Myths and Facts of Ayurvedic Metals
“If you transfer a vessel filled with water from one person to other and so on, it is likely that water spills out before reaching the other person’s hands. Likewise, the wisdom of Ayurveda has been propagated throughout the world and the spillage during this transfer of knowledge from one person to the other has been in the form of misconceptions and fallacies.” Dr. Jyoti Girotra.
As technology continues to dominate our lives way more than it should, the way of life is changing with everything gradually moving towards modernism. This has taken a toll on the traditional art forms and practices and age-old way of living. They are probably the ones who face the harshest of consequences. One such story is of copper’s equally lustrous counterpart – Brass. The shine and gleam of this metal are slowly fading away due to the intrusion of the modern ways coming into the place like the nonstick cookware, stainless steel, and other refined alternatives. Not to mention, along with the declining usage of these time-honored metals like brass and copper, the traditional craftspeople who have been involved with the making and development of these are disappearing as well.
Cooking is an art and plating it in the right way is just accentuating the art. From using clean cooking and serving utensils to fresh vegetables, while cooking every cook takes care of so many things and practices healthy ways of preparing food. But do you know the utensils in which your food is being cooked, is it good for your health or not? If serving nutrient-rich and healthy food is on the priority list, one must know that most of the utensils that are used to cook food are not good for health and often work as catalyst for various chemical reactions in our body and eventually affect our health. Cooking utensils can or rather do have an influence on our nutrition. Pots, pans and other tools used in cooking often do more than just hold food. The material that they are made from can leach into the food that is being cooked in it/ served in it.
The ancient Ayurveda also gives immense importance to the metals that our cooking utensils are made of. Old-school utensils like brass and copper are noted to hold therapeutic benefits, whether you use them for cooking, or to eat your meals.
This article aims to throw light on the myths and facts about ayurvedic metals. (used in cookware)
Our body needs base metals like copper, Zinc, Tin etc for better health. In Ayurveda also many metal powder (bhasma) is prescribed to cure many diseases. Metals and minerals cannot be produced within the body. External intake of these metals in diet is one of the sources. Plants absorb metals from the soil hence level of metal in them depend on quality of the soil. Therefore, vessels and utensils made from these metals are the best source that our grandparents used for years. https://www.kansawalas.com/benefits-of-bronze/
Cooking in Brass
Eating in Bronze
Drinking from Copper
Is the mantra for a healthy and peaceful living
There is a reason why our grandmothers always advise us to avoid using those stylish non-stick pans and cook in cast iron vessels!
Copper is finding its place back into the cookware sections of the Indian kitchens and Brass and Bell metal (bronze) are not far behind.
With more and more people realizing that is not what we eat but how and where our food is cooked is a more important health benefit deriver.
Copper is both a toxic heavy metal and a mineral that is essential to good health.
Most of us must have heard out grandparents tell us that drinking water stored in a copper vessel is beneficial to our health. So much so that some people have glasses and jugs made of copper that they use exclusively to store and drink water. So, does this belief really have any scientific backing? Or is it simply a myth?
Why is it good for you?
According to Ayurveda water stored in a copper vessel can balance all the three doshas in your body, (vata, kapha and pitta) and it does so by positively charging the water. The water stored in a copper vessel is known as ‘tamara jal’ and is supposed to be consumed after storing the water in a copper vessel for at least eight hours.
When water is stored in a copper vessel the copper gently leeches into the water and lends it all its positive properties. The best part about this water is that it never becomes stale and can be stored this way for long periods of time.
Here are the health benefits:
- Can kill bacteria
- Stimulates your brain
- Regulates the working of the thyroid gland
- Beats arthritis and inflamed joints
- Skin health and melanin production (scientifically Proven)
- Slows down ageing
- Helps the digestive system perform better
- Aids in weight loss
- Beats anaemia
- Helps heal wounds faster
- Helps maintain cardiovascular health and beats hypertension
- Can fight off cancer
How do you distinguish between a pure copper vessel and an adulterated one?
One very easy way to distinguish between pure copper and an adulterated version is to know that copper is a very soft metal and pure copper is difficult to mound into intricate shapes. So, if the design of your copper vessel is very intricate, it is most probably not made with pure copper.
It was a common belief that cooking and eating from brass utensils had health benefits.
Kalaiwalas (who tin copper and brass utensils) say that stainless steel utensils should only be used for boiling milk/ water, but if you want the taste of the food to remain and linger in your mouth, the one must opt for brass utensils. The food tastes so much better when cooked I brass utensils.
- Helps reduce burning sensation
- Increases hemoglobin count
- Improves general condition of the skin
- Highly resistant to corrosion
Bronze / Bell Metal (Kansa)
Kansa the Indian name for Bell metal is a hard alloy usually a form bronze. Different places call it with a different name like Assam calls it kanh while in West Bengal and Odisha, Kansa. It is widely used for cooking and eating utensils. The mystery of the metal has been continuously been unfolding since Bronze Age, about 3000 years ago. Ayurveda further taught us that eating and drinking from alkalinizing metals like Kansa vessels has wellness benefits for our health and wellbeing. Kansa kitchenware is also called the hands of grace.
How to identify that the bronze vessel you bought is original or artificial?
You simply strike the vessel with another object. If you get a pleasant sound and you continue to get that sound for a longer time, there you’ve bought true bronze.
This is the reason why meditation bowls are made in bronze because of the pleasant sound that it creates. Therefore, the reason why Bronze is also known as Bell Metal.
It is believed that using Kansa to eat our food and drink water from daily enhances our immunity apart from purifying the food.
Kansa is a good conductor of heat and retains heat well, thereby keeping the food warmer and its contents richer for a longer period of time.
- Improves indoor air quality.
- Sharpens the memory
- blood gets cleaned
- builds the hunger
- Purifies the food if the food is kept in it for a while and even cures acidity
My grandparents even today tell me, that during their young days, there wasn’t a single home without Kansa kitchen wear.
I feel we should revive the old glory back and reap the benefits in the form of good health.
Home remedies to maintain your traditional vessel.
(Brass, Copper and Bronze)
Method 1: Lemon and Salt.
These two ingredients are easily available in every household kitchen. Together lemon and salt are the most dependable solution to clean copper utensils.
- Either you can use the lemon/lime slice with juice, or you can use the squeezed lemon slice.
- Dip the lemon/lime slice in salt and rub it all over the surface of copper vessel. It is very important to clean the interior.
(you will see the change in color)
- Keep it for few seconds and rinse it with water. Only if the utensil is greasy use mild detergent.
- Dry immediately with clean cloth.
Method 2: Tamarind Paste
- Apply tamarind paste all over the copper vessel.
- Leave it for few seconds and rinse and dry it. Only if the utensil is greasy use mild detergent.
- Prepare salt and vinegar solution paste.
- Apply it to the surface of the vessel.
- keep t for a few seconds. (make sure the solution does not dry)
- Rinse the vessel and dry it.
Last but the easiest way of maintaining your traditional vessels is by using Pitambari.
-By Jotikaa Lakhani