India has been internationally acclaimed as the storehouse of herbal Ayurvedic secrets. Here the practice of herbs, refined over thousands of years has been passed down centuries orally from teacher to student, before finally being documented. Check with your doctor before using any herbal supplements.
Today, the global movement towards a more natural lifestyle has brought about resurgence of interest in herbs. Herbs, glorified in the ancient medicinal science of Ayurveda have a gentle yet powerful effect in enhancing the health and beauty of man.
In the Rigveda, the oldest of the four Vedas (Indian ancient scriptures), an entire hymn has been written in praise of herbs, invoking their healing power. These magic plants are most beneficial when used in their freshest form, full of sap and juice. If dry, they should not be more than a year old, except for pippali (Indian long pepper) and vavding (fruits resembling small berries), which are more effective after a year.
Herbs that are bitter, slightly pungent and astringent in taste like cloves, gum arabic and black long pepper are best used for oral hygiene in dry and powdered form. Daily massage of the gums with a finger dipped in sesame or mustard oil is also a healthy practice. Ayurvedic cigarettes can be prepared from herbs like mulathi (Licorice), jatamansi (Indian spikenard), guggul (Indian bedellium) and cardamom, which relieve diseases of the throat, mouth, head and nose.
Herbs are associated with six tastes - sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Sweet herbs like shatavari (Wild asparagus) and ashvagandha
have a cooling taste. Tamarind, lemon and gooseberry are slightly heat producing and sour to taste. Rock salt is recommended, as it is cooling and beneficial for the eyes.
Reduces The Toxins
Herbs like hing (asafetida), vavding and lasan (garlic) are pungent and act as antidote to obesity and weight gain. Jeera (cummin), coriander seeds and neem, which are bitter to taste, reduce the accumulation of toxins. Turmeric is an astringent and cooling herb. Various herbal formulae combine all the 6 tastes in order to ensure a balanced combination for daily intake.
Available Herbs And Their Benefits
Ginger increases immunity and stimulates the digestive, respiratory and nervous systems. It helps revitalise sluggish circulation and to remove dullness and inertia and can be used both externally and internally. It can be applied on the forehead as a paste for cold-related headaches and on the chest for relief from colds and coughs. Ginger is heat producing and should be taken sparingly during summer months.
It is one of the best herbs for treatment of respiratory ailments such as colds, coughs as well as advanced cases of bronchitis and asthma. This herb is beneficial for the treatment of acidity and is a recommended tonic for jaundice. Its oil or paste can be used externally on the skin for swellings, infections and even on rheumatic joints.
Gooseberry rebuilds new tissues and increases red blood cell count and is nicknamed as 'nurse' in India, because of its healing and soothing properties. It cleanses the mouth, strengthens the teeth, stops bleeding of gums, improves eyesight, promotes hair growth, regulates blood sugar levels and relieves inflammation of the stomach and colon.
This herb is known for its ability to impart vitality and sexual energy. It accelerates growth in children and retards the process of ageing in adults. Winter Cherry is also a tissue tonic and helps build strong muscle.
Jasmine flowers cool the blood and have a strong anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-tumour action. They halt bleeding and are also excellent for fevers and for problems caused in the body due to heat like sunstroke. A mild aphrodisiac, jasmine arouses and excites the senses, especially that of women. It has a cooling effect and should not be taken during intense cold weather.
Sandalwood is a natural deodorant and can be used to heighten pleasure and transmute sexual energy into higher centres of the body.
Castor Oil Plant
Used for arthritis and rheumatism, castor oil also cleans the eyes and removes any foreign matter. When used as massage oil, it softens dry and coarse skin.
It is recommended for treatment of indigestion, poor circulation, cough, chest congestion, skin disorders, diabetes, anemia and for healing of wounds and bruises.
It is a good liver tonic and regular use helps tone the system. This herb imparts youthful energy and enhances femininity. Aloe Vera acts as stimulant to the uterus and vagina and has for years been used as a household remedy in India to promote menstruation and relieve muscle spasm.
It is one of the most sacred plants in India because of its healing and life-giving properties. It has been scientifically proved that basil
absorbs positive ions, energises negative ions and liberates ozone from the sun's rays.
Free Of Side Effects
Most of these herbs we choose to ignore because they are a common part of our daily lives. Harmless and free of side effects, they are the simplest and least expensive answer to the most complex modern day ailments. * Note: Image(s) the courtesy of http://www.dreamstime.com.