Herbs are generally regarded as ‘medicinal plants’ used in treating and curing ailments as well as enhancing the wellbeing, vigour and vitality of an individual. Other than this, herbs have also been associated with providing seasoning, flavouring and essence to the food items. Today, herbs find immense usage in the field of medicine, food industry and also in manufacturing of beauty products. The simple herbs that can be grown in the kitchen gardens find meritorious and handy use in treating day to day maladies. And particularly in the recent years, herbs have found a lot of acceptance worldwide. This is because these are easy to use, safe with no side effects and are essentially an asset that puts our bodies in harmony with Nature.
Herbs around the World
Herbs have always been popular all over the world and with different communities. There are illustrations in The Bible about the use of various herbs for the benefit of health of the body. In Genesis, God has said, “I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth. And every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. It is no doubt that today the herbs are believed to be pure and natural sources that assure the fruit of good health. It is a known fact now that the herbs help to cleanse and purify the body and also help the body in preparing its own defence system against a disease. Not only this, herbs also provide nutrition to the body. Unlike the synthetic drugs, herbs might not produce instant results, yet in the long run, these offer a way to put the body in tune with the nature.
Ayurveda Philosophy of Herbs as Healers
According to the ancient wisdom science of Ayurveda, herbs may be used both in the form of food as well as medicine. And rightly so, herbs provided by Nature make the part and parcel of most of the Ayurveda medicines. Ayurveda claims the usage of herbs to be authentic as this gratifies and supports the very basis of the holistic healing. The basic aim of Ayurvedic therapy is firstly to restore the health of a healthy individual, and secondly to do away the affliction of the diseased one. Therefore, in order to achieve either of these objectives, a herb comes into use.
Ayurveda Treatment with Herbs
Ayurveda treatment rests on four pillars viz. doctor, patient, helper and drug. Drug is generally referred to the herb, which comes in extensive use in treating a disease. Herbs are used on the principle of the existing properties, which tend to either increase or decrease the doshas or the basic body humors present in the patient’s body. The three doshas or body humors are Vata or the air, Pitta or the fire and Kapha or the phlegm. A balance in all the three doshas ensures health. Yet, if either of the three is distorted i.e. increased or decreased than their normal limits, this results into production of a disease.
Ayurveda Herbs as Healing Drugs
The herb works on simple principle that it generally tends to increase the dosha which is similar in properties to that existing in the herb. The Ayurveda drugs, which more importantly are the herbs, are believed to be made up of Panchmahabhootas or the five basic elements viz. earth, water, fire, air and ether. Similarly, our body is also made up of these five basic principles. Therefore, Ayurveda believes that the herbs come to use in curing an ailment that crops up in the body. This further attributes to the presence of taste, after taste, properties and actions of the particular drug. These can be acknowledged by the help of the five sense organs viz. the smell, taste, sight, touch and sound. These Ayurveda herbs are particularly gifted with natural properties that essentially cleanse the body, enhance the vital energy and at the same time help the body in preparing its own defence system against disease.
Top 10 Healing Herbs in Ayurveda
1. Aloe vera
The healing herb of Aloe vera is actually a store house of multiple health giving assets and is primarily a wonderful natural digestive. Ayurveda therapeutic science recommends Aloe Vera for a number of digestion related maladies like acidity, excessive flatulence, indigestion, constipation, loss of hunger and piles. The uses of the herb of Aloe vera are immense. The fresh juice applied on the face can result into fairness and loss of blemishes. The pulp extracted from the leaves of the plant can be taken regularly to improve digestion. The pulp of Aloe vera can be boiled in milk and taken for energy boost. Mix some turmeric powder into the pulp of Aloe vera and this has to be heated on fire and can be applied to the affected part for relief from pain and swellings of joints.
2. Holy Basil
Tulsi (Holy Basil) is another herb that possesses numerous health-giving assets. It has proven anti toxic properties as well as nerve tonic and boosts intellect. The herb of Holy Basil is highly beneficial for respiratory ailments and a boon for fevers of mixed origin. Ayurveda believes that this herb alone can withstand the toxins in your system and at the same time elevate your resistance against disease. Also, Holy basil is believed to hold anti-asthmatic and anti-infective properties. Ayurveda recommends Holy Basil to empower respiratory resistance.
Turmeric, the yellow coloured spice has the Latin name Curcuma longa. Some Sanskrit names are more descriptive of the herb like Haridra i.e. that what protects the colour of the body, Kanchni i.e. it is gold like in color Krimighana i.e. it is a destroyer of worms and Yoshitpriya i.e. it is favourable for women for enhancing their beauty. Turmeric or Haldi as called in Hindi, comes to an extensive use in treating any kind of allergic malady. Turmeric is also a possessor of unique wound healing properties. In Ayurvedic texts, it has been told that the fumes of burning turmeric can combat the toxicity and pain. Applying turmeric warmed along with some mustard oil can treat a pain and swelling resulting from an injury. As per Ayurveda, turmeric is believed to be a destroyer of all the three basic doshas of the body viz. Vata, Pitta and Kapha. It needs to be understood that these doshas or body humors when remain in their balanced state, provide us with the fruit of health. On the contrary, any distortion among any of the same results in the production of a disease. Ayurveda recommends the herb of Turmeric in a large variety of ailments and also for enhancing the natural beauty.
Neem or the Margosa tree is a natural cleanser that flushes out toxins from the body and thus helps clear the skin from maladies like pimples and skin eruptions. It is recommended both for internal as well as external use. The juice extracted from grinding fresh Neem leaves and the paste thus formed can be applied on the skin eruptions. Also the Neem leaves could be pounded and made into small balls, which when taken on an empty stomach proves a wonderful blood purifier. According to Ayurveda, Neem is light in nature and cold in action. The taste is pungent and astringent, whereas the after taste is bitter. Therefore, Neem again proves beneficial in decreasing the aggravated heat in the body system. All the more it is believed to be a natural antiseptic, antipruritic and a natural wound healer. When it comes to clear, smooth and supple skin, one prime herb that cannot be left out is the Neem. Neem has the property of blood purification and therefore comes to extensive use in skin maladies like acne, dermatitis, blemishes and also in skin allergies.
Garlic or Lahsun, according to Ayurveda, is considered to be a stimulant and a rejuvenator. Natural properties of this herb include being hot in action, slimy and heavy and providing with bitter aftertaste. Also, the herb of Garlic is carminative, a good diuretic and has a distinctive property of renewing the damaged body tissues. The properties of garlic include being hot in action, slimy and heavy and provide a bitter aftertaste. The varied properties of Garlic reveals that it helps in digestion, it has a soothing action on the brain, good for the eyes, useful in the diseases of the throat, helps to remove parasites from the intestines, relieves any swelling and also helps in reunion of the broken bones. Also it contains a unique virtue to fight toxins and enhancing the general body resistance against a disease. Know about 10 Reasons Why Garlic is So Good for You!
Ayurveda regards Punarnava as the rejuvenating and revitalizing herb. Derived from two Hindi words ‘Punar’ which means again and ‘nava’ is new. Therefore a herb that is believed to renew the body systems and all the more rejuvenates as well as revives the body is called Punarnava. The Latin name of the herb is Boerhavia diffusa and in English it is called as Spreading hogweed. Punarnava is sweet, pungent and astringent in taste and the after taste is also sweet. It is light and rough by nature and hot in action. Chemically, the main component is an alkaloid called Punarnavine. The root, seed and the entire herb are used for medicinal purposes.
Ashwagandha is one herb that could provide you with multiple health benefits viz. restoring your energy levels as well as vigour and vitality, providing stress relief, bestowing peaceful sleep, providing relief in joint pains et al. Ayurveda conveys that the herb of Ashwagandha is extremely beneficial in restoring as well as revitalizing the overall wellbeing of an individual. Not only this, this particular herb comes to use effectively for restoring the energy levels of an emaciated person and all the more significantly playing a substantial role in delaying the process of aging. In the Ayurvedic texts, the herb of Ashwagandha is quite rightly regarded as a Rasayana. Evidently, all the natural herbs that help in increasing resistance against disease, enhancing physical as well as mental health and also aid in delaying the debility of aging; are mainly termed as Rasayanas. The herb of Ashwagandha has the benefit of being entitled as Rasayana, owing to the exceptional properties it holds.
The herb of Brahmi belongs to the family Umbelliferae, the Latin name of the herb is Centella asiatica. The Sanskrit synonyms are more descriptive of the herb like ‘Brahmi’ i.e. that what increases intellect, ‘Sarswati’ i.e. that what enhances the brain powers, ‘Mandooki’ i.e. it is found in damp places like besides rivers and ponds and spreads like a frog. The herb of Brahmi is generally annual and spreads on the ground. It bears small leaves that are kidney shaped and small red coloured flowers. In the Ayurveda therapy, the natural herb of Brahmi is used effectively to cure ailments related to the dysfunction of the brain and also to revive and reinforce the efficient working of the brain commands. As a natural brain tonic, the Ayurveda herb of Brahmi comes to extensive usage to enhance intellect as well as memory power. Not only this, the herb of Brahmi is used by Ayurveda therapists in healing mind and brain related ailments like epilepsy and anxiety.
In Ayurveda text it is mentioned that the special properties of rejuvenation and revitalizing of the entire body systems lie in the fruit of Aamla. Aamla or Emblica officinalis which is its Latin name is found extensively in India in the form of two varieties. One is hard, small in size and found in forests; while the other type is softer, bigger in size, more fleshy and is cultivated. The fruit of Aamla is found to be mainly useful in decreasing the heat as per its natural properties. Therefore, its most extensive use has been seen in the treatment of the diseases associated with increased body heat. For example, it proves quite useful in ailments like burning sensation in eyes and in sole of the feet, increased thirst; or when there is immature graying of the hair due to excessive heat inside the body.
The herb of liquorice (also spelt as licorice), and known as mulathee or yastimadhu in Hindi is known for providing us with a variety of health restoring benefits. It may be used both for preventive, as well as curative purposes, although within the recommended dosage. In Ayurveda, the roots of yashtimadhu are used for preparing medicines. Yashtimadhu, as the name suggests, has a sweet taste as well as after taste. Ayurveda counsels it to be supportive in treating the ailments relating to Vata and Pitta doshas imbalance. The nature of the herb is heavy, slimy and cold in action. It therefore helps to balance the aggravated Vata or the air body humor, as well as the increased pitta or the heat in the body. Ayurveda believes that the herb of liquorice is beneficial in hyperacidity, habitual constipation, abdominal pain, bronchitis, colds, cough, sore throat, muscle spasms, mouth and stomach ulcers and painful or burning urination. Moreover, it naturally supports the vital organs by improving the body’s immunity and endurance.
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