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Medicinal Oils In Ayurveda

Ayurveda is the known oldest holistic system of healthcare in the world it involves natural healing that is more than 5000 years old.  The principle of Ayurveda lays emphasis on bringing back the balance of the three doshas of the body in order to restore the human body to normal health. Ayurveda recommends the use of medicinal oils for external application for healing the body of ailments.

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Healing properties of Oils

Ayurveda oils are known as ‘Thailams’ and have the power of easily penetrating the skin to take the healing property of the natural oil to every cell in the body.   These oils are prepared with carefully chosen herbs depending on the ailment and the treatment process involved using special processes to preserve the unique medicinal quality of the natural ingredients. The oils are applied in massages and other therapies to heal the diseased body.

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As Ayurvedic oils have properties like antiseptic and blood purifying and can lower the levels of cholesterol and blood sugar.   According to ancient texts, Neem oil is known as ‘Sarva Roga NIvarin’ meaning cure for all ailments.  First, the diagnosis of diseases assesses the disturbance of the ‘dosha’ elements in the body to determine the course of treatment.  Depending on the extent of the disease the relevant medicinal oils are mixed in the percentage that is required to correct the aggravation of the doshas in the body so that harmony is restored. Thus the disease is eliminated in a natural way without any side effects. 

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Body massage with Medicinal Oils

One of the most important treatments in Ayurveda is body massage using medicated oil.  These medicinal oils are prepared from herbs and are boiled with coconut oil and this is used for the massage.

Herbal massage oils contain a unique blend of carefully chosen herbs that have the ability to strengthen the body as well as balance the mind. The massage duration and the selection of herbs or medicated oil are based on the extent of damage in the patient’s body and the physical condition.   The oil is allowed to work for an hour and is removed by washing with flours made of pulses. The massage followed by the bath is very a very important process of healing. Certain juices of different medicinal leaves are also mixed with the water used for bathing. Combined with some food restrictions this treatment becomes the most effective. 

Related: Ayurvedic Treatment For Athlete’s Foot

Abhyanga – Oil massage in Ayurveda

‘Abhyanga’ is the name of Ayurvedic oil massage. Abhyanga means the absorption of the healing properties of the medicinal oils used in massage. It helps the skin to function efficiently and deliver nourishment for the absorption of the tissues and releasing the toxins from the body. It is performed in the morning and is followed by a bath with medicated water.

Abhyanga for Vata dosha is performed to improve the blood circulation to muscles and to remove stiffness in the joints. It reduces aches and pains and provides more flexibility to the body. Abhyanga for pitta dosha reduces body heat caused by acidity and soothes and energizes the digestive system. Abhyanga for Kapha dosha is a technique of massaging the whole body with medicinal oils in Ayurveda to cure fluid retention and makes the body light. The immune system is also strengthened while improving blood circulation.

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Some examples of Medicinal Oils in Ayurveda

Many medicinal oils are used singly or in combination in Ayurveda. Here are a few examples

  • Sesame oil is of high medicinal value and is used extensively in Ayurvedic massages. It has the properties of skin toning, improving the complexion and relieving stress increasing the energy and strength of the body. According to a study, Sesame oil also helps in reducing blood pressure.
  • Maha Ksheerbala oil is used as a nervine tonic as it has anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, and analgesic properties. It is used for Abhyanga of vata and pitta body types and for curing burning sensation, arthritis, insomnia, headache, migraine, and central nervous disorders.
  • Brahmi oil is used in Ayurvedic massages, especially in Shirodhara therapy.  It is very effective for treating loss of memory, headache, insanity, night vigilance, insanity, etc. It is also used for the prevention of hair loss. Useful in refreshing the brain and strengthening the hair roots promoting healthy hair growth.

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