In the ancient science of Ayurveda, herbs are viewed as the spiritual essence – the Kundalini – of plants. Plants and herbs carry in their cells the wisdom of cosmic intelligence, and the healing vibrations of nature. Since ancient times, humans and plants have had a very spiritual connection – plants capture solar energy and convert it into nutrients that humans can digest. Plants do this by transforming sunlight into chlorophyll, which can then be assimilated by the human body.
Ayurveda has the oldest, most developed herbal system in the world and has been in continuous use for at least 5,000 years. The ancient Vedic seers in India compiled and classified the medicinal and healing properties of hundreds of herbs into an herbal healing system that can be accessed and utilized by anyone.
Each and every herb in Ayurvedic herbology has a multitude of benefits for the mind, body and spirit. Herbs can be used internally or externally (through the skin), or even used as aromatherapy. From weight loss to beautiful skin to overall vitality, herbs can transform your health in so many ways!
Here are some highlights of some of the Top 10 herbs in Ayurveda and easy ways to incorporate them into your routine.
1. Ajwain – WEIGHT LOSS
Ajwain is a strong digestive and nerve stimulant. It functions as a weight loss herb by drawing out deep-seated toxins from the body. Ajwain also heals painful joints. It can be taken as a tea to assist with weight loss: simply boil 1 tsp of ajwain seeds in 16 ounces of water.
2. Ashwagandha – VITALITY
One of the best anti-aging herbs, Ashwagandha enhances vitality. This herb is crucial for people suffering from too much stress, or who are overworked. Note that Ayurvedic herbs are fat soluble and are able to go deeper into the tissues and cells when taken with a healthy fat such as coconut oil, ghee, butter, etc.
3. Brahmi – BRAIN TONIC
Brahmi is the #1 tonic for the brain and nervous system. Brahmi also balances the left and right hemispheres of the brain and decalcifies the pineal gland. It removes toxins and blockages from the nervous system and helps with depression, enhances intelligence and improves memory and concentration. Brahmi enhances the overall cellular wisdom in the body. It also happens to be great for hair growth! Take Brahmi every morning to rejuvenate the body-mind. It can also be used as a medicated oil for the hair and the nutrients will seep into the brain cells via the crown chakra.
4. Cardamom – TRANQUILIZER
Cardamom is a natural tranquilizer, bringing clarity and joy to the heart and mind. It neutralizes the acidity of coffee and caffeine and it also neutralizes the mucus-forming properties in milk. Add the pods or powder to coffee as you are brewing it or boil cardamom in warm nut milk before bed.
5. Cumin – ASSIMILATION
Cumin enhances the digestive system and metabolism. It helps the body with nutrient absorption. Cumin can be especially useful for new moms after giving birth as it cleanses the reproductive organs and improves milk secretion. Use cumin while cooking to assist in the assimilation of micronutrients.
6. Licorice – REJUVENATOR
Licorice is a rejuvenating herb that is commonly used in both the east and west. It rejuvenates all systems of the body and reduces acidity. It calms the mind and nurtures the spirit. Add licorice root to hot tea as a sweetener in the place of honey or sugar. Or, simmer licorice root in warm nut milk.
7. Manjistha – PURIFYING
Manjistha is probably the best blood purifying herb in Ayurvedic medicine. It’s anti-inflammatory, clears acne and cleans the blood and liver. It cools and detoxifies the blood and cleanses and regulates liver and kidney functions. Take this herb in capsule form (2 capsules in the am & 2 capsules in the pm) if you’re suffering from any skin disorders.
8. Neem – DETOX
Neem is also a powerful blood purifier and detoxifier in Ayurvedic herbology. Best for skin diseases, wound healing and skin damage (especially from the sun). It works wonders for eczema and psoriasis skin flare-ups and is also useful for joint and muscle pain. Use neem on the skin in a medicated oil form.
9. Shatavari – FEMALE VITALITY
Shatavari is the #1 Ayurvedic rejuvenative for women (as Ashwagandha is for men). It nourishes and cleanses the blood and the female reproductive organs. Shatavari is readily available in capsules and powder form or can be taken in ghee or cooked in milk. As we mentioned earlier, all Ayurvedic herbs are best assimilated into the body’s cells when taken with a healthy fats.
10. Turmeric – THE SPICE OF LIFE
Turmeric improves the skin’s complexion, bringing circulation and nutrition to the skin. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and is a perfect remedy to treat acne-prone skin. It also supports healthy brain function and promotes healthy immune, digestive, cardiovascular and circulatory systems. Curcumin is one of the most important chemical components of turmeric and is activate by black pepper. Try to incorporate turmeric into your daily life in literally any way you can. Ideally use 1 tsp per day in some form whether in capsule form, on the skin or in your diet. Throw some in as you are sautéeing veggies in coconut oil (toss in a little black or white pepper) or boil some turmeric in almond milk with honey before bed. If you consume turmeric on a regular basis you’ll notice your health improve in a multitude of ways for sure!
Unlike the one-size-fits-all approach to western medical treatment that fails to address the huge diversity among patients, Ayurveda takes into account individuality when prescribing holistic treatments.
Two of the most important aspects of restoring balance in Ayurveda is tuning in to the natural rhythms of your body and also bringing your lifestyle into sync with nature and its cyclical patterns. This includes lining up your activity level, food choices, sleep, etc with the time of day, seasons and for women even their menstrual cycles. Ayurveda can help ease stress and restore a healthy circadian rhythm in a way which benefits everything from your hormones to your appetite.
The Blendtopia team