Did you know that in ancient days, people relied on Ayurvedic herb-infused water for healing ailing bodies? Those days, people were naturally healthier and had a stronger immunity. One reason could be due to the easy availability of herbs and spices in those days, when most of these healing herbal drinks were easily made at home.
The whole idea to prepare healing water by infusing ayurvedic herbs and spices is to extract oils of the plant, which has various healing properties. Water is a powerful therapeutic tool according to Ayurveda, and soaking certain herbs or spices can actually improve its healing power.
Water represents the nourishing, cooling quality, associated with lunar energy. It aids digestion, cools and balances pitta dosha, supports kapha, and balances the dryness caused by vata. It nurtures, lubricates and detoxifies as it flows out of the body as urine. When water is well-absorbed by the body, it has several healing qualities.
Ayurvedic texts describe water as healing, as it helps in preventing fatigue, improves the glow of skin, prevents constipation, increases stamina, provides satisfaction, helps pacify pitta, aids digestion, is a coolant by itself, easy to assimilate, is life-giving and an antioxidant. These healing effects of water can be further enhanced using Ayurvedic methods. Ayurvedic texts recommend boiling the water for various lengths of time, sometimes adding herbs or spices to the water, creating therapeutic water called ‘ushnodaka’.
It is said that while regular water takes about 6 hours to remove toxins from the body, boiled and cooled water takes about 3 hours to open the channels for toxin elimination and warm herb-infused water takes only about one-and-half hours to do the same, due to the effect of agni, and herbs and spices.
Mentioned here are seven varieties of healing herb-infused drinks with their health benefits:
Healing drink with fenugreek
Fenugreek (also called methi) is a common spice used in every Indian household. But, it is a storehouse of medicinal properties that can cure several health problems. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Soak fenugreek seeds in boiled and cooled water overnight. It imparts a pale yellow hue to the water. Drinking this water early in the morning is very helpful in prevention of water retention, and prevents bloating. The amino acid compounds in these seeds promote insulin secretion in the pancreas, thereby controlling blood sugar levels for diabetics.
The Tulsi drink
Tulsi (Indian basil) is well-known for its medicinal properties. Then, it is no wonder that the leaves of the plant when soaked in water can work magically for the skin and heal several health problems. The antibiotic, antifungal and antibacterial properties of Tulsi, helps prevent fever and cold and also helps in keeping your skin and hair healthy. Tulsi water acts as great diuretic and detoxifies kidneys, and helps reduce uric acid levels in the blood, further cleansing the kidneys. Boil few leaves of Tulsi in about half-a-litre of water. Drink this tulsi tea, or use it as a gargle thrice a day.
Pathimugam (Indian red wood) water
Pathimugam (Indian red wood) soaked in water, is a popular thirst quencher used in India, particularly in the State of Kerala. The bark of the tree has several medicinal benefits. The healing water turns light pink in colour, and is used as a cure for Kidney disorders, high cholesterol, blood purification, diabetes and other skin diseases. You just have to boil the water to which pathimugam is added, strain the water and drink it just as you would drink regular water at any time of the day.
Coriander Seed Water
Coriander (also known as Dhaniya) seeds contain plant-derived chemical compounds and are high in antioxidant properties. Coriander seed water helps in preventing water retention and acidity, and gastric issues. Drinking coriander seed water helps in curing mouth ulcers too, due to the presence of ‘citronelol’, which acts as an antiseptic. Add the seeds to boiling water, and boil for about 5 minutes and strain. This water can be had any time during the day.
The Triphala drink
Triphala has endless list of medicinal properties, but, is largely known for its ability to cure constipation. Triphala is generally available in powdered form. This can be mixed in warm water and consumed to regulate bowel movements and cure constipation. Triphala is also an excellent detoxifier, which makes your skin glow naturally. It provides immunity against cold, flu, and other diseases. Triphala powder can be added to warm water and consumed regularly.
Dry ginger water
Have you heard of the concept of ‘chukkuvellam’, very popular in the State of Kerala? The concept of ‘chukkuvellam’ takes its origin in Ayurveda. ‘Chukku (dry ginger)’, is a common ingredient in this drink, due to its carminative and digestive properties. Ayurveda believes indigestion or low metabolism level is the root cause of all diseases. So a daily intake of such an ingredient is good to keep sickness away.
After a sumptuous meal, people are served this ‘chukkuvellam’ in Kerala, as it aids digestion. According to renowned Ayurvedic physician, Dr. Moos, this type of processed water increases appetite, digests foods, and clears abdominal discomforts.
Having said all this, herbs with opposite qualities should not be consumed, he adds. For example, in cases of vitiation of ‘kapha’ and ‘vatha’ diseases, ‘chukku’ is good. Similarly, ‘jeera water (cumin seeds water)’ is good for alleviating kapha and vata doshas, but is not effective in controlling pitta dosha. Similarly, ‘Pathimukham’ alleviates kapha and pitta doshas only.
Therefore, if you are choosing your herbal drink on the basis of Ayurveda, there are lot of factors to be taken into consideration. However, the foremost rule by Ayurvedic physicians is that, any medicated water, should only be taken fresh, and should not be more than a day old. These healing waters should be consumed based on your body needs. Hence, it is advisable for patients with diabetes or other ailments to refer to your doctor before establishing a new routine.