Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Is Coconut Oil Good For Health

Coconut oil is always a matter of debate about its benefits and hazards. It has been used as food and medicine from decades. In India it is one of the major used oil both as a cooking oil and also widely used in medicine(in Ayurveda- Indian Herbal Medicine)
Coconut tree is otherwise called Kalp Vriksha- provider of all goodness. Even there is a state in India , Kerala (Keralam)- 'Kera' means coconut and 'alam' means land. It is a main source of cooking oil, household utensils, baskets, furniture, medicines and cosmetics. Coconut is a tall palm grows up to 30-35 meters in height. It has large leaves and leaflets up to one meter long. There are two types of coconut palms, talls and dwarfs. The growth of coconut tree is favored by warm and humid climate. Common names of coconut tree in different languages:
  • English- Coconut tree.
  • Hindi- Nariyal ka pet, Nariyal(coconut).
  • Malayalam- Nalikera, Tengu.
  • Sanskrit- Narikela, Sandaphala, Trinadruma, Dridhaphala.
Even the properties of coconut oil is mentioned in Sushruta Samhita around 2000 years before. Sushruta explains the health benefits of coconut oil as
  • Coconut oil is a natural aphrodisiac

    Coconut Flower
  • It is a natural coolant
  • It is digested slowly
  • It nourishes the body tissues
  • It helps improve the quality and strength of hair and promotes hair growth.

Coconut oil is useful in the treatment of diseases like emaciation, debility, respiratory conditions, diabetes and urinary system disorders. When applied on wounds, it quickens the healing and helps in filling up of skin depression in wounds. Massage using coconut oil not only improves hair growth but also restricts dandruff. Body massage using coconut oil is good for dry skin. Regular use of coconut oil prevents skin diseases.
Tender Coconut

But the modern dietary guidelines categorize coconut oil as a food to be avoided. According to them coconut oil is fatty and will increase the cholesterol level. In state Kerala, coconut oil is used in almost all dishes. If coconut oil is said to increase obesity, then Kerala should have been filled with obese people, which is not the case! Coconut oil is used there as a food ingredient and as a medicine for external application and for internal administration. It is an integral part of Kerala's lifestyle.
Coconut oil is now known to contain a unique form of saturated fat that actually helps prevent heart disease, stroke, and hardening of arteries. The saturated fat in coconut oil is not like the fat found in meat or other vegetable fats. It is identical to a special group of fats found in human breast milk which have been shown to improve digestion, strengthen the immune system, and protect against bacterial, viral and fungal infections.
Mature Coconut
Virgin Coconut Oil(VCO)- is coconut oil that is not refined, bleached or deodorized. Most of the coconut oils found in the market are refined and they are not healthy for intake. Reports and studies shows that regular intake of virgin coconut oil brings increased energy levels, fewer carvings for carbohydrates and sweets, and satisfactions of being full after a meals. The repeated eating habit thus come to an end by itself. So now it is a known fact that the weight loss associated with coconut oil is related to the length of the fatty acid chains(instead of saturated fatty acids coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids). So virgin coconut oil is unique in nature which the usage will leads to increased metabolism and weight loss.
Coconut oil is used and it is the base for the preparation of many herbal medicines. Some of the common herbal formulations are Karpooradi coconut oil, Eladi coconut oil, Kayyanyadi coconut oil, Dhurdhurapatradi coconut oil and Chemparatyadi coconut oil. Hair oils are often prepared using coconut oil. It is a good skin softener and moisturizer. For a normal healthy person including a small quantity of coconut oil in regular diet will give only health benefits. According to Ayurveda, coconut oil is nourishing in nature when taken internally. Hence it is used in conditions like debility, emaciation etc. It is natural coolant and is found given good results in conditions like eczema.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Asparagus- Shatavari

Shatavari is one among the herbal plant that must be in your garden. It got lot of medicinal properties and also gives great look for the garden with its white beautiful flowers. Shatavari name means(shat- hundred, vari- husbands) and is considered to be women’s best friend. Shatavari is classified under the family Liliaceae. Its botanical name is Asparagus racemosus. In English it is called 'wild asparagus' and in Sanskrit 'abhiru'. In Hindi it is Satavar or Shatmuli and in Malayalam Shatavali, Satavari.
Shatavari got lot of health benefits like correcting digestion, cooling brain cells, have diuretic properties, increases sperm generation etc. Shatavari is best known as a female rejuvenative. It is also known as the best Ayurvedic medicine for women. Widely used in treating, diarrhea, dyspepsia, nervous disorders, throat infections, inflammations, tumours, tuberculosis, cough, gonorrhea, leucorrhoea, epilepsy, burning sensation, fatigue, hyperacidity and a very effective medicine for antenatal care. It is also an immuno-modulator.
Shatavari root is used as a vegetable and medicine. The young shoots of asparagus are edible and is used for various preparations. They can be eaten as raw salad, boiled or steamed, stir- fried and can be stored long as pickle form. Asparagus roots contain 22 percent protein, 6.2 percent fat, 3.2 percent carbohydrate, 0.36 percent vitamin B, 0.04 percent vitamin C and traces of vitamin A. It contains several alkaloids too.

 Home Remedies

  • Medicated ghee with milk containing wild asparagus improves lactation.
  • Tubers of shatavari boiled in milk is helpful in dysuria(painful urination).
  • Pregnant women are recommended to take medicated milk with wild asparagus as it helps in protecting the fetus in the early stages of pregnancy.
  • Shatavari root powder is a great tonic and can be used as a health drink regularly.
  • Useful in cases of hyperacidity, bronchitis and chronic fevers.
  • Shatavari is quite effective in stomach ulcers and diarrhea.

 Shatavari in Ayurveda

Ayurveda classifies shatavari as:
Guna: Guru(heavy) and snigdh(slimy)
Rasa: Tikta(bitter) and madhur(sweet)
Virya: Sheet(cold)
Ayurveda uses wild asparagus in treating dyspepsia and it improve digestion by increasing the levels of enzymes amylase and lipase. Extract of shatavari is very effective in production of milk in lactating mothers. This effect is due to the action of released corticosteroids or an increase in prolactin. In India shatavari is the best and most used herb for women. Used for infertility, loss of libido, threatened miscarriage and widely used for relieving the menopausal problems such as hot flashes. It both nourishes and cleanses the blood and the female reproductive organs. Shatavari is effective in men as it is used in cases of impotence, sexual debility and inflammation of sexual organs.
Some of the Ayurvedic medications that contain shatavari as the main ingredient are: Shatavari ghritam, shatavaryadi kashayam, shatavari gulam, saraswatharishtam, mahanarayanatailam, asoka ghritam, chandanasavam, etc...

 Recipe with Asparagus

Asparagus with split pea and saffron.
Ingredients: 1 medium onion (diced), 2 table spoon olive oil, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds, 1/2 tsp curry powder, 5-7 curry leaves, 1/8 tsp saffron(if you can find them), 1 tsp salt, 11/2 cups dry split peas, 4 cups water, 1 lb asparagus, blanched, 15 1/4 ozcorn.
Roast saffron in large deep frying pan about 2 minutes. Add olive oil, cumin, fenugreek and curry leaves. Cook until seeds sizzle.
Add onion, a pinch of asafaetida, curry powder and saute until onion is soft(about 5 minutes)
Add split peas, salt and water. Bring to a boil, cover, turn heat to low and cook until peas are soft(about 40 minutes)
Add asparagus and corn, stir and cook for another 10 minutes and serve.

 Shatavari side effects

  • Some allergic reactions are reported as seen in persons who are allergic to asparagus.
  • Use is restricted in women having estrogen effected disorders.
  • Not advised for pregnant women.
  • Nervousness, dizziness, stomach ache are also reported as side effects of shatavari.
  • Regular use can cause weight gain.
  • Breast softness and premenstrual stress are also reported as side effects of this herb.
  • Shatavari is not advised for those having impaired heart function.
Any way treatment with shatavari is to be done under the control of a qualified medical practitioner.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Can Stress Cause Infertility

Infertility is a term used for women who are not able to get pregnant and men who are unable to make a woman pregnant, after at least one year of trying. Women can also called infertile, if they are able to get pregnant but cannot carry an embryo to birth. World fertility rates are increasing year by year. The causes of infertility can be many. It can be an unknown factor or combination of factors. The problem can be in women or in men. Sometimes both have the problem due to various reasons. In some cases, genetic conditions, environmental factors and other health problems cause infertility. Infertility has been growing by 12%-17% every year.

 Infertility in Men.

 Male infertility can result from physical problems like lack of enough normal sperms in testes for reproduction, hormonal problems, lifestyle and environmental factors like stress, age, exposure of testes to high temperatures, wearing tight underwear, smoking, alcohol consumption, certain medications, environmental toxins and genetic conditions.

 Infertility in Women.

In women problems with ovulation is one of the main causes of infertility. Premature ovarian failure and Polycystic ovary syndrome(PCOS) are the common reasons affecting ovulation. In premature ovarian failure the ovaries stop functioning before natural menopause and in PCOS, the ovaries may not release egg regularly or may not release a viable healthy egg. In women who got PCOS, even when a healthy egg is released and fertilized, the uterus may reject the implantation of the fertilized egg, resulting in infertility. Pelvic inflammatory disease, blocked fallopian tubes due to endometriosis, or surgery, physical problems with the uterine wall and uterine fibroids can also result in infertility.
Age is also a growing cause of infertility in women. Most of them are getting married in their 30's. As age increases the woman's ovaries become less able to release eggs and the eggs become less healthier. The chances of miscarriage also increases with age.
Lifestyle and environmental factors like stress, poor diet, obesity or underweight, smoking, drugs, alcohol, certain medications, genetic conditions and other sexually related diseases can also play a leading role in women infertility.

 Is There a Connection Between Stress and Infertility?

There are various studies going on to find out the effects of stress on male and female infertility. The researches in men and women, who are experiencing stress continuously from various fields like working stress, family stress etc showed similar results. The men are found to had some type of sperm deficiency(like less sperm count and motility) and in women undergoing pregnancy treatment and experiencing lot of stress had less amount of fertilized eggs than women with less stress.
Lot of theories are existing about the impact of stress on male and female fertility. If people are experiencing stress, then the chance of starting bad habits like smoking, alcohol, drugs, poor eating habits etc are high. These bad habits got clear effects on the fertility levels. Even high stress levels can cause irregular menstruation and suppression of menstrual cycle. Any way the relationship between stress and infertility is still poorly understood.

 Effective Ways to Treat Infertility.

Medication and surgery are the most common ways of treating infertility. Artificial insemination and Assisted Reproductive Technologies are also popular now a days.
Artificial insemination is achieved by injecting in woman carefully prepared sperm from the husband, partner or donor and is the most effective way to treat infertility.
ART(Assisted Reproductive Technologies) This is a new option were a group of different methods are used to treat infertile couple. In this an egg has been taken from woman's body and are put in a dish along with man's sperm under lab conditions for fertilization. After some days the healthy embryos obtained are implanted in the women's uterus.
In Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is another type of ART and is used in couple who got problems with sperm. Here a single sperm is injected into a mature egg and the embryo is then implanted into the uterus.

 Does stress cause Infertility?

 Does infertility cause stress or does stress cause infertility? The relation between them is really a complex one. Please share your valuable opinion on comment section.