Ayurvedic Herbal Preparations and Treatments: Soy and Withania

Full of nutrition, soy is not only an important crop around the world, but is also used to treat ailments concerning the circulatory system. In this article, you will learn some of the medicinal uses of soy, withania, and asafoetida.


Decorated with white or purple flowers, soy is an annual that produces pods containing 2 to 4 beans inside. It is the beans and sprouts of this plant that is used in herbal remedies. Native to the southwestern part of Asia, soy needs a warm temperate climate in order to thrive. When the pods are ripe, they are gathered for their isoflavones, vitamins, and minerals. Some of the components of soy have been known to mimic estrogen in the body.

Throughout Asia, soy is known as a staple crop and has reached many parts of the world , offering beneficial health results. Ayurvedic practitioners have used soy to stimulate circulation and detoxify the body. In Chinese medicine, the plant has helped relieve fever in patients.


Acting much in the same manner as ginseng, withania has been referred to as the ‘Indian ginseng’ used to treat exhaustion brought on my nervousness, speed up recovery times during an illness, and restore vitality. When it comes to withania, traditional uses have been backed by research, including its strengthening properties as a tonic. Its restorative powers have also been noted ever since the 1st century AD by Dioscorides. In the West, it is seen today as a way to treat weakness in the elderly and chronically ill. Since withania contains a high amount of iron, it is also effective in treating anemia.

Many different parts of the withania shrub is used for medicinal purposes. The dried leaves contain a component that can block the growth of cancer cells. Sometimes the leaves are powdered and used to treat anemia. It is suggested to take ½ reaspoon in a glass of water one time per day for results. The root is powdered in some cases to calm the nerves. In India, it is not uncommon to see people chewing the berries to boost the immune system.


Often taken to treat a bad case of indigestion, asafoetida (also referred to as ‘devil’s dung’) is known to help strengthen the gastrointestinal tract. This perennial plant produces a fleshy taproot that is hollow in the stem. When used for medicinal purposes, it is an oleo-gum-resin that offers 6 to 17% volatile oil, which is used for its expectorant qualities. The oil is also known to settle an upset stomach.

Found in Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, the gum found in 4-year-old plants is obtained in the summer season. The stems are cut off and slices are taken from the roots. The gum emerges and is collected once it has become hard. In Middle Eastern and Indian herbal medicine, the plant is used to remedy the typical digestive problem, such as bloating, indigestion, gas, and constipation. The volatile oil that the herb offers is quite similar to garlic, where it can help break up congested mucus.

When prepared in a tablet form, asafoetida is given to patients fighting bronchitis, bronchial asthma, whooping cough and other issues with the chest. The plant is also known to thin the blood and lower high blood pressure. It is also important to note that this particular natural treatment is not administered to young children.