Sinful Smoking: How Indian Gooseberry rescued me
Updated: Oct 1, 2019
I have often wondered about our obsessions with speed. Why do we tend to run out of patience? My grandparents survived the Second World War, with nothing but hope and patience.
And yet when it comes to healing unless it is as fast as lightning, it is not worth a try.
Trying to outpace Nature may apparently appear as a victory of man's eternal quest for dominance, but realisation will dawn with a mighty retribution. How true the words of the famed writer when he said :
"The two most powerful warriors are patience and time" - Leo Tolstoy
I learnt my lesson the hard way when I was a teenager. My smoking habits led to gastric acid, dry eyes, dry and patchy skin, hair fall and terrible cramps during menstrual cycles. Well, at least those were the visible signs.
Trying to speed up the healing process, I let chemicals to play havoc with my system. The list of medicine was long. A tablet for each symptom.
After the rendezvous with the indispensable Ayurvedic doctor, that I convinced my mother to make a beeline for him.
Obviously, I had not confessed my crime of addictive indulgence. And yes, those days we had gentlemen aplenty, true to his word, the doctor never squeaked a word or remotely suggested anything to raise mother's suspicion.
An attitude I could relate to the popular US Radio Host of the early 60s
"When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future" - Bernard Meltzer
On the appointed day, we duly presented ourselves before the august doctor. Mother with the most anguished look on her face, made me hope the earth would open and swallow me in.
The doctor advised me to avoid pepper (both red and black), lemon, salty snacks, sugary food, oil, butter, cheese, meat, egg, bread and fish for at least seven days. I was to survive on barley, yoghurt, bananas, lentil soups, boiled rice and cucumbers.
I, being a food lover, this was a regime worthy to draw the attention of the Human Rights Organisation. I was about to protest with the utmost ferocity when his expression warned me to check myself. Oh! the temerity of the teens.
He inquired about my last menstrual cycle, which luckily, had been on time but the cramps made me swoon. He asked me to continue this diet for ten days as if seven was not enough!
He advised me to stop taking all medicines administered for my gastric problems. Mentally, I counted four tablets down.
Popping his hand into the pocket, he produced a bright, almost fluorescent green, round fruit of some kind, the size of a £2 coin. He said, "Here, let's see you take a bite."
The first bite sent a sharp pungently sour sensation in my mouth, my facial reflex causing me to squeeze my eyes shut while sending a shiver through my body.
"Keep chewing, eat it, take the next bite", he prodded. I had never tasted anything like this before. Thankfully, I was able to eat away the fleshy part leaving the hard dark green seed inside.
"Drink a glass of water", he said offering me a glass. I took the first sip and my mouth was filled with a sweetness that was a first of its kind experience. Neither the sugary sweet nor the fruity one. Yet, more I drank water, more the sweetness lingered.
"Good, so it is not that bad, is it? I expect you will not have any problem eating this every day, one after breakfast and another after lunch. And keep lots of cucumbers handy, you will start to feel hungry frequently especially in the next few days with your new diet", he said with a chuckle.
The first bite of raw gooseberry can really put someone off especially if they are trying it for the first time. But there is no other berry so potently effective and medically safe to counter multiple ailments and boosting human health. All that goodness of Nature in a humble gooseberry!! Truly said by the scientist
"When the solution is simple, God is answering" - Albert Einstein
"What on earth was that", I asked with mixed feelings of someone whose taste buds have been attacked and pampered at the same time.
"Well, that's Indian Gooseberry for you - Phyllanthus Emblica!" the doctor replied with a mischievous glint in his eyes. (US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, NCBI)
He turned to my mother and assured "Please make it a habit in your family, to have a gooseberry every day after lunch during winters i.e from October till February. You would find it quite cheap in the local market. I reckon you have a younger daughter, please do encourage her as well", he said.
Opening one of his desk drawers he extracted a small transparent glass jar and handed it to mother. "This is for your younger daughter, these are Gooseberry candies, the sharp taste may put her off but the candies would be a great start".
My mother was rather bewildered to find the doctor not providing me with any of his Ayurvedic doses. On the contrary, he advised that I stop taking all tablets.
Anyone with mild to medium gastric acid problem would be able to relate to that burning
sensation in the throat coupled with the nagging discomfort in the stomach.
I suddenly, realised that my stomach was unusually quiet and I was feeling rather well- rested. I felt thirsty and reached for another glass of water.
As if reading my mother's mind, the doctor explained "When the BMR is high, in other words, when one is young, remedies catch up quickly and its always better to train your body to respond to natural healers rather than chemical ones. We are, after all, children of Nature, both Mother and Child respond to each other much better than anything else".
"You would find all her symptoms disappearing very soon, do not worry. You might have to bear with the hair fall for some time, as the unhealthy ones would all shed before the healthier ones sprout out", he added.
I cut my hair short and took it upon myself to not conceal my skin patches as a daily reminder of the consequence of giving away to addictive temptations.
The looks from the passerby did cement my resolve to never, ever touch cigarettes again. And the Indian Gooseberry remains an indispensable ally till date.
Though I travel a lot nowadays, I get my supplies delivered to my doorstep. The Organic versions of Indian Gooseberry powder, pills and candies can be easily ordered from Amazon. And thank god for that, cause, as long as I live, I will continue to swear by Indian Gooseberry!
Taking half a teaspoon of Indian Gooseberry powder mixed with lukewarm water first thing in the morning for any adult without any pre-existing medical condition is a good start. And a pill for those having a bit of a rush for the same. You can do it for all season!
In the initial stages, you will probably be making a bee-line for the toilet, but hold steady, that is Indian Gooseberry working its wonder on your digestive system. It is only a matter of time until your body gets accustomed to the newly introduced Anti-Oxidant.
But what is important here is if you take Indian Gooseberry first thing in the morning, then it is recommended to not skip breakfast. That is how it has been adviced by my Ayurvedic Physician.
Please note, that if you have any serious pre-existing medical condition, and wish to avail the natural benefits of Ayurveda, please contact a Certified Ayurveda Physician.
As for me, after almost 30 years, my body is well-tuned to Amla so I take one pill a day, after lunch, in all seasons for best results. And if my preferred brand of Indian Gooseberry pill is out-of-stock, I make do with the powder version, a tablespoon of it mixed in lukewarm water. You can see your product choices in resources in case you are not sure which one to start with.