Most people are under the impression that Ayurveda takes a longer time to heal the damaged tissue parts and restore health and hence, it may not be effective for managing acute illnesses such as allergies, food sensitivities, or poisoning.
However, this is not true. Ayurvedic treatments also involve the use of antidotes that could neutralize the toxins in the body. Here is a brief discussion about the use of Ayurvedic herbs as food antidotes.
What is an antidote?
An antidote is a substance that counteracts or neutralizes a particular medicine, food, or an unpleasant sensation. Sometimes, the food we eat causes problems like nausea, vomiting, skin rashes, diarrhea, gastric trouble, and asthma. These negative effects can occur due to the overindulgence or hypersensitivity of the person to that particular substance.
While it is ideal to avoid overindulgence, it is hard to not give way to the temptation at all times. Other than food items, there are several other factors like excessive exposure to the sun and traveling that can also affect our well-being.
Ayurveda allows you to counter the negative effects of such factors by using natural herbs. I’ve listed below some of the powerful, natural antidotes that you can use to offset the ‘not-so-healthy’ effects of certain things.
Overindulgences & their antidotes:
The worst effect of excessive alcohol consumption is on the liver cells. Alcohol can produce an adverse effect on the liver functions resulting in hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease, ascites, and finally, liver cancer.
Though the effects cannot be reversed completely, a remarkable reduction in liver damage could be achieved through the use of turmeric. It is advisable to take 1 or 2 pinches of this herb in a glass of water or add it to normal cooking as a part of your general routine.
Drinking hot water with a pinch of turmeric can also provide relief from a hangover. The stimulant and depressing effects of alcohol could be avoided by eating 1 or 2 cardamom seeds or chewing a pinch of cumin seeds.
Other herbs that can help to treat the hangover include those that can restore high energy levels and promote Ojas. Ojas refers to your vigor or vitality that forms the essence of life. Improved Ojas would enhance your digestion. It is believed to be the primary link between the consciousness and our body. It is considered the material equivalent of bliss and gives us mental clarity and resistance to disease. Natural remedies that promote Ojas and work as an antidote include honey, amla and dates.
In Ayurveda, chocolate is considered a classic example of ‘Srota Blocker’. Srotas are the ‘channels’ in the body that must be kept clear in order to ensure good health and vitality. When these channels are obstructed or blocked, unpleasant symptoms appear resulting in the development of diseases.
The main culprits in chocolates are the high level of carbohydrates as well as milk solids. You can counter the bad effect of chocolates by drinking hot water with cardamom pods. The hot water would ‘melt’ the improperly digested foods and cardamom pods re-open the Srotas or the channels.
Seafood is ‘hot’ by nature and is known to cause problems related to the digestive fire such as heartburn, acid reflux, gastritis, and indigestion. The best antidote to offset the effect of seafood is Peppermint Tea. It reduces the stomach heat and prevents unpleasant symptoms.
Soreness, itching, or redness of the eyes occur due to a number of reasons including infections, overuse, and sun exposure. An effective and time-tested antidote for the sore eyes caused due to the exposure to the sun is rose water eye spray.
Add 2 to 3 spoons of rose water in a glass of water and splash it on your eyes or take eye bath with cold milk. Putting sliced cucumbers on both the eyelids can also counter the effect of harsh sun rays on the eyes.
The best antidote to relieve the symptoms of sunburn is Aloe vera. Aloe vera gel is considered highly therapeutic for the sun-damaged skin. You may apply it regularly to prevent skin damage and hasten repair.
Ayurveda recommends freshly squeezed ginger juice for reducing motion sickness. Take a 1/4th teaspoon of the ginger juice and add a little lemon juice and a pinch of salt to it. Simply lick the spoon dipped in this mixture to get rid of the sensation.
Most people will be surprised to know that the excessive intake of coffee can cause unpleasant symptoms. Coffee contains caffeine, which over-stimulates the nervous system resulting in insomnia. Drinking a glass of warm milk or 2 to 3 glasses of warm water will counter the effect of excess caffeine in your body and will help you get an undisturbed sleep. The ill-effects of coffee can also be kept at bay by using nutmeg powder.
Besides these, there are several other substances like cheese, eggs, meat, curd, and fish that can cause a negative effect on our body. Since the adverse effects of these foods are known, it is advisable to make them wholesome by combining them with the proper antidotal foods given below:
- Eggs, in their raw forms, can increase kapha and in cooked form, can worsen pitta dosha. Counter this by adding turmeric or by eating raw onions with them.
- Cheese promotes the mucous production and congestion in the respiratory passages resulting in nose block and breathlessness. It also aggravates pitta and Kapha. You may counteract this effect by adding black pepper to it.
- Curd is also known to increase the mucus production and cause nasal congestion. Using cumin and ginger can help you take care of the ill-effects of curd.
- Ice-cream can cause severe breathing problems and nasal congestion. If taking ice-cream is inevitable, top it with cardamom and clove.
- Fish can increase pitta. Lime, coconut, and lemon are the best remedial measures to antidote the bad effects of fish.
- Legumes are known to produce gaseous distention of the abdomen. Garlic, black pepper, cloves, ginger, and chilli 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 full responsibility for its use. Please consult your physician Ayurvedic practitioner or other health care professional regarding any treatments for your health issues.