Familiar Ayurvedic Herb and its Uses



Amalaki (Emblica myrobalan)



Properties and Uses: According to Ayurveda, Amalaki rebuilds and maintains new tissues and increases red blood cell count. It cleanses the mouth, strengthens the gums and teeth, nourishes the bones, and is the highest natural source of Vitamin C. It possesses all six tastes except for salty, and is a rasayana for Pitta with sattvic properties. It is an astringent haemostatic and thus stops bleeding, making it useful for gingivitis, hemorrhoids, and anemia. Amalaki is also a vermifuge, an aphrodisiac, and improves the appetite and controls blood sugar in diabetes. It is used to treat fever, cough, eye diseases, inflammation of the stomach and colon, jaundice, dyspepsia, vertigo, palpitations, colitis, constipation, hiccups, and generally any liver or heart complaints. It is alos applied as a paste to the head in mental disorders.




Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna)



Properties and Uses: Astringent, tonic, cardiac stimulant, lithotropic, and diuretic used in hemmorhages, diarrhea, dysentry, sprue, bilious affections, scorpion sting, edema, fractures, phthisis, spermatorrhea, and heart dieases (angina, endocarditis, mitral regurgitation, pericarditis).




Ashoka (Saracaindica)



Properties and Uses: Helpful in managing conditions involving menhorragia (fibroids), bleeding hemorrhoids, hemorrhage, dysentry, and scorpion sting.





Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)



Properties and Uses: According to Ayurveda, known as Indian "Ginseng," Ashwagandha Root has been historically used for general debility, sexual debility, convalescence, old age, emaciation of children, memory loss, muscular exhaustion, overwork, tissue deficiency, fatigue, and nervous exhaustion. It also regenerates the hormonal system, aids in treating glandular swellings, promotes healing of tissues, ameliorates overwork and lack of sleep, and can be externally used on wounds. It is a galactagogue, and is additionally used to treat spermatorrhea and infertility, with a long standing tradition as an aphrodisiac. Also known as the "Winter Cherry," it can be used to treat dry asthma, breathing problems, cough, skin problems, eye disorders, anemia, paralysis, and even shows promise in assisting the management of Multiple Sclerosis.



Babul Chall (Acacia arabica)



Properties and Uses: Also known as the "Gum Arabic Tree," this plant is astringent, demulcent, nutritive, expectorant, and also an aphrodisiac. It is traditionally used in the treatment of gonorrhea with dropsy, cough, diarrhea, as a gargle for spongy gums, apthous stomatitis, cancer, and sore throat, or as a douche or enema in gonorrhea, cystitis, vaginitis, leucorrhea, piles, and anal prolapse. It is helpful in managing conditions involving hemmorrhagic ulcers and wounds, dysentery, diabetes mellitus, conjuctivitis, fever, burns, bleeding, catarrh, sexual debility, and genito-urinary complaints.





Bakuchi (Cyamopsis psoraliioides)



Properties and Uses: Helpful in managing conditions involving bilious affections, leprosy, and leucoderma. Used both externally and internally.





Bala (Sida cordifolia)



Properties and Uses: Also known as Country Mallow, this herb contains ephedrine, and is therefore used as a cardiac stimulant, diuretic, decongestant, anti-asthmatic, anti-depressant, and more. It is used traditionally in Ayurveda for a wide range of conditions, such as bleeding piles, facial paralysis, colic, tenesmus, heart disease, sexual debility, convalescence, sciatica, tinnitus, headache, chronic dyssentry, hematuria, cystitis, leucorrhea, elephantiasis, wounds, weakness, emaciation, hemiplegia, neuralgia, gonorrhea, insanity, frequent micturation, stiff neck, and external massage. It is classified as a cooling, astringent, stomachic, tonic, bitter, febrifuge, demulcent capable of helping several nerve conditions, including inflammation. In Ayurvedic terminology, Bala is "Vata Pacifying."


Caution: Use this herb with extreme caution or avoid altogether if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, thyroid disease, prostate disease, or diabetes. Do not use this herb with anti-depressants such as MAOI's or if you are pregnant. Avoid using this herb for more than seven days consecutively, it may be habit forming.





Bhumy Amalaki (Phyllanthus niruri)



Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic traditions, it is a deobstruent, diuretic, astringent, and an expectorating, cooling herb, useful in the treatment of jaundice, chronic dysentery, opthalmia, dyspepsia, ulcers, sores, swellings, skin problems, bronchitis, cough, diabetes, genito-urinary afflictions, mennorrhagia, gonorrhea, and dropsy.





Bibitaki (Terminalia belerica)



Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic traditions, this herb is astringent, tonic, laxative, expectorating, and purgative. It is useful in the treatment of eye problems, coughs, hoarseness, sore throats, scorpion sting, dyspepsia, rheumatism, hair problems, chronic dysentery, and almost any gastrointestinal disorder. It is a general healer of tissues, in which case it is applied externally as the famous Triphala compound, of which it is a constituent.





Bilwa (Aegle mermelos)


Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic traditions, Bilwa is a sweet, cooling, aromatic, alterative, nutritive fruit useful in the treatment of chronic dysentery, dyspepsia, melancholia, heart palpitations, amebic dysentery, sprue, hypochondriasis, fever, and diarrhea. It is a laxative when fresh, useful in constipation. Also called the Bael Fruit, it is the emblem of riches and fertility.




Brahmi (Hydrocotyle asiatica)


Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic traditions, Brahmi is a nervine tonic and rejuvenative with a special action on the blood circulation in the brain. It is used to treat nervous disorders, senility, insanity, epilepsy, stuttering, and memory loss, and it helps increase intelligence, and awakens the crown chakra. It stimulates the immune system, and is reputed to increase longevity and reverse premature aging. It is also used to treat hair loss, especially as an oil applied externally.

Brahmi is also an excellent blood purifier and alterative, with healing action upon the skin and all tissues. It is useful in ulcers, burns, abscesses, venereal diseases such as syphyllis, and chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. It is a cooling febrifuge, and is used to treat child dysentery, infantile diarrhea, and enlargement of the glands. It is a "Pitta pacifying" and "sattvic" herb which is also used to treat rheumatism, and an emmenagogue useful in amenorrhea. It is also a mild diuretic, and appears as an ingredient commonly in Rasayana compounds.




Bringraj (Eclipta erecta)


Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic traditions, Bringraj is used for many ailments, including bleeding of any kind, similar to the way in which Eclipta is used in other countries, such as China and Australia. Bringraj is a tonic alterative and deobstruent, with a special influence on the liver, where it can help cirrhosis, hepatitis, or enlargement of the liver and spleen. Its affect on the blood is of use in anemia and skin disorders. It is also used as a nervine in Ayurvedic medicine to treat mental disorders, headaches, and insomnia. Bringraj is a restorative herb with reputed abilities to assist in the treatment of premature greying of the hair, balding, and alopecia, and it is taken internally in this regard, plus applied topically as an oil to the scalp. It has powerful emetic and purgative properties making it a classical choice in dysentery or fevers, where it is a an antipyretic and moderate laxative. Additionally, it is used as a general antiseptic and astringent oral remedy, such as infected gums and loose or falling teeth.




Chairata (Swertia chirata)


Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic traditions, Chairata, also known as "Chiretta," is a bitter tonic to the liver, useful in the treatment of problems related to the heart, eyes, and skin. It is similar in usefullness to the well known bitter root of Gentian. Hence Swertia is used as a stomachic, a drying astringent, as well as a febrifuge and antidiahrretic. It is also used to assist in the management of sciatica, dropsy, melancholia, cough, and scanty urine.





Chitrak (Plumbago zeylanica)


Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic traditions, Chitrak increases the digestive powers, promoting appetite, and used to treat a variety of disorders of the alimentary tract, such as dyspepsia, diarrhea, and piles. It is an antiseptic, and is also useful in the management of skin disorders, rheumatism, and mental disorders. The paste is applied externally to the skin, where it acts as an irritant and opens abscesses. It decreases blood pressure slightly, and is used only with great caution internally, because it can cause abortion, and large doses can cause respiratory failure. It is an ingredient in Yograj Guggulu.






Erand (Ricinus communis)


Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic traditions, Erand, known more commonly as the Castor Oil plant, is a powerful purgative. The Castor Bean is used to produce an oil, which ideally should be cold processed and prepared without the use of the solvent hexane, with the objective being to preserve the highest possible quantity of rinocleic acid, a medium chain triglyceride with antifugal properties stronger than the more well know capryllic acid, taken from coconuts. Castor Oil packs of oil on flannel can be applied to the abdominal area in general, and are used for swelling and loosening old matter in the intestines. Caution should be used when taken internally, because of the strong abortifacient properties, which make Erand Oil a popular traditional remedy for inducing delivery and afterbirth. Although a serious laxative, Erand Oil is used to correct diarrhea.

The oil is also used for dysentery, urinary inflammations, and peritonitis. Topically it is used to treat sore mother's breasts, conjunctivitis (applied to the eye as a poultice), or when mixed with other herbs, it can be appropriately applied in cases of lumbago, sciatica, pleurodynia, and fungal infections. It is a potent adversary of Candia albicans, the well known yeast-like fungi. A poultice of the beans will also cause boils to mature and suppurate, and will aid rheumatic inflammation. The dried root is a febrifuge.





Gokshura (Tribulus terrestris)


Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic traditions, Gokshura is a wonderful healing herb with a broad range of properties, recently becoming very popular in Western herbalism under the common name "Puncture Vine" and the abbreviated latin name Tribulus, where it is used for its demonstrated ability to increase Luteal Hormone in men and women, leading to increased testosterone. Widely popularized in the press, Tribulus appears to be a very safe alternative to steroids for athletes, and has an overall normalizing effect on the hormones. It has long been revered in Ayurvedic practice as an aphrodisiac, rejuvenative, tonic, used to treat seminal deficiency or debility, impotence, and infertility.

Tribulus is also used to treat many kidney, bladder, and urinary tract and uro-genital related conditions, where it acts as a diuretic and lithotriptic, and helps kidney or bladder stones, gleet, venereal diseases including gonorrhea, phosphaturia, chronic cystitis, dysuria, painful urination, edema, nephritis, hematuria, gout, diabetes, and incontinence of urine. Gokshura is often used with Punarnava in diuretic formulas. It is additionally a nervine and analgesic, used to treat rheumatism, lumbago, and sciatica, as well as hemorrhoids, cough, and dyspnea. Tribulus is invigorating to post partum women, has "sattvic" properties, and is also well known as an ingredient in the Dashmoola Ten Roots Compound. The most commonly used parts are the seeds and roots.





Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)


Properties and Uses: According to Ayurveda, Guduchi is a bitter tonic, diuretic, and antiperiodic. The entire plant is regarded as a valuable alterative and stimulant. It is useful in eye conditions, as a tissue builder, helps development of intelligence, and retains youth by helping to prevent premature aging. Its strength as a febrifuge in malaria is seen in the common name "Indian Quinine." It is also traditionally used for the management of dyspepsia, food allergies, convalescence, liver disorders, headache, and urinary disorders.




Guggulu, Kai-Shore (Commiphora mukul)


Properties and Uses: According to Ayurveda, it is used in rheumatism, arthritis, gout, nervous disorders, debility, bronchitis, whooping cough, skin diseases, and ulcers. Guggul increases the white blood cells, is a powerful immune stimulant and antioxidant, and is used in cases involving laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus problems, genito-urinary conditions, menstrual disorders, digestive disorders, and toxins, where it acts as a broad spectrum antiseptic and general purifier and rejuvenator. It is also used to help hair growth, for oral care of the dentrifice, eg. as a gargle for the throat and gums. Some reports indicate potential usefulness in obesity, where it is reputed to lead to weight reduction as a thyroid stimulant, causing fat loss. Recent research shows Guggul is one of the most powerful cholesterol-lowering agents known, also lowering the triglycerides.





Guggulu, Purified (Commiphora mukul)


Properties and Uses: According to Ayurveda, it is used in rheumatism, arthritis, gout, nervous disorders, debility, bronchitis, whooping cough, skin diseases, and ulcers. Guggul increases the white blood cells, is a powerful immune stimulant and antioxidant, and is used in cases involving laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus problems, genito-urinary conditions, menstrual disorders, digestive disorders, and toxins, where it acts as a broad spectrum antiseptic and general purifier and rejuvenator. It is also used to help hair growth, for oral care of the dentrifice, eg. as a gargle for the throat and gums. Some reports indicate potential usefulness in obesity, where it is reputed to lead to weight reduction as a thyroid stimulant, causing fat loss. Recent research shows Guggul is one of the most powerful cholesterol-lowering agents known, also lowering the triglycerides.








Haritaki (Terminalia chebula)


Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic traditions, Haritaki is a "Vata pacifying" remedy used to treat cough, constipation, nervous disorders, asthma, hemorrhoids, heart disease, diahrrea, digestive problems, skin troubles, itching, edema, menorrhagia, spermatorrhea, tumors, voice and vision disorders, and for the mind in general. It possesses all six tastes except for salty, and is a reputed purgative with traditional use in dysentery and flatulence. The body's enzymes are activated by Terminalia's hot character, helping the plant medicine to "dissolve ama."







Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi)


Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic tradition, this herb is a sedative and diuretic used in the management of spasmodic hysteria, heart palpitations, menopause, hystero-epilepsy, convulsive ailments, flatulence, stress, high blood bressure, and nervous headache. It is also a tonic to the mind and mental awareness, and is useful in the management of fatigue and depression. Additionally, it is used to treat jaundine, digestive complaints, menopause, leprosy, respiratory problems, rash, eczema, seminal weakness, hair loss, and scorpion sting. It can be prepared as an oil for topical application to the head, and has a reputation for restoring hair colour.





Jiwanti (Dendrobium macrael)


Properties and Uses: A cooling, mucilaginous, demulcent with light strengthening and tonic properties traditionally used in the treatment of seminal discharges and snake bite.





Kachnar (Bauhinia tormentosa)


Properties and Uses: An antihelmintic, antidyenteric, diuretic vermifuge with additional tonic and aphrodisiacal properties. Used traditionally in dysentery, for liver complaints, as a paste for poisonous wounds, and as a gargle in apthae.





Kama Duda (Compound)


Composed of: Tinosporia cordifolius, Mukta Pishti, and Praval Pishti.





Kanta Kari (Solanum xanthocarpum)


Properties and Uses: Used in humoral asthma, cough, stone in the bladder, and a general low vitality of the system.





Kapi Kacchu (Mucuna pruriens)


Properties and Uses: According to Ayurveda, this herb is a powerful nervine tonic and aphrodisiac, applicable to the treatment of disorders of the male or female reproductive tract, and the spasms associated with Parkinson's or Bell's Palsy. It has recently been scientifically verified to contain L-Dopa, the precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine. Ayurvedic tradition holds that this herb, also known as the "Velvet Bean," is also an astringent, antihelmintic, a mechanical vermifuge, diuretic, and an "anti-Vata" tonic. It strengthens the immune system, and is used in the delerium of fevers. It is also helpful in cases of elephantiasis, dropsy, amenorrhea, and menopause. It is reputed to increase the sperm count, absorb scorpion poison, and possibly be of use in pregnancy, although caution is advised.




Kutaj (Holharrhena antidysenterica)


Properties and Uses: According to Ayurveda, this herb is a bitter, stomachic, febrifuge used in dysentery, as shown in its latin name. It is also astringent, carminative, antihelmintic, antiperiodic, lithotropic, tonic, and even a reputed aphrodisiac. It is traditionally used in the treatment of bleeding piles, malaria, amebic or bacillary dysentery. Additionally, it is useful in cases involving jaundice, ulcers, pruriitis, and dyspepsia. It is of benefit in post-partum conditions, uterine discharges, and pulmonary problems. It is also applied as a plaster to rheumatically afflicted areas.




Kutki (Gentiana kuroo)


Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic tradition Kutki is a bitter, antibilious, tonic, antiperiodic, stomachic, astringent, antihelmintic, laxative, antipyretic, alterative, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and general one of the best "anti-Pitta" herbs. It is also known as "Indian Gentian" and "Chireta," although it should not be confused with the similar herb Chairata (Swertia chirata). It is better than most bitters because it has no tannins, and is traditionally used to treat intermittent fevers, acidity, vomitting, bilious dyspepsia with fever, fistulas, malaria, syphyllis, genital herpes, leprosy, skin problems, coughs, hiccups, chronic or acute diarrhea, spleen troubles, acne, venereal sores, rashes, obesity, ulcers, diabetes, gout, catarrhs, liver disorders, parasites, "Pitta type" Candida, and cancer. The leaves are scattered amongst clothes to protects them from insects, and the root is sometimes boiled in milk to treat chronic indigestion, dysentery, rheumatism, and fevers. In large doses Kutki is aperient.






Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Properties and Uses: According to Ayurveda, this root is tonic, cooling, demulcent, expectorant, emmenagogue, and a gentle laxative. Some sources call it diuretic, but it is properly understood as an anti-diuretic, hence it shoud be avoided in cases of high blood pressure (hypertension). It is a nerve tonic with energy enhancing properties effecting the adrenal glands. Licorice is also an anti-inflammatory, and Ayurvedic tradition holds it to be "sattvic," with a special influence on the mind, voice, and vision. Large doses are emetic.

Other Ayurvedic uses of Licorice, also known as "yashti madhu," are the treatment of scorpion sting, ulcers, malaria, catarrh of the genito-urinary tract, spleen problems, dysuria, hyperacidity, and painful urination. More typically it is used with other herbs as a synergistic harmonizing factor, assisting greatly in the management of almost any conditions involving the liver, lungs, bowels, and blood. It is a common ingredient in cough formulas, helping with hoarseness, sore throat, inflamed bronchial tubes, asthma, fevers, laryngitis, and colds. Licorice is a pre-eminent female remedy, useful in leucorrhea and general uterine complaints. It also reduces thirst, and helps the hair and complexion.







Manjistha (Rubia cordifolia)

Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic tradition, this plant is a diuretic, emmenagogue, astringent, and is used to treat dropsy, paralysis, jaundice, amenorrhea, , monopause, menorrhagia, and dysmenorrhea, visceral and hepatic obstructions, skin diseases, chronic diarrhea and intestinal debility, gallstones and stones of the urinary tract, bleeding disorders, and much more. It is especially suited to aid bone problems, such as rickets, delayed bone consolidation, atrophy, and traumatic injuries. It stops bleeding, is a good general first aid remedy, and is applied topically over fractures to reduce swelling and inflammation.

Rubia is also known as "Indian Madder", and like most Madder species has a special reputation for its colourful properties, which may tinge the urine red, a harmless effect. It is cooling and detoxifying to the blood, and is used to treat herpes, heart disease, cobra bite, scorpion sting, tuberculosis, burns, chronic diarrhea. Additionally it is used to treat cancer in general, as well as both benign and malignant tumors. Manjistha is also used to treat intermittance, icterus, general spleen and liver problems, and during the psot partum period to procure copious flow of Lochia. The roots are mixed with honey and used for skin discolouration. Rubia is regarded widely as the most powerful alterative in Ayurvedic herbology, capable of resolving virtually any type of blood obstruction or stagnation.




Musta (Cyperus rotunda)

Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic tradition, Musta rhizome is a pungent, bitter, astringent, with carminative, stimulating, and alterative properties. It is also an emmenagogue, antihelmintic, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, vermifuge, demulcent, diuretic, and a galactagogue when applied externally. Commonly called "Nutgrass," it is used to treat menstrual disorders, where it acts as a regulator in conditions such as dysmenorrhea, PMS emotionality, menstrual pain, and pre-menstrual congestion of blood and water. It is additionally used to treat menopause, palpitations, gastrointestinal yeast and candida, parasites, sluggish liver, indigestion, dysentery, loss of appetite, chronic fevers, gastritis, poor memory, and scorpion sting. Musta is one of the best digestive stimulants for "Pitta" types and conditions, and it imporves absorption in the small intestine, making it invaluable in the treatment of chronic diarrhea and malabsorption.



Nageshkar (Mesua ferria)

Properties and Uses: Used in conditions of excess thirst, irritability of the stomach, and excessive perspiration.





Neem (Azadiracta indica)

Properties and Uses: According to Ayurveda, the leaf of the Neem tree is a literal panacea, and stands today as perhaps the most widely used herb in all of India, and certainly one of the world's major herbs of commerce. It kills an extremely wide range of bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoa, and parasites, hence is classified as both a vermicide and a vermifuge, even as an insecticide, so it is no surprise that it is traditionally used as a prophylactic against malaria. Similarly, it is used in the treatment of fevers, including intermittent fevers, and anywhere a strong antiseptic is required, eg. lice, scabies, leprosy, and virtually any infection. Its antiseptic properties also help make it an excellent choice in the management of chronic bronchitis, cough, and general upper respiratory infections such as sore throat. It is widely used in this regard for oral care, eg. the tender twigs are used as toothbrushes.

Additionally, Neem is a tonic, astringent, bitter, antiperiodic, purgative, emollient, emmenagogue, and alterative herb. Traditionally it is used to treat many skin conditions, such as psoriasis, eczema, rashes, and ulcers. It is of assistance anywhere the tissues are damaged, such as ulcers in the urinary tract, piles, cuts, burns, and general wounds. As an anti-inflammatory Neem is used to treat rheumatism and arthritic inflammation. Its alterative properties help to clean, purify, and detoxify the blood, with a special effect also seen in liver conditions such as jaundice. Neem may also help manage tumors, diabetes, thirst, nausea, obesity, and vomitting.




Nirgundi (Vitex negundo)

Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic tradition, Nirgundi leaves are used externally as an antiparasitic and discutient, and used internally as an aromatic alterative with bitter, anodyne, and vermifugal properties. The leaves dispell inflammatory swellings of the joints from acute rheumatism and sprains, and the leaves are stuffed inside pillow cases to aid with insomnia, headache, and breathing. The oil is used to treat sinus conditions, wounds, ulcers, syphyllis, and skin disease. The root is a tonic febrifuge and an expectorating diuretic. The fruit is a small berry looking like a tiny peppercorn, with nervine, cephalic, and emmenagogue properties. Nirgundi is generally regarded as a cardiac tonic, helpful with skin problems, dyspepsia, colic, liver disorders, post partum conditions, menopause, PMS, and dysmenorrhea. It is commonly called "Chaste Tree," but should not be confused with thesimilar and related plant "Vitex angus castus."




Pipli (Piper longum)

Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic tradition, Pipli possesses stimulating, carminative, expectorating, tonic, aphrodisiac, diuretic, alterative, emmenagogue, vermifugal, and analgesic properties, and is traditionally used to treat cold-wet diseases such as bronchitis, cough, cold, hoarseness, hiccup, laryngitis, respiratory problems, asthma, gout, arthritis, rheumatism, nausea, catarrh, worms, flatulence, indigestion, and dyspepsia. Also known as the "Long Pepper," it removes cold and obstructions from the liver and spleen and helps dispell abdominal tumors. It is also used in post partum conditions to ward off fever, and is applied topically as an oil in sciatica.




Prasarni (Paederia foetida)

Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic tradition, Prasarni is a carminative emollient used to treat diarrhea, toothache, dysentery, colic, spasms, rheumatism, and gout. It is sometimes prepared as a part of the food given to convalescents, and also as an oil for external application.







Purnarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa)

Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic tradition, Purnarnava possesses bitter, stomachic, diuretic, expectorant, laxative, diaphoretic, emetic, purgative, antihelminitc, and febrifuge properties, and is traditionally used to treat glaucoma, anemia, heart disease, cough, intestinal colic, edema, piles, haemorrhage, biliousness, nervous system disorders, insomnia, rheumatism, asthma, phthisis, eye diseases, jaundice, ascites, and urethritis. It is also used as an ointment for leprosy and skin disorders. Boerhaavia's effect on the heart muscle will give a slight rise in blood pressure, although the effect of this herb is mostly on the renal epithelium. It is given when increased secretions of the kidney are wanted, or when there are lessened secretions, such as in ascites, whether due to the heart, kidney, or liver. It increases the systolic beat of the heart, and is therefore useful in all stenosed conditions of the heart valves. It is often used with Gokshura in diuretic formulas.




Pashanbheda (Coleus aromaticus)

Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic tradition, Pashanbheda, also known as "Country Borage," possesses antispasmodic, antilithic, cathartic, stimulating, and stomachic properties, and is traditionally used to treat asthma, chronic cough, dyspepsia, colic, strangury, calculus, gonorrhea and piles. The leaves are applied to headaches and around the orbit to relieve pain in conjunctivitis, fever, and to aid in the management of epilepsy.






Shankpushpi (Clitoria ternatea)

Properties and Uses: Commonly known as the "Butterfly Pea," Shankpushpi is used traditionally to treat nervous debility, insomnia, fatigue, low energy level, dropsy, ascites, sore throats, mucous disorders, and tumors. It is a general aid in skin disorders and as a mind tonic. The seed is used in to help manage eyesight deficiencies.




Shardunikha (Gymnena sylvestre)

Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic tradition, this herb is a tonic, astringent, stomachic, diuretic with a wide reputation for stabalizing blood sugar levels. Science has since discovered the presence of Gymnenic Acids in the leaves of Shardunikha, and these acids bind with sugar molecules in the large intestine, creating a larger molecule which cannot pass through the intestinal membrane into the blood stream unless it is needed, in which case the bond breaks to allow a sufficient amount of sugar to enter the blood, just enough to stabalize the insulin levels.

Others have suggested that Gymnena stimulates insulin secretion from the pancreas itself, or somehow neutralizes excess sugar in diabetes mellitus. It is traditionally used to treat glycosuria, and is claimed to be able to deaden the taste of sweets for about two hours. It does not affect the other tastes, except for the bitter taste. It is useful in fevers, coughs, where it is similar in action to Ippecac. Traditionally it is used against snake bites, and is also mixed with Castor Oil and applied to swollen glands and the viscera, such as the spleen and liver. It is also a refrigerant and an antiperiodic.




Shatawari (Asparagus racemosus)

Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic tradition, Asparagus root is diuretic, antispasmodic, antidiahrretic, antidysenteric, and a tonic, nutritive, mucilaginous demulcent. It is also an emmenagogue, a refrigerant, and an aphrodisiac. It is traditionally used to treat disorders of the kidney and sexual organs, where its fluid protecting powers help reverse infertility, remove disorders of the female genitals, and increases semen. It is also used in dysentery, bilious dyspepsia, poor appetite, rheumatism, menopause, hyperacidity, chronic colic, cough, convalescence, dehydration, lung abscess, leucorrhea, and chronic fevers. Additionally, Shatawari has been found useful in cancer, herpes, hematemesis, stomach problems, and dry and inflamed membranes of the lungs. The leaves are also boiled and applied externally to boils and small pox vesicles.




Shilajit (Asphaltum)

Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic tradition, this mineral pitch, ejected out of rocks during hot weather in the lower Himalayas where iron abounds, aids in almost any curable disease. It is extremely strong in its antibiotic like action, and is a complex stimulant to many bodily systems. Useful in genito-urinary diseases, such as infections, albuninaria, phosphaturia, uraemia, anuria, and renal and bladder stones or calculi, although it is important to note that Shilajit should not be used to treat uric acid calculus, because it causes an increase in urea. Although it increases the amount of urea in the blood, Shilajit decreases the amount of sugar in the urine in diabetes, while assisting in its assimilation.

It is also used to treat gall stones, biliary congestion, jaundice, ascites, fermentative dyspepsia, worms, enlarged spleen, piles, adiposity, and anorexia. As a mental tonic, Shilajit is used to help manage epilepsy, insanity, hysteria, neurasthenia, and nervous diseases in general. As an aid in pulmonary conditions it is useful in tuberculosis and chronic bronchitis, while it also has properties which aid skin diseases such as scrofula, leprosy, phthisis, eczema, and elephantiasis. Additionally it is useful in anemia, amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea.




Tagar (Valeriana sitchensis)

Properties and Uses: Much like its western counterpart Valeriana officinalis, Tagar is used as a sedative nervine antispasmodic and carminative for the treatment of insomnia, hysteria, epilepsy, delerium, muscle spasms, cramps, convulsions, migraine, nervous cough, flatulence, and neuralgia. Traditional Ayurvedic theory holds that Tagar treats vatagenic nervous disorders, but cautions that it is "tamasic," hence its excessive use can dull the mind. It is also used to manage colic, vertigo, fainting, and chronic skin conditions. Tagar is considered to have a large amount of "earth" element, and helps clean "ama" from the colon, blood, joints, and nerves.






Tulsi (Ocimum basilicum)

Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic tradition, Basil is a stimulating diaphoretic and carminative. The leaves are especially fragrant and aromatic, possessing antihelminitc properties. The juice of the leaves is dropped into the ear to treat earache and dullness of hearing. Additionally, Tulsi is a febrifuge and a nervine antispasmodic, and is a significantly strong antiseptic and antibacterial. It is used internally for many conditions, such as asthma, cough, colds, sinus congestion, and headaches. In nasal myosis is acts as a parasiticide. Other cases in which Basil is used are rheumatism, arthritis, and abdominal distension. Recent research indicates Basil helps control blood sugar levels in diabetics.

Tulsi is a sacred plant, considered capable of opening the heart and mind, clearing the aura, strengthening faith, love, and devotion. It possesses "sattva," and contains natural mercury, known as the "the semen of Shiva," and it both absorbs positive ions and energizes negative ions, and also liberates ozone from the sun's rays. Basil removes excess "Kapha" from the lungs and nasal passages, induces clarity, and removes high Vata from the colon. The seed is also a mucilaginous demulcent, with diuretic properties, reputed to be an aphrodisiac, used primarily to treat catarrh, chronic diarrhea, dysentery, gonorrhea, nephritis, cystitis, internal piles, and pains following parturition.




Vacha (Acorus calamus)

Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic tradition, Vacha is a "sattvic" herb which feeds and transmutes the sexual "kundalini" energy. It is a stimulating nervine antispasmodic, and a general tonic to the mind. As a rejuvenative for the brain and nervous system, it is used to promote cerebral circulation, to stimulate self-expression, and to help manage a wide range of symptoms in the head, including neuralgia, epilepsy, memory loss, coma, shock, deafness, nasal congestion, polyps, sinusitis, sinus headaches, and headaches in general, where it is usually applied externally. In many cases involving the sinuses or shock and coma, the powdered root is taken nasally.

Vacha, also known as "Sweet Flag," possesses expectorant, decongestant, and emetic properties which make it useful in the treatment several conditions. Combined with Licorice Root it is used against coughs, colds, fevers, asthma, and capillary bronchitis. When Vacha is chewed it produces copious salivation and helps irritated throats. It clears the subtle channels of toxins, and acts as an antidote to several poisons. It also helps to manage arthritis, dyspepsia, loss of appetite, choleraic diarrhea of children, and is used as an insecticide to keep moths and fleas away. Historically it is used only with great caution in bleeding disorders.




Vamsha Rochana (Bambusa arundinacia)

Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic tradition, Vamsha Rochana, also known as "Bamboo Manna," is an astringent, tonic, febrifuge, with properties also defined as cooling, stimulating, antispasmodic, haemostatic, rejuvenative, expectorant, sedative, aphrodisiac, and demulcent. It is reputedly a special tonic to the heart and liver, and a moistening expectorant which can be used to rejuvenate the lungs. It nurtures the heart, soothes the nervous system, improves the blood, and is anti-cold and anti-cough. Additionally, it is traditionally used to treat leprosy, fevers, and hemoptysis, while the leaves are emmenagogue and antihelmintic.




Vasak (Adhotoda vasika)

Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic tradition, Adhotoda, also known as the "Malabar Nut," is an expectorant, antispasmodic, alterative, and diuretic, with no specific action on the alimentary canal or circulation. It causes a slight bronchial dilation, loosens phlegm, and is used to treat cough, asthma, and bronchitis. The leaves are applied topically to treat rheumatic joints, inflammatory swellings, and neuralgias, and they also act as an insecticide.




Vidanga (Embelia ribes)

Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic tradition, Embelia is used as a vermiide and vermifuge, antihelmintic and especially useful against tapeworm, parasites, worms, and topically against ringworm and other skin diseases. It is a stimulating, cooling, alterative, laxative, carminative, and diuretic. It is useful in the treatment of dyspepsia, flatulence, piles, toothache, and as a topical agent applied to the chest in lung diseases, and as an oil to the head for headache.




Vidhari Kand (Ipomoea digitata)

Properties and Uses: According to Ayurvedic tradition, this species of Wild Yam is used as a tonic, alterative, aphrodisiac, demulcent, lactagogue, galactagogue, analgesic, cholagogue, antispasmodic, and diuretic. It is mucilaginous, bitter, and a nutritive tonic, useful in the management of abdominal pain, cramps, hysteria, nervous excitability, hormonal deficiency, impotency, senility, debility, liver and spleen complaints, fevers, infertility, colic, coughs, bronchitis, spermatorrhea, moderating menstrual discharges, general liver complaints, and emaciation in children. As a precaution, it should be avoided when there is excess mucus.