Secrets of the best ayurvedic herbs and remedies

Secrets of the Best Ayurvedic Herbs and Remedies

Secrets of the best ayurvedic herbs and remedies. After two months spent in Europe, I am back in India. And so is my new blog post topic. Ayurveda is an integrated part of Indian natural medicine and the way of living. I discovered it during my first travel to India back in 2009. Since then, it accompanies me in my life, becoming an important element of care and wellbeing.

Following the recent years of many health challenges in my family, I understood Ayurveda’s power. Together with traditional medicine, it can work wonders, as integrated prevention or treatment of many health conditions, especially civilization and lifestyle diseases.

Nature can do more than physicians.

The below herbs recommendation list and all the highlights are my observation. It is not medical advice. I strongly encourage you to dive deeper into this topic! It is worth it!

AYURVEDA IN A SNAPSHOT

Ayurveda in a snapshot

THE BEST AYURVEDIC HERBS AND REMEDIES

ALOE vera

What is it

In the Sanskrit language, aloe vera is called kumari. It means a ‘beautiful young girl‘. And that’s how it is known in Ayurveda – to keep a person youthful and beautiful. In Ayurveda, aloe vera belongs to herbs known as Rasayana. They are anti-aging, strengthen the immune system and protect the body from stress. The healing power of aloe vera is thanks to its rich content of over 75 vitamins, minerals, and other substances.

Aloe vera has long, fresh leaves with small thorns. That’s why people often confuse it with cactuses. However, it belongs to the lilies’ family. The great thing is that it grow anywhere as it doesn’t require any special conditions for cultivation. So no matter your location, have one at your home, balcony, or garden!

Overall, there are over 240 types of aloe. However, just 3-4 types have therapeutic properties, and the best one is Aloe Vera Barbadenis.

Secrets of the Best Ayurvedic Herbs Aloe Vera

Benefits

  • Hydration
  • Clear skin
  • Sunburn / burn

Tips for usage

Try to use the plants most naturally! Buy an aloe leaf (or cut your plant at home) that is a few years old. It ensures a higher concentration of the active substances. Do not cut off too many leaves at once. Inside the leaf, you will find the healing gel.

Remove it with a knife or your fingers. Depending on your usage, you can also cut it into slices or cubes. It is great to apply it directly on your skin (face, under eyes, any skin disorders). You can also make a smooth aloe gel by using a blender. How about aloe juice? Simple, for one glass of a liquid, add two tablespoons of aloe gel. A great thing: if you have too much aloe at once, you can also freeze it!

ARJUNA

What is it

Arjuna, a widely grown tree in India, is also known as the ‘Arjun tree‘ and referred to as the ‘heart’s herbal hero‘. In Sanskrit, the term ‘arjuna‘ means ‘bright‘ or ‘shining‘. This evergreen tree can reach heights up to 100 feet. The bark of Arjuna, which molts naturally once a year, is the part with the most therapeutic properties. It is harvested when the trees are mature. The bark is well-known for its cardioprotective actions and numerous skin benefits.

As per Ayurveda, the Arjuna bark has astringent, bitter, and a few pungent qualities. It makes it a skin-friendly ingredient. Additionally, the bark is also a powerful antioxidant. And let’s not forget the heart’s herbal hero! It is excellent for all conditions of heart imbalances.

Benefits

  • Helps reduce the risk of heart diseases
  • Protects the heart muscles
  • Reduces high blood pressure

Tips for usage

Traditionally, people take arjuna in powder form. You can also mix it with water and honey to make tea or to drink it with milk. If you prefer, there are also Arjuna tablets and syrups/extract. Do you want a simple Do-It-Yourself recipe? Make Arjuna paste from the bark blended with some honey! It works wonderfully to heal any skin disorders. 

AMALAKI

Secrets of the Best Ayurvedic Herbs Amalaki

What is it

Amalaki is a natural remedy in Ayurveda. It is also called amla or Indian gooseberry. It comes from Emblica Officinalis, a tree from southeastern Asia. The tree is small to medium in size, reaching one to eight meters in height. Similarly, to aloe vera, amla is classified as a Rasayana thanks to its restorative properties. Amalaki contains a lot of vitamin C and antioxidants. It is one of the three herbs included in Triphala, an herbal formula widely used in Ayurveda. 

Read more: I wrote more about amla in one of my previous posts: “Travel and Taste: Best Fruits from Asia You Can’t-Miss”.

Benefits

  • Cures respiratory disorders
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Enriches hair growth

Tips for usage

The best option: eat amalaki fruits directly. They are sour, so get ready! You can also add slices of it to your herbal tea or water drink. Another way to take Amalaki is by having Chyawanprash. It is an herbal jam made from amla, with berries, honey, sugar, ghee, sesame oil, and spices.

I also recommend Amalaki in the form of juicepowder, or capsules. We just got ourselves amla juice a few days ago.

ASHWAGANDHA

What is it

Ashwagandha is the staple and important herb in Ayurveda. Recently, thanks to its properties, it is becoming more popular outside of India. It’s also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry. In Sanskrit, Ashwagandha means the smell of the horse. It refers to both its unique smell and the ability to increase strength. In Ayurveda, ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen. It means that it can help the body manage stress.

The ashwagandha plant is a small bush with yellow flowers. Its roots and leaves can treat many health conditions. Its unique properties are attributed to the withanolides, which have been tested to fight inflammation and tumors. Ashwagandha also provides numerous other benefits. It can lower cortisol and blood sugar levels and help fight depression and anxiety.

Benefits

  • Natural treatment for low energy states & general exhaustion
  • A powerful anti-stress agent
  • Helps to reduce mental, physical & emotional stress

Tips for usage

Ashwagandha is usually available in tablets or powdered (churna) form. It’s also available in herbal teasoils, or body creams. Ashwagandha is a safe supplement. However, not all individuals should take it, for example, pregnant and breastfeeding women.

BRAHMI

What is it

Brahmi, officially known as Bacopa Monnieri, is also called a herb of grace or water hyssop. It is an important and unique plant in Ayurveda, often referred to as a memory or brain booster. Brahmi is a small succulent herb with many branches, purple or white flowers, and rooting at the nodes. It grows naturally in wet soil.

Its medical properties can be found in the entire plant, including flowers. Brahmi has a bitter and sweet taste, and it gives cooling energy. It is also an aphrodisiac! Its great benefits are associated with the compounds called bacosides.

Benefits

  • One of the world’s most powerful adaptogens
  • Promotes mental fitness, good memory & alertness
  • Improves overall well being & boosts energy

Tips for usage

There are many ways of using Brahmi. Next to the capsules and powder (churna), it can be consumed as herbal tea, cold infusion, or juice.

Brahmi tea is made by brewing a few leaves. It helps in cold and chest congestion. It also reduces pain and inflammation in the throat. Brahmi powder can be taken together with milk. It helps improve brain functions thanks to its antioxidant property. Whereas applying Brahmi oil to the scalp prevents hair loss as it nourishes hair.

fenugreek / METHI

Secrets of the Best Ayurvedic Herbs Methi

What is it

Fenugreek or Greek Hay, in India known as methi, has its official name of Trigonella Foenum Graecum. It is an annual plant with green leaves. The stalks are 30-60cm tall and contain slender pods, 10-15cm long. Inside these pods, methi seeds can be found, usually 10 to 20 per pod.

Methi is a highly effective herb, common in South and Central Asia. It is used both for medicinal purposes and as a spice in various cuisines.

In India, methi leaves, called Kasuri Methi, are used as a vegetable. In fact, not only the seeds but also the leaves of this plant have great healing properties. Fenugreek has warming properties, additionally it is sweet in taste with plenty of nourishing qualities. This allows methi to be used both internally and externally.

Benefits

  • Supports healthy glucose metabolism
  • Improves weight loss
  • Relieves arthritis pain

Tips for usage

Methi seeds are consumed through meals and drinks for their nutritional value. Similarly, you can add methi leaves in many dishes, preferably lightly cooked. Some tips below for methi seeds herbal teas:

  • Soothing & stress-relieving tea: mix fenugreek seeds, holy basil, mint, cinnamon, honey, and lemon juice.
  • Digestive tea: leave fenugreek seeds for 5-10min in a cup of hot water and drink it; as it has a bitter taste and is warming tea, it is great for the digestive system or as an appetite builder.
  • Multi benefits tea: soak overnight 1-2 tablespoons of methi seeds and eat them or drink as a tea in the morning (it promotes lactation, helps in digestion, eases back discomfort or joints pain).

ginger / adrak

What is it

Ginger is a powerful and flavorful herb. The use of ginger, known as Adrak in India, dates back 4000 years. Its health benefits were discovered ~2000 years ago.

Adrak is one of the most important medicines in Ayurveda. It is often considered as a root, however, it is an underground stem, called a rhizome. Its excellent health benefits are now being proven by scientists. They range from treating bacterial infections to cancer.

Ginger belongs to the family called Zingiberaceae, together with turmeric, cardamom, and galangal. The taste of ginger is hot and pungent. In Ayurveda, there is a saying that everyone should eat fresh ginger before lunch and dinner to have better digestion.

Benefits

  • Has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Helps with digestion
  • Aids detoxification

Tips for usage

The best way? If you can, eat raw ginger. Cut it into smaller slices, dip it in honey or a bit of salt and lemon juice. Have it before the main meal. If you find ginger too pungent to eat raw, add a few slices of it to your vegetables or meat as they cook. You can also try a homemade ginger tea! Boil crushed pieces of ginger in the water. Once ready, add a bit of honey to it and enjoy this healthy tea! In India, it is common to add crushed ginger to chai (Indian tea). It adds a great flavor.

IS THAT IT?

Of course not! I hope you can’t wait already to read the continuation of this post. What will be there to discover? Haridra (turmeric), Moringa, Neem, Punarnava, Shatavari, Triphala and Tulsi. So make sure to prepare some good tea or coffee (or maybe wine!) and enjoy the continuation of this article next Saturday.

Is there any Ayurvedic herb, remedy, or maybe practice that you would recommend and I should incorporate? Share below!

Stay safe. Stay healthy!


Moments that matter, no matter which herb.

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