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Recent Questions & Answers

Q.1) The Balms available in the market like 'Amrutanjan', etc. when applied on the skin appear as irritants. Can they be safely used on a tender baby skin? If no, then what is the other traditional alternative?

Ans.-- Most of the balms available in the market today cannot be used on a tender baby skin if it contains strong oils like turpentine, etc.
Other alternative in Ayurveda, is the oil cooked with betel leaf juice and garlic juice mixed with ginger juice. This can be easily made at home.
Take 200-ml of coconut oil. Take 100ml of fresh betel leaves juice and 100 ml garlic juice (5-6 Cloves of garlic crushed and mixed in 100 ml water) and add 50 g. of ginger paste to it. Cook till all the water evaporates, squeeze, filter and store. This oil can be used for one or two years. If you want a good smell then add few drops of Lemon grass oil or Vetriver oil which are easily available in the market in small quantities.
You can add good quality bees wax to make it in the form of a balm. Hope, this formulation will be useful to you.

Q.2) Are there any 'Growth Enhancers' for children in Ayurveda. If yes, then where do I get them? How the Rasayana drugs like 'Chyavanaprash' be considered as a tonic for children? -- ABC, Chennai

Ans.-- There are several Rasayanas mentioned in Ayurveda that can be roughly co-related to the growth enhancers. Many of them are available in the market and generally Chyavanaprash is a very good Rasayanam for all age groups especially for children, since it helps in increasing the immunity and improves the appetite.
One easy method of making a good and simple Rasayanam at home is as follows:
Buy fresh Amla in season (September to February). Make some holes in them by a pin and put it in honey in a china pot (Bharani). Pour sufficient quantity of honey in accordance with the quantity of amla. Before closing the vessel, burn some paper and show the flame inside the pot to remove the air in the pot. Close the vessel immediately after this and seal with a good tape. Open it after three months and give two amla from this to your child every morning on an empty stomach. This is an excellent Rasayana
Chyavanaprash has to be made from Fresh Amla. Except few traditional pharmacies, most of the Chyavanaprash available today in the market are made out of dried Amla powder. While it may have some effect, Chyavanaprash from fresh Amla is advisable. Best time to give Chyavanaprash for children is at bedtime, preferably one hour after dinner. The quantity of Chyavanaprash that can be given is one teaspoon to one tablespoon to the child as per the child's capacity to digest. This can be followed by a cup of sweet hot milk. However, Rasayanam should not be given for more than three months regularly. Give one-month gap to start the next course.
This is to avoid Rasayanam to become a food like substance to the body. There is a Rasayanam called Bhramha Rasayanam, which is not as popular as Chyavanaprash; but Ayurvedic people consider it as a better form of Rasayana for children. This is available at any traditional Ayurvedic pharmacies.

Q.3) My child has a lot of phlegm in her chest. She is not able to sleep also properly due to that. What do I do?

Ans.-- It is a common problem for all children. First of all make sure that you dry her hair after bath properly and completely. Do not give food that is cold in nature like Butter Milk, Curd and thick milk. Give her food that is light, fresh and hot. You can add a pinch of home ground turmeric powder to the milk she drinks.
I shall describe a simple oil to remove the Chest congestion: - Take one or two pellets of camphor in a small vessel and pour 100 ml. of warm sesamum oil to that. The camphor melts and mixes with the oil. At night apply this lukewarm oil on her chest above the sternum in a clockwise manner for 10 minutes. After that, give a hot and wet fomentation on chest after dipping and squeezing a bath towel in hot water. This helps in diluting the phlegm in the lungs and facilitates easy breathing. Give her a cup of warm water to drink after this process.
Generally, this will be sufficient for bringing in a relief to her. This is done only when there is some breathing problem due to phlegm. If there is any nasal blockage, or nasal congestion, then, inhale the vapours from boiled water with 60 gms of green Nirgundi leaves (Vitex nigundo) in it

Q.4) Usually the Ayurvedic decoctions available are very bitter and my children dislike consuming them. Is there any way in which these Ayurvedic decoctions be made more palatable for children?

Ans.-- Ayurvedic Medicines are not always bitter. For children, good Vaidyas always prefer Kashayams in small quantities, more frequently mixed with Honey, Jaggery, sugar, etc. Other ways to camouflage the bitterness is to reduce the decoctions by further boiling them to the powder form and giving to children in a capsule form. There are some traditional pharmacies that are making Kashayams in tablet form, and you can try that.

Q.5) My children aged 3 and 7 do not eat their food properly. I am worried about their health and growth. an you please suggest some Ayurvedic recipes for nutritive food, which the children would love to eat?

Ans.-- This is a very common question almost all parents ask a Pediatrician and normally the prescription is a mild carminative or digestive in the form of a tonic. Most of the time, children must be eating sufficient to their body requirements. But parents are eager to feed them more. However, in general, the following can be tried for a better appetite and digestion:
Give food that is fresh and tasty, light and easily digestible.
If possible give food every two hours and not in equal intervals like adults. Children like to eat often little quantity. Children can easily get in digestion due to their Phlegmatic nature (Kapha Swabhava), so, if you really feel that child is eating far less than the normal quantity, then in that case some simple preparations of Ayurveda will be highly useful.
1. Rajanyadi Choorna (1 to 2 Gms) mix with honey into a paste and give to your child 5 to 6 times a day before or after the food at your own convenience.
2. Aravindasavam + Mustarishtam 5 ml. with 5 ml. of water 3 times a day after food.
These two preparations are very helpful in enhancing the appetite of the child and will also remove any indigestion in the system. (Aama). The medicines are easily available in all the Ayurvedic drug stores.
Regular body massage with appropriate oils as prescribed by a good Ayurvedic Physician or simply warm gingely (sesamum) oil and use it for body massage for your children. This process of Abhyanga (massage) activates the digestive organs of the body and enhances the appetite. Parents usually do not indulge into such type of activities these days. Child below seven should be given oil massage regularly twice a week. It promotes growth, increases digestion and improves skin texture and also helps in improving memory. Massage is really a wonderful practice especially for people living in tropical countries.
Also, for the food prepared for children, one should add always a little of Jeera, a pinch of heeng (asafetida), pepper and turmeric. These spices help in stimulating the digestive glands in the system and in-turn help in digestion.
These simple techniques may be tried at home to improve your child's appetite and let me know the result.

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Suggested Citation: B. S. Somashekhar, G. S. Goraya, D. K. Ved, Unnikrishnan P. M., Ravikumar K., Gangadharan G. G., Suma Tagadur Sureshchandra, Shilpa Naveen, Vijay Srinivas, Venugopal S. N.; Additional inputs: Soumyashree N., Sagar D. Sangale.
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