Dec 11, 2023

Book Review: Jeevani: Ayurveda for Women by Dr. PLT Girija

 I had added this title to my Amazon wishlist many years ago. A few months back, while visiting Blossoms, I came across an author-signed second-hand copy and purchased it immediately.

Though the title says "Ayurveda for women", nearly 60% of the book is devoted to pregnancy and childbirth. I was hoping to gain an Ayurvedic perspective on the other stages that women go through - puberty, pre-menopause, menopause, etc. But there isn't much coverage of these topics.

Ayurveda is a vast science and I understand that all aspects cannot be covered in depth in a 200-page book. This book can be a good primer to get started. Certain chapters are dedicated to general health, which contain useful Ayurveda guidelines.

Many of the key topics - Dinacharya, Rtucharya, incompatible foods, tri-doshas and factors influencing the tri-doshas, foods, and tastes are elaborated in enough detail for beginners. I especially found the chapter on the six seasons, the foods to be consumed and the regimen to be followed quite useful.

From a women's health point of view, the factors causing pre-menstrual syndrome and other menstrual disorders are well-explained, along with recommendations on diet, lifestyle changes, and specific Ayurvedic medications. Certain pointers that compare the Ayurvedic way of delivery/childbirth with the allopathic modalities are eye-opening.

A few key learnings:

  • A diet that is usually dry, without any fat, leads to dryness in the body, which in turn aggravates Vayu and causes problems like pain in different parts of the body.
  • Pain and discomfort associated with menstruation are symptoms of an unhealthy reproductive system
  • Curd aggravates Pitta and Kapha in the body. It is hot in efficacy. Curd should not be consumed daily.
  • Food should not consist predominantly of vegetables, since vegetables are usually Vata-increasing.
  • For the food to digest well, it should be consumed warm
  • Heavy to digest, fatty, sweet, solid foods - such as sweet dishes - are consumed at the beginning of the meal

If you are new to Ayurveda or are looking for Ayurvedic management of pregnancy and childbirth, this book is a MUST-read. But if you have prior knowledge of Ayurveda from other sources and are looking for advanced topics or specific treatment modalities, this book may not be the right choice.

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