PUNE: “Playing Holi has a hidden health significance. Herbal colours lovingly applied on the skin gently exfoliates and promotes the growth of new skin cells, just as nature starts sprouting new leaves and flowers with the advent of spring.” said Dr. Partap Chauhan, Director, Jiva Ayurveda.
Briefing the media on the connection between Holi and Ayurveda, Dr. Chauhan said that according to Ayurveda, illnesses are a result of disturbances of the five elements of earth, water, fire, air, and water in the body. The imbalances result in three doshas of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Among the major factors that cause these imbalances are changes in the seasons. Hence, Ayurveda prescribes a certain seasonal regimen (Ritucharya) to prevent health problems.
He said that Holi is a part of the regimen for the season of vasant (spring), the beginning of warmer days. The sudden rise in the temperature, along with the increasing humidity, in spring melts the kapha (phlegm) in the body and can lead to many kapha-related diseases. The Holi festival was originally conceived to get the body rid of liquefied kapha and to restore the three doshas to their natural states.
The highlight of Holi is playing with colours. Colour powders were traditionally prepared from Ayurvedic herbs like neem (Azadirachta indica) and henna (Lawsonia inermis) for green, kumkum and raktachandan (Pterocarpus santalinus) for red, haldi (Curcuma longa) for yellow, jacaranda flowers for blue and herbs like bilva (Aegle marmelos), amaltas (Cassia fistula), marigold (Tagetus erecta) and yellow chrysanthemums for different other hues. These colour powders have kapha-reducing properties.
Spraying the herbal and water colours, help the medicinal components to enter and detox the skin. Dr. Chauhan urged the public to use only organic, herbal colour powders to reap rich health benefits.
Talking about safety precautions people can take to protect their eyes and skin, Dr. Chauhan said, “Most colours available in the market today are chemical-based and unsafe. They can leave rashes on the skin. It is important to apply mustard oil all over the body a day before Holi. This will keep the skin protected and also allow you to remove the colours with ease. One can also apply plenty of coconut oil. This acts as a protecting agent and prevents colours from penetrating deep into the roots.
If there are rashes, we can apply multani mitti on affected areas. Another good home remedy is to make a paste by mixing gram flour, sweet oil and milk cream in rose water. Applying this paste on the affected areas cures rashes.”
Dr. Chauhan said that since people indulge in a lot of fried snacks and sweets on the day of Holi, it can lead to constipation or gastric discomfort. Hence, in addition to caring for the skin, it is important to ensure digestive health. Fruit and vegetable-based meals are better suited for transitional weather conditions. Staying hydrated is also very important. The pre-Spring sun and dryness in the air absorbs moisture faster than people realize. Keep a small sipper of water with you and take a sip or two once every while.
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