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Herbal Traditions of Ayurvedic Medicine: Influencing Others

The traditions of Ayurvedic medicine also influenced many other systems of medicine, including the Tibetan, Chinese, and Islamic way of treatment. In this article, you will learn about early followers of Ayurveda, as well as the primary causes that helped pass down the traditions of Indian medicine to others.

Many influential people become followers of Ayurvedic medicine. For instance, the Buddha himself (who lived about 550 BC) was known to follow the traditions of Ayurveda. Increased interest also took place when Buddhism spread throughout Tibet in the centuries to come. Whenever the practice of trading with other cultures expanded so did the reach of Ayurveda. An increasing number of trade routes help carry the practice to others just as much as campaigns to conquer nations, as well as war.

Arab traders brought with them the knowledge of Indian plants to those they bartered and sold their goods to. Arab physicians especially embraced the knowledge of Ayurveda and studied its traditions to include Indian plants in their own system of healing. Over time, this combined knowledge would reach the minds and healing habits of the ancient Greeks and Romans. They took what they learned from outside influences and developed the foundation of European medicine.

Some of the lesser-known herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine include:

Storax: The purplish-gray bark of the deciduous tree called levant storax produces a liquid that treats the respiratory tract. Because of this storax appears in a variety of today’s Western cough medicines as a significant ingredient. When inhaled, it stimulates the body to produce a strong cough , helpful during days of congestion. As an external remedy, it is applied to the skin to promote healing of skin diseases and other problems, such as scabies, wounds, and ulcers. To create an astringent face lotion, practitioners will mix storax with witch hazel and rosewater.

Balloon Vine: Indian herbal medicine knows all too well the properties of balloon vine, a deciduous perennial climber that reaches heights of up to 10 feet. This herb is known to deliver the power to help women end a delayed menstruation. Thriving in tropical regions across the globe, balloon vine is known in Indian herbal medicine as a way to relieve backache and arthritis. The leaves are used to stimulate circulation throughout the body and can ease the pain found in throbbing joints. Arthritis patients may want to look into the use of balloon vine seeds to treat their symptoms. The plant as a whole possesses the ability to sedate a patient. It is important to avoid this plant if you are pregnant.

Jequirty: Native to India, jequirity is a deciduous climber that can reach heights of 12 feet with pink flowers that cluster about the branches. When preparing Ayurvedic treatments, it is the leaves, root, and very rarely now , the seeds, that come in handy. Since the ancient times of India, parts of jequirity have found a place in medicinal treatments. However, the seeds can also produce a powerful poison. Some of the uses associated with the plant include a method of contraception, a way to ease chronic pink eye symptoms, and an approach towards inducing a miscarriage. To this day, even small amounts of the herb are considered deadly and are no longer permitted. If the plant comes in contact with an open wound , the results could prove fatal. It was an Ayurvedic tradition to use jequirity leaves and roots in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, and other chest infections.