By Dr. Shamna Prajith
Children are the most beautiful blessing from God. A physically healthy and mentally sound child is also the biggest gift one could give to this world. They are the future of the nation, of society and of their family. It is very important that we give proper care to the health and well-being of our children.
Ayurveda is an ancient system of holistic medicine which provides much information on how to raise healthy children. Among the eight branches of ayurveda, there is a special branch called Kaumarabhrtya which focuses exclusively with children’s health, including methods of raising them, essential nutrients and herbal supplements required at various stages of growth and also, about how to prevent, manage and cure various childhood diseases.
Ayurveda says the preparation for a healthy child starts even before conception, where the healthy of the male and female contribute provide a healthy sperm and ova. The first step towards the goal of creating a healthy generation is cleansing or detoxifying the body of the parents-to-be and getting prepared for a pregnancy both physically and mentally. The ayurvedic therapy of Panchakarma is generally recommended to support the process of detoxification. There are also various treatment procedures and herbal medicines like Phala sarpi/ Phala ghrita which help in begetting a healthy child.
Once pregnant, the woman should be kept physically and emotionally stable (suggest: the woman should pay special care to her physical and emotional well-being and reduce stress levels), as her state greatly influences the health, emotions and brain development of the fetus. Ayurveda recommends various herbs to be taken by the pregnant woman during each month of gestation to support the growth and development of the fetus inside her. These herbs also maintain her health and promote easy pregnancy and delivery. Herbs like Bala, Guduchi, Amalaki and Shatavari can be safely taken during pregnancy.
Recommended Care for Newborns:
- Cleaning the oral cavity with clean cotton soaked in ghee and rock salt;
- Cutting of the umbilical cord and applying kushta taila or turmeric powder to prevent infections;
- Wipe away the vernix with a paste of ghee and rock salt.
- Gentle massage the newborn with medicated Bala oil and bathe in warm water boiled with neem leaves. This helps remove the child’s tiredness from the birth process and enhance immunity against infections;
- Breast feeding should be initiated as early as possible, to help the baby receive the necessary immunoglobulins from the mother, helping the child to cope with the conditions outside the womb.
- Fumigating the room (bedroom of the child?), clothes, bedding with medicated fumes of frankincense, holy basil, etc is also a part of Ayurveda care; In North America, sage could also be used as a substitute for smudging.
- There is a very unique traditional practice in Ayurveda administering gold to infants called Swarna praasanan, which serves as an ayurvedic immunization. This treatment is considered highly auspicious, and improves the child’s overall immunity power, brain development, intelligence, memory, strength, digestion, colour and complexion. There are various methods of administering the gold to the child. The easiest method is rubbing pure gold on a hard and clean stone surface with herbs such as vacha (Acorus calamus), brahmi (Bacopa monneri), guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), sankapushpi (Clitoria ternatia) and ghee; in very small quantities, it is given to the child every day in the early morning or at least once a month on an auspicious day. Swarna prasana is generally given from 0 – 5 years of age, where the brain development is at its peak.
Ayurvedic Child Care Medicines
Saraswatharishtam Gold: for improving brain functions, 3-15 drops from 6M to 16 years;
Chyavanapraasam: Improves general immunity, 1 teaspoon a day;
Brahmi ghrtam: Improves brain function, 1 teaspoon in the early morning on an empty stomach;
Rajanyadi Churnam: Improves digestive function, appetite and immunity, ½ – 1 teaspoon twice daily with honey;
Bala taila: For general body massage, improves the growth and development, immunity, strength and other body functions.
Contact Dr. Shamna Prajit for consultations or acquisitions of medicine.