. Celery seed:
As with all members of the Umbelliferae family with their ascendant flower and seed heads, this is a digestive 'lightener'. Its pungency and aromatic nature activate the digestive process and make light work of heavy food. Literally meaning 'goat's delight', ajmoda is a delicious shrub.
Lungs Asthma, bronchitis, cough, sinus congestion. It actively helps to dilate the bronchioles by preventing spasm in the airways. It positively affects the flow of prana and udana vayu. Excess mucus accumulation, a sign of aggravated avalambaka kapha is 'digested' . Digestion Flatulence, borborygmus and intestinal cramps. Low agni is stimulated by the pungent volatile oils. Samana vayu is regulated and apana vayu encouraged to flow freely downwards. It encourages the natural downward movement of digestion (Tierra 1988). Nerves Spasms, cramps and muscular tension. Obstructed vata is released by reducing tension throughout the whole nervous system; this directly regulates the tension versus relaxation balance in the smooth muscles. Ajmoda benefits heart pain caused by nervous constriction . As an antispasmodic with an affinity for the lower abdomen it can also help ease the pain of dysmenorrhoea and menstrual cramps. Urine Ajmoda seed is a specific herb for treating kidney and bladder discomfort from cold; frequent, pale urine with lower backache and nocturia . Caution should be observed in kidney inflammation as the volatile oils may cause irritation (BHMA 1992). Conversely, the vegetable 'stalk' heals the urinary system afflicted with problems from heat, such as urinary irritation, cystitis, pain and frequent, dark urination with burning. Joints Ajmoda is a specific herb for rheumatism, arthritis and gout. It directly reduces pain by assisting excretion of inflammatory ama toxins via the mutravahasrotas.
. Bishop's weed (E), Ajwain (H):
Deliciously aromatic, ajwain is a wonderful remedy for sluggish digestion and coughs. A truly warming seed.
Digestion Specifically indicated for low digestive fire (mandagni). It combines warming digestive pungency with antispasmodic and bitter activity; antiflatulent, digestive cramps and sluggish digestion. Also benefits worms and fungal infections of the intestines (Swami Prakashananda Ayurveda Research Centre 1992). It is specific for digesting ama and stagnant toxins within the digestive tract. It works on samana vayu, the prana that controls digestion in the centre of the abdomen, and stimulates pacaka pitta, the pitta subtype overseeing digestion in the small intestine. It is specifically indicated for hiccups, belching and rebellious apana vata moving upwards instead of downwards. Lungs As an antispasmodic it effectively eases wheezing and constricted lungs due to vata and cold. Used where there is white and copious phlegm with high avalambaka kapha. Also beneficial in sinus and nasal congestion; it stimulates and opens the channels of the head (manovahasrotas). Nerves Ajwain relaxes tension in the nervous system; especially in the lower abdomen, reproductive system and lungs. Use in menstrual cramping, colic, wheezing and general anxiety. As it benefits the whole nervous system it can help to lift the sluggish lethargy of mild depression. It normalises the flow of vata and all the pranas around the body. By aiding udana vayu, the prana regulating speech and enthusiasm, and by clearing the lungs and throat, it opens the way for clear communication . Urine As a warming diuretic it can clear urinary frequency from cold. It also benefits painful urination caused by calculi.
. Aloe vera:
The Indian name for aloe vera is kuma-r?- meaning 'young maiden', which reveals its affinity for the female menstrual cycle and its rejuvenative powers for maintaining youthfulness.
Gynaecology The gel and juice are salutary when there is excess bleeding or clots. As kumari clears the liver it directly affects raktavahasrotas and the flow of pitta in the blood. This affects the artavasrotas, the menstrual channel, as it is responsible for regulating the uterus. It is a wonderful tonic for the female reproductive system. Its cooling and unctuous properties make it very effective for treating the hot and dry symptoms of menopause. Skin The gel contains polysaccharides that are specifically healing for the skin and mucous membranes. It has an affinity for bhrajaka pitta and enhances the quality of the skin; used topically to treat psoriasis, ulcers, eczema, seborrhoeic dermatitis and mouth ulcers. One of the best ayurvedic herbs for healing burns, scars, wounds and stretch marks. Very beneficial taken internally for hot, inflamed pitta conditions; eczema, urticaria, ulcers, acne. Specific for use in jaundice and viral hepatitis. Digestion The gel of the inner portion of the leaf is a mild laxative as its bitter principle works via the liver to encourage the release of bile. This effect can help to regulate blood sugar in diabetics and lipid levels in hypertriglyceridaemia (Plaskett 1996). As it is a cooling and demulcent herb that directly clears pitta and heals mucous membranes it is a specific for hyperacidity, peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis and any bleeding from the intestines. Its ability to regulate bacteria levels in the intestines indicates use in Candida albicans and as a remedy for improving gastric and intestinal function (Bland 1985, Murray 1992, Bone 2003). The dry and powdered extract of the leaf (also known as cape aloes) is strongly purgative and benefits pitta types. It should only be used in the short term. Eyes As a netrarogaghna herb it destroys eye diseases. Applied externally it is very soothing for eye inflammation and eyelid swelling.
. Indian gooseberry (E), Amla (H):
'Amla' literally means 'sour'; another name for amalaki is dhatrdhatr means 'mother' or 'nurse', indicating that amalaki is the ultimate carer and healer. It is the major ingredient in Cyavanapra-´sa-, the elixir tonic paste that is a superb rejuvenative for the lungs, all three dos.as and the reproductive system. Use amalaki for reducing inflammation in the digestive tract, assisting the bowels and strengthening the heart.
Digestion Specifically indicated for digestive sensitivity; constipation, ulcers, acidity, gastritis, colitis, hepatitis, haemorrhoids. Especially useful in inflammatory and bleeding conditions of the intestines. A small dose constipates while a larger dose is a laxative. It is a very effective liver cleanser; its sour flavour 'squeezes' the liver, and its antioxidant properties protect it. Heart Its affinity for the blood helps to nourish and protect the heart. It protects by reducing elevated cholesterol and healing arterial damage. It is a super antioxidant and a tonic for general debility and weakness; use for palpitations and for recovery post-illness. It helps to nourish rakta dhatu and enkindles raktadhatvagni to function efficiently, hence alleviating deficiency conditions such as anaemia that can affect heart function. It specifically pacifies an aggravated sadhaka pitta and this influences the clarity and calmness of the mind (medhya rasayana). Metabolic disorders Diabetes (pittaja prameha type) is treated by its microcirculatory-stimulating and ojas-enhancing properties, anaemia due to excess bile vitiating the blood, and hair loss from excess pitta burning the roots of the hair. The oil is especially good at alleviating hair loss and early greyness. It is a renowned rejuvenative and adaptogen famed for slowing age (vayahsthapana), increasing virility, promoting immunityand inducing balanced health (satmikarana). Consider using amalaki as an immune restorative and hepatoprotective during radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments.
. Indian ipecac:
This climber grows all over the Indian plains. Its 'viney' nature reflects its ability to spread, diffuse and ascend upwards through the lungs. Anthrapachaka literally means 'digestion in the entrails' relating to its ability to remove parasites from the intestines.
Lungs Asthma, bronchitis, rhinitis, hayfever; allergic conditions of the respiratory tract. Human clinical trials report the efficacy of its antiallergenic effect, proving beneficial in reducing asthma. Digestion Amoebic dysentery, diarrhoea; it has an antiprotozoal action and is antispasmodic. Seen as an effective replacement for ipecacuanha. Immunity Allergies, autoimmune disorders; arthritis.
. Purging cassia (E), Amaltas (H):
A gentle laxative used to clear pitta from the intestines.
Digestion Beneficial where there is constipation from heat drying the fluids in the colon. Specific for high pitta in the intestines where pacaka and ran˜jaka pitta are aggravated. As a gentle laxative it is used in children, the elderly and in pregnancy where constitutionally appropriate. It descends apana vayu and clears flatulence. It is a specific remedy to help ease the discomfort of piles . Skin By helping to eliminate pitta toxins from the rasa and rakta dhatu it benefits skin aggravations by cleansing the blood. Most useful for hot and damp skin conditions with itching, suppuration and inflammation (Caraka Samhita, Williamson). Bleeding Helps in bleeding from any of the mucous membranes. Fever The ayurvedic adage is to purge a fever after it breaks, 'natu reco jvarani', and aragvadha is specifically indicated for cleansing the bowel after a fever .
. Arjuna myrobalan (E), Arjun (H):
Arjuna means 'white' or 'shining', named after its bark which literally reflects light wherever this huge tree grows. Its name is also associated with 'Arjuna', one of the heroes of the great Indian epic, the Mahabharata. The pale white bark of the arjuna tree 'moults' naturally once a year; its new skin bringing new life. It is harvested when the tree is mature, thus attesting to its ability to prolong life, protect the elderly and strengthen the heart.
Heart Angina, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, hypertension have all showed signs of improvement in human clinical trials. Arjuna has also been shown to reduce total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It reduces inflammation (P) and congestion (K) that can damage the heart. Used to treat emotional disturbance and 'broken heart'. It strengthens the muscles of the heart as well as toning the capillaries and improving flexibility, which helps to prevent high blood pressure. It helps to balance the movement of vyana vayu in the heart and regulate circulation. Lungs Its affinity for the chest directs arjuna to the lungs and can help alleviate productive coughs with copious mucus in bronchitis and asthma due to excess kapha. It can also treat haemoptysis from high pitta. Liver Cirrhosis; it improves liver function and inflammation. Skin Useful as an alterative for clearing the skin of pitta inflammations; acne, acne rosacea, pruritus and urticaria. Tissue Its wound healing ability is demonstrated in post-trauma healing of scars, post-operative recovery and repairing fractures. A paste or tincture applied externally can rapidly hasten healing. It is used internally and externally for healing diabetic ulcers. Reproductive tissues Its astringency prevents premature ejaculation and uterine bleeding.
. Ashok (H):
Ashoka is a famous uterine tonic specifically used for excess bleeding and pain. Lord Buddha was born under the ashoka tree and Lord Ram's wife S´? - ta was held captive in an ashoka grove in Sri Lanka. It literally means 'remover of sorrow', attesting to its ability to cure pain and discomfort.
Gynaecology A very useful herb to treat menstrual disorders associated with excess bleeding (rakta pradara), pain and congestion. Use when there are uterine spasms, abdominal pain and dysmenorrhoea. Its affinity for the uterine muscles and endometrium indicates its use as a uterine tonic to help with prolapse, miscarriage and irregular menstrual cycles. Also of benefit for clearing congestion from the mamsa and medas dhatus when there are fibroids, cysts, endometriosis and leucorrhoea from excess ama and kapha in the artava srotas (Swami Shiva Tirtha). Digestion Its astringency can help to alleviate bleeding piles and dysentery. Also used to treat colitis and ulcers. Urine It encourages the flow of urine and can help to alleviate painful urination. Pain ashoka has specific analgesic properties and can be used to soothe the nerves where they are aggravated by vata. Heart Its nourishing effect on the circulatory system makes it a useful remedy in cardiac weakness and arrhythmia.
. Winter cherry (E), Indian ginseng (E), Asgandh (H):
The irony of ashwagandha is that it is a tonic and sedative all in one. It strengthens an exhausted nervous system that can manifest with 'hyper' signs such as emotional instability, agitation or feeling stressed out. It has the dual action of energising while calming. Its name ashwagandha meaning 'the smell of a horse', comes from the smell of the fresh root (like horse's urine), and also perhaps because it is renowned for imparting the sexual stamina of a horse.
Tissues Debility, low body weight, emaciation, deficient haemoglobin, anaemia, post-convalescent weakness, athletic exertion and with caution in pregnancy. It is useful for any imbalance in the muscles as it both reduces inflammation and strengthens muscle tone. It is a specific rasayana for mamsa dhatu and it is an anabolic muscle builder (Caraka, Bhavapraka´sa, Venkataraghavan et al 1980). As it benefits all muscle tissue it is used as a heart tonic, uterine tonic, and a lung tonic, as well as for increasing muscle weight and tone in convalescents, slow-developing children, and the elderly. Immunity Autoimmune conditions, neutropenia, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, cancer, and chronic connective tissue disorders. As a painkiller and antiinflammatory it is commonly used in swollen or painful arthritic conditions. It can strengthen a weakened immune system and protect it from becoming depleted due to immunosuppressive drugs or lifestyle. Improves white blood cell counts. It appears to have both immunosuppressive and immunotonic abilities and is therefore a 'true' adaptogen. Lungs Asthma, cough and allergic conditions from low immunity with high kapha and vata. Useful in hayfever, allergic rhinitis from aggravated vata and kapha. Nerves Neurosis, insomnia, anxiety, excessive thinking, 'hyper' symptoms and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Very useful in all conditions caused by 'stress' as it has a specific affinity for the majja dhatu and helps to regulate the movement of vyana vayu in the heart. Its tropism for the nervous system benefits multiple sclerosis. It both relaxes frayed nerves and tonifies the central nervous system to enhance tolerance to stress. It is a nourishing nevine as opposed to a heavy sedative. Reproductive Its rejuvenating effect on s´ukra dhatu helps to alleviate asthenospermia (increasing sperm motility), oligospermia (increasing sperm count), and poor sexual performance, and helps to reduce impotence. Its unique action or prabhava is to promote sexual potency and sperm production. External application of ashwagandha oil is used for impotence. Gynaecology Excellent tonic to the uterine muscles. Used in menstrual imbalance caused by a deficient condition with an aggravation of vata and uterine spasms; dysmenorrhoea, amenorrhoea, weakness. Thyroid Very useful in hypothyroid disorders to regulate thyroid activity.
. Psoralea fruit (E), Babchi (H), Bakuchi (H):
These little black seeds are famous for their use in chronic skin diseases. The outer cover of the seed is sticky and contains the therapeutically important coumarins.
Dermatology Benefits alopecia (as a tincture), psoriasis, eczema, vitiligo (as an oil or tincture); externally and internally (see notes below). The oil acts as an irritant, which stimulates the melanoblastic cells to create normal pigmentation. This can take about 3 months (Paranjpe 2001, Gogte 2002). Reproductive bakuchi is an aphrodisiac that can help to treat impotence and premature ejaculation. It benefits urinary dysfunction with dribbling, incomplete voiding, and enuresis in children. It can also benefit uterine bleeding with any doshic imbalance. Lungs Asthma caused by high vata is reduced by bakuchi's sweet and hot properties. Digestion Diarrhoea, borborygmus and abdominal pain caused by high vata and cold. Muscles Tonifies lower back, warms lower back ; good for high vata with spasmodic and chronic pain. Urine Frequent urination, incontinence; it strengthens the urinary sphincter (Benesky & Gamble 1993).
. Indian country mallow (E):
Bala means 'strength'. Its stem and roots are tough and this is literally what they impart—inner strength. It is a nourishing tonic, especially for nervous conditions.
Urinary Cystitis, stones, infection, haematuria, polyuria, urgency; high pitta and vata in mutravahasrotas . Nerves Pain, neuralgia, sciatica, paralysis and neurosis; all structural and nervous disorders with high vata. It is an excellent energy tonic when there is exhaustion due to an aggravated nervous system. An external oil massage using warm bala siddha taila is commonly used for these conditions along with internal treatment . Reproductive Infertility, leucorrhoea and apanaksetra congestion along with reproductive weakness (´sukraksaya). Bala is a renowned energy tonic that enhances sexual potency and ojas. Used to aid the growth of the fetus and keep the mother strong. Lungs Dry cough, asthma, tuberculosis and haemoptysis; vata–pitta disorders of the lungs. The low levels of ephedrine help to bronchodilate constriction and prevent wheezing and restricted breathing. Fever High temperature from an underlying deficiency and weakness. Heart Bala is a great heart tonic used for treating arrhythmia, tachycardia, irregular pulse and palpitations. As it benefits both mamsa dhatu and mamsavahasrotas it can be used to strengthen the heart muscle.
. Marking nut (E), Bhilawa (H):
Bhallataka means 'like a spear', attesting to its ability to penetrate deeply into the tissues and rejuvenate the body. It benefits digestion, lung weakness and arthritis. It is a specific rejuvenating tonic for the reproductive system.
Digestion It strongly increases the appetite and treats conditions caused by low digestive fire; piles, diarrhoea, worms and colitis. Its ability to clear ama helps to clear the srotas. Piles Alleviates vata and kapha types of haemorrhoids. It goes directly to the root cause of the disease as it rectifies the digestive fire. Lungs Helps to clear coughing and wheezing from high vata and kapha. Arthritis As a specific medicine for vata it helps to treat nervous disorders and degeneration of the joints. Reproduction It is a specific tonic to male fertility as it increases semen production. As it helps to treat premature ejaculation and seminal leakage it also treats incontinence and unrestrained urinary dribbles . Skin It is very beneficial for vitiligo and other skin diseases affecting pigmentation (.
. Eclipta (E), Bhangra (H):
Bhringaraja oil is a famous hair tonic for maintaining dark hair and reversing baldness. It is often translated as 'king of the hair', but literally means 'bee ruler'. It is decocted in coconut oil and as this is a 'cooling' oil it is used externally for 'hot' and inflammatory head problems such as headaches, sinusitis and ear infections. The herb also benefits heat problems.
Head Premature greying of hair, alopecia and early baldness are often classified as a pitta imbalance caused by pitta literally 'burning' the hair follicle. Eclipta clears pitta and especially from the head. It also benefits loose teeth, hearing problems, dizziness, vertigo (vata problems in the head). It is restorative to asthi dhatu (bone) tissue imbalances. It tonifies vata and therefore by strengthening, it reduces excess vata. Bhringaraja prepared oil also dissolves obstructions in the sinuses, nose, ears and head; use as nose and ear drops . Liver Cirrhosis, hepatitis; it clears ran˜jaka pitta from its site and protects the liver. It increases bile flow and helps restore appetite. The blood is treated via its beneficial effect on liver function. It actually helps to build blood, strengthen rakta dhatu and reduce anaemia. Combined with a capillary-strengthening action this can prevent high blood pressure caused by pitta and vata. It also benefits the eyes and treats conjunctivitis, styes and redness. Nerves Insomnia and mental agitation from high pitta and vata. It calms stress and reduces tension by tonifying majja dhatu. Bhringaraja increases blood and nourishes the brain . Skin Bhringaraja treats skin conditions via the nervous system and the liver, helping to allay itching and inflammation; urticaria, eczema and ringworm caused by aggravations of the rasa and rakta dhatu are treated. It also helps to recolour the skin after depigmentation . Lungs Its pungency can help alleviate mucus and treat asthma and bronchitis. Reproduction Its rasayana properties rejuvenate deficiencies in s´ukra dhatu, helping to build sperm quality and quantity. The seeds especially are used for this. Gynaecology It helps to prevent excessive uterine bleeding by clearing pitta from the artavahasrotas and uterus.
. Phyllanthus (E), Stone breaker (E):
This is a very bitter-tasting small shrub that literally means 'the amalaki of the earth' as this very low-lying shrub's leaves resemble the pattern and shape of her somewhat grander celestial namesake. Amalaki (Emblica officinalis) is referred to in some books as Phyllanthus emblica. Bhumiamalaki is a wonderful liver remedy that is also effective for clearing gall and bladder stones.
Liver Its affinity for balancing ran˜jaka pitta treats viral hepatitis, chronic hepatitis and it acts as a cholagogue. It is also useful for clearing and preventing gallstones. Human clinical trials attest to the improvement in liver function and alleviation of hepatitis symptoms. Digestion Its ability to clear aggravated pacaka pitta benefits digestive tract disorders with hyperacidity, inflammation and dysentery (Paranjape 2001). Skin Used where the liver is the root of the skin inflammation . It is also applied externally for skin heat, swelling and itching. Immunity May be of use in impaired immune disorders; especially viral conditions such as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), HIV, flu, herpes (Mehrotra et al 1991). Gynaecology Used in menorrhagia from high pitta. It clears inflammatory heat from the lower abdomen and this reduces congestion, leucorrhoea and painful urination. Urine It effectively clears stones and gravel from the urinary system. It may have a use in managing diabetes and reducing blood sugar levels.
. Beleric myrobalan (E), Baheda (H):
Bibhitaki is the 'one who keeps you away from disease' as it is literally 'fearless' of all diseases. This small, dry fruit has a specific drying, astringing and strengthening action on the mucous membranes throughout the body, especially in the lungs, intestines and urinary system.
Lungs Asthma, bronchitis, cough, laryngitis with high avalambaka kapha, obstructing the flow of prana in the lungs. Where there is copious, white or clear phlegm, bibhitaki can help to clear and dry this congestion . Also used to soothe a sore throat when mixed with honey and also used as a gargle. Head It has a particular affinity for the upper body and head. It clears congestion from the eyes, ears, nose and throat. Also indicated for helping to maintain hair growth. Digestion Diarrhoea, colitis, Crohn's disease, intestinal inflammation and parasites with pitta–kapha problems. It has a dual action of being both astringent and laxative that helps to increase peristalsis as well as strengthen the mucous membranes of the colon. The unripe fruits have a stronger laxative action and the ripe fruits are more astringent . Urine Bladder stones, cloudy urine due to kapha urinary aggravation with obstructions in the medas-dhatu . It has the ability to clear all kapha accumulations. Nerves Insomnia; its astringent nature can hold rising vata down in the lower abdomen and prevent it from irritating the sensitive nerves of the head. It also nourishes majja dhatu, which helps to prevent frazzled nerves. Heart Its cardiac glycoside content and ability to reduce stagnant kapha indicates its use for cardiac congestion and insufficiency (Williamson 2002).
. Bael fruit (E), Bengal quince (E), wood apple tree (E), Bel (H):
This fruit is a fantastic remedy for the digestive system. Sacred to Lord Shiva, it destroys weakness in the intestines. The dried immature part is used for diarrhoea while the mature, fresh fruit is more laxative.
Digestion Immature dried bilva is a specific herb for chronic irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diarrhoea, dysentery, and malabsorption that manifests as longterm imbalances with 'mucusy' and watery stools. Its astringency checks the excessive downwards movement of vata. It also dries the excess mucus and ama that comes with high kapha aggravations (Bhavapraka´sha). It is a good choice where there may be ulceration and inflammation of the mucous membranes in the intestines; ulcers, colitis, Crohn's disease. The fresh fruit is more of a laxative used in summer to cool the system. It is very heavy to digest and should only be taken in small amounts.
. Bacopa (E), Herpestis (E),:
Brahman is the Hindu name given to the universal consciousness and Brahma is the divinity responsible for all 'creative' forces in the world. Brahmi literally means the 'energy or shakti of Brahman (i.e. Sarasvati). With brahmi deriving its name from these roots it has a lot to live up to. And it does! Its mind enhancing and nervous system soothing effects are legendary.
Brain Brahmi helps to improve memory, learning ability and concentration. It is used in mental disorders, epilepsy (apasmara), mania and hysteria (unmada). It specifically enhances the quality of sadhaka pitta and this directly influences the nature of consciousness. Nerves Used to aid recovery from exhaustion, stress and debility with aggravation of vata. A specific herb for all conditions with a deficient majja dhatu. Consider using in Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, dementia, ADHD, Asperger's syndrome, autism, depression and drug addiction. Brahmi is very useful in skin conditions with an underlying nervous imbalance . It also benefits tension throughout the system helping to ease constipation from stress, relax muscle tightness and alleviate menstrual pain. It is commonly used to treat insomnia. Urinary It can cool the heat of cystitis and pain of dysuria by guiding pitta out of the mutravahasrota. External As a medicated oil it is a neuralgic in joint pain. Used as a head rub for headaches and to clear the mind. It is also used as a brain tonic to strengthen the memory and encourage hair growth.
. Cardamom (E), Elaichi (H):
These aromatic seed pods are filled with soothing, relaxing and antispasmodic essential oils. A premium digestive aid and mucus reducer.
Digestion Specifically in weak digestion, borborygmus, bloating, flatulence, colic, intestinal pain and indigestion. Cardamom stimulates agni without aggravating pitta and clears excess kledaka kapha from the stomach. Being anuloma it helps to regulate samana vayu and direct apana vayu downwards; hence beneficial for nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, burping and acidity . Lungs Cough with mucus and asthma with wheezing; it clears avalambaka kapha and regulates vata. Good for sore throats and freshens the breath. Urine Recommended for painful, burning urination (mutrakr. cchra) and aggravated vata in the lower abdomen .
. Castor oil (E), Rendi (H):
Castor oil is considered the king of medicinals for curing va¯ta and arthritic diseases. It is warm, oily, heavy, and acts as a laxative.
Digestion In mild to moderate constipation, castor oil acts as an osmotic laxative. It holds water in the intestines and causes a total cleansing of the large intestine. This can flush pitta and kapha from the system. Its effect is very dose-dependent and can range from cathartic to aperient. As an emollient it lubricates the dryness of vata and recorrects the flow of apana vayu downwards. It can be included as part of a treatment for piles . Arthritis Traditionally used for all conditions where both ama and vata mix. This manifests as pain, swelling, deformations of the joints and bones. The oil is externally applied, and taken internally for sciatica, arthritis, gout, and paralysis. Lumps An external application is used to clear all accumulations and palpable lumps. Apply a hot fomentation over the breast, liver, abdomen or pelvis for any cyst, inflammation, tumour or lump. Eyes The oil is put into the eyes to treat styes, conjunctivitis and foreign objects in the eyes. Skin It is considered beneficial as an external application for warts and fungal infections of the skin and nails. Very useful as an emollient to treat dry skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
. White chiretta (E), Chiretta (H):
This is an especially bitter herb that is renowned for cleansing the blood and liver of inflammation and high pitta. Chiretta is derived from 'kira-ta' meaning bitter.
Digestion Inflammatory digestive conditions, hyperacidity, bleeding piles and worms. It clears amapitta from the intestines as it acts as a mild laxative. As it stimulates the liver it can stimulate the appetite. This has a beneficial effect on rasa dhatu as it is formed as a by-product of food (ahararasa); well-digested, good-quality food creates a healthy rasa dhatu. Skin Any skin problems with signs of heat, redness, inflammation, itching, burning may indicate the use of chiretta . It clears waste toxins from the blood, thus purifying rasa and rakta dhatu. Fever Used in fevers caused by all three dosas and when aggravated by sweating and thirst. Chiretta clears the ama and toxins that cause the fever and is a specific for malaria .
. White leadwort (E), Chita (H):
Chitraka means the 'spotted one', perhaps referring to its namesake, the spotted leopard, who speedily catches its prey just as chitraka rapidly cures diseases. It is also known as agni meaning 'fire' or jvala meaning 'flame'. It is a very hot-natured herb and should be used sparingly. It strongly increases the digestive fire.
Digestion Deficient digestion (mandagni) with flatulence and diarrhoea with cold signs of watery stools and aversion to cold due to excessive kapha and vata. Its solar quality absorbs water and dries excess fluids in the intestines. It kills parasites. It is used in haemorrhoids with congestion in the apanaksetra and is a specific for non-bleeding (vata-kapha) piles . It is a superb rasayana for agni assisting with absorption of nutrients and treating abdominal pain and bloating. Joints Specific for s´lesaka kapha and ama in the joints; cold, wet, damp type arthritis with pain, swelling, pitting and water retention . Nerves A depressed nervous system is stimulated by small amounts. It activates the movement of vata that is stagnated due to congestion of kapha or weakness. Respiratory Used in chronic and acute rhinitis from cold.
. Chrysanthemum (E), Indian chrysanthemum (E), Gundandi (H):
Sevanti derives from the word seva meaning 'service' as it encourages humility and devotion. Its lightness balances the heavy intensity of pitta. Its sweet aroma awakens the heart and cools the agitation of an imbalanced pitta. It goes straight to the eyes and skin via the liver.
Lungs Acute upper respiratory infections with heat; sore throat, fever, thirst, headaches, general malaise. It can be useful in reducing fevers through mild diaphoresis. Eyes Chrysanthemum morifolium is a specific remedy for eye inflammation, swelling, redness, dryness and itching as it regulates alocaka and ran˜jaka pitta. Specifically indicated for conjunctivitis, styes and inflamed eyelids from eczema and red eyes. It makes the eyes bright and beautiful . Liver Its mild, bitter taste increases liver function and its gentle sweetness 'smoothes' the flow of pitta between the stomach (amas´aya) and liver (yakrt). It is indicated in bilious conditions, sour taste in the mouth and hypochondrial pain under the ribs. Nerves Used to reduce hypertension and stress from high pitta or irritation. When vata pushes pitta to the head and they mix together, headaches, dizziness and insomnia can occur. Used on the emotional level for clearing the heat of anger. Skin Chrysanthemum indica is very bitter and is used for hot, inflamed and suppurating skin problems caused by aggravated pitta and kapha.
. Cinnamon (E), Ceylon cinnamon (E), Cassia (E), Dalchini (H):
Twak means 'skin' or 'bark'; the bark of the cinnamon tree is used in ayurvedic medicine as a major digestive herb. As a bark protects a tree, cinnamon protects and strengthens the intestines.
Lungs Colds, cough, sinus congestion, bronchitis with excess avalambaka kapha; it clears mucus and encourages the circulation of vata throughout the respiratory system. Use it as a hot decoction to clear ama in fevers by encouraging sweating . Digestion Cold digestion, slow digestion and mandagni in kapha and vata types. Increases agni and regulates samana vayu to treat flatulence and colic. Can be useful in diarrhoea with loose and watery motions with undigested food in the stool. Cinnamon has an antifungal activity and may be used in Candida albicans and imbalanced intestinal flora (WHO 1999). Circulation Cold extremities, Raynaud's syndrome, arthritis; cinnamon stimulates vyana vayu and pushes circulation to the joints. Its warm, dry and light qualities help to clear excess s´lesmaka kapha and ama from the joints. These effects can also be of use in cardiac insufficiency with cold extremities, difficulty breathing, fluid accumulation and tiredness. Urine Frequent urination; nocturia caused by cold is treated by cinnamon's hot and dry qualities. Its ability to penetrate deep into the tissues coupled with its sweet quality give it an ability to nourish the reproductive system (s´ukra dhatu) and treat infertility and male impotence. Gynaecology Dysmenorrhoea; excellent antispasmodic used 3–4 days prior to period in kapha–vata types. It has an ironic action used to treat both amenorrhoea and menorrhagia; its blood-invigorating, warming and penetrating properties can be utilised in wet and stagnant conditions in the pelvic cavity; ovarian cysts, fibroids and endometriosis. Its drying astringency comes to the fore if there is uterine bleeding (Bone 1996, Paranjpe 2001).
. Cloves (E), Lavang (H):
Cloves are the dried flower buds of this evergreen tree. They have very effective antiseptic and fungal properties that benefit digestion.
Digestion Weak, sluggish digestion with pain, flatulence and lack of interest in food. Increases agni without aggravating pitta if used moderately. Specifically used for nausea; its aromatic quality settles excess vata and kapha. Use a cold infusion to settle nausea during pregnancy. May be used to treat a wide range of bacterial and fungal conditions such as Candida albicans. Lungs Congested lungs; disperses prana vayu. Expels phlegm in cough, asthma, bronchitis and pleurisy. Specific in laryngitis and sore throats. Helps to prevent spasmodic coughs. Its ability to reduce ama helps in clearing fevers. Reproduction Low sex drive, impotence, premature ejaculation and vaginal discharge. Cloves Remove excess kapha in artava and s´ukravahasrotas . Pain Specific for toothache; use essential oil applied to the gums or tooth. Apply the essential oil externally to relieve headaches, arthritic pain, areas of poor circulation and back pain.
. Coleus (E):
Coleus is a small perennial plant that grows on the lower foothills of India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. It has received much scientific interest in recent years and is now renowned for its beneficial effect on the skin, heart, on blood pressure and glaucoma.
Eyes Specific use for glaucoma; it reduces intraocular pressure. Heart Coleus improves heart function and may benefit congestive heart failure. It also reduces blood pressure at the doses necessary to enhance the heart function. Lungs It acts as an effective bronchodilator. Thyroid May stimulate thyroid activity. Allergies Used for allergic conditions, asthma, hayfever, eczema. As these conditions are marked by low cAMP and high platelet activating factor (PAF) levels Coleus forskohlii is specifically indicated. Psoriasis This is also a condition marked by low cAMP levels and benefits from increased levels of the enzyme.
. Coriander (E), Cilantro (E), Dhaniya (H):
This popular Indian curry ingredient is also an invaluable medicine; it soothes an irritated digestive system and cools any burning sensations in the body. Its sweet aroma can subtly lift the spirits. Dhanya-ka is a proper noun also meaning 'rich'.
Digestion Coriander seed is an excellent remedy for promoting pitta digestion as it enkindles agni but does not aggravate acidity. It can be used safely when there is inflammation in the digestive system and when agni needs strengthening. It is a useful carminative herb prescribed in IBS and colic. Both the leaf and seed are used for digestion to clear flatulence, griping and bloating. The powder of the seed is used for worms in children. Urinary Acold infusion of the seeds is very useful for draining heat out of the urinary system. Useful in cystitis, dysuria and cloudy urine. Also beneficial in the hot type of diabetes (pittaja prameha) and for helping to reduce hot flushes. Allergies The juice of the leaf is used externally for allergic rashes and internally for allergic rhinitis from pitta . It specifically clears toxins from the blood. Lungs Its antispasmodic and expectorant properties help to clear mucus from the lungs. Heavy metals The leaf is used to help facilitate the safe excretion of heavy metals and other environmental toxins including lead, arsenic and mercury. Only use drop-by-drop doses and it must be accompanied by an intestinal heavy metal toxin absorption agent, such as chlorella. Fever As the seeds are a mild diaphoretic it can help to alleviate a fever by allowing the displaced agni, pitta and ama to be released through the skin and the urine.
. Cumin seed (E), Jira (H):
This small shrubby annual thrives in dry conditions. It counteracts dampness and excessively wet conditions in the body. Its Sanskrit name literally means 'promoting digestion' and it is a superb addition to any formula when there is a compromised digestive system.
Digestion One of the best herbs for digestive sluggishness. Used as a flavouring in cooking to help the absorption of nutrients. Specifically implicated in bloating, gurgling, slow digestion from disturbed vata and kapha. Also of benefit if vata is rebelling upwards and causing nausea or indigestion. It corrects the flow of vata and directs the wind downwards. Its heating post-digestive property implies that it absorbs fluids from the large intestine; it is constipative when there is diarrhoea. Lungs Because it digests ama it can be of use in counteracting catarrh and excess avalambaka kapha on the chest. It regulates the movement of udana and prana vayu in the chest and helps to relieve tightness. Gynaecology Its direct effect on rasa dhatu sends its beneficial properties straight to the uterus and female reproductive system. It reduces uterine inflammation and pain and also dries any excess discharge. Like many Umbelliferae family seeds it benefits stanyasrotas and the production of breast milk.
. Mugwort (E), Davana (H):
This common roadside herb is very warming and has an affinity for the blood and the female reproductive system. Damanaka literally means 'subduing' as it tames disease.
Gynaecology Specific herb for menorrhagia when this excessive bleeding is caused by coldness, i.e. an excess of kapha and/or vata in the uterus. Useful in all cold conditions of the lower abdomen where cold congeals and creates dysmenorrhoea, endometriosis or fibroids. Used to prevent miscarriage when caused by coldness. It can also be used as a douche for vaginal discharge and kapha symptoms. Digestion It acts as an antispasmodic in the intestines for vatalike cramps. It regulates the flow of s´amana vata. Its affinity for the apanaksetra and the lower abdomen benefits all vata or nervous related symptoms in this area . Heart Damanaka's action on the blood helps to nourish the heart and strengthen the contractile force of the cardiac system. This positive effect on circulation can ease muscular pain. External Specific treatment using fresh leaf poultice to remove warts. Also beneficial in a skin cream or as a wash for itchy skin.
. Indian berberry (E), Daruhaldi (H), Darvi (H):
Daruharidra means 'tree turmeric' after its yellow-coloured roots and trunk visible after the bark is peeled from this thorny bush. It is a remarkable remedy for regulating the liver and clearing high pitta from the system.
Liver As an effective cholagogue it helps to protect the liver from toxic damage. It can be used in liver diseases such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and also in 'sluggish liver', characterised by low appetite, anorexia and constipation. It effectively regulates ran˜jaka pitta and works directly on the rakta dhatu and blood. It is a specific herb for treating imbalanced rakta dhatu agni. Its effect on the liver also helps to treat aggravated alocaka pitta in the eyes in such conditions as styes and conjunctivitis. Skin Used for all skin problems with inflammation, redness and bleeding; eczema, psoriasis, fungal infections with aggravated bhrajaka pitta. As an effective diaphoretic it helps to release aggravated kapha via the skin. It is used as part of the treatment in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Piles It is a specific herb for kapha and pitta piles. Diabetes It is used with turmeric as part of a formula for diabetes as berberine works directly on the pancreas. This combination is called haridra dvaya or 'the two turmerics'.
. Himalayan cedar wood (E), Deodar (H):
This hardy tree thrives in the high altitude of the western Himalayas. It means 'wood of the gods'. The inner wood is aromatic and is also distilled into essential oil. The outer bark is astringent and is used for diarrhoea and neuralgic pain.
Digestion Used in digestive distension from weak digestion. As it alleviates vata it can reduce intestinal spasms and cramping by relaxing the nervous system and easing flatulence. Very useful in digestive disturbance from nervous tension, it can clear constipation by relaxing and lubricating the bowel. Its hot resinous nature is beneficial for reducing ama from the intestines and excess weight and cholesterol from medas-dhatu. Lungs Its bitter and pungent flavour is the perfect combination to remove kapha; it dries the excess mucus and therefore helps to clear the wet stagnation. Its snigdha and unctuous property loosens phlegm and facilitates expectoration helping to alleviate kapha and dry excess mucus. It is also used when there are fevers that are affecting breathing. Pain Devadaru is an excellent anti-inflammatory that relieves cold, spasm and contraction in the muscles. Its pungent and warm properties increase circulation and relax muscular tension. Use in arthritis, sciatica, headache and pain from high vata.
. White thorn apple (E), Datura (H):
Dhattura is steeped in legend. The sublimely enticing flowers draw you towards them. It has psychotropic qualities that give it a mythical character. Ayurvedically the leaves are a potent remedy for diffusing the lungs and circulating pra-n. a.
Lungs Dhattura leaves are a powerful remedy for dilating the bronchioles of the lungs. They are antispasmodic and can swiftly relieve wheezing and tightness of the chest. It is used as a drying remedy to counteract mucus and congestion in the lungs when avalambaka kapha has accumulated. Fevers As this remedy moves upwards and outwards it can help to induce diaphoresis and therefore break a fever.
. Ephedra (E):
Ephedra is a dry, stalky plant that favours dry, barren land, and is specific for cold, wet, damp lung and circulatory conditions. It is invaluable for acute asthma and allergic respiratory attacks with kapha and cold symptoms. Somalata means the 'soma creeper' referring to 'soma' the divine plant that induced transcendental states. Although Ephedra spp. have been associated with soma this is not confirmed and ephedra is not a creeper.
Lungs Colds with high kapha, and allergies from cold and damp; hayfever, acute rhinitis, asthma, wheezing. As an antiallergenic herb it prevents the release of histamine from mast cells but should only be used when there is a cold component. Its superb bronchodilatory action directly relaxes the muscles around the lungs and eases shortness of breath Circulation Cold extremities and arthritis with high s´lesaka kapha and swollen joints. Its vasodilating properties relax the skin and this helps to expel cold while its diuretic properties drain any swelling and oedema.
. Fennel (E), Sounf (H):
Its name shatapushpa means 'one hundred flowers'. Its other name Madhurika- means 'the sweet one'. This is another member of the Umbelliferae family that aromatically warms digestion. Like its flower head it spreads and moves outwards, thus preventing congestion and stagnation in the centre.
Digestion Digestive discomfort; flatulence, borborygmus, cramps, nausea and low agni. Although a heating herb, it benefits digestion without aggravating pitta. In fact its sweet post-digestive action leaves a residual cooling effect. A specific herb for inguinal hernias and lower abdominal pain. It relaxes the smooth muscles and is a specific herb for lower abdominal pain from lower bowel tension. Fennel water is used for colic in babies. Urinary Cystitis, difficult urination, burning and dark yellow urine, cloudy urine. Its diuretic properties clear pitta from mutravahasrotas. Nerves Use fennel when nervous tension in mamsa dhatu and contraction in the smooth muscle system restricts the flow of vata. All spasms are relieved by fennel, especially in the GIT, lungs and uterus. Its nourishing effect on majja dhatu tonifies the brain and nervous system. Lungs Useful in vata–kapha obstruction type cough. Helps to clear phlegm by reducing aggravated avalambaka kapha that congests the alveoli and bronchioles. Gynaecology Its specific effect on rasadhatu can increase the flow of milk in lactating mothers. Useful in menstrual difficulty caused by vata and kapha obstruction in the lower abdomen with pain, cramps and a dragging sensation.
. Fenugreek (E), Methi (H):
Fenugreek is a very warming seed that benefits kapha and va-ta. It is used to treat constipation, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. Its smell is very pungent, and it is a nourishing seed.
Diabetes Its beneficial effect on the water channels (ambuvahasrotas) and the urinary system (mutravahasrotas) indicate its use in diabetes. It can help to clear some of the fatty deposits that accumulate in the channels that should be nourishing to the pancreas. It helps to balance sugar levels in both types 1 and 2 diabetes. The active components are found in the trigonelline and coumarin content. Clinically effective trials have used 50g per day of the defatted seeds. Cholesterol Its direct action on medovahasrotas makes it useful as part of a formula to reduce cholesterol. Use 10–20g per day to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. Digestion It is an invaluable remedy to treat sluggish and gaseous digestion from impaired kapha and vata. It can benefit diarrhoea and inflammation in the intestines. Its high mucilage content acts as a soothing demulcent that can heal ulcers and also increase the bulk of the stool; it is a useful mild laxative. Its bitter quality helps the liver function and improves assimilation of nutrients . Gynaecology Fenugreek seed has a particular affinity for the uterus and female reproductive system as a whole. Its saponin containing phyto-oestrogen precursor, diosgenin, plays an important role in female health. It is taken post-partum to encourage bowel movements and clean the uterus. Its nourishing effect on rasa dhatu also helps to encourage a healthy flow of breast milk. If there is dysmenorrhoea its warming effect and stagnation reducing properties are beneficial. Reproduction Used in formulas to treat impotence, premature ejaculation and low libido. Its heating energetics stimulate the reproductive system, while its unctuousness and sweet nature nourish s´ukra dhatu. Pain As a superb remedy to settle vata it is indicated in lower back problems, sciatica and arthritis with swelling and pain. A notable diagnostic clue is the sensation of cold on the back and thighs. Its ability to strengthen asthi dhatu indicates its use in osteoporosis, back pain, structural weaknesses and hair loss. External A poultice made from the powder is very useful for drawing infections, boils, splinters and arthritic swelling from the body.
. Frankincense (E), Indian oli–banum (E), Salai guggul (H):
Frankincense has dual energetics of being both heating and cooling. It is heating due to its blood circulating property and cooling due to its anti-inflammatory action. Frankincense has had a long-term connection with the spiritual realm and religious ceremony. It is also used in psychiatric and mental conditions.
Pain All types of pain, specifically arthritic or post-trauma where there is inflammation and congestion. Energetically applied to cold and damp types of pain and swelling. It circulates vyana vayu and clears toxic ama; this effectively clears blockage of the channels (srotorodha). Used to hasten the healing of wounds, broken bones and bruises via its blood-circulating and granulation- enhancing actions. Inflammation Useful in inflammatory diseases, especially of the joints, lungs, GIT and skin, and is a specific for osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, colitis, Crohn's disease and psoriasis where there is chronic kapha or ama involvement causing obstruction and stagnation in any of the channels or tissues. Consider frankincense instead of non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This action is the result of the boswellic acid reducing the activity of pain and inflammation causing leukotrienes by inhibiting the production of the 5-lipoxygenase enzyme. Gynaecology Excels in the treatment of fibroids, cysts, painful periods with clots and pain caused by congestion in apanaksetra and the uterus. Reproduction Specific herb for impotence and sexual debility; it brings blood to the penis and therefore facilitates erectile function. Cholesterol Reduces LDL count in the blood. Clears ama from the blood. Mental Opens the mind. Said to have a specific effect on ajn˜ a cakra, the spiritual centre connected with the pituitary and hypothalamus gland. The essential oil is especially appropriate for this.
. Garlic (E), La´suna (H):
The delicious bulbs of this annual are a veritable herbal panacea. Ayurveda focuses on its positive digestive effect when there is cold and sluggishness, but warns of its inappropriate use in times of emotional stress and environmental heat. Rasona means 'lacking a taste', derived from rasa meaning 'taste' and una meaning 'lacking', as it lacks the sour taste.
Digestion Garlic is a classic folk medicine used for gastric disturbances— flatulence, worms, parasites, infections, dysentery, typhoid, food poisoning, Candida albicans. Its ability to remove pathogenic bacteria without depleting the body's natural flora takes it a step beyond being just a 'herbal antibiotic'. As it cleans the intestinal flora it may increase wind for a few days. It is useful whenever there is a disturbance of kledaka kapha or apana vayu in the intestines as it clears both mucus and gaseous distension. It can also stimulate a sluggish liver. Lungs The little white bulbs have a potent therapeutic effect on the lungs; the volatile oils actually appear on the breath having cleaned the bronchioles and alveoli. It is strongly decongestant. As a rejuvenative for vata it encourages the free flow of breath, specifically udana and pranavayu. As an expectorant it can help to clear wet and sticky mucus. A very useful cold remedy with classic kapha symptoms; catarrh, heavy feeling, sluggishness, loss of appetite, shivering, aching limbs, myalgia. Garlic helps to expel the congestion and ama by inducing diaphoresis. Immunity It enhances the body's immunity as well as directly removing pathogens. It can be both a prophylactic and a cure for many infections. Heart It directly benefits the heart by reducing kapha and ama in the rasa, rakta and medas dhatus and this has the effect of lowering blood cholesterol and reducing clotting; potential use in thrombosis and varicose veins. Its inclusion in a preventative regime to reduce the chances of atherosclerosis in kapha and vata types seems wise. As a circulatory stimulant it warms the whole body. This regulatory effect on the circulation and the arteries is further demonstrated by either lowering or raising blood pressure depending on the condition; it balances, restores and regulates. External With kapha–vata skin disorders garlic is very useful as a paste or oil; ringworm, fungal infections, ear infections. An external oil rub may benefit arthritis, sciatica, oedema.
. Ginger (E), Adrakh (H), Sont (H):
Ardraka means 'moist' and sunthi means' dry'. It is also known as vishwabheshaja, the universal medicine benefiting everybody and all diseases (if you can say all in Ayurveda!), especially va-ta disorders. This is the herbalist's best friend. When using ginger think 'digestion, lungs and circulation'.
Cold Clears cold; fresh increases peripheral circulation and causes vasodilation and sweating. It clears ama from plasma and blood. Fresh ginger is more peripherally active while dry ginger is more centrally stimulating and warming (Mills & Bone 2000; the volatile and diaphoretic essential oils ?-sesquipphellandrene and zingiberene decompose on drying. The warming gingerol principle transforms into shogoals on drying, making it more centrally heating). Dry ginger may be of benefit in cardiac disorders due to increasing circulation and potential bloodthinning properties when used at a high dosage Mills & Bone 2000). Arthritis Dry ginger is used as an ama-clearing, s´lesaka kaphareducing, toxin-digesting, antiinflammatory in arthritis (amavata) in many traditional ayurvedic formulas, e.g. triphala guggul, yograj guggul. Lungs Clears phlegm in kaphavata coughs and colds. Digestion Warms the digestive system, increases agni and the secretion of digestive enzymes. Fresh ginger especially benefits rasadhatvagni while dry ginger clears ama and is better for kledaka kapha aggravations. Useful in nausea (morning, postoperative, and travel sickness), flatulence, griping. Specific activity against Escherichia coli and Shigella bacillus. Gynaecology Used in menstrual cramps—hot, fresh ginger tea. Regulates vata in the apanaksetra (lower abdomen). Despite its 'warm' energy it also inhibits the activity of inflammatory prostaglandins. It is a warming anti-inflammatory. Energetically, its sweet post-digestive effect is cooling. It also nourishes the s´ukra dhatu and reproductive system as a whole.
. Puncture vine fruit (E), Caltrops (H), Gokhru (H):
This spiky fruit looks like the cloven hoof of a cow and hence the name go-ks.ura (cow-hoof). 'Ks.ura' also means 'scratcher' and as this thorny shrub is found growing in sandy wasteland all over the subcontinent it is responsible for scarring the hide of many a sacred cow. It is a superb diuretic that clears excess fluids from the system. Its hormonal precursor compounds actively nourish the reproductive system. It is also very useful for itchy skin, especially on the hands and feet.
Urinary (Fruit) Bladder or kidney infections, renal colic, kidney stones, urinary retention, cloudy urination, haematuria. It has a direct affinity for the mutravahasrotas, ambuvahasrotas as well as mamsa and medas-dhatu. It soothes the urinary tract membranes and promotes urination. Gokshura is specific for prostate problems, urinary retention or obstructed urinary flow. Reproductive (Aerial parts and fruit) As a tonic herb with a sweet post-digestive effect it nourishes the s´ukra dhatu increasing virility, fertility, sperm production, and lactation. It rejuvenates the reproductive system, especially the uterus and the gonads. Used in infertility and impotence where there is an obstruction due to vata or kapha in the reproductive tissue. Its saponin and flavonoid content act as hormonal precursors. Protodioscin is converted to dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and thus enhances sexual function (Williamson 2002). Nerves (Fruit) Useful in all vata aggravations of the nervous system. It draws all three dosas downwards and can treat headaches, hives, itchy skin and eye inflammations. Its harmala alkaloid content has MAO inhibitor activity, which can be utilised for psychological and nervous imbalances to enhance the balance of serotonin in the brain. Skin (Fruit) Gokshura is very useful for stopping itching in the skin caused by vata or kapha obstructing the muscle, blood or plasma. A specific herb for lesions on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.
. Indian pennywort (E), Gotu kola (S), Kula kudi (H):
Manduka-parni refers to its leafshape resembling the webbed feet of a frog. The leaf also looks like the cerebellum and is one of the finest examples of the 'doctrine of signatures' as gotu kola is traditionally renowned for its intellectpromoting, nervous-system soothing and general mindenhancing properties.
Nerves In conditions of stress, insomnia, epilepsy, emotional turbulence; beneficial with pitta/vata aggravation. It relaxes the central nervous system. Useful in behavioural and developmental imbalances such as autism, Asperger's syndrome or ADHD. Mind Improves concentration, intelligence, memory and alertness. Used in Alzheimer's disease, senility, stroke, and to slow ageing as it benefits sadhaka pitta which promotes intellect. It nourishes majja dhatu and this protects the brain and by reducing 'stress' it prolongs life. Skin Gotu kola is a specific herb for inflammatory skin conditions: eczema, urticaria, acne, STDs. Gotu kola balances all three dosas and has wondrous effects on the skin and bhrajaka pitta. Very useful for hastening wound healing and reducing scars. The flavonoids act as circulatory stimulants that develop the blood vessels in the skin. It increases the rate of keratinisation of the skin, which helps to strengthen the outer protective layer of the body. This points to use in skin inflammation and cellulite. The saponin content acts as a cleansing and softening agent, the oligosaccharides are moisturising and the phytosterols are protective. It is useful in external applications for hair loss via its pitta-reducing effect. Joints Traditionally used for arthritis, gout and joint inflammation. This reflects its ability to clear toxins and inflammation.
. Guduchi, Giloy (H):
Guduchi is described as 'the one who protects the body'. 'Amr• ta' means 'divine nectar' referring to the life restoring drops that Lord Indra sprinkled from heaven to bring life back to the devotees of Lord Ra¯ma after they were slain in battle. This is a virile creeper that grows throughout the forests of India. Those growing up neem trees are said to be the best as the synergy between these two bitter plants enhances guduchi's efficacy. Its therapeutic strength lies in its rejuvenating and strengthening properties while also detoxifying and cleansing the whole system, specifically via the liver.
Liver Liver damage, viral hepatitis or poisoning from alcohol, chemicals or recreational and medicinal drugs. Useful in repairing fibrosis and regenerating liver tissue. Applied in all conditions of aggravated ran-jaka pitta and pitta in the blood. Joints Gout (vata rakta), arthritis (ama vata) and other inflammatory joint conditions. It acts by clearing pitta toxins and uric acid via the urinary system that have accumulated in raktavahasrotas. It also removes ama toxins from the system without destabilising any of the other dosa. Immunity All autoimmune diseases causing inflammation. Applicable in degenerative diseases such as cancer, AIDS and arthritis as it boosts the immune system. Use to offset the ulcerative and toxic effects of chemoradiotherapy (Thatte et al 1988). Skin Suppurative and inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, systemic lupus erythematosus. Useful when there is high tejas and pitta that has burnt immune-protecting ojas away, resulting in inflammatory skin conditions. Skin problems from excessive alcohol, recreational drug and pharmaceutical drug use may indicate the use of guduchi. Specific for burning sensations on the skin (daha) (Caraka Samhita, Bhavaprakas´a). Digestion Guduchi heals a bowel affected by constipation, intestinal bleeding, haemorrhoids or dysentery. Useful at redressing intestinal floral imbalance with candida-like symptoms (krmi, grahani) such as bloating, flatulence and malabsorption. Its bitter yet heating qualities are used to stimulate raktadhatvagni and strengthen digestion in pitta types. Metabolic It regulates blood sugar levels via its direct effect on rakta and medas-dhatu thus benefiting diabetes and hypoglycaemia. Guduchi is very calming to vata and the nervous system via its unctuous nature, soothing nervous irritation. Reproductive Its ability to clear heat is applied when sexual dysfunction is caused by a hyperheat condition. It is often used in formulas for male sexual dysfunction caused by pitta imbalance as its sweet post-digestive effect nourishes s´ukra dhatu.
. Indian bedellium (E), Indian myrrh (E), Guggul (H):
Guggulu resin has a remarkable cholesterol controlling action. It is used in Ayurveda to literally scrape out toxic accumulations that aggravate va-ta and cause arthritis. It is a renowned yogava-h?-, meaning that it carries other substances with it deep into the tissues.
Cholesterol It reduces cholesterol (LDL) and prevents accumulation. It has a lekhana property that 'scrapes' deposits from the channels, joints and tissues. Guggulu is a specific herb for obesity and excessive weight; this works via its pungency, lekhaniya property and ability to enhance thyroid function. It stimulates medasdhatu- agni, which regulates fat metabolism. Arthritis Anti-inflammatory activity and detoxifying action. Very good in kapha/vata types of arthritis to reduce pain and swelling. Heart Ischaemic heart disease, angina, congestive heart failure; it increases blood flow, reduces blood clots and clears atherosclerosis. It regulates vyanavayu, moves avalambaka kapha and raktavahasrotas as well as scraping ama deposits from the channels. Gynaecology Used to clear endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome and clots. It reduces all accumulations and ama in the apanaksetra of the lower abdomen. It regulates the cycle and is a strong emmenagogue. Skin Guggulu can be used for skin inflammations. Clinical trials have proven efficacy in acne as opposed to antibiotic treatment (Thappa & Dogra 1994). It is used in stubborn skin lesions that are chronic, 'stuck', and resistant to other treatment. It also benefits general inflammations of the mucous membranes throughout the body, mouth ulcers and lung infections. It helps to regenerate tissue granulation and enhance healing; clears tumours, dead tissue and reduces lipomas. Infections Its ability to increase the white blood cell count helps to clear infections, reduce sore throat and promote the immune response. Bones As a resin guggulu correlates to rakta dhatu (the blood tissue); this is responsible for healing deep-seated wounds and is traditionally used for healing fractures and nourishing majja dhatu (Bhavaprakas´a. See Frawley & Lad 1994 for a useful correlation between the tissues and plant parts. Rasa = leaf juice, Rakta = resin and sap, Mamsa = softwood, Medas = gum and hard sap, Asthi = bark, Majja = leaf, ´Sukra = flowers and fruits). Cancer Used to treat all growths, accumulations and cancers (granthi).
. Periploca of the wood (E), Gurmar (H):
Eating the fresh leaves numbs the taste buds to the sense of sweet or bitter; hence the name means 'sweet destroyer' (madhu-vinas´hi, gur-mar). A fantastic herb for balancing blood sugar levels.
Diabetes Specific herb to increase insulin production in pancreas. By acting directly on rakta dhatu it helps to regulate blood glucose levels and enhance glucose tolerance. It also helps to address the weakness in the medas-dhatu and normalise metabolism in this tissue responsible for digesting sweet, unctuous and heavy substances. Best used in combination with other herbs to address the wide spectrum of symptoms caused by diabetes. It particularly benefits mutravahasrotas by reducing the need for urinary output. It can be used for both types 1 and 2 diabetes. Digestion Gurmar regulates the craving for sweet food and helps to reduce an excessive appetite (Brala & Hagen 1983). It is potentially useful as part of a weight loss programme when a few drops are taken every three hours.
. Chebulic myrobalan (E), Harde (H), Hara (E):
Haritaki is described as the 'remover of diseases'. Hara is also the name of Lord Shiva, thus reflecting the sacred nature and exalted position of the plant but it literally means 'green' like the fruit. It is also 'abhaya- ' or 'fearless' of any disease. It is said to have originated when a drop of immortal nectar (amr. ta) fell from heaven to earth. It is considered to be the best herb for the digestive system and lungs.
Digestion Its sennosides treat constipation and the tannins treat diarrhoea; use a high dose (6g) for the former and low dose (2g) for the latter. It is salutary in digestive upset or dysentery caused by parasites or infection , inflammation of mucous membranes, flatulence and borborygmus. It increases the digestive fire and clears undigested residues (ama). As it descends apana vayu it treats the root cause of hiccups and piles. Haritaki's astringency and mucous membrane healing effects can benefit prolapse, ulcers, intestinal permeability and 'leaky gut syndrome'. Cholesterol It reduces lipid deposits in the blood and liver. Use with honey to help reduce cholesterol. Lungs Wet, kapha-type coughs are cleared. Haritaki astringes all leakages from the body. It sends accumulated vata downwards and helps to clear wheezing, weak voice and asthma. Eyes Used in all sorts of eye disorders: inflammation, conjunctivitis. Use as a wash. Mucous membranes Gargle in sore throat. Swill for stomatitis, gingivitis and periodontal disease; with cold water this encourages its astringent nature.
. Hemp seed (E), Bhang ke beej (H):
The seeds of this infamous plant make a superb demulcent laxative. They also have a perfect balance of omega-3, -6 and -9 essential fatty acids, pointing to its use as an antiinflammatory, nervous restorative, and cardiac tonic. Vijaya- means 'victorious' as it is victorious over so many diseases.
Digestion Constipation; vata-type constipation with dryness, wind and hard-to-pass stool. May also benefit ulcers and inflamed mucous membranes. The whole seeds are best for treating this dry type of constipation. Skin As an oil, hemp seed can reduce inflammation in eczema, psoriasis, and acne. Heart Used as an oil it reduces LDL cholesterol levels and fatty deposits and blood coagulation. Diabetes It reduces numbness and tingling. Inflammations Arthritis, Crohn's disease, PMS.
. Asafoetida (E), Devil's dung (E), Hingu (H):
Hingu is a very calming herb used to treat spasmodic pain. It first stimulates but then, like most stimulants, causes a burning out and dullness of the mind. It is a very useful, pungently aromatic, antispasmodic and carminative herb.
Digestion Its sharp, hot and unctuous property helps to clear high vata in the digestive tract, treating bloating, flatulence, colic and undigested food in the stool; it moves samana vayu and draws apana vayu down. Hingu is useful for addressing flora imbalance, especially Candida albicans and worms. Its hot quality strengthens agni but can easily aggravate pitta. Nerves An excellent antispasmodic in cough, asthma, cramps and intestinal spasm. It prevents apana vayu from reversing its flow upwards and sends it down. It is of benefit in high vata conditions such as paralysis, sciatica and epilepsy as it nourishes majja dhatu. Useful for stagnation in the nervous system due to exhaustion or blockages. Heart Its stimulating properties can help to clear cardiac pain and other vata disorders caused by obstructed vyana vayu. Gynaecology It immediately enters artava srotas via rasa dhatu and has a powerful influence on menstruation. It can specifically clear leucorrhoea with a kapha pathology. It has a beneficial effect on ovulation and menstruation as it warms the uterus and prevents spasms. Reproduction As a hot and stimulating herb it can be used for cold and sluggish conditions such as low libido and impotence. It can also benefit infertility when there is a congested uterus from excess kapha.
. Jasmine (E):
Jasmine flowers are very useful to help balance emotional disturbance and to alleviate anxiety. Considered to be a very sattvic flower, it opens the heart cakra and bestows a feeling of love upon the lucky imbiber.
Nerves Calms an irritated and 'hot' nervous system. Good for stress, 'burn out', insomnia and depression. It is best for pitta or kapha types of depression, tension or nervousness as its lightness can increase vata if used in excess. Gynaecology Jasmine has an affinity for rakta dhatu and it moves blood in the uterus; it is beneficial premenstrually for impending cramps and reducing clots. It circulates prana and apana vayu in the lower abdomen. Its bitterness and astringency are useful at treating excessive menstrual bleeding. It has a nourishing effect on ´sukra dhatu and is an effective aphrodisiac. Liver Its cooling, antibilious nature helps to regulate ran˜jaka pitta and heal the liver in hepatitis and cirrhosis. Blood Jasmine helps to reduce skin and mucous membrane inflammations in high pitta kapha imbalances via its blood cooling effect on rakta dhatu and bhrajaka pitta. External Washing the eyes with a cold infusion can relieve burning and irritation. The oil is good for the ears and hearing.
. Indian spikenard (E):
Jatamamsi means 'whose flesh is like a dreadlock'; it is known as jatamamsi because its roots resemble the matted hair of the Himalayan ascetics. It has a superb rejuvenating effect on the mind. It is a sought-after nervous relaxant and antispasmodic.
Nerves Hysteria, nervousness, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease and insomnia. It cools and nourishes a 'hot' and 'exhausted' nervous system; clears pitta, calms vata, reduces kapha. By virtue of its benefiting majja dhatu-agni it enhances the intellect and induces mental clarity. Its 'penetrating quality' is useful in clearing headaches and 'muzzy' head syndrome. Heart Palpitations, angina, essential hypertension . When vata pushes pitta it causes it to rush in the channels and this is especially aggravating to the sites pitta can influence, hence the connection between the heart, the blood and pitta, causing palpitations. Digestion Digestive cramps, borborygmus, flatulence, bloating and vata constipation with dry, hard and gaseous stool. It relaxes the bowel and encourages peristalsis inhibited by tension. Its aromatic nature 'dries' ama and kapha and helps to circulate samana vayu. Gynaecology Jatamamsi's penetrating and warm quality is useful in dysmenorrhoea with dragging pain, ovarian discomfort, lower abdominal distension and pain. Lungs Helpful in spasmodic cough, asthma, whooping cough; high vata–kapha lung problems. Hair It has a special use for promoting hair growth, preventing hair loss and greying hair. Skin It is highly valued for skin disorders with a nervous component. It acts on rakta dhatu and via the nervous system, especially beneficial in itching and burning sensations.
. King of bitters (E), Andrographis (E):
Kalamegha literally means 'black cloud' perhaps attesting to its harvest time just before winter. Also known as bhunimba meaning 'Neem of the earth' referring to its bitter neem-like taste and effects. Kalamegha is a very bitter tasting herb with a renowned immunestimulating effect. It is used to treat infections, fevers and septic conditions of the blood.
Immunity Lowered immunity in acute and chronic infections. Kalamegha is an immune stimulant rather than solely being antibacterial and has a proven use in treating influenza, upper respiratory tract infections, sore throat, parasite infestation in the GIT and also for urinary infections (Bone 1996, WHO monograph 1999). These recommendations include treating the common cold, high fevers, malaria, coughs, sinusitis, mouth ulcers, herpes zoster, HIV, otitis media, vaginitis and cystitis. It treats sannipata jvara, a type of fever involving all three dosa. Liver It increases bile flow and offers liver protection. Its bitter and cooling qualities clear liver infections and inflammation, as kalamegha is a specific for pitta in the blood and an aggravated ran˜jaka pitta. As it has very effective hepatoprotective as well as antiviral activity it should be considered in hepatitis and all forms of sluggish liver where there is a reduced ability to digest fats or alcohol. Digestion It is historically used in bacillary dysentery and enteritis. The bitterness is useful for ulcers as well as removing parasites and intestinal infections with protozoal, fungal or bacterial infestations. Especially useful where pacaka pitta is aggravated causing colitis, sensations of burning in the abdomen and diarrhoea from high pitta. Combine with warming aromatic herbs such as cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) and cinnamon (Cinnamonum zeylanicum) to prevent aggravation of vata and stimulate the appetite and reduce mucus. Lungs Useful in respiratory infections with high pitta with green mucus, thirst and fevers. Its bitter, light, dry and penetrating properties help to cut through thick phlegm from high kapha.
. Mountain ebony (E), Kan˜chanara (H):
The skin of the bark of kanchanara is specifically used for treating glandular swellings especially in the lymphatic system. It is commonly used in gynaecological conditions caused by uterine congestion.
Gynaecology It is especially useful for congestion and accumulations in the pelvic cavity; fibroids, endometriosis and cysts. The dry, light and astringent properties all help to reduce kapha. It is effectively used to treat menorrhagia and leucorrhoea. Tumours Kanchanara's ability to remove accumulations in the lymphatic system indicates its use in all forms of swellings, lumps and growths; it specifically treats gandamala (cervical adenitis), apachi (chronic swollen glands) and granthi (lit. 'knot' meaning any abnormal growth). Palpable and impalpable masses are reduced. It directly reduces medas dhatu and kapha and so treats the root cause of swellings and growths and is commonly used to treat cancer and lymphadenitis. Digestion Its astringent quality works directly on purisavahasrotas and treats diarrhoea and dysentery. It has the ability to reverse prolapses and haemorrhoids. Blood Its haemostatic qualities help to stop bleeding throughout the body. It treats all forms of rakta pitta bleeding disorders from high pitta causing blood to move out of its correct channel. Lungs Its mild expectorant action coupled with its dry quality reduces avalambaka kapha in the lungs. A gargle of the decoction is useful for treating sore throats. Skin Kanchanara clears swollen, oozing and inflamed skin conditions as it is cooling and drying. It is an effective alterative and anti-inflammatory. Bones It has a direct affinity for strengthening ashti dathu and is used to treat osteoporosis (asthikas´aya).
. Cowhage (E), Kapikacchu (H):
This broad-bean-sized seed is a superb restorative to the reproductive system. Like many seeds it has the ability to potentiate the reproductive tissue as well as the nervous system. It is also used to treat tremors and spasms. The surface of the seed-pods is 'velvety' like a monkey's skin. It is also an allergenic which causes an itch, hence the name 'one who scratches like a monkey'. A - tmagupta- means 'secret self' referring to its therapeutic seed concealed within the irritating bean pod.
Reproduction Kapikacchu is a tonic to the whole ´sukra dhatu system treating low libido, infertility, impotence, spermatorrhoea, premature ejaculation. It is considered to be one of the ultimate Ayurvedic reproductive tonics for both men and women. Nerves As it contains L-dopa, an essential precursor of dopamine, it is a specific remedy for Parkinson's disease (noted for the severe loss of dopamine from the basal ganglia). Its overall influence on the nervous system indicates its use in paralysis, spasms, twitching and cramps treating all vata disorders in majja dhatu. Digestion Its digestive and antispasmodic function can help alleviate intestinal spasms, pain and gas. Its sara or flowing quality can help with constipation.
. Bitter gourd (E), Bitter melon (E), Karella (H):
Karavella is a common vegetable also used to regulate blood sugar levels and treat urinary disorders. It is a very bitter remedy that has a wonderful healing effect on the blood.
Diabetes Karavella has become renowned for its antidiabetic properties. Charantin is an effective hypoglycaemic and the polypeptide P lowers blood sugar levels more effectively than insulin without some of the side-effects. The bitter principle clears the kapha that is obstructing the pancreatic function in diabetes and stimulates medodhatvagni to metabolise fats and sugars efficiently. It reduces blood and urine sugar levels by reducing insulin resistance. Digestion It acts as an anthelmintic in the intestines. It has the added vermicidal effect of flushing bacterial and parasitic infections from the intestines as it mildly purges the bowel. It also reduces inflammation in the intestines. A special quality of karavella is that it does not aggravate vata, which is rare for a bitter substance. Urine Its effect on the water channels (ambuvahasrotas) helps to clear kapha from the system. It can be included in a formula for urinary stones as it has a direct effect on the urinary channel (mutravahasrotas). Skin Its alterative nature treats inflammatory skin conditions and benefits bhrajaka pitta. Having a thorough effect on the detoxifying capabilities of the whole system it regulates ran˜jaka pitta, clears bile from the liver, acid via the urine and toxaemia via the bowel. Blood It has an affinity for the blood. It is a traditional remedy for anaemia as it stimulates the tissue fires (dhatvagni) to work at optimum efficiency. It helps to build haemoglobin count by enhancing absorption.
. Black cumin (E), Love-in-the-mist (E), Kalonji (H):
These little black seeds are marvellous for calming and strengthening digestion. It is an effective destagnator of the lungs, uterus, channels and mind.
Digestion Black cumin has a specific affinity for purisavahasrotas and treats loose stool, diarrhoea, dysentery, bloating and gas. It also clears intestinal parasites. Lungs Asthma, cough, hayfever. Useful where there may be increased histamine release as it appears to have antiallergenic properties. Masses Clears tumours and masses. It contains ?-sitosterol, which has a specific anticarcinogenic activity acting on the breast (Tierra 1992, Duke 2004). It reduces toxic ama accumulations from all the dhatu. Gynaecology It clears kapha accumulations from the uterus, effectively treats dysmenorrhoea and an irregular menstrual cycle. It has a tonic effect on s´ukra and artava dhatu. It nourishes stanyavahasrotas and increases breast milk; use the seeds and oil. Liver Useful in congested liver, jaundice and poor fat metabolism. Its cleansing effect on ran˜jaka pitta can help in inflammatory eye disorders and pitta-type headaches that manifest with sharp pain at the vertex, temples and forehead. Nerves With a specific tonic effect on majja dhatu it directly calms the mind and is useful in nervous disorders. As a medhya herb it enhances the power of the brain and enhances clear thinking and concentration.
. Costus root (E):
Kushtha means 'skin disease' and refers to its ability to treat many skin disorders. It is a large plant with sweet aromatic roots. It looks a bit like burdock (they are from the same family). When you smell a plant with such a warm fragrance think 'digestive promoter', 'fluid drying' and 'stagnation clearing'.
Digestion Kushtha benefits the digestive tract and regulates vata, especially s´amana and apana vayu in the centre of the abdomen and lower digestive tract. It clears nervous spasm, pain, cramps, bloating, flatulence and nausea. It is a specific in diarrhoea and dysentery. Its bitter flavour helps to regulate liver function. Lungs It calms 'marut', the wind, and hence reduces spasms and bronchorestriction in the chest. Useful in asthma, hiccups, wheezing and coughs by virtue of its expansive effect on the pranavahasrotas. Its warming aromatic nature can help to dry excess kapha secretions. Skin As an alterative and circulatory stimulant it can benefit skin conditions with itching and inflammation. Its cleansing effect on rakta dhatu benefits bhrajaka pitta. It is used externally for skin problems from bacterial infection. Joints Specific usage as a blood purifier and especially for gout as it regulates the urinary output of inflammatory pitta and irritant vata toxins. It helps to reduce pain in the body by reducing inflammation and stopping spasms. Gynaecology Used in painful menses and for lack of or scanty periods due to stagnation in artavavahasrotas. It stimulates ovulation and promotes a regular cycle. Reproduction It benefits ´sukra dhatu and is renowned for purifying the reproductive system.
. Kutaj (H), Kureya (H):
The skin of the bark of this small tree is a very effective remedy for diarrhoea, piles and parasitic amoebic infections.
Digestion Kutaja is a virtual cure all for amoebic and bacillary dysentery. It is effective against both Entamoeba histolytica and Shigella spp. Its astringent properties help to cure diarrhoea and heal the mucous membranes of the intestinal walls (purisavahasrotas) that are so often irritated by bacterial invasion. Use in colitis or Crohn's disease where mucus and blood are present in the stool. Beneficial in general intestinal dysbiosis with bloating and flatulence. Piles A superb remedy for firstand second-degree haemorrhoids when there is bleeding and protrusion. Piles are often caused by a congested liver, congested veins in the rectum, and a low digestive fire, and kutaja specifically treats these symptoms. Skin It is a beneficial alterative balancing excess pitta in the raktavahasrotas and excess kapha in the rasa dhatu. It helps to dry kapha–pitta type skin problems where there is suppuration, crusting, inflammation and itching. Bleeding Its astringency helps to stop bleeding from anywhere in the digestive, urinary and respiratory system.
. Picrorrhiza (E), Kutki (H):
Kutki is a very bitter root that has wonderful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It grows in the freezing climate of the Himalayas and evidently absorbs some of this 'cooling' property from its surrounding environment. Kat.uka- literally means 'pungent' which is strange as it is a very bitter tasting herb.
Liver Kutki protects the liver against damage from the hepatitis C virus. It increases the flow of bile and reduces such bilious pitta symptoms as sour or bitter taste in the mouth, acidity and nausea. Use in all forms of liver damage, cirrhosis and inflammation of the liver. Heart As it clears heat from ran˜jaka pitta and the blood it can also benefit the heart; especially palpitations caused by pitta irritating rakta. Allergies Its anti-inflammatory effect on rasa dhatu is used for immune reactions and hypersensitivity to environmental allergens; asthma, rhinitis, eczema with signs of heat and high pitta and kapha. Used in bronchial asthma for its expectorant properties. Immunity It is useful in autoimmune conditions as an immune stimulant with inflammations of a pitta–kapha variety; arthritis, psoriasis, acute and chronic infections. Clinical trials for inflammatory and allergic conditions showed significant improvements. Digestion At a low dose (<1g per day), can increase digestive fire, agni and peristalsis. Large doses will purge the bowel (purisavahasrotas). Useful in dysentery with bleeding, bloating, mucus and parasites. It scrapes toxic accumulations from the intestines and blood. This scraping action is also used to clear fat from the body and to stimulate the digestive fire in medas-dhatu so that it can metabolise the earth and water elements effectively.
Lemon And Lime
. Lemon (E), Bara nimbu (H); Lime (E), Nimbu (H):
Lemons and limes are delicious remedies for treating the digestive and urinary systems with the added bonus of having a high vitamin content.
Digestion Both lemon and lime aid digestion and agni by stimulating salivary and digestive secretions. The sour flavour has a sympathetic reaction on the liver, enhancing bile flow and the emulsion of fats. This aids its laxative effect and ability to clear stagnation in the bowels. It helps to enhance the appetite and is beneficial in anorexia, nausea (especially morning and travel sickness) and indigestion. The peel has a stronger effect on the digestive system. The limonene content is known to help dissolve gallstones and strong lemon juice can be drunk daily as a prophylactic. Lungs Lemon juice can help to calm a cough by clearing mucus and sedating vata. Its ability to draw tissues inwards, experienced as a 'puckering' effect, holds prana, blood and the tissues in place. It also has a strongly antibacterial action, which is used as a gargle to treat sore throats. Blood Lemon and lime have a direct affinity for the blood via their high vitamin C content. They directly nourish rasa and build nutritious fluids in the system. As the source of rasa is in the heart, they help to nourish the heart and benefit sadhaka pitta. Although the sour flavour can aggravate pitta and the blood, limes are an exception to this rule. It is an alterative that clears toxins from the blood. It can prevent bleeding of the gums and internal mucous membranes via its astringing action on capillaries and veins. Kidneys The high citrate content helps to reduce urinary calcium output which can help to prevent kidney stones. This beneficial effect on mutravahasrotas may help with other acidic conditions as it helps to reduce uric acid.
. Lemongrass (E):
Lemongrass is an aromatic diaphoretic that relaxes the peripheral circulatory system and is useful in fevers. It also benefits the digestion, lungs and menstruation. Bhu- -tr•n• a literally means 'earth grass'.
Digestion The combination of pungent and bitter flavours in lemongrass stimulates agni without aggravating pitta. It regulates s´amana and apana vayu in the intestines to relieve gas, cramps and colic. Lungs Its pungency dries aggravated avalambaka kapha and helps to expectorate excess phlegm. The bitterness helps to clear hot lung infections with yellow mucus. Its broncho-relaxing effect helps to reduce asthma. Fevers Its mild diaphoretic effect clears the displaced heat that has moved from the digestive tract to rasa dhatu. It treats the source of fevers by clearing ama from the digestive tract. Gynaecology Its affinity for rasa and raktadhatu helps with painful menses due to inflammation or spasm in the uterus from high pitta and vata. Its nourishing effect on rasadhatvagni encourages milk production. External The essential oil is a wonderful circulatory stimulant that can help to remove arthritic inflammation and pain in the joints (Tisserand & Balacs 2000).
. Licorice (E), Jethimadh (H):
Yastimadhu means the 'sweet stick'. The sweetness of licorice is 50 times greater than sucrose. Its sweet flavour indicates its tonifying effects; it directly strengthens the kidneys, nourishes the nervous system, is a superb anti-inflammatory and balances all three dos.as.
Lungs Asthma, bronchitis, wheezing. Use with dry coughs with difficult-to-expectorate phlegm, sore throat, laryngitis and tonsillitis, as licorice liquefies mucus. Specific for vata-type cough due to aggravated pranavayu. It is a specific rasayana for vata by virtue of its sweet, heavy and unctuous properties. It is also useful in infections with yellow/green sputum indicating high pitta inflammations. At a high dose it is an emetic used in vamana therapy to clear kapha from the lungs and stomach. Digestion Specific for ulcers— peptic, gastric, duodenal, oral. Useful in all intestinal inflammations and spasms with pain. It is very useful in hyperacidity as licorice cools pacakapitta. It is often used for arresting bleeding in the intestines and lungs. Its demulcent nature moistens and relaxes the bowel and is helpful in vata–pitta types of constipation. At low dose it is antiemetic (if nausea is caused by heat) and in high doses it is an emetic. Liver Hepatoprotective action in hepatitis and chronic liver disease. Licorice works on ran˜jakapitta and soothes the heat that travels via the liver to the blood. Used for skin conditions, such as acne, with heat and inflammation . Its affinity for the blood and pitta help to soothe alocakapitta and any eye irritations. Kidneys and nerves As part of a formula for nervous exhaustion licorice is a strong adrenal tonic giving enduring energy. It is a rasayana for the s´ukra dhatu and the whole reproductive system. Its cortisol-like action is useful in Addison's disease. As it is used to tonify majja dhatu, it can nourish an exhausted and hyperactive vata and pitta in such conditions as ME and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). The sattvika nature of licorice calms the mind . Urine Its cooling action and unctuous nature are beneficial in inflammations of the urinary tract and it should be used to treat cystitis and painful, burning urination. Skin It is a useful emolliating herb for preventing itching with dry skin. Its anti-inflammatory pitta-reducing effects are commonly employed to treat red, hot, inflamed skin disorders.
. Lotus (E) Sanskrit Padma, Kamala:
The lotus is the supreme symbol of the evolution of the soul. As she grows from the murky depths of the muddy lake waters to her majestic flowering on the clear surface of the water of life she is a living metaphor for our growth from ignorance to wisdom. It is very useful as a brain and reproductive tonic.
Bleeding The node and root are specific for bleeding disorders from the lungs, GIT and uterus. It astringes and cools the oily heat of pitta overflowing from its site in the small intestine. Reproduction The seed and stamen are aphrodisiac and are used in spermatorrhoea. The seeds are a tonic and rasayana helping to increase s´ukra dhatu. They also benefit the development of language, speech and expression as they nourish majja dhatu and manovahasrotas. This specifically helps vata imbalances due to slow development and malabsorption of nutrients. The seeds also have a direct affinity for the uterus, promoting fertility and nourishing the fetus. Digestion All parts of the lotus benefit the intestines as they help to stop diarrhoea and nourish the mucous membranes lining the annavaha and purisavahasrotas. Nerves The seeds, root and stamen help to calm a nervous system and strengthen a 'frazzled' vata. By nourishing rakta dhatu and cooling pitta this directly influences the heart function.
. Indian madder (E), Manjith (H):
Manjishtha is a perennial climber and like a vine it 'spreads' throughout the whole system, especially working on the arterial, circulatory system and skin. It literally means 'bright red' attesting to its red roots, which have an affinity for the blood; the red pigment can be seen in the urine.
Skin Its affinity for raktadhatu is specifically utilised to clean, cool and clear the blood of all excess pitta, heat, inflammation, visha (toxins) and ama. Used for itching in eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, vitiligo, acne, acne rosacea and herpes (kustha, visarpa). It normalises rakta dhatu agni. A favourite herb to help relieve pruritus when the liver and bhrajaka pitta are aggravated. Its circulatory invigorating properties make it a superb remedy for removing stubborn and chronic lesions. Also used in scabies and tinea pedis. It also benefits these conditions when used as a wash or in a cream. It is a wonderful rejuvenative to the complexion. Bleeding Manjishtha stops bleeding by two methods; cooling the 'heat' that causes blood to burst out of its proper channel, and clearing congested blood that can cause blood to overflow out of its appropriate pathway. Very good in raktatisara and diarrhoea with bleeding, Crohn's disease, dysentery, bleeding ulcers. It can also treat haemoptysis, epistaxis, menorrhagia, metrorrhagia and haematuria in the appropriate pattern. It acts as a vulnerary and hastens the healing time of skin trauma and broken bones. Gynaecology Useful in signs of congested uterus and pain (yonis´ula) with dysmenorrhoea fixed pain, clots, amenorrhoea and endometriosis; use a cold infusion. All menstrual imbalances involving aggravations of pitta and kapha disturbing the artavasrotas. Also used to prevent miscarriage and excessive uterine bleeding. Tumours/accumulations Manjishtha breaks accumulations of kapha in the bladder, liver and kidneys. Urine Its pitta-reducing quality helps to clear pittaja prameha, particular types of diabetes involving repeated infections, boils, inflammatory conditions, neuropathy, retinopathy and nephropathy. Also for manjishtha prameha where the excessive urination is also coloured red. It is also a specific for gradually dissolving kidney and bladder stones as the anthraquinones act as chelating agents helping to draw excess calcium from the system. Also used to stop haematuria (Frawley & Lad 1994, Mills & Bone 2000, Paranjpe 2001). Mind Its cooling effect on sadhaka pitta has a balancing effect on the emotions and is used in epilepsy and agitation with high pitta.
. Mint (E), peppermint (E), horsemint (E), Pudina (H), Puthia (H):
This hardy perennial is famously fragrant. It is full of aromatic menthol, which 'wakes up' the senses and decongests the orifices of the head as well as calming and relaxing digestion.
Digestion Nervous digestion, flatulence, bloating, IBS, ulcers, nausea, and anorexia. Specific for pitta inflammation and irritation causing gastritis and enteritis. The aromatic essential oils cool the heat of pacaka pitta and regulate samana vayu. This can help to alleviate morning sickness, vomiting and spasms in the gastrointestinal tract. Colds Commonly used as a hot tea at a high dose to cause sweating in colds and flu. As mint moves upwards and outwards it is especially useful where ama blocks the pores and they need opening. It is useful where the lungs are congested with catarrh and constricted by spasm, causing wheezing or asthma. Nerves It normalises the flow of prana vayu all over the body. By moving upwards and outwards it spreads any congested vata blocked from whatever cause; ama, kapha, high vata or high pitta. The high levels of the space element (akas´a tattva) present within peppermint with its expansive nature moving upwards and outwards opens the mind and lifts the 'heaviness' of mental and emotional tension and constriction. It opens spaces and creates room for movement. Skin Peppermint water as an external spray is excellent for cooling and soothing skin inflammation, hot flushes and allergic itching. Gynaecology Often combined in formulas that help the flow of vata in the lower abdomen and ease menstrual congestion, pain and amenorrhoea.
. Nut grass (E), Motha (H):
This small aromatic tuber is commonly found next to rivers. It loves damp conditions and is very good at treating them. When considering using mustaka think of its aromatic, drying, antispasmodic qualities for gynaecology and digestion.
Digestion It regulates disturbed digestion, diarrhoea, colic, flatulence, borborygmus and bloating. Its antispasmodic effects treat pain in the intestines. It also has a specific use for Candida albicans and parasites when used at a high dose. When used at a low dose mustaka balances vata, especially s´amana and apana vayu, and stimulates digestion without aggravating pitta or creating any heat problems. Gynaecology One of the best herbs for the menstrual cycle as it regulates pitta and the flow of vata in the apanaksetra (the abode of apana vayu in the lower abdomen). This helps apana vayu to descend. Interestingly, this gynaecological activity is scientifically confirmed as mustaka also contains a phyto-oestrogen substance (?-sitosterol) (Williamson 2002; also see Mills & Bone  for a very clear discussion of phyto-oestrogen activity), and so is relevant in all signs of high oestrogen; swollen breasts, pain, family history of breast cancer, short cycle. It has an affinity for the smooth muscle in the uterus and is a specific for PMS with bloating, pain, irritability, depression and a delayed onset. Its effect on rasa dhatu is also considered to be beneficial for purifying and nourishing breast milk. Liver As one of the main digestive stimulants for pitta it also has a special affinity for the liver and ran˜ jaka pitta. Its stimulating effect on the liver may help with the release of bile, metabolism of hormones, haemoglobin and fats. Its cooling effect on rakta dhatu can be of use in inflammatory skin problems such as eczema and pruritus. Fever It directly treats all the causes of fever; low agni, ama and excess pitta in the rasa dhatu. Its diaphoretic effect can be very useful for clearing ama and excess heat from the plasma and blood while also rectifying the digestive fire.
. Mustard seed (E):
These little black or brown seeds have a warming and stimulating effect on the digestion and lungs. A wonderful home remedy for nipping the onset of a cold in the bud.
Digestion Mustard seed clears accumulations of food caused by low agni, high kapha and ama. It warms the digestive system, stimulates agni and clears sluggish congestion due to excess intestinal mucus. It is also used to kill worms. Lungs It is a great expectorant; clears white, sticky phlegm from the respiratory tract due to aggravated avalambaka kapha. Mustard seeds are beneficial in kapha-vata breathing problems—asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia. Also useful in colds where a mustard 'plaster' on the upper chest and throat can clear an imminent cold within a few hours (do not apply directly to the skin, place the poultice on a gauze first to prevent blistering) (Tierra 1992). Joints Useful in arthritis caused by a cold, wet, damp environment and lifestyle. Clears ama and regulates vata. Can prevent pain and swelling. Commonly used as a massage oil for constitutional kapha conditions.
. Myrrh (E), Bdellium gum (E), Bol (H):
Myrrh is extracted as a resin from the trunk of this thorny desert shrub. Its main feature is an affinity for the blood, heart and female reproductive systems but it is also a great antibacterial.
Heart Congestive heart disorders, hypercholesterol, atherosclerosis. As with all oleo-resins, it 'scrapes' cholesterol out of the body Lymph Lymphatic congestion, inflammation, lymphoedema; all fluid congestion and swellings in the body. It is used as a gargle for sore throats and spongy, bleeding gums. Gynaecology Endometriosis, fibroids, painful periods with clots, high pitta–kapha in apanaksetra, inflammation and congestion in the lower abdomen. Myrrh vigorously moves blood and 'breaks' stagnant pools of blood. Also used in amenorrhoea to stimulate blood flow. Pain All neuralgia around the body. Use externally to repair traumas, bruises and broken bones. Myrrh is a specific for treating arthritis and joint inflammation when s´lesaka kapha is causing swelling and degeneration of the joints. Mucous membranes Myrrh is the No.1 herb for mouth ulcers and cold sores. Its ability to increase white blood cell count is reflected in its popular use as a herbal antibiotic and antifungal effective against Escherichia coli, Candida albicans and Staphylococcus aureus. It helps to heal ulcerated intestinal surfaces.
. Neem (E), Margosa (E), Nim (H):
Myths abound concerning the healing properties of neem; its curative nature is said to have begun when a drop of nectar (amrta) fell on to it from the cup of immortality. Its bitter principle indicates its use in inflammations of the skin and digestive tract.
Skin Most effective in inflammatory skin conditions due to aggravated rakta and pitta with itching, oozing, burning and infection; eczema, psoriasis when active with Auspitz sign and bleeding, acne, urticaria, ringworm, scabies, lice. The oil is especially effective when applied externally for treating fungal and bacterial infections and as a mosquito repellant (use externally at 2–5% dilution). Its intense bitterness found in azadirachtin has renowned antibacterial and fungicidal activity. This property, plus its chlorophyll content, adds to its potential as a deodorant for putrid-smelling sweat and infected sores. Digestion Neem is used in intestinal inflammation and is specific for hyperacidity, ulcers, colitis and Crohn's disease with high pitta and kapha. It clears mucus and bleeding from the GIT. Useful in fissures, fistulas and haemorrhoids due to local congestion in the lower bowel. It clears the intestines of parasites and worms. Neem leaf is very usefu in chronic intestinal dysbiosis such as with Candida albicans, protozoal infections and bacterial infestation. Lungs The bitter and dry qualities are very useful for clearing kapha and pitta accumulations from the respiratory passages. Metabolic Its affinity for medovahasrotas is utilised in diabetes mellitus to support the system and regulate blood sugar levels. It clears kapha accumulations from the pancreas and activates medasdhatu- agni; this rectifies the compromised fat and water metabolism so common in diabetes. Mouth Neem has a traditional usage for toothache, gingivitis and general oral hygiene; use an infusion of the leaves as a mouthwash. The young twigs are used as the Indian toothbrush. Fevers Useful in high fever from pitta and accumulations of ama; especially in the intermittent fevers of malaria-like diseases. Reproduction As with many bitter herbs it reduces s´ukra dhatu and lowers sperm count. It has an affinity for the uterus and can reduce any inflammatory disorders.
. Nutmeg (E), Jaiphal (H):
Jatiphala means 'caste fruit' and Mada-s´aun.d. a means 'intoxicating fruit'. Its aromatic quality gives nutmeg its wonderful sedative properties that deeply relax the whole nervous system. It also has potent aphrodisiac qualities.
Nerves Insomnia, agitated mind and lack of concentration. When there is excitation and high vata in the mind it draws the expansive nature of vata inwards. Its heavy nature can 'dull' the mind; therefore use for short periods of time at a low dose. Use 1?8 teaspoon in warm milk (almond or cow) before bed to aid sleep and stops restless leg syndrome. Useful for transient insomnia where the sleep is interrupted. Also helps to relax the muscles and prevent pain associated with angina, fibromyalgia and arthritis. Digestion Nutmeg helps absorption in the small intestine and purisavahasrotas. Its astringency draws nutrients into the bloodstream. It can help to stop diarrhoea and dysentery with excess vata and kapha. It calms intestinal spasms, pain, gas and bloating. It is a useful anthelmintic. Reproduction Used in male infertility and premature ejaculation. Another 'clever' herb with dual action, it both stimulates erectile function and astringes ejaculation. It is one of the primary aphrodisiacs used to tonify s´ukra dhatu. It also reduces excessive urination from high vata and kapha and is used in prostatic disease and incontinence. Also useful in female infertility when there is disruption of the menstrual cycle with pain. Lungs Its hot and penetrating properties can help to clear excess avalambaka kapha from the lungs.
. Black pepper (E), Kalimirch (H):
Named after one of the names of the sun, mar?-ca, it has the same qualities as this macrocosmic source of heat and light. It is warming, drying and stimulating to the circulatory, digestive and respiratory systems.
Digestion Useful for low appetite, sluggish digestion, abdominal pain, toxins or ama and borborygmus. Black pepper's hot and penetrating qualities are a great stimulant to agni as they help to increase enzymatic secretions. This helps to enhance absorption of nutrients and literally 'burn' ama. Its affinity for purisavahasrotas coupled with its anthelmintic qualities helps to remove worms. It can be used as part of the physical treatment of anorexia to stimulate hunger and interest in food. As it contains chromium, a component of glucose tolerance factor, black pepper is a useful part of many diabetes treatments; it normalises medas dhatu and prevents ama overflowing into the pancreas and urine. Lungs Specific for cold, wet, damp, kapha conditions in the pranavahasrotas with white, sticky mucus and a productive cough; asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and sore throats. Black pepper infused oil or ghee, applied into the nose, can be a wonderful decongestant to the sinuses blocked with kapha or ama. Fevers It can help to 'cook' the pathogens and then induce a sweat to release the misplaced agni that has moved from the stomach to the plasma tissue. It clears ama from rasa dhatu and normalises the digestive fire in the stomach. Used as part of treatment in intermittent fevers such as malaria when it is often combined with bitter and cooling herbs. Circulation Pepper has the ability to stimulate microcirculation in the capillaries. This can be useful in cirrhosis, hepatitis and skin diseases with signs of stagnant blood; red or purple patches and chronic lesions. This can also be of benefit in cold congestion in the uterus and apanaksetra with dysmenorrhoea and amenorrhoea. External application of the essential oil can help to relieve neuralgic and arthritic pain with cold swellings.
. Long pepper (E), Pipal (H), Pimpli (H):
This small shrub grows all over the tropical forests of India. It is a fine rejuvenative to the respiratory system; its sweet post-digestive effect is very nourishing to the deeper reproductive tissues of the body.
Lungs Primarily used for cold, wet and 'mucousy' conditions of the lungs. It is a rejuvenative for the lungs, pranavahasrotas and avalambaka kapha. It encourages vasodilation and therefore increases circulation, specifically to the lungs. Used with honey in asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and compromised immunity in the respiratory system to reduce kapha. It is also used to treat mild fever by removing the ama from rasa dhatu and alleviating the concurrent aches in the muscles and joints. Digestion Used to stimulate agni and clear weak digestion with symptoms of nausea, slow digestion, flatulence with a cold and painful abdomen. In malabsorption it can increase assimilation of nutrients. Clinical studies show that that piperine increases the absorption of curcumin in turmeric root (used at 1:10). Its anthelmintic qualities are used as part of a formula to kill worms, amoebas and parasites. It helps to treat diarrhoea from cold symptoms and constipation (vibandha) from stagnant apana vayu. Also used in diabetes as it reduces any excess of and rejuvenates the medas dhatu (Koul & Kapil 1993, Tillotson 2001). Reproduction Its sweet postdigestive effect points to its ability to tonify the s´ukra dhatu and reproductive tissue, which is useful in infertility, impotence and premature ejaculation. It is one of the only heating and penetrating substances to do this as heating substances usually consume s´ukra dhatu. Circulation Its pungency and sweetness invigorate blood and nourish rakta. By enhancing the digestive fire in the tissues it is a rasayana to rasa and rakta dhatu as it helps to assimiliate more nutrients for building the plasma and the blood. It can also help to penetrate the cold pain of sciatica. Liver It has a hepatoprotective effect that may benefit fibrosis. Nerves Its ability to nourish majja dhatu, due to its sweet vipaka, helps in vata disorders and also to nourish the brain.
. Shirish (H), Siris (H):
The bark of this tree is renowned for strengthening the lungs and clearing mucus accumulations from the lymph and lungs. It is a potent antiallergenic herb.
Lungs Its affinity for pranavahasrotas benefits asthma of the vata–kapha variety—a wet, damp cough with wheezing, worse in the morning and evening. Its ´sirovirecana action helps in reducing allergic reactions in the head such as allergic rhinitis, hayfever and asthma in atopic individuals. Human clinical trials attest to its efficacy in early-onset asthma. Skin Its antiallergic, anti-inflammatory and pitta-reducing effect is beneficial in atopic and allergic conditions; eczema, urticaria, dermatitis. This is by virtue of its affinity for rasa and rakta dhatu. It is a specific for itching and suppurating inflammations. Lymph It helps to reduce swellings in the lymphatic system and clears kapha from the plasma tissue.
. Pomegranate (E), Anar (fruit) (H), Anardana (seeds) (H):
This beautiful red fruit is famed for its taste as well as being a fertility symbol. It specifically balances an acidic digestion, nourishes the heart and balances levels of oestrogen.
Digestion The sweet juice of the fruit is a wonderful cooling drink for soothing an inflamed stomach and intestines. It is a specific for hyperacidity and the resulting nausea. Its mild astringency helps to slow the movement of vata and alleviates any excess pitta. The rind is a fine astringent that will bind a loose bowel very quickly. It is a common folk remedy for dysentery with bleeding and mucus. It also kills parasites; it is a specific for tapeworms, pinworms and roundworms. The dry, roasted seeds are a great benefit to those with an excessive appetite, tiksnagni, as they help to balance the excess pitta (Lad 1998). Heart As a wonderful cordial herb it strengthens the heart. Its affinity for the blood helps to nourish rakta dhatu. Its sweet and astringent qualities are beneficial in bleeding anywhere in the circulatory system. Reproduction Pomegranates are a well-known aphrodisiac. They benefit the semen (s´ukrala) via the plasma or rasa dhatu. The decoction of the rind can be used as a douche in leucorrhoea. There is recent interest in using pomegranates to treat prostate problems including BPH and prostatic cancer. Menopause Pomegranates are useful for maintaining healthy levels of oestrogen as they contain small amounts of estrone. Eat the fresh fruit, juice or seeds regularly during menopause. The sweet flavour can help to cool sensations of burning and flushing. Nerves The beneficial effect of the fruit on majja dhatu helps to nourish the brain and nervous system.
. Psyllium husk (E), Isaphgul (H), Isabgol (H), Blond psyllium (E):
Asvakarna means 'horse's ear' and relates to the shape of the small pink seed resembling the equine ear. Psyllium is a very useful demulcent bulk laxative for treating constipation from dryness.
Digestion As a bulking agent it helps to relieve both constipation and diarrhoea. The husk soaked with milk is used for constipation and water or buttermilk for diarrhoea. The roasted seeds are used for diarrhoea and dysentery and have been shown to be effective against different species of Entamoeba. It helps to absorb mucus and bacteria in inflammatory intestinal conditions. It drags toxins and worms out of the alimentary canal. It is salutary for treating peptic and duodenal ulcers Lungs As a soothing demulcent it can ease the dryness of vataja coughs and facilitates expectoration. Urinary The sympathetic reflex of mucus production between the intestinal tract and lungs is continued into the urinary system where painful urination is eased. Blood fats and sugars Its soluble fibre content has been used to reduce LDL cholesterol when used at 15g per day for 30 days. It has also been shown to reduce blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes mellitus, showing potential use in controlling blood sugar levels in hyperglycaemia.
. Indian hogweed (E), Gadhapurana (H):
Punarnava means 'one that renews the old body'. Its rejuvenative action works via its opening and cleansing activity allowing effective nourishment to reach the tissues. It is a superb diuretic and it benefits the heart.
Heart Fluid congestion, cardiac oedema, general oedema from heart function deficiency. Laboured breathing from the resultant congestion in the chest is eased. By clearing the excess of avalambaka and kledhaka kapha from the chest and stomach it clears the channels of obstructions. It is especially beneficial for allowing rasa and rakta, the circulatory fluids, to flow unimpeded. Hence punarnava is a rejuvenative and increases ojas. Kidneys Any symptoms of nephritis or impaired urinary function. It is used in bladder infections and systemic oedema. A superb herb for reducing excess fluids, swelling, oedema and congestion from excess kapha. Specifically useful in ascites, congestive heart conditions and arthritic swellings with pitting and coldness. Digestion It increases the digestive fire and is useful in a sluggish digestive system. It absorbs fluids from the digestive system and can be constipating. It prevents intestinal spasms and pain helping to treat flatulence, bloating and worms. Also traditionally used for treating the kapha-type of anaemia where kapha obstructs the raktadhatvagni resulting in low quality and quantity of blood. Diabetes Punarnava's ability to reduce medas dhatu and normalise mutravahasrotas is utilised in the treatment of diabetes. Arthritis Punarnava can effectively treat swollen joints with fluid retention with pitting from a kapha imbalance by moving toxic accumulations out of the joints and tissues and excreting them via the kidneys and urine. Beneficial in gout and arthritis. Gynaecology As it helps to prevent the breakdown of the blood-clotting protein fibrin, it can be used in menorrhagia and excessive menstrual bleeding. The punarnavoside is considered to be the antifibrinolytic agent .
. Indian elecampane (E), Poharmool (H):
This hardy perennial is in the same family as Europe's elecampane (Inula helenium). Pushkaramoola literally means 'lotus root' and is a big-rooted, aromatic tonic with a specific affinity for the heart, lungs and digestive tract.
Heart Angina, heart pain, high blood pressure from high vata and kapha. All chest pain and heart disease from ischaemia. Human clinical trials have suggested that it acts like betablockers. Lungs Its hot, bitter and pungent qualities alleviate the congestion of pranavahasrotas in bronchitis and asthma with white and frothy mucus and a productive cough. It acts as an antispasmodic and helps to relieve wheezing. Also specifically recommended for pleurisy (prasavasu-la) and any type of damp, kapha lung problems (Astan. ga Hr.daya Samhita, Bhavaprakas´a). In colds with underlying vata and kapha (feeling cold, shivers, phlegm, aches in the muscles, loss of appetite) its upward and outward nature can help to induce a sweat, digest the ama and restore the digestive fire to the stomach. Digestion Its pungent, bitter flavour enkindles the appetite and can be used in low agni and malabsorption, which are the root causes of excessive phlegm. It is also used for general digestive discomfort, indigestion, flatulence, and sluggishness. Its strong aromatic nature opposes dampness, regulates samana vayu and fragrantly dries the watery residues. It also reduces ama and undigested toxins. Specifically recommended for hiccups as it regulates vata in the intestines and lungs. Gynaecology It is used to strengthen the flow of blood to the uterus and ease menstrual problems with underlying weakness and low strength. It can benefit dysmenorrhoea and amenorrhoea.
. Rhubarb root (E), Revand chini (H):
Growing in the Himalayas, this powerful laxative is an invaluable herbal remedy for intestinal congestion, bleeding and blood toxicity.
Digestion Rhubarb root has an affinity for purisavahasrotas and is used in both constipation and diarrhoea; its action is dosedependent. The anthroquinones purge the bowel while the tannins astringe and maintain its tone. As a laxative it takes about 8 hours to work and should be combined with antispasmodic herbs to prevent griping. Beneficial in clearing the high pitta and kapha that manifests in dysentery and other damp-heat symptoms with blood and mucus in the stool. Used in postfever constipation to clear ama. Also used to clear abdominal swelling. Liver Its affinity for rakta dhatu and bitter flavour make it a useful cholagogue. It can be used in acute hepatitis and cirrhosis with heat and liver congestion. It may be useful as part of a programme that purges small (<0.5mm) gallstones from the gall bladder. Do this only under the guidance of a qualified herbalist. Cholesterol Reduces cholesterol (LDL) and it is also used to treat obesity. Gynaecology Clears adhesions and clots in pitta–kapha problems; endometriosis, fibroids and dysmenorrhoea. Also used in vaginal infections and STDs. Mucous membranes Its tropism for rasa dhatu make it a specific for mouth ulcers and ulceration of the whole GIT (anti- Helicobacter pylori) with pitta signs. Bleeding Stops bleeding from heat in rakta pitta conditions; haemorrhoids, ulcers, haematuria, melaena. Cancer Useful adjunct to treatment to clear tumours, ama and to remove toxins from the bowel.
. Rose (E), Gulab (H):
Rose petals treat the heart and nerves, and lift the spirits. They have an affinity for the blood and, like all Rosaceae family, have a certain astringency that stops bleeding and reduces inflammation. S´ata-patr? - literally means the 'hundred-petalled'.
Gynaecology Its affinity for the blood and rakta dhatu make it useful in excessive menstrual bleeding, vaginal infections and inflammation. It clears pitta from the uterus and blood and is used in dysmenorrhoea, metrorrhagia, endometriosis and fibroids. It is specific for use in the menstrual cycle, during the final flare of the pitta phase from day 14 to 28, and can help to alleviate PMS symptoms associated with irritability, emotional sensitivity and heat. Its action on s´ukra dhatu enhances sexual desire and fertility. Very useful during menopause with hot flushes; use a rosewater spray for instantaneous cooling. Nerves Rose's nourishing effect on majja dhatu make it useful for nervous depression and anxiety. Its cooling quality can reduce symptoms of high pitta; red tongue tip, agitation, palpitations and headaches behind the eyes. It opens the heart chakra, anahata, thus increasing patience, compassion and love. Skin Roses are a specific for inflamed eyelids. They are a useful face wash for astringing the skin and clearing acne. Also used in inflammatory and suppurating skin conditions; eczema, psoriasis, urticaria, itching and irritation. Digestion Good for ulcers, inflammation, acidity, enteritis and heartburn. Its astringent flavour is useful in diarrhoea from heat (use a high dose). Roses can help with fat metabolism and hence help to reduce blood lipid levels. Reproduction Its calming effect on the emotions and the heart are complemented by its aphrodisiac effect. Its sweet vipaka helps to increase semen, sexual interest and fertility.
. White musali (E), Musi (H):
Like most members of the Asparagus genus safed musali is considered to be a fertility tonic which nourishes the tissues of the mind, nervous and reproductive systems.
Reproduction As it directly nourishes the s´ukra dhatu it is used as a sweet tonic and rejuvenative for the reproductive system. It treats infertility, premature ejaculation, impotence and low sperm count. It also nourishes artavahasrotas and promotes healthy ovulation in women. Gynaecology Useful during pregnancy as a nutritive tonic for mother and fetus. Post-partum it replenishes lost fluids, prana, ojas and improves the quantity and flow of breast milk. It is also used in chronic leucorrhoea. Digestion Its sweet and unctuous properties treat intestinal inflammation caused by dysentery and food intolerances. All cases of high pitta benefit. It softens the stool and may be helpful in pittaja types of haemorrhoids. Urine Its cooling and soothing effects are beneficial for mutravahasrotas and conditions involving aggravated pitta with painful and malodorous urination.
. Safflower (E):
These beautiful red flowers have a direct affinity for the blood. Use it when there are signs of stagnant blood in the heart, uterus or externally on bruised skin.
Gynaecology It has a tropism for artava dhatu and the uterus that rectifies menstrual pain that is fixed in one place with clots, amenorrhoea or endometriosis. It treats delayed or lack of menses caused by obstructions in the pelvic cavity due to high kapha and pitta. Trauma For bruises, strains and stiff ligaments use a tincture internally and externally. Heart Its affinity for rakta dhatu benefits the heart and chest pain, ischaemic heart disease and angina. It has been used to help normalise cholesterol levels Skin Its positive effect on stagnant blood normalises bhrajaka pitta and treats supperative rashes and measles. Very useful for spider naevi spreading over the skin; use internally and as an external tincture application. It is also considered to be antifungal as a wash. Tumours It is used to remove static, palpable and unpalpable masses from the body. Bleeding In bleeding conditions caused by high pitta ; it should only be used at a low dose for this and when bleeding is caused by overflowing out of the channels due to a blockage. At a high dose outside the recommended
. Saffron (E), Kesar (H):
In India saffron is cultivated in Kashmir and when it is flowering it fills the fields with a fantastic red glow. It is a small perennial growing to about 20cm with violet leaves and each flower producing three stamens. It takes about 160 flowers to produce 1g of dried saffron. Think gynaecology, blood, heart and reproduction when using saffron.
Gynaecology It has a nourishing effect on rasa dhatu and an invigorating action on the blood. This can help to bring on delayed menses and increase the flow. It is also used in dysmenorrhoea. It is a wonderful tonic herb that nourishes the deeper tissues. Use with any fertility problems with s´ukra dhatu deficiency or obstruction. Anaemia Its affinity for the blood and rakta dhatu is complemented by its ability to increase haemoglobin levels. This connection with the blood helps alleviate other symptoms that can arise from anaemia such as heart conditions with pain and liver congestion. Heart Its positive effects on rasa and rakta dhatu actively encourages blood flow through the circulatory system. It is indicated in angina and cardiac congestion. Reproduction It is a renowned aphrodisiac herb that can help treat impotence and low libido. It rejuvenates the s´ukra dhatu and nourishes the reproductive tissues. Nerves Its nourishing effects subtly feed the nervous and reproductive tissues indicating its use for debilitating and degenerative diseases. Use when there is vata disturbance, depression, majja dhatu deficiency and general nervous debility. Urine It goes directly to mutravahasrotas and a cold infusion is beneficial for painful urination. External As a paste it helps to alleviate discoloration of the skin, acne and eczema. It can also be applied to the forehead to clear headaches caused by vata and cold.
. Salt: rock, sea, black, Sambar:
Found in Sea.
Digestion Salt stimulates digestion by increasing digestive enzymes and so benefits low appetite and indigestion. It also works directly on the taste receptors and clarifies the sense of taste. Higher doses can work as a laxative or emetic. The yogic practice of sankhapraksalana and satkarma utilises the osmotic properties of salt to draw toxins out of the mucous membranes prior to purgation (Swami Satyananda). Lungs Salt has the ability to liquefy mucus and kapha in the lungs. It dislodges deep-seated phlegm and facilitates expectoration (Bhavaprakasa). Tumours Salt has the specific ability to dissolve masses, lumps and tumours in the body. As it clears the channels it removes obstructions. Care must be taken when treating these conditions with salt due to its tendency to cause water retention. Its iodine content (especially found in sea salt) plays a part in preventing goitre. Nerves Helps to settle the nerves by descending vata and calming the emotions.
. White sandalwood (E):
Sandalwood is famed for its cooling fragrance and aroma. It is used for cooling pitta and clearing heat from the urinary, digestive and respiratory systems.
Chest When there is stagnation and tightness in the thoracic region sandalwood can clear pain and encourage the flow of prana and vyana vayu. It clears the airways obstructed with phlegm as it dries high kapha and regulates nervous spasmodic cough in high vata. Its antibacterial properties clear infection. Sandalwood is used with any aggravation in the heart with anxiety, inflammation or congestion affecting heart rhythm. Digestion It cools inflammation of the intestines and regulates samana vayu by encouraging a smooth digestive process. It treats colitis, enteritis, ulcers and dysentery with signs of pitta and kapha; bleeding, heat, mucus and inflammation. Its bitter and aromatic nature help the flow of ran˜ jaka pitta through the liver. Nerves The aromatic nature of sandalwood is immediately calming to an aggravated nervous system; it balances vyana vayu and cools sadhaka pitta, making it useful for treating depression and mental imbalance. It cools any excessive 'heat' in the nervous system from excessive exposure to the sun, fire, emotions, etc. Useful in headaches from high pitta with pain behind the eyes radiating along the temples, sensitivity to light, aggravated by irritation and heat (coffee, acidic foods, sour, salty, pungent flavours). Skin Useful in skin formulas, externally and internally. It relieves the inflammation and itching of pitta and kapha on the skin. Used for any burning sensation, redness, swelling; eczema, acne, urticaria (Caraka). It specifically helps to stop bleeding anywhere in the body and alleviates sensations of burning and heat. Urine Sandalwood is excreted via the mutravahasrotas and can be used for burning and dark urine as it soothes an irritated bladder and urethra.
. Indian sarsaparilla (E), Sugandhi (H):
Sariva smells sweet and is also known as sugandhi 'the fragrant one' in Hindi. Its red colour relates to its affinity for the blood and it treats all conditions with heat or toxins in the blood; dermatological, musculoskeletal, urogenital, gynaecological.
Skin Its cooling, sweet and bitter flavours and affinity for rakta dhatu clears inflammation from the skin; used in eczema, psoriasis, urticaria, acne rosacea and acne from aggravated bhran˜jaka pitta. It 'cleans' the blood, reduces lymphatic swellings, stops itching and reduces suppuration. The root powder is used to treat STDs that are damp and hot. It is a specific for acne. Also of great benefit in burning sensations (daha) anywhere around the body. It is used as an external paste or as a cream to benefit the above skin problems. Urinary Urinary infections with dark red, cloudy, painful urination; cystitis, urethritis, kidney infections, prostatitis. It stimulates the mutravahasrotas to clear excess water without straining the kidneys. Digestion Useful herb for stimulating the appetite in pitta prakrti without aggravating any acidity. It rectifies mandagni and sluggish digestion. Used in inflammation of the mucous membranes throughout the body. Also used in hot, smelly and watery diarrhoea with excess vata drawing pitta downwards. Arthritis Its specific anti-inflammatory action is indicated when the joints are hot, red and inflamed. Also useful in acute and chronic gout. Nerves Its sweet and cooling quality nourishes sadhaka pitta and the mind. Hence its use in disturbed, angry or irritated emotions from high pitta aggravating the equilibrium of the mind. Gynaecology Traditional use for maintaining pregnancy and preventing habitual miscarriages. Also may be of benefit for menorrhagia caused by pitta overflowing from its channel in artavahasrotas (uterine system). Its nourishing effect on rasa dhatu helps to increase the quantity and quality of breast milk. Male fertility Classified as ´sukrala, a sperm-increasing herb, it is of value in fertility problems and low libido. Its saponin content is considered to have a steroidal effect that enhances the production of testosterone.
. Rauwolfia (E), Indian snake root (E):
Sarpagandha is a strong remedy for reducing blood pressure, sedating the nervous system and inducing sleep. Sarpagandha means 'smell of the snake' and it is renowned as an antidote for poisonous snake bites.
Nerves Sarpagandha's sedative properties are legendary. It nourishes majja dhatu and reduces vata to benefit insomnia and agitation. It is also used in manic psychological disturbance as a sedating tranquilliser. It is a wonderful brain tonic going directly to manovahasrotas. Heart Its affinity for the blood takes it directly to the heart. It swiftly dilates the blood vessels, causing high blood pressure to drop and the heart rate to reduce. Use drop-by-drop doses until the blood pressure has reduced. If the dose is wrong it can cause hypotension and lead to giddiness and sleepiness. It is a symptomatic remedy that treats the high blood pressure via the nervous system and so benefits high blood pressure caused by high vata and arteriosclerosis. It should be used with a diuretic to prevent fluid retention and to support its antihypertensive effect (WHO 1999, Tillotson 2001). Pain Its analgesic properties are useful in dysmenorrhoea with a spasmodic uterus and also in colic from intestinal inflammation and spasm.
. Senna (E):
The leaf and pod of senna are powerful laxatives. It thrives in the dry and hot conditions of Gujarat and is especially good at purging dampness and heat. Ra- ja-vr. ks.a literally means 'snake smell'.
Digestion Acute constipation from heat. It clears pitta from the small intestine. Its affinity for purisavahasrotas treats lower bowel rectal problems such as piles, anal fissure and fistula where soft stool is required (Bartram 1995, Bhavaprakas´a). Liver It can clear heat from ran˜jaka pitta and benefits skin diseases via its action on the liver.
. Shankhapushpi (H), Shankhahuli (H):
Shankhapushpi means 'the plant with flowers shaped like a conch'. The conch or shankha is one of Lord Shiva's sacred instruments often used in ritual worship. This is an auspicious plant. It effectively calms the nervous system.
Nerves It goes directly to majja dhatu and treats disorders of the nervous system; pain, anxiety, insomnia, epilepsy and convulsions. It enters the manovahasrotas and alleviates stress and promotes the integrity of the nervous system. Its descending nature draws the rising vata downwards and helps to clean all the dhatu. Digestion Slow digestion, water retention, borborygmus and constipation. It is specifically beneficial where digestion is upset by nervousness and anxiety. Its sweet and sara quality encourages the bowel to flow freely. Bleeding Its astringency is useful for stopping bleeding in the intestines, urinary and reproductive system. Reproduction Its affinity for the deeper tissues and s´ukra dhatu is used to promote fertility in men and women . Skin It has a useful alterative function on the rakta dhatu and benefits skin diseases with a nervous component.
. Wild asparagus (E), Shatavar (H):
Shatavari can mean 'one hundred roots' (literally 'one hundred below') but is commonly referred to as 'the woman who has a hundred husbands'. As this name suggests it is a renowned tonic for the female reproductive system. It is also a superb anti-inflammatory.
Gynaecology Shatavari is the foremost uterine tonic. Primarily used as a menstrual regulator in dysmenorrhoea, menorrhagia and menstrual irregularity. As pitta dosa moves in both the blood and the artavasrotas, the cycle is often disturbed by excess heat. This heat can condense the blood (due to dehydration), cause it to move too quickly (due to its catalytic activity), cause it to overflow (due to its 'rebellious' nature) and cause inflammations (due to its irritating tendency). Its affinity for s´ukra dhatu tonifies female fertility; the unctuous properties increase the reproductive fluids, enhancing both conception and uterine strength. It can be used to help prevent miscarriage. Shatavari is very useful in menopausal symptoms with hot flushes, irritability, irregular memory and dryness. Lactation Its nourishing effect on rasa dhatu makes it a specific for increasing milk flow and quantity. Digestion Its unctuous, bitter and sweet qualities soothe inflammation of the mucous membranes with high pitta; colitis, Crohn's disease, dysentery with bleeding, inflammation and pain. It is specifically active against Entamoeba histolytica. For conditions of gastric hyperacidity (amlapitta) with sour reflux and burning in the stomach it is a cooling anti-inflammatory. Its demulcent properties are specifically useful for healing bleeding ulcers and gastritis . Lungs Where there is inflammation from dryness and heat shatavari increases moisture. Used in dry cough, sore throat and haemoptysis. Male fertility Whenever there is low sperm count and irregularity consider using shatavari. Urine Very useful in dysuria with hot and smelly urine with haematuria. Anabolic Shatavari's rasayana properties increase mamsa dhatu building body mass, muscle tissue and nourishing the blood. It nourishes ojas and can enhance immunity in the treatment of cancer. Nerves It nourishes majja dhatu and calms the nerves. It specifically nourishes the brain and reduces vata disorders; spasms, pain and insomnia.
. Mineral pitch, vegetable asphalt, bitumen (E):
Shilajit literally means 'rock overpowering' and is a natural exudate from the rocks of the Himalayas and other mountainous regions of the world. Its high mineral content oozes out in the heat of the summer. It is a superb mineral supplement that benefits the kidneys, urinary and reproductive systems.
Urinary It goes straight to mutravahasrotas and treats disorders of the urinary system with painful urination, cystitis, stones, incontinence and glycosuria. In prostatitis shilajit can help to clear stagnation of kapha and vata. It tonifies vata and can help to redirect the flow of apana vayu through the pelvic region. Diabetes Shilajit's affinity for the fat tissue (medas-dhatu) and the water channel (ambuvahasrotas) can help balance hyperglycaemia and regulate the blood sugar levels. Its scraping effect on the fat tissues can help to balance overweight conditions where there may be a tendency to acquire type 2 diabetes. Reproduction Use in male reproductive problems with premature ejaculation, spermatorrhoea, impotence and spermaturia. It strengthens the whole reproductive system and is a tonic to the sex organs. It also benefits the female reproductive system where there is weakness, infertility, dysmenorrhoea and PMS arising in someone who is deficient and weak with high vata. Blood It has a specific affinity for the blood; anaemia, high sugar levels, high cholesterol levels are all treated. Bones As it builds both rakta and asthi dhatu it is used as part of a treatment strategy to heal broken bones. Its high mineral content indicates it for the treatment of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
. Indian valerian (E), Tagar (H):
Tagarah is a very heavy herb containing lots of the Earth element (pr. thiv?- tattva). It sedates the nervous system and va-ta. Too much can dull the mind and be excessively sedating.
Nerves The heaviness and warmth ground the agitation caused by excessive tension, anxiety and restlessness from high vata. It is used in insomnia, panic attacks and lack of concentration. It specifically cleans the channels of toxins and tension. It can also be used in the treatment of mild depression when there are signs of mania. It is useful in helping to reduce withdrawal symptoms from addictions to cigarettes, amphetamines and benzodiazepines. Good for diseases of the head from aggravated vata; dull headaches at the back of the head with dizziness. It has a renowned traditional usage in the treatment of epilepsy and possession. Heart Its relaxing qualities treat palpitations, tightness in the chest and high blood pressure. It clears excessive vata from the thoracic region by regulating vyana and prana vayu. Digestion As a warming carminative it is useful in a formula for vis.amagni with erratic digestion, bloating and constipation. It soothes all spasms in the intestines and prevents the movement of stress from the mind to the intestines. It balances samana vayu and can help to regulate the movement of apana vayu; tagarah has a mild laxative effect in vata prakrti. It prevents intestinal fermentation that is so common in vata types. Its hot and penetrating qualities can increase digestive metabolism in kapha types. Gynaecology Its heavy and antispasmodic qualities can ease menstrual pain and cramps. Its sedative properties can calm menopausal irritability and prevent insomnia. Lungs Its warm and unctuous energetics benefit the wheezing and spasmodic coughing of asthma and bronchitis. The pungency dries and moves the kapha and the demulcent properties oppose the dryness of vata.
. Sesame seed (E), Til (H):
Sesame is an annual plant with beautiful flowers. It grows in dry soil and it treats dry conditions; it is an antidote to the climate in which it thrives. It is excellent for high va - ta with dry mucous membranes, weak muscles, bones and reproductive system.
Digestion Its unctuous property treats dry constipation in the elderly and vata individuals. The seeds are hard to digest and can easily aggravate pitta due to their heating nature, and kapha due to their unctuous nature. Used in haemorrhoids and ulcerated surfaces of the intestines it heals rakta dhatu and purisavahasrotas to lubricate the bowel and soften the stool. Lungs As a superb demulcent (snehana) the seeds can soothe a dry, hacking cough from aggravated udana and prana vata. It helps to strengthen weak lungs by tonifying pranavahasrotas. Bones Sesame nourishes asthi dhatu and is a useful source of calcium for bones, teeth and hair. It is used to prevent osteoporosis from asthigatavata, when vata enters the bone tissue. Skin Used internally and externally for dry skin it reduces high vata. Externally it can benefit dry eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis when there is not suppuration or broken skin. The oil is also used as a gargle for swollen and bleeding gums. Rejuvenation The seeds and oil are considered to be an excellent tonic to mamsa, majja and s´ukra dhatu. They help to assist recovery after illness and for increasing strength, memory and fertility. Gynaecology The nutritive tonic action may benefit amenorrhoea and scanty periods from rasa and rakta deficiency.
. Trivrut (H), Nishoth (H):
Trivrut literally means 'having three parts' possibly referring to its twisted vine. It is a useful laxative that effectively treats constipation, colic and haemorrhoids.
Digestion Its penetrating property enters purisavahasrotas and purges the bowel of all stagnant accumulations. It should be used in individuals with a mrdu kostha, a soft bowel that has become constipated. It is used in conditions with deep-seated toxins that cause inflammation and swelling such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout and inflammatory bowel disease. It purges pitta and kapha from the bowel. It is very useful for haemorrhoids. Skin Trivrut drains inflammatory watery accumulations from rakta and medas-dhatu and this helps to alleviate chronic skin conditions. It is pitta s´odhana and clears pitta from the system. Obesity Its affinity for the fat tissue enkindles medas-dhatau-agni and clears cholesterol.
. Holy basil (E), Tulsi (H):
As its Latin name implies it is considered a very sacred plant. It is high in sattva imparting the quality of lightness and spiritual clarity. An excellent herb for lifting the heaviness of fevers, coughs and colds.
Lungs Tulsi clears kapha and mucus from the lungs and upper respiratory tract. Its action on rasa dhatu helps treat fevers and flu by encouraging sweating and therefore bringing the temperature down. Its action on pranavahasrotas is used in asthma, bronchitis, rhinitis and other respiratory allergies. Human clinical trials have shown that tulsi can increase vital lung capacity and reduce laboured breathing. Tulsi specifically increases prana and the vital life force. Its pungency and penetrating nature clears the dampness and toxic ama that can cause chest infections and fevers. Its prabhava or special power is to be used in all fevers regardless of their cause. Digestion Its aromatic pungency helps to move vata through the intestines and calms a fermentive digestive tract. It moves apana vayu downwards. It also increases the appetite and is a good warming stimulant to the digestion. It acts on medas-dhatu-agni and can help to reduce weight as well as be used to reduce blood sugar and total cholesterol levels. Nerves Used as a mild nervine for heightening awareness and mental clarity. A tea of the leaves is also used for tension headaches from high vata and from congestion headaches from excess kapha. Heart Its affinity for rasa dhatu helps to increase circulation through the heart where there is congestion from high vata and kapha.
. Turmeric (E), Haldi (H):
Turmeric is a perennial grown throughout the tropical parts of Asia. It favours a warm and humid climate. Haridra- literally means 'yellow' and its strong yellow colour signifies its use as a liver herb that is good at drying damp and moving stagnation in the blood.
Digestion For all intestinal infections and mucus conditions. Turmeric helps to promote 'sweet' intestines by reducing pathogenic bacteria and destroying ama. It has recently been proven to have an affinity for the large intestine and to play a preventative role in bowel cancer. Other clinical trials have proven its efficacy at treating dyspepsia and stomach ulcers. Its bitter and pungent flavours act on the agni of rasa dhatu and enhance its ability to nourish the plasma and blood. Traditionally used in diabetes to clear ama, kapha and excess fat tissue (Paranjpe 2001, Bone 2003). Liver A stimulant effect to the liver and ran˜jaka pitta increases the flow of blood through the hepatic system and increases bile output. This helps to dissolve and prevent gallstones. It is traditionally considered a blood 'purifier' and is often used for beautifying the skin and clearing systemic toxaemia; eczema, urticaria, psoriasis and acne. As with many liver herbs it is also good for the eyes; a wash is used in conjunctivitis and styes. Gynaecology Turmeric is used to clear kapha accumulations from the lower abdomen, uterus and apanaksetra. Fibroids, cysts, endometriosis, dysmenorrhoea, amenorrhoea and leucorrhoea are all treated by reducing congestion. As a specific herb for rasa dhatu it also works on its secondary tissue stanyasrotas and is used to purify breast milk as well as to promote the flow of the menses. A poultice can be very effective in mastitis (Atreya 1998). Inflammation Curcumin reduces inflammation caused by arachidonic acid (cf usage for dysmenorrhoea). It is used in dermatitis, eczema, urticaria, psoriasis, colitis, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis. Hence it is used in pitta–kapha conditions at low doses and mixed with other bitter herbs. It is also a renowned antibacterial. Joints It treats inflammation of the joints, alleviates pain and strengthens the joints and tendons. Useful for treating gout, arthritis, broken bones and wounds. Heart Turmeric nourishes the heart by virtue of its raktavardhaka and blood building quality. By increasing blood flow and reducing total cholesterol turmeric helps the functions of the heart. It has an antiplatelet activity and scrapes accumulations from the channels (lekhaniya) which helps to prevent coagulation and reduce kapha in the blood. Infections Turmeric is an excellent antibiotic useful in fevers, sore throat and septicaemia. External Excellent for reducing pain as a topical application in bruises, infections, sprains and pain. Use it carefully as it stains the skin and anything it comes into contact with.
. Calamus root (E), Sweet flag (E), Vach (H):
Vacha literally means 'speech'. Calamus thrives in wet, damp marshland and is a semi-aquatic perennial. Its qualities treat similar 'terrain' in the whole system; sluggish, congested, heavy and wet conditions, like those of a marshland, are opposed by the warm, drying, penetrating and stimulating qualities of vacha.
Mind Its primary application is to open the mind, improve concentration, clarity and speech. Its stimulating effect on majja dhatu makes it useful in treating depression and mental sluggishness where there is mental ama. It actually scrapes mental ama and stagnation from the subtle channels of the mind. This acrid root is also used in childhood developmental problems and in post-stroke speech difficulties. It encourages the flow of udana and prana vayu. By nourishing sadhaka pitta it specifically strengthens the ability of the mind to receive information and recall from memory. Digestion Its aromatic heating effect helps to calm the gastric nerves, prevent fermentation and clear excess kapha with dyspepsia, flatulence and borborygmus; vacha reduces both samana vayu and kledaka kapha. It is a rejuvenative to medas-dhatvagni and can help to reduce obesity. Lungs Vacha clears damp, wet coughs from the lungs. It also has an affinity for the throat and vis´uddhi cakra; it clears 'obstructions' from the throat. Its purgative effect on the head makes it an excellent remedy for sinus congestion, nasal polyps and rhinitis from kapha aggravation. High doses can cause vomiting and it is used as an emetic in panca karma. Urine Used traditionally for urinary gravel and infections by removing the kapha deposits.
. Bamboo manna, the inner pith of bamboo (E), Vamsa-locana (H):
Although all parts of the bamboo are used, in Ayurveda true Vamsa lochana is found inside the hollow bamboo at the internodes as a silica-like secretion. Vam. s´alocana literally means 'bamboo eye', referring to the exudates of the silica appearing through an eye-like crack in the bamboo. Its rarity is due to the difficulty of its harvest. It is especially good at clearing lung infections.
Lungs Cough from high kapha and pitta indicated by an infected cough producing yellow- green sputum, which may be blood-streaked; asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia. It enters rasa dhatu and helps to clear fevers from ama and pitta in the plasma. It has nourishing and tonic properties that help to repair and strengthen lung tissue. Heart As a rejuvenative to avalambaka kapha it has cardioprotective qualities and is used with signs of chest pain, heaviness and congested blood flow. Bleeding Its haemostatic effect on rakta dhatu make it a useful herb to include as a part of a formula for bleeding from high pitta anywhere in the body. Urine Its diuretic effect on mutravahasrotas can help with cloudy and concentrated urine with a pungent smell due to high pitta. It also benefits dysuria from high vata.
. Three-leafed caper (E), Varuna (H), Varna (H):
The bark of varuna is a renowned diuretic helping to clear pain and stones from the bladder and kidneys.
Urinary Its affinity for mutravahasrotas coupled with its bhedaniya property clears urinary deposits and urinary pain in cystitis and inflammation. It clears kidney, ureter and bladder stones. It is also used for other urinary symptoms with urinary incontinence, enuresis, hypotonic, atonic and neurogenic bladder. Used in benign prostatic hyperplasia, cystitis, interstitial cystitis and chronic urinary tract infections. Lymph Its effect on both rasa and medas-dhatu helps to clear inflamed lymphatic nodes, especially in the neck. It also helps to clear fatty deposits from the blood and to reduce lipid cells. Digestion It balances vis.amagni in vata types and directs apana vayu downwards. This helps to clears worms and abdominal distension.
. Malabar nut (E), Vasaka (H), Adusa (H):
Vasa means 'perfume' and is a common evergreen perennial shrub growing all over the plains of India and Sri Lanka. It is a powerful bronchodilator and expectorant for use in respiratory conditions with high kapha and pitta.
Lungs It is a specific for respiratory congestion and wheezing. As a powerful bronchodilator it eases breathlessness and bronchospasm. It clears inflammatory pitta heat and liquefies congestive kapha. It can be used where there is inflammation from an allergic response as it clears the lungs and nostrils. Its diaphoretic properties act on rasa dhatu and can be utilised in fevers to clear ama and displaced pitta. As it disperses stagnation and strongly scatters prana vayu it can aggravate vata. Blood It is eulogised in the Sanskrit literature for stopping bleeding (raktastambhana). Its effect on raktapitta is to astringe the mucous membranes and it is effective in bleeding from ulcers, menorrhagia, epistaxis and the gingivitis with high pitta. Skin Its ability to clear heat from rakta dhatu and cool bhrajaka pitta make it a useful herb for inflammatory skin diseases with a pitta–kapha pathology. Its mild diaphoretic action can help to clear kapha toxins trapped in rasa dhatu. Gynaecology Its astringency causes contraction of the uterus. This can be useful in bleeding and prolapse. Its oxytocic properties make it useful as a parturient to facilite labour but it should not be used at any other stage during pregnancy. Heart Vasa stimulates the vagus nerve and causes vasodilation of the capillaries. This can help to increase the contractile ability of the heart and also lower blood pressure.
. Embelia (E), Viranga (H), Vaividanga (H):
Vidanga is a renowned remedy for treating digestive disorders, especially those characterised by abdominal bloating caused by worms.
Digestion Traditionally used to clear vata from the intestines. It specifically kills bacterial, fungal and worm infestations (round-, thread- and tape-) and is considered gentle enough to treat childhood worms. Powdered vidanga is taken with honey on an empty stomach and then castor oil is used as a purgative the following day to flush out the dead worms. It strengthens agni very effectively and hence treats the underlying cause of parasitical infestations. Also benefits stagnation in the purisavahasrotas and frees constipation. It cures s´ula causing colic and flatulence. Skin As it clears kapha from the skin it prevents itching. It is a fine alterative and cleans the blood and lymph of ama toxins causing swollen glands and supperative skin problems. It stimulates rasadhatvagni to clear fatty toxins circulating in the plasma and lymphatic systems. It is also used in formulas for vitiligo and faults in the pigmentation of the skin. Can be applied as a mediciated oil to clear fungal infections of the skin. Urinary It helps to drain kapha and vata out via the urinary system. Its effect on medas-dhatu can help in treating diabetes. Used in dysuria, stones, high uric acid levels and cloudy urine. It colours the urine red. Reproduction Modern research has found that it reduces male fertility by reducing testosterone levels.
. Vidarikand (H):
This enormous bulbous root is a renowned rejuvenating tonic for the reproductive systems of both men and women. It is sweet and nourishing.
Urinary In any disorder of the urinary channels vidari can be considered for clearing inflammation and dryness from the urethra, bladder and kidneys. It specifically works on pitta and vata in the lower abdomen. It is a demulcent for a deficient and dry meda dhatu. Lactation A great herb to increase breast milk production as it directly tonifies rasa dhatu and stanyavahasrotas. It also benefits the mother post-partum, building strength and energy (Sus´ruta). Rejuvenation As a rejuvenative anabolic (brmhana) herb it helps whenever vata has increased, especially during convalescence and old age. Also used to increase s´ukra dhatu, fertility, reproductive essence and sperm production. Lungs Vidari is very effective for alleviating coughs and clearing mucus. Its cooling property helps to soothe sore throats.
Rules to play Finswimming
Immersion swimming with breathing
. Immersion swimming with breathing apparatus also known by its acronym, IM, and as immersion is underwater swimming using mask, monofin and underwater breathing apparatus conducted in a swimming pool. While there are no requirements on how a breathing
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Listen and Ask Questions
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elbow designed function
. The elbow is the joint where three long bones meet in the middle portion of the arm. The bone of the upper arm (humerus) meets the inner bone of the forearm (ulna) and the outer bone of the forearm (radius) to form a hinge joint. The radius and ulna