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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Female hormonal issues & Indian tradition - Part 2

Part 1 here :

In Ayurveda and Siddha medicinal system the endocrine system is controlled by moon (Lord Chandra). It is interesting to note that the word "menstruation" is etymologically related to "moon". The terms "menstruation" and "menses" are derived from the Latin mensis (month), which in turn relates to the Greek mene(moon) and to the roots of the English words month and moon. So is the word “Lunatic”.

The allopathic medicine is dismissive of the view that the women’s menstrual cycle is related to moon or the lunar cycle. In India there is a specific horoscope system called Ruthu Jathagam. Ruthu is the act of a female attaining puberty called as menarche. Depending on the time, phase of moon and star at the time of Ruthu, a girl’s horoscope is drawn and the predictions of her married life, children etc are made.

The lunar cycle of 28 is typically split into phases of the moon – this is the most common knowledge about lunar cycle. But these 27 days are represented by 27 stars which are considered to be the wife of Lord Chandra. (28th day is the beginning of the next cycle). This is not well known even in the western astrological circles. The menstrual cycle if it is regular without any hormonal abnormalities then the girl’s monthly cycle shall start every 28th day and shall fall on day of the same star every month.

Since astrology is considered as a superstition by many of us we tend to ignore the relation between nature and human system. The above prediction system was working absolutely fine till few decades back and still there are people whose cycle is not affected and they naturally adhere to this simple rule.

But since the last few decades there are more instances of irregular cycles due to multiple reasons and it looks now we have entered an era where this irregularity is the norm and any studies typically conducted now would say that it could be a 20 to 35 day cycle - since the samples fall under this category or they may say that there is no linkage between lunar cycle and menstrual cycle based on some half baked studies.

One of the interesting predictions during the Kali Yuga is that the moon many leave the earth’s orbit and escape into the solar system in the future affecting the natural reproductive cycle in females. This is again highlighted to emphasis the relation between lunar and menstrual cycle.

Before we look at the simple tradition that Indian women had to nourish the endocrine system, let us look at the importance of the forehead region – the spot between the eyebrows - in the traditional Indian science.

·         In the Chakral system the point between the eyebrows is called as the Ajna Chakra. Ajna in Sanskrit and also in Tamil means Order. This spot not only controls all the glands but controls the entire human being from a physical, mental and spiritual plane. The forehead is the third eye which refers to the Pineal gland. Lord Shiva is depicted with 3 eyes and the third one lies in the forehead. Ajna chakra and the third eye not only form the doorway or passage to the entire psychological / mental body of the human being but it is also believed that they form the doorway to universal spiritual knowledge as per traditional wisdom.

·         In the Varma School of martial arts under the Siddha system this post is called as Thilartha Varmam. As per this system are 108 important points in the body which when hit would lead to death or severely incapacitate a person. Of this 108, 12 are called Padu Varmam, which when attacked would lead to death. Of this 12, Thilartha Varmam is the first and foremost Varmam. Thila means Til grain and here it refers to the size of the Til / raw rice / wheat grain. To locate this point, one goes one Til grain level below the meeting of the eyebrows – this is at the meeting point of the bridge of the nose and the eyebrows. The basics to all the modern martial arts schools come from this Siddha system only.
o   Sage Bhogar in his book Varma Sutram, states that this point is the most dangerous of all and a person if not treated within 90 minutes after being hit would die. He also explains how to resuscitate him which his irrelevant here. You may ask how this is related to endocrine system. For anything to move, presence of air / wind is very important else things don’t move. The endocrine glands are ductless glands within our system which means they don’t have any specific channels through which they move. Varma type of martial arts understands the important points which when attacked stops the movement of air within our body around that point. If this air knot is not released within specific time death may result.

·         Under the same school there is a separate branch called Nokku Varmam where in the opponent is either subdued or controlled by taking charge of his mind without touching him and by releasing energy just through our eyes. The primary spot through which one takes control of another person’s mind is through this Ajna Chakra and is extensively used in black magic and hypnotism. This is the basis of current day hypnotization and other mind control techniques.

·         The Tibetian lamas see through a person using this point and they also see the aura of others through this point. In the Vedantic spiritual system the Ajna Chakra spot is also called as Rudra Granthi – the knot of Rudra which when opened would enable you to access universal spiritual energy. I have given few of the above points to highlight the importance of the specific area in our forehead.

The simple tradition which women followed is the application of Vermillion / Kumkum / Bindi on the forehead which ensured hormonal balance in the body. This may sound bizarre but let us understand the benefits and the reason behind the benefits:

·         First it is important to understand how this vermillion or Kumkum is first made?

o   It is a mixture of turmeric and slaked lime / calcium hydroxide (Lime when mixed with water) in equal parts. Water or oil is added to increase the stickiness of the powder. The yellow color turmeric changes to brilliant red color on addition of slaked lime. You can imagine chewing green color beetle leaves with lime which becomes red in color as an anlaogy.

o   Sometimes instead of turmeric, saffron is used. In tamil it is always referred as “Manjal Kumkum” indicating that it is made of turmeric. They are not two different things.

o   The current day chemical preparation of Kumkum which lead to allergic reactions and many times high lead content are some of the key reasons why this practice is probably  discontinued and ladies opted for the sticker bindi.

·         Calcium Hydroxide & Turmeric:

o   Calcium Hydroxide contains Calcium 54.09%, Oxygen – 43.19%, Hydrogen is 2.72%.
o   When heated it loses water and becomes Calcium oxide. This is soluble in water. It also reacts with the surrounding air and absorbs carbon-di-oxide and forms calcium carbonate.
o   It is told by western researchers that water becomes calcified in the Pineal gland over time and this introduces ageing process and various diseases. Also those abnormal secretion levels of Melatonin are noticed in all the patients with psychological disabilities. Melatonin is the key hormone secreted by Pineal gland.
o   Since calcium hydroxide ensures an alkaline base and also its high reactivity with water, it is my theory that Calcium hydroxide keeps the Pineal gland decalcified and keeps it healthy. I have not come across in any studies yet.

Antibacterial, antiseptic benefits of turmeric are very well known. Recent researches show that Turmeric is effective in treating Alzheimer's disease, depression, multiple sclerosis etc. 

Essentially very small quantities of this turmeric and calcium hydroxide are absorbed by the human body for the effective functioning of the glands and hence for the regulation of the hormones. 

·         Why red color?

I strongly recommend a study of any natural healing course like Pranic or naturopathy which would highlight the importance of color therapy to our body to understand this section.

o   The Mooladhara chakra is associated with good health, prosperity, will power and physical power and the chakra is energized using red color. Mooladhara Chakra is connected to the Ajna Chakra and hence always red color is applied to the forehead as a daily tradition. When people go to war or for a long trip or when they come home as a welcome ceremony every time they apply a red thilak on your forehead. This adds significant energy and health to your body.

o   Some ladies apply black color bindi in their forehead which is suicidal if not anything. Black color is tamasic and when applied on the forehead its ill effects are shown on the overall health and wealth of an individual.

o   The sticker Bindi brings in plastic and artificial glue in contact with the Ajna Chakra. I leave it to the reader’s imagination as to what it brings to the wearer.

o   Also Mesha Rashi or the House of Aries is on the forehead as per Hindu Astrology and this is the first house in the zodiac. The Lord of Mesha is Mars and his color is red.

·         Thumb, Ring finger and principle of 5 elements:

o   According to the 5 elements principle the Ether controls the reproductive system in a human being. The position of ether in the body is the area between foreheads. Based on the Control Cycle (Vinaya Chakra) and the Support cycle (Alamba Chakra) of the 5 elements the relation between Earth and Ether is controlling type and that of between the Ether and Fire is of supporting type. Hence thumb which represents Fire or Earth which is represented by ring finger are the ones which should be used to apply tilak or Bindi on the forehead.

·         Social aspects of Vermillion:

o   Vermillion on the forehead and at the top of the forehead indicates that the female is married and it used to be an indicator for appropriate behavior.
o   I don’t want to talk about the benefits or demerits of it since there could be people who may question as to why a widow should be disallowed to wear Bindi. Or why the males did not have an equivalent custom to show that they are married? Both are valid questions and either a traditionalist or a social reformer would be better off to engage you in a debate. I am neither and hence would duck this.

To sum up it is agreed that the sum total of a female hormonal system which anchors the health and mood in a female is controlled by the glands in the forehead area. The traditional Indian wisdom highlights that nurturing this point with vermillion bestows many benefits which includes, good health, hormonal balance, spiritual growth, and defense against psychic attacks. I should also highlight the significant radiance, feminine beauty this adds to the female face.

A consequence of ignoring this tradition leads to poor hormonal balance, foul mood and certainly infertility issues since the cycle is erratic. I can refer you to some Siddha doctors and sites which have conclusively proved that the hormonal imbalance is rectified using vermillion with medical records. One such site here available in Tamil and I would recommend you to read all the 3 parts of the article.

I agree that these results should be more empirical with data to substantiate the claims. The western medicine is slowly turning itself to the subtler aspects of body, nature and medicine and I am very sure that they would come back in the near future and substantiate this. Then the males will start wearing thongs - as a modified version of Indian Langkot as medical prescriptions and females would wear an expensive beauty paste or a designer patch in their forehead as a beauty tip and a fashion statement. I believe, this shall happen after the global corporations patent and commercialize our very graceful and scientific vermillion tradition.

Till then I don’t see any other option but to put up with the monthly foul mood cycle of our spouses and girl friends. J

Happy Reading!