Herbs and Minerals

Herbal Treatments

Ayurvedic Herbal MedicineAyurveda can teach anyone how to achieve his or her state of health by recognizing and maintaining one’s own constitution from the science of Tridoshas. A line of herbal treatment can then be derived that is unique to the individual’s requirements. This personalizing aspect of Ayurveda can be integrated into any natural healing system. In offering the most beneficial form of treatment, a Ayurvedic Herbal Practitioner, not only draws on the knowledge derived from the science of the Tridoshas, but must also include the unique science of Herbal Energetics. This simple system classifies the basic properties of herbs according to their energies, tastes, the organs and channels affected, as well as their therapeutic properties and biochemical properties. The tastes, attributes and the elements are all part of the language of nature.

Each herb has its own therapeutic effects according to its “energetics”:

  1. Initial taste
  2. Element
  3. Heating or cooling effect
  4. Post digestive effect
  5. Special properties

Modern pharmaceutical drugs are poor substitutes for plants. They may be appropriate at times for short-term or acute conditions, but their long-term consequences will in all cases exhaust the primary life force due to their inorganic nature. Green plants and herbs reestablish our connection with the natural world sustaining and bringing life. The greatest contribution that this ancient healing system gives us is a method of teaching prevention. Practitioners of herbal Ayurvedic medicine prescribe remedies on the basis of their attributes or energy/quality. These are determined according to the twenty attributes such as slow/sharp, oily/dry, cold/hot, slimy/rough, dense/liquid, soft/hard, static/mobile, subtle/gross, cloudy/clear, and heavy/light. The other aspects of classify herbs is according to six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Taste is considered therapeutic for several reasons. The Sanskrit word for taste is Rasa. It means delight or essence, both of which are healing. Everyone needs some of each of the six tastes every day. Tastes of herbs are seldom single, though one usually predominates.

Examples:

  • Sweet, sour, and salty tasting herbs increase water- urinary and fluidity.
  • Bitter, pungent, and astringent tasting herbs increase air- nerve system function.
  • Sour, salty, and pungent tasting herbs increase fire- digestion and liver activity.

An understanding of tridosha system helps one know a person’s constitutional predisposition, assisting the herbalist in creating a therapeutic herbal program that integrates all aspects of that individual’s life.

Vata

  • Governs all movement, respiration and the nervous system. Its qualities are described as being dry, cold, light, mobile, subtle, rough, hard, erratic, dispersing and clear.
  • In a deranged condition it will cause coldness, dryness, tremors, abdominal distention, constipation, weakness, insomnia and numerous other neurological complaints, and lack of stamina.
  • Herbs that reduce excess Vata are nutritive tonics, demulcent with a pleasant sweet, salty and sour taste and warming qualities. Herbs that aggravate Vata are bitter, astringent and pungent.

Pitta

  • Governs all transforming processes, metabolism, all chemical reactions, digestion and circulation. Its qualities are described as hot, sharp, fluid, light, oily, soft, and mobile.
  • In a deranged condition it will cause a jaundiced appearance or a yellowish tone to the skin, eyes, urine and feces. This may be accompanied by increased hunger and dryness, burning symptom and inflammations.
  • Herbs that reduce excess Pitta are drying and cooling, with bitter, astringent and sweet flavors. Herbs that aggravate Pitta have a warm moist nature with pungent, sour or salty tastes.

Kapha

  • Governs all cohesion, liquidation, growth, body stability and strength. Its attributes are cold, wet, heavy, slow, dull, smooth, and cloudy.
  • In a deranged condition it will cause a diminution of digestive function, excessive phlegm and mucus, heaviness of the body, coldness, and a great desire for sleep.
  • Herbs that reduce excess Kapha are drying, warm and eliminative with pungent, bitter and astringent tastes. Herbs that aggravate Kapha are sweet, salty and sour.

One of the unique aspects of Ayurveda Herbalism is that once you know the dosha-constitution of an individual you then know which herbs to prescribe.

Minerals

While humans have been consuming minerals for thousands of years, researchers are just beginning to understand their significance to health. The human physiology is unable to manufacture minerals. Iron, magnesium and other minerals can be found only in the soil. Plants absorb them directly from the soil and we acquire them through the various steps of the food chain.

Minerals are constituents of the bones, teeth, muscles, blood, and nerves. They are vital to our overall mental and physical well-being. They take part in digestion, assimilation, muscle response and the production of hormones. If the body becomes deficient in one or more of these essential nutrients, a variety of symptoms can occur. Calcium deficiency, for example, may result in the softening of the bones and osteoporosis, while iron deficiency is commonly linked to anemia. In order to prevent mineral deficiencies and the resulting symptoms, the body needs to maintain the correct balance of minerals. Since they are synergistically related, no single mineral can function without the others.

According to The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians, a proper balanced diet should provide all minerals and nutrients required by the body, provided the body can digest and assimilate all these nutrients efficiently. If the digestion and absorption isn’t optimal, many nutrients will not get to the tissues where they are needed. For this reason, supplements can be useless if their mineral content cannot be assimilated. And minerals that are not absorbed can be dangerous to the body.

Ayurvedic mineral preparations are called bhasmas. These are created by heating the minerals again and again with herbal decoctions, using specific methods, temperatures and tools. Preparing these formulas takes months and in some cases years to produce the final product. Maharishi Ayurveda does not include heavy metals in their US products. Maharishi Ayurveda products contain a combination of natural minerals and herbs that support assimilation. Interestingly, each mineral requires a different delivery system. For example, copper is well absorbed through water, so drinking water from a Copper Cup will deliver the mineral to the cells of the body.

To get the most from natural mineral sources of vegetables, dairy and grains, eat organic fresh foods whenever possible. Organic agriculture does not use artificial fertilizers, chemicals, GMO’s or pesticides, so the soil is not so depleted of minerals and trace elements. Whole grains such as quinoa, bulgur and millet contain more minerals than processed cereals and flours. Seeds and legumes are also a great source of minerals and vitamins.

To make sure you obtain all the minerals, add a diverse variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, lentils and nuts. To increase calcium in your diet consume more green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, walnuts, fresh coconut, milk, ricotta cheese and panir, a home-made cheese. Additionally, make the most of the minerals in food by taking the Maharishi Ayurvedic herbal formulas for calcium, iron and multi-mineral absorption. A nutrient-rich organic diet that favors vegetables and fruit lightly cooked and these natural formulas can help provide you with the minerals your body needs. The calcium source of Calcium Support is Pearl Bhasma and is of very high quality. Its molecules are small and easy to absorb. The herbal components in the formula also enhance your body’s ability to assimilate the calcium from the foods you eat.