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Herbs | GHIS
integrative medicine

Herbs and Ayurveda

Herbs covered in this section will include herbs and tonics used in Ayurveda. To get an independent review of health product refer to https://www.consumerlab.com/

Note: There is little information on the drug interactions between herbal medicine, detox therapies and prescription medications. If you are on a prescription medication, always consult with a pharmacist, and qualified herbalist, naturopath and other health care specialist as needed before undertaking any remedies.

Herbs used in Ayurveda

Ashvagandha (Withania Somnifera) is an aphrodisiac and tonic. Ashvagandha is a time honored Ayurvedic herbal immune booster and an adaptogen and also known as Indian ginseng. Adaptogenic herbs help the adrenal system regulate hormones and manage stress. Its active ingredient are withanolides, similar to ginsenosides of Asian ginseng. It is an aphrodisiac and a tonic and is used mainly to combat debility due to old age, nervous exhaustion and simple overworked or adrenal gland exhaustion. The herb nurtures and clarifies the mind, calms and strengthens the nerves, and promotes restful sleep. Other benefits include rejuvenation of the flesh, marrow and reproductive fluid of male and female and assisting with impotence and infertility. The long-term use of Ashvagandga is not recommended and it is often prescribed for a month and off a month as needed.
Dose- Ashvagandha is available in powdered, tea, tincture or capsule. In powdered form it’s taken, 2 teaspoons twice a day with a hot non-caffeinated beverage. If taken as tea or capsules, it is taken 1-2 grams once a day. Tincture is taken 2-4 ml three times per day.

References
1. Robert E. Svoboda.(1993). Ayurveda Life, Health and Longevity, p. 240
2. http://www.mothernature.com/ency/Herb/Ashwangandha.asp

Amla or Amalaki (Emblica officinalis)

A nutritious fruit well known for it vitamin C content (3,000 mg of vitamin C per fruit). Its rejuvenative properties work on the circulatory, digestive and excretory process. Helps to rebuild new tissue and maintain red blood cell. It improves appetite and digestion. A large part of the tonic Chyavanprash contains Amla. Used in Triphala formula.
References
Dr. Frawley., Lad. (1992). The Yoga of Herbs. An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine. p157-158 .

Bibhitaki (Terminalia belerica)

This fruit has strong tonic effects on the lungs (respiratory system), tones the stomach, digestive tract, increases appetite. The fruit is prescribed for sore throats and has antiseptic properties. It is used in Triphala formula.

Reference
Dr. Frawley., Lad. (1992). The Yoga of Herbs. An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine.p.164

Chayavanprash

Chayavanprash is a jelly like product. It is a dark brown or blackish in color. The jelly contains 49 herbs plus the amla fruit (Indian gooseberry, Emblican officinalis). The amla is the main ingredient. Per fruit of Amla contains 3000 mg of vitamin C plus bioflavanoids, anti-oxidants, B complex, and carotenoids. Chayavanprash helps boost digestion, increases muscle mass, lowers blood pressure and blood cholesterol, and enhances healing of tissue. Best brand is Kotakal Ayurveda from Kerala.

Guggul (Commiphora mukul)

Guggul (Commiphora mukul) is a resin used in various Ayurvedic medicines called gugguls. It increase white blood cell count, normalizes lipids, reduce excess cholesterol in blood. It has antiseptic properties, aids the respiratory system and calms nervous disorders. Used in chronic conditions to help heal the skin and mucous membrane.

Reference
Dr. Frawley., Lad. (1992). The Yoga of Herbs. An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine. p.173-174
http://www.mothernature.com/ency/Herb/Guggul.asp

HARITAKI (TERMINA CHEBULA)

This fruit is highly regarded in Tibetan medicine. It affects the digestive, excretory, nervous and respiratory system. Used in Triphala formula. Haritaki must not be used by pregnant women, or when fatigue or wasting is present.

Reference
Dr. Frawley., Lad. (1992). The Yoga of Herbs. An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine.p.174-175

NEEM (AZADIRACTA INDICA)

All parts of this tree has medicinal properties. Neem is a potent blood purifier, detoxifier with anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Neem is mostly used in as disinfectant in skin diseases and anti -inflammatory for muscle and joint aches. Should not be used when fatigue and wasting is evident.

Reference
Dr. Frawley., Lad. (1992). The Yoga of Herbs. An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine. p.179-180

PIPPALI (PIPER LONGUM)

A strong stimulant for the digestive and respiratory system. It has strong warming properties, improves. Administered to get rid of colds, congestion and lung ailments. Used in numerous Ayurvedic formulation such as Trikatu and with Ashwanghanda to improve its tonic effect.

Reference
Dr. Frawley., Lad. (1992). The Yoga of Herbs. An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine. p.181-182
Kerry Bone. Clinical Applications of Ayurvedic and Chinese Herbs: Monographs for the Western Herbal Practitioner.1997:141
http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/duke/ethnobot.pl?piper %20longum

SHILAJIT

Shilajit is a tarry blackish or brownish substance that is exuded from rocks especially in the Himalaya mountains. There is some speculation that it may represent the action of time and the elements on the latex of various species of Euphorbia. It is a complex mixture of naturally occurring organic compounds along with mixed in-organic minerals. Shilajit acts mainly to purify and strengthen the genitals and urinary tract. It is a powerful aphrodisiac and stimulant and is given to patients as a rejuvenator to people suffering from consumption, chronic bronchitis, asthma, chronic digestive, disease of the nerves, bone fractures and to bolster the immune system. It is a very strong medicine and it should be taken in gradual increasing dose to allow your body to gradually becomes used to it .

SHATVARI (ASPARAGUS RACEMOSUS)

This Ayurvedic herb is a tonic and rejuvenative. It works on all tissues of the body and enhances circulatory, reproductive, respiratory and digestive system. It has strong rejuvenate properties for the female system as Ashwagandha is to the male system. The herb is taken with warm milk sweetened with raw sugar.
Reference
Dr. Frawley., Lad. (1992). The Yoga of Herbs. An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine. p. 183-184
Kerry Bone. Clinical Applications of Ayurvedic and Chinese Herbs:
Monographs for the Western Herbal Practitioner. 1996: 138
http://www.scs.leeds.ac.uk/pfaf-cgi/arr_html?Asparagus+racemosus

TRIPHALA

Triphala medicine is a combination of three fruits, haritaki, amalaki and bibhitaki. Triphala is used strictly for maintaining a healthy digestive system. It tones and cleans the intestinal tract, improves digestion has laxative properties. It has a sweet-bitter taste and taken with warm water after meals.

Reference
Dr. Frawley., Lad. (1992). The Yoga of Herbs. An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine. p.175

TRIKATU

Trikatu is mixture of dried fruit of black pepper, dry ginger, and long pepper. Its digestive herbs have strong properties in cleansing the stomach and colon. Sometimes added to other Ayurvedic herbal combination to increase synergistic effect.

Reference
Dr. Frawley., Lad. (1992). The Yoga of Herbs. An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine. p.99

PANCHAKARMA

Panchakarma is a detoxification program that is utilized in Ayurveda. Panchakarma is only undertaken by the patient when they are healthy, and not if they are ill. Panchakarma involves abhayanga (oleation), svedana (sweating), shirodhara (lubrication of the scalp) and evacuative nasal medication or kriyas. Each of these four purification procedures are adjusted to the person’s constitution or excess of humors.

In abhayanga warm oil is rubbed all over the body. It penetrates the skin and lubricates the superficial fascia, the deep fascia, and touches the nerve ending, where it release the certain neuropeptides. These are the same neuropeptides that are present in the central nervous system that maintain immunity and helps to boost immunity.

After abhayanga and svedana the toxin is directed to the digestive tract to be expelled. The process is assisted by dietary intake to help the doshas flow. The three types of toxin (ama) are based on the three humors or doshas (pitta, kalpha and vata). The specific purifications are performed at specific times of the day, morning , noon or evening, depending on the patient’s constitution.

Toxins from the gastro-intestinal tract are directed to the organs specific to each flow of toxin. Pitta is cleared by liver, intestine and gallbladder. Kalpha, the mucous toxin cleared by the stomach. Vata is directed to the colon as gas .To enhance complete elimination of the toxin according to each humor, these are the general recommendations. For pitta, purgation therapy; for kapha, vomiting therapy; and for vata disorder, basti (medicated enema) is recommended. As these are intense cleansing, the health of a patient must be wholesome. Each of these detox therapies has to be performed under supervision of a qualified Ayurveda practitioner or otherwise it will aggravate the health situation and make it worse and can cause greater harm to patient.

Nasal medication is the preferred purification for all diseases of the head. After intense cleansing, a pacification treatment is introduced to rebalance the doshas and protect the body and the system. By this process toxins are eradicated from the system, the system is rejuvenated and disease process is minimizes or halted.

References
1. Svoboda.R. E. (1993). Ayurveda, Life, Health and Longevity. p.204-210
2. Dr.V.Lad. Yoga Health.The Science of Restoring Harmony. p.34-37

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