Ayurvedic medicines are prepared according to the Prakruthi of a person and the therapeutic effect needed. The constituents that make up the medicine are obtained from nature and made ready with great care. The main advantage of Ayurvedic medicine is that they do not contain any harmful ingredients and can be used safely.
In Ayurvedic preparations, the part of an herb is chosen and used depending on where its medicinal value lies and its curative effects on the body. Some examples are listed below:
- Turmeric, Ginger, Velvet Leaf, Rhubarb: Roots
- Chaste Tree, Coriander, Aloe Vera: Leaves
- Black Pepper, Gooseberry, Indian Gall Nut: Fruit
- Neem Tree, Ashoka Tree, Sandalwood: Bark
- Cardamom, Coriander, Cowhage Plant: Seeds
Different herbs have different healing powers. Here are a few examples:
- Aloe Vera, Sandalwood, Turmeric, Shatavari- Antiseptic (Protects against infections)
- Turmeric, Echinacea- Antibiotic (Fights against viral and bacterial infections)
- Cinnamon, Yarrow, Jasmine, Sandalwood- Astringent (heals tissues)
- Cardamom, Coriander- Appetizer (Induces appetite)
- Chamomile, Chrysanthemum, Basil, Ginger- Carminative (Helps in proper digestion)
Preparing the Herbs
There are mainly five types of preparations in Ayurveda, collectively known as Pancha Kashaya Kalpa
- Svarasa - The juice of the plant, which is the strongest of all, is extracted by pounding or grinding it in a blender.
- Kalka - The herbs are crushed and made into a pulp form in the required consistency by adding sufficient water.
- Kvatha - It is prepared by boiling the herbs in water until the preparation is reduced to one-fourth of the original amount.
- Phant - Hot infusion is obtained by immersing the herbs in hot water for sometime.
- Hima - The herbs are soaked in cold water overnight for preparing a cold infusion.
- The herbs are prepared in other forms as well such as Churna (Powders), Guti (Pills) and Vati (Tablets).
Some familiar herbs
Here are a few familiar herbs with remarkable medicinal properties:
Ayurveda recommends ginger as a great remedy for indigestion, fever, cold, vomiting, arthritis etc. Ginger can be ingested as juice, infusion, decoction etc.
A common spice used in cooking, turmeric has high antibacterial property and can increase blood circulation. It can be effectively used as a medication for jaundice, diabetes, indigestion, cough, arthritis, acne, insect bites etc.
Pepper is found to be useful as medication for asthma, fever, cholera, sore throat and so on.
It is a natural antibacterial and antiseptic herb found throughout India. It is used as a medication for coughs, colds, indigestion, skin diseases vomiting, hair loss and much more. It purifies the atmosphere and leads to general wellbeing.
Used to impart sourness in Indian cuisine, tamarind is used as an effective solution for losing weight.