Takra: the Divine Nectar
“He who uses takra daily does not suffer from diseases, and diseases cured by takra do not recur; just as amrita (divine nector) is for the gods, takra is to humans.” Bhavaprakasha Chpt 6.7
According to Ayurevda, digestion is the root cause of many disease! We now see this in modern science studies...now we know more than ever, how important the gut bacteria is! The bacteria inside of you is ultimately responsible for all you digest, all the nutrients that flow in your bodily channels (Srotas) and in the end this bacteria is simply you and your emotions.
In addition to this Ayurveda teaches us that our bodies are made up of over 33,000 channels (Srotas). Some of these channels are big like the heart arteries and some are very fine like the micro blood veins, however, they all are meant to hold space for substances to flow through them, the problem occurs when things get stock in the Srotas. In Ayurveda we call this Ama or toxins. Ama is a white, sticky, heavy and gross substance that is created if food does not get digested well or if we consume processed food, GMO food, Canned or frozen food, cold food and chemical additives! The body has a way of "dealing" with these substances by putting them in the so called closet! Until one day it all starts over flowing and we wonder why we got sick or why we feel off! The channels work so beautifully when open but not so much when they are clogged!
My teacher Dr. Joshi once told us a sweet story of Lord Krishna and Radha his lover..."Once Radha asked Krishna: ""Oh my Lord, why do you love your flute more than me?! It is always with you! What virtuous action (Karma) has it done to touch your lips all so much?! Kindly give me an explanation my Lord"". Lord Krishna replied: ""Oh my ragini this flute is so close to my heart, look what carries inside!"" Radha tried to find something of value inside but there was just emptiness! Krishna then said: ""It is empty, that is why the beautiful melody can flow through it and that is why this flute is so dear to me!"". This story is a beautiful depiction of the human body! Similarly our bodies have channels (Srotas) than can sing harmonious melodies with the help of the Doshas (the 5 great elements represented in the body in the form of Vata, Pitta and Kapha), it is only when these channels are blocked that the melody is not as beautiful and sometimes non-existence!
I tell you this story because Takra or Ayurvedic buttermilk is said to be the most effective way to open these Srotas! Charaka states that buttermilk removes such blockages and purifies the Strotas. This causes better movement (ayana) of the nutrients (anna-rasa). When adequate nutrition is obtained by cells (koshas), they start working with full force.
Due to saturation or ageing of strotas during old-age, the control systems of the body do not get adequate nutrients, which causes aging symptoms such as reduction of memory (dementia), reduced vision, wrinkles on the skin, graying of hair, etc.
But those who take buttermilk regularly, slow aging, keep their arteries flexible for a longer time. Thus buttermilk is an elixir (param-amrutam) which keeps `Jara’ (oldage) and `Vyadhi’ (disease) away. The ayurveda treats buttermilk as an excellent food to keep cholesterol related problems away.
With all of that said, you see how great takra is for digestion health and this means the entire health of the body and mind, try it for yourself!
How to make:
This is really easy. Just take a small amount (1/5th) fresh whole yogurt and add it to 4/5th water. The easiest way i have found to do the churning is to put it in a bottle, make sure the lid is screwed on tight and shake the mixture for a couple minutes. The butter will separate from the curd and float and make dry looking bubbles. This is the part you might be skimming off the top. You could also do this by putting the yogurt and water in a blender, blend on slow for 30 seconds and then stop and wait until bubbles form, repreat for 10 minutes until the liquid you are left with is watery and clear.
To this mixture many herbs can be added as per the desired effect for treatment of different ailments. As a general drink it is good with a little of roasted cumin and some rock salt. Another delicious way to have it is with some coriander and a little salt. My favorite is with a bit of rock sugar added. (pitta) A classical way to mix is using asafoetida (hing) and rock salt. Banyan's Vata digest is a wonderful mix of herbs that can be used for any kind of digestion problems.
How to use:
For general digestive problems this little drink can be taken for breakfast. As for treatment of other diseases it is best to see an Ayurvedic doctor for diagnosis and treatment.