When rightly set, your kitchen can be a treasure trove of healing medicines. The herbs and spices stored here can effectively ward off several common ailments, while also providing vital vitamins that our body requires on daily basis. Listed here are 7 essential Ayurvedic herbs that ‘should’ be ever available in your kitchen, due to the immense health benefits they offer, and due to the role they play in healing various ailments. They can be used as part of regular cooking, and can be used in treating various ailments.
Ginger is sure to have its place in every home. Although the medicinal value of ginger is well-known, a particular mention has to be made about the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger. It is commonly used for relief from headache, reducing joint pains, aiding digestion and also helps in cases of nausea and vomiting. If this herb is readily available in your kitchen, you can make a paste of one teaspoon of dry ginger powder with two teaspoons of water, and in case of headache, this can be applied onto the forehead for a few minutes for good relief.
Carom seeds (Ajwain)
The ayurvedic herb Ajwain is beneficial in pacifying Vata and Kapha, but increases Pitta. According to Ayurveda, Ajwain is a powerful cleanser, and is beneficial in stimulating appetite, improves digestion, alleviates acidity and helps in effective functioning of respiratory system and the kidneys. For instance, a paste of ajwain and jaggery can help in treating Asthma, and also helps in relief from cold. Ajwain is usually added to food in Indian cooking to ease digestion. It can also be used in combination with other spices like turmeric, pepper, cumin etc. Ajwain can also be added to warm water and sipped to treat indigestion and stomach pain.
The healing properties and health benefits of this Ayurvedic herb are innumerable. It is an excellent analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial herb, excellent in preventing infection and treating wounds. It also reduces joint pains, strengthens spine and joints, and is an excellent remedy for cold and cough. Can be consumed by adding to milk and bringing it to boil, and also make sure to include this wonder herb when cooking food. Turmeric is also excellent for liver health.
Basil leaves (Tulsi)
In Ayurvedic treatments, basil leaves are used for their antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It is useful in treating wounds due to its antiseptic property. The leaves also help relieve chest congestion. There can be no better cure for phlegm during a bout of cold, than chewing a few fresh basil leaves. Also, gargling with water boiled with basil leaves is useful to cure sore throat. Externally, when applying on wounds, grind few basil leaves and mix with sandalwood powder, and apply on the affected part to reduce pain. Also, a mixture of juice of basil leaves, together with coconut oil, can be applied on cuts and wounds.
Giloy / Guduchi (Amrith)
Amrith is another herb that Ayurveda considers to have rejuvenating properties, as it is commonly grown in kitchen gardens. Amrith is best used as a health tonic or a health drink in combination with other herbs. It helps by boosting immunity, can be used to treat chronic fever, diabetes, improves digestion, treats arthritis and respiratory problems. Amrith can detoxify the liver and strengthen its functioning. But, on long-term use, the Ayurvedic physicians warn that using this herb can lead to liver issues. Therefore, this herb is best-used under an Ayurvedic practitioner’s guidance.
Licorice has been used since ancient days as an Ayurvedic remedy to cure liver ailments like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Ayurveda recommends the root as beneficial in treatment of cold, coughs, and other bronchial irritations. It also helps treat a host of skin problems, respiratory problems, and digestive ailments. Licorice roots can be powdered at home, and added to boiling water when making tea. Steep it in for a few minutes, and strain the liquid.
Indian Gooseberry (Amla)
As it is well-known, the Indian Gooseberry is loaded with vitamin C. But, the less-known fact is that it works to keep the liver functioning at optimal levels. Amla has been used in ayurvedic treatments for thousands of years. The herb is widely used in Ayurveda for treatment of sluggish liver. It supports healthy metabolism, digestion, elimination, nourishes heart and respiratory system, helps in internal cleansing, maintains regularity, balances agni, builds ojas to support healthy immune response and youthfulness too. In fact, recent researches have also established that Amla extracts have liver-protective function. Although the best way to consume it is in raw form, it can also be grated and added to salads with curd.