Ayurveda, considered as mind-body medicine, explains how the effects of physical, mental, spiritual, and environmental wellbeing brings total health and wellness. Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” According to Ayurveda: “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, medicine is of no need”. I will discuss influence and effects of the six tastes (ṣaḍ rasa) on the six chakras (ṣaḍ chakra), six mental enemies (ari ṣaḍ varga), overall mental and physical health, and pathophysiological changes in gut health. Modern scientific studies show that gut health is connected to various chronic diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, autism, mental health, immunological disorders, metabolic disorders, etc. Today, gut health is a major research topic, and according to Kraehenbuhl and Neutra, “gut is also considered as one of the largest immune organ in the body”. A stronger and more robust gut makes the body digest and utilize nutrients more effectively. In Ayurveda Agni is responsible for the digestion of food and metabolic products. Agni converts the food to the forms of energy, which are responsible for mental and physical health and wellbeing. Acharya Yasaka has given the etymology of the term “Agni” as follows: Agni = A + G + Ni. The word “A” denotes root “I,” meaning “to go”; “G” denotes the root “Anja,” meaning “to glitter” or root “daha,” meaning “to burn” and “Ni” means “to carry.” Accordingly, Shabdakalpadruma Agni moves everywhere and transforms substances, burns, assimilates, glitters and grows. Agni is a pivot, around which the remaining factors responsible for the maintenance of health and causation of disease and decay revolve.
Bio – Dr. (Vaidya) Shekhar Annambhotla, BAMS, MD-Ayurveda, LMT has been a dedicated Ayurvedic physician (Vaidya), consultant, educator and teacher for over 30 years. He began his nine-year course of study in Ayurveda at Nagarjuna University, Andhra Pradesh, where he earned his BAMS, and continued his studies at Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India where he earned the degree of Doctor of Medicine in Ayurveda. He is also a Registered Yoga Teacher (R.Y.T-500) with Yoga Alliance and a Licensed Massage Therapist in Pennsylvania. Dr. Shekhar offers Ayurvedic wellness consultations, therapies, and educational workshops and courses at his Ayurveda Wellness Center, Pennsylvania, USA (www.ojas.us). Dr. Shekhar has taught various introductory courses and lectures at Saint Luke’s Hospital Nursing School, University of Pennsylvania Nursing School, as well as at Hershey Medical School, Jefferson Medical School, and University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ. He is also a faculty member of various Ayurvedic schools in the USA and Founder & President of Association of Ayurvedic Professionals of North America (AAPNA – www.aapna.org).
Dr. (Vaidya) Shekhar Annambhotla
(BAMS, MD-Ayurveda, LMT)
The Psychosomatic Effect of Six Tastes (Saḍ Rasa) on Gut Health.