Ayurvedic Ingredients for Body Care
Body care and personal hygiene are the prime content in Ayurvedic texts. Chewing of various spices and nuts is recommended for clarity of the voice, a pleasing taste, and also fresh smell in the mouth. Gargling with sesame oil is said to heighten the strength of the jaws. Sesame oil also gives depth to the voice and even results in becoming the face plump.
Regular oiling of the hair and the ears, and periodic oil massages are a part of the normal recommended body care. These are very useful to get a healthy body. Massage makes the physique smooth, strong, and charming, and prevents the attack of age. Scents and garlands of flowers are said to stimulate the libido. It often spread fragrance in the body, and enhances longevity and charm as well.
An Indian psychiatrist was surprised to find the following description of a tongue scraper, which he had not seen in use in any other country. The description is given in the Charaka Samhita. Tongue scrapers should be curved and not sharp-edged. These are to be made of metals like gold, silver, copper, tin, and brass. The dirt that deposited at the root of the tongue obstructs expiration and gives rise to a foul smell. Owning to these reasons the tongue should be scraped regularly.
Dietetics in Ayurveda
Dietetics, or Pathyapathya, forms an integral part of Ayurveda. Ayurveda gives a general description of foods that promote health and others which should be avoided or taken meagrely. The ancient texts also give instructions about foods that should be allowed to the patients according to the nature or severity of the malady. It also illustrates those foods that should be banned. Some medicines are to be taken with certain specific foods such as buttermilk or kanji i.e. fermented substances. Certain drugs and formulations are administered to the patient in conjunction with certain foods. If someone is not taking the food properly, the drugs do not have any curative effect.
In the ancient texts, no section on any disease is complete unless the pathyapatha is discussed. The acharyas or teachers knew the specific qualities of the foods and their curative value. When they were given in conjunction with the drugs, they helped to cure the patient quicker than it would have been possible if those foods had not been given.
In the collections of Charaka, Sushruta, Vagabhata and others, separate chapters are devoted to the various foods and their effect on the human body. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods have been discussed and recommended for the various physical states. Non-vegetarian diets are particularly recommended in diseases like consumption where the wasting of the flesh is evident. In that case the body has to be repaired by strengthening the mamsa dhatu.