Believe it or not, not every disease or medical condition requires you to pop pills and opt for an allopathic intervention.
Originated over 5000 years ago during the Vedic period in India, we have thrived for thousands of years on the ancient wisdom and knowledge of Ayurveda. And today, Ayurvedic therapies and practices are recognized worldwide for not only being effective but also holistic and sans any side effects.
The word Ayurveda is a union of two Sanskrit words: Ayur meaning life and veda meaning knowledge or science. According to Ayurveda, all human beings are composed of the five elements – water, fire, air, earth, and space. These elements manifest into the human body as three doshas, namely, Vatta, Pitta, and Kapha. The balance of these doshas is integral for one’s health and well-being.
As seniors, the prevalence of illness increases as we age. From arthritis to constipation, diabetes and dementia, ageing adults face a plethora of problems and conditions that most often than not result in lowering their quality of life.
Ayurveda believes prevention is always better than cure and it promotes living a life that is in sync with nature. Following the principles and therapies of Ayurveda, one can prevent and address these common ailments, holistically. Here are five top Ayurvedic herbs that you can include in your diet to prevent or delay the effects of ageing on your mind and body.
Found in India, Africa, and some parts of the Mediterranean continent, Ashwagandha is a small wood plant that is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine. Multiple studies show that this herb can boost cognitive function of the brain and also reduce cortisol, that is the stress hormone, helping prevent depression, anxiety, and chronic stress.
Apart from improving memory and decreasing stress levels, Ashwagandha is also known to boost the immune system and heart health, improve sleep patterns, and manage weight.
So, if you’re having trouble staying energetic through the day and can’t seem to get in a good night’s sleep, you can mix Ashwagandha powder in a glass of milk or a spoon of honey. It can also be applied topically to inflamed joints for relief.
Popular for its antioxidant properties, Amla is a powerful rejuvenating herb. Loaded with vitamin C, this sour berry is known to reduce bad cholesterol, strengthen immunity, and boost digestion.
Amla is also great for weight management and can help manage or prevent diabetes. You can consume raw amla or mix the powder with honey. These days, getting your hands only amla juice is also relatively easy.
Another powerful herb, Ginseng is great for seniors struggling with diabetes and neurogenerative diseases. According to studies, Ginseng stimulates the release of glucose-induced insulin from the pancreas, helping manage diabetes.
Apart from this, Ginseng has the ability to fight free radicals which damage the brain cells, often resulting in a loss of cognitive function and memory. It is also known to boost stamina and beat fatigue, helping you stay active and on your feet.
Ginseng can be consumed raw or steamed. You can even brew its powder into a tea. The herb can also be used directly in your everyday cooking.
Also known as Gotu Kola, Brahmi is a traditional ayurvedic herb that is used specifically to treat neurological disorders. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help improve nervous system function and enhance memory, concentration, and intelligence.
Brahmi is known to have a calming effect on your mind and helps manage stress and depression. Apart from this, the herb also promotes healthy skin and lustrous hair. You can pound the Brahmi leaves for their extracts or use fresh leaves as is in your cooking.
Also known as Mulethi, Licorice in renowned for its therapeutic appeal not only India but also Greece and Egypt. While some of us may associate licorice with the chewy, black candy, there is more to this herb than just its sweet flavour.
It has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties which help treat a wide range of conditions such as eczema, bronchitis, and stomach ulcers. Owing to its sweetness, you can easily incorporate Licorice into your diet with the help of teas and baked goods.
While the benefits of these Ayurvedic herbs are well-known, it is always a good idea to consult your health practitioner or nutritionist before you make any drastic changes to your diet and lifestyle.