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Herbal Traditions of Ayurvedic Medicine: An Introduction

If you travel to India and its surrounding regions, you will find that Ayurvedic medicine is the dominant herbal tradition , possessing the honors as being one of the oldest systems of healing in the world. Even older than Chinese medicine, Ayrvedic medicine has taken advantage of natural methods of treating medical ailments, from the common cold to the high blood pressure.

When you break down the meaning of the word ‘ayurvedic,’ you will find that ‘ayur’ translates into life, while ‘veda’ means knowledge or science. Not only do people study and follow Ayurvedic medicine for its use of herbs and other techniques for healing, but it also serves as a way of life. Elements of science, religion, and philosophy are all combined into Ayurvedic medicine, where practitioners can enhance their well being, as well as increase their longevity.

Ayurvedic medicine takes into account the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of healing, which is referred to as ‘swasthya.’ If you are able to attain this state of being, you are thought to reach a level of harmony that brings a desired level of cosmic consciousness. Below you will find some of the herbs associated with Ayurvedic healing:

Myrtle: While myrtle is native to the Mediterranean region, India embraced the essential oil for its medicinal properties. Along with the essential oil, the leaves have proven beneficial for treating ailments, such as bronchitis. Myrtle can be used both internally and externally. Internally, it is used to heal wounds, while external uses include calming the digestive system and treating urinary disorders. Overall, the herb is known for its tonic, astringent, and antiseptic properties. The essential oil is also used as decongestant that brings relief to patients fighting chest infections.

Licorice: Whether administered as a fresh herb, dried root, or powdered root, licorice grows wildly throughout India. In the medicinal world of India, it is highly regarded. Research has shown that licorice reduced secretions found in the stomach, but also contributes to a thicker stomach lining by creating protective mucus. Because of this, licorice is seen as an effective remedy for inflammatory stomach conditions. The Indians weren’t the only ones to value licorice in their healing treatments. Ancient Greeks gave patients licorice to aid in their asthma attacks and chest problems.

Other ways to use licorice to treat medical problems includes:

·    As a gentle laxative
·    Treatment for peptic ulcerations
·    Chewing a dried juice stick to calm indigestion
·    Drinking a tincture to cure gastritis
·    Rubbing the powder on canker sores

In this next installment of “Herbal Traditions of Ayurvedic Medicine,” you will learn how cloves and the castor oil plant are used in Ayurvedic medicine.