Herbal Support

The Ayurvedic Pharmacy

The Ayurvedic Pharmacy

Ayurvedic pharmacology is a time-proven system that spans a wide range of gentle yet potent herbal tonics and medicines. Ayurveda pharmacology has demonstrated its effectiveness over the thousands of years it has been in use and continues to do so today. According to Ayurveda, many of the physical and chemical properties of plants that serve as food and herbal treatments are similar to those of the human body.

In Ayurveda, the action of an herb is first considered from the standpoint of its effects on the sensory organs. The qualities of the shape, color, aroma, flavor, and fracture properties of a plant are related to its specific pharmacological actions and provide the basis for the theory behind the energetics of the herbs. The best way to learn about herbs is to become intimately acquainted with them; an herbalist must know a plant’s natural habitat, growing tendencies, climatic preferences, shape, color, taste, smell, and harvest times and, more important, must experience the herb’s effects personally.

“There is nothing in the world which does not have therapeutic utility when applied in appropriate conditions and situations. Drugs act by virtue of their nature and qualities at the proper time, in a given place, in the appropriate conditions and situations; the effect produced is considered to be their action (karma); the factor responsible for the effect is their energy (virya); where they at is the place (adhisthana); when they act is the time (kala); how they act is the mode of action (upaya); what they accomplish is the achievement (phala).” – Caraka Samhita Sutrasthana 26.12,13

Ayurvedic practitioners have developed many excellent herbal preparations. Not all herbs are readily assimilated in their raw state; some need to be processed to enhance absorption. The form in which the herb is taken can significantly affect its potency and effect. The mode of preparation typically depends on the specific causes and symptoms of the disease being treated. There are also specific preparations that are indicated for particular plants. Like medicated ghees, medicated wines, gugguls, and pills retain their potency longer than fresh herbs or powders. An Ayurvedic practitioner can also develop specific custom formulas based upon any imbalances of the doshas. It is best to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner when using these traditional Ayurvedic herbs or formulas.

According to Ayurveda, our bodies are woven from food. The nutrients we ingest are metabolized into the energy and information that form our cells, tissues, and organs. Every day our body needs essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to maintain its delicate balance. Taking Ayurvedic herbs as supplements can be a highly efficient way to create that balance.

Every herb in Ayurvedic herbology has a multitude of benefits for the mind, body, and spirit. Herbs can be used internally or externally (through the skin)—or even used as aromatherapy. These herbs can be useful in a range of  applications from weight loss and beautifying skin to supporting overall vitality; Ayurvedic herbs can transform your health in so many ways. Plants and herbs carry in their cells the wisdom of the cosmos and the healing vibrations of nature.

Since ancient times, humans and plants have had a profound spiritual connection—we have evolved with plants and have adapted and learned from them. Also, plants capture solar energy and convert it into nutrients that humans can digest. Plants do this by transforming sunlight into chlorophyll, which can then be assimilated by the human body, along with many other attributes of herbs that, when used correctly, help our bodies maintain homeostasis.

Some Ayurvedic herbs and formulas are safe for daily use and can be our allies in managing our health. Herbs that help balance your constitution complement the positive changes you make in your diet and lifestyle. For example, shatavari, ashwaganda, and vidari kanda are some of the main herbs that help maintain doshic balance by moving excess vata from the body. As the principal herbs used to remove excess pitta, brahmi, bhringraj, neem, and gudduchi also promote balanced health as do bibhitaki, chitrak, and punarnava, the three herbs most commonly used to eliminate excess kapha.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

Vidari Kanda, the Grandmother of Indian Ginseng

Vindari Kanda

The potent Ayurvedic herb vidari kanda is known as the grandmother of Indian ginseng (ashwaganda) because it shares many of that plant’s revitalizing, restorative properties and, like a loving nana, serves as a trusted source of comfort and healing when you’re feeling upset or under the weather. Its qualities (heavy, sweet, unctuous, cool) are also thought to represent the feminine counterpart to ashwaganda’s more masculine energy.

Vidari’s attributes are useful for balancing vata and decreasing pitta. Used in excess, it increases kapha and ama and can cause liver damage. Vida means “to destroy,” and adi means “enemy”; thus, Ayurvedic practitioners rely on this tuberous root to vanquish  all vata disorders. The traditional practice of taking vidari kanda with ghee or milk enhances the nutritional benefits of this nourishing treatment.

A staple of Ayurvedic treatments for centuries, vidari kanda is now under study by Western medical researchers. Evidence to date suggests that this herbal medicine is appropriate for applications ranging from alleviating the mental and physical effects of stress, boosting athletic performance, and promoting wound healing to strengthening the female and male reproductive systems and improving memory. Other beneficial properties of vidari kanda are listed below:

12 Benefits of Vidari Kanda 

  • Increases sexual desire and performance

  • Supports healthy male organs

  • Promotes healthy menstrual cycle, pregnancy, lactation

  • Enhances immunity

  • Supports a robust aging process

  • Strengthens respiratory system and helps manage tuberculosis symptoms

  • Counteracts muscle wasting and weakness

  • Helps relieve symptoms of multiple sclerosis

  • Lowers blood pressure and supports cardiac health

  • Fights inflammation

  • Relieves sore throat/hoarseness

  • Nourishes the tissues

8 Ayurvedic Uses for Honey

8 Ayurvedic Uses of Honey.png

The uses of honey in health care trace back many centuries. In Vedic times, honey was seen as a gift—its remarkable healing properties were valued more than its taste. Now that honey is being re-examined by modern researchers, it’s increasingly recognized for the medicinal and nutritional properties that made it a staple of Ayurvedic practices for thousands of years. Discover the gifts of honey through these 8 Ayurvedic uses.

1. The skin is the largest organ of the body and benefits greatly from the application of honey. Ayurvedic texts have described how honey promotes healing of wounds and sores and acts as an antiseptic, a pain reliever, and a cooling balm that speeds recovery from burns.  

2. Honey helps build tissues and generate energy and heat, three properties that make it  good for aging bodies. One or two teaspoons of honey in a cup of warm water is a refreshing and strengthening drink. Take daily.

3. Because honey contains iron, manganese, and copper, it is excellent for building hemoglobin. In cases of anemia, Ayurvedic practitioners suggest using honey to maintain the right balance of hemoglobin in red blood corpuscles.

4. Honey is easily digested and assimilated, making it one of the best sweet foods for reducing stress on the digestive organs. It’s also useful for maintaining the health of the stomach. Ayurvedic experts find honey not only supports proper digestion, but also helps ward off stomach diseases and symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and heartburn by preventing the overproduction of hydrochloric acid. Honey also promotes clearing the digestive canal of putrefied fecal matter and undigested foods.

5. As an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, honey helps maintain healthy teeth and gums.  According to Ayurveda, a daily application of honey cleanses the teeth, makes them sparkle, and helps prevent tartar, decay, and premature tooth loss. Gargling with honey and water is very useful in protecting against gingivitis (i.e., inflammation of the gums caused by bacterial infection).

6. Insomnia affects many of us in our modern age. Honey has been used for centuries for the treatment of this common affliction. Its hypnotic qualities help bring on sound sleep. Two teaspoons can be taken with a cup of warm water or with warm almond milk before bed. Adding a dash of cardamom and cinnamon makes this soothing beverage more delicious. It’s an excellent remedy for sleepless babies and children.

7. Honey’s natural tendency to clear the channels of the body makes it very useful in helping the body eliminate imbalances in the respiratory pathways. As a demulcent or soothing agent, it reduces the discomfort of inflamed mucous membranes in the upper respiratory tract, coating them with a protective film that helps relieve coughing and irritation. You can ingest a spoonful of honey or gargle with mixture of honey and water for this purpose.

8. Honey can be easily added to all your meals to supply the body with extra energy. Ayurvedic texts recommend honey for arteriosclerosis and weak hearts. It can be taken before bed in a glass of water with lemon juice to provide the heart with energy throughout the night and to alleviate cardiac pain and heart palpitations.

These Ayurvedic recommendations come with several caveats. The Ayurvedic sage Charaka wrote over 500 years ago that “nothing is so troublesome as amacaused by the improper intake of honey.” In Ayurvedic medicine, ama, or undigested matter in the body, is considered to be the root cause of most ill health. Many incompatible food combinations produce this toxic material, but heated honey is one of the most complicated forms to cleanse. Heating honey destroys the enzymes that support the digestive process.

Precautions when using honey:

  • Honey should never be heated to above 40°C (104°F).

  • Honey should not be mixed with hot foods.

  • Honey should not be consumed when you are working in a hot environment. 

  • Honey should never be combined with ghee  or mixed with rainwater; hot, spicy foods; fermented beverages (e.g., whiskey, rum, brandy); or mustard.

  • Honey includes nectar of various flowers some of which may be poisonous.

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. 

Bedtime Treat That Helps You Sleep

AyurvedicSleepSupport

Delicious and easy to make, this potent bedtime tonic (known as ojas rasayana) is revered in Ayurveda for nurturing deep and restorative sleep. The recipe makes about two servings and can be diluted with water if it’s too thick for your liking.

  • 10 almonds, soaked for 8 hours

  • 1 cup whole milk (dairy, almond, or rice)

  • 2 teaspoons ghee

  • 4–5 dates, preferably Medjool

  • 8 black peppercorns

  • ½ teaspoon cardamom

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 pinch of cumin

  • 1 pinch of turmeric

  • 1 pinch of nutmeg

Liquefy all the ingredients in a blender until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency; then pour into a pot on the stovetop. Set the burner to medium heat, and bring the mixture to a very gentle boil. Stir and serve.

If you haven’t pre-soaked the almonds, you can simply blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and run the almonds under cold water, then remove and discard their skins.

For a delicious dessert, stir in 1 cup of natural yogurt after removing mixture from heat, spoon into small bowls, and drizzle maple syrup over each serving.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

Featured Herb for Spring Renewal: Punarnava

As we move closer to spring, it’s a good idea to revitalize our body by reducing the kapha buildup that occurs during the winter. Expelling kapha from our system will get us in shape for the change of season, supporting our natural resistance to colds and flu, allergies, excess mucus, and other kapha-related conditions.  

The featured Ayurvedic herb for April is Boerhaavia diffusa, commonly known aspunarnava. This water-loving perennial creeper flowers during monsoon season and grows all over India and Sri Lanka. The whole plant is highly valued for its medicinal properties. The Sanskrit name punarnavameans “the plant that makes one new again.” Its rejuvenative action works through its capacity to open channels and clear blockages, allowing essential nourishment to reach the tissues, making it perfect for spring cleansing and renewal. 

Punarnava’s combination of rejuvenative, diuretic, and expectorant properties enables this medicinal plant to play a broad range of therapeutic roles, from supporting efficient kidney, liver, and urinary function to nourishing the heart and alleviating coughs and colic. As a blood purifier, punarnava boosts immunity and improves functioning of lungs. Because of its positive impact on kidney function and blood sugar levels, the herb can also be helpful in managing diabetes.

As a diuretic and mild laxative, punarnava promotes detoxification and prevents fluid retention, making it helpful for health problems such as edema, congestive heart conditions, and gout. Symptoms of kapha-related arthritis such as pitted skin, swollen joints, and the sensation of extreme cold, also respond favorably to the herb.    

Punarnava increases the digestive fire and helps stimulate a sluggish digestive system. Because the herb absorbs fluids from the digestive tract, it can result in constipation when taken in excess. Punarnava  prevents intestinal spasms and pain, reduces flatulence and bloating, and helps expel intestinal worms. It can also be taken in conjunction other herbs and spices to target specific conditions. For instance it can be combined with arjuna, guggulu, and turmeric for heart issues stemming from excess vata and kaphaor used with coriander, gokshura, and kalamegha for urinary tract infections. 


Ayurvedic Energetics:

  • Taste: bitter, sweet, and pungent

  • Energy: cooling

  • Quality: dry and light

  • Doshas: vata and kapha reducing (in excess it increases vata)

  • Tissues: plasma, blood, fat, nerve, and reproductive

  • Channels: digestive, urinary, and plasma

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any

Uses of Eucalyptus Oil

The tall eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus globulus), originally from Australia, grows almost everywhere and is widely known as the gum tree. Its long, smoky-green leaves have a powerful invigorating aroma and a pungent taste. In Ayurveda, eucalyptus is regarded as a source of heating energy that reduces vata while increasingpitta, helping to dispel internal chill and strengthen metabolism and circulation. Its main actions are diaphoretic (i.e., causing sweating), decongestant, and stimulant.  

The essential oil is extracted by distillation of the leaves. Its main chemical components are eucalyptol and alpha-terpineol. Due to its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant qualities, eucalyptus is widely used in commercial products like mouthwash, rubs, ointments, and beauty care products. Since eucalyptus has many medicinal properties and uses, it’s a great idea to stock a bottle of pure and therapeutic-grade eucalyptus essential oil alongside the the other products used in your daily health care routine.

Eucalyptusis ideal for clearing breathing pathways, opening airways, and promoting vigor and vitality. The oil works as an expectorant and helps cleanse the body of toxins and harmful microorganisms. To help clear nasal congestion and refresh your vital energies, pour one or two drops of eucalyptus oil into your hands, place them over your nose, and inhale deeply. You can also rub eucalyptus on your chest to ease bronchial congestion. Diluting eucalyptus with a carrier oil (coconut, olive, almond) minimizes the possibility of skin irritation.

A study from NYU Medical School found that using eucalyptus oil helped relieve sinusitis. Patients experienced faster improvement when supplementing conventional allergy and sinus treatments with eucalyptus oil. The participants gargled with the oil to help clear mucus from the throat[1] . 

The strong antiseptic qualities in eucalyptus make it ideal for supporting the healing of cuts and wounds. Take advantage of its germicidal properties by diluting it with water for use as a daily mouthwash to complement your everyday mouth care and help prevent plaque, gum disease, and cavities. Because of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, eucalyptus oil is also an excellent choice for pain relief when diluted with a carrier oil and massaged into sore muscles and joints.  

A few drops of eucalyptus oil added to coconut or olive oil gives dry hair a nice pick-me-up, while warding off dandruff and an itchy scalp. Eucalyptus is also an effective natural alternative to synthetic chemical treatments for head lice. 

The oil can even be used as a household cleanser. To create a green alternative to harsh spray-on disinfectants, combine eucalyptus with lemon and peppermint oils and water in a spray bottle. Wiping down surfaces in your kitchen or bathroom with this mixture brightens and sanitizes them, while leaving a fresh herbal scent in the air 

Because eucalyptus oil can be toxic if taken internally in large amounts, use it carefully, avoiding the contact with eyes and keeping it out of the reach of children. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using eucalyptus oil.

You can purchase high quality, therapeutic-grade eucalyptus oil here.

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. 

Nettles, an Ayurvedic Perspective

Nettle (Urtica urens) grows in many climates, sprouting in the spring and spreading widely in the summer. It’s often called stinging nettle because the leaves sting at the lightest touch. If you can bear the prickling sensation, nettle is a great boon to the circulatory system; traditional Mexican healers rub handfuls of nettle on the body to promote healthy circulation.

Nettle is also considered a superfood because of its rich supply of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, D and K; calcium; potassium; phosphorous; iron; and sulphur. Its sedative and nervine properties make it  an excellent support for the nervous system. Use a compress of nettles to relieve arthritis and muscular pain, as well as sciatica.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, nettle serves as a nourishing and rejuvenative (rasayana) tonic,particularly for the kidneys and adrenals. The herb increases ojas (vitality), making it particularly useful for individuals who are run down from stress or illness or need extra nourishment during convalescence, old age, pregnancy, or breastfeeding. The baby leaves at the top of the plant have been used throughout history in food and drinks to nourish and detoxify the body in the spring. By stimulating the action of the liver and the kidneys, nettle helps clear ama(toxins from undigested food) and wastes from the body via the bowels and the urinary tract (mutravaha srotas). 

Nettle’s mild astringency and general nourishing action tightens and strengthens blood vessels, helps maintain arterial elasticity, and improves venous resilience. By reducing excess pitta in the blood (rakta dhatu) and in watery secretions like lymph and plasma (rasa dhatu), nettle helps clear inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne. The herb also helps keep kapha levels in check, improving overall vitality. Its carminative properties relieve intestinal gas, and its capacity to promote peristalsis is helpful for some common vata-related intestinal problems; however, it can result in excess vata when taken in high doses. Ayurvedic practitioners also recommend taking nettle to stop diarrhea. 

Energetics

  • Taste: astringent  

  •  Energy: cooling

  •  Post-digestive effect: pungent

  • Dosha: pacifies pitta and kapha/stimulates vata 

Nettle Infusion

  •  1 liter of water

  •  1 ounce of dried nettle leaves (2 ounces fresh)

Add the dried nettle leaves to a 1 liter glass jar. Boil the water and pour into the jar; cover and let steep for at least 4 hours or overnight. Drink the herbal infusion during the next 36 hours. You can pour any remaining liquid over your hair after shampooing—it’s a great hair tonic!

 

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. 

Herbal Immune and Lung Support for Spring

Spring can bring many challenges for the respiratory and the immune systems. You may notice many people around you are suffering from colds or flus at this time. This is generally due to excess kapha in the system, built up from the winter season. Allergens, pollutants, and other irritants can aggravate this buildup of kapha. Because too much kapha weakens our agni(digestive fire), it can lead to increased levels of ama(toxic undigested material) in our body. This accumulation of ama overloads our immune system, setting the stage for infections and chronic health issues. Since the seat of kapha is in the chest, the most likely place for these imbalances to manifest is in our lungs and their airways.

The Ayurvedic approach to maintaining a healthy immune and respiratory system during spring comprises a four-step process. The first step, boosting your agni, is inextricably linked to the second step, burning ama. There are many herbs that accomplish both of these goals, including pippali, ginger, turmeric, and an Ayurvedic formula known as triphala. Make a tea with a combination of these herbs and drink it morning and night. Having a cup of warm water with lemon and black pepper upon waking is another easy way to fuel efficient digestion.

Next, you should combine a kapha-reducing diet and lifestyle with herbal support for the respiratory system. Traditional Ayurvedic formulas such as talisadi and sitopaladi are particularly effective at removing kapha from the respiratory tract. These warming herbal blends help clear the throat and nasal passages and promote healthy respiration. Honey is a wonderful carrier for these herbs, as it target the respiratory tissues and gently scrapes off toxic residues.

The final step is to follow a daily herbal protocol for rejuvenating the immune system and building ojas(vitality). A nutritive herbal jam known as chyavanprash is an excellent choice for promoting proper immune function and rejuvenation, as well as for supporting healthy digestion, metabolism, and nervous system and respiratory system function. Take one teaspoon once or twice a day with milk. It’s also a delicious source of nourishment when served on toast or with other foods. 

Herbs such as ashwagandha and guduchi are also known to sustaining the body during periods of stress by bolstering energy, vitality, and overall health. In Ayurveda, the elimination of toxins and wastes from the body is considered the key to strengthening the immune system. To optimize elimination, consider adding triphala to your daily herbal regimen. The formula is the most effective when taken in the evening before bed.

We are happy to help you create a personalized herbal program based upon your mind-body constitution. Please contact us to schedule an in-office or online appointment.

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. 

 

Digestive Tea

In Ayurveda, teas serve as an important means of delivering the medicinal effects of herbs and spices to the body’s tissues. This easy-to-make tea recipe consists of only three ingredients but gets right to the core of digestive issues. It helps to stimulate circulation and relieve bloating and puffiness caused by water retention. Its flushing action simultaneously cleanses the urinary tract and reduces excess water weight. The combination of potent yet soothing spices it contains stokes digestive fire, restoring vitality; purifies the blood; and brings calm and clarity to the mind.

Digestive Tea Blend

  • ¼ tsp coriander seeds

  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds

  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds

Boil 1 ½ cups of water, add the seed mixture, and steep for at least 5 minutes or until the tea is cool enough to drink comfortably. Strain and serve. Drink throughout the day or with every meal. It’s best to avoid drinking this before bed; otherwise you’ll probably find yourself waking up to urinate.

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. 

Reducing Cholesterol Through Ayurveda

It’s important to understand that cholesterol per se isn’t bad. In fact, it’s essential to the functions of the body. A combination of fatty acids and protein produced in the liver, cholesterol helps build cell membranes; lubricate the channels of the body; and synthesize vitamin D, hormones, and bile acids. To remain healthy, the body needs the lubrication and elasticity that this fatty substance provides. 

From an Ayurvedic perspective, cholesterol becomes harmful only when amais present in the body. Ama is the metabolic waste that accumulates in the body as a result of improper digestion. It can block the body’s channels and arteries, causing a variety of health concerns and imbalances.

According to Ayurveda, the key to balancing cholesterol in the body lies in maintaining the strength and healthy functioning of our digestive fire (metabolic process). A strong, balanced metabolic process prevents ama from accumulating in the body and thus helps keep fat tissue and cholesterol levels in balance. 

Ayurvedic principles hold that an overabundance of the kapha dosha in our systems can disrupt this balance, slowing the metabolism and promoting the accumulation of fat. This buildup of fat in turn leads to increased levels of cholesterol in our bloodstream. In keeping with this logic, a diet that pacifies the kapha imbalance would serve as the first step toward balancing cholesterol levels and optimizing fat metabolism. 

Such a diet favors foods that have primarily bitter, astringent, and pungent tastes. Astringent foods include dried beans, such as split mung dhal, lentils, and garbanzo beans. Avoid larger beans such as pinto and black beans. Vegetables and fruits with an astringent taste range from broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower to apples and pears. Bitter foods, such chard, kale, spinach, and other leafy greens, should be cooked with spices that help cleanse the bowel and prevent bad cholesterol from accumulating in the body. These include black pepper, garlic, cardamom, turmeric, ginger, fennel, cumin, cinnamon, cilantro, basil, asafetida, and parsley.

Avoiding the three tastes that increase kapha—namely, sweet, sour, and salty—is equally important. In addition to sugary foods, you should limit your intake of other sweet-tasting foods such as wheat, pasta, breads, yams, and sweet milk products. Sour foods, such as lemons, tomatoes, cheese, yogurt, and vinegar, are often found in dressings, ketchup, mustard, and pickles—so use condiments sparingly. Try cooking with less salt in your food, and avoid processed foods such as crackers, salted nuts, and chips.

One of the best ways to support a vigorous metabolic process is to eat cooked food that’s freshly prepared and still warm. Cook with small amounts of oil, such as ghee or mustard oil or sunflower oil. Avoid dry, hard, cool foods as well as frozen foods and packaged meals.

Ayurveda  recommends a variety of herbs to support the body’s capacity to manage cholesterol levels. The herbal formula triphala can be consumed before bed to improve digestion and fat metabolism. Guduchi can also be taken daily to boost fat burning and cholesterol metabolism by enhancing liver function. Studies of guggul have shown it reduces cholesterol as much as cholesterol-lowing drugs, but without harmful side effects. Research also suggests that turmeric  lowers triglycerides and serum cholesterol. Consider speaking with an Ayurvedic practitioner for more specific information about what herbal support and dietary measures will work best for you.

CHOLESTEROL BALANCING SPICE MIXTURE

  • 6 parts ground cumin

  • 6 parts ground coriander

  • 6 parts ground fennel

  • 3 parts ground turmeric

  • 2 parts ground fenugreek

  • 1 part powdered ginger

  • 1 part ground black pepper

Mix and store; use desired amount for cooking.

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. 

 

 

Brahmi, the Ayurvedic Nervine Tonic

Bhamitonic.jpeg

Brahmi has long been revered in Ayurvedic medicine as its most valuable nervine—an herb that benefits the nervous system. It revitalizes the brain cells, removes toxins and blockages within the nervous system, and improves memory and concentration. Indian yogis eat a few fresh Himalayan brahmi leaves daily. This practice optimizes their capacity for meditation by awakening the crown chakra and balancing the right and left hemispheres of the brain. 

In addition to nurturing brain power and nervous system health, brahmi contributes to many other aspects of wellness. It calms the heart and helps protect against heart attacks. As an antispasmodic agent as well as a nervine, this multi-functional herb helps ease recovery from every kind of addiction, whether it’s to alcohol, drugs, or sugar. Brahmi also purifies the blood, boosts immunity, and supports liver and kidney health, as well as aiding management of sexually transmitted diseases.

Brahmi is also known for its dosha-balancing qualities. It not only balances and refreshes pitta, but also actively reduces excess kapha. Brahmi can also pacify vata imbalances, especially when combined with other vata-reducing herbs like ashwagandha.

According to Ayurvedic texts, brahmi ghee is an essential medicine for the mind and heart that should be kept in every home. It can be taken in small amounts daily to maintain good health. As a milk decoction, the herb is an excellent brain tonic, particularly when combined with ashwagandha. Brahmi taken with holy basil and a little black pepper is recommended for all kinds of fevers. Many people find that drinking a cup of brahmi tea sweetened with honey before meditation greatly enhances their practice.

Source:Vasant Lad and David Frawley,The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, Lotus Press (January 25, 1986).

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease.

The Amazing Healing Properties of Turmeric

Turmeric is a root plant or rhizome closely related to ginger. Commonly used in curries, turmeric has a warm, slightly bitter taste for coloring or enhancing the flavor of curry powders, cheeses, mustard and more. Many of my Ayurvedic teachers have stated that Turmeric is an answer to most common aliments such as stomach ache, soar throats, cuts, infections, skin problems and many others.

According to Web MD, the list of health-related uses for turmeric is long. It is ingested for stomach problems, such as gas, bloating or diarrhea; arthritis; menstrual pain; fever and such for thousands of years in some areas. A juice version is used as a topical agent and a turmeric paste (warm milk with some powder) is employed as an antiseptic in wounds.

Countless studies have shown the healing powers from turmeric properties. Recent research on the effect of aromatic turmerone, a turmeric extract, shows that the plant extract may help regenerate damaged brain cells after things like a stroke. There are many studies conducted on curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric. Many have dealt with anti-inflammatory abilities in curcumin. In one study, turmeric worked about as well as ibuprofen for reducing arthritis pain. There have also been clinical studies on the benefits in diabetes and pre diabetes, positive effects on cancer, prostate cancer in particular.  Also many that shows it aids in weight management, liver detoxification, and digestive disease such as chrohn's disease.

Turmeric can easily be incorporated in to your daily life. It has many essential vitamins such as pyridoxine, choline, niacin, riboflavin and more. It also contains minerals of calcium, potassium, copper, iron, magnesia, magnesium and zinc. Turmeric in the diet increases the productions of enzymes that digest fat, sugars, and stops cholesterol from forming gallstones. It is an immune support and is antiseptic that kills yeast and parasites when used internally. It is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, and menstrual problems. Other uses include depression, Alzheimer’s disease, water retention, and kidney problems

You can take Turmeric as a daily supplement and introduce it to you're cooking. It is delicious in soups, stir fry, curries and as a daily tea. Ayurvedic turmeric paste is a great way to use turmeric to make teas. The paste of honey and turmeric can store easily in a jar. For paste use 1/3 cup  or 80 ml good, raw honey 2 1/2 teaspoons dried turmeric. Work the turmeric into the honey until it forms a paste. You can keep this on hand, in a jar, for whenever you'd like a cup of tea. 

Ayurvedic Daily Turmeric Tea Recipe

  • Heaping Teaspoon of Turmeric Paste
  • Paste Squeeze of lemon
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper

For each cup of tea, place a heaping teaspoon of the turmeric paste in the bottom of a mug. Pour hot (but not boiling water) into the mug, and stir well to dissolve the turmeric paste. Add a big squeeze of juice from a lemon, and a good amount of black pepper. (pepper is invigorating and helps support the digestion of the turmeric) 

 

 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease.

 

 

15 Reasons Why You Should Take Triphala Daily

Triphala is known as one of Ayurveda’s most used herbal formulation. Triphala powder is a composed blend of three dried fruits., Haritaki, Bibhitaki and Amalaki. The blend is distributed into equal parts to ensure maximum efficiency. The principle of Ayurveda suggests that healthy stomach leads to a healthier life. Thus, to remain fit and healthy, it is very necessary for a person to keep his or hers stomach fit and healthy. This herbal formula is popular among Ayurvedic practitioner and its users as it is an effective bowl cleanser. The herbal formulation offers great support to the digestive system that helps insure that the process of digestion is completed at its best, ensuring optimal working of the digestive tract. 

According to various general theories, Triphala is an effective laxative that helps in keeping the digestive system fit and working, However, in experts’ opinions. Triphala powder is not just a laxative but also as a nutritional food supplement as it has great nutritional values. Unlike other laxatives, Triphala dose not put direct effect on the liver and gall bladder to force them to secrete digestive juices to digest food. Instead, it works like a sponge that swells by absorbing fluid. Thus, it helps in cleaning not only the intestinal tract but also the liver and blood. 

Top 15 Benefits of Triphala

  1. Improves and normalizes the digestive functions.
  2. Alleviates and corrects constipation.
  3. Tones the gastrointestinal tract.
  4. Cleanses bowel.
  5. Purifies the blood.
  6. Removes excess fats out of the body.
  7. Liver and Blood Cleansing. 
  8. Builds body immunity and contains high amounts of Vitamin C
  9. Maintains good male and female reproductive health. 
  10. Nourishes and strengthens the respiratory tract and lungs. 
  11. Improves eye sight.
  12. Nurtures the voice quality. 
  13. Enhances hair color and strengthens hair roots.
  14. Rich in powerful antioxidants, polyphenols which reduces oxidative stress on the body.
  15. Contains anthraquinone that help stimulate peristalsis.


In order to get the optimum results, it is recommended that a person should take no more then 1 1/2 tea spoons at in the evening, 45 minutes after having dinner or just before bed. It is best to boil for 5 mins in 1 cup of water, but it also can be taken with a spoonful of honey or in milk. Boiling the herbs allows for the molecules to break down further for better absorption. Tablet forms are also available. For best results see an Ayurvedic Practioner for additonal health management suggestions.

Nighty Night Cap

Those who are suffering with insomnia, it is good to have a warm nourishing drink before bed. This method is best when using raw milk, but for those with milk sensitivities, almond milk can be used as a replacement. Cardamom is useful in reducing milk's mucous forming tendency. Sip this night cap just before bed in order to fall easily and deeply asleep. Modify and use cumin, coriander, and cardamom for a more cooling effect. If pitta is irritated, use maple syrup or sucanat instead of honey for sweetening. Add a pinch of fresh vanilla bean for additional grounding and flavor. 

1/2 to 1 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp ghee
1/2 to 1 tsp cardamom powder
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon powder
1-2 tsp honey
pinch fresh ground nutmeg

Warm the milk and ghee with cardamom and cinnamon. Place honey in bottom of drinking cup. Add warm mixture to it. Do not use the same amount of honey and ghee by volume as it causes disturbance in digestion. Add fresh ground nutmeg, as it has a sedative quality and can support peaceful sleep.

Ojas, The Pure Essence of all Bodily Tissues

In yoga and Ayurveda we speak a lot of ojas, most people do not understand this term, nor do the recognize the importance of ojas. In Ayurveda, we believe ojas to be the pure essence of all bodily tissues. Ojas is the essence related to vitality and immunity in an indvidual. It is like honey. As the honeybee collects the minute molecules of the essence of hundreds of flowers and accumulates them in the honey comb for survival, ojas, circulated via the heart and throughout the body to maintain the natural resistance of the bodily tissue.

In short it can be described as our immune system. Ojas fights against aging, decay and disease. It is a superfine biological substance that gives strength to all the bodies tissues. Although often hear it  as a romantic or poetic subject, ojas is a protoplasmic, biological substance that includes albumin, globulin, and many other hormones. It is formed durning biosynthesis of the bodily tissues. Modern medicine talks about the immune system which includes the hematopoietic, endocrine, nervous, and digestive systems. The Ayurvedic concept of ojas corresponds to the modern medical concept, including gamma globulin, which maintains the immunity of the liver.

Immunity depends on the quality of the digestion, liver functions, and the integrated functions of all hormones in the endocrine system.  It also includes the nervous, skeletal, and muscular systems. When all these systems preform their physiological functions, ojas is maintained. Therefore, ojas is the potential source of strength and power, and natural resistance against illness, this is natural immunity. There are two types of immunity, natural or acquired immunity. When you receive a vaccination, this is an example of an acquired immunity. Ojas is our body's  natural resistance to fight infection.

Ojas has the capacity to counteract the etiological factors or cause of disease. Ojas is influenced directly by agni, or digestive system, which determines the quality of assimilation and nutrition. These qualities of ojas also depends upon lifestyle, stress, traumas and the qualities of relationships. For example if our relationships are not good our ojas will not be good.

So how do we support our Ojas? Building ojas is an art. Perhaps one of the best ways to consistently build ojas is to eat a diet of fresh, unprocessed whole foods in the appropriate season. Through the process of healthy digestion, microscopic amounts of the essence of these foods accumulate over time and become ojas. Ghee is an effective ojas building substance that can be added to your daily diet. 

Certain herbs in Ayurveda are also prized as great ojas-builders. Traditionally, a concoction of these herbs, including Ashwagandha and Shatavari, were blended with ojas-building foods like dates, almonds, coconut, saffron, ghee, honey and cardamom in a milk base. This mixture was warmed and taken before bed as a sleep aid and an ojas-builder to boot.

Other effective ways of building ojas includes healthy lifestyle routines, such as, sleeping habits (early to bed, early to rise and not in excess), yoga, medication, breathing exercises, walking in nature, laughing, expressing and showing love and affection, creativity, taking time and not rushing, doing things that make you happy,  giving to others, daily self oil application, and daily self love.