There was a time when man’s health was determined by his own choices. That is no longer true. Our health, today, is not only determined by internal factors, but is also affected by extraneous factors. Some are in our control and can be dealt with. Some are out of our control, and have to be compensated for. We need to protect ourselves from them. We need to take herbs. We need the help of herbs to live a healthy life.
This page has been written for those who have the time and inclination, and want to know the 'why' before the 'which'.
Those who want to start right away are advised to proceed straight to Herbs At A Glance
The metabolic functioning of the human body has not changed over the ages. Unfortunately, the environment and the eating habits have. It, therefore, becomes imperative for us to compensate for the change by consuming herbs (supplements) in addition to our normal food. Some of the forces that adversely affect our health are--
Environment Today : The Bane of Our Problem
We are being bombarded with Toxins, 24/365. Whether it is the pesticides we eat, or the polluted air we breathe, our body and mind are riddled with Toxins. Our immune system gets compromised even before we are born. We are doomed to become mildly sick with every little change in weather or the climate. We think we are healthy because we are not in the hospital. We know nothing better. We have no name for our less than optimum health, and, therefore there seems to be no remedy. Even if we make all the right choices, we will still be exposed to environmental pollution and commercial adulteration. Alas ! the human body was not designed for these fuels. This situation is beyond our control.
Perception of Health and its Care
Attitude towards health and medicine has changed considerably over the last few decades. Once upon a time, man felt responsible for his own health. Today, he is willfully and totally dependent on Health Care. Intellectual laziness, Commercialization of Medicine, Branding, the phony concept of financial aggrandizement as an indicator of success and Media advertisements have conspired to convince us that we are ignorant of our body and have to depend on specialists to maintain it.
Man's body and mind are an homogeneous whole unit. All organs have to function in harmony to keep us healthy. Then how can we tinker with individual organs without affecting the rest of the body or the mind ? When an eye specialist advises us to take a pill for the eye, it has to affect all parts of the body. It cannot affect the eye alone. But alas ! He is the specialist, and there lies the fallacy. We have to reignite the flame of personal Awareness. Wake up. Take charge of your body. The absence of disease is not health. Sickness is not inevitable. It is a result of our callousness. Being indisposed has become the norm. It should not be. Vibrant Health should be our normal and natural state. This is within our control.
The Predominant Healthcare systems
In the most prevalent systems of health care, you must have a name for your discomfort. No name ? Sorry, no medicine, no treatment. You must be pathologically sick. The lab reports must show deviation from the normal. Unless the X ray report says it, your leg is not broken. By then it may be too late to reverse the disorder. There has been no research in the direction of establishing early signs and symptoms of an impending disease. Diagnosis is a matter of conjecture. The result is an exercise in trial and re trial. This is out of our control.
Pharmaceutical Research is driven by commerce. Its an industry. It makes sense to develop a treatment not a cure, for an established documented disease. Since early indicators are not available, preventive medicine has taken a back seat. This is beyond our control.
Then, what is in our control. The decision to take charge of the health of our own body and mind. Fortunately there is a solution. There are herbs which do not harm us. They are not medicines. Medicines are for a diseased state, and must be stopped on recovery, or they will harm us. They always have adverse effects, normally called side effects. The herbs for the healthy need no pathological investigation, They are not dependent on a diagnosis. They are not linked to a disease name. They have affinity for the systems of our body and specific organs. They do not harm us. They do not have any side effects. You can take them for as long as you want. Take these Herbs even when you are healthy.
Most cultures did take cognizance of this situation and developed protocols to enhance health. To so fortify the immune system that it could defend itself against the changing/adverse environment. There is hope for reducing the effect of exposure to this environment ~ By Herbs. This entailed the consumption of herbs even if we are healthy. Herbs guard us against anything and everything inimical to our health.
Some herbs have received a special designation/name. They are referred to by different terms in various cultures around the world. The three dominant herbal systems have defined, and assigned specific attributes to them. The Chinese call them "Super Tonic Herbs". The Western World calls them "Adaptogens". In India they are defined as Rasayans.
Super Tonic Herbs
In TCM, Traditional Chinese Medicine, a Herb must have the following attributes to be categorized as a Super Tonic Herb :
Tonify and work to build and strengthen the immunity.
Increase the available energy of an organ, system or cell.
A Herb must have preventive approach, emphasis is on promotion of health.
These herbs can be used on a regular basis throughout our life, which they will prolong.
Improve the quality of life.
Must slow down aging, increase happiness, improve wisdom, enhance physical vitality, create adaptability, maintain sexual vigor and endow us with mental clarity and acuity.
Must work to promote Longevity.
An Adaptogen must fulfill the following criteria :
Increase your body-mind's ability to adapt to change and help you overcome daily stress.
Increase your resistance to trauma, anxiety and fatigue.
Must revitalize and nourish proper balance of the body systems and organs.
Increase physical and mental stamina and performance.
Protect you against the harmful effects of radiation, drugs
Increase your resistance to chemical carcinogens present in the environment.
Must be bipolar; Must optimize the function of the body and then stop.
The Rasyans. Aha ! That's an animal all in its own special class. In India life was lived by a set of rules. Well, that was thousands of years ago. Now a days we, in India, are aping the world. Easy way out. Eat what you have been told to like by the media. Sleep when you want to, or not at all. All in the name of enjoyment. Feel sick, do not think, rush straight to a specialist and believe in him. Eat medicines to kill bacteria where there are none. Use a sledge hammer to kill a fly. If you lose your thumb in the bargain, its considered Okay. But in Ancient India, life was governed by Vedas, books of knowledge. The Rig Veda taught us philosophy. Ayurveda taught us the Science of life. Ayurveda was the predominant system of health care. Part of it was to keep disease at bay and the administration of herbs to fortify the immune system. It was important then, it is more important today. The depth of investigation into this subset of Ayurveda can be gauged by the exhaustive description of a Rasyanas. Rasyanas have been identified for the body as a whole, for Organ systems and then for individual organs.
The word Rasayana is made by conjunction of two words: rasa, means humor of the body, and ayana, meaning source. Rasayana is therefore, the source of all the body humors. Rejuvenates the entire body, from inside-out.
Attributes of a Rasayana.
Rasayana works bidirectionally. If you take Ashwagandha to lower your blood pressure, then, the action of Ashwagandha will optimize the high blood pressure and lower it to normal. If you continue to take it for long periods, your blood pressure will not fall below normal. Similarly, if you have low blood pressure, the same Ashwagandha will increases the blood pressure to normal. Prolonged use of Ashwagandha will not harm human beings.
A Herb must have retention and recollection capacity.
Must promote youthfulness, glow and lustre of skin.
Enhance intellect .
Provide Physical strength and Immunity
Take Care of your complexion, voice and promote the stability of speech
Provide Vibrant Health and Longevity.
Names and definitions are different, but the action of these Herbs is similar.
Provide an overall health,
Help restore general balance,
Boost the immunity,
Nourish the blood and all the organ systems and organs,
Elevate the total level of vitality and harmony beyond normal levels. And help you to reach the apex of health; Vibrant Health and Longevity.
These special herbs, are devoid of undesirable side effects. You can safely consume them regularly over long periods.
It will take a normal human being, a life time to study all these systems and herbs. Most people don't have the time. So we have compiled a regimen for developing immunity against disease and a guide to vibrant health. It incorporates all the cultures of the world, Take the following herbs at least once a year :
Rasayanas for Metabolism
Basil, Punarnava, Aamla
Rasayana for Systems ( Srotas )
Guggulu, Shilajit, Haritaki, Guduchi
Punarnava, Varuna, Gokharu
Shatavari, Echinacea, Astragalus
Dong Quai, Ashoka, Shatavari
Rhodiola, Bala, Goji Berry
Shatavari, Cumin, Milk
Siberian Ginseng, Shankhapushpi, Basil, Mucuna Pruriens
Female: Manjakani, Shatavari, Dong Quai
Male: Ashwagandha, Shilajit, American Ginseng, Gokharu
Pippali, Basil, Cordyceps
Kutaja, Triphala, Licorice
Pippali, Haritaki, Triphala,
Aamla, Basil, Licorice
Punarnava, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Shatavari
Rasayana for specific organs
Astragalus Root, Cordyceps, Asparagus Root, Pippali,
Cordyceps,Punarnava, Schizandra, Gokharu
Ganoderma, Polygonum, Dong Quai, Schizandra
Asparagus Root, Notoginseng, Rhodiola
Siberian Ginseng, American Ginseng, Astragalus Root, Gynostemma, Dong Quai
American Ginseng, Dendrobium, Haritaki
Reishi Mushroom,Shankhapushpi, Vacha,Brahmi, Basil
Eleuthero, Astragalus,Triphala, Kanchnar
Turmeric, Catechu, Bakuchi,
Nasya of Anu oil
Licorice, Shatavari, Eyebright, Goji Berry
Kutaj, Vidanga, Triphala, Licorice
Shukti bhasma, Kukkutandatwak bhasma, Vamsharochana
Punarnava, Varuna, Gokharu
The herbs , thus, act on your body as per the target system, organ, tissue and disorder. No side effects. No risk of a new complications. And, most importantly, the focus is on prevention rather than on treatment. Rasayanic herbs involve no risk until you do not interrupt their action by some synthetically developed medicines.
For a detailed co-relation between the human body and the specific herbs proceed to Herbs At A Glance
Herbs add years to your life, and life to your years.