Exploring the healing power of herbs and spices in Ayurveda

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Ayurveda, the ancient system of medicine from India, gives a lot of importance to herbs and spices for promoting health, balance and well-being, says V. C. Ajth Kumar, Director and Principal Consultant of Ayush Singapore, Little India branch. 

Ayurveda holds a profound understanding of the therapeutic potential of herbs and spices. These natural ingredients have been utilized for centuries to promote health, restore balance, and enhance well-being, explains the Principal Consultant. He now asks to delve into the world of Ayurvedic herbs and spices, explore their medicinal properties, traditional uses, and their relevance in modern wellness, along with him. The ayurvedic specialist draws our attention to some commonly used herbs and spices in Ayurveda:

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): It is one of the most revered herbs in Ayurveda. Known as an adaptogen, it helps the body adapt to stress and promotes overall vitality, says Mr. Ajith. It is believed to support the immune system, enhance cognitive function, improve energy levels, and promote a sense of calm and relaxation. Ashwagandha is commonly used in herbal formulations and is available in various forms such as powders, capsules, and tinctures, adds the ayurvedic specialist. 

Turmeric (Curcuma longa): It is a vibrant yellow spice renowned for its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Its active compound, curcumin, has been extensively studied for its potential to support joint health, promote healthy digestion, and protect against oxidative stress, explains Ajith Kumar of Ayush Ayurveda, Singapore. Turmeric is commonly used in cooking, and turmeric supplements are also available to harness its therapeutic benefits.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale): Ginger, with its warming and digestive properties, is a staple herb in Ayurvedic medicine. It is known to aid digestion, alleviate nausea and vomiting, and support respiratory health, points out the Ayurvedic specialist. “Ginger can be consumed in various forms, such as fresh root, dried powder, or as a soothing herbal tea”. 

Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum): Also known as Tulsi, Holy Basil is considered a sacred herb in Ayurveda. It is revered for its adaptogenic, immune-enhancing, and stress-relieving properties. “Holy Basil is used to promote mental clarity, support respiratory health, and strengthen the immune system. It can be consumed as a herbal tea or taken in supplement form,” elaborates Mr. Ajith Kumar.

Cumin (Cuminum cyminum): “Cumin seeds are widely used in Ayurvedic cooking for their digestive benefits. Cumin aids in digestion, alleviates bloating and flatulence, and supports healthy metabolism. It can be used as a spice in various dishes or consumed as a tea to support digestive health,” says the Ayurvedic Specialist.

Triphala: It is a blend of three fruits: Amalaki (Indian Gooseberry), Bibhitaki (Bahera), and Haritaki (Chebulic Myrobalan). It is a renowned herbal formula in Ayurveda and is known for its gentle cleansing and detoxifying properties. Ajith Kumar clearly states that Triphala supports healthy digestion, promotes regular bowel movements, and nourishes the body with antioxidants. It is available in powder or capsule form.

Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum): It is a fragrant spice widely used in Ayurvedic cuisine. It is known for its digestive properties, aiding in the digestion of food and reducing bloating. Cardamom also has cooling effects on the body and is often used in Ayurvedic formulations to balance excess heat or Pitta. 

Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri): Brahmi is a renowned herb for promoting mental clarity, memory, and cognitive function. “It is used to support brain health, reduce mental fatigue, and enhance concentration. Brahmi is available in various forms, including capsules, tablets, and herbal oils for external application,” elucidates the expert of Ayurveda. 

Trikatu: It is a blend of three pungent spices: ginger, black pepper, and long pepper. Ajth Kumar is of the view that this powerful combination helps stimulate digestion, support metabolism, and promote healthy respiratory function. Trikatu is often used to alleviate digestive discomfort and enhance nutrient absorption. 

Enlightening us more about the herbs and spices that play a vital role in Ayurveda, Ajith Kumar says that they offer a natural and holistic approach to health and well-being. “These traditional remedies are celebrated for their therapeutic properties and have stood the test of time. Incorporating Ayurvedic herbs and spices into your lifestyle can support various aspects of health, from digestion and immunity to mental clarity and stress management,” says Mr. Ajith firmly. However, it is important to consult with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional before using herbs and spices for specific health concerns or if you are taking any medications. 

Embrace the wisdom of Ayurveda and explore the healing power of these remarkable herbs and spices to enhance your overall wellness journey. Remember, nature provides us with a bountiful pharmacy of treasures to support our well-being and promote a balanced and harmonious life.

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