Black Sesame Seed Oil: Next Best Thing After Ghee – for All?

blacksesameimages“Dear Vaidya,

What about cold pressed (black) sesame oil, Caraka mentions this as next best after ghee? 


Vaidya Answers: 

Dear Martin: yes, this is a good question you raise, as the Charak Samhita states that the next best thing after ghee – in case one cannot consume ghee – is cold pressed black sesame oil. However, again, here we have to take into account the fact that sesame oil, when used as is on its own, can be too heating for high pitta type people. One alternative to correcting this tendency would be to carefully cook tScreenshot 2015-09-14 15.26.00his oil with soma-predominant vegetables – such as toru, or loki. These vegetables will balance out the heating tendencies of the sesame olokiil. Sesame oil is a very unique oil because it can adapt to and adopt the properties of the ingredients it is mixed with. In general, it is ideal for kapha type people, or for people with kapha aggravation, who are experiencing ama production in the stomach due to low-agni and high kledak kapha. In this situation, cooking with sesame oil can be therapeutic.

MCT, Coconut, or Ghee?

“Dear Vaidya:
My students have been asking me about this relatively new product glorified as being very healthy. I’d be very grateful to get your opinion on it:
I’ve never used it myself:

Thank you!
Divya A.”

Vaidya responds:
Dear Divya,
MCT vs LCT:Screenshot 2015-08-21 15.27.19
Sometimes more is less! This new tendency to prefer oils that have high content of MCFAs (Medium Chain Fatty Acids) also known as MCT (medium chain tryglycerides) over oils that contain long-chain tryglycerides (LCT) is based on research findings. MCTs have been found to be easier on digestion and easily broken down and absorbed; more readily available in the liver and transformed into energy; stimulating for the body’s metabolism and thus supporting weight loss. Most vegetables oils contain long chain fatty acids (LCT) that get stored in your arteries or in your body as fat, slow down your metabolism, and put strain on your pancreas and digestive system. Compared to LCTs, MCTs have fewer calories per serving, roughly 8.3 calories per gram rather than the standard 9 calories per gram, according to research findings.

In contrast, coconut contains almost 2/3 MCTs, making it the queen amongst healthy vegetables oils, and yet, the new trend is to prefer MCT processed oils over coconut oil. Medium-chain triglycerides, or fatty acids, such as lauric acid, are characterized by a specific chemical structure that allows your body to absorb them readily as a whole, making them easily digestible — because your body processes them as it would carbohydrates, and they are used as a source of direct energy. Lauric acid, as a component of triglycerides, comprises about half of the fatty acid content in coconut oil, laurel oil, and palm kernel oil (not to be confused with palm oil). Otherwise, lauric acid is relatively uncommon. It is also found in human breast milk (6.2% of total fat), cow’s milk (2.9%), and goat’s milk (3.1%). The most popular MCT products have been derived from coconut oil or the palm trees ; the irony is that, however, most lose their Lauric acid content during processing. Lauric acid is prized around the world as a powerful antimicrobial agent, used in both food preservation as well as in drugs and nutraceuticals.
To beat the competition, the manufacturers of this particular brand whose link you have forwarded states that they have added lauric acid to their product, but they do not disclose their method of processing, nor what their source of lauric acid is:

Screenshot 2015-08-21 17.42.12



In addition, the MCT oil that is obtained is irreparably a processed product diminished in prana, and we do not know what actual properties it carries inside the body once it is ingested. They say they they take their cue from mother nature, but they do so to try to improve upon her creation and make a product that she should have but did not, when there is a naturally perfect product that already exists and that we could be consuming as is, namely: coconuts!

Coconuts, ayurvedically!coconut

Nature has not only made coconut oil rich with nutrients and benefits, but those nutrients are found in such a balanced proportion, along with Nature’s intelligence, that they are very easy for the human physiology to digest, for the liver to transform, and to make available to all the organs of the body. Our body’s digestive system and system organs can metabolize coconut 100%, and whatever bi-products are obtained, the body is able to easily discard them.

Ayurvedically, coconut is a perfect fruit that need not be touched in any way to be enhanced or improved upon. In this sense, manipulating or processing the coconut in order to alter the chemical ratios of long or medium fatty chains, or meddling with the natural intelligence of the coconut’s molecular make-up, is not such a good idea.  Ayurveda does give us the opportunity to process raw material in certain circumstances. For example, we can detoxify certain naturally toxic ingredients or substances in a process called “amritakaram.” But coconut is not one of those ingredients that need this processing, as its naturally somagenic content is balanced and ready to be consumed – as is. For those living in a hot climate, as well as for those with a “high pitta and high agni” digestive tendency, coconut oil is the best oil for cooking, or for drizzling over hot food – preferably not salads. So my suggestion would be to consume organic virgin coconut oil, not processed coconut oil, to keep the intelligence of its natural molecular make-up intact 100%.  But I would add some ayurvedic precautions, even to the consumption of coconut.

Caution for Coconut
On ayurvedic grounds, however, I do caution people. Perfect as coconut is, there are some situations where it should be avoided.  Of course, you can follow the basic guidelines of ayurveda for your body type, and determine whether coconut oil is good for you on a regular basis. However, in some situations, even the ayurvedic body type of high pitta high agni individuals may not be ready to consume coconut oil. For example: if the “kledak kapha” in the stomach is  aggravated.

Kledak kapha is one of the 3 subdoshas that govern digestion in the stomach. In the stomach you have “pachak pitta” cooking the food; “samana vata” churning it and moving it around to expose the food ingested to full cooking; and “kledak kapha” to moisten the food by lubricating it so that it gets cooked and not burnt by pachak pitta! Kledak kapha also helps to maintain the stomach environment in balance by pacifying pachak pitta, and it keeps pachak agni, the digestive fire, under control as well, so it does not burn down the stomach, even or specially so in the absence of food.

If somebody’s kledak kapha is high, then the pachak pitta, the fuel of the digestive fire, becomes sluggish – too much soma moistens and puts out the fire, because the gap, the sandhi, where the cooking takes place, is inundated, and the pachak agni goes low. Think of this in terms of a burner, or ghee lamp wick, which transforms the liquid ghee, in this case pacha pitta, into the flame. When kledak kapha is high, the digestive flame, pacha agni also known as jatharagni, goes low. Then we get an overall digestive situation called: “mandagni,” or low flame. This is when people feel that their digestion is slow, or metabolism is low. In this case, people will still be able to digest the coconut oil, but not 100%. Then what happens?
Ayurveda says that if you digest 99%, and even one percent remains undigested, or semi digested, then you make toxic residue, called “ama.” Toxins settling in the tissues, or organs, or different parts of the body, dampen the metabolic rate and create a friendly environment for bacterial growth. When ama gets to sit in the physiology, it may also develop into a more aggressive type of toxic build-up, called “amavisha.” In the long run if left un-addressed, amavisha creates inflammation that can bring about any chronic disease.

Ghee – for one and all!
So ideally, high pitta and high agni individuals who experience sharp hunger at all times of the year and are able to to process and metabolize food fully without getting a feeling of being bloated, or gas, are the one ones who can enjoy the full benefits of food prepared with coconut oil. As for the rest of us, who may not have that fiery metabolic system, ghee is the best alternative.
The Charak Samhita describes ghee as “snehuttamam” – the best fat for human consumption. Ayurveda explains that in contrast to coconut oil which is high in soma and can therefore be hard to metabolize unless one has high pitta and high agni metabolism, ghee strikes the perfect balance between soma and agni. This is particularly the case when we consumes ghee made the traditional way, from butter that was made from raw cream turned into yoghurt, and not straight from cream/fat. My SVA Mum’s ghee is made from butter that has gone through the fermentation process or the culturing process where live bacteria are involved. Even though after the final cooking step the bacteria are no longer alive, their initial presence endows the fat molecules with agni; in addition, the churning of the yogurt in order to extract the butter, that friction of the churning process also provides more agni. Finally, when that butter is cooked, further agni or fire is infused into it. 600_Triphala_Ghee_1.5_oz__06149.1405391159.1280.1280
In this sense, ghee is the best fat for high pitta and low agni individuals, because this fiery energy helps to clear the “wick” of the digestive process. Ghee has a very high burning point and it is therefore ideal for cooking spices in it – cooking on higher heat, since ghee won’t burn as easily and quickly – allowing for the full potency of spices and herbs to unfold into the fat medium and be transported deeper into the bodily tissues. In addition, ghee carries all the properties that coconut does: it lubricates the brain, the cellular system, nourishes the joints, nurtures the skin. Ghee is even recommended for people who have “mandagni” or low agni (high pitta low agni). When cooked with the proper metabolism enhancing spices, ghee becomes the ideal fat for those with slow metabolism.
In India, in areas where tropical temperatures presides (specially in south India such as in kerala, some parts of Tamil Nadu), or in countries such as Malasia, Indonesia, where extreme hot weather conditions dominate, coconut oil is used exclusively. However, according to Ayurveda, it is not recommended to use coconut oil for long term, specially in cold climates. In countries where the climate varies seasonally, it is possible to use coconut oil in the hotter summer months and then switch back to ghee in the remaining months of the year.
So for your students who ask you whether or not to initiate the use of MCT oils, tell them they should avoid consuming processed fats, not matter what the promises of modern scientific findings, and favor coconut oil in its natural state instead. And then add that you know of something even better than coconut: ghee! You can teach them how to make their own traditional ghee, or show them the SVA ghee. You can also educate them about my herbalized ghee, the SVA Maha Saraswati Ghee, that contains a very powerful herb, jyotishmati (Celastrus paniculatus), that boosts and supports brain functioning and health, not to mention the health endowing properties of ghee itself. Maha Saraswati ghee can be melted to be used on toast, in your cup of tea, or in your sandwiches! Let’s fuse the ayurvedic wisdom of the ages with our modern lifestyles to accomplish the great health we all deserve to carry out joyful lives!

1. Lauric Acid
AOCS Lipid Library: Palm Kernel and Coconut (Lauric) Oils
NYU Langone Medical Center: Medium-Chain Triglycerides
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: The Facts About Coconut Oil — What Is It All About?

Metabolism: Effects of Dietary Medium-Chain Triglyceride on Weight Loss and Insulin Sensitivity in a Group of Moderately Overweight Free-Living Type 2 Diabetic Chinese Subjects
Nutrition Review: Medium Chain Triglyderides: Beneficial Effects on Energy, Atherosclerosis and Aging How Much Is My Allowance for Oils?
2. Know Your Fats, by Mary Enig, Ph.D, Bethesda Press. p. 259
See more at:

Is Bitter Better for Pacifying Pitta?

“I read online that for pitta people, particularly in the summer time, in order to keep things cool, bitter things are good. So I ordered a bitter ghee preparation called “pancha tikta ghritam” and I started using it on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. I Screenshot 2015-07-17 08.34.01immediately developed nausea and felt like I had a hangover. It felt like instead of pacifying my pitta, it aggravated it? Can you please address this? If ayurvedic texts and experts say that bitter is good for pitta then why did it not help me?

Also, how should I take care of my pitta in the summer? I read your article on cooling pitta in the summer and it gave a different approach. You were recommending sweet things like rose petal preserve. Is the sweet taste enough for pacifying pitta in the summertime? Can you please comment on this?

Thank you,

Christina P. “



Vaidya answers:


In Ayurveda we acknowledge six total possible tastes. Verse #171 from Bhava Mishra’s Bhavaprakash, lists them in hierarchical order:

Screenshot 2015-07-17 08.41.09




madhur or sweet

amla or sour

lavana – salty

kattu – pungent

tikt or bitter

and kashaya or astringent


As the verse explains, these tastes are hierarchical in the sense that the first 3 pacify vata dosha, and last three pacify kapha. In roseaddition, “kashaya” astringent, “tikt” or bitter, and “madhur” or the sweet tastes pacify pitta. So, in theory, to say that the bitter taste is pacifying for pitta is correct. Based on the ayurvedic ancient texts, the 3 tastes: astringent, bitter, and sweet, pacify pitta. However, knowledge needs to be applied. In practical situations, many times, knowledge needs to be adapted to specific conditions.

It looks like in the process of pacifying your pitta dosha, you aggravated your vata dosha. To address your situation, I would like to highlight two major aspects according by referring to the same text, the same shastra-s.

Based on my experience as an ayurvedic expert practicing in the West for the past almost 20 years, in 90% of situations where pitta was aggravated, it was a case of also high agni, or digestive and metabolic fire element in the body, particularly in the digestive system.

When kledak kapha (the balancing kapha subdosha in the stomach that keeps things moist and lubricated) goes low in the stomach, then saman vata (which also resides in the stomach area) also gets aggravated.

When Samana Vata is aggravated, it pushes udana vata (that resides in the chest) more forcefully upwards and then one experiences nausea. In such scenarios, in most cases, wherever pitta is aggravated, vata also gets aggravated. 4a231211045c5acc78116d272b472fe0

Thats why there are three options in terms of rasa, or taste, for pacifying pitta. Those three tastes as indicated in the shastra-s are: astringent, bitter and sweet. Practically speaking, you have to choose among those three, based on the specific condition or situation.

Verse #171 says that the first three rasa-s or tastes: madhur (sweet), alma (sour) and lavan (salty) pacify vata dosha. So madhur or sweet rasa pacifies both vata and pitta, and that’s why I personally use madhur rasa or the sweet taste to pacify pitta in the summer time. With rose – and intelligent rather than dumb or dead sweets loaded with preservatives and synthetic chemicals such as white sugar – and sweet juicy seasonal fruits like pears, blueberries and blackberries, as well as a little amla or sour rasa like orange, or lime, one can work wonders for pitta and vata. Of course, the sour taste has to be in moderation, specially in the summer time, because it contains more agni, and can thus aggravate pitta as well. It has to be in balance in minimal quantities in relation to the sweet taste.


Another point to consider comes up in verse number #190 that says:


Screenshot 2015-07-17 08.41.33


The bitter rasa, or bitter taste, can aggravate vata. That’s why, when you consumed that bitter ghee to pacify your pitta dosha, it aggravated your samana vata and udana vata, resulting in nausea. So you see, theory or just knowledge are not enough. In practical daily applications of the knowledge, we need to have acquired skills and have guidance to know how to use that knowledge for optimal results. Even though the texts prescribe the bitter taste for pacifying pitta, if we follow the text without considering actual conditions, we will end up aggravating pitta further. I learnt such practical applications of the ayurvedic shastra-s while interning with my father in our family practice in India. I am always happy to share what I learnt during those years as well as in my life experience as an ayurvedic healer, since the opportunity to intern with ayurvedic experts is much more hard to come by in the western cultural context. I thank you for your question as it has given me the opportunity to clarify a crucial point for all.

Questions about cinnamon, salt, electronic toothbrushes and more!


I just watched the oral care video and learned a lot. And I just gargled with coconut oil and my mouth and mind feel wonderful.Electric-Toothbrush-Reviews

I wonder what Vaidya’s thoughts are about electric toothbrushes and waterpixs. Since they are electric near the mucous membrane, I am guessing he would not want the body to absorb those emf. Anyway, just thought I’d ask. Also, what toothbrush bristles are best – soft, medium, hard?

Thank you,


Vaidya Replies:

Dear Mary , yes you are right in that I would not recommend electric toothbrushes or water pixs that run through electric current to clean your oral cavity. In general, you want to avoid using EMF devices in the oral cavity. What works best is massaging your gums with coconut oil using your own fingers that will transmit your own healing vibration to your gums instead of electric devices. This would not replace flossing which is always a healthy way of making sure we rid the crevices between our teeth of food residues.

Otherwise, I generally recommend medium bristles, neither too soft nor too hard, unless one has a specific sensitivity or gum condition, in which case it is best to use soft bristles.

If you chose to use coconut oil, first do the massage with your fingers and then floss.

The ideal order for oral cavity hygiene would be as follows: oil massage, floss, then brush, then scrape the tongue, and finally gargle with the oral mist and the end.

Soma Saltsoma_saltb__76389__68336.1340580089.1280.1280

I realize that many of your products use proprietary processes and ingredients and I would not want to jeopardize your business in any way. However, I have found your Soma Salt to be so entirely different (and far better in every way!) from any other sea or land salt that I have used (and I have tried many through the past few decades) that I am left wondering two things:

1. Is anything added to the originally mined salt (eg to create the high amount of potassium)?

2. How is it processed?

I would appreciate any information on these two points to allay my concern regarding exactly what I’m eating! Thank you.


Vaidya replies:

Dear SVA follower: Soma Salt is Himalayan in origin, but once we get the crystal rocks, we have a multiple-step purification process to rid it of impurities, and offer the powder of only the purest white crystals. Every rock has a mixture of white and pink strands, we sort through the batch to select only the white crystals, and discard the pink! So, in general, we remove rather than add to it!

The rocks come from North West India, currently a Pakistani area. Many of these rocks are obtained through the use of explosives. Our first task is to make sure these rocks are not contaminated with explosive chemical residues – for that we send every single batch to be tested in a lab, to make sure there is no lead content.

Rock SaltAfter we have our selection of pure white crystals, we expose the rocks to a proprietary herbal steam to flush out unwanted minerals and residues.

We do not add any potassium, or calcium, or any other nutrients or ingredients. The salt that is packaged comes rich with its own natural mineral content, cleansed by our herbal steaming cleansing process.

White crystals are harder and more precious to acquire than the pink crystals or rocks. Traditionally, in India, all know not to use the pink crystal salt as it is higher in sulphur content and can be heating and pitta-provoking, as it is more agneya – contains ingredients that are fiery in nature. That’s why we select only the white crystals that are more somagenic, hence the name “Soma Salt” as known in my SVA lineage.

We flush the white rock crystals with distilled water, to give you only the purest rocks available. We do not even add any anti-caking agents or chemicals, and you may have noticed that the salt sometimes may cake in the presence of moisture.

Unlike other salts mentioned in the shastra-s, this salt is known to be the least pitta-provoking – all salts provoke pitta with their sharpness to some extent. But as this salt is so rich in flavor, one needs to add a least amount to get the benefits and the flavor. Thank you for your question.

Skin care questions

Dear Vaidya Mishra,

The following questions apply to a 59 year old female, 5′, 100 lbs, red headed, freckled, Scotch-Irish descent, pitta-vata body type.

1. Which face cleanser and cream and any other products would you recommend for aging, wrinkled, dry, pale, lusterless facial skin? Sun exposure has been a major contributor to the wrinkles, although I’m sure other internal and emotional factors exist. Wrinkles are mostly around mouth and eyes. Mouth: smile lines and vertical lines around lips.SONY DSC

Eyes: crows feet and bags under eyes. Forehead: vertical lines between eyebrows and horizontal across top of forehead. I am interested in any other advice you have for this condition, such a diet or lifestyle changes.

Vaidya replies:

Dear SVA Follower: for this and similar conditions, internal rehydration and oleation are needed, so eating good fats such as ghee, or olive oil, and drinking enough amounts of water are necessary. Delaying or skipping meals will not help. Prevention from further sun exposure is necessary as well. Consume more sweet juicy fruits in your diet, make sure you are eating enough easy to digest protein – no aged cheeses, no red meat, favor chicken and fish cooked with spices.

Otherwise, you can use our SVA Real Rose Soap to clean your face, and then apply the Age-Defying cream at night. Do a gentle cleanse with the soap, then apply the water-based toner, and then the cream. You can also do the Facial Marma Massage – please contact the Prana Center to get the poster for the marma points and directions for how to do it. Doing a daily marma massage with the verbalized Lalita’s creams will help support the flow of “prana” to the skin that can nourish and revitalize it, helping it defy further aging.

2. Which body soap and cream would you recommend for dry, lusterless body skin that is starting to sag on the same person?

First do a warm Pitta oil with magnesium massage, rest for 10-15 minutes, then use turmeric soap to wash off in the shower.

3. Does the Tumeric Soap stain one’s towels, clothing, bedding etc. ?turmeric

Our turmeric soap will not stain any of your clothing or bedding, nor will it turn the skin yellow. It will nurture and nourish and strengthen, allowing your skin to absorb to benefits of turmeric transdermally.


Hello – can u tell me if your cinnamon sticks are made from true cinnamon or cassia cinnamon? Thank u so much !

Vaidya replies:

Dear “Desilu,” we use cassia cinnamon. We use “sweet cinnamon” in the recipes for the “Kid’s Masala”-s, and “indian cinnamon” in our “Mum’s Masala.”

Suffering from Skin Diseases : Guidance

Shree Vaidya Mishraji:

Namaste !

I have visited your web site ” S V Ayurveda” – Prana Center , interested to get Guidance & remedies of my skin disease, 70 years, male , residing in CA.

I would like know more about treatments, diagnosis of my skin disease.

It itching very much, with blackish brown patches on my back side ( Vasama ) Also, on different part of my body.

Please, let me know more about various treatment for vegetarian with simple home prepared food diet.

Vinod T.coconut

Vaidya replies:

Dear Vinod: there are very many different protocols in Ayurveda, and the response would vary based on what specific imbalance is there in your body causing your specific skin disease. You will need to have a full medical evaluation to determine the cause and the possible remedies. However, here are some pointers that you can try that may help you get some relief. Try them for three months and email us back.

Apply coconut oil on the dry itchy area

Increase your intake of good turmeric in your cooked meals – 1/4 tsp twice a day cooked in your vegetables or lentils. Make sure to use “real” turmeric! Unfortunately the yellow powder sold in most Indian grocery stores tends to be tinted clay!

Discontinue the use of tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, bell pepper, onions, garlic, garbanzo and pinto beans.Try these tips for three months and let us know how you feel.

SVA Mum’s Ghee

I am curious about the source of butter for your ghee. Is the butter locally sourced in CA (or elsewhere in the U.S?) or is it from India? Can you guarantee no GMO feed for the cows?

Vaidya replies:gheeweb

Dear Iris: the organic raw material for our ghee (cream from milk to make yoghurt and then butter) comes from pasture-raised free roaming cows raised and bred in the United States, that are given non GMO feed. We do not use milk or any milk products from India.