The use of herbs as a source of medicine has been an ancient practice in India. Herbs are a natural source for serving our nutritional needs. In Indian sub-continent, herbs have been used as dietary supplements since ages since it is a vast repository of medicinal plants.
Ayurveda emphasises on the prevention and occurrence of the diseases. In this regard there is a mention of dietary supplements to be followed by an individual to protect himself against the weather changes, allergies and many other disorders. These can be taken to boost stamina, immunity, for detoxification etc.
There is a mention of dietary supplements in all Ayurvedic texts. These include consumption of fresh, minimally processed foods and regular consumption of adaptogenic herbs that enhance the body’s capacity to maintain balance. There are some common medicinal plants that have nutraceutical potential and considered as best dietary supplements. These are:
1. Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia)
The nutritional aspects of Giloy are of great importance in maintaining health and preventing diseases. The trace elements present in Guduchi makes it a potential potassium and chromium supplement. Chromium repletion improves glucose levels. Thus, the intake of guduchi is beneficial for diabetic patients. Potassium reduces the risk of cardiac arrhythmias and supports the cardiac functioning. Giloy also possesses immuno-modulatory, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory properties. These properties help to fight against infections, strengthen the immunity and useful in the management of Vatarakta (gouty arthritis).
2. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha is considered as a Rasayana herb. It provides nutrients to cells of the body at the micro level and keeps the body in healthy condition. Ashwagandha root contains flavonoids and many active ingredients such as steroidal lactones and alkaloids which are commonly known as withanolides. Because of these constituents, ashwagandha is useful for the treatment of various musculoskeletal conditions and acts as a general tonic for overall body weakness, improves overall health and longevity and useful in preventing fatigue in athletes and elderly. It is best suggested to control any cancerous growth.
3. Bhumiamla (Phyllanthus niruri)
The whole plant of Bhumiamla possesses medicinal properties. Bhumi amla can be used as a dietary supplement in the liver or kidney disorders as it has anti-viral and hepatoprotective properties. It helps to prevent formation of kidney stones and thus keeps a check on kidneys health. It is also good for hyperacidity as it protects the inner lining of stomach against the damage caused be the excessive gastric acid production. Therefore, an excellent herb for liver detoxification.
4. Amla (Emblica officinalis)
A wide range of phytochemicals are present in amla including alkaloids, tannins, flavonoids. It is highly nutritious and a richest source of Vitamin C. Amla being a rich source of anti-oxidants protects the skin from the devastating effects of free radicals and transition induced oxidative stress. It is a proven tonic for hair as well. It slows down greying of hair, strengthens hair follicles and increases blood circulation. Very good herb to boost immune system and fight a number of health disorders.
5. Manjistha (Rubia cordifolia)
Manjistha is one of the best blood purifying herbs in Ayurveda. It soothes the Pitta dosha and also reduces excess of Kapha dosha. It is useful in clearing pitta aggravation and also sweeps excess kapha that may manifest as blockages in the channels, thus helps the blood in flowing easily. This herb is also renowned for its ability to improve the skin complexion and makes it radiant from the inside out.
6. Haridra or Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
In India, turmeric plant has a very long history of medicinal use, dating back nearly 4000 years but now modern medicine has begun to recognize its importance. Turmeric contains various bioactive compounds mainly curcumin and dimethoxycurcumin. Turmeric and its derivatives have anti-inflammatory properties. There are many joint disorders that are characterized by chronic inflammation in one or more joints that results in pain. There are more than 100 different forms of arthritis but rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are most common. It is used as a medicine for pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. Also well indicated to prevent any extra tissues growth in body.
7. Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum)
In Ayurveda, Tulsi is known as ‘Queen of Herbs’ because of its medicinal and spiritual properties. The herb Tulsi is a unique combination of various actions that include anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, anti-oxidant, anti-pyretic, anti-allergic, immunomodulatory, anti-tussive, anti-asthmatic, adaptogenic etc. Tulsi supports respiratory health and helpful in fighting off runny nose, flu, allergies etc. Due to anti-allergic, immuno-modulating and anti-inflammatory properties, it is highly recommended in the treatment of allergic respiratory disorders.
Thus, Ayurvedic dietary supplements have always played an important role in keeping the body and mind healthy.
Use them under the guidance of your Ayurveda Expert and Stay Healthy!!
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