For more than 2000 years Ayurvedic herbs have been used for their medicinal qualities. Ayurvedic medicine is still practiced in India to this day and is organized through the Indian government. Ayurvedic practitioners create blends of 30 or more herbs, but you can even bring the benefits of individual Ayurvedic herbs into your daily life.
These herbs have potent effects on your body and often perform as well as pharmaceutical drugs. They offer a way to bolster your health and build resistance to disease. Some herbs also show promise when it comes to increasing your memory and reflex times! Although you won't get superhuman strength, Ayurvedic herbs are a promising way to promote a healthy and fulfilling life.
What Is Ayurvedic Medicine?
Ayurvedic Medicine, or Ayurveda, is an ancient Indian practice of holistic healing. The focus of Ayurveda is on balancing forces in the body through lifestyle, diet, and Ayurvedic herbs. It's believed in Ayurveda that an imbalance in your body and life causes illness. According to Ayurveda, you can prevent and treat disease by maintaining and restoring this balance.
The primary objective of Ayurveda is to bolster your body's health, immune system, and strength. Ayurvedic practitioners will create a regiment designed explicitly for your personality, body, and lifestyle. By bolstering your body's strength and functions, Ayurveda keeps you healthy and strong, and resistant to disease and illness.
What Are Ayurvedic Herbs
In Ayurveda, concoctions of herbs reinforce your body's overall health. Ayurvedic practitioners create these mixtures with your specific body and lifestyle in mind. The formulas may include up to 40 different herbs.
Each Ayurvedic herb has a variety of effects on your body and interactions with other herbs. These interactions are often complex and vast. For example, one single herb may reduce inflammation, reduce stress hormone levels, lower blood sugar, and increase fertility.
Keep in mind, however, that most Ayurvedic herbs only have a limited amount of scientific research on their effects on the human body. Many Ayurvedic herbs have only shown evidence of health benefits in mice but could affect the human body in a much different way. Because of this, it's imperative to be cautious when using Ayurvedic herbs. One should always see their physician before using Ayurvedic herbs. Your physician will be able to help you use Ayurvedic herbs safely. Finally, it's a good idea to abstain from Ayurvedic herbs if you're pregnant, breastfeeding, or have an autoimmune disease.
Popular Ayurvedic Herbs and Their Health Benefits
Although Ayurveda often uses complex blends of herbs, there are individual Ayurvedic herbs you can use to bolster your health. Just keep in mind that a mere "handful" of studies isn't enough to provide conclusive evidence. Some health effects of Ayurvedic herbs are proven, while others are just suggested. Don't use this article as medical advice, but as a guide to show you options you can look further into.
Ashwagandha is a prominent herb in Ayurveda. Its heaping load of potential health benefits proves why it's so prominent.
Lowers blood sugar levels
Trials with human participants have found ashwagandha to work well at reducing blood sugar levels in healthy and diabetic persons. It does this by affecting your insulin production.
Within the laboratory, researchers have found ashwagandha to be a promising anti-cancer agent. Experiments with cancer cells and mice have shown the herb may impede the growth and spread of cancer cells. More research is necessary to get a better look, but in the future, ashwagandha may one-day complement cancer treatments.
Reduce stress and anxiety
Studies have found a noticeable impact of an extract of ashwagandha on the reduction of stress hormones in participants suffering from chronic stress. The participants also reported weaker feelings of overall stress and anxiety.
Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce inflammation in animals, and reduce indicators of inflammation in humans. These same indicators also have connections to heart disease. Therefore, ashwagandha even has a chance of lowering heart disease risks.
A study of 50 participants found ashwagandha was able to improve "general memory, task performance, and attention." Trials on rats found a similar effect from Ashwagandha
Overall, ashwagandha has a lot of potential. If you're suffering from anxiety or looking to give your body an overall health boost, it's a strong candidate to look into.
Turmeric is a primary ingredient of curry and is another large staple of Ayurveda. It contains a compound called curcumin which has powerful and proven health benefits. The most challenging aspect of using turmeric as a therapeutic herb is that it's hard for your body to absorb. You can overcome this by taking it with piperine, a compound that increases its ability to be taken into the body.
Curcumin has been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It is actually equal in strength to a few anti-inflammatory drugs. Chronic inflammation causes many health issues, and taking turmeric may help to relieve this issue.
In a study with participants who suffered from arthritis, curcumin was able to reduce overall symptoms. In fact, curcumin worked better than the anti-inflammatory drugs used in the experiment.
Curcumin has shown promise as a way to fight depression. In a study of 60 participants, curcumin worked as well as the anti-depressant Prozac.
The active ingredient of turmeric is a very strong antioxidant. Antioxidants protect your body from harm by eliminating free radicals, molecules that do damage to the cells in your body. Moreover, the curcumin increases your body's ability to create its own antioxidants. This ability to enhance your body's antioxidant capabilities is at the core of Ayurveda.
It turns out turmeric plays a prominent role in preventing disease as well as treating it. Like ashwagandha, turmeric is worth looking into as a supplement to increase overall health.
As you can probably surmise from the previously mentioned herbs, holy basil has a vast host of potential health benefits as well.
Stress and anxiety
Studies have found holy basil to reduce overall stress and anxiety similarly to turmeric. Holy basil held up next to other anti-depressants in decreasing overall symptoms of stress and depression.
Holy basil works as a disinfectant and painkiller on open wounds. The herb is also able to shorten the amount of time it takes for an injury to heal, and decrease the likelihood of the wound to reopening.
The next time you're feeling a stomach ache, try using holy basil to improve it. Holy basil increases the mucous lining of your stomach and decreases the acidity to protect your stomach.
If you're susceptible to stomach ulcers or stress holy basil is indeed worth giving a shot.
How to Use Ayurvedic Herbs
After hearing about all the ways Ayurvedic herbs can improve your health, you may be chomping at the bit to use them. Thankfully it's not as difficult as you might think.
One way of taking Ayurvedic herbs is to make a recipe using powdered herbs. You can find recipes online using milk, ghee, or honey that you can easily drink. There are also recipes that use the powders when cooking.
You can buy extracts of Ayurvedic herbs which you can then add to water as well. This is another way to drink the healing compounds of ayurvedic herbs easily.
The easiest way to consume Ayurvedic herbs is through capsules that contain extracts of the herbs. All you have to do is take one or two capsules which you can buy online. It's a straightforward way to gain the health benefits of the herbs. The one thing to look out for though is dosage. It's easier to take too much of an Ayurvedic herb when using capsules.
Where to Purchase Ayurvedic Herbs
It's important to be careful when purchasing Ayurvedic herbs. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reported that out of 193 ayurvedic products, 21 percent contained levels of heavy metals greater than an acceptable level for daily intake. This is why you need to do your research before purchasing Ayurvedic herbs.
You can find ayurvedic herbs and supplements online on Amazon or directly from manufacturers.
Three leading brands are Banyan Botanicals, Maharishi Ayurveda, and Tattva's Herbs. These brands sell Ayurvedic herb supplements, herbs, and various Ayurvedic accessories.
Where to Purchase Ayurvedic Herbs
Again, be cautious when using Ayurvedic herbs -- especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or under 18. These herbs can be dangerous at high levels and require careful research before using.
Still, Ayurvedic herbs provide an alternative to modern day pharmaceuticals. When taken at the proper dose, Ayurvedic herbs even have the potential to be just as good as pharmaceuticals without the side effects. Ayurvedic herbs are worth looking into as a way to increase your overall health and treat illness without pharmaceuticals.