What is Ayurveda?
The ancient science of Ayurveda was created in India more than 5,000 years ago way before the birth of modern medicine. It is considered by some scholars to be the oldest healing science in the world. It focuses on the connection between the mind and body and has been proven to be an effective alternative natural healing system. The word, Ayurveda is a combination of two words of the ancient Indian language called Sanskrit. Ayur=life and veda=knowledge. Ayurveda in modern times combines Diet, Herbal Supplements, and Yoga or Meditation techniques.
According to the Ayurvedic belief system, each individual has a unique energy pattern that combines physical, mental, and emotional traits. There are three basic forces of energy types called doshas that are combined differently in every person. The doshas reflect the Five Elements and their related properties. Keeping these doshas in your balance can make the difference between feeling and looking great and feeling like a drained tired and overweight. All three doshas are found in each person with a particular combination of each one unique to each individual.
Characterized by the movement of the wind, air, and space. It is in charge of bodily functions associated with motion, fluid circulation, pulsation of the heart, communication between the mind and nervous system, and the flow of breathing. When Vata is balanced you are quick thinking, thin, and agile your body flows through life like the wind. When Vata energy is out of balance it produces anxiety, fear, isolation, loneliness, and mental exhaustion. It can cause all types of abnormal flows of movements in the body, such as muscle spasms, tics, and tremors.
Characterized by the Fire and Water element is representative of Digestion and Transformation. This dosha is in charge of appetite, digestion, absorption, temperature, intelligence, charisma, courage, and ambition. Out of balance, pitta can cause stomach ulcers, malabsorption, oily skin, sleeping disorder, anger and jealousy issues.
Characterized by Earth and Water it represents structure, stability, and grounding Energy.It controls growth, love, forgiveness, memory, contentment, balances all bodily fluids, strength, and stamina. Out of balance, Kapha leads to insecurity, greed, lack of motivation, depression, sluggish metabolism, excessive sleep, and envy.
Ayurvedic medicine was founded on the belief that they only way an illness can enter your system is due to a weakness in the body. Ayurvedic herbs have been used to support the internal healing process promoted by Ayurveda. Instead of using synthetic drugs Ayurvedic herbs are a natural way to heal your body while minimizing any side effects. This does not mean they are safe for everyone. You should slowly introduce these herbs into your daily diet and monitor your body to find the best combination of herbs to heal your illness. Ayurvedic medicine uses highly targeted treatments to address specific diseases and heal illnesses using lifestyle changes, diet. The cleansing process is called Panchakarma which is said to detoxify the body and bring your systems back into balance.
Depending on which one of your doshas are out of balance your diet should help restore your specific dosha back to the proper levels. The most accurate way to do this is by seeing a professional ayurvedic physician. If you don’t have the budget for it we can provide some guidance on where to start. You can take a Dosha Quiz online to get started.
If your Kapha is out of balance you can reduce consumption of oils, fats, sweets, and salt and focus on eating more vegetables, and high fiber foods such as Almonds, Broccoli, Chia Seeds and legumes.
If your Pitta is out of wack you should avoid alcohol, coffee, vinegar, and acidic foods like oranges, lemons, and tomatoes and supplement them with watermelon, cantaloupe, mango, cucumbers, lettuce, and kale.
Last but not least those who have a problem with their Vata should avoid processed grains, legumes, cold cereals, sodas, frozen desserts and cold hard raw vegetables and instead supplement these foods with hot soup, oatmeal, cooked vegetables, ghee, hot chocolate milk.
Yoga is strongly interrelated into the Ayurveda lifestyle. The combination of mind and body can been seen once again here. Each has a unique function but they are closely intertwined on many levels. They both encompass an understanding of how the body works and are based on the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, space). Both of these recognize that keeping the body healthy is vital for living a happy balanced life. There are even special training and yoga poses that are directed to people who follow the Ayurvedic principles
Ayurvedic Herbs List
There are many healing herbs that are used in combination with diet and meditation in the Ayurveda traditions. As with all herbal supplement you purchase online you should research all products thoroughly before consuming anything you buy online. Here are some of the most popular ones.
TRIPHALA (Trifala): has been used for over 3000 years in Ayurvedic medicine and has been used to treat stomach problems, dental problems and many more. This powerful blend of traditional Ayurvedic herbs helps to support healthy bowel movements and intestinal repair. It promotes peristalsis that helps to detoxify the body. It is a combination of Amla(Indian Gooseberry), Bibhitaki, and Haritaki(Myrobalan).
INDIAN GOOSEBERRY / AMLA(Emblica officinalis /Phyllanthus emblica): Also known as Amla Indian Gooseberry, it has very high levels of Vitamin C. It has been a staple in traditional Ayurvedic medicine and is one of the oldest edible fruits in India. Indian Gooseberry also has high levels of folic acid and vitamin A. It is said to boost the immune system, reduce blood sugar levels, removes toxins, enhances fertility, improves skin and hair quality, helps tone muscles, slows aging, beneficial for eye health, and also acts as a diuretic. It can be eaten whole or consumed as a powder, juice, oil, or tablet.
BIBHITAKI (Terminalia bellirica): A large tree that grows in Southeast Asia and is used for viral and bacterial infections. It is also one of the ingredients in Triphala. It is commonly found in southeast Asia because it is one of the best herbs for detoxifying and rejuvenating kapha in your body. This Ayurvedic herb helps support heart, liver, and kidneys. The flowers give an unpleasant odor and are not used in Ayurvedic Medicine. The part that is used is the fruits which go from green to brown once they are mature. It has been said to be effective for Asthma, bronchitis, cough, laryngitis, clears congestion, helps in digestion, diarrhea, colitis, Crohn’s disease, improves appetite, intestinal inflammation, Bladder stones, Insomnia, helps nervous irritability, helps with urinary stones, improves appetite, improves memory and helps the body get rid of parasites. Combining with Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis) may help lower cholesterol and avoid the death of heart tissue.
CARDAMOM (Elettaria cardamomum): a natural tranquilizer that provides clarity and relaxation to a busy mind. It can also help cure teeth and gum infections, improves digestion, lowers blood pressure, cures strep throat, congestion of the lungs, pulmonary tuberculosis, inflammation of the eyelids, gastrointestinal disorders, disintegrating kidneys, and gallbladder stones, and has also been used as an antidote for poisons and venoms.
MYROBALAN (Terminalia chebula): Also known as purple leaf plum Myrobalan is another popular Ayurvedic herb. helps prevent eye diseases such as glaucoma and cataracts. It is also good for the digestive system by enhancing the absorption of nutrients in food and can be beneficial to promote heart health. It also improves memory, helps dissolve urinary stones, improves appetite, helps in digestion, helps nervous irritability. Myrobalan comes in powder, capsule, tablet and also as dried fruit.
ASHWAGANDHA (Withania somnifera): is one of the most popular herbs. The name translates to “Strength of horse.” It’s root has been used for thousands of years to treat many problems such as insomnia, anxiety, stress relief, fatigue, and brain fog.
TURMERIC (Curcuma longa): The compounds in this root have been shown help with the preservation of brain function, regulation of inflammation, and also cancer prevention. The main benefit comes from Curcumin with powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. The compounds in turmeric that helps heal are called curcuminoids.
BRAHMI (Bacopa monnieri): Bacopa is commonly used for improving memory, anxiety, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), memory, concentration, improves respiratory health, healing and disinfect the skin, help minimize Epilepsy seizures and even Alzheimer’s disease. It has also been said to boost the brain & nervous system’s resistance to stress. Brahmi has been used in traditional Indian Medicine (Ayurveda) and should not be confused with kola which is sometimes referred to as Brahmi. It should not be taken for more than 12 weeks continuously. It has been a big part of Ayurvedic and traditional medicines throughout the world for several generations. It can be used fresh as a salad or also can be consumed as a tea to give the immune system a boost and help fight against viruses, pathogens, or bacterial infections.
NEEM (Azadirachta indica): Neem leaf has been used for liver problems, intestinal worms, eye disorders, bloody nose, stomach upset, loss of appetite, skin ulcers, diseases of the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular disease), fever, diabetes, gum disease (gingivitis), and even for leprosy. The leaf is also used for birth control and to cause abortions. Each part of the plant has different benefits. The flower can be used to control phlegm, reduce bile, and treat intestinal worms. The fruit can be used for intestinal worms, eye issues, diabetes, and even leprosy.
CORIANDER (Coriandrum sativum): Also know as cilantro this herb can lower blood sugar, joint pain, Spasms, Loss of appetite, Nausea, stomach problems by assisting in stimulating bowel movement, Measles, lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol, helps with urinary tract infections, bacterial infections, can protect your liver, cures mouth ulcers and also has plenty of Vitamin A which helps protect against cavities and even lung cancer.
GUDUCHI (Tinospora cordifolia): Native to India this plant is said to help alleviate anxiety, stress, and helps to fight illnesses. It has multiple uses including alleviating allergies, inflammation, jaundice, arthritis, colds, hay fever, skin disorders, psoriasis or eczema, lowers blood pressure, helps reduce the effects of chemo medication. Has also been shown to lower blood but if taken for extended periods it can cause constipation. As with all Ayurvedic herbs you should always start with a low dosage and increase according to your reaction. It is always best to consult with a Holistic medicine practitioner or a medical professional before taking any supplements. Guduchi is one of the most sought after Ayurvedic herbs.
GINGER (Zingiber officinale): For years ginger has been used as an herbal medicine. Both fresh and dry ginger root are used frequently in Ayurveda but they have slightly different benefits. Ginger is said to be a superfood with many benefits including reducing nausea, improve digestion, respiratory relief and help with joint pain. clears phlegm in the lungs, alleviating coughs, colds. If taken in large doses ginger can help congestive type cardio disorders. It is also great for the morning after a night out drinking. It also improves blood circulation and warms up the body with its spicy aftertaste. Ginger is one of the most popular ancient Ayurveda medicines because of its gingerol content. Gingerol has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on your body.
BITTER MELLON (Momordica charantia): a tropical fruit that is said to help in the treatment of diabetes, Psoriasis, Acne, Constipation, Gout, Herpes, Psoriasis, Ulcerative colitis, Weight loss for tumors, asthma, skin, and digestive problems and also help alleviate menstrual cramps. It can be consumed as a fruit, juice, tea, or supplement. Bitter Mellon should not substitute your current diabetes treatment but should be taken to complement the medicine your doctor prescribed you. The leaves can be used for a tea and come in capsule form or as an alcohol-free extract. The fruit contains three different elements that help your body to regulate your blood sugar. The three are charantin, peptides, and alkaloids.
HOLY BASIL (Ocimum sanctum): This is not the standard sweet basil you’re accustomed to Holy Basil is used in Ayurveda as a way to alleviate bronchitis, eczema, stomach ulcers, eye disease, and even help alleviate pain from insect bites. Holy Basil is native to Southeast Asia and has been around in Ayurveda for a long time. Holy Basil can be used in Ayurveda. Holy Basil contains calcium, iron, chlorophyll, zinc, vitamin A, and Vitamin C. If your having a rough week you can also use Holy Basil to lower your stress levels, sexual problems, brain fog. It is so good for anxiety that it has been compared to diazepam. In Ayurvedic medicine, the most common way to consume it is as holy basil tea or supplements and alcohol extracts are also available online.
Ayurveda Educational Research
The International Ayurvedic Medical Journal (IAMJ) is an open access publication and is a great place to do further research into Ayurveda. If you wish to become a qualified practitioner there are several places you get more info such as Ayurveda.com and ayurvedacollege.com. Today many people are tired of taking some western medicine that can at times have harmful side effects. Although we discourage people who are suffering from major illnesses such as Cancer, Aids, Lupus, Stroke, Respiratory infections, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Alzheimer’s, Tuberculosis, Cirrhosis to discontinue using the medicine that your doctor gives you, using alternative Ayurvedic Medicine can be a great way to compliment your current medical treatment. You should closely monitor your results or consult with a professional in alternative methods and therapies along with your doctor to find the best possible treatment for your illness. Natural therapies can be an effective complement to western medicine and can sometimes be used as an alternative. You should always exercise caution when using any natural herbs and do plenty of research to ensure there are no harmful side effects.