Ayurvedic herbal oils are used since more than 5,000 years both in culinary and treatment fields. By learning the ancient method of oil preparation, you can prepare any traditional oil by yourself.
Table of Contents
Importance of oil
Why are oils given so much importance in Ayurveda?
The food should be slightly fatty and hot, says Master Sushruta.So, oils (or ghee) play an important role in our foods.
The oil massage is an effective way to transfer the medicinal qualities of herbal oils deep into the tissues to bring about healing.
Eg: Maha Narayana taila for joint massage for pain relief Kumkumadi taila for face massage for glow and to blemish free skin.
The oils have unique quality of wound healing – Jatyadi taila They are good for bone healing – Murivenna (oil massage), Gandha tailam (orally)
Some oils have a capacity to break down the phlegm collection in the chest – Saindhavadi taila, while others have capacity to relieve joint stiffness (Kottamchukkadi taila, Sahacharadi taila).
Some oils are useful to strengthen joints – Balashwagandhadi taila, some are more specific to strengthening nerves – Ksheerabala taila. Some oils can be given orally Mahanarayana taila, ksheerabala 101, Some can be put into ears – Vacha lashunadi taila, Apamarga kshara taila
Some are put into nose – Anu taila, Shadbindu taila, others are used for oil pulling (Irimedadi taila) Some are useful are administered rectally in enema, many are applied locally on hemorrhoids – Jatyadi taila Many are useful to promote hair growth – amla hair oil, some cure dandruff (Dhrudhurapatradi taila). So, from head to toe, for health promotion and to relieve diseases, oils are extremely beneficial.
Traditional oil bases used
Mustard oil and
Castor oils are mainly used in herbal oil preparations.
Read related: Sesame Oil, Coconut Oil, Castor Oil, Mustard Oil – Comparison
Various uses of Ayurvedic herbal oils:
Gandusha – Oil pulling
Kavala – gargling
Usually Irimedadi taila is used for the above two puproses
Karnapoorana – ear drops
Oil massage – Abhyanga Eg: Mahanarayana taila, Balaswagandhadi taila
Local application – such as Karanja taila or Nalpamaradi taila for the treatment of allergic dermatitis
Shirodhara, Sarvanga Dhara – oil poured in a thin stream over forehead or allover the body
Hair oil: Eg: Kuntalakanti taila, Neelibhringadi taila, Amla hair oil
Read related: How And When To Apply Hair Oil? Ayurveda Details
Oral intake –
Example: Mahanarayana taila, Ksheerabala taila, Dhanwantaram tailam, Maharaja Prasarini Taila
Ayurvedic oil components
3 Basic components of an Ayurvedic Oil:
Kalka – paste of herbs
Taila – oil – Sesame oil /Mustard oil / Coconut oil
Drava – Liquids – water / milk / Kashaya / juice extracts etc
Proportions of 3 components
Kalka – paste – 1 part / 1 ounce / 100 grams
Taila – oil –4 parts / 4 ounce / 400 ml
Drava – Liquids –16 parts / 16 ounce / 1600 ml
Theoretical proportions – for a very strong oil
Practical proportions – for regular usage oil
Kalka – paste:
Fresh herb – crush it in a mortar and pestle, and use it afresh
If the herbs are dry, then they are made into fine powder, added with a little water, made into paste and used.
Dravadravya – Liquids
Liquids can be kashaya (herbal decoctions), hot infusions, cold infusions, milk, buttermilk etc. The choice of liquid depends on the formula of the oil as mentioned in the text book.
Kashaya – decoction / herbal tea as liquid:
1 part of herb + 16 parts of water boiled and reduced to ¼ parts
100 grams + 1600 ml -> 400 ml
Read related: Kashayam (Kwath) – Herbal Teas Preparation, Benefits, Usage
Rules for Kashaya making
Take a wide mouthed vessel
Fill the vessel with only 2/3rd with content.
Boil in mild fire.
Do not close the lid
Constantly stir the contents.
Once Kashaya is prepared, use clean cloth to filter it.
Once Kashaya is prepared, you have 6 – 8 hours to start making the oil.
Principle behind making of Ayurvedic oil
Herb + oil + Liquid
Herb + oil – fat soluble principles of herbs transfer into oil
Kashaya = water soluble extract of the herb.
It contains water soluble principles of herb.
This also gets transferred into oil.
Ayurvedic oil is – Oil soluble herb principles+ Water soluble active principles
Steps in Oil making
Get the oil. Keep it ready.
Get the kashaya ingredients – Make Kashaya
Get the kalka herb – make paste.
Start cooking the oil
Till when to heat the oil:
The oil is heated till the total moisture quantity evaporates from the mix.
The final product should be devoid of any moisture content.
How to know that oil is finally made?
First take the oil in the vessel. Add Kalka (herbal paste) to it.
Mark the level of the oil in the vessel.
Approximately the final liquid level should be the marked level.
It may be slightly higher as herb paste swells while making the oil.
Signs of proper preparation
Signs to watch at the end:
Fragrance of the herbs become apparent
The herb paste can be rolled into the form of wick
The herb paste when put on fire does not make sound.
Oil starts yielding froth.
In the mid, the total paste + liquid becomes one dirty looking mix. Nearing to the end, oil gets clearly separated from the paste.
Do not start heating oil first and then add kashaya. If oil starts boiling and then you add Kashaya, it may explode.
Use moderate heat.
Constant stirring – both while making kashaya and the oil
Use wide mouthed vessel for quicker evaporation
Be alert at the end stage
After oil is ready, filter the oil soon after it is made.
Days for oil preparation
Number of days for oil preparation:
Making Kashaya and then making oil may not get completed in one day time.
Ayurveda also recommends making the oil in 2 or more days.
So, first day make kashayam. Then get the oil + paste into vessel. Add Kashayam to it.
Heat it till it starts boiling. Stop heating. Close the vessel with a lid.
Next day continue heating and finish it.
Read related: How To Make Bhringraj Oil For Hair Growth [Video]
Example – Amla hair oil
An example – Amla hair oil:
Amla powder – 50 grams
Coconut oil – 500 ml
Amla kashaya – 1 liter
Amla kashaya –
250 grams of Amla powder + 4 liters of water
Boil and reduce to 1 liter.
Read related: How To Make Hair Oil At Home With Amla
Examples of other oils
Brahmi oil – In place of amla, use Brahmi.
Brahmi amla oil – instead of amla, use Brahmi + Amla = 50:50
Dhurdhurapathradi taila – in place of amla, use leaves of Datura metel.
Read related: How To Make Ayurvedic Herbal Anti Dandruff Hair Oil At Home?
Ksheerabala taila –
Bala – Country mallow (root) – Sida cordifolia
Cow Milk + Bala kashaya
Read related: Ksheerabala 101 Thailam – Benefits, How To Use, Ingredients, Side Effects
Classification based on method of preparation
Oils have been classified based on its method of preparation into three –
1. Mrudu paka – In this type of oil, the herbal paste at the end of oil preparation will be very soft to touch and has some moisture content left in it. The particles of the herbal paste will be sticky. This type of oil preparation is used for nasal instillation (nasya).
2. Madhyama paka – In this type of oil, the herbal paste at the end of preparation of oil will be soft but devoid of moisture. The particles of herbal paste can be easily rolled into a wick form. This type of oil preparation can be used for internal administration (paana) and as enema (basti).
3. Khara paka – In this type of oil, the herbal paste at the end of oil preparation will be slightly burnt and dry. If we try to roll the particles of this paste into a wick form, it easily breaks. This type of oil preparation can be used for external oil massage (abhyanga).