Ayurveda, the “science of life” is an ancient, practical healing science from India. As a result many call it “the mother of healing”.
Ayurveda is more than 5000 years old and its main aim is at maintaining naturally the harmony of an individual and to ensure optimal health, whatever my be main pursuit in life. It is believed that soon after Ayurveda, other healing cultural medicines were formed.
Some say that Ayurveda is the basis for traditional Tibetan medicine. Others believe that Ayurveda was passed down from God to his angels, and finally to humans.
Ayurveda was first introduced by spiritual Indian teachers. Traditionally these great teachers are called rsis (‘sages’). Later on, some of these same spiritual Indian teachers also introduced Ayurveda to the West.
But Ayurveda is also meant for other people, not only ‘sages’. Reason to that is that people are their own healers and Ayurveda educates people to take control of their own health by balancing nutritional and lifestyle habits, thus prevent illness or to heal.
According to Ayurvedic the human body can be seen from three doshas (dosha – blemish) or three principles of functions: Vayu (or Vata), Pitta, and Kapha. They influence houman being from both within and without. Each person is made up of a combination of these elements.
- Mental balance
- Physical balance
- Spiritual balance
- Achieving holistic health
Ayurveda is based on the idea that health and disease are result of interaction of body-mind-spirit of being. In addition, all of them are energetic remedies based on their heating and cooling energies, for example food, herbs, habits, environmental factors.
- Vayu or Vata relates to the nerve-force being responsible for all moments in the mind and body
- Pitta relates to internal fire, bile, body heat, digestive enzymes, biological, metabolic and endocrine systems.
- Kapha function in the body is to provide stability, lubrication, nourishiment, endurance and strength.
There are over 2,000 medicinal plants very effective in Ayurveda to healing illness. They can be used as infusions, teas, powders and pills. Fresh herbs have the strongest power while pills have the least power. Every herb is classified according to which dosha they decrease or increase.
Ayurveda uses herbs according to their energies and each herb has its own therapeutic effects.
- Initial taste
- Hot or cold effect
- Post digestion effect
- Special properties
In Ayurveda, taste is considered therapeutic, therefore blending the right amount of herbs for the right taste is very important. If for instance, the taste of the food is not pleasing, food might not be well digested and proper nutrition is not received.
According to Ayurveda, all foods and liquids contain six tastes: sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, astringent, or combination. Everyone needs some of each of the six tastes every day.
Most important Ayurvedic herbs
- Akarkará (Pellitory) – stimulant, nerve tonic used for nerve disorders, bowel conditions, sore throat, epilepsy, rheumatism.
- Ádrak (Fresh Ginger) – analgesic, aromatic, aphrodisiac, digestive, nervine, stimulant.
- Agnimañtha bart (Premna integrifolia)
- Ámalakí (meaning the nurse in English myrobalan) – circulatory, digestive, aphrodisiac, astringent, laxative, nutritive tonic, rejuvenate, used for anemia, bleeding, colitis, constipation, gout, hair, hemorrhoids, liver weakness, mental disorder, spleen weakness.
- Amlavetasa (Rhubarb) –
- Arjuna bark (Terminalia arjuna)
- Ashwagandhá root (Withania somnifera)
- Betel nut (Areca catechu), digestive stimulant
- Bhringarája herb (Eclipta alba)
- Balá (Sida cordifolia) (Indian Country Mallow)
- Bhallataka fruit (Semecarpus anacardium)
- Bhunimba steam and leaf (Andrographis paniculata)
- Bhútrina (Lemon Grass)
- Bibhítaka fruit (Terminalia belerica)
- Bilva fruit (Aegle marmelos)
- Bráhmí (Gotu Kola)
- Candana wood (Santalum album)
- Chakra Marada
- Cháògerí, Amliká
- Citraka (Plumbago zeylanica)
- Dáruharidrá/Dáruhaldi (Barberry)
- Devadaru bark (Cedrus deodara) (Himalayan Cedar)
- Dhányak (Coriander/Cilantro)
- Elá fruit (Elettaria cardamomum) (Cardamom)
- Eraònda (Castor Oil)
- Gauriphal (Red Raspberry)
- Gokshura fruit (Tribulus terrestris)
- Gudúci stem (Tinospora cordifolia)
- Guggulu resin (Commiphora mukul) (Indian Bedellium)
- Haridra rhizome (Curcuma longa) (Turmeric)
- Harítakí fruit (Terminalia chebula)
- Hingu resin (Ferula foetida)
- Íshabgol (Ispaghula or Spogel Seeds)
- Jatamamsi rhizome (Nardostachys grandiflora)
- Jatiphala fruit (Myristica fragrans)
- Juotismati fruit (Celastrus paniculatus)
- Kantkari fruit (Solanum xanthocarpum)
- Kapikachhú fruit (Mucuna pruriens)
- Katuka rhizone (Picrorhiza kurroa)
- Kumari (Aloe Vera)
- Kumkum (Saffron)
- Kushá (Durba)
- Kustha root (Saussurea lappa)
- Kusmanda fruit (Benincasa hispida)
- Kutaja bark (Holarrhena anttidysenterica)
- Laghu Patha (Jal Jamní)
- Mamírá (Gold Thread)
- Mandukaparni (Centella asiatica)
- Mañjistha stem and root (Rubia cordifolia)
- Mañjishthá (Indian madder)
- Maricha (Black Pepper)
- Mustaka rhizome (Cyperus rotundus)
- Nágakesara flower (Mesua ferrea)
- Nimba (Neem) (Azadirachta indica)
- Nirgundi (Vitex negundo)
- Pashana Bheda
- Pippalí (Piper longum), (Long Pepper)
- Pravál (mineral)
- Punarnavá (Boerhavia diffusa)
- Rasonam (Garlic)
- Rechanaka (Raktam)
- Sálaparni (Desmodium gangeticum)
- Sárivá (Sarasparilla)
- Sankhapuspi (Evolvulus alsinoides)
- Shankh Pushpí
- Satávarí (Asparagus racemosus)
- Silajatu (mineral)
- Shwetamusali (White Musali)
- Snuhi (Vajra)
- Syonaka (Oroxylum indicum)
- Tagara (Valerian)
- Tejbal (Tumburu)
- Tila (Sesame)
- Tráymán (Wild Violet)
- Trivrt root (Operculina turpethum)
- Tulsí (Holy Basil)
- Twak (Cinnamon)
- Usira root (Vettiveria zizaniodes)
- Vachá (Calamus)
- Vamshaha Lochana (Bamboo Manna)
- Vamsarocana (Bambusa arundinacea)
- Váráhíkand (Yam)
- Vásáka (Vásák) (Adhatoda vasica)
- Vatsnábh (Aconite)
- Vidanga fruit (Embelia ribes)
- Yashóímadhu (Licorice)
- Yavani fruit (Trachyspermum ammi)