion in the airways, resulting in nasal obstruction and shortness of breath. It also aggravates pitta and kapha. You can counteract this effect by adding black pepper.
Yogurt is also known to increase mucus production and cause nasal congestion. The use of cumin and ginger can help you counteract the harmful effects of yogurt.
Ice cream can cause severe respiratory problems and nasal congestion. If eating ice cream is unavoidable, add cardamom and cloves.
Fish can increase pitta. Lemon, coconut and lime are the best measures to counteract the negative effects of fish.
Legumes are known to produce gassy bloating of the abdomen. Garlic, black pepper, cloves, ginger, and chili powder are the best antidotes for this. The use of these antidotes can protect your health against the harmful effects of these substances and restore health.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog post is intended solely to provide general guidance on matters of interest for the personal use of the reader, who accepts all responsibility for its use. Consult your doctor, Ayurveda practitioner or other health professional in connection with any treatment for your health problems.