Ayurvedic Herbs: Benefits, Uses, Evidence, Precautions

Ayurvedic herbs and spices play an important role in a holistic approach to health and well-being. Ayurveda is a system of traditional medicine from India that focuses on promoting well-being of body, mind, and spirit. The holistic approach combines lifestyle changes, diet and exercise.

Ayurvedic herbs and spices play an important role in the overall system of Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda followers claim that the medicines provide protection against disease, help with mental health and aid digestion.

This article explores some Ayurvedic herbs and spices that help build the system and the research behind their health benefits.

Herbs and spices have some scientific support for their purported benefits, but a person should always speak with a doctor before making any significant changes to their diet.

Ayurveda is a traditional and holistic approach to medicine originating in India. The system promotes mental, physical, and spiritual well-being through exercise, diet, and other lifestyle changes.

People who practice Ayurveda report that the traditional approach to medicine has several proven benefits. The results of a former 2014 The study proposed that researchers should do more to integrate the knowledge of Ayurveda with clinically proven modern medicines.

Certain herbs and spices play a major role in Ayurveda. Non-profit organization Art of Living says it can provide benefits such as:

  • improve vitality
  • purify and detoxify the body and blood
  • boost mental health
  • improve digestion
  • weight loss aid
  • improve skin tone
  • help reduce the side effects of cancer

People can use Ayurvedic herbs internally or externally, depending on the specific herb and its purpose.

The following Ayurvedic herbs and spices have supporting evidence that suggests they can help certain aspects of a person’s health.

Cumin has a smoky, earthy flavor. People often use this spice in Indian recipes and Southwestern United States recipes.

Some the evidence suggests that cumin shows significant antioxidant activities in certain test procedures.

The effect of cumin on free radicals is suggested as the underlying reason for many of its pharmacological effects, which are:

  • antimicrobial
  • anticarcinogenic
  • antimutagen
  • antidiabetic
  • diuretic
  • immunomodulator (modifies the body’s immune system)
  • estrogenic and anti-osteoporotic
  • gastrointestinal

Manjistha is also known as Rubia cordifolia or common madder. This plant can help positively modify the intestinal microbiota. However, to experience these effects, a person may need to take it in higher concentrations than those typically available through manjistha. For this reason, someone may wish to take a manjistha supplement or as part of a gut healing regimen.

Additionally, a study 2020 of a compound extracted from R. cordifolia root suggests a possible phytomedicine in the treatment of bone diseases.

Also known as olibanum or Indian frankincense, Boswellia has a woody, spicy aroma when cooked with it.

Several studies suggest that it may have health benefits:

  • A study 2016 show Boswellia may help reduce pain and swelling associated with osteoarthritis.
  • Another one study 2016 have shown that the herb can help prevent the growth of leukemia tumors.
  • According to a study 2018a herbal composition containing Boswellia helped improve asthma symptoms.

Ashwagandha is a woody plant native to India and North Africa. People have used it in Ayurvedic remedies for at least 3,000 years.

Some evidence suggests that ashwagandha can help with stress and anxiety. An older study of 2012 showed that high concentrations of ashwagandha root extract positively reduced stress and improved quality of life.

A study of 2016 found that taking an ashwagandha supplement can help improve muscle strength. The researchers recommended using ashwagandha in conjunction with a resistance training program.

According to a 2018 placebo-controlled clinical trialevidence suggests that ashwagandha may benefit people with hypothyroidism.

Finally, a more recent systematic review 2021 of ashwagandha and its pharmacological use have noted scientific evidence supporting its health and healing effects.

People often use brahmi, or Bacopa monnieriwhen making Ayurvedic medicines.

Some the evidence suggests brahmi can help improve concentration, cognitive ability and attention, with a study 2019 study its effectiveness in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Ajwain grows in several countries around the world, including India and Iran. Although it can be useful in several areas of health, a Trial 2019 found ajwain to have the ability to lower blood sugar levels, which means it could help people living with diabetes.

According to a former 2014 Study, benefits and uses of ajwain over the years have included helping to:

  • bloating
  • loss of appetite
  • fatigue
  • abdominal pain
  • abdominal tumors
  • diarrhea
  • respiratory distress

Additionally, weed can have the following effects:

  • antifungal
  • antibacterial
  • antioxidant
  • lipid-lowering
  • pest control

Turmeric has a distinctive yellow color and people often use it in curry recipes.

Some the evidence suggests turmeric can have an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect. This may make it useful for certain inflammatory conditions, such as some forms of arthritis.

In addition, first evidence suggests that turmeric may provide skin health benefits when taken orally or applied topically. However, other scientific evidence is crucial to support this claim.

Neem is an herb that can I have antioxidant effects and help with several body functions.

Studies have indicated that neem may also help prevent or treat cancer. It is generally well tolerated with minimal side effects.

Cardamom is another herb that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.

Some evidence suggests that using cardamom as an essential oil can help improve airflow during exercise and reduce arterial pressure.

Bitter melon is a type of tropical vine related to squash and zucchini.

Some research suggests bitter melon has a positive effect on insulin secretion and blood sugar control.

People who take insulin and wish to add this herb to their diet should discuss this with their doctor to avoid any worrying drops in blood sugar.

Gotu kola does not add aroma or flavor to foods, but studies indicate that it may help improve memory.

According to a study 2016researchers have found that 750 to 1,000 milligrams (mg) of gotu kola is more effective than folic acid in improving memory in people who have had a stroke.

Triphala consists of three small fruits: amla, bibhitaki and haritaki.

The evidence suggests triphala has anti-inflammatory effects, which could make it effective in treating arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

However, doctors and healthcare professionals often use triphala for digestive disorders, where it has several clinical usesincluding as a laxative, appetite stimulant and antioxidant.

Before starting a new diet or rubbing any herb or spice into their skin, a person should consider speaking with their doctor.

Some experts warn that some Ayurvedic medicine preparations may contain toxic levels of arsenic, mercury or lead.

People should consult a doctor before using herb or spice blends if they:

  • to take pills
  • live with a chronic illness
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding

Ayurvedic herbs and spices can have health benefits.

However, a person should exercise caution and speak with their doctor when considering using them as supplements or lotions.

A person can tolerate the addition of herbs and spices to their food, but there is little evidence on how much is needed to have a positive impact on health.

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