PART 4: KEEPING YOUR CHILD HEALTHY
AYURVEDA AND CHILD CARE
Guest Article – Dr. Ashwinikumar A. Raut
Dr. Ashwinikumar A. Raut is an MD in Ayurved medicine
‘Ayu’ means life, ‘Ved’ means to know. To know about life is Ayurveda.
We shall briefly focus here on the branch of Ayurveda
that deals with child care — from intrauterine life till
the age of puberty. In fact, it is stressed that the would-be
mother and father should be physically, mentally and emotionally
fit before the conception in order to have a good pregnancy.
CARE DURING PREGNANCY
Our ancient Ayurvedic literature deals elaborately with
the emotional and nutritional needs of the pregnant mother.
To ensure proper growth and development of the foetus,
herbal decoctions, to be taken every month, are given to a
pregnant mother. These are especially recommended to women who have a history of recurrent abortions or miscarriages.
Since the mind of the foetus starts being expressed in the fifth month of pregnancy and the
intellect in the
sixth month — from the fifth month onwards, a pregnant
mother should adhere to a satvik diet which
includes food that is grown, prepared and consumed in a natural form and also
food which is less processed, easy to digest, warm and unctuous.
From the sixth month onwards, the diet should include nootropic herbs (medicinal herbs that
brain and nervous system) like brahmi, mandukparni, shankhapushpi,
etc. It is advised that food which is hot, pungent and
heavy to digest be avoided during pregnancy.
Strenuous and violent activities, squatting, suppression
of natural urges, prolonged stay under the hot sun and
peeping into pits or wells, and therapies like sudation (causing excessive
sweating), oleation (application of oil),
emesis (vomiting) and blood letting are prohibited during
pregnancy. It is important that the expectant mother is helped to
remain in a pleasant state of mind by listening to recitations
from the scriptures and avoiding thoughts that breed anger, fear, jealousy or hatred.
According to Ayurveda, love and affection for the baby,
a happy state of mind with adequate rest and sleep, and a
good nutritious diet are essential for successful
breastfeeding. Besides that, certain plants and foods like kheer of halim,
poppy seeds and dates, and medicinal products made up of shatavari, musali, jeevanti,
etc. may help to improve the quality and quantity of breast milk.
CONCEPT OF DOSHAS
Health and disease in Ayurveda are discussed in term of three ‘doshas’ (vata,
pitta and kapha).
In health, equilibrium of these three doshas is maintained.
Disturbance in the equilibrium leads to disease. It can be said in brief that kapha
dosha is associated with anabolic activity predominant in childhood, pitta dosha with
bio transformation as seen in middle age, and vata dosha with
catabolic activity as in old age. In other words, childhood is associated with growth and development,
middle age with maintenance, and old age with degeneration.
Hence, it is believed that the majority of childhood diseases are related to kapha dosha disturbance.
For this reason, children are kept away from such foods and activities that would aggravate the kapha dosha. Hence
children prone to frequent illnesses are advised to avoid too many sweets, ice-cold
food and drinks, buffalo milk, playing in water and sleeping
during the day (applicable to children older than 4 years).
HOME REMEDIES FOR COMMON CHILDHOOD ILLNESSES
- Powder of ajamoda and saunf boiled in water and given lukewarm.
- A drink of the powder of jeera (cumin) and saindhav (rock salt) dissolved in water.
- Juice of tulsi leaves given two to three times with honey.
- Sips of ginger juice and lime juice given with warm water.
Dental Caries And Tooth Ache
- Dry black currants soaked in water and given with warm water at bedtime.
- A cup of warm milk with half a teaspoon of ghee given at bedtime.
- Clove and asafoetida on a cotton swab to be kept over the carious tooth.
- Eucalyptus oil and camphor oil put on cotton swab to be placed over the carious tooth.
- Pulp of the Bilwa fruit or its sharbat with sugar water.
- Powder of pomegranate fruit rind given with the juice of pomegranate seeds.
Loss Of Appetite
- Musta, parpat, usheer, guduchi, ginger and dhania boiled together in water and given frequently to drink.
- Kirattikta and dhania boiled in water and given 2 to 3 times a day to drink.
- One pippali seed and two pinches of ginger powder boiled in half a litre of water and given before meals.
- Two pinches of ginger powder boiled in milk and given to drink.
- Yashtimadhu stick given for chewing
- Yashtimadhu, turmeric powder and salt boiled in water and given for gargling.
- Mix yashtimadhu powder with elaichi powder and give with ginger and lime water.
- Clove, saunf and sugar given with lajamanda (puffed rice) soaked in water.
- Give vidanga seeds boiled with milk.
- Palash beej powder to be licked along with honey.
Note: The frequency and dosage of the above mentioned remedies would depend on the
severity of the symptoms and age of the child.
11 February, 2013