Ayurveda involves the use of herbs and mineral-based products to treat a disease and follow a healthy lifestyle. The basic principle of Ayurvedic formulations is to ensure the balance between the three major types of doshas — Vata, Pitta and Kapha. It helps to restore a healthy balance and prevent the occurrence of any imbalance between the doshas.
Ayurvedic medicines are based on herbs and minerals which are prepared by using a single ingredient or a combination of two or more ingredients. Whatever is the formulation of a Ayurvedic medicine, these herbs help in the treatment of a wide range of health issues right from skin and hair problems to diabetes, digestive disorders and sexual problems.
Here are few types of Ayurvedic formulations that are available in the market for common health problems.
Tailam (medicated oils): Ayurvedic medicines that are available in the tailam form usually contain essential oils from herbs. These are extracted from the seeds or leaves of a single herb or a combination of herbs. The process involves boiling the base oil with herbal juice, decoction or paste and using heat till the water evaporates and oil remains in the cast. These medicated oils can be used for skin, hair and joint problems.
Avaleh (jams or paste): Also known as Lehyam, it is a paste or jam like product which is prepared by mixing the herbs with different ingredients such as gur (jaggery) and sharkara (sugar or sugar candy) which are boiled with Swarasa (herb juice) or Kwatha or Kashaya (decoction). These products used to improve digestive function and immunity are available in this form.
Ark (distillation of herbs): The next formulation is Ark, which is extremely light in nature and easy on the stomach. These freshly prepared juices are distillates of herbs that can include its leaves, flowers, seeds, stem, roots and bark. These arks are used to treat common digestive problems such as indigestion, diarrhea, acidity, gas and bloating.
Asava/Arishta (fermented liquid medicine): These are Ayurvedic formulations that are prepared by soaking the herbs either in the powdered form which is Churna or liquid form which is either Kashaya or Kwatha in a solution containing jaggery or sugar. This mixture is allowed to undergo Sandhana Kriya (fermentation). It generates alcohol which facilitates the extraction of active compounds present in the herbs.
Bhasma (purified calcinations): These are fine Ayurvedic powders which are prepared from a substance obtained by the process of Bhasmikarana (calcination). The metals, minerals and animal products are calcined in closed kilns with cow dung cakes under high temperatures to produce the Bhasma.
Vati (tablets/pills): Ayurvedic pills or tablets are also commonly available to get rid of various diseases. These are prepared from various herbs or minerals in the form of tablets. These can help you get rid of common health problems from headache and diabetes to sexual health issues.
Churna (powder): As the name suggests, Churna means dried powder. Raw herbs are dried, powdered and passed through sieves to obtain a fine powder which is mixed with other ingredients to prepare the Churna. It is used to improve liver and kidney function to keep your blood glucose level in control.
The content is reviewed by Dr. Deepak Kumar, Ayurvedic expert.