Ayurvedic Products - The Indian Lifeline

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

India has a rich inheritance of Ayurvedic medicines as a traditional health care system. Ayurveda, is based on ancient writings that rely on a “natural” and holistic approach to physical and mental health. It involves using raw products such as herbs, spices, vitamin rich plants, minerals, and metals (e.g., mercury, lead, iron, zinc). Some of the preparations involve herbs combined with minerals and metals. These products have a common presence in the lives of Indians and are easily available on the Internet or in retail stores. In fact, Ayurvedic treatment of healing arts combines products, diet, exercise, and lifestyle.

Although Ayurveda is based on ancient writings such as Charaka Samhita (By Charaka), Sushruta Samhita (By Sushruta) and Ashtanga Hridayam and Ashtanga Sangraha(By Vaghabhata) that rely on a “natural” and holistic approach to physical and mental health, modern scientific decoding of these scriptures and the methods involved has made ayurvedic medicines more common these days; and especially during these pandemic times.

Here are a few Ayurvedic herbs explained with science-backed health benefits:

  1. Ashwagangha (Withania somnifera) - Its roots and berries are used to decrease stress, reduce inflammation and increase the libido; and is thus, the staple of Ayurvedic medicines.

  2. Amla or Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis) - can be eaten raw or as murabba (sweet fruit preserve) to help in improving digestion and buildind a strong metabolism.

  3. Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica) - a potent astringent and tonifying herb for the mucous membranes throughout the body, especially in the lungs, intestines and urinary system and is greatly helpful in detoxifying body and rejuvenating kapha.

  4. Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) - Apart from the above two (Amla and Bibhitaki) this is the third ingredient of Triphla formulation. Also referred to as "chebulic myrobalan," haritaki is considered as a time-tested remedy for all digestion related issues specially to support the proper functioning of the colon, lungs, liver and spleen.

  5. Brahmi ( Bacopa monnieri) is commonly used as a memory enhancer and brain tonic for kids in India due to its property to improve cognition.

  6. Basil ‘Holy Green’ (Tulsi) - is used directly or in tea/ medicines to help prevent colds and flu and its oil is believed to relieve aches and pains. It may also help to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes and is a common plant in every household of India.

  7. Cumin - is the dried seed of the herb Cuminum cyminum and is commonly used in Indian Kitchens as a spice. It is helpful in boosting the activity of digestive enzymes and facilitate the release of bile from the liver, speeding digestion

  8. Cardamom - most popular for both culinary and medicinal use. It contains high levels of vitamin A, C, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and other micronutrients.

  9. Cutting Celery and Parsley - used as a remedy for gas and bloating. Its edible flowers and leaves are full of Vitamin C, iron and antioxidants. It’s often used as a digestive aide and as a treatment for urinary tract infections.

  10. Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) - is also termed as a 'herb of longevity' is recommended for balancing of the nervous system and promoting normal levels of mental alertness and a sound memory.

  11. Peppermint - used for oral health benefits due to its natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that help curb the growth of bacteria in the mouth, further preventing infections. Additionally, it is also used to aid digestion.

  12. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) - is commonly used as a spice, but it is also known for its great medicinal purposes. It contains the chemical curcumin. which combined with other chemicals in turmeric helps in decrease swelling (inflammation) in body. It is also helpful in treatment of knee osteoarthritis, hay fever, depression, itching etc.

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