For thousands of years, it has been a daily yoga and meditation practice for yogis to drink water stored in copper pots for hours. In India, many households are still using copper vessels to store water. The water stored in a copper vessel is called tamra jal in India, and the copper pots that yogis use are called kamandalam. Beisdes water containers, other copper tools are also widely used in Ayurveda therapeutic treatments, such as shirodhara pots for shirodhara therapies, copper scrapers for daily tongue-scraping, etc.
So what makes copper so beneficial to one’s health compared with other metals or materials? According to Ayurveda, the ancient medicinal science of India, copper can cleanse the water, charge it with positive energies, and balance all the three doshas (vata, kapha and pitta) in one’s body.
Scientifically speaking, studies have showed that copper has ability to destroy a wide range of harmful microbes, molds, fungi, etc. in water due to what is called the ‘oligodynamic’ effect, the antimicrobial properties of certain metals. Copper is especially effective against certain bacteria causing severe illnesses in human body and helps prevent common water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, dysentery and jaundice. Disease-causing bacteria cannot survive for more than a few hours on copper surfaces, whereas bacteria can survive for days on stainless steel and plastic surfaces. That explains why water stored in copper utensils will not stale.
Nowadays, the antimicrobial properties of copper are not just limited to cleansing water. Copper is widely used in pesticides, fungicides, antimicrobial medicines, antifouling paints, medical devices, antiseptics, and sinks for kitchen and bath environment. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency registered copper as the only solid surface material to kill bacteria that may pose a threat to human health. Many hospitals are taking steps to reduce infections by equipping their patient rooms and operating rooms with copper alloy surfaces, and replacing bed rails, tables and door knobs. Such alterations have helped to reduce the number of hospital acquired infections (HAIs) in patients by more than half.
Not only does copper kill bacteria in the water, it also makes the water “alive”. In order to make drinking water safe, water treatment plants use basic filtration systems to remove most contaminants. These systems make water safe for drinking but they also destroy water’s vital life energy and drastically shift its natural pH.
As a result, the treated water we drink is not easily absorbed by our cells, leaving us wanting more. That is why the treated tap water tastes “dead” and cannot satisfy your thirstiness or energize you. Whereas the tamra jal is ionized and energized water by copper with balanced pH. The copper jug makes it “alive” again. This effect is also described as “positively charged” by Ayurveda. This charged water is better absorbed by your cells and therefore enhances hydration.
Besides its amazing characters mentioned above, copper also ensures the proper performance of various functions within our system as an essential trace element. Although each human body contains only 100-500 mg of copper, copper is vital to the health of human beings. Virtually every cell in the body utilizes copper. Its deficiency can cause serious health problems such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, and chronic conditions involving bone, connective tissue, heart and blood vessels, nervous system and immune system.
According to the nutritional guideline of the World Health Organization (WHO), an adult needs 1.3 mg of copper daily. Since human body cannot synthesize copper, we need to obtain it from dietary sources. Some great sources of dietary copper include shellfish, nuts, liver, whole grains, beans, leafy greens, chocolate, lemon, raisin, curry powder, cumin, etc. Anyhow, even though we can get copper from various food, insufficient copper intake in our diet is still very common. To supplement your diet with copper, drinking tamra jal is one of the safe and efficient ways, because a safe small amount of copper from a copper vessel will dissolve into the water after the water being stored for hours in the vessel.
Below list some of the crucial functions copper performs in your body to keep us healthy:
Enhances immune system
Copper is known to play an important role in the development and maintenance of immune system, but the exact mechanism of its action is not yet known. However, studies show that premature infants or children with genetic copper defects are at high risk of getting infections and would significantly improve with copper supplementation.
Improves cardiovascular health
Heart disease is one of the life-threatening conditions and copper helps minimize the risk of developing the disease. Copper has been found to help regulate blood pressure and heart rate, as well as lower one’s cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It also helps prevent the accumulation of plaque and has documented effect of dilating blood vessels to allow better flow of blood to the heart.
Slows down aging and boosts skin health
Copper is a strong antioxidant, which works with antioxidant enzyme to safeguard the cell membranes from free radicals. The effects of free radicals on aging include wrinkles, age spots, and macular degeneration, etc. Furthermore, copper aids in the production of melanin which helps the body stay safe from sun damage, speeds up wound healing and covers up scars. Even thousands of years ago, ancient Egyptians and Greeks used copper to treat burns, wounds, boils, and ulcers.
Today, the beauty industry has already embraced the benefits of copper for skin rejuvenation. You will find copper in the ingredients of many anti-aging products. Ayurveda experts say that drinking tamra jal on a regular basis, especially early in the morning, can make a huge difference to your skin.
Helps digestive system perform better
Copper stimulates peristalsis, kill harmful bacteria and reduce inflammation within the stomach, making it a great remedy for ulcers, indigestion and infections. Copper also helps cleanse and detox your stomach, ensures the absorption of nutrients from food and eliminates wastes properly. According to Ayurveda, if you want to detox your stomach, drink a large glass of tamra jal early in the morning on an empty stomach.
Aids in weight loss
A recent research done in U.S. shows that copper helps move fat out of fat cells and into the blood stream for use as energy. Normally, we don’t continuously burn fat, especially while at rest, but copper blocks the 'off switch' for fat burning and keeps our body in fat-burning mode while we do absolutely nothing. This discovery seems to be a good news for those who are troubled by obesity.
Stimulates the brain
Copper is crucial for the formation of the brain and nervous system. It also plays a role in making neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that facilitate communication between nerve cells, and the movement of electrical impulses along nerves. Thus, proper amount of copper in your system will ensure your brain works faster and more efficiently. Moreover, studies also show a direct link between copper content within the brain and creative thinking.
Increases energy production
Copper is essential for the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate, which is an energy storehouse of human body. Therefore, when we have enough copper in our bodies, we will have enough energy to get through the day without feeling lethargic or tired.
Essential in fetus development
Nutritionists swear by the efficacy of copper for pregnant women. Pregnant women need copper as it helps in the formation of the unborn child’s heart, blood vessels, skeletal and nervous system. Deficiency of copper in pregnant mothers triggers various health problems in infants like muscle weaknesses and neurologic problems.
Copper helps to neutralize free-radicals, one of the main reasons for the development of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, the exact mechanism of how copper helps prevent the onset of cancer is still not known but some studies have proved that copper complexes have a considerable anti-cancer effect.
Regulates the functioning of the thyroid gland
Experts say that one commonality amongst people with thyroid problems is that they usually have low levels of copper in their body. Copper is one of the most important trace minerals the thyroid gland needs to function optimally.
Combats arthritis and joint pains
In the 20th century, a German physician noticed that copper mine workers were free from Arthritis. Later, people found that copper has very potent anti-inflammatory properties. This asset is especially great to relieve aches and pains caused due to inflamed joints as in the case of arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, copper’s abilities to strengthen the bones and immune system make it the perfect remedy for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Copper plays an important role along with iron in the supply of healthy, oxygenated blood. Together with iron, it helps in the synthesis and respiration of hemoglobin and releases iron needed to produce hemoglobin in red blood cells. For this reason, it is sometimes used in the treatment of anaemia.
How to drink tamra jal
Ayurvedic practice recommends drinking a maximum of 16 fl/oz（or 450ml）of tamra jal a day. For optimal benefits, water should be kept in a copper vessel overnight or for at least 8 hours before drinking, in order for the copper to cleanse and ionize the water. Drinking tamra jal upon waking in the morning is the best. You can also incorporate tamra jal into your daily yoga and meditation practice. In addition, copper pots should not be stored in fridge and drink the water at room temperature. Otherwise, the quality of tamra jal will be destroyed by the fridge.
阿育吠陀建议我们每天最多饮用16盎司（相当于450毫升）的tamra jal。为了获得最佳效果，需要把水放在一个铜制容器中存放一夜，或者至少存放8小时之后再饮用，这样可以使铜起到净化水质的作用，并使水离子化。最好是在早上一起床就喝一杯tamra jal。同时，你也可以把饮用tamra jal与你的瑜伽和冥想练习结合起来。另外，铜制的水壶不能放在冰箱里，而应在室温下饮水，否则tamra jal的性质会被破坏。
How to keep a copper vessel
Copper oxidizes naturally and needs to be cleaned at regular intervals. Traditionally, a mixture of salt and tamarind paste or fresh lemon juice can be used to clean copper. To clean a copper vessel, use one half of a lemon (you can squeeze out the juice) and rub it on the inside of the vessel. Allow it to stand for a few minutes and then wash off with plain water. Alternatively, you could also try using baking soda with water. Use this mixture to coat the inside of the vessel, allow it to stand for a few minutes and rinse away the excess baking soda with water.
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