Ayurvedic Approaches to Fertility

Ayurvedic Approaches to Fertility

Ayurvedic Approaches to FertilityAs natural fertility specialists, we understand the importance of supporting fertility health in a holistic way. The ancient healing system Ayurveda teaches us the importance of the interrelationship between mind, body and spirit in order to achieve optimal fertility health.

Ayurveda, translated as “the science of life” from Sanskrit, is the world’s most ancient healing system. Originating on the Indian subcontinent, Ayurveda has been called the first form of preventive medicine. It emphasizes nutrition, mind-body health and spiritual health, and is still the most prominent healthcare system in India.

A Brief Lesson in Ayurveda and Fertility

In Ayurveda, everything you hear, touch, taste, smell, even your thoughts and your relationships influence your health. Ayurveda places great importance on fertility and the birth of a child as a primary expression of health and vitality. Any discussion on an Ayurvedic approach to fertility must begin by considering the body typing philosophy.

Body Typing: Your Constitution or Dosha

Body typing is the most fundamental principle of Ayurveda. Each person is a unique balance of physical, emotional, spiritual and mental traits called doshas, expressed in three elements: Kapha (Earth/water), Pitta (fire), and Vata (air). Each dosha regulates activities in the mind-body system. The healthiest people are thought to have a balanced element of each dosha, even though one of the doshas predominates at birth.

What dosha are you? We all have elements of each dosha. Most people have a recognizable predominant dosha or a combination of two predominant doshas.

  • Kapha: look for a larger, stocky or big-boned body type with oily skin and slower digestion and metabolism. Kapha types are calm and stable when in balance. Off kilter, kapha can be resistant to change, and put on excess weight.
  • Pitta: look for a medium body type, with ruddy complexion, or reddish hair. Pitta types have strong digestion and appetite. When in balance, pitta is confident and ambitious. Off balance, pitta is prone to anger or irritability.
  • Vata: look for a thin body type, dry skin, with average digestion. Vata types are mentally creative and adaptable. When off balance, vata may burn out, worry excessively, or be nervous or moody.

Ayurveda: Fertility Health & Conception

In Ayurveda, healthy fertility begins with picking the right partner. Ayurveda suggests partnering with someone who has the opposite energetic traits as you. A healthy child is believed in part to be the result of a balanced dosha pairing in the parents. Further, in Ayurveda, your health at conception is thought to determine your child’s lifetime health. Special emphasis is placed on following a healing diet that balances the doshas for healthy fertility and a healthy child. Both partners are suggested to follow a fertility diet and mind-body therapies for at least three to four months before the desired conception time.

In the Ayurvedic view, poor diet, digestion or internal toxicity are the frequent causes of fertility problems. Ayurvedic detox protocols will often be used if the fertility blocker is determined to be “ama” (toxins) in the system. Many factors contribute to ama including: excess weight, fibroids, poor digestion, constipation or anemia.

Ayurvedic Fertility Diet

An Ayurvedic fertility diet is gentle and strengthening, and can be customized to balance the doshas. Yet, some rules are universally followed. Both partners are recommended to switch to an organic, sattvic diet meaning the diet is filled with fresh, light and nutritious foods that are easily digested and not too spicy or heavy, just like the Fertility Diet.

Ayurvedic foods to revitalize the reproductive system: milk, yogurt, lassi, ghee (clarified butter); fresh and lightly cooked vegetables (especially asparagus, squash, sweet potato, artichoke, dark leafy greens); lentils; fruits (especially mangoes, papaya, stewed apples, and dates); soaked almonds; and grains like quinoa and rice.

All doshas should avoid: hot chili spices, excessive onion or garlic, caffeine (especially coffee), carbonated drinks, fast foods, refined sugar and processed foods.

Ayurvedic Energy Balancing Recipes for Fertility

Kichari (Dhaal)
Adapted from Michael Tierra, L.AC. OMD, AHG
Makes: 6-8 servings. Have for breakfast or lunch a few days a week.


1 cup split mung beans
2 cups of brown basmati rice*
8 cups of water
1 cup root vegetables**
1/2 tsp of ghee (clarified butter)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp of coriander powder
continued
1/4 tsp of mustard seed
1/4 tsp of cumin powder
1/4 tsp of sea salt
2 handfuls leafy greens***
1/4 tsp of sea salt
a few cilantro leaves
1/2 tsp. grated ginger

Instructions:
1. Wash the rice and mung beans until the water runs clear. Add the rice and mung beans to the water. Cover and cook on medium until it becomes soft (30-40 minutes). Add the root veggies halfway through the cooking.

2. Saute the spices together with the ghee in a separate sauce pan for a few minutes being careful not to burn it. Stir the cooked rice and dal into the spice pan. Add leafy greens at this time. Cover and cook on low for another 10 minutes. Before serving, add sea salt, a few cilantro leaves and a little grated ginger.

*use white basmati if the person has been ill or has weak digestion
**any you choose – consider chopped carrots, turnips, yams
***spinach, chard or kale

Spiced Milk
Adapted from Simple Veda
Makes: 1 serving. Take 30 minutes before bed a few days a week.

  • 1 cup nut milk (almond, hemp or cashew are nice)

Add a pinch:

  • cardamom
  • ginger
  • turmeric
  • nutmeg
  • cinnamon

Instructions:
Simmer on low to medium heat for 10 minutes. Add a little maple syrup to taste. Take before bed to strengthen digestion and ease sleep.

Mind & Body Fertility Influences

In addition to following a fertility diet, Ayurveda suggests focusing on these factors that impact fertility:

  • Your mind: Get plenty rest, especially during menstruation (for women) and learn have at your ready tools to help you manage anxiety, depression and poor sleep because these are damaging to fertility health
  • Your body: Wearing loose clothing and use cooling techniques. Restrictive clothing overheats the reproductive organs and can damage the sperm and ovum. Avoid excessive heat and use cooling techniques like foot baths, showers, or sprays with cool water to bring the body temperature down.
  • Your attitude: In the Ayurvedic view, an attitude of contentment and harmony in both partners will pass on to the child.

With these factors in mind, mind-body therapies like fertility yoga and meditation will be great assets to your fertility program

Ayurvedic Fertility Herbs

While there are many herbs used in Ayurvdic medicine, two that benefit fertility health are:

1. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an herb known to support fertility health by boosting the body’s healthy stress response, increased antioxidant levels, boosting the immune system and supporting hormonal balance. Learn more in our article Ashwagandha: Ayurvedic Herb Reduces Stress & Immune-Related Infertility.

2. Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) has shown many benefits for both men and women’s fertility. It is adaptogenic, a sexual tonic, and promotes breast milk production, and offers other health benefits. We share more on each benefit in our article Shatavari: Fertility Herb from India.

In Summary

In Ayurveda, your fertility is at the deepest level of health. Everything that you consume is transformed into your shukra, “the seed of life”. To optimize fertility health and provide the best nutrition for your seed of life, pay special attention to your diet, mind-body health and utilize herbs to bring your body into balance.

References
– Fertility Problems: The Ayurvedic Perspective (2016), Mapi.com. Retrieved from: http://www.mapi.com/ayurvedic-knowledge/pregnancy-motherhood-and-fertility/ayurvedic-fertility-solutions.html#gsc.tab=0
– Making a Baby The Ayurvedic Way (2009, Sept). Ayurvedic Yogi. Retrieved from: http://www.ayurvedicyogi.com/making-a-baby-the-ayurvedic-way/
– Infertility: Failure To Conceive (2009). Nithi Ayurvedic Massage. Retrieved from: http://langkawi-ayurvedic-massage.com/en/infertility-failure-to-conceive
– Pole, S. (2009). Getting Pregnant the Ayurvedic Way. Retrieved from: http://www.sebastianpole.com/articles/Getting-Pregnant-the-Ayurvedic-Way.html
– How to Make Kitchari (2016). Banyan Botanicals.Retrieved from: http://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/ayurvedic-living/living-ayurveda/diet/how-to-make-kitchari/
– Tierra, M. (2016). Kichari: Food of the Gods. Retrieved from https://www.planetherbs.com/diet/kichari-the-food-of-the-gods.html
– Recipes: Warm Spiced Milk (2016) Simple Veda. Retrieved from: http://www.simpleveda.com/ayurvedic-recipes/Warm-Spiced-Milk.html

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