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Concept: Sanskrit words and phrases


The practice of Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, is based on the concept of three major constitutional types (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) defined as “Prakriti”. To the best of our knowledge, no study has convincingly correlated genomic variations with the classification of Prakriti. In the present study, we performed genome-wide SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) analysis (Affymetrix, 6.0) of 262 well-classified male individuals (after screening 3416 subjects) belonging to three Prakritis. We found 52 SNPs (p ≤ 1 × 10(-5)) were significantly different between Prakritis, without any confounding effect of stratification, after 10(6) permutations. Principal component analysis (PCA) of these SNPs classified 262 individuals into their respective groups (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) irrespective of their ancestry, which represent its power in categorization. We further validated our finding with 297 Indian population samples with known ancestry. Subsequently, we found that PGM1 correlates with phenotype of Pitta as described in the ancient text of Caraka Samhita, suggesting that the phenotypic classification of India’s traditional medicine has a genetic basis; and its Prakriti-based practice in vogue for many centuries resonates with personalized medicine.

Concepts: Genetics, Bioinformatics, Ayurveda, SNP array, Alternative medicine, Traditional medicine, Sanskrit words and phrases, Charaka Samhita


While yoga is gaining increased popularity in North America and Europe, its safety has been questioned in the lay press. The aim of this systematic review was to assess published case reports and case series on adverse events associated with yoga. Medline/Pubmed, Scopus, CAMBase, IndMed and the Cases Database were screened through February 2013; and 35 case reports and 2 case series reporting a total of 76 cases were included. Ten cases had medical preconditions, mainly glaucoma and osteopenia. Pranayama, hatha yoga, and Bikram yoga were the most common yoga practices; headstand, shoulder stand, lotus position, and forceful breathing were the most common yoga postures and breathing techniques cited. Twenty-seven adverse events (35.5%) affected the musculoskeletal system; 14 (18.4%) the nervous system; and 9 (11.8%) the eyes. Fifteen cases (19.7%) reached full recovery; 9 cases (11.3%) partial recovery; 1 case (1.3%) no recovery; and 1 case (1.3%) died. As any other physical or mental practice, yoga should be practiced carefully under the guidance of a qualified instructor. Beginners should avoid extreme practices such as headstand, lotus position and forceful breathing. Individuals with medical preconditions should work with their physician and yoga teacher to appropriately adapt postures; patients with glaucoma should avoid inversions and patients with compromised bone should avoid forceful yoga practices.

Concepts: Nervous system, Brain, Pranayama, Yoga, Yoga styles, Sanskrit words and phrases, Hatha yoga, Bikram Choudhury


Food is medicine and vice versa. In Hindu and Ayurvedic medicine, and among human cultures of the Indian subcontinent in general, the perception of the food-medicine continuum is especially well established. The preparation of the exhilarating, gold-coloured Soma, Amrita or Ambrosia, the elixir and food of the ‘immortals’ - the Hindu pantheon -, by the ancient Indo-Aryans, is described in the Rigveda in poetic hymns. Different theories regarding the botanical identity of Soma circulate, but no pharmacologically and historically convincing theory exists to date.

Concepts: Indian subcontinent, Soma, Hinduism, Immortality, Vedas, Indra, Sanskrit words and phrases, Hindu mythology


Certain exercises could overload the osteoarthritic knee. We developed an exercise program from yoga postures with a minimal knee adduction moment for knee osteoarthritis. The purpose was to compare the effectiveness of this biomechanically-based yoga exercise (YE), with traditional exercise (TE), and a no-exercise attention-equivalent control (NE) for improving pain, self-reported physical function and mobility performance in women with knee osteoarthritis.

Concepts: Obesity, Randomized controlled trial, Effectiveness, Exercise, Osteoarthritis, Efficacy, Systems engineering, Sanskrit words and phrases


Preliminary research indicates that yoga could be a valuable tool for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, little has been published about the process by which the yoga interventions were designed and evaluated. This study elaborates on the process of developing and testing a bi-weekly, 12-week yoga program to determine its safety and feasibility for people with PD. The lead yoga teacher used input from a focused literature review to design an initial draft of the intervention program. This draft was reviewed by a group of yoga experts ( n = 6) to develop the final intervention program. This 12-week intervention was implemented in 19 participants with PD (mean age 63 ± 8, range 49-75) via twice-weekly yoga classes. Through this comprehensive development process, a series of 24 individual 1-hour yoga sequences was created. These sequences included yoga postures (asana), breathing techniques (pranayama), and mindfulness meditation principles specifically chosen to address concerns unique to the PD population. The feasibility of the program was supported with excellent attendance: 90% of participants attended ≥ 75% of the classes, with four participants attending 100%. No adverse events were reported. This development process produced a safe and enjoyable yoga program specific for the needs of people with PD. However, this methodology could serve as a template for future studies on how to develop safe and effective yoga interventions for other populations.

Concepts: Population, Parkinson's disease, Meditation, Machine code, Yoga, Raja Yoga, Sanskrit words and phrases, Asana


Yoga contains sub-components related to its physical postures (asana), breathing methods (pranayama), and meditation (dhyana). To test the hypothesis that specific yoga practices are associated with reduced psychological distress, 186 adults completed questionnaires assessing life stressors, symptom severity, and experience with each of these aspects of yoga. Each yoga sub-component was found to be negatively correlated with psychological distress indices. However, differing patterns of relationship to psychological distress symptoms were found for each yoga sub-component. Experience with asana was negatively correlated with global psychological distress (r = -.21, p < .01), and symptoms of anxiety (r = -.18, p = .01) and depression (r = -.17, p = .02). These relationships remained statistically significant after accounting for variance attributable to Social Readjustment Rating Scale scores (GSI: r = -.19, p = .01; BSI Anxiety: r = -.16, p = .04; BSI Depression: r = -.14, p = .05). By contrast, the correlations between other yoga sub-components and symptom subscales became non-significant after accounting for exposure to life stressors. Moreover, stressful life events moderated the predictive relationship between amount of asana experience and depressive symptoms. Asana was not related to depressive symptoms at low levels of life stressors, but became associated at mean (t[182] = -2.73, p < .01) and high levels (t[182] = -3.56, p < .001). Findings suggest asana may possess depressive symptom reduction benefits, particularly as life stressors increase. Additional research is needed to differentiate whether asana has an effect on psychological distress, and to better understand potential psychophysiological mechanisms of action.

Concepts: Psychology, Statistics, Statistical significance, Symptoms, Interpersonal relationship, Fatigue, Major depressive disorder, Sanskrit words and phrases


Over the past few decades, there have been significant scientific advances leading to improved understanding of asthma as a disease and treatment providing immediate relief. However, prevention of recurrent attacks, exacerbations and disease cure remains a challenge. Ayurveda refers to bronchial asthma as Tamaka Swasa and it is well explained in Charaka Samhita. Management of asthma in Ayurveda includes removal of vitiated Kapha through Shodhana, Shamana procedures, herbal and herbomineral formulations in addition to advising a healthy lifestyle and diet. Several clinical trials on Ayurvedic formulations for treatment of asthma are reported, however, whole system management of asthma has rarely been studied in the manner in which it is actually being practiced. The aim of this study was to explore biology of holistic Ayurveda management of Asthma.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Asthma, Ayurveda, Sanskrit words and phrases, Charaka Samhita, Charaka


Gloriosa superba, well known as the glory lily or superb lily, is a tropical climbing plant that features an exotic red flower. The plant is poisonous because of high concentrations of colchicine in all parts of the plant. It is commercially grown for use in Ayurveda medicine and as a cash crop for extracting colchicine in India and Africa. It is a wild plant in Sri Lanka and commercial cultivation is rare. Accidental and suicidal poisonings with Gloriosa tubers are well known and reported. There are no case reports of poisoning by Gloriosa seeds in Sri Lanka. Google and PubMed searches showed no reported cases of poisoning with seeds or their use with homicidal intent in other parts of the world.

Concepts: Medicine, Ayurveda, Report, India, Sri Lanka, Plant morphology, Sanskrit, Sanskrit words and phrases


Food and desire are intimately entangled whereby food becomes a core tool to manage desire in fashioning oneself as a morally virtuous person. This paper looks at the ways in which Buddhist texts conceptualize human interactions with food and formulate prescriptions on how to handle food as a means of developing an attitude of non-attachment that aids in achieving nirvana-the extinguishing of desire to get released from the cycle of death and rebirth. The particular texts-the Agañña Sutta, the Āhāra Patikūlasaññā, and the Vinaya Pitaka- discussed here exhibit an attitude of deep ambiguity towards food in its capacity to incite desire. On the one hand nutrition is required to maintain life, but on the other, food can potentially be the cause of a degenerate state of mankind and a source of moral degradation. Hence, the Buddhist development of a dispassionate attitude towards food seeks to enable both nourishment and the pursuit of the extinction of the flame of desire in nirvana. Even though the texts formulate practical prescriptions for monks on how to relate to food to aid them in their pursuit, they also serve as moral standards for lay Sinhalese Buddhists who seek to model their everyday behaviour accordingly.

Concepts: Nutrition, Sri Lanka, Morality, Buddhism, Gautama Buddha, Sangha, Sanskrit words and phrases, Vinaya Pitaka


The quality of life (QOL) of substance users is known to be impaired. Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY), a yogic breathing program has potential to improve QOL and needs evaluation in an Indian setting.

Concepts: Yoga, Sanskrit words and phrases, Sudarshan Kriya, Kriya, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Kriya Yoga, Kriyas