Ayurvedic herbs and spices play an important part in a holistic approach to health and wellness. Ayurveda is a traditional medicine system from India that focuses on promoting wellness of body, mind, and spirit. The holistic approach combines lifestyle changes, diet, and exercise.
Ayurvedic herbs and spices play an important role in the overall system of Ayurvedic medicine. Followers of Ayurveda state that the medications offer protection from disease, help with mental health, and aid digestion.
This article explores some Ayurvedic herbs and spices that help make up the system and the research behind their health benefits.
The herbs and spices have some scientific backing for their purported benefits, but a person should still talk with a doctor before making any significant changes to their diet.
Ayurveda is a traditional, holistic approach to medicine that originated in India. The system promotes mental, physical, and spiritual wellness through exercise, diet, and other lifestyle changes.
People who practice Ayurveda report that the traditional approach to medicine has several proven benefits. Results from an older
Certain herbs and spices play a major role in Ayurveda. The nonprofit Art of Living organization claims they can provide benefits such as:
- improving vitality
- purifying and detoxifying the body and blood
- boosting mental health
- improving digestion
- aiding weight loss
- improving skin tone
- helping to reduce the side effects of cancer
People may use Ayurvedic herbs internally or externally, depending on the specific herb and its intended purpose.
The following Ayurvedic herbs and spices have some supporting evidence that suggests they may help with certain aspects of a person’s health.
Cumin has a smoky, earthy flavor. People often use this spice in Indian recipes and recipes from the Southwestern United States.
The effect cumin has on
- immunomodulatory (changes the body’s immune system)
- estrogenic and anti-osteoporotic
Manjistha is also known as Rubia cordifolia or common madder. This plant
Also known as olibanum or Indian frankincense, Boswellia has a woody, spicy aroma when people cook with it.
Several studies suggest it may have positive health benefits:
Ashwagandha is a woody plant native to India and northern Africa. People have used it in Ayurvedic remedies for at least
Some evidence suggests that ashwagandha can help with stress and anxiety. An older study from
A study from
According to a
Finally, a more recent
People often use brahmi, or Bacopa monnieri, when making Ayurvedic medications.
Ajwain grows in several countries around the world, including India and Iran. Though it may help with several areas of health, a
According to an older
In addition, the herb may have the following effects:
Turmeric has a distinctive yellow color and people often use it in curry recipes.
Neem is an herb that
Studies have indicated neem may also help with preventing or treating cancer. It is generally well-tolerated with minimal side effects.
Cardamom is another herb used in Ayurvedic medicine dating back thousands of years.
Bitter melon is a type of tropical vine related to squash and zucchini.
People who take insulin and would like to add this herb to their diet should discuss this with their doctor to prevent any concerning dip in their blood sugar levels.
Gotu kola adds no aroma or flavor to food, but studies indicate that it may help improve memory.
Triphala consists of three small fruits: amla, bibhitaki, and haritaki.
However, doctors and healthcare professionals often use triphala for digestive conditions, where it has several
Before starting any new diet or rubbing an herb or spice on their skin, a person should consider talking with their doctor.
People should talk with a doctor before using any herbal or spice mixtures if they:
- take medications
- are living with a chronic health condition
- are pregnant or nursing
Ayurvedic herbs and spices may provide some health benefits.
However, a person should use caution and talk with their doctor when considering whether to use them as supplements or lotions.
A person may tolerate adding herbs and spices to their food, but there is limited evidence about the amount necessary to have a positive impact on health.