Ayurvedic Herbal Formulas

8 Ayurvedic Uses for Honey

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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. 

Spice things up with Ayurvedic herbs for Valentines day!

There are many Ayurvedic herbs and spices known for their rejuvenating and aphrodisiac effects, which can kick things up a notch for Valentine’s day. In addition to proprietary blends, there are many Ayurvedic recipes for spicing up your love life that use ingredients that are easy to find and taste delicious. Nutmeg, clove, cardamom, and ginger are found in most pantries and, when mixed together as a “chai,” serve as an easy and enjoyable way to enhance libido.  

Nutmeg is known in Ayurveda as “women’s Viagra.” This almost overpowering aromatic spice warms the body, pacifies vataand kapha, and increases pitta, and stimulates circulation. These effects can also be achieved with ginger. Clove ignites attraction and boosts libido. It has been used as an aphrodisiac in India and other parts of Asia for many centuries. Cardamom is a tridoshic spice that balances the three fundamental energies and promotes healthy blood flow. Its super-sweet taste enhances energy and vigor.

The two best known Ayurvedic herbs for revitalizing the body and optimizing sexual health are ashwaganda and shatavari. A member of the nightshade family, the ashwagandha plant regulates stress hormones such as cortisol according to the body’s needs, keeping users alert and energized during the day and allowing them to relax and fall asleep at night. In Ayurveda, this adaptogenic herb is believed to be particularly effective at boosting the sexual energy of men. Shatavari, a species of asparagus (Asparagus racemosus), serves as an equivalent tonic for sustaining women’s sexual vigor and the health of their reproductive organs throughout their life.

These two herbs combined with the suggested Ayurvedic spices offer a natural approach to maximizing vitality, energy, and vigor for both sexes. Enjoy this aromatic and delicious recipe to prime your libido for a romantic occasion. Or use it regularly to maintain overall health and vibrancy in everyday life.

Mix & Store

1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon clove
2 teaspoons of cardamom
2 teaspoons of ginger
1 tablespoon ashwaganda
1 tablespoon shatavari

Use ½ teaspoon boiled for 5 minutes in 1 cup of milk. Use the milk of your choice— fresh cow’s milk or almond or coconut.

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

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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.

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. 

 

Brahmi, the Ayurvedic Nervine Tonic

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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.

Ayurvedic Bath, Sacred and Healing.

Bathing has occupied a special place in the cultural landscapes of many civilizations throughout history. In ancient Greece, water itself was regarded as a gift of health from the gods. The ruins of lavish public baths in the farthest reaches of the Roman world testify to the importance of bathing in the health regimes and social life of the empire’s citizens. More than 150 years after the bathtub of Napoleon’s wife, Josephine, was crafted, it’s reputed to retain the scent of the musk oil–infused bathwater that soothed her mind and pampered her skin.

In India, bathing has always been accorded the status of a sacred, healing ritual. Ancient Ayurvedic texts speak of therapeutic baths with rose petals, honey, milk, and turmeric, preceded by a luxurious full-body massage with warm oils and followed by skin treatments with rich herbal pastes and fragrant floral waters. These Ayurvedic baths were designed to restore balance to the body, mind, and spirit.

Ayurveda views bathing as a form of holistic therapy. A daily bath, especially in the morning is an important part of an Ayurvedic daily routine. It adds a profoundly healing dimension to your day and your life. Ayurvedic medical texts report many benefits from the healing bath. The simple act of taking a bath provides a full complement of mind-body rewards without any effort on your part:

  • Relaxes tense muscles 

  •  Opens clogged pores 

  • Moisturizes tissues 

  • Banishes bad moods 

  • Calms the mind and balances the emotions 

  • Removes sweat, dirt, and environmental toxins from the skin 

  •  Enhances physical energy levels and improves metal clarity

To transform an ordinary bath into a healing Ayurvedic self-care ritual follow these tips:

  • Prepare your bath with traditional Ayurvedic herbs.*

  • Do not bathe in a hurry, take your time.

  • Practice deep breathing while soaking in your bath.

  • Try to relax, so that both mind and body benefit.

  • Use gentle natural gentle aromatherapy products, not harsh synthetic fragrances, which add to the toxic burden on your body.

  • Make sure your bathwater is pure and clean.

  • After you towel off, spritz your body with rose water and apply warm dosha-specific oils.

*Herbal Bath Recipe

3 tablespoons of green gram powder
½ tablespoon of turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon of ginger powder
2 tablespoon of rose petals
1 tablespoon of raw organic honey
½ cup of almond milk or 1 tablespoon of almond oil
5–7 drops of rose, lavender, or geranium pure essential oil

As you’re drawing a warm bath, add ingredients to the water in the order listed. Swish your hand in the water to blend after each addition. Enjoy!  

 

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.