Ayurvedic Herbs – Benefits and Uses Overview
Ayurvedic herbs are herbs whose use is incorporated in the practice embodied by Ayurveda. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word meaning “the complete knowledge for long life.” Ayurveda places an emphasis on the nutrients that enter the body, viewing each as a chance to nourish the body, balance the body, or unbalance the body.
Ayurvedic herbs are excellent sources of those nutrients deemed important and beneficial in nourishing the body and improving the potential for optimized health and wellness. Several commonly used Ayurvedic herbs:
- Bacopa: Bacopa (Bacopa monniera), also known as Brahmi, is one of the Ayurvedic herbs that may decrease the time it takes to learn new tasks and may improve memory and concentration while reducing anxiety and insomnia. Bacopa may be recommended to treat ADD/ADHD in children and adults. There are no known side-effects related to taking Bacopa but it may take 3-4 weeks before the effects of this herb are apparent. Bacopa is bitter and astringent. It contains antioxidants and is a muscle relaxant, an anti-convulsant, a blood purifier, and an anti-pyretic, as well as promoting digestion. It has been used to treat depression and hysteria as well as seizure disorders.
- Barberry: Barberry (Mahonia vulgaris) roots contain berberine content, which is sometimes used for sore or tired eyes. Barberry may be recommended as one of the Ayurvedic herbs used in treatment for cough, diarrhea, fever, and jaundice.
- Buchu: Buchu (Barosma betulina) is used in Ayurveda for its “cooling” properties. Buchu has been used for kidney and bladder health, as treatment for fluid retention, and to ward off bladder and genital infections.
- Henna: Henna (Lawsonia inermis) is considered to be a anti-fungal and antiseptic, and as such one of a number of antibacterial Ayurvedic herbs. In Ayurveda, henna is used for vitiligo, which causes discoloration on the skin due to pigment loss. The seeds of henna are used to treat fever.
- Rauwolfia: Rauwolfia (genus Rauvolfia) contains reserpine, which may lower blood pressure and has been used to treat mental health issues. Rauwolfia also contains yohimbe, aricine, and serpentine, which affect the central nervous system. Rauwolfia is considered both bitter and cooling for Ayurvedic purposes and is used to treat insomnia, depression, rapid heart rate, dysentery, diarrhea, slow metabolism, lack of appetite, and fluid retention. Rauwolfia should only be used under the close supervision of a health care professional.
- Tulsi: Tulsi (genus Ocimum), also called Blessed Thistle or Holy Basil, has been used in India to treat indigestion, heart conditions, inflammation, bacterial and viral infections such as colds and malaria, to purify the blood and ease pain. It may be prescribed to help the body adjust to changes and manage stress. Tulsi is thought to strengthen the immune system, and to boost focus and mental clarity.
Foods Considered Ayurvedic Herbs
Some common food items are used in Ayurvedic medicine for their medicinal properties, incuding:
- Celery seed: Celery (Apium graveolens) seed is a tool in Ayurveda to treat viral and bacterial infections such as cold and flu and to promote healthy digestion. Celery seed may be recommended to treat diseases of the kidneys and liver. It is a diuretic and may be used to treat fluid retention or urinary tract infections. Celery oils are anti-inflammatory and may be helpful for patients with arthritis. Celery may also work as an antispasmodic, treating convulsions such as tics or seizures or high muscle tone associated with cerebral palsy. Animal research has lead scientists to believe celery has the ability to decrease hypertension and anxiety.
- Cucumber: Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) was first domesticated in northern India more than 3,000 years ago. Cucumber is hydrating and has been used to treat fluid retention. This characteristic also makes cucumber useful for facial cleansing, skin conditions, and regulating blood pressure.
- Dandelion: Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a flowering plant that grows wild in most parts of the United States and Europe but is cultivated in India, where it is used as a remedy for liver complaints. The bitter, milky juice within the stems and roots are used medicinally to treat appetite loss and problems with digestion.
The information on this site it intended for general inquiry and informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you think you, or those under your care, are ill or in need of health care, please seek immediate medical attention. Always consult a doctor or other competent licensed clinician for specific advice about medical treatments for yourself or those under your care. Any use of, or reliance in any way upon, the information contained in the AlternativZ site and/or accessed through this site is solely at your own risk.
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