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Plants and Ayurveda

In Ayurvedic philosophy, plants are the soul of the earth. According to Ayurveda, we are made up of the same elements as our environment. Our body functions according to the same principles as the rest of the universe.

In Ayurveda, there are several hundred herbs traditionally used and believed to rebalance the doshas when necessary.

If all of them have an impact on the doshas, they also have an effective power on the digestive sphere, weight regulation, intellectual faculties, prevention of degenerative diseases, joint pains, or the fight against free radicals responsible for cell aging. We propose you here a list of the most common plants, as well as their properties.

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Properties of the most used ayruvedic plants

ALOE VERA: Ayurveda gives it the name of "youthful vitality" because this plant is known to improve digestion. It is the exceptional richness of its juice that provides the body with the means to react to external aggressions, particularly thanks to the presence of digestive enzymes that promote the assimilation and digestion of nutrients contained in food. Aloe vera balances the three doshas.

AMALAKI: Powerful antioxidant, it brings to the body an important quantity of polyphenols which preserve the cells of ageing. The Amalaki is useful for smokers and alcohol consumers who, more than any other, need polyphenols and vitamin C which the small fruit abounds. Amalaki is suitable for all three doshas and especially when there is an imbalance of Pitta.

ANDRAKA (ginger): Andraka is used in Ayurvedic medicine as an aphrodisiac, cardiotonic, digestion activator and blood circulation stimulant. Its qualities make it beneficial for Vata and Kapha disorders.

ANDROGRAPHIS: True natural shield, the Andrographis is famous to stimulate the natural defenses and to contribute to a better respiratory comfort, especially price by anticipation, with the approach of the cold seasons. It has a drying and anti-mucus effect in case of blocked or running nose, its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory action also allows it to eradicate sore throat. Andrographis soothes Pitta and Kapha but can increase Vata.

BILVA: Bilva helps to relieve gastric disturbances such as frequent bowel movements, stomach aches and intestinal discomfort. It rebalances the 3 doshas, particularly Kapha and Vata.

BOSWELLIA: Known to act on the joints, Boswellia significantly soothes Pitta and can also reduce Kapha. By blocking the fire of Pitta, it acts as a regulator of inflammation, thus reducing the intensity of joint pain. In high doses, it slightly increases Vata.

BRAHMI: Brahmi increases the capacity of memorization. At the time when Ayurveda was transmitted orally, this plant stimulated the memorization of an impressive quantity of written texts. Indians also call it "wisdom plant" and consider it a valuable ally for practicing yoga and meditation. If Brahmi rebalances the three doshas, it is particularly effective in calming the excitement of the Pitta nervous system.

CENTELLA ASIATICA: It stimulates intellectual alertness and improves concentration. This plant is particularly useful in periods of stress or intense reflection (increased workload, decisions to be made...). Indeed, its calming action makes it possible to preserve all its faculties regarding the complicated situations, even to increase the concentration when that is necessary. Centella asiatica rebalances the three doshas and is particularly effective to calm the excitement of the nervous system of Pitta.

COLEUS: It prevents the fixation of fats and eliminates accumulated fats and small unwanted curves. The Coleus soothes Pitta and Kapha and balances Vata.

GARCINIA: It helps to reduce appetite, cravings, fattening sugar, and fat storage. Garcinia balances Kapha and Vata and is particularly beneficial for Pitta.

GUGGUL: Guggul promotes slimming, helps to purify the body, helps to fight against cholesterol. Many years ago, the Indians recommended it to eliminate the "fats in the blood", according to their own terms... Guggul is used today to significantly reduce the level of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Guggul is particularly effective in stabilizing Vata and Kata imbalances without irritating Pitta.

GYMNEMA SYLVESTRIS: It activates glucose metabolism and reduces sugar cravings. One of the fascinating theories of Ayurvedic medicine is that of signatures, which suggests that nature gives clues to the therapeutic value of plants. Thus, when one chews Gymnema Sylvestre leaves, the tongue is unable to feel the sweet flavor for about an hour. Gymnema Sylvestris soothes Kapha and is neutral for Pitta and Vata.

HARIDRA: Haridra, known in Europe as Curcuma Longa or Indian Saffron, is incredibly rich in curcumin, its active substance. This powerful antioxidant naturally protects the body's cells from aging. Warming for the three doshas, Haridra rebalances Kapha.

MUCUNA: It is a natural source of L-dopa, precursor of dopamine, a neurotransmitter essential to the balance of each one. The messages of well-being sent to the brain soothe joint stiffness and relax muscles. Mucuna balances the three doshas. In too large doses, it strengthens Kapha and Pitta. It is a precious tonic that balances Vata.

SHATAVARI: It is the ally of the woman in the various stages of her life. Shatavari is used in case of premenstrual and menopausal symptoms (soothes pain, hot flashes and regulates moods). This plant favors the lubrication and the flexibility of the genital apparatus. Shatavari means "she who has 100 husbands" in Sanskrit. Shatavari is balancing for Pitta and Vata, taken in excess, it can slightly increase Kapha.

TAMARIND: It helps people who have difficulties to go to the stool thanks to its laxative action. The juice of Tamarind it rebalances the 3 doshas.

TRIBULUS: Tribulus stimulates sexual capacity and desire in men and women. It also increases the production of testosterone, useful for sportsmen for its action on the muscular development. It stimulates and balances the 3 doshas.

TRIMADA: Trimada helps to slim down, promotes the regulation of metabolism. This complex helps to get all the benefits of food ingested by promoting their absorption and their proper transformation into energy and nutrients needed by the body. Trimada is favorable for the three doshas.

TRIPHALA: It activates and regulates the intestinal transit. This complex of three fruits, Amalaki, Bibhitaki and Haritaki, cleans the intestine gently and without aggression. Its action contributes to make lose weight thanks to a better elimination of toxins. Each of the three fruits in Triphala regulates the energy of one of the three doshas: Amalaki for Pitta, Haritaki for Vata, Bibhitaki for Kapha.

TULSI: Used in Ayurvedic medicine to cleanse the body and mind, Tulsi is a precious plant in India, hence its name "holy basil". Rich in camphor, this remarkable support of natural defenses influences the freedom of the respiratory tract (bronchial tubes in particular), the health of our organs (kidneys, heart, liver, bladder, stomach, intestines) and our nervous system. Tulsi soothes the three doshas.

NEEM: Neem leaf is traditionally consumed for its powerful hypoglycemic effect. It is also used in Ayurvedic medicine as an antifungal, anti-bacterial, anti-stress, detoxifying, slimming agent. Neem can help Kapha and Pitta type people for a rebalancing but can exacerbate the problems of Vata type people.

ayurvedic spices in recipients: ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, turmeric...

Spices in the Ayurvedic cooking

According to Ayurveda, food is our best medicine and spices have three major advantages: they enhance the flavor of cooked dishes, help balance the 3 doshas and are excellent for health. Some spices form the basis of famous blends such as Kari, Tandoori or Garam Masala.

CARDAMOM: Cardamom reveals a bewitching scent, both sweet and pungent. Known to stimulate digestion, it prevents bloating and can even stimulate transit.

CLOVES: Its strong taste accompanies infusions, gingerbread or vegetables and its beneficial effects make it almost indispensable in spice compositions. Clove is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and very effective in soothing stomach aches.

CORIANDER: Basic ingredient for Kari (Curry) mixtures, coriander has a refreshing flavor. Particularly appreciated for its digestive action, it would also have aphrodisiac virtues.

CUMIN: A spice with a strong taste, Cumin is used to enhance the flavors of dishes, as well as to stimulate the appetite.

TURMERIC (Haridra): The orange-yellow color of Turmeric is easily identifiable, as is its flavor, quite similar to that of ginger. In addition to its antioxidant properties, Turmeric has a calming effect on the digestive system and protects the stomach.

FENUGREEK: Fenugreek activates the metabolism, promotes digestion and helps control blood sugar levels. It revitalizes the body by stimulating the activity of energy exchanges that take place continuously in the body. It is also known to stimulate the appetite while actively controlling blood sugar levels and to a lesser extent cholesterol. Fenugreek calms Vata and Kapha but can increase Pitta if taken in too large doses.

GINGER (Andraka): King of spices, Ginger is known for its pungent flavor as well as for its warming action on the body. This ally of digestion also contributes to relax the muscles and to facilitate breathing.

NUTMEG: It is a spice that can be used in different dishes, sweet or salty. It helps to digest better and has antiseptic effects. It is found for example in the Kari blend.

BLACK PEPPER: By cleansing the digestive system, black pepper facilitates the assimilation of nutrients by the body. It is also known to increase the effects of turmeric, which is why they are usually combined in Kari (Curry).

TRIKATU: The 3 spices in Trikatu (Ginger, Black Pepper, Long Pepper) activate digestion and keep Agni (the digestive fire) active so that food is transformed into maximum energy. Trikatu is particularly recommended for Kapha type people.

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