In our modern world, particularly in highly developed countries, it is easy to lose touch with the healing power within each one of us. From the moment a child is born she is literally injected with the belief that her immune system is not capable of doing its job properly without some artificial means like vaccinations and other drugs. Furthermore, nowadays the treatment for common childhood ailments consists mainly of allopathic drugs such as antibiotics. Of course, there may be times when such drugs are necessary, but all too often they could be substituted by a safer and more natural approach. Ayurveda has much to offer in the way of gentle and effective health care and disease prevention for children through diet and lifestyle, as well as the use of medicinal herbs and spices. For thousands of years herbs have been successfully used for addressing a wide variety of childhood disorders. Many herbs can strengthen the immune system and support the health of children of all ages in a safe and holistic manner.
One of the most important factors to consider for the health of a newborn is the health of the parents. For this reason, Ayurveda recommends that both parents undergo panchakarma before they wish to conceive a child. This helps to prevent their vikruti (current state of health) from being passed on to the baby. Once conception is achieved, the mother should be relaxed during pregnancy, reading spiritual books, chanting mantras, eating a doshic diet, receiving regular abhyanga, doing gentle and restorative yogasana, and meditating.
From conception onward, Ayurveda places great emphasis on post partum care for the mother to balance vata and promote health and vitality in her, as well as to ensure the healthy development of the fetus. After birth, both the newborn infant and the mother are to be cared for throughout the first forty days with the utmost attention. Traditionally, these duties consist of daily oil massage, bathing, and other herbal therapies. Even today in much of rural India and Nepal there is a wealth of wisdom on birthing and infant’s health care that lays in the hands of midwives and grandmothers, even though many restrictions have been placed upon them.
Rejuvenating and Nourishing the Mind with Ayurveda
Learning is a large part of being a child, so we should not forget about herbs that rejuvenate the mind. One of the most common rasayana herbs for the brain is Shanka pushpi. Shanka pushpi is a popular tridoshic herb for promoting memory and intelligence, and is commonly prepared in a syrup form for this purpose. It is also used to treat depression, psychosis, and epilepsy. In the case of children diagnosed with ADD, it can be combined with Brahmi.
Brahmi (Gotu kola or Bacopa, aka Herpestis monnieri), is also worth mentioning when it comes to the mind. Brahmi means "cosmic consciousness."
For speech impediments, these two herbs combine well with equal parts of Vacha (Calamus). A common formula used for treating speech disorders, as well as a wide variety of vata disorders of the mind, nervous, and digestive system, is Saraswata churna, It contains herbs like Ashwagandha, Vacha, Shanka pushpi, Ajwan, Cumin, and Rock salt. It is safe for children and its flavor is somewhat palatable too. Saraswata churna is a good example of the truly holistic approach that Ayurveda takes in compounding herbs to address the many qualities of a dosha and its possible and common effects on the entire system. It has herbs that have an affinity to all of the organs, dhatus, and srotamsi that relate to vata dosha. Other typical Ayurvedic medicines to consider for rejuvenating the mind and the nervous system are Brahmi vati, Smriti sagar ras, Brahma rasayana, Ashwagandharishta, and Brahmi ghee.
There is no end to the variety and usefulness of Ayurvedic herbs and home remedies for children. Most herbs are safe and very effective when used skillfully, constitutionally, and in appropriate doses. Before resorting to stronger herbal based medicines it is best to use whole foods and simple herbs and spices. Often times less is more and the right medicine in small amounts can do wonders. Therefore, achieving doshic balance, promoting healthy habits, and strengthening immunity and agni in early childhood can set the foundation for optimal growth and development, and overall health in the future.
Author: - Roy Chavarcode is a member of Chavarcode Ayurveda family. The Chavarcode family is from India and is highly reputed for their knowledge in the great tradition in Ayurveda, India's ancient and holistic method of treatment. For more information visit - http://www.gurusgarden.com
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Chavarcode Ayurveda family. The Chavarcode family is from India and is highly reputed for their knowledge in the great tradition in Ayurveda, India's ancient and holistic method of treatment. For more information visit - http://www.gurusgarden.com