Dhanvantari Ayurveda Center  Michael Dick, Ayurvedic Practitioner, Leesburg, Florida    e-mail: md@ayurveda-florida.com

 

 

The Ayurvedist®

Volume II Issue 5                                                                        September 2005 

Science and Health in the News


 

 

 

Inside This Issue

1

Health and Science in the News

2

Dietary Treatment of MS

3

Milk-- Differing Perspectives

4

The Book Corner

5

Mantra

 

 

 

Anecdotal Reporting: Recently I had the need to go to a dentist. Being new to the area I sought the guidance of the DAMS organization for a mercury-free dentist. One of their tests includes a microscopic examination of the live oral bacteria. I was told of the presence of relatively numerous bacteria and of the presence of a particularly problematic spirochete type. They suggested an oral wash and I suggested and did turmeric brushing and gargling. On my next visit 10 days later we did the bacterial exam again and found very few bacteria present and none of the spirochete type. The Ayurvedist has reported on the many personal successes related to turmeric and this is yet another.

More on Turmeric: From one on my vaidya mentors in India comes the following recommendation: fry fresh turmeric roots in castor oil at low heat. Remove roots when golden brown and place on paper towel to remove excess oil. Grind into powder and administer TID / AC chase with water. This he used with success for ALL skin problems.

Source--People’s Pharmacy by Joe Graidon and Terry Graidon, PhD writing in the Palm Beach Post:Question: My father has been plagued with hiccups at all hours of the day or night. ...A friend of mine told be many years ago that a teaspoon of sugar stops hiccups. This is the only remedy that has worked. It is immediate and can last for hours.

Response: We found this simple remedy published in the New England Journal of Medicine (12/31/71) and have recommended it ever since.  

Question: I have been told the blending a bunch of cilantro in 8 ounces of water and drinking it once a month will lower cholesterol to a normal level...

 

Response:  Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is a popular herb used in Mexican, Chinese, and India cooking. We found one small animal study (India Journal of Experimental Biology, 9/2004) suggesting that cilantro may indeed reduce cholesterol and tri-glycerides. Before recommending it, however, we would like to see human studies.

Question: My sister has had two recent episodes of gout... She . got relief when she started eating sour cherries. Someone told her it was an old remedy to eat 6 cherries a day. Was this relief all in her mind?

Response: ...Many readers have reported cherries can ease the pain of gout and even arthritis. Fresh, dried, or frozen, juice or even extract may be helpful. ..This has not been clinically tested, however.”

 

Anecdotal Support for Treatment of MS with Diet (excerpted from Dr. McDougall’s Newsletter 8/13/05 http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2005star/050812tasic.htm:

“The first attack began in the spring of 1994 with an episode of dizziness and nausea that progressed rapidly to the point where I was unable to lift my head from the pillow because the room was spinning out of control.  We called our family doctor who prescribed medicine for an inner ear infection over the phone. I was too sick (& dizzy) to drive… I started reading everything I could find on MS.  Medical experts seemed to think that MS was caused either by a virus or by the unfortunate circumstance of being born in a northern latitude.  Neither of these conditions could I change.  However, in one small paragraph in a mountain of books, I found a few short lines about the low-fat diet therapy developed by Dr. Roy Swank, a neurology professor and medical doctor from the University of Oregon Medical School. 

All I was hearing about diet from my doctors was to eat fiber to help with the constipation caused by damage from MS to the nerves to the bowel, and to eat lots of fat for the brain and protein for the muscles the best sources of both of these being milk and meat. By 2001, I would have called myself a semi-vegetarian, because I was eating only a little chicken and shrimp.  At this time I decided to attend the NAVS (North American Vegetarian Society) Summerfest where I met Dr. John McDougall,  the keynote speaker.  He seemed committed to getting people out of the health care system and that’s what I wanted.  After this experience my diet greatly improved. Over the past decade, the MS has left me with some problems, like a little clumsiness due to balance issues and slight memory loss, but I am otherwise completely normal, and work full time.  I have had no more exacerbations from my MS since 2001, and I am on no medications or vitamins, except for a small dose of thyroid medication.   My journey has taken me from 203 to 135 pounds. My cholesterol went from 192 mg/dl to 155 mg/dl on the McDougall Program. I still walk 6 miles several times a week along with doing strength training. I look and feel very, very healthy.

“Measurement of my MS activity by use of MRI showed continued progression of the disease from 1994 to 2000 with an increase in the number of lesions, which looked even more typical for MS (described as ?increased conspicuity?).  However, after changing to a very low-fat diet the reports changed too. In April of 2002, my MRI report read, ‘Compared to 3/29/00, the multiple lesions in the brain described above are slightly smaller and do not show any interval increase in size.’  My 2004 MRI report showed no interval MS activity and the old lesions were stable and no new ones were forming.”

Dr. McDougall’s Comments:

People with multiple sclerosis are harmed by false promises from the pharmaceutical industry carried out by their well meaning physicians; and as a result, nearly 50% of MS patients are bedridden, wheelchair bound or dead within 10 years of diagnosis.  The simple, profit-free truth is: a healthy diet can stop this disease.   A hard look at the evidence will lead all but the “financially tainted” to the conclusion that the time has long passed to change the way people with MS are treated…

Because of the lack of any means for profit, diet therapy is almost never recommended.  However, 50 years of research by Dr. Roy Swank, former head of the University of Oregon Medical School Neurology Department (for 23 years), on over 5000 patients with MS shows this disease can be stopped by a low-fat diet.  His work, published in the world’s most prestigious journals, including the Lancet, shows that if someone in the early stages of MS is faithful to a low-fat diet then they have less than a 5% chance of becoming worse over the next 35 years compare that to the 10-year record for ‘good medical care.’1  For more information on Dr. Swank visit my home page.  http://www.drmcdougall.com/swank_interview.html

Dietary treatment is without side effects, cost-free and benefits all other areas of health (obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc.) contrast that to annual costs of nearly $20,000 per year for drugs and $50,000 for total care for the average person with MS.2 So why don’t doctors prescribe diet over drugs?  The excuse I hear is that quality research using randomized controlled trials (RCT) has not been done to prove its value.  (Like, what do you have to lose by recommending someone eat well?)  So why haven’t such studies been done over the past 3 decades?  No profits are to be made, so funding is scarce. Based on 30 years of my experiences and the work of Dr. Swank’s, I believe Deb Tasic’s response to diet is typical…

 

MilkA Review of Differing Perspectives

 

In a prior issue of The Ayurvedist research findings regarding milk protein and cancer promotion were presented. The China Study author reported that milk casein was definitely shown to have a positive relationship to cancer incidence data. The study did not describe conditions of feeding, warehousing, pasteurization, homogenization and the like and we need to call one’s attention to these factors. The findings of the author, Colin Campbell, no doubt, raised some concerns for the Ayurvedists among us who recall that two of the major ancient authors of Ayurvedic texts, Caraka and Vagbhata, explicitly extol the virtue of milk—especially cow’s milk. Both stated that milk from cow should be taken regularly. The Vedic culture has valued cow’s milk, especially, for thousands of years now. Jule Klotter, writing in The Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, June 2005, writes that there is a tradition in the West of treating some diseases with nutrient and enzyme-rich raw milk dating back more than 150 years. The modern study appears to invalidate ancient Ayurvedic truth and anecdotal experience. But let’s examine some facts—

 

For the purposes of discussing milk one should understand that milk is milk but then again milk is not milk. This statement simply means that the benefits and effects of cow’s milk differ from mother’s milk, goat’s milk, buffalo’s and so on, though all are called “milk.” Butter-fat, protein, and micro-nutrient content vary significantly among these milks. The Ayurvedic texts tell us that goat’s milk is bitter and pungent by taste while cow’s milk is sweet to the taste. This means that goat’s milk is inherently easier to digest that cow’s milk. For infants sensitive to cow’s milk goat’s milk often can be used successfully.

 

On the modern front the Guernsey cow (Bos taurus), for example, yields milk that is 30% to 50% richer in butter fat content that Bos indicus (the species of animal native to India) and some of the Bos indicus species have vary low protein milk. Klotter writes, “milk from grass-fed cows is quite different from milk derived from grain-fed cows—the milk from grass feeding has far more nutrients than milk from cows kept in barns and fed grain. The grain-predominant diet over-acidifies the cow’s intestinal tract, creating an environment favoring proliferation of certain bacteria. Pasteurization destroys the bacteria but also destroys enzymes,” such as lactase, that help digest milk protein. Further, she states, pasteurization has been shown to interfere with calcium metabolism when consumed. Other studies have shown, she writes, that butterfat in cows fed grass contains heat-sensitive activators necessary for the assimilation of minerals, proteins, and other nutrients...and pasteurization destroys these activators.

 

Homogenization makes the fat molecule very small and some feel so small that it and the protein molecules leave the stomach through the lining before digestion has taken place. Many people report lactose-intolerance and some suspect that homogenization is the first crucial link in this “pathology.” Leaky-gut syndrome—a condition of permeability of the lining of the stomach and intestines—appears to have a connection to the inflammatory changes associated with ingesting milk products, for example, in those unable to digest the casein. The question of why one cannot digest milk needs to be answered, however.

 

Ayurveda holds that cold milk is heavy and harder to digest than warm milk. Further, old milk is heavier and harder to digest than fresh milk. And when all these factors are added together the nature of the milk is seen to vary widely. So now we know that milk is milk but not all milk has the same native properties because, brands, animal type, conditions of feeding, handling, processing, and storage, all change the final product.

 

Klotter writes that raw milk is available in certain states and illegal in others. Check your state and local laws to see if your state or community permits selling of raw milk. Those wanting the best product available should consider, grass-fed, organic, raw, fresh (that day) warmed milk and no other. It is sattvic—produces clarity of mind and consciousness, it’s invigorating, and nourishing. So say the Ayurvedists.


 

The Book Corner

This month we have featured mantra or the field of Vedic sounds, and in line with this theme of sound we are bringing to your attention another perspective of sound from modern research. We present some quotes from The Ear and Language by Alfred Tomatis (Moulin Publishing, PO Box 560. Norval, Ontario, Canada, 1996) and some notes from When Listening Comes Alive, by Paul Madaule, to try to give the highlights – A New field of audio-psycho-phonology (APP); whose premise is that you can only voice what the ear can hear, so that if you change your ear's ability to listen, you will also change your voice and how you interact with your-self, others, and the rest of the universe. Tomatis concluded that it is the ear that in connection with the brain, controls voice production. (The astute reader should look for implications involving the Sankhya tanmatras.)

Some science:

·        the total functional whole of the middle ear infers ipso facto a functional unity of mouth, face, and ear. 

·        likelihood of intra-uterine audition of fetus--song-birds' eggs incubated by non-singing birds don’t sing

·        listening devices and selective ear input research showed that there is a dominant ear = leading ear

·        There is a marked difference between voice quality when controlled with the right versus the left ear, the right ensuring much better quality. The “leading ear” is the one more adapted for the control of the singing voice, instrument playing, speech production and ear tuning in general.

·        laterality (handedness) seems to develop contemporaneously with leading ear development; need for differentiation in language leads to the simultaneous formation of handedness.

·        laterality constantly fails to appear where language fails to be acquired; deaf-mutes are 100% ambidextrous. Abnormal and debilitated persons are generally poorly lateralized.

·        our entire being is under one-sided control and this we owe to language. The non-dominant side serves the control side by integrating. One supplies the active response and the other the analogical response/memory storage.

Some clinical pathophysiology findings shown to result from lack of ear dominance, lack of hearing acuity, sound stressors--short or sustained sounds of 100db, lack of sound stimulation, etc. :

·        four different clinical aspects of disease: aphemia - deterioration of word verbal memory, conceptual formation; loss of writing ability - agraphia; aphasia - breakdown of the relays operating the connection of verbal auditory memorization; amnesia - loss of acoustic memories afflicting the auditory verbal center

·        vocal dysfunction: such as loss of tonal control; more frail, flat, and hesitant, and less rich harmonics; impossibility of singing in pitch, unmusicality

·        dyslexia and mental ambivalence leading to words destroyed and piled together, syllables inverted.

·        if sound to the leading ear is stopped then confusion results in the performer

·        learning problems  

·        decreased body posture and self-image

·        lower voice and poorer speech articulation including stuttering

·        undetermined or badly determined laterality.

Treatments that help:

·        re-establish right ear dominance through ear education

·        listening (via ear phones, e.g.) to oneself while performing in a backdrop of auditory modes

·        language education (brings out striking evolution in the praxial movements and a simultaneous appearance of gnosial laterality. When the same become homogeneous, praxial maturation occurs, with the result that one side acquires greater dexterity.  This result is obtained through language alone, without any other education.

“We now know, after all that we have said about it, that the ear is not only man's most essential organ

but is also his "neurological body." Engaged in listening, the nervous system becomes a springboard for the

listener. Language tied to this concept of self-control has allowed consolidation, fortification, and self-

imposition of the evidence that the ear is actually the fundamental feature that makes man what he is:

vertical, speaker, creator, socially aware, and communicator... It is through listening that man rediscovers

the reason for his existence: communion with his neighbor, with creation, and with his creator.”
 

 

Mantra

 

The term—mantra—for some means “a sound with known effects” for others: man ki karana: that which saves the mind from the perils of samsara (Kundalini, Svoboda, p. 121). It may include a single syllable / word or many syllables / words. Vedic scholars and rishis declare that the Sanskrit language is a mantric language. The sounds of the language have the inherent power / energy / intelligence to create. That which is created is an expression of the physical character of the energy itself. The term for this relationship is called “nama rupa,” meaning name and form. The interpretation of this term is that a given sound has the organizing power in Nature to produce a physical form. The word for man is purusha and the sound of it is said to be able to materialize—given a certain state of consciousness of the speaker—a man. Also, this energy, according to the tantric, Robert Svoboda, can be transferred to physical things—people, objects, etc. Many Ayurvedic doctors say a mantra to potentized medicines, for example. Mantras are the driving energy that moves a person in a prescribed way along a (spiritual) path. According to Svoboda there are three main types of mantra (Aghora, Brotherhood of Life, ABQ, NM, 1986, 2nd printing, p. 11):

  1. descriptive—usually in Sanskrit, these describe either the process undergone, the desired goal, or both

  2. meaningless—aggregations of sounds which have no known meaning in any language

  3. bija—individualized nasalized Sanskrit syllables

“B²ja is a Sanskrit word meaning seed. Seed sounds “produce fruit according to the Bijavriksha Nyaya, or the Law of Seed and Tree. The frequent repetition of these b²ja’s eventually results in a sort of standing wave, permanently energizing either an external yantra or some area of the aspirant’s brain, resulting in the continuous production of a specific effect, one which is coherent with the personality invoked. Svoboda writes there are 4 ways to “speak” a mantra:


 
  1. vaikhari—vocal speech

  2. madhyama—nasalized speech

  3. pashyanti—purely mental repetition

  4. para--telepathic speech, only intention is conveyed


 

The more subtle the speech—the deeper is its effect on both the individual and the surrounding environment. Just as a laser produces coherent light, a human brain can produce coherent energy when a single frequency (bija) is selected...”

The cakra system associated with the yoga darshana has bija sounds associated with each cakra. One common presentation of cakras has only seven centers and seven corresponding seed sounds:

 
  1. muladhara –  gam   or  lam  

  2. svadhisthana – klim   or  vam  

  3. manipura— shrm or  ram 

  4. anahata— hrim  or  yam 

  5. vishudha— aim  or  ham 

  6. ajna— sauhu  or  ksham   

  7. sahasrara— aum  or  so’ ham   

 

As stated above, a repetition of any of these sounds will create a powerful healing influence for the area of physiology controlled by the respective cakra. Commonly, the instruction will call for 108 recitations of the bija mantra and the aspirant will find the use of special 108/109-bead mala useful for keeping track of this process.


 

Svoboda writes that the tantric texts declare the following to bear on the power / efficacy of mantra:

1.      The location in the vocal apparatus where the mantra should be recited along with its proper pronunciation

2.      The process of bhuta shuddhi and the practice of nyasa (which prepares body and mind to act as a fit receptacle for the deity)

3.      The dhyanavidhi, or specific visualization appropriate to the mantra

4.      The 5 great restrictions, which are: reciting the mantra daily the same number of times, at the same place, at the same time, with the same offering, while observing strict sexual continence during whatever period is set aside for the purpose

5.      The total number of repetitions required, which differs for each mantra, and the number and variety of offerings to the 5 great elements

The following may be a resource of mantras for healing:

·        Maharishi Vedic Vibration Technology Instant Relief" program.: 603-588-2074; www.Vedic-health.org

·        Meditation teachers (including Transcendental Meditation)

·        Jyotishi’s (Vedic astrologers)

 

 


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