Ayurveda is the science of life and is considered to be the oldest system of medicine which dates back to 5000 years. Ayurveda uses natural resources such as herbs and minerals in the healing process.
With the growing popularity of Ayurveda, many people have become fond of Ayurvedic remedies.
An Ayurvedic remedy can be defined as a recipe, prepared at home to heal common disease conditions.
Example: Ginger tea to treat weak digestion, associated with fever, cold and cough.
Minor health complaints such as common cold, small wounds, joint pain following a fall without fractures etc.
Example:Neem paste when applied locally, aids in healing small wounds faster.
Triphala powder is prepared with the combination of three fruits. They are-
Aloe vera gel is heated slightly, made into a paste and applied over the face to improve skin health.
Ghee, washed in water for multiple times, is applied locally on the face as a sunscreen. This remedy is called ghee wash or Shata Dhauta Ghrita.
Method of preparation: 500 ml of refrigerated solidified ghee is taken in a wide mouthed copper vessel. Add an equal quantity of water to it. It is thoroughly whipped for 3-5 minutes. After that, the water is drained out of the vessel. This is repeated 100 times. Each time, fresh water is added and after kneading, water is drained out.
Finally, the ghee obtained will be very soft, butter like in consistency and coolant. This protects skin against sunlight and relieves burning sensation during summers.
Having Amla fruit regularly provides the body with sufficient dose of antioxidants and rejuvenating phytonutrients and thus, helps a person to live longer.
Amla fruit can be consumed in the form of pickles, raw fruit chutney or juice. If fresh fruit is not available, then dry fruit powder can be consumed in a dose of ½ - 1 teaspoon once or twice a day, along with honey and water.
Consuming an herbal tea prepared with Giloy (Indian Tinospora), ginger and Ashwagandha is known to improve immunity.
Herbal tea, also called Kashaya is prepared by taking 1 tablespoon of dry powder of the herb. Add it to 2 cups of water. It is then boiled in mild fire and reduced to half a cup. Filter the Kashaya and it is recommended to consume it once or twice a day, usually before food.
Taking pomegranate juice on a daily basis helps to reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome associated with diarrhoea (IBS - D).
Pomegranate juice is prepared by squeezing 2 cups of pomegranate seeds. It is then filtered. Add 2 cardamoms, a teaspoon of unrefined sugar and a pinch of salt. All the ingredients are mixed thoroughly and advised to be consumed once or twice a day, usually before food.
These are the herbal combinations with less than 5 herbs, that are mentioned in the traditional Ayurvedic textbooks such as Charaka Samhita, Ashtanga Hrudayam, Sushruta Samhita etc.
For example, Triphala Churna can be used in obesity, eye disorders etc. which is mentioned in Charaka Samhita and Ashtanga Hrudayam.
Usage of neem paste for the healing of wounds is mentioned in Sharangdhara Samhita.
These remedies have been documented by the ancient Ayurvedic masters after thorough testing for safety and efficacy. Since these remedies have been in practice for thousands of years, these remedies mentioned in traditional Ayurvedic textbooks have more credibility and importance.
These are the remedies that are practiced by the people living in rural areas or by folklore healers. These folklore healers pass on their rich knowledge on herbs and remedies from one generation to the other. Since the knowledge is passed on orally, the remedies are not usually documented.
These are the remedies wherein herbal combinations are made as per the knowledge of modern herbal practitioners. Disadvantage of such remedies is that they have not yet stood the test of time. But the advantage of such remedies is that the proportion of individual ingredients, the dose, preparation method, possible adverse effects, precautions, time period for administration etc. are all well documented.
Always check with your Ayurveda practitioner regarding the right choice of home remedy. The practitioner would advise you the remedy with the right set of herbs, with correct dose and time duration.
Though home remedies are made of commonly used herbs, their possible adverse effects or interaction with modern medicines should not be neglected.
For example, Sarpagandha - Rauwolfia serpentina is used for reducing blood pressure. If a person is already consuming modern anti-hypertensive, and he/she in addition consumes Sarpagandha powder, his/ her blood pressure will further decrease, leading to hypotension and may precipitate a heart attack in a susceptible person, like one having a pre-existing heart disease.
The preparation method, proportions of individual ingredients, dose and duration of the remedy should be followed as per the instructions given.
This helps to prevent accidental overdose or under-dosage of the remedies.
Home remedies can be useful in treating minor symptoms. They also play a minor, supportive role in the healing process. But they should not be relied upon entirely to cure diseases.
Traditional remedies mentioned in ancient textbooks are reliable. But if you are planning to try a modern remedy without a proven track record, it is advisable to get to know the nature of the herbs, possible side effects, recent research done on the herbs etc. All these are easily available on websites such as PubMed.
Home remedies are an essential part of our lives to maintain good health, to promote our beauty, longevity and to heal certain diseases. But they should always be followed after diligent research and as per the instructions of the doctor.
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