Category Archives: Alternatives

Fermented foods and their benefits:


Fermented foods are rich in pro-biotic bacteria so by consuming fermented foods you are adding beneficial bacteria and enzymes to your overall intestinal flora, increasing the health of your gut micro biome and digestive system and enhancing the immune system.  Fermented foods are bacteria-based i.e.: the “good” bacteria, they can help generate peristalsis and aid in fecal elimination. 

Fermented foods taste delicious; they are incredibly nutritious and healthy.  Fermented foods can reduce bloating, aid digestion; increase the absorption of nutrients, and so much more.

Benefits of Fermented foods:

 Improve Neonatal Health

Mothers who eat fermented foods maintain a healthier balance of “good” bacteria in their bodies. This is beneficial for the fetus and, in fact, can help prevent neonatal infections.

Promote Weight Loss

Many fermented foods are rich in choline, and this helps lower blood pressure and even help metabolize fats more quickly.

Fermented foods have a longer Shelf Life

Fermented foods such as canned pickles, sauerkraut, beets, and more can last months when stored in a cool environment.

Fermented foods are cost effective

You can easily pickle foods at home, which makes fermented foods a cost-effective addition to any diet.

Fermented foods taste great

Fermented foods are very tasty.

Fermented foods relieve constipation and improve digestion

The process of fermentation pre-digests food for you. This means your digestive system has less work to do. .

Fermented foods boost the Immune System

Fermented foods contain good bacteria also called as pro-biotics. Fortunately, fermented foods support the “good” bacteria and the good bugs strengthen the immune system and helps ward off disease and illness.”

Fermented foods improves nutrient absorption and increase vitamin content

Enzyme-rich foods help the body absorb nutrients more easily while improving gut health. Fermented dairy products, specifically, release more of the vitamins in foods that our bodies need to stay healthy. Folic acid, B vitamins, riboflavin, and biotin are but a few nutrients that are increased in fermented foods.


Fermented foods promote positive health, improve the immune system and also help in weight loss.



The Neem tree is also called as the Margosa tree and this tree is almost planted in every home in rural India. The leaves, the bark, wood, roots and fruits of this plant are extremely bitter. The Botanical name of this plant is AZADIRACHTA INDICA or MELIA AZADIRACHTA. There is a well-known proverb about Neem, which goes as follows;

In a land where Neem abounds,

Can Death, disease therein be found?

Medicinal Uses:

Ayurvedic physicians know the medicinal uses of this plant since antiquity.  Charaka found it very useful in Leprosy. Sushrutha also found it useful in Leprosy, gonorrhoea, in fevers with burning sensation all over the body.  Harita found it useful in boils and a blood purifier.  Bagabhata used it in baldness of the head.  Chakradatta found it useful in boils, ulcers, eczema, scabies and other skin diseases.  Bangasena found it to be a sovereign remedy in Sciatica and also in eye diseases in children.  Bhavaprakasha used it in worm and parasitic infestations.

Homoeopathic physicians find that it is useful in persons with loss of memory, vertigo, troublesome cough, constipation, fever with chills and itching all over the body.

Allopathic research has revealed that the Margosa plant contains non-crystalline resinous substances, tannins, sugars, Neem oil, Margosine, catechin gum and salts.

Researchers have further found out that this plant has tonic, astringent, for worm infestation, boils and non-healing ulcers and leprosy.


With the giant strides in Allopathic medicine, Herbal remedies have lost their place in the mainstream therapy.  However, parts of the Neem tree are used for fever, loss of appetite, worm infestation, jaundice, boils, in non-healing ulcers, leprosy and gonorrhoea by Native physicians in rural India.

It is also a good remedy in forgetfulness, where the patient cannot remember anything, forgets important names, forgets to write in examinations.

It is also a grand remedy in Leprosy and counteracts the ill effects of Quinine, which is given in Malaria. It is also used as a poultice or a plaster in many skin diseases, such as abscesses, boils, buboes, carbuncles and non-healing chronic ulcers.


Euthanasia (Mercy Killing) is a controversial subject and there are several opinions for and against it. The word Euthanasia is derived from the Greek word ‘EU’ which means good and ‘THANATOS’ which means death.  Euthanasia is legalized in some Scandinavian countries under strict medico-legal supervision in terminally ill patients.  In India too, there have been several debates to legalize Euthanasia, but the majority of the Indian medical fraternity are opposed to it.

The Vedanta approach to disease is Holistic. Vedanta believes that diseases are caused by wrong living, like abusing the body with wrong life styles and also wrong thinking or inability to calm the restless mind.  Vedanta also believes that there are deeper causes for diseases like ‘past life karma’.  These ‘Karmic diseases’ do not respond even when handled the right way in keeping with the systems of Medicine known to man.  Unfortunately these incurable diseases cause tremendous suffering to the patient and the patient often yearns for death as a release from suffering.

Vedanta strongly believes that this suffering should be welcomed and accepted as a ‘cleansing of the Karma’ and no attempt should be made to interfere with the karma and a true cure in the spiritual sense can be only possible through the elimination of the past causations.

In cases of incurable diseases, the soul is cleansed, so that it can go into a higher realm, while there may be suffering in the body and the mind. It is for this reason, Spiritual masters like Ramana Maharishi and Swami Ramakrishna never interfered with their cancers and were blissfully ignorant of the pain, because their self realized state permitted their minds to receive the light of the soul and they were merged in the Cosmic bliss despite the tremendous suffering their bodies underwent. Vedanta is against Euthanasia because it is a hindrance to the progress of the soul. Vedanta believes that tender loving care must be given to the sufferers and they must be reminded of the eternal spiritual values for the liberation of the soul in the terminal stages of their disease.

Some foods that relieve anxiety.


Generalized anxiety disorder is a fairly common spectrum of symptoms affecting millions of people the world over and the common symptoms include:

  • fear
  • tension
  • excessive worry about everyday events and problems
  • irritability
  • difficulty concentrating
  • issues with their personal social and work relationships
  • heart palpitations, elevated heart rate
  • muscle tension
  • chest tightness

Some foods that relieve anxiety:

Brazil nuts:

Brazil nuts are rich in selenium and may relieve anxiety by reducing inflammation in the body and thus improve symptoms of anxiety by improving the mood of the patient.

Other nuts, animal products, and vegetables, such as mushrooms and soybeans, are an excellent source of selenium.


Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, and herring, are high in omega 3 fatty acids.  Omega-3 is a fatty acid that has a strong relationship with cognitive function as well as promoting positive mental health.

Egg yolk is a great source of vitamin D.

Eggs are also an excellent source of protein. It is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids the body needs for growth and development.

Eggs also contain tryptophan, an essential amino acid which helps produce serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood, sleep, memory, and behavior. Serotonin is also helps to improve brain function and relieve anxiety.

Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of the mineral zinc and minerals. Zinc deficiency may negatively affect mood.  Zinc is essential for brain and nerve development and mood elevation.

Dark Chocolate:

Experts have long suspected that dark chocolate might help reduce stress and anxiety.

Dark Chocolate has a high tryptophan content, which the body uses to turn into mood-enhancing neurotransmitters, such as serotonin in the brain.


Turmeric is a spice commonly used in Indian and South-East Asian cooking. The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin.  Curcumin helps lower anxiety by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress that often increase in people experiencing mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression.


Many people around the world use chamomile tea as an herbal remedy because of its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, and relaxant properties. It relaxes the brain and reduces anxiety.

Green tea:

Green tea contains an amino acid called theanine, which is an amino acid that affects mood disorders favorably.  Theanine has anti-anxiety and calming effects and may increase the production of serotonin and dopamine.


A healthful diet should provide all the nutrients needed for healthy brain function.

A healthful diet that contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, as well as vitamins and minerals might help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.

Reducing foods that are high in added sugar, salt, and fats especially Trans fats may help also help reduce inflammation. Reduce alcohol, sugar, and coffee as these may increase episodes of anxiety and the associated symptoms.



In 1983, two researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published a study showing that shark cartilage contains a substance that inhibits the development of blood vessels that nourish solid tumors, thereby limiting tumor growth.  Working independently, researchers from Harvard University found that if the blood supply of tumors was cut off, the spread of cancerous tumors could be contained.  After years of research, Dr. I. William Lane developed a process of cleaning, drying, pulverizing and sterilizing shark cartilage that ensures quality and reliability without rendering the active protein fibers ineffective.  Dr Lane’s work was appreciated and he was awarded a patent.  His book SHARKS DON’T GET CANCER is one of the best sellers in the U.S.

When should Shark Cartilage be tried?

Shark cartilage is an experimental therapy and it should be tried in terminal cases, where Oncologists have given up and allow the patient to try Alternative Medicine.  Shark cartilage should not be used in children, after recent surgery and should not be used in pregnant mothers.

The best dosage is 1 gram of shark cartilage per kilogram of body weight, in 3 or 4 divided doses.  It can be taken in the form of caplets or can be taken in the form of powder mixed with juice.

In patients who are severely ill and cannot take the medication orally, rectal administration, as retention enema is recommended.  The advantages of rectal administration are that it eliminates the offensive taste or odor thus avoiding nausea and vomiting, which is a side effect, when this medication is given orally. 


This therapy is available in the U.S and some European countries. This therapy must be carried out under strict medical supervision.  Shark Cartilage therapy takes about 20 weeks before improvement is seen.  Most cancer patients report at a minimum, an improved quality of life and in many cases there is a remission of the cancer. Shark Cartilage Therapy is the one of the best examples, where scientists have studied nature and animal life and profited from it.  Nature has myriad secrets in her bosom, which are begging to be unearthed.

How to Maintain Your Hair during the Lockdown.


With lockdown due to the Covid 19 pandemic, it is very difficult to trim the hair and manage the color and lustre. With hair stylists shut down, many people are finding it difficult to groom their hair properly. However, some simple tips can be followed to be well groomed even in these difficult times.

Get help to trim your hair:

Lockdown can be very challenging because we may not have the services of hair stylists. It is better to trim the hair gently with a hair trimmer and groom it yourself or with some help.

Wash your hair in cold water: 

Don’t wash your hair in hot water, as high temperatures can wreak chaos with your hair and will make the hair look dull.  One may use a water filter for your shower head that will safely remove any harsh minerals from the water. Harsh minerals that are present in some water supplies can gradually fade the color of dyed hair.

Use Color-Safe Shampoos and Conditioners:

 It is wise to use a good quality shampoo and conditioner that will help to lock in the color of dyed hair. Rub the shampoo gently into the hair and scalp before rinsing it out thoroughly and then add the conditioner and. leave it on your hair for at least three minutes before rinsing it off.

Use Hair Mask once a week: 

It is a good idea to get into the habit of using a hair mask at least once a week to ensure a healthier scalp and stronger hair. Hair masks also help to reduce hair breakage. 

Avoid Brassiness:

If you swim in a chlorinated swimming pool, the chlorine can damage the hair when you are choosing products for your hair, look for those that claim to neutralize the look of brassiness.

Keep a close watch on the Roots:

Don’t panic if your roots begin to show Use a good root cover up spray that will conceal any grey hairs and new hair growth in just one spray.

 Add a Bit of Volume

Try sea salt spray, if you feel that your hair lacks a bit of volume.  The spray can be applied to damp hair and will define and set your natural waves – giving the illusion that you have just dipped into the sea and left your hair to dry naturally. 

Fasten Your Hair Up:

 It is a good idea to consider pinning your hair up during the hot weather to help protect it more and keep it looking tidier. 

Wear a Sun Hat:

 Finally, in extreme heat, a sun hat can provide your hair and scalp with extra protection from the harsh UV rays of the sun.  Choose a white or light-colored hat to reflect the heat away from your head, as dark colors tend to absorb the heat.


 Maintaining the hair in the lockdown period can be a tricky business. Use products that suit your hair and stick with them without being overtly experimental. This will help you get over the lockdown period without embarrassing blushes.



Dr Wilheim Reich the father of this therapy believed that Bio-energy flowed through the body and considered that the repression of the emotions and sexual instincts could lead to blockages resulting in various rigid patterns and behavior and the tightening of specific muscle groups.  As such blockages increased, the energy flow in the organism was impeded and chronic instances led to a marked deterioration of health.  For Reich sexual energy was the essence of our existence and the climax experienced during the organism was essential to maintain positive health.  Reichian therapy dismantles the layers of pent up emotions.

The Reichian Body work therapy:

Dr Reich divided the body into seven zones at right angles to the spine and centered in: the eyes, mouth, neck, chest, diaphragm, abdomen and pelvis including the legs. His bodywork therapy included:

  • Deep breathing which helps the patient feel the stream of bio-energy flow in the form of tingling or pricking sensation.
  • Deep massage, which is applied to spastic muscles so that they become loosened up.
  • Facial expressions, Here the patient is taught to ‘make faces’ expressing certain emotions, while keeping eye contact with the therapist and maintaining certain patterns of breathing.
  • Chest work. The therapist pushes the chest while the patient exhales or screams.
  • Convulsive reflex work. This helps breaking the body Armour.
  • Stress positions.  Stress positions are pointed out and the patient is taught how to reduce body irritation and increase the sense of relaxation.
  • Active exercises help the patient to loosen up the body.
  • Eye exercises.  The patient rolls the eyes and opens them wide, as if in sudden amazement.
  • The mouth.  The patient makes crying, shouting or sucking motions and moves the lips in various ways.
  • The neck.  The patient is encouraged to yell to release pent up tensions.
  • Correction of the chest, diaphragm, abdominal movements and pelvic movements.  These special exercises are done to release negative emotions.


Reichian therapy is a systematic loosening of body tensions and is holistic in its approach to increase the natural energy flow in the body.



The plant, known, as the, ‘Malabar Nut’ is a small shrub found all over India. The Botanical name of this plant is ‘Justicia adhatoda.’  The bark, leaves, flowers and roots are used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine. It is also commonly called as ‘Vasaka.’

The Ayurvedic physicians prize this remedy very much and call it ‘BAIDYAMATA’ meaning ‘mother of all physicians.’  There is a Sanskrit hymn in praise of this remedy which says that, as long as Vasaka will remain, patients suffering from spitting of blood, phthisis and common cough and cold need not despair.  Ayurvedic physicians even proclaim that no death can take place from cough from any kind if Vasaka can play its role and be used judiciously to heal the patient.

Medicinal uses:

Ayurvedic Uses:  Charaka used it spitting of blood.  Sushruta found it an excellent remedy in tuberculosis, respiratory troubles and jaundice.  Bavaprakasha found it useful in fevers associated with biliousness and respiratory troubles. Charakadatta found it excellent in slow fevers and leprosy.  Bangasena found it useful in piles. In short, all major Ayurvedic books uniformly extol the virtues of Vasaka.

Homoeopathic physicians find this remedy useful hoarseness of the voice and rattling cough, sneezing and whenever copious yellow mucous is expectorated from the chest.

Allopathic research has revealed that it contains fat, resins, a bitter alkaloid, vasicine, an organic acid, adhatodic acid, sugar gum and salts. Allopathic research has also revealed that Vasaka has medicinal properties and is useful in rheumatism, constipation, asthma, chronic bronchitis and other chest affections.


Today, there is a sharp increase in respiratory disorders due to pollution. We are encountering antibiotic resistant bacteria.  There has also been a sharp increase in Community Acquired Pneumonias and Viral lung disorders. There is a tremendous resurgence of Tuberculosis due to the AIDS epidemic.

At such a time, more research should be done on herbs like Vasaka and our rapidly declining Bio-diversity. Our ancient traditions should be researched and preserved.



Springtime is the time for colds and flu all over the world. There is a very famous saying about cold and I quote –“spring is not the best of seasons. Cold and flu are two good reasons; wind and rain and other sorrow, warm today and cold tomorrow. Whoever said spring was romantic?  The word that best applies is frantic!”-Unquote.

The common cold and flu are essentially viral diseases and they defy all forms of orthodox treatment. In the old days it was taught to medical students that the common cold could be cured with medicines in one week and without medicines in seven days. This statement only reflects the frustration physicians and patients face while dealing with these debilitating and irritating diseases.

Some non-pharmacological ways of dealing with cold and flu:

  • Salt-water rinsing of the nostrils to avoid nasal congestion,
  • Covering up to stay warm and complete rest in bed.
  • Salt water gargling can moisten a sore throat and bring some relief. Gargling with tea is also helpful. Some people gargle with honey mixed with raspberry leaves and lemon juice.
  • Drinking plenty of warm liquids can help relieve nasal congestion, prevent dehydration, and soothe the uncomfortably inflamed nasal membranes
  • Taking a piping hot shower can moisturize the nasal passages and relax the aching body in cold and flu..

Eating certain foods that are rich in Vitamin A & C

  • Bananas
  • Bell Peppers.
  • Blueberries lower fevers and help with the aches and pains
  • Carrots
  • Chilli Peppers can open sinuses.
  • Cranberries
  • Mustard & Horseradish helps break up mucus in air passages.
  • Onion: Has phytochemicals that help in clearing infections.
  • Rice useful in influenza with diarrhoea.
  • Tea: Black and green tea act like natural antibiotics
  • Lemon and honey juice boost the immune system
  • Cayenne pepper helps keep you warm if you have a fever
  • Chamomile tea: gives good sleep and relaxation.
  • Peppermint tea is useful when sinuses are blocked. 
  • Ginger is useful for flu with stomach problems
  • Thyme is a good herb in coughs.
  •  Oregano: is good for colds and coughs.
  •  Sage is an excellent herb for sore throats and fevers.
  •  Cinnamon is an immune booster.


Even though natural methods are useful and gentle, care should be taken while prescribing these medicines in the elderly and the very young.  In both these cases a common cold can turn into a dangerous chest infection and if unchecked can lead to extreme morbidity and even death.





Dr. Fritz Perls, a Psychiatrist from Berlin is considered as the father of Gestalt therapy.  Early in his career, Dr Perls discovered that, for people to be whole or balanced, they needed to recognize bodily yearnings and impulses instead of disguising them.

Gestalt is a German word that refers to a pattern of parts making up a whole and the underlying principle of Gestalt psychology is that and analysis of parts does not lead to an understanding of the whole.

Dr. Perls was a curt and blunt therapist.  He devised stage demonstrations of Gestalt therapy, where he would invite members of the audience to participate with him in ‘role play’.  He used to have two chairs beside him.  One was the ‘hot seat’ in which the participant sat in, engaging in a dialogue with Dr. Perls.  The other chair was there to help persons to switch roles and enact different parts, engage in self-questioning processes. Frequently this method showed the participants their weaknesses and their limitations and how to set themselves free.

The Gestalt Therapy prayer:

Essentially Dr. Perls believed that each person lived in his own universe and had to take responsibility for his own behavior and growth. The well-known Gestalt prayer goes in this fashion:

I do my thing, and you do your own thing,

I am not in this world to live up to your expectations

And you are not in this world to live up to mine.

You are you and I am I,

And if by chance we find each other it’s beautiful.

If not, it can’t be helped.


Gestalt therapy is all about Self-awareness and experience.  The guiding principle is: Be aware of what you experience, how you experience your existence now and pay attention to how you sabotage ways by which you can attain awareness.  Dr. Perls also lay a lot of emphasis on dreams because he considered them as messages, which help people understand unfinished situations in life.

 In 1960, Dr. Fritz Perls set up the Gestalt Institute at Canada but did not live long enough to see it prosper.