What is Traditional Indian Herbal Medicine?
The past 200 years have displayed incredible improvements and achievements in medicine. Interestingly, the past ten years have shown a renewed interest in traditional herbal treatments and remedies. While these remedies may have been forgotten for some time, their rediscovery has been nothing short of remarkable. Turning our attention towards the traditional Indian medicine Curcumin (Turmeric) reveals how it has been used to treat Alzheimer’s Disease. Curcumin offer both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capabilities along with lipophilic action. When combined, these components have the potential ability to enhance cognitive function in those suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.
Curcumin is an herb commonly found in ordinary curry powder. The herb has been utilized to treat all manner of maladies ranging from gastric ulcers to arthritis to hemorrhoids. Curcumin is but one example of the traditional herbs that have been used in India for centuries to treat problems ranging from common everyday ailments to serious diseases.
The practice of Indian medicine is known as Ayurveda, which means “life-knowledge”. The actual knowledge surrounding the cultivation of herbs in this form of medicine dates back as far as the 600 century BC. The earliest records of herbs used in Indian healing date back as far as 6,000 years ago.
The herbs, however, are not exclusive to India. Frequently, the herbs used in traditional Indian medicine can be found in many parts of the world. They can even be found at a local supermarket. Many people likely already have some of these herbs sitting on the shelves in their kitchen. While most people are certainly aware of the food seasoning benefits of these herbs, the contribution these plants provide to one’s health remain unknown to many. Perhaps its time to shed some like on a few of these herbs and their treatment benefits.
Those who think all the herbs used in this form of medicine are strange or exotic are mistaken. One of the most common herbal supplements found in ancient Indian medicine is Aloe Vera, a plant derivative that is commonly turned into a gel. In gel form, it is used to treat all manner of skin problems ranging from inflammation, acne, sun burns and even wrinkles.
Even more ”mundane” would be the use of asparagus for medicinal purposes. Asparagus is commonly suggested as a dietary supplement in Indian medicine thanks to its high lycopene content. Lycopene is a very powerful antioxidant and can be used to effectively address various diseases.
Cinnamon is another very common item found even in convenience stores and donut shops near the hot coffee. In recent years, bodybuilding magazines have promoted the carbohyrate blocking benefits of cinnamon. As the saying goes, these experts have come quite late to the event. Indian medicine has been using cinnamon as a means of lowering blood sugar for thousands of years.
Combining various herbs into one unique mix can yield interesting results. Black pepper can be combined with ginger and long pepper and mixed with honey to create Trikatu, a unique formula that can serve as a muscle relaxant.
Not every herb is easy to find though. Quite a few might actually fall under the category of exotic.
Calamus Root might be a little more difficult to locate but seeking it out is well worth it since tea made from this Indian root can serve as an excellent treatment for common cold related congestions. For those wishing to avoid processed, pharmaceutical cold and flu remedies, the Calamus Root remains a perfect alternate solution.
Certain herbs have spiritual connotations to them and these spiritual facets can sometimes overshadow the more direct herbal benefits they offer. Most well known from its mention in the bible, Myrrh can be used in an essential oil hot bath to treat cuts, burns, ringworm, and yeast infections. Throughout India and the Far East, the Lotus Flower has been a symbol of religious traditions. For medicinal purposes, the flower has a very basic earthly benefits. The petals of this flower can be placed in teas and soups where their medicinal properties soak into the liquids. Once the liquids are ingested, the Lotus Flower elements contribute to improved circulation and cardiovascular function. The concoction can even serve as a mild sedative.
Of course, the herbs listed here are only a few of the ones used in traditional Indian medicine. A complete listing of all the herbs and their uses could fill an entire encyclopedia. For those interested in switching over to Indian medicine to treat ailments, performing a little research is suggested. You may very well be surprised at what you learn about these age old method of treating common woes.