(Last Updated on : 31/08/2013)
as the science of life combines natural therapies with a personalized approach to the treatment of disease. This form of healthcare focuses equally on the wellness of the body, mind, and spirit. Ayurvedic physicians ensure the overall health of people by looking at their unique strengths and susceptibilities and by identifying their metabolic type (vata, pitta, or kapha).
The main aim of Ayurvedic medication is to help a person remain healthy as well as to treat a person suffering from disease. According to the eight branches of ayurveda or the Ashtang Ayurveda, when the bodily activities of a human being occur at an optimum level and the individual is physically, mentally and spiritually balanced, the condition is known as health.
This non invasive Ayurvedic treatment procedure supports the usage of natural herbs as the main curatives. Since ages, ayurveda has rediscovered nature's own treasure in healing. Herbs, roots, leaves and fruits have all gained a whole new facet in the arena of ayurvedic treatment as the ayurvedic healers of India have so very passionately pounded and stewed, mixed and matched whole flowers, roots, stems and leaves to get the desired curatives. The green and tender ayurvedic herbs since ages with their unique flavours and intoxicating aromas and impressive healing powers have made ayurveda a natural science to achieve healthy life.
Ayurvedic herbs are made out of roots, bark, fruits and plants, found in the deep dark woods of India where the herbs grow freely without pesticides and chemicals. These ayurvedic herb works with perfect harmony with the body and the mind. Ayurvedic medicine utilizes ayurvedic herbs for the therapeutics like herbal tonics, and herbal sweat baths. To deal with stress-related, metabolic, and chronic conditions these ayurvedic herbs are administered often orally or even often inhaled depending on the need of the patient. Ayurvedic herbs can be classified into five types: according to origin, according to habitat, according to various actions, according to action on doshas and according to their use.
Classifications of herbs according to origin are based on the theory of Panchabhuta
. According to ayurveda, Dravya or substance is constituted by five elements or Panchabhuta. Herb is also a Dravya hence it has been classified as Parthiv, Apaya, Taijas , Vayaveeya and Akasheeya.
The classification of ayurvedic herb as per habitat and life span divides the herbs into four main categories like Sthalaj - Plant and trees that grow on land, e.g. Haritaki
, Amalki etc, Jalaj - herbs that grow in water. E.g Lotus
, Vruksharuha- herbs that grow other tree but are not dependent on that tree for its food and Vrukshadan (parasitic) - herbs that grow on another tree and also depend on that for its required food. Ayurvedic herbs that are being classified according to the action on doshas are known as Shaman - herbs which associate the vitiated dosha without purifying the doshas or disturbing the equilibrium, Kopan - herbs which vitiate the doshas in equilibrium and Swasthahita - herbs which have a tendency to increase or decrease vatadi doshas. Depending on their usage also ayurveda classifies the ayurvedic herbs into two main categories like aushadhi herb - herbs which are mainly used in preparing medicine; and ahar Dravya herb - the herbs that are used in preparing ayurvedic pathya.
Ayurvedic herbs are further categorized according to their herbal properties and functions and each herb are used to treat each specific disease or behavior. It is only by studying the symptoms coupled with the constitution of the patient, the ayurvedic practitioners determines the prevalence of each of the physical manifestations of the doshas and selects herbs to correct the physical imbalances.
The selection of the ayurvedic herbs in this case is also done, based on the characteristics of the herbal materials. Based on their characters ayurvedic herbs can be broadly classified into three main groups: herbs related to Vaisheik gunas (related to the sensory organ), herbs related to Samanya gunas (general) and herbs related to Atma gunas (related to the soul). Although the ayurvedic herb has been categorised yet one of the major descriptions of herb properties is based on the taste of the herbs, i.e. Sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent.
The properties of the ayurvedic herbs and effects of the doshas are taken into account in designing the Ayurvedic herb formulas. So it is important to know the details of the ayurvedic herbs.
Amalaki is a common Ayurvedic herb mainly used to maintain and rebuild tissues whilst augmenting the RBC count. Rich in Vitamin C, it reduces pitta without aggravating vata or kapha and is one of the three herbs used in triphala, the primary Ayurvedic tonic for maintaining health. Arjuna
, another ayurvedic herb is traditionally given to support circulation and oxygenation of all tissues. It is also a famous cardiac tonic used in Ayurveda for a variety of heart conditions. Ashoka
is used in Ayurveda as a tonic for the uterus and is believed to maintain the proper function of the female generative system.
Ashwagandha an important ayurvedic herb has been traditionally used for general debility, sexual debility and nerve exhaustion. Ashwagandha is also considered as the primary adaptogenic Ayurvedic herb as this herb is famed to build reserves for handling stressful conditions. In the ancient Ayurvedic medical texts of India, the gummy exudate from boswellia
is grouped with other gum resins and referred to collectively as guggals
. Historically, the guggals were recommended by Ayurvedic physicians for a variety of conditions, including osteo-arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, diarrhea, dysentery, pulmonary disease, and ringworm.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has recommended ginger
for over 2,500 years. It is used for abdominal bloating, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, and rheumatism. Ginger is commonly used in the Ayurvedic and Tibb systems of medicine for the treatment of inflammatory joint diseases, such as arthritis and rheumatism. There are two types of Ginger i.e. Black Ginger and Wild Ginger. Gotu kola, an important ayurvedic herb has been important in the medicinal systems of central Asia for centuries. In Sri Lanka, it was purported to prolong life, as elephant
s commonly eat the leaves.
Numerous skin diseases, ranging from poorly healing wounds to leprosy, have been treated with Gotu kola
. Gotu kola also has a historical reputation for boosting mental activity and for helping a variety of illnesses, such as high blood pressure, rheumatism, fever, and nervous disorders. Some of its common applications in Ayurvedic medicine include heart disease, water retention, hoarseness, bronchitis, and coughs in children, and as a poultice for many skin conditions.
has a long and highly varied record of uses as an ayurvedic herb. It was and remains one of the most important herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Among its most consistent and important uses are as a demulcent (soothing, coating agent) in the digestive and urinary tracts, to help with coughs, to soothe sore throats, and as a flavoring. It has also been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat conditions ranging from diabetes to tuberculosis. In ancient times, the red-brown resin of myrrh was used to preserve mummies. It was also used as a remedy for numerous infections, including leprosy and syphilis. Herbalists for relief also recommended myrrh from bad breath and for dental conditions. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it has been used to treat bleeding disorders and wounds.
or Niruri is an herb found in central and southern India. It can grow from 30-60 centimeters in height and blooms with many yellow flowers. Phyllanthus species are also found in other countries, including China (e.g., Phyllanthus urinaria), the Philippines, Cuba, Nigeria, and Guam. All parts of the plant are used traditionally as an ayurvedic herb.
The bitter rhizomes of picrorhiza have been used for thousands of years in India to treat people with indigestion. It is also used to treat people with constipation due to insufficient digestive secretion and for fever due to all manner of infections.
Tylophoras as an ayurvedic herb has been traditionally used as a folk remedy in certain regions of India for the treatment of bronchial asthma, bronchitis, rheumatism, and dermatitis. In the latter half of the 19th century, it was called Indian ipecacuahna, as the roots of the plant have often been employed as an effective substitute for ipecac. Alfalfa, also known as lucerne, is a member of the pea family and is native to western Asia and the eastern Mediterranean region. Alfalfa sprouts have become a popular food.
Alfalfa herbal supplements primarily use the dried leaves of the plant. The heat-treated seeds of the plant have also been used.
Among all herbs, Tulsi
occupies the most respected and important position. The Tulsi plant can be used for prevention as well as cure of illnesses. A Tulsi plant at the doorstep is said to keep the atmosphere of the house pure and clean, and keep illness away.
While some ayurvedic herbs are administered individually some other herbs are also used as traditional formulas. In traditional ayurvedic formulas like Digestive Fire ayurvedic herbs like ginger, black pepper and pipalli are used to enkindle digestive fire and to burn fat and toxins. Gasex is another traditional formula used to help remove gas and bloat. This contains warming herbs such as cumin, and asafoetida. Joint Formula a most well accepted ayurvedic formula contains boswellia, Ashwagandha, turmeric and ginger to control inflammation and maintain healthy muscles and joints.
All the Ayurvedic medicines are made from natural ayurvedic herbs of Indian origin, which are used as herbal medicines, herbal extracts, herbal cosmetics, nutrition foods and other alternative medicines and herbal remedies for natural healings.