Botanicals

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

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. 

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.