Written By Tiffany Nicholson-Smith - January 09 2019
In Ayurveda, "Dravyaguna" is an entire science of Herbalism that can seem complex and foreign to many of us who are new to the world of this ancient medicine.
To make it simple, we've listed below our Top Ten Ayurvedic Herbs, which are great to have in your medicine cabinet and are used in many of our potions, as well as in our selection of standalone herbs.
1. 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. Take 1/2 teaspoon cooked in milk (sweeten with 1 tsp of raw honey). 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 ghee, butter, or raw whole milk).
2. Brahmi - BRAIN TONIC
Brahmi is the #1 tonic for the brain and nervous system. Its leaves even look like the brain! Brahmi also balances the left and right hemispheres of the brain, and decalcifies the pineal gland. It is tridoshic, but is especially beneficial for balancing high Pitta conditions. Brahmi removes toxins and blockages from the nervous system. It 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. Ways to take it: boil in water (as a tea), boil it in milk, or make Brahmi ghee. 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.
3. Moringa - THE TREE OF LIFE
Moringa is considered one of the most nutritious superherbs of Ayurveda and is often called the "Tree of Life". It is a complete food, containing all of the essential amino acids, as well as acting as a nutritional powerhouse, offering an array of nourishing vitamins and minerals. It has a highly nutritious profile and offers powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and tissue-protecting properties. It is used to treat diabetes, heart disease, anemia, arthritis, liver disease, and respiratory, skin, and digestive disorders, making its benefits widespread. It is truly super!
4. Manjistha - SKIN PURGE
Manjistha is probably the best blood purifying herb in Ayurvedic medicine. It is anti-inflammatory and clears acne. Manjistha cleans the blood and liver, lowering pitta disorders in the skin, and clearing acne. It cools and detoxifies the blood, and cleanses and regulates liver and kidney functions. Take this herb in capsule form (2 capsules in the morning, and 2 capsules at night) if you are suffering from any Pitta skin disorders. Or, take it with warm milk before bed.
5. Neem - DETOX
Neem is one of the most powerful blood purifiers and detoxifiers in Ayurvedic herbology. Best for acne, skin diseases, wound healing, and skin damage (especially from the sun), neem is useful for all Pitta disorders (such as skin and eyes). It works wonders for eczema and psoriasis skin flare-ups. It is also useful for joint and muscle pain. Use neem on the skin in a medicated oil.
6. Shatavari - FEMALE VITALITY
Shatavari is the #1 Ayurvedic rejuvenative for women (as Ashwagandha is for men). Shatavari even translates to "she who possesses a thousand husbands!" It nourishes and cleanses the blood and the female reproductive organs. Shatavari is readily available as a tea, in pill and powder form, or it can be taken in ghee or cooked in milk, which is the preferred form (all Ayurvedic herbs are best assimilated into the body's cells when taken with a fat).
7. Turmeric - THE SPICE OF LIFE
Turmeric purifies the blood and the channels of the body. It 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. Turmeric balances all the doshas, but it balances Pitta the most because of its blood-cleansing and liver-cleansing properties. 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 the diet. Throw some in as you are sautéeing veggies in coconut oil to throw over quinoa. Boil some turmeric in goat milk with honey before bed. If you consume turmeric on a regular basis, you will notice your health improve in a multitude of areas.
8. Triphala - ELIMINATION
A classic Ayurvedic combination of three Indian herbs (haritaki, bibhitaki, and amalaki, sometimes spelled slightly differently), triphala is used to enhance digestion and eliminatory regularity, and helps good bacteria to flourish in the gut. It is most celebrated for its properties as a gentle bowel tonic, assisting with digestion, and supporting regular evacuation, and is highly antioxidant, helping to protect the body and mind from damage due to free radicals, and removing the system of excess waste and weight.
9. Amalaki or Amla - REJUVENATION
One of the herbs in Triphala, Amla is also used on its own for rejuvenation, especially in cases of anemia or a weak immune system. It can be helpful for frequent colds or flu, ongoing cough, bronchitis, or upper-respiratory tract infections. Amla is also used in conjunction with chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer.
10. Tulsi - RESPIRATION
As a tea, holy basil is a traditional Indian remedy for colds and flu, and is also used to relieve other respiratory infections, asthma, and seasonal allergies, and to counteract stress and anxiety. The herb is often found in combination herbal formulas and you can find it as the base for many of our teas.
Here's to your Herbal Health! May we be grateful for every plant we receive and the blessings they bring to our lives!