Ayurveda, which dates back to ancient India, is growing increasingly popular throughout the Western world as more people begin to turn to and realize the extraordinary healing effects of natural supplements, whole foods, and herbs. Because Ayurveda is based upon the philosophy that the mind and body are connected to one another and to the earth and the universe, it is not surprising that it focuses on using only natural remedies to cure disease. To gain a better understanding of how natural healing works and how the body can repair itself with the right support, check out this course that discusses the foundation to good health.
The Purpose Behind Ayurvedic Plants
Ayurveda is a lot like other Asian schools of medicine that focus on treating the body in a holistic manner in order to promote wellness and help the body get rid of disease naturally. Herbs and plants are of particular importance within Ayurveda because they come directly from the earth and they contain all of the necessary elements for bringing the doshas back into balance. To understand what doshas, or body types, are, as well as what the three main doshas are, read this blog post.
Put simply, there are three doshas, each representing a different element of the universe and of the earth. These elements are found within every human, and each person is born with a dominant dosha that dictates his or her physical and mental state and personality. The elements are fire, air, and earth. When out of balance, these doshas can create negative effects within the physical body and the mind, and also throw your spiritual balance off. Therefore, maintaining appropriate levels of each dosha in the body and mind is imperative in enjoying a state of wellness.
An Abundance of Plant Remedies
The Caraka Samhita is one of two main texts that build upon the foundation of Ayurveda. It covers everything from the study of disease to the anatomy of the human body, the diagnosis of illnesses, and the treatments available that would help get the body back to a state of health naturally according to the principles found within the Ayurvedic school.
Nearly 400 different types of plants are mentioned in the Caraka Samhita, each with its own incredible ability to heal the body and mind in a manner that works with the body rather than against it. Far fewer remedies within this Ayurvedic text are derived from animals and from minerals, thereby solidifying the importance of the use of plants above other natural supplements.
The Use and Classification of Plants in Ayurveda
Ayurvedic doctors use various parts of plants in order to extract their many benefits. And several plants and their parts can be combined to create potent medicines that are then used to restore balance, whether that balance needs to be attained in the physical body or in the world within the mind. In fact, a typical Ayurvedic remedy may consist of anywhere from five to 25 different ingredients.
Plants can be squeezed in order to extract their healing juices, they may be prepared as decoctions, or they may be ground up into a powder form. The mode of administration of the plant will depend upon what it is meant to treat and how the body will best absorb and utilize the plant’s benefits. Therefore, one person may be told to mix herbs into a glass of hot water and drink it like a tea, whereas someone else may be told to apply a remedy directly to the skin.
Some plants may even be incorporated into your daily meals in order to get them right into the digestive tract so that their potent nutrients can be extracted and absorbed into the cells of the body. Taking a course in Ayurvedic cooking will give you a good idea of what to expect when you are cooking for purposes of bringing your doshas back into a state of harmony.
In terms of classification, the plants used in Ayurveda are grouped by their effects upon the doshas. Therefore, the first step in determining which plant remedy is right for you involves being examined by an Ayurvedic professional to properly diagnose which doshas are over-expressing themselves in negative ways. For example, if you are diagnosed as a vata who is out of balance, and you have been dealing with anxiety, you may be prescribed calming herbs and teas, as well as certain activities and exercises, such as this course on yoga for your dosha, that can calm down the nervous system. On the other hand, if you are a pitta dealing with rashes on the skin, you will be given different herbs for soothing the skin and promoting healing. And if you are a kapha who has been sluggish and prone to weight gain lately, you may be given plant remedies that are meant to stimulate and rejuvenate the body gently so that you can replace harsh stimulants, such as caffeine, that you may be currently taking.
A Few of the Many Popular Ayurvedic Plants
Below is a short list of just a few of the many plant remedies that are used in Ayurveda in order to restore health and vitality. You have probably heard of these plants and you may be surprised that they are so potent.
Prescribed to pacify excess kapha and vata, cinnamon bark is popular as an ingredient in spice mixes in Indian cooking, but it is also very healing. It is used to improve digestive health, but it can even work as an antiseptic because it has antibacterial properties.
Aloe is often prescribed to balance pitta and kapha. This plant is particularly useful for skin ailments, and it is used on non-healing ulcers, dry skin, and burns. However, it can also be prescribed in order to strengthen the liver and treat conditions like jaundice. When taken internally, it boosts the immune system.
Liquorice can be used to calm down an over-expressed pitta or vata. It is effective at treating digestive disorders and respiratory issues like bronchial problems. But it is also prescribed for people suffering with chronic acidity in the body. Plus, it has a healing effect upon ulcers and it is wonderful for individuals suffering from high levels of stress.
Garlic, a common ingredient in many cultures, is one of the most powerful and easy to access plants used in Ayurveda. It is so versatile because it has many healing properties that are suitable for treating a variety of conditions. For example, it is used to treat infestations of parasites like ringworm, as well as yeast and bacterial infections because it is both an antifungal agent and an antiseptic that kills germs and bacteria. It also has anticancer properties that protect and boost the immune system. It can be used for diabetics in order to reduce the metabolism of glucose, and it can be implemented externally to heal wounds. For patients with cardiovascular issues, garlic can even reduce the risk of getting another heart attack.
Neem, also referred to as the Margosa Tree, can balance pitta and kapha. It can treat a large range of conditions because it can purify the blood and promote healing from the inside out. Some of its many attributes include antibacterial, antiviral, and anticancer properties. It can improve the function of the immune system and is also used against infections with parasitic worms.
By utilizing the power of nature and its many plants, Ayurveda works on healing the body gently yet effectively. If you are interested in herbology, homeopathy, and other forms of natural healing, consider taking this course, which will teach you all about ancient herbs that promote longevity and wellness.