Herbs benefit and how to use them for natural healing
-- Health benefit of Ayurvedic herbs,
safety, caution, danger, side effects, adverse events by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
January 20 2015
Ayurveda ("ayu" means life and "veda" knowledge in Sanskrit) is an ancient Hindu system of holistic healing with herbs, metals and minerals that are believed to have therapeutic benefits. The following is a list of some of the herbs used in Ayurvedic Medicine. I am in the early stages of learning about them and this fascinating area of complementary medicine. See Chinese Herbs for a list of herbs used in Chinese Medicine. See Amazon Herbs for a list of herbs found in the Amazon rain forest.
Here are a few common Ayurvedic herbs
and their active or standardized ingredients and extract potencies commonly
Ajwan (Apium graveolens) also known as wild lettuce.
Amalaki - Emblica officinalis - also known as Amla - found in Triphala herbal formula - tannins 20%. See also amla extract Amalaki Indian gooseberry supplement.
Anantamool (Hemidesmus indicus) also known as Indian Sarsaparilla.
Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna) is used for those with heart disease or angina.
Ashoka - Saraca indica - tannins 15%
Ashwagandha herb (Withania somnifera) -- ashwagandha is present in Passion Rx sex enhancer and Mind Power Rx for brain boosting. Ashwagandha is usually standardized for alkaloids 0.5, 1, 2 % and withanolides 1, 2.5, 4.5%. Many users notice a benefit in anxiety symptom reduction.
Babul or Babool, acacia nilotica - The bark, fruit and gum resin of Babul are used in various Ayurvedic herbal preparations. Babul bark is used in oral and dental hygiene products, burn injuries and in skin diseases.
Bala (Sida cordifolia) used for bronchial asthma and nasal congestion
Banaba - Lagerstroemia speciosa - corosolic acid 1, 2%
Bhringaraj or Bhringraj - Eclipta alba - wadelolactones 3%
Bhumiamla - (Plyllanthus amarus - bitters, 3.5, 10%
Bhumyamalaki - (Phyllanthus niruri)
Bibhitaki (Terminalia belerica) -- found in Triphala
Bilwa (Aegle marmelos)
Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) -- bacopasides 20, 40%, saponins 20%. Found in Mind Power Rx, for healthy brain function. This herb is often used for memory enhancement.
Chandrashura - Ayu. 2013. Anti-inflammatory effect of Chandrashura (Lepidium sativum) an experimental study.
Chirayata (Swertia chirata)
Curculigo orchioides - Int J Impot Res. 2012. Effect of Curculigo orchioides on hyperglycemia-induced oligospermia and sexual dysfunction in male rats. Central institute for Laboratory Medicine, Charite, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Hindenburgdamm, Berlin, Germany. Sustained hyperglycemia is considered as a major cause of sexual and erectile dysfunction in human population. Curculigo orchioides (CO) is considered as a sexual tonic in Ayurvedic system of medicine with potent antioxidant and adaptogenic properties. The aqueous extract of the herb was evaluated for its effectiveness against streptozotocin-induced hyperglycemic stress and subsequent sexual dysfunction due to hyperglycemia in male rats. Six groups with eight male rats in each group were used for this study and the study was carried out for 28 days. The body and organ weights of the animals were recorded. Behavioral analysis of rats was undertaken to observe the effect on mount, ejaculation and intromission (latencies and frequencies) and hesitation time. Blood glucose and serum testosterone levels were determined 28 days past treatment with CO at 100 and 200 mg kg doses. Glibenclamide and sildenafil citrate were used as positive controls. This deleterious effect of sustained hyperglycemia and associated stress was prominently ameliorated in animals treated with aqueous extract of CO. Curculigo orchioides treatment was helpful in ameliorating the damage caused by sustained hyperglycemia evidenced in the principle parameters viz. male sexual behavior, sperm count, penile erection index and seminal fructose content Antioxidant and anabolic activities of the extract under investigation could be a major attribute in preserving the sexual functions in hyperglycemic male rats. The study validates the use of CO in traditional medicine for curing diabetes-induced sexual dysfunction and compromised sexual potency.
Citrak or chitrakmool is known by the botanical name Plumbago zeylandica.
Clover protein concentrate - Trifolium alexandrianum - proteins 50%
Coleus Forskohlii herb extract with forskholin at 10 or 20%.
Datura (Datura metal)
Devadaru (Cedrus deodara)
Gokshura (Tribulis terrestris) -- saponins 20, 40, 60%, protodioscin 5, 10%
Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)
Guggul - Commiphora mukul - total guggulsterones, 10, 14%, E and Z guggulsterones 2.5%. Many practitioners recommend this herb and its extracts for cholesterol lowering.
Hapusha (Juniperus communis)
Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) -- found in Triphala - tannins
Isabgol (Plantago ovata)
Jatamansi - Nardostachys jatamansi - jatamansic acid 3, 5%
Kalmegh - Andrographis paniculata - andrographolides 10, 50%.
Kanchnar (Bauhinia variegata)
Kantakari (Solanum xanthocarpum)
Kapikachehha or Kaunch (Mucuna pruriens) -- Levo Dopa standardized to 3, 10, 20%. Found in Mind Power Rx and Passion Rx.
Katela - Momordica charantia - bitters 3, 5, 10%
Kumari (Aloe barbadensis)
Kutaj (Holarrhena antidysenterica) is an Ayurvedic herbs that has alkaloids
Kutaki or Kutki - Picrorhiza kurroa - bitters 7%, kutkin 5%
Manjishta (Rubia cordifolia)
Mandukaparni - Centella asiatica - Gotu kola -- total triterpenes asiaticosides
Meshasringi - Gurmar - (Gymnema sylvestre) - gymnemic acids, 25, 70, 80%
Methi - Trigonella foenum-gracum - galactomanan 40%
Moringa oleifera - J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2015. Evaluation of the antidepressant activity of Moringa oleifera alone and in combination with fluoxetine. Moringa oleifera (drumstick) has been used in traditional folk medicine, and in Ayurveda, it is considered as a valuable remedy for treating nervous system disorders as well as memory enhancing agent. The antidepressant effect of Moringa oleirfera may have been invoked through the noradrenergic-serotonergic neurotransmission pathway, which is the hallmark of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) class of drugs.
Mulathi or Mulethi Glycyrrhiza glabra - Licorice - glycyrrhizin 20%
Musta (Cyperus rotundus)
Neem - Azadiracta indica or azadirachta indica - bitters, 3, 5%
Nirgundi (Vitex negundo)
Noni - Morinda citrifolia - alkaloids 0.5%
Pashanbheda (Bergenia ligulata)
Pippali (Piper longum)
Puga Khanda is an aphrodisiac formulation. Ayu. 2014 Jan. Physico-Chemical profile of Puga Khanda: A Preliminary Study.
Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa)
Safed musli - Chlorophytum borivilianum - saponins 20, 50, 65% may have sexual enhancement
Salai Guggal - (Boswellia serrata) - boswellic acids, 50, 60. 70%
Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina)
Senna (Cassia angustifolia)
Shankhapushpi (Evolvulus alsinoides) - also spelled Shankhpushpi
Sarapunkha - Chin J Nat Med. 2014 Jan. Ethnopharmacology, phytochemistry and pharmacology of Tephrosia purpurea. Tephrosia purpurea Pers. is popularly known as 'Sarapunkha' in classical Ayurvedic texts. It is a perennial plant belonging to the family Fabaceae, and occurs throughout the Indian subcontinent. T. purpurea is traditionally used to treat spleenomegaly, cirrhosis, cough and cold, abdominal swelling and as an antidote in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. Phytochemical investigations indicate the presence of semiglabrin, pongamole, lanceolatins A and B, rutin, lupeol, and β-sitosterol. Flavonoids including (+)-tephrorin A and B, (+)-tephrosone, an isoflavone, 7, 4'-dihydroxy-3', 5'-dimethoxyisoflavone and a chalcone, (+)-tephropurpurin were isolated from the whole plant. Pharmacological activities of different parts of the plant reported include anti-inflammatory, antiulcer, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiallergic, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, antitumor and insect repellent activity.
Shatavari herb - Asparagus racemosus - saponins
Shikakai means "fruit for hair" and is a traditional shampoo used in India. It is made from Acacia concinna, a shrub native to central and south India.
Shilajit - Asphalt - fulvic acid 1, 2%
Tagar - Valeriana wallichii - valeric acid 0.8%
Tejpatra (Cinnamomum tarnala)
Trifla - total tannins
Turmeric herb contains curcumin extract.
Tulsi - Ocimum sanctum - Basil - tannins 10%
Vacha is the name of Acorus calamus, and is often used for epilepsy, constipation, flatulence, colic, and rheumatic swellings.
Is a bitter tonic.
Vasaka has the botanical name Adhatoda vasica and comes in different extract strengths including 1 percent and 10 percent alkaloids.
Vidanga (Embelia ribes)
Vidari (Ipomoea digitata)
Vilayati imli - garcinia cambogia - hydroxycitric acid 50, 60, 70%
Traditional Indian literature such as Ayurveda has listed several plant and animal based resources for treatment of almost every ailment. Erectile dysfunction and male sexual debilities are among the most explored areas in traditional medicine. A number of natural products, mostly plant based, have been claimed to cure erectile dysfunction and related male sexual debilities. These products often are aphrodisiac and have multi-fold effects on male reproductive system.
Passion Rx is a potent natural sex booster for men and women with Ayurvedic herbs. The nutrients and herbal extracts in include Ashwagandha, Catuaba bark, Choline, Cnidium, Coleus forskohlii, Damiana, DMAE, Horny goat weed extract, Maca, Muira puama, Passion flower, Rehmannia, Rhodiola, Shilajit, Tribulus terrestris, and Tongkat ali. We have another version with yohimbe.
Arthritis and osteoarthritis formula
Rheumatology (Oxford). 2013 August. Ayurvedic medicine offers a good alternative to glucosamine and celecoxib in the treatment of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: a randomized, double-blind, controlled equivalence drug trial. To demonstrate clinical equivalence between two standardized Ayurveda (India) formulations (SGCG and SGC), glucosamine and celecoxib (NSAID). Ayurvedic formulations (extracts of Tinospora cordifolia, Zingiber officinale, Emblica officinalis, Boswellia serrata), glucosamine sulphate (2 g daily) and celecoxib (200 mg daily) were evaluated in a randomized, double-blind, parallel-efficacy, four-arm, multicentre equivalence drug trial of 24 weeks duration. In this 6-month controlled study of knee OA, Ayurvedic formulations (especially SGCG) significantly reduced knee pain and improved knee function and were equivalent to glucosamine and celecoxib. The unexpected SGPT rise requires further safety assessment.
Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word, which means "the scripture for longevity,"representing an ancient system of traditional medicine prevalent in India and in several other south Asian countries. It is based on a holistic view of treatment which is believed to treat or cure human diseases through establishment of equilibrium in the different elements of human life including the body and the mind. Ayurveda dates back to the period of the Indus Valley civilization (about 3000 to 4000 B.C) and has been passed on through generations of oral tradition, like the other four sacred texts (Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvanaveda) which were composed between 12(th) and 7(th) century B.C.
Course in Ayurveda
University of Arizona, Program in Integrative Medicine Introduces Ayurveda Course - The Program in Integrative Medicine’s new online course is an introduction to concepts and elements of the ancient traditional medicine of Ayurveda. It includes interactive, case-based learning, graphic illustrations and video clips exploring concepts unique to Ayurveda. Explore doshas, agni, dhatus, srotamsi, Ayurvedic pharmacology, diet and lifestyle, plus evidence and research regarding Ayurvedic botanicals and yoga.
Created in collaboration with Dr. Vasant Lad, founder and director of the Ayurvedic Institute. Dr. Lad is the author of several books and is respected throughout the world for his knowledge of Ayurveda. This course is intended to introduce the basic theory and principles of Ayurvedic Medicine to conventionally trained health care providers.
• Discuss Ayurveda’s concepts and treatment philosophy
• Understand Ayurvedic approaches to patient assessment and diagnosis
• Describe different treatment approaches, including the benefit of popular therapies (i.e., yoga, meditation, botanical medicines) with your patients
• Identify efficacy, effectiveness, and safety
Dr. Vasant Lad, Ayurvedic Physician, graduated with a Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (B.A.M.S.) from the University of Pune, India, in 1968 and received a Master of Ayurvedic Science (M.A.Sc.) in 1980 from Tilak Ayurved Mahavidyalaya, also in Pune. Dr. Lad brings a wealth of classroom and practical experience to the United States. A native of India, he served for three years as Medical Director of the Ayurveda Hospital in Pune and was Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Pune University College of Ayurvedic Medicine where he was an instructor for more than a decade. Dr. Lad’s training includes the study of allopathic medicine and surgery. He founded the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1984 and currently is its Director and principal instructor. Dr. Lad is the author of several books and is respected throughout the world.
Ayurveda means "the science of life". Ayur means "life" and Veda means "knowledge or science". It is the oldest medical system in the world. Its origins can be traced as far back as 5000 BC, to four ancient books of knowledge, (the "Vedas") and it is still officially recognized by the government of India.
Safety, caution, danger, side
effects, adverse events
Severe hepatotoxicity by Indian Ayurvedic herbal products: A structured causality assessment.
Ann Hepatol. 2009. Department of Internal Medicine II, lecturer at the University of Frankfurt/Main and professor at the University of Duesseldorf, Germany.
The case of a 64 year old female patient is presented who has treated herself for 9 months with various Indian Ayurvedic herbal products for her vitiligo and experienced a causally related severe liver damage. After discontinuation, a rapid improvement was observed. Causality assessment with the updated CIOMS (Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences) scale showed a probable causality (+8 points) for Bakuchi tablets containing extracts from Psoralea corylifolia leaves with psoralens as ingredients, as the primary candidate causing the hepatotoxic reaction. The degree of probability was lower with +6 points for other used herbs: Khadin tablets containing extracts from Acacia catechu leaves; Brahmi tablets containing Eclipta alba or Bacopa monnieri; and Usheer tea prepared from Vetivexia zizaniodis. The case is the first report of Indian Ayurvedic herbal products being potentially hepatotoxic in analogy to some other herbs.