Monthly Archives: May 2020



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.


Yoga, prayer and meditation, the Indian way is becoming popular in western countries.  Many Biofeedback research centers have opened there and scientists are studying the beneficial effect of prayer and meditation on the body and the mind. 

Meditation is a fundamental spiritual discipline of all major religions.  Meditation may be defined as a withdrawal or the reversal of one’s consciousness from the body and the world, into the realm of the soul. It is an inward journey onto the bright path of contemplation of God.  Meditation helps one to have more awareness of oneself. It helps us experience a state of internal freedom and a sense of joy.

Medically speaking, regular Meditation and Prayer helps us in the following way:

  1. It reduces stress. 
  2. It bolsters the immunity of the body.
  3. It increases the memory and will power.
  4. It can slow down the progress of cancers and certain forms of degenerative diseases.
  5. It prevents the premature aging of the body.
  6. It helps fighting psychosomatic disorders.
  7. It helps fight depression, phobias and fears.

Thus, both Meditation and Prayer can be valuable modern medical tools in many branches of Medicine such as; Psychiatry, Cardiovascular Medicine, Respiratory Medicine, Geriatrics, Gastro-enterology, Skin and Connective tissue diseases, Sports and Aviation medicine. Meditation and Prayer can be valuable tools in terminal diseases like cancers and AIDS and help in alleviating pain in the terminal stages of such diseases.


Yoga is very popular in the West today. The Yoga postures (asanas) help the body by correcting faulty body posture, by increasing the secretion of naturally occurring substances called Endorphins in the body (these substances help give the body a sense of well being and freedom from pain).  Yoga helps to reduce the levels of pain producing prostaglandin in the body. (This is very useful in combating pain in arthritic conditions). Yoga positively helps the regulation of various organs and glands in the body.  Yoga has a beneficial effect on the Endocrine glands and this explains why it helps combat diseases like Stress mediated Diabetes Mellitus.  Yoga also regulates the activity of the muscle spindles in the body and this in turn helps the muscles to relax.

Pranayama or controlled breathing practices can be another very useful tool in Medicine.  There are many kinds of Pranayama and should be taught by experts. Pranayama also works the same way as Yoga and prayer and increases the oxygenation in the tissues and helps better elimination of carbon dioxide and other waste products.