In Ayurveda, herbs are viewed as the spiritual essence – the Kundalini – of the natural world. Ayurveda is one of the oldest and most developed herbal systems in the world – it has been in use for more than 5,000 years. The ancient Vedic seers in India compiled and classified the medicinal and healing properties of hundreds of herbs into a system which aims at healing the root cause of the ailment so that the problem does not recur. Ayurveda believes in simplicity so that it can be accessed and utilized by anyone in our contemporary lives.
Each and every herb in Ayurvedic herbology has various benefits – for the mind, body, and spirit. Herbs can be used internally (by consuming them) or externally (through the skin) – or even used as aromatherapy. From weight loss to beautiful skin and from overall vitality to even something as extraordinary as preventing hangovers, herbs can transform your health in many ways!
Here is a quick list of 10 herbs in Ayurveda which can be incorporated into your daily life:
- Amla – Amla, also known as the Indian gooseberry, is one of the most versatile herbs in Ayurveda. It has a host of wellness benefits that include- increase in immunity, protecting the eyes against cataracts, keeping the body hydrated, helping the body get rid of toxins and slowing down of the aging process. Take 2-3 amlas and crush them. The concentrated juice from this can be added to a glass of water and consumed daily. Powdered amla is also readily available, and this may be mixed with water and consumed daily.
- Ajwain – Ajwain is a strong digestive and nerve stimulant. It acts as a weight loss herb by drawing out deep-seated toxins from the body. Ajwain also helps in healing pain in the joints. It can be taken as a tea to assist with weight loss: simply boil 1 teaspoon of ajwain seeds with 500 milliliters of water and enjoy your herbal tea.
- Ashwagandha – Ashwagandha enhances vitality and is one of the best anti-aging herbs. This herb is crucial for people suffering from stress or lack of sleep. Take 1/2 teaspoons cooked in milk (sweeten with 1 teaspoon of raw honey) daily.
- Brahmi– Brahmi is known as the brain and nervous system tonic. Brahmi balances the left and right hemispheres of the brain and decalcifies the pineal gland. Brahmi removes toxins and blockages from the nervous system. It helps tackle depression, enhances intelligence and improves memory and concentration. It is also known to enhance the overall cellular wisdom in the body. Ways to consume Brahmi: boil in water (as a tea), boil it in milk, or make Brahmi ghee. It can also be used as a medicated oil for the hair, and the nutrients will seep into the brain cells via the crown chakra. Take Brahmi every morning to rejuvenate the body and mind.
- Elaichi – Elaichi or Cardamom is a natural tranquilizer, bringing clarity and joy to the heart and mind. It neutralizes the acidity of coffee and caffeine – it also neutralizes the mucus-forming properties in milk. Cardamom removes excess Kapha from the stomach and lungs. Add the pods or powder to coffee as you are brewing it, or boil cardamom in warm milk before bed for best results.
- Jeera – Jeera or Cumin will enhance your digestive system and metabolism. It helps the body with nutrient absorption. Cumin is especially useful for new moms as it cleanses the reproductive organs and improves milk secretion. Use cumin while cooking to assist in the assimilation of micronutrients.
- Neem – Neem is one of the most powerful blood purifiers and detoxifiers in Ayurvedic herbology. It the best suited for skin diseases, wound healing, and skin damage (especially from the sun). Neem is known to pacify all Pitta disorders. Boil 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Put neem leaves in a cup and pour the warm water in it. Steep for 5-10 minutes, neem tea is ready to drink. Flavour your tea with your choice of flavouring including honey or lemon juice.
- Shatavari – Shatavari is the #1 Ayurvedic rejuvenative for women. It nourishes and cleanses the blood and the female reproductive organs. Shatavari is readily available in pill and powder form, or it can be taken in ghee or cooked with milk, which is the preferred form (all Ayurvedic herbs are best assimilated into the body’s cells when taken with a fat).
- Haldi – Haldi or Turmeric purifies the blood and other channels of the body. It improves the skin’s complexion, bringing circulation and nutrition to the skin. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and is a perfect remedy to treat acne-prone skin. Try to incorporate turmeric into your daily life in any way as it has tremendous health benefits. Ideally, use 1 teaspoon per day in some form: whether in capsule form, on the skin, or in the diet. Throw some in as you are sautéeing veggies in coconut oil to throw over quinoa. Boil some turmeric in goat milk with honey before bed. If you consume turmeric on a regular basis, you will notice your health improve in a multitude of areas.
- Shilajit – Also known as the Indian Viagra, Shilajit is known to revitalise sexual desire in men and improve vim, vigor and vitality. However, Shilajit cannot be consumed in its raw form. It must be consumed in a capsule and recommended with a doctor’s consultation.
Today, we are all subject to an unhealthy lifestyle. High amounts of pollution and processed foods have led to graying of hair at a young age, increased chronic ailments like cancer and diabetes and an overall decline in the quality of life we experience. Ayurvedic Herbology gives us an alternative to this unhealthy lifestyle and offers us a chance to rediscover this 5,000 year old science which has proven to be an effective guide for a better standard of life through natural sources. Simple incorporation of these 10 herbs on a daily basis can go a long way to improve one’s well being and lifestyle.