Makhana and Ayurveda

What is Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word that translates to “knowledge of life” is a popular and very old medicinal system that propagates a healthy-lifestyle system. This system of medicine is age old and has been in use for more than 5000 years in India. Ayurveda focusses on good health, prevention and treatment of illness through lifestyle practices and changes (these include massage, meditation, yoga, and dietary changes) and the use of herbal remedies. 

The field of Ayurveda is used for treating and managing a number of diseases. Ayurveda has the following fields of medical preventive care and treatments:

 Baalachikitsa – Pediatrics

 Bhuta Vidya – Psychiatry

 Jarachikitsa– Geriatrics and Rejuvenation

 Kaayachikitsa – Internal Medicine

 Shalakya Tantra – Ear, Nose and Throat Treatment

 Shalya Tantra – Surgery (not practiced in the United States today)

 Vishagara Vairodh Tantra – Toxicology

 Vajikarana — Aphrodisiac Therapy, Fertility, and Conception

The field of Ayurveda works on the principles of the five elements of ether, air, fire, water, and earth. It groups these five elements into three basic types of energy and functional principles that are present in every living being and every entity. These are the Vaata, Pitta Kapha. 

Ailments due to imbalance of Vata Kapha and Pitta

There are different body types that have difference dosha. This can be either Vata, Kapha or Pitta. Following are the ailments which can be caused due to imbalance in the body.

Dry SkinBurnsCongestion
Hyper sensitivityAgitationFluid retention
InsomniaAcidityWeight gain
NervousnessAcneRespiratory troubles
Premature agingFever

Makhana and Ancient Texts

Makhana, a traditional snack food that was first grown in Madhubani, the Indian state of Bihar nearly 200 years ago, has been in use for various areas since then. Makhnaa seeds have been in use for religious ceremonies in India, since time immemorial. This dietary powerhouse finds mention in various ancient Ayurvedic texts. 

Makhana seeds have also been referred to as “Shaka varga” meaning an aquatic vegetable variety in the famous “Charaka Samhita” – The most renowned Ayurvedic book ever written and referred by all students, scholars and doctors alike.

Makhana Properties Beneficial in Ayurveda

Good Digestion: Makhana Seeds have a cold potency or a ‘Sheeta Veerya”, it is heavy in nature , also known as “Guru” and  is oily or “Snigdha”. This beneficial plant balances Vata and Pitta dosha because of these properties. Having makhana regularly is advisable by Ayurvedic practitioners also. 

Improving Sexual Performance: Fox nuts or makhana is widely used in Ayurveda for improving vigour and also acts as an aphrodisiac.  It helps in improving the sexual performance. This property of makhana is referred to as “Vrushya” in Ayurveda. These seeds also ensure a safe pregnancy, also known as “Garbha Sansthapaka”. Fox nuts are also beneficial in for promoting strength and improving immunity. 

Curing Insomnia: Makhana seeds are rich in calcium and is said to have calming properties to bring down restlessness and insomnia (both typical vata aggravating symptoms).

Anti-Ageing: Makhana seeds have naturally occurring anti-ageing enzymes and properties, hence they have been a part of the Indian daily diet for decades now. In fact the millennials are now moving back to the traditional foods like Fox nuts that provide a galore of health benefits.

Anti-Inflammatory: Makhana seeds are an excellent source of various important minerals require by human body. These include protein, magnesium, iron, zinc and phosphorous. These also act as anti-inflammatory substances and protect the human body from a number of inflammation related diseases.

Reduced Palpitation: In Ayurveda, flowers of the makhana plant are commonly used for reducing and treating palpitation. It is also helpful in regulating and normalizing heartbeat. In addition, its infusion also helps in relieving restlessness.

Reduces Fatigue: In Ayurvedic treatment, Makhana seeds are often prescribed for reducing fatigue. The seeds have a couple of characteristics which help in increasing the energy levels of the body. It also improves the vitality, and boosts stamina in a person. 

Makhana is also a good food to have in case of growing children. It is an excellent substitute for unhealthy fried food and other fried snacks. 

Contraindications for Makhana consumption:

For individuals with bodies prone to Kapha dosh should avoid having Makhana. Also, if a person is experiencing bloating and constipation, then he/she should avoid makhana or fox nut consumption until the problem is resolved.

Makhana is ideal to have when one is trying to conceive as it regulates the good hormones in women, thereby improving the fertility and increases the probability of conceiving. In men, it helps in increasing their vigour. Fox nuts or Gorgon nuts should be consumed in limited quantities during pregnancy as too much eating ma cause bloating and/or constipation. 

Makhana is also a good food to consume if you are showing signs of excess pitta (premature greying, hair thinning, high BP, stress) and if you are showing signs of excess vata (insomnia, restlessness, inability to sleep, fluctuating appetite, weight loss, dry hair and skin).