Vaidya answers your questions: Castor oil for joint pain? and Prakrit and Triphala differences

What’s the Difference between Prakrit and High Pitta Triphala?tsmith_100408_0680__34675__19544.1339638061.1280.1280

John S.

What is the difference between what Triphala or Pitta Triphala Tablets do for the digestive system and what do Prakrit Tablets do for the digestive system ?

And are there conditions where both are suggested to be taken?

Thank you for your wonderful formulations.




Dear John: All triphala formulas support the overall intelligence of the colon. There are a myriad imbalances that can affect the smooth functioning of the colon; whenever anyone is experiencing mild imbalances in their daily bowel discharge, then the triphala formula helps correct it by re-establishing  theintelligence of the colon, and thus supporting bowel evacuation.

That’s the operating principle behind this classical triphala formulation, unlike other natural or synthetic laxatives, in that it does not “force” and take over the colon to bring out a bowel movement, rather it re-initiates the natural functioning and intelligence of the colon so it can resume its own work.


But in my experience as a Vaidya here in the West, even the gentle classical triphala formula, made up of the 3 fruits (tri+phala): Amla (Indian gooseberry), Haritaki,(Terminalia chebula), and Bhibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), may prove to be too harsh for some high pitta constitutions!


For high pitta body types, and all severely pitta aggravated people in general, even the natural warmth of the fully matured Haritaki seems to be too much to handle. For them, I had to put together a unique SVA Formulation. I call it “Triphala for High Pitta.” In addition to Haritaki, image descriptionBhibhitaki, and Amla, I have added Rose and Fennel. But I also use the almost mature, not fully mature fruit of Haritaki  in this formulation, in addition to the organic rose extract and fennel that are synergistically infused to cool pitta. The rose and fennel are a pitta type’s best friends, they pacify the pitta dosha so that the remaining ingredients can initiate the bowel cleanse without aggravating and irritating the pitta. High pitta body types are prominent in the western world, and countless SVA clients have benefited from this High Pitta Triphala formulation.


Prakrit, on the other hand, is used when Triphala is unable to help. The Ayurvedic texts explain in great detail that there are very many types and natural predispositions to bowel movements. In general, when people tend to have chronic slow bowel movement, along with a lack of communication betweenPrana Vata, that governs the mind, and Apana Vata that governs the colon, then I use Prakrit to help correct it. Prakrit is a unique SVA formulation that contains  a specific kind of the haritaki fruit. There are seven different species of the haritaki fruit, for the Prakrit formulation, I use the best one, called vijiya haritaki -“victorious haritaki.” I use vijiya haritaki collected from dense forests in the same season it matures, not from past seasons. I then infuse it with medical grade castor oil in homeopathic dosage – below 0.01 %,  weight by weight – in order to support and enhance the ability of haritaki through the prabhava of the castor oil. Castor oil is a laxative but even short term usage can cause dependence if used in large quantities or in its raw physical form. The amounts I use are only for processing, and do not take over the colon’s intelligence, but rather support it, by enhancing the properties of Haritaki.

Castor Oil for Joint Pain?


I have a question regarding oils.  I attended an Ayurveda workshop on oils and was advised that Castor Oil is very effective on various types on pain.  I confirmed this with another practitioner and she too advised that Castor oil can be applied daily.  After applying Castor oil on my feet for a few days, I did feel a lot of pain relief, but instead of being cleansed, I became very clogged.  My digestive system almost came to a halt.

Second question regarding oils again – In the workshop, the practitioner mentioned using Avocado and Sesame oil in equal proportion for pain relief. Kindly advise if this is a good combination for pain relief.  I have joint pain that gets aggravated often.  Kindly advise any home remedies.


Thank you and best regards.



Vaidya responds:

Dear Dolly: in my personal opinion, castor oil should only be used occasionally, and not on a regular daily basis, as long term use can results in nerve damage – as castor oil is a confirmed neurotoxic substance.


As a formulator, I use Castor oil in minimal quantities and only in very specific formulations. Many people have asked me how come I use Castor oil as an ingredient in my Prakrit Tablet formulation?


In contemporary Ayurveda, as well as in the SVA tradition, we use many toxic ingredients or elements for healing benefits; however, such ingredients have to be ayurvedically processed and treated through the proper samyog and samskar: samyog means proportion with proper combination with other ingredients, and samskar means proper processing with other ingredients. The samyog and samskar steps are in addition to two more steps:

a) nirmali karan,

b) amriti karanNirmali karan  means the contaminants in that herb are removed, the plant is cleansed; amriti karan means the toxic substance is transformed through distinct steps into an amrit – a substance that benefits the physiology on many levels, and gives overall life support.

Through Ayurveda then, we can transform a toxic ingredient into a life-giving nectar. However, how beneficial or poisonous it is for the body depends on how correctly we prepare and process it. Specific knowledge with regards to processing, combining, and preparing many such plants and herbs were taught to me by my father, and passed down for countless generations in my SVA lineage.


In SVA formulations with known toxic ingredients, such as Castor oil in the SVA Prakrit Tablets, I use a specific method called guna dhan. Guna dhan is the process of infusing the specific prabhava. Prabhava is the specific effect of the herb or product beyond its post-digestive effect. Once the product has been completely physically processed, digested, and assimilated, it carries a subtle property called prabhava. For example, in the case of Castor oil, its prabhavais virechana, this means it carries a specific way of eliminating toxins by supporting the bowel movement. 

In the case of the SVA Prakrit tablets, for example, the bio-chemical potency of the castor oil molecules gets infused into the Haritaki fruits at the micro-molecular and vibrational levels.

What does this mean? In practical terms, only the “intelligence” of the ingredient, of Castor oil, is yoked to or synergistically combined with the Haritaki, to boost and support the properties of the Haritaki itself.


Castor oil is a known neurotoxic substance. When used over a long period of time in large amounts in its raw or crude form either as a plant or oil, whether ingested or used transdermally, it can create dependence – the body comes to depend on it to perform its own automatic functions, such as the daily evacuation of the bowels. I use only 0.01% medical grade Castor oil in Prakrit, in additional to the full ayurvedic processing protocols to transform Castor oil into a nectar, so any side-effects are further totally mitigated. This way, only the shukshmabhag or subtle micro-molecules of the ingredient play a role in terms of the prabhava, the ultimate most subtle post-physical action.


Here is an alternative SVA remedy for your joint pain.


SVA Home remedy for Joint Pain

I would like to suggest the following home remedy for your joint pain:vitexnegundo


Take  4 oz. of good quality preferably organic sesame oil, add:

1/2 oz. Nirgundi (Vitex negundo) leaf

1/4 oz. Black pepper – ground

1/4 oz. Dry ginger powder


Mix together in a small pot and boil for two minutes. Then use a cheesecloth to strain out the spices and herbs. In the filtered oil, add an equal part of sweet almond oil, then add  5 drops of camphor essential oil, 10 drops of peppermint essential oil, pour into an airtight container, and store for a day to let the formula settle. You can then use this oil to massage your knees and all achy joints, not more than twice a day, morning and evening. This will be a safe and effective oil for your joints. It will not only open the macro and micro channels to release all toxins that are causing inflammation and resulting in pain, but it will also nourish your joints and nerves. Let me know how you like it. Of course, coupling any external local application of herbal formulations will give you best results if you are also keeping a good alkaline anti-inflammatory diet. You can read more about the benefits of the SVA alkaline diet where I recommend avoiding the neurotoxic family of nightshades (tomato, potato, eggplant, and bell peppers), along with soy, flax, etc. You will then have even better results. Thank you.