Do you care for your mental and spiritual health as much as your body? Do you believe that a proper diet is fundamental to a long and full life? Then you may be interested in knowing more about Ayurveda. According to this medicinal system, there are three life forces (doshas): Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. A balance between these energies is the key to optimal health.
Turmeric, Triphala, Indian ginseng (ashwagandha), Shatavari, and Indian pennywort (Centella asiatica) are among the most commonly used natural products in Ayurveda. Are you eager to learn all about it? Our guide is designed for you to discover this ancient medicine and its benefits.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Key Facts
- 3 Our Selection: The Best Ayurvedic Products
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Ayurveda
- 4.1 What is Ayurveda exactly?
- 4.2 What are the doshas?
- 4.3 What are the characteristics of each dosha?
- 4.4 How do I maintain or restore the balance between the doshas?
- 4.5 What are the principles of the Ayurvedic diet?
- 4.6 What are the most commonly used dietary supplements in Ayurveda?
- 4.7 How can I make golden milk?
- 5 Buyer's Guide
- 6 Summary
- Ayurveda sees the human being as a unified whole, a perfect union between body, mind, and soul. Diet is at the core of this medical practice originally from India.
- According to Ayurvedic medicine, there are three biotypes or life forces (doshas): Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Health or illness depends on their balance, or lack thereof, respectively. In each person, there is a predominance of one or two of these doshas.
- In Ayurveda, various dietary supplements are used to preserve or restore health, such as ashwagandha, turmeric, or Shatavari. You should consider several factors before purchasing these products. These include their authenticity, the presence of allergens, or the quality seals they have received, among others.
Our Selection: The Best Ayurvedic Products
Ayurveda uses numerous medicinal plants and other natural ingredients to maintain or restore health. While these dietary supplements come from nature, it doesn't mean that they are all safe and offer the highest quality. To help you make the right choice, we have selected the best Ayurvedic products currently on the market:
Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Ayurveda
Ayurveda is much more than a simple plant-based diet. This way of life addresses the human being holistically, without separating the physical dimension from the spiritual and mental one. In the section below, we will delve into the basic principles of Ayurveda, the specificities of its diet, and answer the most common questions regarding this medicinal system.
What is Ayurveda exactly?
Ayurvedic medicine uses different techniques and natural products to maintain or restore the balance in the body-mind-spirit union of the human being. Imbalance leads to disease, which is why Ayurveda focuses on restoring this balance rather than dealing with symptoms (1, 2).
What are the doshas?
All of us were born with a specific balance between these doshas. When factors such as stress, a poor diet, or lack of rest disturb it, your body faces symptoms and illnesses (2). You must consult an Ayurvedic practitioner to determine your dominant doshas.
What are the characteristics of each dosha?
The three biotypes are present in everyone. However, the dominant dosha determines the particularities of an individual, as well as the lifestyle they should lead to maintain or regain balance. Here are the main characteristics of these life forces (2, 3):
|Physical characteristics|| Thinness.
Narrow shoulders and hips.
Tall or short stature.
Changing appetite. They may skip meals or have irregular eating times.
Cold hands and feet.
Dry, thin skin.
Difficulty gaining weight.
Tendency to constipation, irritable colon, cramps, psoriasis, and insomnia.
| Average build.
Gaining weight and muscle mass is easier than for Vata.
Good appetite. Excessive thirst, even at night.
Hot, pale skin with freckles, moles, or redness.
Hair with a tendency to gray.
At the digestive level, tendency to acidity, stomach ulcers, and hemorrhoids.
Common presence of acne or rashes on the skin.
| Oily, soft, pale skin.
May have pimples.
Large eyes, with bags under them.
Corpulent, gain weight easily with a tendency to obesity.
Resistance to disease.
Predisposition to suffer from joint pain, angina pectoris, and sinusitis.
|Personality traits|| Tendency to anxiety and depression.
Changing energy levels.
In a hurry when walking and performing other activities.
Great imagination and creativity.
Punctual, dislike wasting time.
Good ability to concentrate.
| Patient, carefree, do not get angry easily.
Energy levels remain stable.
How do I maintain or restore the balance between the doshas?
Ayurveda also uses more invasive techniques, such as surgery, with various specialties like geriatrics, gynecology, internal medicine, and otolaryngology (1). If you are not experiencing any illness, the Ayurvedic system implies living a lifestyle that prevents diseases and allows you to live a long and healthy life.
What are the principles of the Ayurvedic diet?
- Avoid processed and ultra-processed foods (canned goods, sausages, pre-fried frozen products, junk food) Choose fresh food sources, free from additives and preservatives.
- Plant-based, seasonal, and cooked foods are the best option for your meals. However, the Ayurvedic diet doesn't involve eliminating meat, dairy products, fish, or eggs. You will simply need to reduce their consumption.
- Cook and eat in a quiet and pleasant atmosphere. Stress and tension during these times are as harmful as eating poor quality or inadequate food. Keep in mind that Ayurveda always favors a joint approach to the well-being of body, mind, and spirit.
- Eat your meals at regular times.
- Avoid excess food and have an early dinner.
- Keep your kitchen clean and tidy.
- Try having a varied diet that is attractive for all your senses – not only for the taste.
- Choose organic foods that have been grown without synthetic agrochemicals (fertilizers or pesticides).
- Make sure that you have plenty of legumes, whole grains, spices (turmeric, laurel, dill, coriander, black pepper), and vegetables every day.
- Include the six flavors in every meal: bitter, sweet, spicy, astringent, sour, and salty.
What are the most commonly used dietary supplements in Ayurveda?
- Curcuma: the rhizome of the Curcuma longa L. plant is a source of curcumin, a compound with anti-inflammatory, expectorant, antibacterial, digestive, anticarcinogenic, and antioxidant properties. It is recommended in cases of type II diabetes, gastrointestinal ulcers, flatulence, and inflammatory disorders (arthritis) (8, 9).
- Ashwagandha or Indian ginseng: the Withania somnifera plant is helpful in cases of weakness, fatigue, anxiety, intense chronic stress, and insomnia. It strengthens the immune system and has a rejuvenating effect on the organism. It may help prevent neurodegenerative conditions, such as dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease (7, 10, 11).
- Shatavari: The root of the Asparagus racemosus plant is taken to produce supplements. In Ayurveda, Shatavari is primarily used by women as it stimulates the production of breast milk (galactagogue). It helps to strengthen the immune system, and its potential to improve female fertility is currently under study (7, 12).
- Gotu kola: Also known as Indian pennywort, it improves memory, lowering blood pressure, and promotes healing of gastric ulcers. Its venotonic properties contribute to reducing the weakness of blood capillaries while relieving varicose and spider veins (13).
- Triphala: This polyherbal supplement consists of the fruits of the Terminalia bellerica, Terminalia chebula, and Emblica officinalis plants. Its laxative effect makes it efficient in treating chronic constipation. In addition, it promotes intestinal health and integrity by stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria in the colon (7, 14).
How can I make golden milk?
- Heat at least 200 milliliters of skimmed cow's milk or vegetable milk (oats, soy, almond, coconut).
- Add 1 level teaspoon of pure turmeric powder, half a teaspoon of ginger powder (optional) and a pinch of black pepper. Mix and continue preparing while stirring.
- Add half a teaspoon of coconut oil or ghee (clarified butter).
- When the milk is hot (before boiling point), remove the beverage from the heat, serve in a cup, and drink immediately. You may sweeten it with honey.
You should purchase authentic, unaltered dietary supplements for them to be effective. Depending on the concentrations of active ingredients in each dosage form, the properties of the product will change and, therefore, so will the effect on your body. To make a successful purchase that will benefit you, pay attention to the following criteria:
Traces of synthetic drugs from conventional medicine have been found in specific ayurvedic supplements formulated to alleviate inflammation and pain in cases of arthritis. This means that the product was contaminated and lacked authenticity (1).
Due to the lack of regulations by the relevant authorities, fake products and steroid (anti-inflammatory) adulterations in Ayurvedic supplements are commonplace. This is why it is essential that you look for products with the quality seals we will discuss later (15).
In Ayurveda, dietary supplements come in various forms, from powder and capsules to liquid extracts and tablets. Capsules and tablets generally feature a standard concentration of active ingredients, are easy to ingest, and have an almost neutral taste. Powdered products, on the other hand, need to be dissolved in liquid before consumption.
|Product||Dosage form||Recommended dose||Recommended consumption mode|
|Turmeric||Powder, capsules, and tablets|| Powder: half to 1 teaspoon a day.
Capsules and tablets: 1 to 2 units per day.
| Powder: as a condiment or dissolved in cold or hot beverages. It should always be accompanied by black pepper or some oil to improve the assimilation of curcumin by the body.
Capsules and tablets: ingest directly with water. They already contain black pepper (or piperine).
|Shatavari||Powder, capsules, and tablets|| Powder: 2 teaspoons per day.
Capsules and tablets: 1 to 4 units per day.
| Powder: dissolve it in water, juice, or smoothie.
Capsules and tablets: ingest with water.
|Ashwagandha (Indian ginseng)||Capsules and powder|| Powder: 1 teaspoon per day.
Capsules: 1 to 2 units per day.
| Powder: mixed with water, fruit juices, or smoothies.
Capsules: consume with water.
|Gotu kola (Indian pennywort)||Capsules, powder, and liquid extract|| Powder: 1 to 2 teaspoons a day.
Capsules: 2 to 3 units a day.
Liquid extract: 40 drops, 1 to 3 times a day.
| Powder: dissolved in water or shakes.
Capsules: ingest with water during a meal.
Liquid extract: diluted in water.
|Triphala||Capsules, powder, and tablets|| Powder: 1 to 2 teaspoons daily. Start with 1 teaspoon per week and increase your intake gradually.
Capsules and tablets: 1 to 2 units per day.
| Powder: dissolved in water, shakes, or juice.
Capsules and tablets: ingest with water during a meal.
Earlier, we discussed the importance of purchasing authentic, counterfeit-free supplements. GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) and HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) quality certifications guarantee that a product is safe for your health and authentic (13, 16).
In addition, these certifications ensure standardization of the manufacturing process, uniformity in concentrations of active ingredients, and hygienic handling from start to finish. There have been numerous reports of contamination of Ayurvedic supplements by heavy metals (17).
Ayurveda is an age-old medicinal practice that covers every dimension of the human being: body, mind, and spirit. In addition to healing, it focuses on preventing disease and promoting a happy, healthy, and lasting life. The doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha – are the vital forces that determine the physical and personality traits of each individual.
Diet and supplements are fundamental to Ayurvedic medicine. Turmeric, ashwagandha, Indian pennywort, Shatavari, and Triphala are some of the most widely used ingredients. Due to frequent counterfeiting and adulteration, you should always look for products with the relevant quality certifications.
We hope that you found our guide on Ayurveda helpful and informative. Feel free to let us know your opinion in the section below, and don't forget to share this article on your social media!
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