In Ayurveda, there is the concept of anti-aging, which is based on Rasayana therapy, which in reality means living life to the fullest, free from disturbances, and with a lot of strength.
It is well known that aging is a process that never stops, but we humans have always been curious about how we can stay young and increase life expectancy. Scientists and researchers are continually looking for a solution to reverse the aging process.
Rasayana is one of the essential therapeutics mentioned in Ayurveda for staying healthy throughout life. “Rasa” means “essence of the final product of digestion” (the nutrient juice), and “Ayanam” means “opening door.” Thus it is the process by which Rasa reaches the desired body tissue.
The literal meaning in Sanskrit:
Labhopayo hi sastanaam rasadeenam rasayanam
The path to achieving an excellent quality of Rasa (nutrient juice) in the body, which in turn allows the dhatus (body juices) to flow throughout the body through various srotas (circulation channels) so that the entire body receives the correct nutrition, is called Rasayana.
Rasayana increases life span, improves intelligence, cures diseases, stabilizes youthfulness, improves radiance, complexion, and voice, and makes the body senses strong and healthy.
How exactly does Rasayana work?
Rasayana works by increasing the Ojas (immunity), agnideepana (by increasing the digestive fire), and srotomukhavishodhaa (opening the channels of the different tissues).
But what exactly does this process of increasing Ojas, increasing Agni, and opening blocked food and energy channels in the body involve?
There are different stages of Rasayana Therapy, which are performed in various phases of life. According to Sharangdhara, experience from birth to death spans ten decades, and during each decade, a particular aspect of life decreases due to tissue differentiation.
- 1 – 10: Baal – childhood
- 10 – 20: Vridhi – Growth
- 20 – 30: Chavi – Beauty
- 30 – 40: Medha – Memory
- 40 – 50: Tvak – skin
- 50 – 60: Drishti – eyesight
- 60 – 70: Shukra – Power
- 70 – 80: Vikrama – Courage
- 80 – 90: Budhi – intellect
- 90 – 100: Karmendriya – All motor organs
So when we grow up, our body and mind also begin to age. From childhood on, our adaptability and elasticity, growth, beauty, memory, etc., degenerate.
Ayurveda also sheds light on the processes that slow down the aging process by using appropriate herbs and therapies during these different decades.
For example, during childhood Sankhapushpi, Brahmi, Vacha, Guduchi, Ashwagandha, etc., act as Rasayana while in the growth phase, Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Musali, Vidari show their effect as Rasayana.
At the age of 20 to 30 years, Neem, Turmeric, Aloe vera, Sandalwood, Triphala are effective as Rasayana, while from 30 to 40, Jyotishmati, Brahmi, Pippali, Sankhapushpi are recommended as Rasayana.
Between 40 and 50 years Manjistha, Khajura, Draksha are effective as Rasayana, from 50 to 60 years Triphala, Amla, Haritaki, Jeevanti, Shatavari.
Between 60 and 70 years of age, Ashwagandha, Musali, Shatavari, Vidari, Goksharu are used as Rasayana, between 70 and 80 Ashwagandha, Shatavari.
From 80 to 90 Brahmi, Shankhapushpi, Yasthimadhu, Giloya work, and between 90 and 100 years, all herbs improve muscle tone and enhance sensory ability show their effect.
The use of the herbs as mentioned above during the different decades is one aspect of Rasayana.
Another aspect of therapy is as follows:
In the Kutipravaeshika method, a hut should be built on a good site facing east or north and in a place where the necessary things are readily available. This hut should have three inner chambers placed one behind the other, a small opening, thick walls, and (it should) be comfortable in all seasons.
Before therapy, the user should first go into the hut, perform all cleansing treatments, and take the respective Rasayana herbs. This indoor Rasayana treatment method is recommended for those who are able, free of disease, wise, and self-controlled.
The second method of Rasayana treatment is the Vatatapika method. It is intended for those who do not have enough time to carry out unique cleansing treatments before starting the Rasayana therapy.
Therefore, this method uses herbs, foods, and lifestyle changes in daily life as Rasayana treatment. The indoor way of Rasayana Therapy is much more effective but challenging. It is also mentioned that for a better result during Rasayana Therapy; it is essential to cleanse the physical and mental impurities.
Panchakarma is one method for purifying the physical impurities, while a spiritual lifestyle and sadvritta (good morals and ethics) help clarify the spiritual impurities.