Ayurveda speaks a great deal about establishing one’s innate constitution, known in Ayurveda as Prakriti. Prakriti means “nature.” Nature has created each person as a unique expression of Cosmic Consciousness. No two people are exactly alike. Prakriti, therefore, reveals a person’s inborn psychosomatic nature – the unique ratio of three doshas (vata, pitta, kapha). This ratio is established at and operates from the moment of conception. As the subtle-most foundation of genetic make-up, prakriti guides fetal development and continues to act throughout the life span as a biological blueprint.
Most people with a basic understanding of Ayurveda know prakriti as the Ayurvedic mind-body type. They know that it determines body frame, complexion, eye color, hair texture, and other physical features and they understand that prakriti determines a person’s temperament; for example pitta constitution may flare towards anger when out of balance and vata types have a marked tendency to fear when put under stress. Most books on Ayurveda expound the constitutional types, illustrating how prakriti determines the hundreds of differences among individuals and providing meaningful diet and lifestyle guidelines for each constitution.
However, prakriti’s implications go even deeper. The Ayurvedic term for health is Swastya, which means that a healthy individual is established in herself physically, mentally, and spiritually. You can not be established at any level without giving due attention to re-establishing and maintaining your prakriti. This is because your unique pattern of doshas at conception is your state of ideal balance. More over, prakriti is the optimum condition of well being that gives you the ability and resiliency to withstand stress and stay centered in yourself. Within the body-mind complex, there is a constant interaction between health (order) and dis-ease (disorder). When well established, prakriti maintains the intelligent, orderly functioning of all psychosomatic processes. In short, let me emphasize that prakriti is not simply a type of physique or way of behaving: Prakriti is the basis of health, maintains health, and is the state of health. Therefore, the main objective of Ayurveda is Prakriti Sthapana – establishing the individual’s prakriti to maintain optimum health and promote longevity.
Establishing prakriti is primarily a matter of removing and balancing those factors interfering with the full expression of the natal constitution. As the blueprint for perfect health, prakriti itself remains unaltered throughout the lifetime. However, abnormal diet, wrong lifestyle, stress, toxins, and other factors disrupt the connection of prakriti with the individual’s consciousness and physiology. This distortion is called Visham Prakriti – the state of imbalanced prakriti. Visham prakriti may manifest as mildly as not feeling well or as severely as any number of maladies. Differences of degree aside, by taking care of the etiological factors causing visham prakriti one can concurrently re-establish the natal prakriti. These etiological factors can be classified into three categories:
- Accumulation of Toxins
- Doshic Imbalances
- Aging Factors
Toxins fall into four categories: ama, amavish, garvish, and indravajraabijanyavish. Ama is the product of incomplete digestion. A sticky, malodorous substance, ama clogs the shrotas (channels) and cellular membranes, disrupting tissue nutrition and producing illness. Amavish is ama having reactive properties with the tissues and shrotas. Garvish is ama acquired from sources that never should have entered the body: chemicals, heavy metals, dyes, pesticides, fumes, etc. Indravajraabhijanyavish comes from electro-magnetic sources, like computers and cell phones. The ongoing build-up of all these types of ama disturbs dosha, dhatus (tissues), and malas (waste products). Disease itself is called Amaya – born of ama. To re-establish prakriti, one must regularly purify the physiology.
As noted, prakriti is an individual’s natural, innate, and unique combination of doshas – the set-point for optimum health. By definition, however, the doshas have a tendency to go out of balance. No longer able to properly perform their assigned duties, the vitiated doshas disturb the physiology, acting as if at war with the host. These imbalances arise out of lifestyle, dietary, emotional, mental, spiritual, and environmental factors. To restore peace, the cause – or causes – must be removed or mitigated; and the aggravated doshas must be pacified. Sham is a mantra of peace, calmness, and contentment. Pacifying, or calming the aggravated doshas is called Shamana. Ayurveda’s plant-based medical tradition uses health-bearing plants with special potency for pacifying doshic imbalances and re-establishing natal prakriti – the state of peace.
Becoming older is inevitable; aging is optional. Ayurveda says that 100 years is a normal life span. Today people are living longer; but what good is longer life in infirmity and ill health? Insidiously, aging brings about a gradual loss of connection with our own prakriti. Decade by decade we loose growth, luster, complexion, intelligence, skin health, vision, virility, discrimination, and the use of the senses. Over time the body’s channels loose flexibility, becoming clogged and dry, as occurs in arteriosclerosis, for example. Staying young at heart means preventing psychological aging, which begins earlier in life than one would suspect. Ayurveda provides special substances called Rasayanas that promote mental and physical health, maintain youthfulness, and slow aging.
The ancient wisdom of Shaka Vanshiya Ayurveda had the vision to take care of all the above factors in a single formula having the remarkable ability to simultaneously fulfill three vital roles: Shodana – clearing the channels and detoxifying the body of ama; Shamana - balancing all three doshas; and Rasayana - rejuvenating mind and body for healthy aging. We call this formula Prakrit™. It has been used in my family tradition for the past 5,000 years for detoxification, balancing, and rejuvenation. Composed of two powerful yet gentle ingredients, Prakrit™ is manufactured according to an ancient prana-protecting procedure. We take start by selecting smart baby haritaki (terminalia chebula) picked in a specific season. Then we process and purify it with extra care in pure castor oil (eranda tailam) and put this combination in tablet form. These ingredients are processed intelligently without disturbing the prana of the baby haritaki. The result: Prakrit™ delivers the vision of Shaka Vanshiya Ayurveda – a fact validated by the ancient Rishis of Ayurveda and by modern scientific research.
Shodana effect of intelligent haritaki according to Ayurveda
- Ushnam: It is thermogenic and opens the channels of the body by burning ama (simple biological toxins) – Sushruta.
- Saram: sarashtesham pravartakah. Spreads quickly in the body and supports the flow of channels in detoxification – Sushruta.
- Deepanam: Enhances agni (digestive fire) to increase absorption and burn ama – Sushruta.
- Soth Kusthanut: Helps to reduce swelling due to toxins under the skin and elsewhere in the entire body – Sushruta.
- Tuvara: Fast acting – Bhavaprakash.
- Vishanashini: Scrubs out toxins that have been stuck in the intestinal wall over many years – Bhavaprakash. (Fully mature haritaki can detoxify too quickly causing more problems than it solves. Containing baby haritaki and pure castor oil, Prakrit™ cleanses the intestines slowly and mildly with no side effects.)
- Twagamayaghni: Purifies the skin and keeps it healthy – Raja Nighantu.
- Shroto Bibandhan Nashini: Opens all the large and small shrotas (channels) of the body – Charaka.
Scientific research on Shodana effect of haritaki (Terminalia Chebula)
- “The results showed that all tested extracts and pure compounds of Terminalia Chebula exhibited antioxidant activity at different magnitudes of potency. The antioxidant activity of each pure compound was derived from different pathways and was suggested to be specific.” Antioxidant and free radial scavenging activities of Terminalia Chebula. Cheng HY, Lin TC, Yu KH, Yang CM, Lin CC; Biological Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 2003 September – 26(9):1331-5.
- “The extract successfully inhibited glycolysis of salivary bacteria for up to 90 minuets post rinsing.” Potential of the aqueous extract of Terminalia Chebula as an anti-caries agent. Jagtap AG, Karkera SG; Journal ethnopharmacology, 1999 December 15 – 68(1-3):299-306.
- “To identify promising sources of antioxidants, some food and medicinal plants were studied for total phenolic contents and antioxidant activity. The leaves, bark, and fruit of . . . Terminalia Chebula were found to have high total phenolic contents (72.0-167.2mg/g) and high antioxidant activity.” Phenolic contents and antioxidant activity of some food and medicinal plants. Bajpai M, Pande A, Tewari SK, Prakash D; International Journal Food Science Nutrition, 2005 June – 56(4):287-91.
- “Based on the results described above, we speculate that TCE has the potential to play a role in the hepatic prevention of oxidative damage in living systems.” Antioxidant effects of aqueous extract of Terminalia Chebula in vivo and in vitro. Lee HS, Won NH, Kim KH, Lee H, Jun W, Lee KW; Biological Pharmacology Bulletin, 2005 September – 28(9):1639-44.
- “The aqueous extracts of the fruits of Emblica officinalis (T1), Terminalia Chebula (T2) . . . were evaluated for their in vitro antioxidant activity. T1 shows greater lipid peroxidation . . ., while T2 has greater radical scavenging activity.” In vitro antioxidant studies and free radical reactions of Triphala, an Ayurvedic formulation and its constituents. Naik GH, Priyadarsini KI, Bhagirathi RG, Mishra B, Mishra KP, Banavalikar MM, Mohan H; Phytother Research, 2005 July – 19(7):582-6.
Shamana effect of intelligent haritaki according to Ayurveda
- Ushnam: Thermogenic effect pacifies vata and kapha – Sushruta.
- Sara: Sarah anulomanah proktah. Haritaki “opens” apana and supports the downward movement of apana vata – Sushruta. (Apana, the carrying away air, is the principle of movement connected with the colon and responsible for urination and bowel movements.)
- Doshaghram: Pacifies any aggravated dosha – Sushruta.
- Kashyam: The astringent taste and effect of haritaki balances the body’s Ph – Sushruta.
- Chamlam: Pacifies vata with its citrus-like quality – Sushruta.
- Shwadu Paka: The vipak, taste after digestion, is sweet and pro-alkaline, which balances vata and pitta. (Who said this?)
- Anulomini: Supports the flow of prana in the proper direction – Bhavaprakash.
- Pleeha and Yakrut Gadam Harati: Maintains and supports the health of the liver and spleen – Bhavaprakash.
- Nirmulini Pitta, Kapha, Nilanam: Pacifies and maintains the proper balance of pitta, kapha, and vata – Bhavaprakash.
- Anna pan kritan doshah hanti: Helps rebalance disturbances of the physiology acquired from improper or low quality food and water – Bhavaprakash.
- Kostha Amaya Ghni: Corrects imbalances of the colon – Raja Nighantu.
- Sarva dosha prashamineem: Pacifies all three doshas – Charaka.
- Vatanulomini: Supports the downward movement of apana – Dhanwantari Nisha (????)
- Santarpan kritah: Nurturing all seven dhatus (body tissues) – Dhanwantari Nish.
Scientific research on shamana action of Terminalia Chebula
- “T.chebula acts as a potent antioxidant and since it is able to protect cellular organelles. . . .” Studies on the aqueous extract of Terminalia Chebula as a potent antioxidant and a probable radioprotector. Naik GH, Priyadarsine KI, Nairk DB, Gangabhagirathi R, Mohan H; Phytomedicine. 2004 September – 11(6):530-8.
Rasayana effect of intelligent haritaki according to Ayurveda
- Branya: Enhances the healing and regeneration processes – Sushruta.
- Medhyam: Enhances the coordination between Dhi (learning), Dhriti (retention), and Smriti (memory) and helps slow down mental aging – Sushruta.
- Chakshushyam: Haritaki has a rejuvenation effect on the eyes – Sushruta.
- Rasayini: Yat jara vyadhi nashanam tad rasayanam. “which keeps away aging and disease.” – Bhavaprakash.
- Laghuayushya: Easy to digest and enhancing longevity – Bhavaprakash.
- Brihani: Helps nourish all seven tissues (7 dhatus) – Bhavaprakash.
- Unmilini Buddhi Balaindriyanam: Clears the intellect and provides stamina to the five senses – Bhavaprakash.
- Rasayani: Encourages graceful aging – Raja Nighantu.
- Netra Pujapha: Rejuvenating for the eyes – Raja Nighantu.
- Klevya Bharga Sadanam: Maintains and supports the healing process and rejuvenation – Charka.
- Haritaki Pathyanam: Haritaki is the life-supporting fruit – Charaka.
- Ayushyam: Enhancing longevity – Charaka.
- Paushteekim: Nourishes the body – Charaka.
- Vayasthapineem: Slows the aging process – Charaka.
- Hridaya: Supporting the vibrational and physical heart – Charaka.
- Indriyanam Prashadini: Clears sensory perception – Charaka.
Scientific validation on rejuvenating effect of Terminalia Chebula
- “The life-span of the HEK-N/F cells was elongated by 40% as a result of the continuous administration of 3 microg/ml of the T. Chebula extract . . . . These observations were attributed to the inhibitory effect of the T. Chebula extract on the age-dependent shortening of the telomere, length as shown by the Southern blots of the terminal restriction fragments (TRFs) of DNA extracted from subculture passages.” Cytoprotective effect on oxidative stress and inhibitory effect on cellular aging of Terminalia Chebula fruit. NaM, Bae, Kanng SS, Min BS, Yoo JK, Kamiryo Y, Senno Y, Yokoo S, Miwa N; Phytother Research. 2004 September – 18(9):737-41.
- “CHE [chebulagic acid] significantly suppressed the onset and progression of CIA [collagen-induced arthritis] in mice. Immune suppression via the induction of TGFbeta and CD4+,CD25+ T cells may represent a new strategy in the development of therapies for managing rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.” Suppression of the onset and progression of collagen-induced arthritis by chebulagic acid screened from a natural product library. Lee SI, Hyun PM, Kim SH, Kim KS, Lee SK, Kim BS, Maeng PJ, Lim JS; Arthritis Rheumatoid. 2005 January – 52(1):345-53.
- “T. Chebula possessed antimicrobial activity and was active largely against Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella. These results strongly document the beneficial effects of T. Chebula in the acceleration of the healing process.” Influence of Terminalia chebula on dermal wound healing in rats. Suguna L, Singh S, Sivakumar P, Sampath P, Chandrakasan G; Phytother Research. 2002 May – 16(3):227-31.
Prakrit™ also contains a gentle infusion of pure castor oil (eranda tailam). The addition of pure castor oil enhances the detoxifying effect of baby haritaki and pacifies vata by lubricating the channels of the body. Like baby haritaki, castor oil also has the ability to simultaneously detoxify, balance, and rejuvenate.
Shodana effect of castor oil according to Ayurveda
- Ushnam: Cleanses because ushna (heating) effect opens the channels.
- Tikshnam: Sharp quality makes eranda a good yogavahi (transporter) to carry the intelligence of baby haritaki faster all over the body.
- Sukshmam: Subtle, fast moving quality enhances yogavahi effect and clears shrotas.
- Shrotovishodanam: Has a very specific way to clean, clear, and re-establish the intelligence of the channels, because sukshma and tiskshna quality goes to the deepest layer of the cellular system.
- Yoni and Shukra Vishodana: Purifies aspects of the female reproductive organs, i.e. the vagina, menstrual blood, ovaries, and ovum. It also detoxifies semen.
Shamana effect of castor oil according to Ayurveda
- Madhura: Sweet tastes pacifies vata and pitta – Sushruta.
- Ushnam: Hot attribute reduces vata and kapha – Sushruta.
- Katu, Kshaya Anurasam: Pungent after-taste pacifies kapha; astringent after-taste balances kapha and pitta.
- Madhur Vipakam: Although it is tikshna (sharp), katu (pungent) and sukshma (subtle) it does not increase pitta due to its sweet vipak – Sushruta.
- Adho bhag dosha haram: Pacifies doshas in lower part of body (colon and legs) and possesses a special effect to “scrub” toxins from this area.
Rasayana effect of castor oil according to Ayurveda
- Twachyam: Heals, regenerates, and retards the aging process of the skin.
- Vrisham: Enhances shukra dhatu (semen).
- Vyasthapanam: Slows the aging process.
- Kanti Smruti Bala Karam Medha: Provides mental stamina, increases power of recall, and enhances the complexion of face and body – Sushruta.
From the angle of modern science and the recorded knowledge of the ancient Rishis, Prakrit™ fulfills Ayurveda’s objective of Prakriti Sthapana. Should Prakrit™ be called a panacea? Time will be the judge; but surely no other single formula comes as close.
Suggested use – The basic recommendation is one tablet in the morning after breakfast and one tablet before going to bed. For a more specific action, adjust the number of tablets according to the primary desired effect: shodana (detoxification), shamana (dosha balancing), or rasayana (rejuvenation).
1) Shodana: Proper bowel movement is essential for good health and much detoxification happens through proper daily elimination. Prakrit™ assists this process naturally. Start with 2 tablets crushed in 8 oz. of hot water and steep for three to four hours. Drink this water at bedtime. If at all needed, increase by one tablet each day until a good bowel movement happens easily twice per day. Do not exceed the maximum of eight tablets daily. (See precautions.)
2) Shamana: Prakrit™ provides a simple and effect formulation for balancing all three doshas simultaneously. Doing so, it re-establishes the body’s proper acid-alkaline balance, or Ph factor. Nonetheless, imbalances may be too severe or long-standing for Prakrit™ alone to fully optimize the physiology. You also need to eat intelligent food, drink good water, and may need to use other special supplements. To find out what steps are right for you, read Dr. Mishra’s article How to Balance the Balancing Factor at www.vaidyamishra.com.
3) Rasayana: Take one tablet with water after breakfast and before sleep.
Precautions: Although Prakrit™ is gentle and safe, it may detoxify the colon more strongly in some individuals. Use carefully. Take caution not to create diarrhea, very loose motions, or frequency of more than twice daily. If this happens, reduce by one tablet each day. The goal is natural, easy evacuation twice per day.
Prakrit™ has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to cure, treat, or prevent any disease. If you have a known medical condition, or are taking any medication, you should consult with your medical physician before using this herbal supplement. Do not use this herbal supplement if you are allergic to any ingredient. This article contains educational information on the properties and traditional usage of certain plants. This information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is provided only to appraise the reader of some of the many applications of these plants.
Published with the Kind permission of Dr. Vaidya Mishra
Dr. Vaidya Mishra is an Ayurvedic general health practitioner as well as dermatologist, product formulator, researcher and educator, Vaidya Rama Kant Mishra was born into a family of Raj Vaidyas that boast of a 5000-year-old History of healing - the familial lineage is mentioned in the ancient Vedic text, the Puranas.
Please visit his website at http://www.vaidyamishra.com
Copyright © 2006, Dr. Vaidya Mishra. All rights reserved by the author.