Share Pin Email
feature image
Live Fresh

5 Essential Ayurvedic Herbs that Heal

Learn how the ancient practice of Ayurveda has been using nature to treat and help prevent health issues for millenniums.

69
Author Image
Contributing Writer
SHARE:

Ayurveda has a long, rich history of using plants as medicine. And these days, traditional Ayurvedic herbs are getting lots of attention for their now science-backed benefits. But which ones should you try? Here, I’ll dive into the most essential Ayurvedic herbs, what they may help you address, and how they’re most commonly taken.

Before we get started, a word of caution: Even the first textbook of Ayurveda, which is from around 800 BC, says that herbs should not be administered or taken without proper knowledge. In other words, even though these herbs are mild and don’t have any major interactions with other medications, it’s better to consult with your healthcare practitioner before trying them out.

1. Amalaki (Emblica officinalis)

Amalaki, also called Indian gooseberry, is a fruit that is deeply connected to Indian culture and has been used for thousands of years for its rejuvenating properties. The Amalaki fruit is a very rich source of vitamin C, so it has the ability to protect the immune system. It’s especially recommended to take Amalaki during the fall season, since in Ayurveda, fall is when the body is most prone to inflammation.

Amalaki and Tulsi, the next herb on this list, are often taken together. Amalaki to calm the body, and Tulsi to calm the mind. Amalaki is also thought to be an anti-aging substance. There is a section in Ayurveda called rasayana, which deals with prevention of disease, promotion of health, and anti-aging. This section of Ayurvedic medicine starts with Amalaki.

It’s wonderful to take Amalaki every day in one form or another, and the most common formula is called chyawanprash, a jam that contains several other herbs as well. It can be taken by people of all ages and is a very mild supplement that can help nourish all seven tissues of the body.

2. Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum)

Tulsi, also known as holy basil, is a very mental and spiritually connected plant, which means that taking it can help calm and uplift the state of mind. In Ayurveda, it’s thought that it can help induce a positive mindset. This is why Tulsi tea is administered to help deal with anxiety. In research, tulsi has shown promising anti-stress and antidepressant properties.

Tulsi has also been shown to have anti-cancer properties and protective properties against autoimmune diseases. While that doesn’t necessarily mean Tulsi will cure or prevent diseases, it may slow the growth of cancer cells and reduce inflammation, which is linked to autoimmune health issues.

Tulsi is also used as a home remedy for cough, sore throat, and sinusitis. By crushing the leaves to make a tea, many people find relief. It can also be taken in capsule form.

3. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Out of all the herbs on this list, Ashwagandha is perhaps the most famous right now thanks to its status as an adaptogen—a substance that helps the body adapt to stress. It’s not just popular today; the herb is also highly regarded in the ancient texts.

Ashwa means “horse” and ghanda means “like.” So, basically, it makes you horse-like with strength and vitality, especially in males. Studies show that Ashwagandha helps increase testosterone in infertile men. It also helps to nourish and rejuvenate muscles, so it’s especially useful to those who are active. This is also thought to extend to joint health. For those who have pain or achiness in their joints, Ashwagandha is a great choice.

Ashwagandha has also been touted for its mental health benefits. It can be used to help ease anxiety and research suggests it may be helpful for those with depression, too.

Ashwagandha is mostly taken in powder or capsule form, but there’s also a jam with other herbs called Ashwagandha lehyam, which is even better for absorption. It’s also taken in a milk formula, preferably with cow’s milk, but any type of plant-based milk will work, too. The herb gets into the body quickly and efficiently in this form.


Related: The Healing Powers of Herbs and Spices


4. Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)

Brahmi, or bacopa, is an herb that is primarily taken to enhance the mind and is considered one of the best preventative solutions for age-related memory problems in Ayurveda. For this reason, it’s taken by many people of all ages.

Brahmi is thought to enhance all of the aspects of the intellect, and it’s a good tonic to take for keeping the mind healthy and functioning. It’s also sometimes used for children with ADHD with promising results and can help with proper reasoning.

If you have sleep troubles, you may also consider taking Brahmi to help calm the mind before going to bed. Similarly, those with stress-induced stomach issues may find Brahmi helpful to relax the mind and, thus, the digestive system. This plant is taken in the form of either a tea or fresh herbs in a salad, and can be taken by people of any age.

5. Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)

Shatavari can be used for both mind and body health. In particular, it has a very special connection to female health and fertility. Shata means “many,” and avari means “surrounded with babies.” So just the name of this herb gives us a clue that it is very good for the female reproductive system, encouraging a healthy, regular reproductive cycle.

It’s also sometimes used to increase breast milk in women who are breastfeeding, as well as in women who are going through menopause. Research has also shown that it may help women with polycystic ovary syndrome.

Shatavari may improve gut health, too, and could be useful for treating ulcers. It may ease acid reflux in both sexes as well.

Since Shatavari is a root vegetable, and it’s rich with antioxidants and anti inflammatory substances. So when taken, studies show it can enhance immune function, reduce oxidative stress, and help with lymphatic fluid and blood circulation. People usually take about half a teaspoon of Shatavari powder mixed with some kind of warm liquid. It can also be taken as a pill or in a ghee, the latter of which can improve absorption.

By

SHARE:

Comments (0)

Recipe by Request

Do you need some help in the kitchen? Tell us about your dietary needs and lifestyle for the chance to receive a personalized recipe idea developed by a professional chef.

 

Make a Request

Load More

Find us on Instagram

@LIVESONIMA
  • Looking for a quick at-home workout? Try "The Tens" from Stacey Pierce-Talsma, DO, RYT: Start with 10 burpees, 10 pushups, 10 sit-ups, 10 lunges, and 10 squats. Then you do nine of everything, then eight, then seven, all the way down to one. "I like to time myself and see if I can get it done in record time. I enjoy this workout because it usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes, yet I’ve totally gotten a good workout in and strengthened most major muscle groups of my body," she says.

#homeworkouts #WorkoutFromHome #fitness #exerciseroutine
#athomeworkouts
  • During times of uncertainty, it can be a struggle to find time for self-care. But a few minutes of quiet can do so much for your well-being. In our guided meditation, Deepak Chopra, M.D., invites you to take a few moments of mindful attention so you can center yourself and make space in your mind to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Click the link in our bio. 
#meditation #selfcare #mindfulness
  • Many yogis chose to decorate their bodies with intellectual and emotional reminders of the practice. The symbology of the yogic tradition from chakras to Sanskrit letters has been paired with universal symbols of love, life, breath, and oneness to create a yoga-tattoo canon of sorts. The symbology has been overturned and reinterpreted over time, so that the scope of a “yoga tattoo” has actually become quite wide. Here we present a collection of body art, which honors the diversity of the many yoga lineages and the masterful and artful creativity of the modern yogi: https://www.sonima.com/yoga/inspirational-tattoos/

Check out the link and then tell us: Do you have any yoga tattoos?

#yoga #tattoos #bodyart #yogaart #bodyink
  • Start your day with this empowering mantra. "It sets the tone for the morning and can help me come back to my truest self and feel like I can take on anything," says @sophie.jaffe. 
What's your favorite mantra to kickstart the week? Tell us below!

#mantra #mondaymantra #quotes
  • Have you ever noticed that spas tend to smell of flowers such as lavender and ylang ylang? Studies show that these scents increase calmness, which is right for that setting. If you were to look for an essential oil that had the opposite effect—one that made you more energized and alert—choose peppermint. This distinct odor has the opposite effect of soothing essential oils, although it’s still a pleasant scent. Peppermint can even enhance your memory. #energyboost #boostenergy #essentialoils #memorybooster #naturalhealth #naturalremedies
  • If you find it hard to concentrate, try this practice from @alive.awake.empowered at least once a day: Count breathing cycles. Inhale, exhale, one. Inhale, exhale, two. Inhale, exhale, three. And so on.

You may be able to get only as far as two or three at first. But with practice, you will improve, and so will your ability to concentrate. Do what you can, and when a thought interrupts, go back to one.

#meditation #concentration #focus #mondays
Receive fresh content delivered to your inbox every week!