ayurvedic medicine

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Ayurvedic Medicine

51. Karavella
Bitter gourd (E), Bitter melon (E), Karella (H):

Karavella is a common vegetable also used to regulate blood sugar levels and treat urinary disorders. It is a very bitter remedy that has a wonderful healing effect on the blood.

Diabetes Karavella has become renowned for its antidiabetic properties. Charantin is an effective hypoglycaemic and the polypeptide P lowers blood sugar levels more effectively than insulin without some of the side-effects. The bitter principle clears the kapha that is obstructing the pancreatic function in diabetes and stimulates medodhatvagni to metabolise fats and sugars efficiently. It reduces blood and urine sugar levels by reducing insulin resistance. Digestion It acts as an anthelmintic in the intestines. It has the added vermicidal effect of flushing bacterial and parasitic infections from the intestines as it mildly purges the bowel. It also reduces inflammation in the intestines. A special quality of karavella is that it does not aggravate vata, which is rare for a bitter substance. Urine Its effect on the water channels (ambuvahasrotas) helps to clear kapha from the system. It can be included in a formula for urinary stones as it has a direct effect on the urinary channel (mutravahasrotas). Skin Its alterative nature treats inflammatory skin conditions and benefits bhrajaka pitta. Having a thorough effect on the detoxifying capabilities of the whole system it regulates ran˜jaka pitta, clears bile from the liver, acid via the urine and toxaemia via the bowel. Blood It has an affinity for the blood. It is a traditional remedy for anaemia as it stimulates the tissue fires (dhatvagni) to work at optimum efficiency. It helps to build haemoglobin count by enhancing absorption.
52. Krishna Jiraka
Black cumin (E), Love-in-the-mist (E), Kalonji (H):

These little black seeds are marvellous for calming and strengthening digestion. It is an effective destagnator of the lungs, uterus, channels and mind.

Digestion Black cumin has a specific affinity for purisavahasrotas and treats loose stool, diarrhoea, dysentery, bloating and gas. It also clears intestinal parasites. Lungs Asthma, cough, hayfever. Useful where there may be increased histamine release as it appears to have antiallergenic properties. Masses Clears tumours and masses. It contains ?-sitosterol, which has a specific anticarcinogenic activity acting on the breast (Tierra 1992, Duke 2004). It reduces toxic ama accumulations from all the dhatu. Gynaecology It clears kapha accumulations from the uterus, effectively treats dysmenorrhoea and an irregular menstrual cycle. It has a tonic effect on s´ukra and artava dhatu. It nourishes stanyavahasrotas and increases breast milk; use the seeds and oil. Liver Useful in congested liver, jaundice and poor fat metabolism. Its cleansing effect on ran˜jaka pitta can help in inflammatory eye disorders and pitta-type headaches that manifest with sharp pain at the vertex, temples and forehead. Nerves With a specific tonic effect on majja dhatu it directly calms the mind and is useful in nervous disorders. As a medhya herb it enhances the power of the brain and enhances clear thinking and concentration.
53. Kushtha
Costus root (E):

Kushtha means 'skin disease' and refers to its ability to treat many skin disorders. It is a large plant with sweet aromatic roots. It looks a bit like burdock (they are from the same family). When you smell a plant with such a warm fragrance think 'digestive promoter', 'fluid drying' and 'stagnation clearing'.

Digestion Kushtha benefits the digestive tract and regulates vata, especially s´amana and apana vayu in the centre of the abdomen and lower digestive tract. It clears nervous spasm, pain, cramps, bloating, flatulence and nausea. It is a specific in diarrhoea and dysentery. Its bitter flavour helps to regulate liver function. Lungs It calms 'marut', the wind, and hence reduces spasms and bronchorestriction in the chest. Useful in asthma, hiccups, wheezing and coughs by virtue of its expansive effect on the pranavahasrotas. Its warming aromatic nature can help to dry excess kapha secretions. Skin As an alterative and circulatory stimulant it can benefit skin conditions with itching and inflammation. Its cleansing effect on rakta dhatu benefits bhrajaka pitta. It is used externally for skin problems from bacterial infection. Joints Specific usage as a blood purifier and especially for gout as it regulates the urinary output of inflammatory pitta and irritant vata toxins. It helps to reduce pain in the body by reducing inflammation and stopping spasms. Gynaecology Used in painful menses and for lack of or scanty periods due to stagnation in artavavahasrotas. It stimulates ovulation and promotes a regular cycle. Reproduction It benefits ´sukra dhatu and is renowned for purifying the reproductive system.
54. Kutaja
Kutaj (H), Kureya (H):

The skin of the bark of this small tree is a very effective remedy for diarrhoea, piles and parasitic amoebic infections.

Digestion Kutaja is a virtual cure all for amoebic and bacillary dysentery. It is effective against both Entamoeba histolytica and Shigella spp. Its astringent properties help to cure diarrhoea and heal the mucous membranes of the intestinal walls (purisavahasrotas) that are so often irritated by bacterial invasion. Use in colitis or Crohn's disease where mucus and blood are present in the stool. Beneficial in general intestinal dysbiosis with bloating and flatulence. Piles A superb remedy for firstand second-degree haemorrhoids when there is bleeding and protrusion. Piles are often caused by a congested liver, congested veins in the rectum, and a low digestive fire, and kutaja specifically treats these symptoms. Skin It is a beneficial alterative balancing excess pitta in the raktavahasrotas and excess kapha in the rasa dhatu. It helps to dry kapha–pitta type skin problems where there is suppuration, crusting, inflammation and itching. Bleeding Its astringency helps to stop bleeding from anywhere in the digestive, urinary and respiratory system.
55. Kutki
Picrorrhiza (E), Kutki (H):

Kutki is a very bitter root that has wonderful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It grows in the freezing climate of the Himalayas and evidently absorbs some of this 'cooling' property from its surrounding environment. Kat.uka- literally means 'pungent' which is strange as it is a very bitter tasting herb.

Liver Kutki protects the liver against damage from the hepatitis C virus. It increases the flow of bile and reduces such bilious pitta symptoms as sour or bitter taste in the mouth, acidity and nausea. Use in all forms of liver damage, cirrhosis and inflammation of the liver. Heart As it clears heat from ran˜jaka pitta and the blood it can also benefit the heart; especially palpitations caused by pitta irritating rakta. Allergies Its anti-inflammatory effect on rasa dhatu is used for immune reactions and hypersensitivity to environmental allergens; asthma, rhinitis, eczema with signs of heat and high pitta and kapha. Used in bronchial asthma for its expectorant properties. Immunity It is useful in autoimmune conditions as an immune stimulant with inflammations of a pitta–kapha variety; arthritis, psoriasis, acute and chronic infections. Clinical trials for inflammatory and allergic conditions showed significant improvements. Digestion At a low dose (<1g per day), can increase digestive fire, agni and peristalsis. Large doses will purge the bowel (purisavahasrotas). Useful in dysentery with bleeding, bloating, mucus and parasites. It scrapes toxic accumulations from the intestines and blood. This scraping action is also used to clear fat from the body and to stimulate the digestive fire in medas-dhatu so that it can metabolise the earth and water elements effectively.
56. Lemon And Lime
Lemon (E), Bara nimbu (H); Lime (E), Nimbu (H):

Lemons and limes are delicious remedies for treating the digestive and urinary systems with the added bonus of having a high vitamin content.

Digestion Both lemon and lime aid digestion and agni by stimulating salivary and digestive secretions. The sour flavour has a sympathetic reaction on the liver, enhancing bile flow and the emulsion of fats. This aids its laxative effect and ability to clear stagnation in the bowels. It helps to enhance the appetite and is beneficial in anorexia, nausea (especially morning and travel sickness) and indigestion. The peel has a stronger effect on the digestive system. The limonene content is known to help dissolve gallstones and strong lemon juice can be drunk daily as a prophylactic. Lungs Lemon juice can help to calm a cough by clearing mucus and sedating vata. Its ability to draw tissues inwards, experienced as a 'puckering' effect, holds prana, blood and the tissues in place. It also has a strongly antibacterial action, which is used as a gargle to treat sore throats. Blood Lemon and lime have a direct affinity for the blood via their high vitamin C content. They directly nourish rasa and build nutritious fluids in the system. As the source of rasa is in the heart, they help to nourish the heart and benefit sadhaka pitta. Although the sour flavour can aggravate pitta and the blood, limes are an exception to this rule. It is an alterative that clears toxins from the blood. It can prevent bleeding of the gums and internal mucous membranes via its astringing action on capillaries and veins. Kidneys The high citrate content helps to reduce urinary calcium output which can help to prevent kidney stones. This beneficial effect on mutravahasrotas may help with other acidic conditions as it helps to reduce uric acid.
57. Lemongrass
Lemongrass (E):

Lemongrass is an aromatic diaphoretic that relaxes the peripheral circulatory system and is useful in fevers. It also benefits the digestion, lungs and menstruation. Bhu- -tr•n• a literally means 'earth grass'.

Digestion The combination of pungent and bitter flavours in lemongrass stimulates agni without aggravating pitta. It regulates s´amana and apana vayu in the intestines to relieve gas, cramps and colic. Lungs Its pungency dries aggravated avalambaka kapha and helps to expectorate excess phlegm. The bitterness helps to clear hot lung infections with yellow mucus. Its broncho-relaxing effect helps to reduce asthma. Fevers Its mild diaphoretic effect clears the displaced heat that has moved from the digestive tract to rasa dhatu. It treats the source of fevers by clearing ama from the digestive tract. Gynaecology Its affinity for rasa and raktadhatu helps with painful menses due to inflammation or spasm in the uterus from high pitta and vata. Its nourishing effect on rasadhatvagni encourages milk production. External The essential oil is a wonderful circulatory stimulant that can help to remove arthritic inflammation and pain in the joints (Tisserand & Balacs 2000).
58. Licorice
Licorice (E), Jethimadh (H):

Yastimadhu means the 'sweet stick'. The sweetness of licorice is 50 times greater than sucrose. Its sweet flavour indicates its tonifying effects; it directly strengthens the kidneys, nourishes the nervous system, is a superb anti-inflammatory and balances all three dos.as.

Lungs Asthma, bronchitis, wheezing. Use with dry coughs with difficult-to-expectorate phlegm, sore throat, laryngitis and tonsillitis, as licorice liquefies mucus. Specific for vata-type cough due to aggravated pranavayu. It is a specific rasayana for vata by virtue of its sweet, heavy and unctuous properties. It is also useful in infections with yellow/green sputum indicating high pitta inflammations. At a high dose it is an emetic used in vamana therapy to clear kapha from the lungs and stomach. Digestion Specific for ulcers— peptic, gastric, duodenal, oral. Useful in all intestinal inflammations and spasms with pain. It is very useful in hyperacidity as licorice cools pacakapitta. It is often used for arresting bleeding in the intestines and lungs. Its demulcent nature moistens and relaxes the bowel and is helpful in vata–pitta types of constipation. At low dose it is antiemetic (if nausea is caused by heat) and in high doses it is an emetic. Liver Hepatoprotective action in hepatitis and chronic liver disease. Licorice works on ran˜jakapitta and soothes the heat that travels via the liver to the blood. Used for skin conditions, such as acne, with heat and inflammation . Its affinity for the blood and pitta help to soothe alocakapitta and any eye irritations. Kidneys and nerves As part of a formula for nervous exhaustion licorice is a strong adrenal tonic giving enduring energy. It is a rasayana for the s´ukra dhatu and the whole reproductive system. Its cortisol-like action is useful in Addison's disease. As it is used to tonify majja dhatu, it can nourish an exhausted and hyperactive vata and pitta in such conditions as ME and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). The sattvika nature of licorice calms the mind . Urine Its cooling action and unctuous nature are beneficial in inflammations of the urinary tract and it should be used to treat cystitis and painful, burning urination. Skin It is a useful emolliating herb for preventing itching with dry skin. Its anti-inflammatory pitta-reducing effects are commonly employed to treat red, hot, inflamed skin disorders.
59. Lotus
Lotus (E) Sanskrit Padma, Kamala:

The lotus is the supreme symbol of the evolution of the soul. As she grows from the murky depths of the muddy lake waters to her majestic flowering on the clear surface of the water of life she is a living metaphor for our growth from ignorance to wisdom. It is very useful as a brain and reproductive tonic.

Bleeding The node and root are specific for bleeding disorders from the lungs, GIT and uterus. It astringes and cools the oily heat of pitta overflowing from its site in the small intestine. Reproduction The seed and stamen are aphrodisiac and are used in spermatorrhoea. The seeds are a tonic and rasayana helping to increase s´ukra dhatu. They also benefit the development of language, speech and expression as they nourish majja dhatu and manovahasrotas. This specifically helps vata imbalances due to slow development and malabsorption of nutrients. The seeds also have a direct affinity for the uterus, promoting fertility and nourishing the fetus. Digestion All parts of the lotus benefit the intestines as they help to stop diarrhoea and nourish the mucous membranes lining the annavaha and purisavahasrotas. Nerves The seeds, root and stamen help to calm a nervous system and strengthen a 'frazzled' vata. By nourishing rakta dhatu and cooling pitta this directly influences the heart function.
60. Manjishtha
Indian madder (E), Manjith (H):

Manjishtha is a perennial climber and like a vine it 'spreads' throughout the whole system, especially working on the arterial, circulatory system and skin. It literally means 'bright red' attesting to its red roots, which have an affinity for the blood; the red pigment can be seen in the urine.

Skin Its affinity for raktadhatu is specifically utilised to clean, cool and clear the blood of all excess pitta, heat, inflammation, visha (toxins) and ama. Used for itching in eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, vitiligo, acne, acne rosacea and herpes (kustha, visarpa). It normalises rakta dhatu agni. A favourite herb to help relieve pruritus when the liver and bhrajaka pitta are aggravated. Its circulatory invigorating properties make it a superb remedy for removing stubborn and chronic lesions. Also used in scabies and tinea pedis. It also benefits these conditions when used as a wash or in a cream. It is a wonderful rejuvenative to the complexion. Bleeding Manjishtha stops bleeding by two methods; cooling the 'heat' that causes blood to burst out of its proper channel, and clearing congested blood that can cause blood to overflow out of its appropriate pathway. Very good in raktatisara and diarrhoea with bleeding, Crohn's disease, dysentery, bleeding ulcers. It can also treat haemoptysis, epistaxis, menorrhagia, metrorrhagia and haematuria in the appropriate pattern. It acts as a vulnerary and hastens the healing time of skin trauma and broken bones. Gynaecology Useful in signs of congested uterus and pain (yonis´ula) with dysmenorrhoea fixed pain, clots, amenorrhoea and endometriosis; use a cold infusion. All menstrual imbalances involving aggravations of pitta and kapha disturbing the artavasrotas. Also used to prevent miscarriage and excessive uterine bleeding. Tumours/accumulations Manjishtha breaks accumulations of kapha in the bladder, liver and kidneys. Urine Its pitta-reducing quality helps to clear pittaja prameha, particular types of diabetes involving repeated infections, boils, inflammatory conditions, neuropathy, retinopathy and nephropathy. Also for manjishtha prameha where the excessive urination is also coloured red. It is also a specific for gradually dissolving kidney and bladder stones as the anthraquinones act as chelating agents helping to draw excess calcium from the system. Also used to stop haematuria (Frawley & Lad 1994, Mills & Bone 2000, Paranjpe 2001). Mind Its cooling effect on sadhaka pitta has a balancing effect on the emotions and is used in epilepsy and agitation with high pitta.

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