Often, we plan to do something good; to get rid of our bad habits, turn over a new leaf but don’t know how. We want to be healthy but don’t know how. With everyone—from knowledge gurus to western scientists—saying something, one feels quite lost.
My belief in Ayurveda as a system, which contains the core knowledge of how to keep healthy, is based on two things. Firstly, that it is the oldest codified system of medicine and secondly, it is the only system that places so much emphasis on promotion of health and prevention of disease. It is a system that has stood the test of time.
A close young relative of mine had this terrible habit of chewing her nails. And of course, they looked bad, detracting from her otherwise pretty hands. Nothing worked, not even daily reminders, bribes or threats. When she got engaged, I told her that her fiancé could probably appreciate fuller nails when she shut me up by saying that her fiancé finds her bitten nails cute. And the saga continued. She got married, settled in the United States, had a baby and holds a responsible managerial position. The half-bitten nails were her constant companions until she found the better method as she calls it.
She got a manicure done and had her nails painted with this stuff that lasts a month and which is not easy to bite. So every time she went to bite her nails, the red stuff (the nail polish) would glare at her and she would be able to resist the urge to bite her nails. Now she has pretty nails and feels proud that she has broken her nail-biting habit. Now what has this to do with Ayurveda? I am not an advocate of normally varnishing ones’ nails and this incident is just an example. People will normally do things to better themselves if they know how.
So many youngsters complain to me that they are very low on energy and need a pick-me-up. Now one of the things you should suspect if you are otherwise healthy is that you are probably deficient in iron. Most young girls and women I know have a low haemoglobin. Seventy percent of the body’s iron is found in the red blood cells in a compound called haemoglobin. In muscle cells, a similar compound is present in form of myoglobin. Haemoglobin is the one that transfers oxygen from the blood to the tissues. All of us are aware that oxygen is needed for healthy living. Allopaths prescribe iron tablets but often compliance is poor because the tablets interfere with the functioning of digestive system. Constipation or diarrhoea is a common complaint.
In Ayurveda, we have this wonderful preparation called Punarnavadi Manduram, which helps raise haemoglobin without causing diarrhoea or constipation. The preparation agrees with most people, resulting in better energy. They have learnt how to improve their iron level through a better method and they stick to it.Punarnavadi Manduram is effective because it has iron in an easily assimilable form. It contains trivrit (Operculina turpethum), which prevents constipation.
It contains indraya (Holarrhena antidysenterica), which ensures that diarrhoea does not happen. Charaka has included Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa) in the Vayasthapana or anti-ageing group of drugs. So there you have it all. Now if someone from the western pharma industry wants to discourage you from taking it, they will tell you that all ingredients are mixed in cow’s urine and dried. But cow’s urine has antioxidants and anti-microbial properties. It has even been patented for its property as a bio-enhancer. It ensures that iron and other herbal nutrients in Punarnavadi Manduram are better available to you.
The writer is retired Additional Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu. She can be reached at sheelarani.