Depending on your doshic constitution, an Ayurvedic practitioner might prescribe one or more of these important Ayurvedic herbs to help you maintain good health. They are just a few of the many herbs and herb combinations used in Ayurveda.
Ayurveda uses ashwagandha to treat debility and weakness in the elderly, people with chronic illnesses, and those exhausted by overwork or lack of sleep, much the way traditional Chinese medicine uses ginseng. Considered the best rejuvenating herb for the vata constitution, ashwagandha often is prepared as a milk decoction with sweetener and rice. Ashwagandha is bitter and astringent, calming and clarifying to the mind, and it promotes restful sleep.
Indian frankincense is a tree resin that hardens into a gum. The gum was traditionally used to treat arthritis, digestive disorders, pulmonary conditions, and ringworm. Recent studies have shown that Indian frankincense limits the production of leukotrienes, which cause inflammation.
Pungent, sweet, warming ginger pacifies kapha and vata, increases pitta, and has been called “the universal medicine” (vishwabhesaj) by Ayurvedic practitioners. Dried ginger is considered hotter and better for relieving kapha, while fresh ginger is a more effective diaphoretic (fever reducer) and better for relieving vata. Ayurvedic practitioners use ginger extensively to treat digestive and respiratory conditions, including colds and flu. It is also valued for relieving menstrual and abdominal cramps, for treating arthritis, and as a heart tonic.
Ayurvedic practitioners consider gotu kola to be one of the most important rejuvenating herbs. They use it to revitalize the brain, nervous system, and immune system and to strengthen the adrenal glands. In Ayurveda, gotu kola clarifies the mind, improves memory, and promotes longevity. Himalayan yogis consume the herb as food or brew it into a tea to enhance their meditation practice. Bitter and cooling, gotu kola is a rejuvenating tonic for pitta people, but it also reduces excessive kapha and calms vata.