5 Healing Herbs
Plants contain the nourishing power of the sun. They convert light into life through photosynthesis.
They give us physical and psychological nourishment. When we use plants correctly we become one with its energy. They vitalize our nervous system and improve our overall health.
Herbs are derived from various parts of plants. In Ayurveda, herbs are considered special foods, that eliminate excesses and strengthen deficiencies in the body and mind. Unlike synthetic drugs, they are mild and have no side effects when used correctly. When herbs are misused, the liver is quickly able to eliminate any residues from the system.
Herbs tend to be much safer and stronger when combined with other herbs that promote and harmonize their respective action. This results in a much greater therapeutic effect than just taking one herb alone. For this reason Ayurvedic herbs are generally prescribed in combinations or formulas. However, there are a few exceptions.
The herbs described in this post are safe and effective when used individually and for extended periods of time. It is always recommended to consult a qualified Ayurvedic Practitioner or Doctor before you start taking any herbs for prolonged periods of time.
Amlaki is probably the single most often mentioned herb in the Charaka Samhita (ancient Ayurvedic texts). It is reputed to be a powerful rejuvenating herb and is used in many Ayurvedic rejuvenation formulas, the most famous of which is Chyavanprash.
Amalaki is particularly useful for those with predominantly pitta constitutions, as it has a cold potency, but it will not aggravate the other doshas. The fruit is reputed to have the highest content of vitamin C of any natural occurring substance in nature. It strengthens immunity and the reproductive fluids, and is useful in the treatment of ulcers and hyperacidity.
Amlaki is good for almost everyone on a regular basis and it is safe to consume on a long-term basis.
The only alternative that could possibly be better than Amlaki for a daily herbal supplement is the Triphala formula, of which Amla constitutes one third.
Triphala is the best known and most used formula in Ayurveda. It has all the properties of its three ingredients: amla, haritaki and bibhitaki. The advantage of this formula is that it is milder in action and more balanced than any of the three alone.
Used regularly it is good for gentle, slow detoxification of the digestive tract and then the deep tissues. It also has the ability to normalize all three constitutions with continual use. The overall tonic effect of the these three fruits has been known for thousands of years in India and other Asian countries
Prolonged use of triphala is safe and non-habit-forming. It rejuvenates the intestines, tissues and cells of the body. It is known to promote the absorption of the B vitamins and other nutrients in food.
Shatavari is considered to be the best general tonic for women in Ayurveda. Shatavari contains hormones called phytoestrogens that normalise estrogen levels in women. These hormones play an important role in preserving a woman’s long-term health, preventing breast cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis.
The naturally occurring hormones are at a very low level making it a safe hormonal supplement for all women throughout their lives. It helps to regulate the menstrual cycle and is particularly useful for women during menopause.
Shatavari is excellent in treating general indigestion and has also been proven effective in killing the candida bacteria and other digestive bacteria that can cause gas, bloating, and colic pain.
Ginger has a long history of medical use in the east; it is perhaps one of the most used plants in the history of mankind. It can be used by most people except for those with high pitta type problems such as inflammations, ulcers, etc. Ginger will normally not aggravate pitta in small doses or when used in cooking due to its sweet long-term action. This gives it a rejuvenating and nourishing effect on the body.
Dried ginger has a slightly different effect than fresh finger. The dry form has hotter and dryer qualities than when fresh, and is thus used for reducing kapha but can be too stimulating for pitta types. The fresh form is better for colds, flu’s, coughs, and for vata type problems.
Fresh ginger infusions are a great beverage for kapha persons, and when combined with a little licorice, it is more suited for vata and pita type persons.
Licorice has long history as a rejuvenating herb in Ayurveda. It has a harmonizing action in the body and in herbal formulas. It is a very good lung tonic and known to be effective in fighting bronchitis. It is considered to be an immunostimulant and in Ayurveda it is known to promote peace of mind.
Licorice has the ability to reduce infection and fight viral growth. It also promotes the growth of naturally occurring antibodies in the body. Strong anti-ulcer actions and an overall soothing effect on the digestive system have been documented.
The majority of people can benefit from the regular use of licorice. The exceptions are those with high kapha and high blood pressure. It is an excellent rejuvenating herb for pitta and vata persons.
Note: It is important to use high quality organic herbs from a reputable manufacturer. Unfortunately some cheap Ayurvedic formulas you find online may not be ideal for consumption. Beware!