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How to choose the right Ayurvedic shampoo for your hair

The Kashmir Monitor

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The instant results of chemical-based shampoos is almost addictive – one wash, and your hair resembles that from a commercial. However, when it comes to Ayurvedic hair products – and by this we mean the real deal sans any chemicals, opinion is still divided regarding their efficacy.
“The feel of using chemical products is certainly much better, with respect to fragrance and immediate effects,” says Dr Sharad Kulkarni, in-house expert at brand Kama Ayurveda. “However, while the high levels of chemicals and synthetic materials may give instant results, over a period of time they tend to damage the hair, and even the skin.”
Agrees Dr Akanksha Kotibhaskar, Ayurvedic Consultant with Forest Essentials, who says, “Synthetic substances present in chemical-based shampoos and conditioners cause excessive dryness, which makes the hair brittle and leads to breakage. The natural oil from the scalp and hair gets stripped off due to the harsh chemicals, leading to premature greying and frizziness.”
In contrast, they opine that the natural ingredients and herbs in Ayurvedic shampoos and conditioners not only cleanse the hair and scalp gently, but also have a curative effect in the long run. According to experts at Ayurvedic beauty brand Biotique, “Ayurvedic hair products are made with natural plant and vegetable extract that are aimed at solving specific concerns.” They state that chemical-based products can only control the conditions symptomatically, but not offer a long-term cure.
Of course, it’s not all that simple as it looks. The dosha (bodily humor or bio-energy centre in Ayurvedic medicine) and season also play important roles in deciding what product would work for you. As Dr Kulkarni explains, “I prefer selecting herbal products with respect to the dosha of the individual, and according to the season, which we term Rutu/Ritu (season) Charya (regimen to maintain a healthy life). There is also a possibility that the dosha may turn aggressive in a given season or because of an imbalance in the hair, mind, body or skin. All these factors need to be kept in mind.”
Only a trained specialist or Ayurvedician can prescribe the correct products, but Dr. Kotibhaskar states that the current formulations are more holistically created and are clinically backed to cure different concerns. “For example, bhringraj controls hair thinning and promotes hair growth, mulethi conditions and strengthens the hair, amla (Indian gooseberry) prevents premature aging, and lotus extract is an excellent conditioning agent. Therefore, Ayurvedic Haircare products can be selected on the basis of a particular concern and the key ingredients as well,” she adds.
That said, the results can sometimes take a tad longer than what one may be used. While the effects also depend on one’s diet, the results intensify gradually with each successive use. “I would call it a subtle, positive effect that adds up over time,” says Dr Kulkarni, adding, “It is a stable, longer effect unlike chemical-based products that can give you faster and noticeable results but at the cost of harming the hair in the long run.”
The mane can also sometimes get too dry after using Ayurvedic products, but Dr Kotibhaskar explains, “This is because Ayurvedic shampoos that are not formulated with pure ingredients contain plant substances like tannins. They lack the sufficient natural conditioning agents, leading to dryness. Always select products carefully, and supplement this with oil massage for nourishment and conditioning.”
If you don’t have the time for a leisurely head massage before the wash, Dr Kulkarni suggests applying a few drops of oil to wet hair post the wash.
Lastly, some ingredients work better for certain conditions, but as a general rule of thumb, remember that dry hair is best cured with oils such as sesame, almond and coconut; oily hair can be treated with triphala; amla and aloe vera work wonders on damaged hair; and ingredients like neem, hibiscus and methi (fenugreek).


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Health

Hepatitis A Causes and Symptoms

The Kashmir Monitor

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Generally speaking, hepatitis A is more common in parts of the planet that are developing. It’s for the fact that sanitation and food handling practices are by and large poor. However, medical experts say that living in developed countries can also put you at risk of having hepatitis A, but it’s really a rare occurrence.

Just like what’s mentioned earlier, hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus or HAV. It can be spread around by someone who has hepatitis A because he or she is a carrier of the virus behind it. It is said that a person with hepatitis A is most infectious about 2 weeks before he or she begins to experience signs and symptoms.

Here are some of the ways that hepatitis A is spread around:

 

Consumption of food that is prepared by a person who has hepatitis A. This is most especially true if he or she has not properly washed his or her hands.

Drinking of water that is contaminated with the hepatitis A virus.

Intake of raw or undercooked seafood obtained from contaminated water.

Close contact with someone who has hepatitis A. This includes having sexual intercourse with an infected person, especially when the rectal or anal area has been touched with the fingers, mouth or tongue.

Using illegal drugs, especially when paraphernalia contaminated with the hepatitis A virus are used.

Symptoms

Medical experts say that it may take a while before the various signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A show up. They say that someone may experience them about 4 weeks after getting infected. It’s even possible for someone with hepatitis A to not experience any sign and symptom at all.

Some of the initial signs and symptoms of hepatitis A include:

Tiredness and malaise
Achy muscles and joints
Pain in the upper right section of the abdomen
Loss of appetite
Mild fever
Headaches
Sore throat
Diarrhea or constipation
Hives or raised rash that’s itchy

These initial signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A can last anywhere from a few days only to a couple of weeks. Afterwards, as the infection of the liver progresses, the following may be experienced by the individual:

Jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin as well as the whites of the eyes (sclera)

Pale colored stools
Dark colored urine
Skin itching

Tenderness and swelling of the upper right section of the abdomen

Although it rarely happens, hepatitis A can cause liver failure. When such develops, the person who is infected may experience severe vomiting, frequent bruising, bleeding of the nose and gums, drowsiness and confusion.

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Health

Busting myths around blood donation

The Kashmir Monitor

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As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, ideally, one per cent of the total population should regularly donate blood to meet the requirements, which is anywhere between 1% and 3% of country’s population that would require blood in a year.

Contrary to the myth about blood donations making a person weak or anaemic, the body replenishes the lost blood in a matter of a few days, say experts.

“A healthy bone marrow makes a constant supply of red cells, plasma and platelets, so there is no question of becoming weak, much less anaemic. It is a myth and should not deter people from donating blood,” says Dr RK Singal, chairman, internal medicine department, BLK super-speciality Hospital.

 

The donors can give either whole blood or specific blood components, as there is sophisticated equipment available these days that extract relevant components from blood and the rest of the blood can be transfused back to the donor.

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, ideally, one per cent of the total population should regularly donate blood to meet the requirements, which is anywhere between 1% and 3% of country’s population that would require blood in a year.

About 65% of India’s population is young and if this section donates blood regularly, chances of the country facing blood shortage will be remote. Hence, there is all the more reason for people, especially youngsters, to come forward and be regular blood donors.

How to prepare

Have enough fruit juice and water in the night and morning before you donate

Have a full meal 3 hours before donation; never on an empty stomach

Have some rest for about 10-15 minutes after donation

Have some snacks or a juice with high sugar content after donation

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Health

Erectile dysfunction’s connection with lifestyle

The Kashmir Monitor

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By Dr Anjani Kumar Agrawal

healthy-lifestyle-can-reverse-effects-of-hypertensionAll over the world, but perhaps more so in India, men are embarrassed to admit that they may have a problem getting or keeping an erection — a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED).

All over the world, but perhaps more so in India, men are embarrassed to admit that they may have a problem getting or keeping an erection — a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED). From my research, I have found a strong link between ED and stress. Other major causes include smoking, drinking, diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. My advice to these patients is — do not get even more stressed over this situation. Instead, focus on taking the right medication and making some changes to your lifestyle, so you can once again enjoy a satisfactory sexual life.

 

DIAGNOSIS OF ED

We normally diagnose ED and its underlying causes by asking the patient a few questions about his medical and sexual history. This is sometimes done by sharing a questionnaire with the patient. The questions that we ask are designed to help us understand the cause of ED in the particular patient.

We also do a physical exam, ask for certain blood tests to rule out other medical conditions responsible for erectile dysfunction, and recommend imaging tests (if required) to determine whether the person is physically able to have an erection or not.

SHORT-TERM SOLUTION, LONG-TERM CURE

Underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia (high cholesterol levels) can cause ED. In these cases, ED can be reversed once the patient starts treatment.

In my experience, many men suffer from ED because of work stress, family pressure and anxiety. So, changes in lifestyle with regular exercise, yoga, abstaining from alcohol and smoking, and proper counselling help in treating ED. Along with this, medicines for ED are usually prescribed for about 3 to 6 months by which time lifestyle changes start to take effect and the patient is physically and mentally healthier, which helps resolve the problem.

An estimated 16% to 25% of men experience ED at some point in their lives. I would urge them not to be embarrassed about it. Seek medical help from a urologist or andrologist; get the necessary advice/medication; and go on to enjoy a healthy, fulfilling sexual life.

The author of this article is Dr Anjani Kumar Agrawal, head, andrology, department of urology sciences, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket

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