Vajikarana: The science of healthy procreation.

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Vajikarana: The science of healthy procreation.

The sole aim of procreation in every living being is survival of their race. And this holds true for humans as well .The unsaid rule is, that it responsibility of each individual to try and pass on the best of their qualities to their off-springs. It is a sperm in male and an ovum in female that transmit the genetic material of parents to the next generation. And the quality of these two gametes reflects directly on the health of the progeny.

Various research studies have brought to notice, a rise in adverse trends in male reproductive health like, increased incidence of testicular cancer, decline in semen qualities and an increase in abnormal sperms.1 Sperm damage results from a broad spectrum of causative factors like chronic disease conditions, exposure to chemicals, pesticides etc. Weak or defective sperm are giving evidence of having an increased risk for problems with pregnancy and the offspring. 2 It is the need of time that we find a preventive as well as a curative solution to this growing problem. Ayurveda- the science of life has an answer to this and it is called Vajikarana.

Ayurveda is divided in eight branches, which are carefully chiseled out to meet specific needs in the process of maintaining health and preventing diseases. Vajikarana is one of the eight branches which deals with improving male sexual potency, and there by ensure a supraja or better progeny. The main aim of Vajikarana always remained successful copulation for a healthy reproduction, the sexual pleasures just being an additional benefit .Through a healthy offspring it is supposed to impart the benefit of dharma (religious merit), artha (wealth), yasha(success) and preeti(delight) which are the fourfold achievements of life. But vajikarana in today’s world is being seldom used for healthy reproduction, sexual pleasures being the main focus. The main aim of this branch is thus being side lined.

The concept of supraja also indicates towards the category exactly opposite to this, that of kupraja or a defective progeny. These may include children with various genetic disorders, or congenital anomalies. Scattered references of defects in pumbeeja or shukra- which means semen or sperm, leading to defects in the progeny are found in Ayurveda texts. Charak Samhita, one of the famous texts of Ayurveda, gives reference of shukra dosha( defect in shukra) as ‘Shukram hi dushtam sapatyam sadaaram badhate naram’.3a The meaning being, a defect in shukra, affects both wife of the person with the defect, as well as his progeny .The defects in progeny have been elaborated by the commentator Chakrapanidatta as diseased or impotent progeny.

The importance of a healthy shukra for conception is also repeatedly emphasized. Shukra has been mentioned as the foremost requirement for a fetus which will grow normally within a gestational period of nine months, without any trouble and will grow to have a healthy body and mind 3b.

Beeja (a seed) i.e shukra as purusha beeja( in this context-the sperm) and artava as stree beeja(or ovum), a defect in any one or both are responsible for congenital defects in the feotus 3c.
While describing conception, it has been specifically mentioned by Acharya Atreya that the Purusha retas i.e. shukra should be ‘anupahata’( without any defects or damage) only then it will lead to a healthy fetus3d.

Shukra dushti has been cited as a prime reason for the failure of conception as well as for ajanma (failure to give successful birth) of the fetus 3e

While describing garbha upaghatakar bhav- factors which can cause either abnormalities or destruction of fetus, Acharya Chakrapani has elaborated Pitridosha (defect in the father) as apathya sevana (intake of unwholesome diet and regimen) by father and Shukradosh in the father 3f. All these references clearly indicate towards the importance of healthy purusha beeja. The science of Vajikaran was developed over ages to ensure a healthy shukra, which would ensure Subahupraja-a progeny which will have healthy body as well as mind.

Vajikaran chikitsa requires living in strict compliance to the directions mentioned in Ayurvedic classics. It also involves various methods of shodhan (body cleansing) through vaman (emesis) or virechan (purgation), to prepare the body for the therapy. After the Shodhan therapy, based on the prakriti (doshic body constitution) and the nature of problem of the person, certain herbal and herbo-mineral combinations are used. Some of the famous herbs used in vajikaran being Aswagandha (Withania somnifera), Kapikacchu (Mucuna pruriens), Shilajatu( black bitumen ) etc. Many other methods included under vajikaran therapy involve drugless therapy, aimed at improving mental health like, massaging with and herbal baths, wearing of fragrant garlands, anointing the body with fragrant herbal pastes, listening to music etc.

Vajikaran therapy revitalizes all the seven dhatus (body elements), therefore restores equilibrium and health. Keeping in mind the concept of vajikaran as described in the texts of Ayurveda, it definitely offers a solution to minimize the shukra defects and to ensure a healthy progeny.

References:
1. N.E Skekkback et al .Testicular dysgenesis syndrome: An increasingly common developmental disorder with environmental aspects.
Human reproduction, 2001; 5: 972- 978.
2. Barbara F. Hales, Bernard Robaine. Paternal exposure to drugs and environmental
chemicals: Effects on progeny outcome.
Journal of andrology, 2001; 22: 6: 927-928.

3. Agnivesha,Charaka Samhita,with Ayurveda-Dipika Commentary of Chakrapanidatta,
Edited by Vaidya Yadavji Trikamji Acharya, 5th Ed, Chaukhamba Sanskrit Samsthan,
Varanasi. 2001
a. Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 29/18-19
b. Charaka Samhita Sharirasthana 2/6
c. Charaka Samhita Sharirasthana 2/29
d. Charaka Samhita Sharirasthana 3/3
e. Charaka Samhita Sharirasthana 4/28
f. Charaka Samhita Sharirasthana 8/21

DISCLAIMER
The sole purpose of this article is to provide accurate information about Ayurvedic/Medical theories. This information is not intended for use in the prevention, treatment, or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concerns, please consult your family physician or health care provider who can fully assess your individual needs and provide the care you require. The contents of this article may not be reproduced in part or whole without the permission of the author.

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Age Appropriate Toys for Children from Birth to First Year

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“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul”, said kindergarten inventor Friedrich Froebel. Research has shown that play helps in all areas of child development by providing the most required environmental stimulation to the child. Right from birth play helps a child to learn physical skills, language development, and social skills. Play shapes a child’s personality and is a part of the early material of moral character. Toys of different types form the epicenter of a child’s play. It is therefore quintessential for a parent to be well informed when it comes to choosing and buying the right toys for their little ones. With the fast growing toy market and the enticing and often overrated media advertisements, choosing the right and safe toys for children has indeed become a difficult task. This article is an attempt to provide the basics of choosing the right toys for infants-children aged 0-1year.

Birth to three months:-
The vision of a newborn is not fully developed. They are very nearsighted and can see only few colors like black white red and yellow. Their hearing though is matured and they can hear and recognize their mother’s voice. The toys that can be introduced at this age are-
-Mobile with highly contrasting colors and patterns.
-Music boxes, records, CD players with soft music.
-Soft, brightly colored and patterned toys that make gentle sounds.
Talking, singing and any form of active interaction with parents and near ones also provides the child with the most needed stimulation in this stage and throughout the first year of the child.

One to three months:-
This is a phase where the child starts following moving objects, and starts using hands and eyes in coordination. The child also learns to smile and babble and can turn his head toward direction of sound. The toys that are best suited for this age are-
-Images and books with high contrast patterns.
-Bright varied mobile.
-Rattles.
-Playing varied music with music box etc.

Four to seven months:-
By the end of this period the child will be able to roll from front to back and back to front. The child will be able to sit first with support and then without. He will able to reach for things and then transfer them form one hand to another. Full color vision also develops at this time and the child’s distance vision and ability to track moving objects improves. It is obvious from this that some major milestones are achieved during this period of life. Therefore the toys that can be given to the child at this age are-
-Soft balls, especially those which make soft pleasant sounds.
-Toys with different textures and which make sounds.
-Toys that are light weight and have finger holds.

-Musical toys like bells.
-Old magazines with bright pictures for you to show him.
-See through rattles that show the pieces making the noise.
-Baby books with board, cloth, or vinyl pages.
The child develops interest in mirror images so including a mirror (preferably unbreakable) is ideal during this phase. You can also stat reading to your child during this period.

Eight to twelve months:-
Your child will be able to crawl and creep during this age and will also be able to pull himself to standing position. You can introduce your baby to the following toys during this stage.
-Stacking toys of different sizes, shapes and colors.
-Cups, wooden spoons, light weight pots and pans.
-Large and colorful building blocks.
-Large dolls and puppets.
-Push and pull toys.
-Toy cars and trucks.
-Paper boxes, old magazines, egg cartons etc.

DISCLAIMER
The sole purpose of this article is to provide accurate information about Ayurvedic/Medical theories. This information is not intended for use in the prevention, treatment, or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concerns, please consult your family physician or health care provider who can fully assess your individual needs and provide the care you require. The contents of this article may not be reproduced in part or whole without the permission of the author.

Relieving Colic in Newborns

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Gassiness and colic in newborns is the most common problem faced by new parents.It can make a baby fussy and irritable to no ends.There are some simple ways by which you can relieve a baby of colic.

1. Apply warm sesame oil around the belly button area of the baby in a clockwise direction. Massage gently for five minutes.
2. Flex the baby’s knees over his tummy a couple of times. Place the baby on your lap with feet towards you and gently do cycling movement with his feet.
3. Take a pinch of asofoetida (hing) and mix it with two to three drops of clarified butter (ghee). Apply this mixture around the navel of the baby.

Another tip for the mom’s, avoid food that makes you feel gassy.