How To Make A Remedy With Any Ayurvedic Herb?

If you go through any herb explanation of Ayurvedic herbs, you will find out that each herb is given a set of qualities and a set of indicated diseases. But a common man can be perplexed how to use that herb in those diseases. 

Introduction

For example, Ashwagandha root is told to have pungent, bitter and astringent tastes, unctuousness, lightness qualities, it is hot in potency and it balances all the three Doshas, especially Kapha and Vata Dosha. It is used in stress, anxiety, sleep problems, hypertension etc.
But how to use Ashwagandha?
In which form?

If you know few basic principles about Ayurvedic dosage forms and Tridosha Principles, you can make your own recipes out of that herb for different diseases.

Herb usage principles, forms

A medicinal herb can be used in various forms . Such as
Powder –
If the herb is palatable and not very spicy, most of the herbs can be used in the form of fine powder. Usual dose for most of the Ayurvedic herbs is 1 – 3 grams per single dose.

An herb cannot be used in the form of fine powder if it is
Too pungent, spicy, strong penetrating.
Too bitter or astringent that it causes vomiting
Does not fit the disease.
For example, dates powder or paste cannot be used in diabetic patients, as it is high in sugar content.
Salt powders cannot be used in hypertension patients.
Read related: Churna – Ayurvedic Herbal Powders: Principle, Preparation, Examples

Pastes –
Paste is usually made out of fresh and juicy herbs. It is used internally or externally on wounds (Eg: neem paste). The rules to use paste internally is similar to those for herbal powders, mentioned above.
Dose is usually 1 -10 grams Read Ayurvedic Herbal Pastes – Kalka Uses, Preparation, Examples

Juice extract –
Like pastes, juice is extracted out of fresh and juicy herbs. Rules are very much similar.
Dose is up to 25 ml per day in divided doses.

Cold infusion –
Cold infusion is prepared by adding 1 part of coarse herb with 6 parts of water, kept overnight or for many hours, filtered and used.

Cold infusion is prepared with herbs with very high volatile compounds such as clove. It is prepared with other non volatile herbs, in high Pitta conditions, associated with high burning sensation. The cold water helps to calm down Pitta. For example, coriander seed cold infusion is administered along with sugar candy to bring down burning sensation in case of fever.
Dose is 48 ml in single or divided doses.

Hot infusion – Hot infusion is prepared by soaking 1 part of herb with 4 parts of hot water for a few hours, squeezed and filtered. The liquid is used. It is useful for herbs with moderately heat sensitive components.
Dose is 48 ml in single or divided doses.

Tablet / capsule – In Ayurvedic method, herbal powder is molded into the form of tablet / capsule by adding excepients. It is useful when the herbs are very spicy, strong, bitter etc. Because they are swallowed, taste will not be a concern.

Kashaya – herbal decoction – It is prepared by adding 1 part of herb with 16 parts of water, boiled and reduced to 1/4th. Most of the Ayurvedic herbs can be consumed this way, excluding herbs with very high volatile compounds such as clove.
Keep in mind that Kashayas are stronger than cold or hot infusions. If the patient is weaker, then hot infusion is preferred to Kashaya.
Dose is 50 ml in divided doses.
Read related: Kashayam (Kwath) – Herbal Teas Preparation, Benefits, Usage

Syrups – 
Syrups can be prepared by making Kashaya then adding sugar and reboiling. Boiling can be continuied till the sugar content is 66.66 %. At this concentration, sugar itself acts as preservative.

Ksheerapaka – milk processed herbs –
1 part of herb is added with 4 parts of milk and 8 parts of water, boiled till only the milk remains. Filtered and used. This is useful when the herb is very strong and you want to reduce the strength and hotness of the herb Eg: Bhallataka Ksheerapaka prepared with marking nut or Long pepper Ksheerapaka.
It is also used when you want to add milk’s nourishing value into the formulation. Eg; Ashwagandha ksheerapaka for energy.
Dose is 50 ml in single or divided doses.

Avaleha – herbal jam –
Usually herbal jams have 4 components –
1. A paste – a fruit like Amla (Indian gooseberry) pulp or paste like Ashwagndha or shatavari paste fried in ghee or oil is used.
2. Herbal decoction – Kashaya with certain herbs.
3. Sugar candy or sugar or jaggery.
4. Spice powder also called Prakshepa.
The paste fried in ghee or oil is mixed with filtered decoction and sugar. These three are boiled together to semi solid consistency. Allowed to cool down, then spice powder mix and if needed honey is added to it after the mass cools down. Eg: Chyawanprash
Dose is 10 grams in single or divided doses.

Usually herbal jams are preferred in
Chronic patients with energy loss such as tuberculosis,
Respiratory tract conditions such as Agastya Rasayana 

Herbal ghees
They are called Ghritha. 1 part of herb is added with 4 parts of ghee and 16 parts of water or decoction or any liquid and boiled together till ghee remains. The product contains water soluble and fat soluble components of herbs.
Whenever Vata and Pitta dosha are to be targeted, brain and mental health are targeted, these are used.
Dose is 10 grams in single or divided doses.
Read Principles Of Making Herbal Ghee – Ghritham

Taila – herbal oils.
They are prepared similar to herbal ghees. They are used orally in neurological conditions, muscle, joint disorders etc. They are used both externally and orally.

Asava Arishta –
These are fermented liquids prepared with decoction or herbs, water, sugar, spices and a fermenting agent such as yeast or herbs like Madhuca longifolia or Woodfordia fruticosa.
Dose is 50 ml in single or divided doses.

Adjuvants

Suitable co drinks for medicines –
In case of Vata dominance, sesame oil
In Pitta increased conditions, ghee
In Kapha conditions, honey is advised as co drink along with the above remedies.

Medicine timings

Depends on many factors such as Dosha, ingredients of medicine etc.
Two common timings are before and after food. Before food is used when the patient strength is high and medicines do not contain too many spices.
After food is useful when the patient is weak and cannot tolerate strong medicines.

Overall, master the techniques of preparing herbal decoction, cold, hot infusions, herbal powder, ghee and herbal jams. With this, though the range looks limited, you can prepare and use 99% of the herbs in medicine form.

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