Introduction to Ayurveda - Part One: Amazing Herbs

Part one: amazing herbs

Do you prefer to take care of your health naturally and herbally whenever possible?

Now is your chance to look at the abundance of amazing herbs traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine, a practice that has been tried and tested for thousands of years. I have chosen a favorite and highly esteemed herb to help bring each of the three doshic combinations back into balance.

For the pitta/kapha combination, the herb manjistha (Rubia cordifolia) is a gem. It is the best Ayurvedic blood purifier, a beautiful cleansing herb for the hot, hormonal, edema-prone, oilierskinned, congested individual.

Manjistha helps with acne, swollen glands, and excess fluid, and removes obstructions associated with the liver and kidneys, which tend to form stones.

For the pitta/vata combination, I have to recommend shatavari (Asparagus racemosus). Sorry guys, this is mostly an herb for the girls. However, it has an amazing pitta cooling effect and can be used even by men for  conditions of overheating of the brain or body, and for excess fire as in ulcerative conditions.

Shatavari is deeply nourishing and tonifying, or strengthening to the female reproductive system. It nourishes dry membranes and can be used long term, helping wildly hormonal pittas and anxious and melancholic vatas. Strong kaphas don’t usually need much help with their libido, but for you pitta- and vata-dominant girls this may be the answer you’ve been looking for: From Sanskrit it translates as, “She who possesses a hundred husbands!”

For the indecisive vata/kapha combination (who sometimes think they are pittas), I have chosen ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). If your body temperature runs cool regularly, read on.

Ashwagandha is one of the most important Ayurvedic herbs for today’s society and culture. We are hyperactive and yet adrenally exhausted; this herb can help us keep up. Can’t sleep? Chaotic dreams? Feeling spent, debilitated, and running on Starbucks? Libido on hold? I would not be without ashwagandha. Even if you have some pitta, but you’re not too out of balance, you can use it. Or combine it with shatavari for cooling, and you have a match made in heaven.

It is nearly impossible for me to limit myself to three favorite Ayurvedic herbs, so why try? Here are a few more that are tridoshic, meaning they are great for all doshic combinations:

Brahmi (a close relative of gotu kola) is excellent for the mind and imparts a calm and meditative consciousness; some yogis regularly eat fresh brahmi leaves to improve meditation. It is a valuable herb for the nervous system and detoxifies the brain cells.

Phyllanthus is another herb that is indispensable in today’s world. It is a gentle liver detoxifier, helping the liver cope with the effects of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and chemicals. It can be used by all doshas to aid daily detox.

Shankapushpi is another important Ayurvedic herb for the nervous system. It calms anxiety, rejuvenates the brain, uplifts the depressed, and clarifies the muddled. It is also useful for nerve pain, especially pain exacerbated by cold.

Gokshura is the lowly, unnoticed goat’s-head weed or puncture vine. Little did you know the weed that wrecked your bicycle tire is fantastic for the urinary tract and libido. It is an effective and gentle diuretic that is smooth like marshmallow root, so it’s soothing for stones, UTIs, and interstitial cystitis. It also strengthens the kidneys.

So little space, so many herbs. This is just a sampling of the marvels that Ayurvedic medicine has to offer: something for everyone, with disease prevention and optimum health as the primary goals.

Part two: Next time, Amber Lynn Vitse will share her Ayurvedic beauty tips.

By: Amber Lynn Vitse

" Introduction to Ayurveda "

©Copyright 2012,  By Amber Lynn Vitse  - Remedies For Life Magazine, October 12, 2012

AyruvedaRamy Mam