In this post, we discuss various aspects of Ayurvedic medicine, including the different kinds of Ayurvedic medicinal herbs, the different types of Ayurvedic medicine, as well as the different kinds of Ayurvedic medicinal tea which you can brew at home.
Ayurvedic medicine is a traditional natural healing system which has been practiced for more than 5,000 years. The most important goal of Ayurvedic medicine is to help people live a long, healthy and balanced life. Ayurvedic medicine can address many issues, ranging from infertility to serious diseases. As a result, Ayurvedic medicine is gaining more and more popularity throughout the world.
Ayurvedic principles dictate that health problems occur when there is a disturbance in the balance between your body, mind and spirit. Ayurvedic principles dictate everyone is comprised of three different kinds of doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha) which, when working together in harmony, support good health. Ayurvedic medicine is intended to bring balance and harmony to your body with a view to helping prevent and cure diseases.
Ayurvedic Medicinal Herbs
Plants that are used for Ayurvedic medicinal purposes are known as Ayurvedic herbs. Ayurvedic herbs are an important part of Ayurvedic medicine. In fact, Ayurvedic practitioners often recommend these herbs to cleanse your body and boost your immune system.
Using Ayurvedic herbs for treatment is generally considered safe as there are generally no or minimal side effects. In many parts of the world, these herbs are used as a home remedy for various health issues. In order to prepare Ayurvedic medicine, practitioners typically use a single herb or a combination of herbs. Each herb carries a unique quality which can be used to treat different health ailments.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic medicinal herb, which means that it helps your body to adapt to its surrounding requirements. Ayurvedic health practitioners consider ashwagandha to be a asayana (a Sanskrit word that translates to “path of essence") which can have the effect of boosting energy and improving overall health and longevity.Health benefits:
- Relieves stress
- Reduces anxiety
- Boosts immunity
- Helps muscle growth
- Increases fertility in men
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Antibacterial properties
In fact, a scientific study has revealed that ashwagandha has anxiolytic properties, with the result that it can be effectively used in treating anxiety disorders. With multiple health benefits, ashwagandha can potentially improve the quality of your life.
Brahmi (which is also known as bacopa monnieri), acts as a tonic that is helpful for the brain and nervous system. It has a cooling essence with a bitter and sweet taste. Brahmi protects the brain cells from stress-related aging, with the result that it can be used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.Health benefits:
- Powerful antioxidant
- Reduces inflammation
- Enhances brain function
- Helps to reduce ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder)
- Prevents anxiety and stress
In fact, a 12-week study conducted on 46 healthy adults revealed that Brahmi supports high-order cognitive processes thereby leading to improved learning and memory.
Shatavari (also known as sparagus racemosus) is a nourishing tonic which can help support the female reproductive system. In particular, it can help enhance a woman’s fertility by regulating hormones. This Ayurvedic formulation is available in pill or powder form and can be consumed as a tea or with milk.Health benefits:
- Helps support female reproductive health
- Helps with menopause symptoms
- Antioxidant effect
- Anti-anxiety effect
In fact, a study has suggested that shatavari improves female hormonal balance and can be used to treat polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Shilajit is a traditional Ayurvedic medicinal herb that is rich in nutrients and minerals. It is also believed to be an effective supplement for overall health and well-being. Ayurvedic practitioners believe that shilajit rejuvenates the cells in the body with its nutrients.Health benefits:
- Anti-stress and adaptogenic properties
- Anti-aging effect
- Helps in the treatment of iron deficiency anemia
- Reduces the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome
- Improves heart health
Research suggests that shilajit preserves the mitochondrial function. This is important because mitochondria are the powerhouses of our bodies and are necessary in order to maintain healthy energy levels. As a result, shilajit can help reduce fatigue and increase our energy levels.
Amla (also known as Amlakai) is an antioxidant tree fruit which is a rich source of vitamin C. Because of its cooling nature, it is especially advised for the treatment of pitta dosha. Amla is available in powder form, tablet form and also as a liquid extract. Amla is one of the three fruit present in triphala (an herbal remedy that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years) and is a main ingredient of chawanprasha (a nutritive jam that has been used in Ayurveda medicine for thousands of years).Health benefits:
- Promotes healthy metabolism and digestion
- Balances digestive fire, also known as agni
- Nourishes tissues and organs
- Supports healthy immune response and youthfulness
In fact, a research study has revealed that alma has high vitamin C content and resulting antioxidant properties.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is well-known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Turmeric balances all of the doshas, purifies the blood and has a cleansing effect on the liver. Ayurvedic practitioners recommend consuming turmeric on a regular basis in order to support good health.Health benefits:
- Promotes good digestion
- Aids in the proper functioning of the liver
- Supports blood circulation and heart health
- Has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
- Improves brain function
- May help reduce the risk of cancer
Manjishtha is one of the best Ayurvedic herbs available for the purpose of purifying the blood. In particular this herb helps cleanse the blood and lymphatic system and also improves skin complexion. It also helps in the overall rejuvenation of the body. Manjishtha is available in a powder form which can be taken as a supplement or used to make tea.Health benefits:
- Useful in treating skin diseases
- Helps in treating gout
- Strengthens circulation
- Used in the treatment of arthritis, diabetes, irregular periods and acne
In fact, studies have shown that manjistha helps improve immunity and also has an anti-inflammatory effect. Manjistha can be used externally to soothe the skin during acne breakouts and can also be used to help enhance the skin’s complexion.
Tulsi (which is also known as holy basil) is an Ayurvedic herb with healing properties. It relieves stress and helps support the immune system. Tulsi tea is a fresh and flavorful beverage used as a relaxant. The essential oil present in tulsi can be beneficial in treating many health ailments.Health benefits:
- Helps to relieve the symptoms of respiratory diseases
- Helps in the treatment of asthma
- Can help prevent lung disorders
- Reduces stress
In fact, a study conducted on the effects of tulsi has revealed that it normalizes glucose levels and blood pressure and also helps to address psychological and immunological stress.
Triphala (which is also known as triphala churna) is an Ayurvedic formulation which contains three different Ayurvedic herbs: amla, bibhitaki and haritaki. It is available in supplement form, as a pill, and as a liquid extract. Triphala supplement is effective when taken with warm water.Health benefits:
- Purifies the blood and reduces cholesterol level
- Stimulates gut enzymes, thus helping with food absorption
- Relieves constipation and bloating
- Antioxidant properties
- Nourishes the tissues
In fact, a scientific study has revealed that Triphala improves immunity and can be used as an immunomodulator in treating various diseases.
In Ayurvedic medicine, gotu kola (also known as centella asiatica) is prescribed as a tonic used to ease anxiety, enhance mood and reduce mental stress. This Ayurvedic herb has a stimulating effect that helps with depression and Alzheimer's disease.Health benefits:
- Improves mental function
- Enhances blood circulation
- Used to treat anxiety and fatigue
- reduces scar tissue when applied externally
- Also improves wound healing
Recent studies have shown that gotu kola has neuroprotective and neurogenerative properties. This Ayurvedic herb is also used to support the central nervous system and treat various nervous disorders.
Types of Ayurvedic Medicines
Ayurvedic medicine is an integral part of Ayurveda which mainly focuses on the root causes of diseases. Ayurvedic medicines are prepared based on a patient’s specific therapeutic needs. One of the most important advantages of Ayurvedic medicine is that it does not contain any harmful ingredients. Ayurvedic medicine utilizes a holistic approach that is believed to help contribute to a long and healthy life.
The following discussion summarizes some of the more generic forms of Ayurvedic medicine.
Kashayam (also known as Kadha or Kwath)
This type of Ayurvedic formulation is prepared by boiling a group of medicinal herbs in water. Different herbs are prescribed depending on the patient’s therapeutic conditions. This formulation mostly contains water-soluble herbs which can be easily absorbed by the intestines, providing quick relief. This formulation can also be helpful in treating the common cold, flu, indigestion and cough.
Arishta and Asva
This Ayurvedic formulation is prepared through a natural fermentation process using herbs, water, and jaggery (which is a traditional non-centrifugal cane sugar). These preparations have a longer shelf life and are believed to be very beneficial. These preparations also stimulate the agni, which is the digestive fire which enhances the digestive system. These preparations may also be helpful in the treatment of digestive problems, anemia, heart disorders and depression.
Choornas are prepared by grinding medicinal herbs into a fine powder. It is advised to consume this powder with water, milk or honey. Triphala choorna is one of the most common choorna made with a unique combination of three fruits used effectively in treating indigestion, headache, constipation and eye related problems.
Vati or Gulika
Vati or Gulika refers to Ayurvedic tablets or pills. These formulations are made using single herbs or multiple herbs, with or without purified minerals. These pills are generally easy to consume and easy to store. This Ayurvedic formulation is typically prepared using minerals and herbs. These formulations can help in curing diabetes, respiratory disorders and arthritis.
Lehyams are herbal jam-like formulations prepared in a medium of sugar or jaggery. Based on a patient’s needs, certain herbal concoctions and herbal pulps are used in the preparation of lehyams. They are considered excellent medications for strengthening the immune system and for improving stamina. One of the most popular kinds of lehyam is known as chyawanprasha, which is a nutritive jam that has been used in Ayurveda medicine for thousands of years.
Ayurvedic teas are herbal teas made using Ayurvedic herbs, spices, flowers and dry fruits. There are a wide array of delicious Ayurvedic teas which come in a wide range of flavors and suit a multitude of different tastes and preferences. These traditional teas offer natural remedies for various health ailments. In addition, these teas can enhance digestion and help in the overall functioning of the digestive system.There are many attractive choices for tea lovers, including the following:
Chamomile tea is a popular herbal tea known for its calming effect. It is used as a sleeping aid to treat insomnia. It is also a good relaxant and stress reliever and can be used to reduce menstrual cramps. It is loaded with antioxidants and helps lower the risk of diseases. It also promotes digestive and heart health.
This fragrant tea supports the digestive system and is commonly known for its antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral properties. It is a great natural remedy for digestive problems like indigestion, cramps and nausea. It also freshens up your breath and can help relieves headaches.
This spicy, flavorful tea is made using the roots of the ginger tree. It is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It fights inflammation and enhances the immune system. It also helps relieve dysmenorrhea or period pain.
This Ayurvedic herbal tea is made from the colorful petals of the hibiscus flower. It has a unique flavor with anti-viral properties. Hibiscus tea can also help lower high blood pressure and reduce oxidative stress. With a sharp and refreshing flavor, hibiscus tea is also rich in vitamin C. This herbal tea improves the immune system and can also help to relieve symptoms of the common cold.
This Ayurvedic tea is made from the bright flowers of the echinacea plant. With a bright and fresh flavor, it helps to build a strong immune system. This herbal tea can also soothe your throat during a common cold. It fights against viral infection, helps to control blood sugar, assists in managing anxiety and aids in healthy cell growth.
As discussed in detail above, Ayurvedic medicine offers us an alternative path to supporting good physical and mental health.