In our busy, modern lives, we often do not take sufficient care of our eyes. Eyes are one of the most vital sense organs, and it is important to follow a diet and lifestyle that supports their health and strength. Vision gives color to our world. Without it, everything would only be one color - dark.
To take care of our eyes, the science of Ayurveda educates us about the importance of ocular health, and the at-home eye care practices are simple to follow. In Sushrut Samhita, one of the classical texts of Ayurveda, there are nineteen chapters dedicated to the eyes: their anatomy, physiology, common diseases and their cures, and preventive measures to maintain health, along with recommended diet and Ayurvedic remedies.
Today’s lifestyles are deteriorating our eyes, and this calls for understanding Ayurveda's timeless knowledge so we can empower ourselves.
Splashing water on the face first thing after getting up in the morning is called Netraprakshalan in Ayurveda. The Sushrut Samhita also recommends splashing both the face and eyes with Lodhra Asavam, a decoction of Symplocos racemose, or Amalaki juice. Make sure that some of the remedy and water actually gets into the eye.
Anjana is a method where specially prepared herbs are applied along the inner surface of the eyes. As eyes are predominantly ruled by Pitta Dosha, they need to be protected from excess Kapha Dosha. Anjana dissolves and removes the vitiated Kapha with it. Kapha is the culprit that blocks the channels (Srotas), so Anjana is one of the best preventive therapies to maintain eye health.
A head massage with Ayurvedic oil is one of the most effective practices to calm Vata Dosha. The Vata Sub-Dosha confined in the eyes is Prana Vayu and the seat of Prana Vayu is in the head (Murdha). Oil applied on the head acts on the Drishtipatalam, providing protection and healing. (Drishtipatalam can be compared to the retina.) Shiro-Abhyanga nourishes all of the sensory organs, but especially Drishtiprasadan, so daily application of oil on the head is a powerful preventive measure against eye problems. The most suitable oil for your constitution can be decided on by consulting an Ayurvedic practitioner. Contact us for practitioner recommendations.
A daily bath after Shiro-Abhyanga cleanses the physical and spiritual body and helps to stimulate your organs after a night of sleep. Ayurveda says that hot water is good for whole body but actually not for the head, since it could negatively impact eye health. Instead, wait for the water to cool down before letting it pour over your head.
The nose is considered a natural route to the head. When herbs and oils are administered through the nose, it reaches vital points in the head. One such important point is called the Shringatak Marma, which is the seat of sensory organs such as the eyes, ears, nose and tongue. A daily practice of Nasya, called Pratimarsha Nasya, cleanses the srotas (channels) of excess Kapha Dosha. It is excellent preventive therapy for eye problems. The best oil for Pratimarsha Nasya can be selected after consultation with an Ayurvedic practitioner.
Swishing herbal oil around the mouth and pulling it between the teeth is called Kaval. Holding it in the mouth is called Gandusha. More commonly known as "oil pulling," the herbal oil reaches all parts of the oral cavity and cleanses and nourishes the mouth while refreshing the sensory organs.
A Mukha Kepa is an herbal paste prepared from herbs. It balances the Doshas to strengthen the sensory organs.
Uninterrupted, naturally-induced sleep is essential for healthy eyes. Sleep rejuvenates both our mind and body, so staying up late and avoiding the natural urge to rest results in heavy, tired eyes. Long periods of sleep deprivation may also cause symptoms such as dry eyes and blurry vision. For strong vision and healthy eyes, 6 - 8 hours of sleep is necessary for adults.
Ayurveda recommends some specific food and supplements for healthy vision. Rice, barley, green mung beans, bitter gourd, ghee, grapes, Triphala Churnam and coriander seeds in tea or in cooking. If you are experiencing health issues with your eyes, avoid sour, hot and alkaline food and alcohol.
All views and information shared here is only for the sharing of Ayurvedic knowledge. Please do not try or prescribe or take any of the remedies and suggestions here without talking to your regular, qualified doctor. Kottakkal Ayurveda and no other person associated with Kottakkal is responsible for unwanted side-effects or contraindications in your health.
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