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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Beginner’s Guide to Ayurvedic Home Remedies by Susan Weis-Bohlen

This is an ideal starting place for anyone who wants to take more care of their own health or is sceptical about the infallibility of Western medicine - which often gives on the one hand, while taking on the other. How often do you hear of a medicine for one ailment creating another? And while I am not suggesting for one moment that a reader throws the baby out with the bathwater and drops their prescribed medication down the drain, there have existed for thousands of years alternatives to our Western linear approach to treating the symptom while overlooking the root cause of our ills.

Enter this beautifully designed, easy-to-read guide to the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, which is estimated to have been around for 5,000 years. Susan Weis-Bohlen owned a new-age bookshop. She had long practised yoga and meditation, yet was overworked, overweight and stressed when she began to look for alternatives to her very common problems. She embraced Ayurveda and soon felt more attuned to the needs of her body. The weight came off as she let go of the toxins in her body, and she realised that those extra layers she had been carrying around were a symptom of her ‘dis-ease’, Rather than the cause of it. The practice of Ayurveda became her calling, and she became a teacher. But she soon realised that not everyone could take three weeks off – as she had at the outset of her journey. So she began to write the book to help others ease into the practice of “consciousness-based spiritual and medical science”.

The book begins with describing a three-tiered plan of food, lifestyle and apothecary, which can transform lives and treat the root causes of any ailments Readers can take a quiz to establish their body type, which forms the basis of the Ayurvedic approach based on the three body types: Vata, Pitta and Kapha and uses food as medicine. Weis-Bohlen stresses the fact that hers is a beginner’s handbook to begin fundamental lifestyle change and says acute illnesses, both physical and mental, need to be treated urgently.

Chapter 1 deals with sleep and comes with a recipe for Sleepy Time Golden Milk; bathing routines and sleepy time aids. For those with insomnia, there is a list of ways to combat or treat it. Ditto for Sleep Apnea from which I suffer, as my horrified recent glamping companion soon realised. Damn! I may have to give up my beloved dairy... I personally loved Chapter Five, which focuses on the skin - the body’s largest organ, which is ironic, because I don’t put anything on my skin, and never have, I drink a lot of water and generally avoid foods which might cause eruptions. But – and isn’t there always a but? I still may have to cut down on my dairy consumption. And I simply loved her advice on leaning into one’s own desires and dreams and avoiding societal conventions for what is age-appropriate dress and behaviour. Yaas, Queen! Of course, I may also have to consider my coffee consumption, but frankly, the recipe for Vaidyagrama Morning Tea which is full of ingredients I know to be good for countering Diabetes type 11, looks like a good alternative.

I really like this book which is easy to read and understand and is an inspiring introduction to the ancient practice of Ayurveda.

Reviewer: Peta Stavelli


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