Showing posts with label Vedic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vedic. Show all posts

Ayurvedic Herbs and their Therapeutic Uses

 


 

Description of a Few Plants Used in Vamana Therapy:



 

Apamarga

The leaves, flowers, seeds, and root of apamarga, also known as the prickly chaff plant, are utilized extensively in pancha karma, with the leaves, flowers, seeds, and root being utilized in emesis treatment. Apamarga, which has a pungent and bitter flavor and a heating effect, is used to treat haemorrhoids, hiccoughs, and stomach ailments.


Arka

This plant, which is also known as sadapushpi and akda in India, and belongs to the caltrops family, is widely employed in pancha karma. Emesis treatment uses the roots, leaves, and flowers of this plant. The plant's "milk" is recognized for its acute strength, and a few drops are occasionally employed as an alkalizer in purgative decoctions. Flowering buds emerge at the base of the leaves and mature into umbrella-shaped blooms. The fruits are white and crimson in hue and have a cottony feel on the inside. Arka is spicy and bitter, with a warming effect. It's used as an emetic and a purgative, as well as to prevent tumors, ulcers, skin illnesses, and stomach problems.

 

Ela

These green or black pods and seeds, often known as cardamom in English, are well-known in both the Vedic cooking and the Ayurvedic medicine. Cardamom is a spice that is fragrant, sweet, pungent, and warming. It's commonly used in pancha karma's nasya, svedana, and vamana treatments, as well as a digestive, heart tonic, and to treat urinary problems.

 

Karanja

This plant, often known as Indian beech in English, is often employed in pancha karma. Karanja has a spicy, bitter flavor and a strong heating effect. Emetic medicine includes the leaves, bark, seeds, and root, which are also used to treat psychological tension, phlegmatic illnesses, parasites from the body, skin illnesses, ulcers, and hemorrhoids.

 

Madana

The fruit of the madana tree, which is native to the Himalayas, is well-known for its wide usage in vamana treatment and has been extensively explored by the renowned Ayurvedic triumvirate of Charaka, Sushruta, and Vagbhatta. There are as many names for this tree as there are Indian languages. It's also known as the emetic nut or bushy gardenia in English. This thorny tree, which grows to be around fifteen feet tall, has huge white and yellow leaves and blooms. Madana phala are kidney-shaped fruits with a sweet, bitter, and astringent flavor. They are picked before they ripen in the spring and summer seasons, wrapped in kush grass, and buried for eight days beneath cow dung, barley grain, mung or urad legumes until the fruit is soft and ripe. After that, they're left to dry in the sun. One seed of the fruit is extracted and mashed with honey and sesame butter in one of Charaka's formulae, madana pippali. After drying, the paste is utilized as an emetic in vamana treatment. Madana is also used to treat skin ailments, abdominal distension, swellings, tumors, ulcers, and to aid in the evacuation of flatus from the body due to its sweet and bitter taste.

 

Madhuka

This creeper, also known as yastimadhu in Sanskrit and licorice in English, is utilized in a variety of Ayurvedic treatments. Its root and bark are employed as a supplemental element in emesis therapy and as the principal herb in purgation therapy, respectively. Licorice, which has a sweet flavor and a cooling effect, is used to treat thirst, toxicity, weariness, nervous tension, and blood diseases.

 

Musta  

The musta weed, also known as nut grass or coco grass, has a wiry rhizome-root structure that produces tiny tubers. This beneficial plant is mistaken for a weed in many places and is exterminated. Musta is used in Ayurveda to treat fevers, restore circulation and menstrual regularity, and stimulate digestion. It has a bitter, pungent, and astringent flavor with a chilly power. It's also used as a diuretic and to treat skin conditions including eczema, burns, and internal bleeding. Musta can also be used as a complement to antiemetic medications.

 

Nimba

The leaves of this large tree, sometimes known as neem, are renowned for their bitterness. Nimba has a bitter and pungent flavor, as well as a cold potency. Ayurveda makes considerable use of both leaves and roots. Emesis treatment, blood illnesses, skin problems, and agni problems are all treated using the leaves. Nimba tree twigs are still used as disposable toothbrushes in India. Neem is an effective treatment for preventing tooth decay and gum disease due to its inherent antibacterial properties. Neem powder may also be used as a pesticide. The neem plant was just brought from India for cultivation in Florida.

 

Pippali

The unripe peppers, also known as long peppers, are picked, and stored to ripen before use. They are endemic to India and Java. Pippali is a key element in Ayurvedic medicine for treating Kapha imbalances. It has a spicy, volatile, and spicy flavor with a strong heating effect. Pippali is a digestive and carminative herb used in Vedic cookery. It is also widely used in Ayurveda to treat spleen issues, asthma, diabetes, and bronchitis. It's also a natural antispasmodic.

 

Sveta bimba

The fruits, leaves, bark, and root of this plant, sometimes known as the ivy gourd in English, are utilized in pancha karma. In India, the ivy gourd is known as bimbi and comes in two flavors: bitter and sweet. Both plants have a cooling effect. The sweet variety's fruit is used to treat blood problems, swellings, anaemia, fevers, and emesis. The bitter variety's fruit is used to treat Kapha diseases such colds, coughs, mucous, and lethargy.

 

Vacha

This branching rhizome, also known as sweet flag, myrtle flag, or calamus, is a perennial noted for its therapeutic applications in Ayurveda. The roots are reddish-brown in color, hairy, and crowded together. Vacha root has an aromatic scent and a bitter, pungent flavor with a warming effect. "Vacha" is a Sanskrit word that signifies "speaking." Vacha is used as a brain tonic and to boost speaking capability, as its name suggests. Vacha is commonly used in emesis and purgation treatment to treat digestive and mental illnesses, as well as heart illness, constipation, uterine issues, and infections.

 

Vidanga

This creeper, also known as embelia or viranga, has white blooms and black berries. The berries are fragrant and warming and are often utilized in Ayurveda. Vidanga is used to treat obesity and phlegmatic illnesses, as well as to promote digestion, strengthen immunity, and remove internal parasites including fungus, yeast, bacteria, and worms. It is also used as an oral contraceptive when mixed with pippali.

 



A Few Plants Used in Virechana Therapy:



 

Badri

Badri is a small evergreen tree with thin scraggly branches and stinging thorns that produces clusters of tiny star-shaped yellow flowers and red oval leaves. It is also known as the jujube tree in English. In ancient times, a grove of these trees high in the Himalayas was chosen as a sacred spot for the saint Narayana, Lord Vishnu's avatar; now, Badrinath, a Hindu pilgrimage destination, is still secluded in the grandeur of this same badri grove. This tree's berries are used to create sherbet and preserves, and the juice is utilized in purgation treatment.

 

Castor (eranda).

The eranda, or castor plant as it is known in English, is an African plant that is now grown in India and many tropical nations. This strongly purgative plant grows as an annual herb as well as a perennial tree and is used to treat a variety of ailments. The castor plant has a sweet, pungent, and warming flavor to it. The seeds and oil are largely used in Ayurvedic medicine for purgative treatment, as well as to treat neurological problems, pain, and heart disease, as well as to eliminate internal parasites. The castor plant's roots are used to treat inflammatory diseases, fever, asthma, and analgia. The leaves are used to treat Kapha problems including asthma, cough, colds, and phlegm. The blossoms are used to treat glandular cancers, while the fruits are utilized to restore appetite and reignite digestive fire.

 

Lotus (kamala).

Kamala is a Sanskrit word that signifies desired, good, or rosy. The lotus, to borrow the English term, is regarded the birthplace of the cosmos in Hindu mythology. It represents the universe's transformation from formlessness to complete splendor. Lord Vishnu floats on the ocean with a lotus flower sprouting from his navel after the universe has disintegrated. The Creator, Brahma, emerges from the lotus and creates the universe. The goddess Lakshmi, Vishnu's spouse, appears standing on a pink lotus, with lotus-eyed eyes and wearing lotus garlands. Lord Vishnu and the goddess Lakshmi, who are often depicted as the sun and the lotus in ancient Vedic mythology, are emblems of the eternal love that binds the entire cosmos together. The lotus plant, which is native to the ponds and lakes of Kashmir, China, and Japan, adorns the waters around India's temples with its magnificent blue, white, pink, and red blossoms. The lotus blossom is regarded as the most beautiful flower on the planet. The lotus bloom is framed by huge waxy leaves that are typically used as disposable plates for meals served at religious events in India. Ayurvedic medicine, particularly pancha karma treatments, uses the roots, flowers, leaves, stamens, and seeds extensively. The lotus is a sweet, astringent, and cooling flower that is used as a nutritional tonic, aphrodisiac, and to soothe nerve illnesses. The seeds can be used as a heart tonic.


Palasha

The palasha tree, also known as the "Flame of the Forest," is considered sacred in India. The dye powders that worshippers of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva apply on their foreheads are made from its vivid red and orange parrot-shaped blossoms. Butea monosperma is the Latin name for this tree, named for the Earl of Bute, a patron of botany, and palasha is the Sanskrit word for both beauty and leaf. Many unique and esoteric myths have been told about the palasha tree. According to legend, the palasha tree was born on Earth when a falcon's feather soaked in Soma, the gods' nectar formed from the characteristics of the moon, fell to the ground, and formed the seed for the tree. Pancha karma treatments employ wood, fruit, leaves, flowers, seeds, and bark, whereas earth sveda therapies employ wood, bark, and leaves, and purgation uses fruit, leaves, and seeds. The palasha tree offers the basic material for tanning leathers, which is a red, astringent gum. Lacquer is created by the lac insects that live on the tree and is used in colours and as a sealing wax. In India, its leaves are still used to produce disposable plates and animal feed, and its roots are used to manufacture rope.


Pomegranate (dadima).

Pomegranate, the English name for dadima, is derived from the French term Pomegranate, which means seeded apple. The pomegranate is a sign of fertility and wealth in the Vedas. The Prophet Mohammad is claimed to have encouraged his students to consume this fruit to cleanse their jealousy because of its astringent, sweet, and cooling properties. Pomegranates have long been used to fend off bad spirits, according to legend. Pomegranate trees have reddish orange blossoms with crumpled petals that bloom at the end of their stiff, narrow limbs. Pomegranates are a small bushy tree that comes in both evergreen and deciduous forms. The fruit is the size of giant Macintosh apples and has a hard skin that cracks apart or "laughing" once mature, revealing a cluster of carmine red fleshy seeds, which are the fruit's edible section. Every component of the pomegranate tree is utilized medicinally in Ayurveda. The root bark is used to remove internal parasites, while the fruit is utilized as a blood cleanser and tonic. Pomegranate juice is used for purgation and digestion, while the fruit rind is utilized as an anti-inflammatory for mucous membranes.

  

Sesame seeds (tila).

The Sanskrit term "tila" refers to a little particle, but "sesame" is derived from the Arabic word "sesam," which denotes plants. The sesame plant is said to have been initially grown in the Indus Valley, and sesame seed oil was the sole seed oil utilized throughout Vedic times. The sesame seed is reported to have grown from a drop of Lord Vishnu's perspiration that dropped to the ground in Hindu mythology. The sesame plant is a tall, upright annual with gorgeous white trumpet-shaped blooms. The fruit is a two-celled pod with white, buff, or black flat pear-shaped seeds. When the fruits are fully mature, the pods break open, scattering the seeds. The seeds and oil are widely utilized in Ayurvedic treatment, including virechana, vamana, and vasti treatments. The sesame seed is utilized as a basis for a range of herbs and chemicals that are used to treat Vata disorders. Although it is most beneficial to Vata types, it may be taken medicinally by anybody. Sesame is sattvic in nature and creates a serene state of mind, making it one of the original meals of the cosmos. Trikatu (ginger, black pepper, and long pepper) is an old Ayurvedic recipe made up of equal parts of three strong spices: ginger, black pepper, and long pepper, like triphala. Trikatu, unlike triphala, produces a lot of heat. This ancient trio, often known as the three pungent spices, is one hundred times more effective when all three components are mixed. Trikatu is the major formula used to heal digestive issues and eliminate the existence of ama in the body, and it is utilized in both virechana and vamana treatments. Trikatu is an expectorant, decongestant, and stimulant, and as such it is used to treat coldness, mucous, and stagnation in the body. Each of the three spices is energizing and hot in nature. They constitute a strong synergy that helps to restore many Vata and Kapha disorders when taken together.

  

Ginger (ardraka).

In Sanskrit, ginger is known as sunthi in its dry form and ardraka in its fresh form, and it conveys the powers of the earth's fire. The Vedas refer to it as "vishvabhesaja," or "universal medicine." Ginger is a sattvic or peace-producing food, despite its hot, pungent, and sweet character. Ginger is a perennial creeper with a thick tuberous rhizome that produces an upright annual stem that is native to Southeast Asia. Greenish purple blooms appear towards the end of the stalk. The root works as a heart tonic and a digestive stimulant. It relieves anorexia when combined with lime juice and honey, and it aids digestion when combined with lime juice and rock salt. Colds, flus, indigestion, nausea, laryngitis, arthritis, constipation, hemorrhoids, and migraines are all treated with ginger, as well as purgation treatment. It is ideal for Vata and Kapha diseases, however it may be taken medicinally by people of all kinds.

 

peppercorns (maricha).

Maricha, which means "sun" in Sanskrit, is a powerful source of solar energy. It is a potent digestive stimulant that burns ama and re-ignites agni. Black pepper, like the sun, is rajasic, or energy-producing in nature. The black pepper plant is a perennial climbing shrub with little white blooms and tiny yellow berries that become red as they develop. They are native to South India and prefer to be in the shade. Their tendrils frequently cling to the trunks of coconut trees. Chronic indigestion, obesity, congestion, bodily coldness, bronchitis, sinusitis, intestinal parasites, and toxins in the colon are all treated with black pepper. It is ideal for Vata and Kapha diseases, however it may be taken medicinally by people of all kinds.

 

peppers (pippali).

Pippali, the third ingredient in the trikatu mix, brings out the subtle fire (tejas) in black pepper and ginger. These peppers, which are native to India and Java, are harvested when still green and dried to retain maximum heat strength. The peppers are grey in color when dried, with a modest scent and a spicy flavor. Pippali is used to treat Vata and Kapha problems as a carminative, stimulant, and digestant, as well as an emetic.

 

Triphala (amalaki, bibhitaki, and haritaki).

Triphala is a mix of three ancient medicinal fruits from the myrobalam family: amalaki, haritaki, and bibhitaki, which are widely utilized in Ayurveda. These three fruits are ground into a powder known as triphala or used to make a revitalising jam. Triphala is an Ayurvedic remedy that is both old and widely used. The combo of these three strong myrobalam fruits gives an infinitely powerful harmonic treatment for a thousand human ailments. Triphala strengthens the stomach and intestinal tract, restores the immune system, protects the tissues and organs, increases appetite, decreases internal heat and quenches thirst, neutralises ama, alleviates urinary problems such as diabetes, and is a fantastic rejuvenative tonic, among other things. Triphala is a herb that is used in virechana treatment to induce moderate purgation and is beneficial to people of all sorts.

 

Amalaki

The amalaki tree's fruit is made up of five parts, which symbolize the five elements in Hindu mythology. The amalaki tree is thought to be the universe's first tree. Its fruits are huge and pulpy, and when dried, they become black. Although the entire tree is employed, the fruit is considered the most essential portion of the plant in Ayurvedic medicine. Amalaki is a cooling fruit that is sweet, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent. It is utilized as a nutritional tonic, blood cleanser, and for restoring tissue normality on its own. Even though amalaki is mostly sour, it is suitable for all palates.

 

Bibhitaki

Bibhitaki is the third sister of the myrobalam tree family, and it grows mostly in the and areas. The fruits of this enormous, prolific tree are huge, spherical, and pulpy, with astringent and sweet flavors. Bibhitaki is used for eye problems, hair loss, bronchial asthma, constipation, skin problems, and as an anti-inflammatory and expectorant because of its heating properties. Bibhitaki can be utilized by people of all kinds.

 

Haritaki

Haritaki fruits are borne on a huge tree with thick leaves and golden blooms, as mentioned in Ayurvedic scriptures. They are brownish black in hue and pear-shaped. Haritaki thrives in both cold and hot climes, and is considered a sister of the amalaki tree. In Ayurveda, the type cultivated in temperate areas is utilized more frequently. The Buddha is frequently shown holding the haritaki fruit in his right hand, which is revered by both Vedic and Buddhist seers. Haritaki improves lifespan, treats heart diseases, opens physiological channels, and boosts prana when administered alone. Grief, depression, cancer, eye ailments, skin ailments, rheumatism, and diabetes are all treated with it. Haritaki, like amalaki, has a warming effect and comprises five of the six flavors; only the salty taste is missing. It can be eaten with a tiny amount of brown sugar in the summer and autumn, a tiny amount of rock salt in the early fall, a small quantity of ginger powder in the early winter, a few pinches of pippali powder in the late winter, and a tiny amount of honey in the spring.

  

Trivrit

The trivrit plant's root is well recognized for its widespread usage in Ayurvedic purgative treatment. Trivrit, like the madana fruit used in emesis treatment, was referenced by Charaka and Sushruta, as well as others.

 

 Vagbhatta

There are two sorts of trivrit plants: one that is black and one that is red. The root of the red trivrit plant is recommended in Ayurvedic treatment. Trivrit is a sweet, astringent, and dry herb used in purgation treatment to treat Pitta and Kapha illnesses such skin illnesses, fever, mental disorders, gynecological disorders, stomatitis, anorexia, and bronchial asthma.




A Few Herbs Used in Vasti Therapy are Described:


Aloe vera (kumari)

This plant, often known as aloe vera, is native to the arid, sunny landscapes of Southeastern and Northern Africa, Spain, Indonesia, India, the Caribbean, and, more recently, Australia and the Southwest United States. The Indians, Chinese, Greeks, and Egyptians have all employed aloe as a medicinal plant for millennia. Aloe vera, which has a bitter, sweet, and astringent flavor, is used to restore normal health by modifying nutritive and excretory processes. This plant is also used as a moderate laxative, a liver and spleen tonic, to control the intestines' peristaltic motions, to stimulate digestion, and to ease abdominal distension by encouraging the downward flow of wind. All three doshas are relieved by aloe vera, which is also beneficial in lowering Pitta problems such fevers, skin infections, burns, ulcers, and oedema. Aloe vera is very beneficial to the pituitary, thyroid, and ovaries. Aloe vera softens and smoothes the complexion and relaxes the tissues and body as a general rejuvenator. Aloe vera is calming to the intestinal and vaginal passageways and is used in douching and enema solutions. It eliminates parasites from the colon and, when combined with other enema treatment substances, treats intestinal TB, convulsions, and epilepsy. Aloe vera may be used externally to treat wounds and burns, as well as as a hair and scalp conditioner.


Ajwan

Ajwan, also known as wild celery seed, is a powerful digestive, respiratory, and nerve stimulant used to treat high Vata diseases such intestinal gas, spasms, and mental problems. Colds, flus, asthma, bronchitis, laryngitis, oedema, sinus congestion, and renal dysfunction can all be treated with Ajwan. It eliminates deep-seated ama and boosts metabolic activity. Ajwan is a spicy spice with a warming energy that is utilized as one of several substances in vasti treatment.


Asafoetida (hingu).

The resin from the fleshy root of the perennial hingu, or asafoetida plant, is harvested from mature plants that are more than five years old. Asafoetida is one of the strongest digestive stimulants in Ayurveda and is normally used in very tiny quantities. It is sometimes referred to as "devil's dung" due to its exceedingly unpleasant and pervasive sulphurous smell. Constipation, indigestion, flatulence, abdominal distension, intestinal discomfort, arthritis, whooping cough, convulsions, epilepsy, intestinal parasites, hysteria, and palpitations are among the Vata and Kapha illnesses for which it is prescribed. Asafoetida is utilized in vasti treatment even though it is contraindicated for Pitta disorders. Asafoetida helps to break down restricted faecal waste generated through extended ingestion of animal or unwholesome meals, as well as to remove worms in the large intestine, while increasing the intestinal flora. Asafoetida has a lot of heat in it. 


Ashwagandha

The Sanskrit word ashwagandha refers to the fragrance or vigor of a horse, or what gives the body its "horse force." The root of the ashwagandha plant, also known as winter cherry in English, is used to treat Vata diseases such as sexual debility, nervous tiredness, emaciation, issues associated with old age, memory loss, spermatorrhea, tissue shortage, insomnia, paralysis, and infertility. Ashwagandha can help with kapha issues include trouble breathing, coughing, and anaemia. Skin problems and glandular swellings are also treated with ashwagandha when Pitta is low in the body. Ashwagandha, which is similar to ginseng in nature, is a good herb for enhancing semen and fertility. Ashwagandha is also utilized in vasti treatment, which is delivered through the vaginal or penis, to treat urinary tract and bladder problems, as well as infertility and sperm inadequacy. During pregnancy, ashwagandha is a good balancer for the baby. It also promotes tissue repair while regenerating the hormonal system. Ashwagandha is a warming herb with a sweet, astringent, and bitter flavor.


Bala

The country mallow, or bala as it is known in Sanskrit, is a plant that provides vigor and vigor. Bala is a sweet and cooling tonic that is beneficial to all three doshas. It affects all dhatus, particularly the marrow and nerves. Bala, atibala, and mahabala are the three principal mallow kinds utilized in Ayurveda. Bala is a rejuvenating tonic that is particularly beneficial in the treatment of Vata diseases. Bala feeds the nerves, calms the muscular system, and soothes nerve tissue irritation, making it good for the heart. Bala oil is applied topically to relieve nerve discomfort, numbness, and muscle spasms. Bala is also utilized in vasti treatment as one of the moderate substances to tone the colon while improving intestinal flora and controlling correct peristaltic movement.




You may also want to read more about Ayurveda and Holistic Healing here.







Ayurvedic Plants - The Spiritual and Magickal Nature of Herbs

 



Plants, which are deeply embedded in the earth's vitality, hold the memories of all time. In Ayurveda, the therapeutic virtues of plants have been extracted from the wisdom passed down from the ancient sages.

The ancient seers energetically examined an infinite number of plants and herbs, defining their therapeutic potential and rendering them into dried herbs, powders, tinctures, oils, and other forms.

Elephants carry the cosmic memory of all plants, with Gaja being the most ultimate elephant. While elephants are still living, they continue to benefit us by "saving" the part of our brain that remembers plant knowledge.

The widespread vibrations of the elephants' natural understanding of plant life and medicines are delicately conveyed into the memory processes of all other species, resulting in this so-called preservation.

This transmission occurs in the same manner as the moon reflects on a lake's surface, with the moon symbolizing the elephant's memory and the lake symbolizing the human memory receptor. 

There would be no reflection of the moon in the lake if it were removed. Similarly, if elephants were to vanish from the face of the world, humans would no longer be able to maintain their knowledge of plant medicine in their memory banks. Plants, like all other members of their species, have mental characteristics.


The holy and magical origins of plants and animals abound in Hindu mythology. 


The lotus plant, considered the cradle of the cosmos, emerging from formlessness into glorious splendor, is abundantly employed in Ayurvedic medicine, to name a few instances.

The lotus plant is claimed to have cosmic memory of the universe's origins in the primordial seas. Its bloom is claimed to have blossomed from Lord Vishnu's navel. 

Imbibing lotus medication allows every cell and tissue in the body to bask in the radiance of the lotus.


When ingested, Ashwagandha, a herb called after the horse's strength and odor, is supposed to convey its inherent essence of vigor and prowess to the human body. 

Ashwagandha, which is known for its virility, is supposed to awaken the memory of potency in every cell of the body. 


Similarly, the pomegranate plant and its fruit are associated with prosperity and fertility in the cosmos.

 This fruit is traditionally used to cleanse the body of jealously, jealously, and other unpleasant vibrations, letting it to flourish and bathe in the abundant light of the self. 


A sweat droplet from Lord Vishnu's body is claimed to have fallen to the ground and grown into the sesame plant, giving rise to the sesame seed. 

The shrub soon produced lovely white trumpet-shaped blooms. 

Sesame seeds are thought to evoke the memory of renewal when consumed, bestowing "sneha," or profuse affection, to cells and tissues. 


Ginger transports the power of the earth's fire deep into the body's tissues.

Ginger, also known as the universal medicine, is said to awaken the body's recollection of the universe's primordial fire, when all manifestation changed into life, along with this hot memory. 


Similarly, black pepper, which gets its name from the sun, transmits solar vibrations throughout the body, allowing the body to respond to light and heat. 


Plants, in this sense, are thought to hold considerably more than their immobile look would imply; they transmit the important memories that keep all life going. 



You may also want to read more about Ayurveda and Holistic Healing here.











Ayurvedic Ingredients



Dictionary of Common and Uncommon Ayurvedic  Ingredients



Aduki- Also known as adzuki or feijao, this small dark red bean is native to Japan and China. Rich in nutrients, it is considered, like mung, to be a tridoshic bean. 

Agar agar- A buff-colored, translucent seaweed available in 12-inch bars or in flakes. Indigenous to India, agar-agar has been used since Vedic times as a food thickener and to make gels. Use warm water or other liquid to dissolve. Available in most health food stores and in Indian and Oriental grocery stores. May be used by all types. 

Ajwan (ajwain)- Also known as bishopweed, this tiny spice seed is related to caraway and cumin. Its delicate flavor resembles the combined tastes of lemon, pepper and thyme. Available in Indian and Oriental grocery stores and occasionally in health food stores. Good for Kapha and Vata types. 

Aloe vera- Called kumari in Sanskrit, aloe vera is bitter, astringent, sweet and cooling in nature. It is used in pancha karma therapy as a tonic, blood cleanser, mild laxative, and for douching. Excellent for Pitta, it may be used by all types. 

Aragvadha (purging cassia)- A family of the senna plant, the fruit, bark and pods are used in Ayurvedic purgative therapy. Pungent and bitter in taste and cooling in energy, the fruits, bark and pods are used primarily by Pitta and Kapha types. 

Arka (sadapushpi)- The root, leaves and flowers are known for their extensive use in Ayurvedic purgative and emesis therapy. The "milk" of the plant is known for its sharp potency, and a few drops of it is used to alkalize purgative decoctions. Arka is bitter and pungent in nature and is heating in energy. Good for Kapha, Pitta and Vata disorders. 

Ashwagandha- Bitter, astringent and heating in nature, this herb may be used primarily by Vata and Kapha types as a tonic, nervine, aphrodisiac and a rejuvenative. 

Atibala- This herb, like bala, is sweet and cooling and may be used by all three doshas, although it is most suitable for Pitta and Kapha types. Atibala is used as a mild laxative as well as a tonic and calming agent. 

Ayurvedic formulated oils- Amavathahara, anu taila, bilva, brahmi, chakra, dashamula, dhanvantari, kaseesadi, ksheerabala, masha, Narayana, nirgundi, pinda, padmaka, shatavari, sidda, yasti madhu. 

Ayurvedic formulated pills- Avipattkar, icchabhedhi, drakshadi, jalodharari, kutajaghana.

Ayurvedic medicated ghee- Tikta ghrita, maha tikta ghrita, brahmi ghrita, mati- kalyana ghrita, guggulu tikta ghrita. 

Bala- Sweet and cooling in nature, this herb may be used for all three doshas as a rejuvenative tonic and nervine. 

Besan- Chickpea flour. Good for Pitta and Kapha types and maybe used occasionally by Vata types. 

Bhringaraja- Bitter, sweet and cooling in nature, this herb may be used for all three doshas as a nervine, blood cleanser and tonic. 

Black cumin- Called kala jeera in Sanskrit, the black cumin is a relative of both the cumin and caraway plants. Used extensively in Vedic cooking, black cumin, like cumin, is considered good for all three doshas. It is pungent and bitter in taste and is used as a stimulant, blood cleanser and carminative. Available at Indian grocery stores. 

Brahma dandi (Mexican poppy)- Pungent, astringent and sweet in taste with heating energy, the root, seeds and flowers are used in pancha karma to soothe Vata disorders, and sometimes Pitta disorders. 

Brahmi (Indian pennyworth or thyme-leaved gratiola)- Also called gotu kola, the whole plant is used Ayurvedically. Bitter, pungent, sweet and cooling in nature, brahmi is used to promote memory, sleep, and longevity. It is used as a blood cleanser, to reduce internal bleeding and to alleviate heart disease and diabetes. Good for all doshas but excellent for Pitta disorders. 

Burdock root- This dark brown root of the burdock plant is long, thin and wiry and has medicinal properties. Bitter, pungent, sweet and astringent in taste with heating energy, this root is good for Pitta and Kapha types. Available in health food stores. 

Cardamom- Known as ela or elachi in Sanskrit, the cardamom pods and seeds are used extensively in both Vedic cooking and Ayurvedic medicine. Cardamom is sweet, pungent and heating in nature and may be used primarily by Vata and Kapha types as a carminative and stimulant, as well as to relieve mucus. It may also be used occasionally by Pitta types. 

Chana dhal- A variety of small chick pea, which is husked and split, this buff-yellow dhal is very popular in Indian cuisine. Best for Pitta and Kapha types. 

Chitraka- Pungent and hot in nature, this herb is used by Vata and Kapha types to promote digestion, regulate menstrual flow, and as a tonic for liver, spleen and intestine. 

Coconut- The whole coconut fruit is used extensively in India to make many wholesome products. Sweet in taste, the fresh and dried coconut as well as the coconut oil are used in Ayurveda as a neutralizing tonic and diuretic by Pitta and Vata types. Available at Indian and Oriental grocery stores. 

Dadima (pomegranate fruit)- Sweet, bitter and astringent in nature, the pomegranate fruit is used extensively in pancha karma therapy as a tonic and blood cleanser. It is also used to destroy bacteria, parasites, fungus and yeast in the body. Good for Pitta and Kapha types. 

Dashamula- A combination of ten Ayurvedic herbs, namely: ashwagandha, shatavari, yastimadhu, punarnava, arjuna, bala, bilva, gokshura, vidari and kumari, generally used in pancha karma therapy for Vata disorders. 

Dhanyaka (coriander leaves and seeds)- Used extensively in Vedic cooking as well as in Ayurveda, coriander is bitter, pungent and cooling in nature. It is good for all three doshas. 

Draksha- Sweet and cooling in nature, the grape powder, juice or medicinal wine is generally used in pancha karma therapies. Good for Vata and Pitta types, although Kapha types may use occasionally. 

Echinacea- A relative of the camel's thistle (utkataka), this herb is bitter, pungent and cooling in nature. Used for its antibiotic quality, echinacea also helps to induce sweating. Good for Pitta and Kapha types. 

Eranda (castor root and oil)- Pungent, sweet and heating in nature, castor root and oil are used in purgation therapy as a strong laxative causing rapid evacuation. Castor root and oil also calm the tissues and relieve pain. Good for Vata types. Fruits used in pancha karma (fresh fruit, fruit juice and dried fruit powder)- pilu, draksha, palasha, bilva, badri kanchanara (red and white variety), dadima, amalaki, bibhitaki, and haritaki.  

Ghee- Best made fresh , this clarified butter is also available in health food stores and Indian grocery stores. Ghee is excellent for Vata and Pitta uses. 

Gokshura- Sweet, bitter and cooling in nature, this herb may be used mostly by Pitta and Kapha types as a diuretic, tonic and aphrodisiac. 

Gotu kola- See Brahmi. 

Gourds used in pancha karma- Dokshi, koshataki (torai), koshaphala (bidali), katukumbi (bottle gourd), mahajali (kadwi torai). Generally the seeds, which are pungent and bitter, and fruits, which are cooling, are used in emesis therapy to relieve excess Kapha. Fresh gourds are available at Indian grocery stores. 

Gum arabic- Sweet and cooling in nature, gum Arabic is used as an emollient to the tissues as well as a tonic to calm the internal membranes. Good for Pitta and Vata types. 

Japa (shoe flower, or hibiscus)- The leaves, roots, flowers and buds are used in pancha karma therapy. Sweet, astringent and heating in nature, hibiscus is used as a blood cleanser, to relieve thirst and stop internal bleeding. Good for Pitta and Kapha types. 

Honey (madhu)- In Ayurveda, honey is known as yogavaha, since it enhances the therapeutic effects of the medicines which are added to it. Its unique qualities of sweet and astringent tastes, yet heating energy, make honey an excellent vehicle for carrying medicines deeply into bodily tissues, allowing penetration through the subtle tissues and pores. Adding to its uniqueness is the effectiveness of naturally aged honey in reducing obesity and diabetes. For obesity, honey is mixed in hot water. This is the only circumstance in which honey is combined with heat, since when heated or used in hot substances, honey becomes highly toxic in the body. Honey is excellent for Vata and Kapha disorders. Even though sweet, it reduces Kapha due to its dry, rough and heavy attributes. Although heating in nature, it may be used discriminately by Pitta types, especially as a medicinal carrier. Honey is used to alleviate conditions such as ulcers, bronchitis, asthma, hiccoughs, nausea, excessive thirst, bleeding, diabetes, eye diseases (when applied topically) and sore throat. Honey also promotes intelligence, strength and determination. 

Hot chili pepper- Native to tropical and semi-tropical climates, chili peppers come in an infinite variety of hotness. Those recommended in this book are the mediumhot variety, such as the one-inch long red or green chilies found in Indian, Oriental, and Latin American grocery stores. You can reduce the heat of a pepper by deseeding it. Cut off the stem and slice the pepper in two lengthwise. Use a dinner knife to scrape the seeds off. Alternatively, remove the stem by cutting around it and twisting or pulling it out of the pepper; most of the seeds should come out with the stem intact. Good for Kapha types although it may be used occasionally by Vata types. 

Unrefined brown sugar (jaggery and gur)- For millennia, jaggery and gur, both unrefined sugars, have been culled and preserved in India's villages. Jaggery is made from the juice crushed from the sugar cane, while gur is made from the sap drained from the coconut, date and palmyra palm trees. Much in demand in India, gur is made into several types of confections and offered at religious ceremonies. The season's first batch of gur is a sought- after delicacy. Jaggery and gur, available through Indian grocers, may be used interchangeably in the formulas and recipes in this book, along with unrefined brown sugar and Sucanat, available through health food stores. When used in milk preparations, unrefined sugars should be added towards the end of the cooking process. Jaggery, gur and Sucanat share smooth, heavy, oily, sweet and cooling qualities and are used primarily to reduce excess Vata and Pitta conditions. Kapha types should use these sugars sparingly since all sugars increase body fat. 

Jatamansi (Indian spikenard)- The root of this plant is used to relieve Pitta and sometimes Kapha conditions. Sweet, bitter and astringent in taste, jatamansi is cooling in nature. Karanja (Indian beech)- The leaves, seeds, bark and root are used extensively in pancha karma as an emetic, to relieve nervous tension, skin diseases and ulcers, and remove parasites from the body. Karanja is pungent and bitter with a heating energy, and is good for Kapha, Pitta and Vata disorders. 

Katuki (gentian plant and root)- Bitter, pungent and cooling in nature, gentian is used as a bitter tonic, blood cleanser, and to reduce bodily heat. Good for Pitta and Kapha disorders. 

Kudzu- The root of the kudzu plant is best known for its medicinal starch, which may also be used as a food thickener. Kudzu starch is similar to guduchi starch used in Ayurveda. Good for Pitta and Vata types, although it may be used occasionally by Kapha types. 

Lemon grass- Pungent, bitter and cooling in nature, lemon grass is good for all three doshas. Generally used to cool the system, or as a diuretic and sweat inducer. 

Lotus root- Known as kamala in Sanskrit, the lotus plant is native to ponds and lakes of Kashmir, China and Japan. Every part of the lotus plant is used medicinally in Ayurveda. The roots may be used fresh or dried for cooking, whereas the root powder may be used medicinally as a nutritive tonic and nervine for Pitta and Vata conditions. 

Madana (emetic nut)- Known for its extensive use in Ayurvedic emesis therapy, both the kidney-shaped fruit and seeds are used. Madana fruits and seeds are sweet, bitter and astringent in taste and cooling in energy, and may be used by both Pitta and Kapha types. 

Masoor dhal- Commonly called French lentil, this small bean when split resembles the red lentil. Traditional to North Indian cooking, this legume is best for Pitta and Kapha types, although seasoned appropriately, Vata types may use occasionally. 

Matar dhal- Common split peas, yellow and green. Best for Pitta and Kapha types. 

Mung dhal- Also known as mudga or green gram, this legume used since Vedic times is considered queen of the legumes because of its alkalizing and healing properties. May be used by all types, although Vata types need to spice appropriately. 

Musta- Bitter, astringent, pungent and cooling in nature, this herb is used to alleviate fever, thirst, diarrhea, as well as disorders and burning sensation of the skin. A natural blood cleanser, musta is good for Pitta and Kapha disorder uses, and may be used occasionally by Vata types. 

Neem- Also called nimba in Sanskrit, the neem tree grows predominantly in and regions of Punjab and Rajasthan. The entire tree is used medicinally in Ayurveda. Neem leaves are also used in Vedic cooking. Bitter in taste, neem is used primarily by Pitta and Kapha types to reduce conditions such as fevers and blood disorders, and as a bitter tonic. Fresh neem leaves, commonly called curry leaves, are available at Indian grocery stores. 

Nilini (indigo plant, root or dye)- Bitter, pungent and cooling, indigo is used in pancha karma therapy as an antibiotic and mild laxative. Good for Pitta and Kapha disorders. 

Padmaka (wild cherry bark)- this bark is used extensively in Ayurveda to relieve cough, bronchial spasm, palpitations, and skin and eye problems. Bitter, astringent and sweet in taste with cooling energy, padmaka is good for all types, but in particular for Pitta and Kapha. 

Pippali- A hot and pungent red pepper, two to three inches long, and one of the three ingredients in the Ayurvedic formula known as trikatu. It is excellent for Kapha types, and occasionally for Vata types, to provide heat to the body and to stimulate digestion. 

Plantain- Known as green banana in the United States and kacha kela in India, plantain is actually considered a vegetable. Used in the cuisines of South India and South and Central America, it is available in most Indian and Latin American grocery stores. Astringent, pungent and bitter in taste, plantain is a natural diuretic and may be used by Pitta and Kapha types. 

Pudina- The Sanskrit term for mint, pudina is mentioned as a vital tridoshic herb in ancient Ayurvedic texts. Especially pleasing to Pitta types, it is available fresh or dried in health food stores and farmers' markets. 

Punarnava- Bitter and cooling in nature, this herb may be used mostly by Pitta and Kapha as a diuretic, laxative and a rejuvenate. 

Rock Salt- Primarily mined in crystalline form from the seabeds of the Sindh mountain region in Pakistan, where it is known as senda namak; this salt has been used since ancient times in Ayurvedic foods and medicines. It may be used by all the types and substituted for sea salt in any of the recipes in this book. Its sister salt, known as kala namak, is a deep purple, highly pungent rock crystal that has a volatile taste and a smell resembling hard boiled eggs. It may be used occasionally (in small quantity) by Vata and Kapha types. 

Saffron- Known as kesar in Sanskrit, saffron threads are handpicked from the saffron crocus cultivated in India, China, the Mediterranean and Asia Minor. Carmine red in color with an exquisitely delicate taste, saffron is used in Ayurvedic medicine to tone the colon, cleanse the blood, regulate menstrual flow and as a rejuvenative. Saffron is also used extensively in India for making sweet drinks and desserts. It may be used by all three doshas. Available at Indian and Middle Eastern grocery stores, as well as through health food stores. 

Shatavari- Sweet, bitter and cooling in nature, this herb is used as a nutritive and calming agent, to regulate menstrual flow and to boost the hormonal system. Good for Pitta and Vata disorders. 

Soybean- Native to India, China and Japan, the soybean is a medium-sized bean, either black or white in color. This bean is highly nutritive, as well as cooling, making it an excellent choice for Pitta types. Seasoned appropriately, both Kapha and Vata types may use occasionally. The derivatives of the soybean, tofu and soy milk, may also be used accordingly. 

Sucanat- Trademark for a natural sugar made from sugar cane juice. Excellent for Vata and Pitta use. Kapha types may use sparingly. 

Tamal patra (Indian cassia)- A family of the cinnamon plant, the dried leaves and bark are used extensively in Ayurveda as a stimulant, blood cleanser and to promote perspiration through the skin. Pungent, astringent and sweet in taste with heating energy, the carnal patra is good for Vata and Kapha types, although Pitta types may also use occasionally. 

Tamarind- The pulp of the tamarind pod, used since ancient times in India. The tamarind tree is considered auspicious in Indian mythology, and its fruit is known as imli. Fresh tamarind is available in the tropics. Dried tamarind is packed in the shape of small bricks or slabs that can be prepared as a pulp. Dried tamarind, tamarind pulp (or paste), and a gel-like tamarind concentrate are all available in Indian grocery stores. Sour and sweet in taste, Tamarind is a natural stimulant and may be used by Vata and Kapha types, although Pitta types may also use occasionally. 

Trikatu- A combination of the three pungent herbs, ginger, pippali and black pepper, trikatu may be used primarily by Vata and Pitta types to boost digestion and to stimulate the system. 

Triphala- A combination of three ancient Ayurvedic fruits, amalaki, haritaki and bibhitaki, triphala is an excellent tonic for all three doshas. It is used to detoxify the system, as well as a mild laxative and sleeping aid. 

Turmeric- Also known as haridra in Sanskrit, turmeric comes from the underground rhizome of a perennial plant native to the humid regions of South India and Southeast Asia. Used extensively in both Vedic cooking and Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is bitter, pungent and heating, but may be used for all three doshas as a blood cleanser, stimulant, and antibacterial agent. Available at Indian grocery stores and health food stores. 

Urad dhal- Also known as masha, or black gram, this small, black legume has been used since ancient times. When husked and split, the bean is white. Traditionally used in many South Indian vegetable dishes, urad is considered a tridoshic bean. 

Uva ursi- Astringent, bitter, pungent, and cooling in nature, this herb may be used by Pitta and Kapha types for its antiseptic and diuretic properties. 

Vacha (calamus, or sweet flag root)- Pungent, bitter and heating in nature, vacha may be used mainly by Vata and Kapha types as a stimulant, rejuvenative and decongestant. 

Valerian- Pungent and heating in nature, the herb valerian is used primarily as a sedative, nervine, and to tone the colon. Good for Vata and Kapha disorders. 

Vamsha rochana (bamboo)- Sweet, astringent and cooling in nature, this herb is excellent for Pitta and Vata disorders. It relieves mucus and acts as a tonic and calming agent to the tissues. 

Vidanga (embelia)- Pungent, astringent and heating in nature, the berries are used in Ayurveda to reduce appetite and fat and to destroy parasites, bacteria and fungus. Good for Kapha disorders. Wood powders used in pancha karma- Sandalwood, agaru and khadira. 

Yastimadhu (madhuka)- Sweet, bitter, and cooling in nature, licorice root and root extract are generally used in both emesis and purgation therapies. Good for Pitta and Vata disorders. 


You may also want to read more about Ayurveda and Holistic Healing here.






Dictionary of Sanskrit Terms used in Ayurveda




The detailed vocabulary that follows will help you understand the many key Sanskrit terminology used in Ayurveda.


abhyanga - anointing body with oil or ghee

accha peya - pure cow's ghee

agni - bodily fire, particularly digestive fire

ahamkara - ego; the "I" notion; cosmic memory recorder of all lives

ahara rasa - ingested nutrients, before they are digested

aja - goat; one who transcends the cycle of births

ajna - limitless power; name of sixth chakra

akasha - space; principle of vacuity

akshitarpana - herbal decoction used to revive eyes

alambusha - one of fourteen nadis; starts at anus and ends in mouth

alepanam - application of astringent plaster

alochaka - fire of eyes; one of five fires of Pitta

ama - undigested, foul-odored remnants of food in bodily channels

anahata- fearless, unafflicted; nature of the black antelope, symbol and name of fourth chakra

anna lepa sveda - fomentation therapy where poultice is applied to whole body

annam - literally, "that which grows on the earth"; food

annavaha srotas - digestive system or channels

antahkarana - inner or psychic instrument, referring to the mind (manas), intellect (buddhi) and ego memory (ahamkara)

anuvasana - decoction generally used in enema therapy

apana - one of five bodily airs; air controlling ejection of bodily wastes

artava - menstrual fluid

artava dhatu - ovum

artavavaha srotas - menstrual system or female reproductive channels

ashmaghna sveda - sudation on a hot stone slab

ashtapana - another term used for decoction enema therapy

Astanga Hridaya - Ayurvedic text written by Vagbhatta

asthi dhatu - bone and cartilage tissue

Atharva Veda - one of four principle Vedas

Atman - indwelling spirit; soul within body; Conscious Self

avagahana sveda - sudation in a hot tub

avalambaka - water dosha of heart; one of the five waters of Kapha

avapeda nasya - introduction of soft paste into the nasal passages

Ayurveda - knowledge of life; Vedic science of health

bala - strength

bandhana sveda - fomentation therapy where poultice is applied to a localized area of the body

baspa sveda - fomentation occurring in a traditionally designed wooden box, whereby the head of the person remains outside of the box

Bharata Bhumi - ancient name of India, land of Bharata; land of dharma

bhasma - literally, "ash"; incinerated metal or mineral used as potent, powdered remedy

bhrajaka - heat of the skin; one of the five fires of Pitta

bhu sveda - sudation on heated surface of the earth

bija - seed mantra

bodhaka - water of the tongue; one of the five waters of Kapha

brahmacarini - student of the Vedas; observing a monastic life

Brahma Randhra - most sacred aperture of the body, situated at the center of the cranium

brahmin - spiritual caste; one of the four castes delineated in the Hindu scriptures

brhmana - tonification or strengthening therapy

buddhi - faculty of personal wisdom; resolve of the mind; the intellect;

Buddhi - Mercury, son of Shiva; deity who rules Wednesday

chai - Indian tea mixed with milk

chakra - wheel; seven energy centers of consciousness in the body

Charaka - ancient Ayurvedic scholar

Charaka Samhita - Charaka's treatise on Ayurveda

churna - powder

collyrium - Ayurvedic salves for eyes

darbha - type of grass used in Ayurvedic medicine

deva (devata) - generic name for the gods in the Hindu scriptures

devadatta - one of the five subsidiary airs

Devanagari - means of communication between the gods; later, translated as

Samskritam (Sanskrit); one of several scripts in which Sanskrit may be written

dhanamjaya - one of five subsidiary airs

dhani - audible or imperfect sound

dhara chatti - see dhara patra

dhara patra - treatment pot made from metal or clay used to drop oil on head

dharane - to sustain

dharma - right action according to the laws of nature

dhatu - tissue element of the body

dhmapana - introduction of medicated powders into the nasal passages via a straw or tube

dhoma nasya - inhalation of medicated vapors

dhoti - cloth to wrap the lower body

dosha - literally, "that which can go out of balance"; bodily humor

droni - traditional massage table made from woods such as sandalwood, bilva, khadira, and arjuna

Gaja - Lord of herbivorous animals and keeper of earth's memory of plants  and herbs; the elephant that represents the fifth chakra

gandhari - one of fourteen nadis; begins below the left eye and ends at the big toe of the left foot

gandusa - retention of fluid in the mouth

Ganesha - Ganapati; elephant-headed Lord, son of Shiva; one who blesses all beginnings and renders them auspicious; remover of obstacles

garbha-pinda - fluid state of embryo; cosmic womb

ghara - earthen pot

go - cow; sacred scripture

Gopala - protector of the scriptures and of cows; another name for Lord Krishna

grisma - Sanskrit term for summer, one of the six seasons in Ayurveda

guna - attribute or respect, as in the three gunas of Maya

guru - quality of heaviness; spiritual teacher; Guru - Jupiter; deity who rules Thursday

gurukula - traditional school for disseminating knowledge of Vedas

hastajihva - one of fourteen nadis; begins below the right eye and ends at the big toe of the left foot

hemanta - Sanskrit term for early winter, one of the six seasons in Ayurveda

holaka sveda - sudation on a daubed surface of the earth

ida - one of two main nadis; begins in the left genital and ends at the left nostril; breath which flows through the left nostril; lunar nadi

indriyas - five senses

Isvara - Vedic name for the omniscient Lord, when used in association with creation

japa - repetition of mantras

jentaka sveda - sudation in a specially designed sweat lodge

jiva - individual soul

jivana - invigoration; life

kala- nutritional membrane for tissues; "body crystal"

kalari- ancient form of martial arts originating in south India

kala vasti - series of sixteen enemas

kambalika - soup made with yoghurt, urad bean and sesame oil

kapha - biological water humor

karma - bondage to action; cause of rebirth

karma vasti - series of thirty enemas

karna purana - dripping fluids into the ears

karshu sveda - sudation in an earth pit

kavalagraha - holding liquid in the mouth for a comfortable period of time

khada - spicy vegetable or herbal soup generally made with buttermilk

kichadi - mixture of rice and mung bean

kitta - waste

kledaka - water of digestion; one of the five waters of Kapha

krekara - one of the five subsidiary airs

Krishna - Gopala, protector of the scriptures and teacher of self-knowledge in the Bhagavad Gita

krushara- thick grain gruel

kuhu - one of fourteen nadis; begins in the throat and ends in the genitals

kumbhika sveda - sudation from a pitcher of warm decoction

kundalini - primal energy of manifestation symbolized by a coiled serpent at the coccyx of the spine

kupa sveda - sudation on a daubed surface of the earth

kurma - one of the five subsidiary airs

kuti sveda - sudation in a specially designed sweat lodge

langhana - depletion or reducing therapy

lassi - traditional Indian beverage made from yoghurt, milk, and fragrant herbs, generally taken after meals to aid digestion

lepa - plastering body with medicated substances

majja dhatu - bone marrow and nerve tissue

makara - crocodile; symbol of sensual movement and trickery

mala - garland; rosary of beads

malas - bodily wastes

mamsa dhatu - muscle tissue

manas - mind

manda - cooked rice at the bottom of the pot

Mangala - Mars; deity who rules Tuesday

manovaha - channels that carry mental energy

mantha - thin gruel made from rice and ghee

mantra - sacred sounds; group of sounds cosmically designed to stimulate certain physical and physic centers of body

mardana - mild pressure massage

marma - anatomical reflex points of the body; vital seats of pranic energy

marsha nasya - introduction of medicated oils into the nasal passages

masala - combination of spices ground together; spicy mixture

masthiskya - medicinal paste applied to the head

maya - cosmic, creative power; manifestation; relative reality

medas - fat

medas dhatu - fat tissue

moksha - a "state" in which the potential material and vibrations for future rebirths on all planes of existence are completely resolved; liberation from the cycle of birth and death

mutravaha srotas - urinary system

nadi - subtle channel within the nervous system made of fine threads of fluid; refers to the gross form in terms of nerves, veins, and so on; pathways of breath; Ayurvedic name for pulse

nadi sveda - steam application through a hose

naga - one of the five subsidiary airs

nasya - nasal insufflation

navana nasya - insufflation of unctuous substances or powders to clear nasal passages

niruha - oils generally used in Ayurvedic enema therapy

odana- thick porridge

ojas - perfected essence of dhatus when bodily system is in excellent order; glow of health

paca kizhi sveda - sudation with green leaf poultice

pachaka - one of the five fires of Pitta; fire of digestion in the stomach

padabhyanga - Ayurvedic foot massage

padaghata - anointing feet with oil

pancha karma - five cleansing therapies of Ayurveda: emesis, enema (two forms), purgation, and nasal medications

parisheka - fomentation with an affusion of Ayurvedic herbs

Patanjali - founder-renovator of the classical Yoga system

payasam - sweet fluid porridge

payasvini - one of fourteen nadis; located in the right ear lobe and connecting with the cranial nerves

peya - decoction made from rice and ghee

phala - fruit

phanita - sticky candy made from sugar cane juice

pichu - process of placing an oil soaked cloth on the forehead

pinda sveda - fomentation therapy with use of a poultice wrapped in a bolus

pingala - one of two main nadis; begins in the right eye and ends in the right genital; solar power; breath of right nostril

pitta - biological fire humor

prabhava - specific action without regard to the general rule of the three stages of taste; exception to the rule; special action of herbs

pradeha - non-absorbent plaster

prakriti - first creation; individual constitution

pralepa - thin, cold layer of plaster

prana - life breath; first of the five airs of the body; vital force; air of the heart

pranavaha - channels that carry prana; force of prana, or breath

pranayama - yogic breathing exercises

prasthara - fomentation on a bed of poultice

prinana - joy infused from nature

puja - religious ceremony

purana - fullness

purishavaha srotas - excretory system

pusha - one of fourteen nadis; begins at the right ear and ends at the big toe of the left foot

rajas (rajasic) - activity or aggressive force of creation; one of the three gunas rakta dhatu - blood tissue

rakta moksha (mokshana) - therapeutic blood letting

raktavaha srotas - circulatory system (hemoglobin portion)

ranjaka - heat of the blood, operating in liver; one of the five fires of Pitta

rasa - initial taste in the three stages of taste; literally, "external beauty," or "maturity"

rasa dhatu - plasma tissue

rasayana - rejuvenation therapy

Rawal - religious head of the Hindus

rtusandhi - junction between two seasons or two phases within a season

rukshana - dehydration therapy

rupa - form

sadhaka - the third fire found in the heart, central to the activity of Pitta; also the one who performs sadhana (the wholesome activities which bring us into harmony with nature)

sadhana - wholesome activity practiced with presence of mind in harmony with nature; helps to revive and awaken cognitive memory

sadhu - simple person

sahasrara - literally, "a thousand petals"; seventh chakra; spatially boundless dwelling

saindhava (sendha namak) - Ayurvedic rock salt

sama - three doshas in a state of sameness

samadhi - silent breath

samana - air of the stomach; one of the five airs of Vata

samhita - text

samskaras - karmic impressions from past lives carried in the subtle body

samvahana - shampooing the body with a warm decoction

sankara sveda - generic name for fomentation therapy where poultice is used

sarada - Sanskrit term for autumn, one of the six seasons in Ayurveda

Saraswati - goddess of knowledge; one of fourteen nadis; begins at the base of the tongue and ends in the vocal chords; sonority of vocal prowess

sattva (sattvic) - central aspect of the three gunas; cosmic force of balance and contentment

shakti - cosmic feminine force; power, energy, power of consciousness

shamana - therapy which nurtures and adds strength to the body; palliative measure

Shani - Saturn; deity who rules Saturday

shankhini - one of fourteen nadis, begins in the throat and ends on the left side of the anus

shikha - crest of the head

shiro abhyanga (shirobhyanga) - anointing the head with oil; head massage

shirodhara - dripping medicated decoction on the forehead

shiro tarpana - application of oil to the head

shirovasti - applying oil to the shaven head

Shiva - pure being or pure consciousness

shodhana - therapy which consists of elimination procedures; purification measure

shukra - collective refined essence belonging to shukra dhatu; refined emotion of love; semen, reproductive fluid; the ovum of the female; 

Shukra - Sanskrit name for Venus; deity who rules Friday; giver of happiness or fame

shukra dhatu - sperm

shukravaha srotas - male reproductive system or channels

sisira - Sanskrit term for late winter, one of the six seasons in Ayurveda

sirovirechana - snuff inhalation therapy

slesaka - water of the joints; one of the five waters of Kapha

sleshma - another name for Kapha or phlegm

sneha - extravagant love; lubrication; name of the enema treatment in which only half cup of oil is used

snehana - external oelation of the body; lubrication therapy

snehapana - internal lubrication of the body

snehika dhoomapana - herbs mixed with oil or fat for therapeutic smoking

soma - potent nectar taken by the devas to give eternal strength; pleasure principle at work behind mind and senses

srotas - channels, as in the thirteen channels of circulation

sthambana - retention therapy

suksma - subtle

Surya - Sun; deity who rules Sunday

Sushruta - ancient Ayurvedic scholar

sushumna - central and main nadi, within spinal column, which accommodates all nadis

svedana - sudation or fomentation of body; sweat inducing therapy

swami - renunciate; one who knows Brahman and the Self to be One

taila - oil

Taittiriya - literally, "three birds"; one of the Upanishads which deals with Self-knowledge

takra dhara - medicated buttermilk

tamas (tamasic) - inert aspect of creation; one of the three gunas

tanmatra (tanmatric) - quantum energy aspect of the subtle elements that pervade both subtle and gross bodies

tarpaka - water of the sense organs; one of the five waters of Kapha

tarpana - thick gruel of rice, bean, black pepper and ghee

tejas - cool, refined universal fire; subtle, fire of the mind

tikta ghrita - pure ghee combined with bitter herbs

tridosha - three doshas in a state of balance

ubtan - fresh ground legume or grain flour traditionally used to cleanse the skin

udana - air of the throat; one of the five airs of Vata

udvartana - oil or dry massage for Kapha disorder

upadhatu - secondary tissue of the body

upanaha sveda - generic name for fomentation therapy where poultice is used

Upanishad - ancient Vedantic scripture of India

utkarita - pudding made from milk, yoghurt or cream

uttara vasti - douching enema

Vagbhatta - ancient Ayurvedic scholar

vairechanika dhoomapana - therapeutic smoking of dried herbs

vajikarana - aphrodisiac; virilization therapy

vamana - therapeutic vomiting; emesis therapy

varna - pure vibration; unmanifest sound

varsa - Sanskrit term for rainy season, one of the six seasons in Ayurveda

varuni - one of fourteen nadis, which originates between the throat and left ear and ends at the anus

vasanta - Sanskrit term for spring, one of the six seasons in Ayurveda

vasti - Ayurvedic enema therapy

vasti netra - hose used in enema therapy

vasti putaka - enema bag

vata - biological air humor

vayu - air or wind; another name for Vata

veda - knowledge

Vedanta - culmination of Vedas in the philosophy of knowledge of the Self

Vedas - ancient books of knowledge presenting the spiritual science of awareness; first knowledge on earth

Vedic - belonging to the Vedas

vicarana sneha - medicated ghee

vilepika - mixture of four parts water and one part rice

vipaka - post-digestive effect of herbs

virechana - purgation therapy; one of five cleaning actions used in pancha karma

virya - energetic effect of herbs as heating or cooling

vishvabhesaja - healing secret of the universe; universal medicine

vishvodara - one of fourteen nadis; exists in the umbilicus and energizes bodily prana

vyana - air of circulation; one of the five airs of Vata

vyayama - natural forms of exercise

Yama - Lord of death

Yama damstra - period of time between November 22 and December 9 when the earth begins its northward rotation around the sun

yashasvini - one of fourteen nadir; companion nadi to pingala which runs

from the left ear to the big toe of the right foot

yavagu - mixture of six parts water and one part barley yoga - psycho-physical practices aimed at Self-knowledge

yogavaha - that which enhances the effect of what it enjoins

yoga vasti - series of eight enemas

yogin (yogi) - one whose life is devoted to the practice of sadhanas to attain union with God

yusha - bean soup



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