Ayurveda – the Science of life which originated from India 5,000 years back – advises the use of particular herbs which purify the organs and restore the tissues. Some of the suggested herbs include triphala, ashwagandha, neem, brahmi, ginger, turmeric, and guggulu. These herbs improve the bodies’ detoxification tracts. They also carry supportive natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, as well as many anti-cancer chemicals. Similarly they help to balance our doshas too. (In Ayurveda, doshas refer to each of three energies that circulate in the body and direct our physiological activity: vatta, pitta and kapha.)
The suitable daily doses of specific herbs may differ, and is subject to an individual’s mind-body type, medical conditions, balance, and other medical matters. Be sure to check with a practitioner before hand.
Below we look at three of the cleansing and rejuvenating Ayurvedic herbs more closely, all of which are native to India and available in the west:
Neem is valued as a powerful detoxifier, especially valuable in removing excess pitta and kapha. It has antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, and helps to regulate blood sugar levels. It is also antiparasitic, clearing both the larva and ova. Neem is used to cleanse the blood and liver, and enhance immunity.
Neem is very bitter and cooling. Vata types can mix neem with some warming herbs (ie: ginger or turmeric) to balance its cooling effects.
Triphala is composed of three fruits, all rich in antioxidants: Haritaki, Amalaki and Bibhitaki. It is a herbal tonic that stimulates rejuvenation of the tissues, while also aiding healthy bowel movements. This supports in sustaining total health by balancing the digestive functions, and working on synchronizing all three doshas. Triphala is not a laxative or purgative, but rather a support to greater assimilation and elimination. This concoction stimulates balanced, maximum elimination, by drawing stagnated Ama (toxic residue) from the digestive tract and strengthening the colon’s absorption functions.
Ashwagandha is a well-known tonic, particularly suggested to adults to boost physical and mental endurance and vitality. It is specifically good for balancing Vata if taken regularly, and strengthens both the muscle and reproductive tissues. It is supportive for insomnia, poor memory and concentration, depression, lethargy and anxiety. Ashwagandha has immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It also enhances leucotcytosis with predominant neutrophilia.
This article was originally published for Salt Spring Malas.