Herbs used in Ayurveda
Herbs have played the most vital role in Ayurveda. The reason? Ayurveda believes in curing people of their problems with the use of something bestowed in nature – herbs. There is countless number of herbs recognized by Ayurveda, which, separately or in combination, gives the desired effects to people suffering from variety of diseases.
These herbs, more or less, have no side effects – some you can try all by yourself but for some, you need to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner. I will say it is always better to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner and take her/his advice rather than taking things in your hands, especially where your health is concerned.
As such, I will be giving you information on 15 very crucial and important herbs. You will be surprised to find how each herb tackles a number of diseases at a time.
There is no such herb typical for children – that means, herbs are not categorized as ‘for children only’, ‘for adult only’ – they cater to all. Yes, the doses have to be taken care of and yes, there are certain herbs which are not given to the children, except in exceptional cases.
After you understand these herbs in a broad way, you will be told about those herbs that make the Indian food ‘so-called’ spicy. Are they really useless and harmful, or do they really balance the body.
The First Herb – Amla / Amlaki
Sanskrit Name – Amla / Amlaki
English / Common name – Indian Gooseberry
Latin / Scientific Name – Embelica officinalis
(1) It reduces Pitta, Kapha, and Vata, thereby balancing the doshas.
(2) It is the highest natural source of Vitamin C.
(3) It is sweet, sour, and astringent in taste.
(4) It is cooling.
(5) It has laxative properties.
(6) It is a heart tonic and is the secret for a long life and excellent health.
(7) It is beneficial in the treatment of conjunctivitis and glaucoma.
(8) It is used in treating bronchitis, fever, cough, asthma, and lung diseases.
(9) It is used in treating hemorrhage, anemia, yeast infection, exposure to heavy metals, and scurvy.
(10) It is used in treating alcoholism and cancer.
(11) It stimulates the brain to subdue the overbalanced body system.
(12) It rejuvenates the body cells, tones and strengthens all the organs of the body.
(13) It rebuilds new tissues and increases the red blood cell (RBC) count.
(14) It cleanses the mouth, strengthens the teeth and stops bleeding of gums.
(15) It nourishes the bones and promotes the growth of healthy lustrous hair and strong nails.
(16) It regulates the blood sugar level.
(17) It relieves inflammation of the stomach and colon.
Because of its mild laxative action, excess intake will result in acute diarrhea or dysentery.
If you have the above problems in general, then you can take this without the consultation of an Ayurvedic practitioner. But remember the ‘precaution’. In India, Amla is found and eaten in many households – be children, be adult. It is kept in the house, especially the ones where there are diabetic patients.
The Second Herb – Haritaki / Pathya
Sanskrit Name – Haritaki / Pathya
English / Common name – Chebulic Myrobalan
Latin / Scientific Name – Terminalis chebula
(1) It reduces Pitta, Kapha, and Vata.
(2) It is sweet, sour, and astringent in taste.
(3) It is heating.
(4) It is a secret for a long life and excellent health.
(5) It is a very popular remedy for piles.
(6) It regulates colon and corrects constipation; it has laxative properties.
(7) It removes obstruction from pathways and channels of the body.
(8) It is used in the treatment of cough, asthma, hoarseness of voice, hiccups, vomiting, mal-absorption, jaundice, tumors, abdominal distension, diabetes, itching, parasitic infections, heart diseases, and nervous disorders.
(9) It rejuvenates and regulates the body metabolism – keeps the body firm and youthful.
(10) It is an effective remedy for chronic diarrhea and dysentery.
(11) It is very useful in skin disorders like chronic ulcers, wounds, and
(12) It is a useful hair tonic – helps in hair growth, gives luster and stops hair fall.
(13) It is very useful in the treatment of acidity and heartburns.
(14) It promotes good eyesight.
(15) It is useful in vaginal irritation and inflammation.
(16) Used externally, it is an effective remedy for mumps – its thick paste is applied over the swellings.
(a) It should not be consumed by pregnant women.
(b) It should not be consumed by people who suffer from severe weaknesses or by thin/skinny people who want to gain weight.
(c) Because of its laxative properties, it should be consumed sparingly by people with a tendency for lose bowel movements.
If you have the above problems in general, then you can take this without the consultation of an Ayurvedic practitioner. But remember the ‘precaution’. In India, Haritaki is eaten by many people, especially the elders.
The Third Herb – Bibhitaki
Sanskrit Name – Bibhitaki
English / Common name – Belleric Myrobalan
Latin / Scientific Name – Terminalis belerica
(1) It reduces Pitta, and Kapha; does not aggravate Vata.
(2) It is sweet, and astringent in taste.
(3) It is heating.
(4) It is used in the treatment of cough, fever, leprosy, inflammations, piles and dropsy.
(5) It is laxative and arrests secretion / bleeding.
(6) It is extremely useful in stomach disorders – indigestion and diarrhea.
(7) It is useful as a purgative.
(8) When taken with honey, it treats sore throat and impaired voice.
(9) It is a tonic for the brain.
(10) Externally, it can be used as a gurgle.
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