The Ancient Tradition of
Ayurveda is one of the world's oldest healing traditions,
and it is famous for incorporating a number of herbal
traditions. The term Ayurveda is derived from two Indian words:
ayur, which means life, and veda means
Thus the term Ayurveda translates as something like the
'knowledge of how to live well.' In Ayurvedic medicine, illness
is often seen in terms of imbalance.
This leads to the use of herbs and dietary controls to
restore equilibrium to the mind and body. The earliest
Ayurvedic texts date all the way back to 2500 B.C. and new
herbal traditions were successively added as new invaders made
their way into India.
The Ayurvedic model of healing focuses on three primal
forces: prana, or the breath of life, agni, the
spirit of light or fire, and soma, or a manifestation of
harmony, cohesiveness, and love.
The Ayurvedic tradition also focuses on five elements that
comprise all matter. These are: earth, water, fire, air, and
ether (ether is more or less defined as a nebulous nothingness
that fills up space all around).
The five universal elements of Ayurvedic medicine are
balanced by agni, which is the digestive fire, into
three distinct humors. Each humor influences individual health
and temperament in its own way.
The Ayurvedic philosophy states that digestion is imperfect,
and if it were perfect there would be no humeral imbalance. But
digestion is not perfect, so it follows that imbalance will
occasionally occur. Air and ether yield what is known as
vata (wind), fire makes the humor pitta
(sometimes thought of as bile), and earth and water come
together to form kapah (or phlegm).
The most dominant humor can be observed in an individual's
character. Someone who has a vata-dominant personality
is seen as a melancholic individual. Someone with a
pitta-dominant personality is thought of as choleric.
Someone with a kapha-dominant personality is thought of
An Interesting Herb Fact
The Healing Beauty of Borage
The borage flower (Borago officinalis) is well known for its lovely blue color. The flowers have been used since Elizabethan times for both decoration and for its healing beauty. Recent modern research has shown that the plant may actually stimulate the adrenal glands, encouraging the production of adrenaline, that famous 'fight or flight' hormone that is responsible for getting our bodies geared up during the most stressful times in our lives. Herbalists describe the character of the borage...
Herbal remedies are often thought of as a way to balance out a
person's natural humors. This is often accomplished by using
the Ayurveda chakra philosophy. Chakras are energy centers of
the body, and they can often be balanced through herbal
remedies. Different chakras of the body are associated with
various areas of the body, such as important glands and
For instance, the throat has a chakra, and when
it is out of balance, Ayurveda medicine recommends taking herbs
like cloves and vervain. To balance out the heart chakra, it is
recommended that rose or saffron is taken. The solar plexus
chakra is associated with the liver and adrenal glands, and it
can be balanced by taking goldenseal and lemon balm.
Taken in large doses, peppermint oil is well
known for its cooling, calming and analgesic
It is also thought to be a good herbal
remedy for treating fevers, skin complaints,
migraines and headaches.
Peppermint essential oil is also believed to
be antibacterial, and it is often used to help
combat minor infections.
The brow chakra is associated with the
pituitary gland, and it can be supported by taking sandalwood
and elecampane. The splenic chakra is associated with the
ovaries and testes. It can be balanced by taking fennel and
coriander herbal remedies. The root chakra is associated with
the uterus and the prostate gland, and herbal remedies like
haritaki and ashwagandha can support it.