This week we celebrate Earth Day, an internationally-celebrated day celebrating the wonderful gifts of Creation. We celebrate the abundance of life we have through the resources given to us by the hand of our Creator. People all over the world will be hosting events to promote conservation and environmental protection.
But we’d like to use this day to celebrate the incredible natural gifts with which we have been blessed.
Earth has been equipped with everything that we need to live happy and healthy lives. From veggies and herbs to minerals and elements, our planet was designed to provide the essentials for natural healing and wellness.
There may be no wellness system more perfect for celebrating Earth Day than Ayurveda. Thousands of years old, Ayurveda is a wellness and healing practice that treats the body as a whole and emphasizes harmony between our inner bodies and the outside world. Focused on conscious, natural, and holistic living, it works to enhance physical and psychological well-being, promoting longevity for the body as a whole. If used correctly, nature’s bounty can bless our minds and optimize our lives in ways that we could never have imagined.
To celebrate, here are our top 5 favorite Ayurvedic herbs and minerals and how they help us achieve health, healing, and balance.
A member of the ginger family, turmeric is used heavily in Ayurvedic medicine. Its main active ingredient is curcumin, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. While inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury, chronic inflammation can lead to a host of diseases. Antioxidants help prevent the creation of free radicals, which cause cell and tissue damage.
Turmeric has also been shown to help improve brain function. Beta-amyloid protein is a toxic protein, formed in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Promisingly, in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease, low doses of curcumin reduced beta-amyloid protein levels in their brains by around 40%.
A follow-up study conducted at UCLA in 2006 found that curcumin helps macrophages to clear amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s patients as well. This makes it potentially very useful as part of a future therapy for Alzheimer’s disease.
It also helps digestion, which is essential for detoxification and a strong immune system. Digestion is where all the magic happens. Our bodies absorb all of the essential nutrients from our food while separating toxins and waste and flushing them out of our bodies.
Known more commonly as ashwagandha or Indian ginseng, withania somnifera has long held a prominent place in Ayurvedic medicine. Its use dates at least as far back as 4,000 B.C. The traditional Indian approach to healing involved using ashwagandha as a “Rasayana.” In Sanskrit this literally means “that which negates old age and disease.” The life essence, so to speak, of Ayurveda, and one of functional medicine’s most precious herbs.
Ashwagandha’s many benefits include its narcotic, diuretic, aphrodisiac, anthelmintic, astringent, stimulant, thermogenic, and tonic properties. It also has benefits of adaptogenic nature. Adaptogens are herbs that modulate the body’s stress response, adjusting hormones and other substances either up or down depending on what the body needs.
Unlike pharmaceutical drugs and other therapeutic substances that directly alter a specific cellular function or gene expression in order to address a particular set of symptoms, ashwagandha helps the body to self-adapt.
Also known as known as Indian gooseberry, Amalaki is a small fruit that’s loaded with vitamin C. This gives it incredible antioxidant power and helps to aid digestion. It also supports collagen production, which helps promote healthy skin. This includes the “inner skin,” which lines the gut and other mucous membranes throughout the body.
A healthy gut is imperative for a strong immune system. Your gut contains a delicate system of over 100 trillion organisms – fungi, bacteria, yeasts, and other microbes – collectively known as your “microbiota.” Each of these organisms has a purpose within the symbiotic community that is your microbiome.
The intimate relationship between gut microbiota and the immune system is admittedly complex. But it can be summed up like this: for your immune system to work effectively, your microbiome must be in tip-top shape at all times. And the best way you can ensure a healthy gut, besides avoiding the exposures that threaten its integrity, is to seek out foods and supplements that will help enrich it.
Amalaki is an Ayurvedic staple for maintaining a healthy gut and eliminating harmful toxins from your body.
Ginger is one of the most commonly used roots in the world and is featured prominently in Ayurveda. It aids digestion and is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. In addition to being a tasty and versatile ingredient for cooking, Ginger has been used for centuries to soothe upset stomach and relieve muscle soreness and joint pain.
This is likely because of the main active ingredient: Gingerol. Gingerol reduces nitric oxide production associated with inflammation and other cellular disturbances, protects against free radical damage, and possesses powerful neuroprotective capabilities. Studies show that gingerol stimulates antioxidant defenses and pharmacological pathways for healing.
To reap maximum benefits of gingerol, try using ginger in your tea, adding it to meat marinades, shaving it on vegetable dishes, and including in coleslaw and salad dressings to improve the chemoprotective properties of your meals. You can also consume fermented ginger, which is commonly used in sushi and kimchi.
Extracted from the Boswellia serrata, a tree that looks a bit like an overgrown bonzai tree, you may also know Boswellia by another name: frankincense. In Ayurveda, frankincense is prized as one of the most valued herbs in existence. The gummy, resinous portion of its derivative has traditionally held a prominent place in the treatment of conditions like diarrhea, parasites, skin and blood diseases, cardiovascular disorders, respiratory infections, hair loss, hemorrhoids, and asthma.
In more modern times, frankincense has proven scientifically to fight inflammation, help control blood lipids, prevent coronary plaque, protect the liver, and help relieve pain. It’s also widely regarded amongst those who are familiar with its uses as being a powerful stimulant, both internally and externally. This is why patients who are weak from illness often inhale its essence as an aromatherapeutic.
Crafted by Design
We were created intentionally by God, and our bodies are designed to be in balance. The earth provides the best natural tools to keep our bodies healthy and balanced. Many illnesses can be traced back to a lack of proper nutrition or an overload of man-made toxins. You can help your body’s natural systems function well by ensuring that you get all of the nutrients and minerals that you need.
From reducing inflammation to aiding digestion, we should celebrate and take advantage of the abundance of life-giving gifts God has sprinkled all over the earth for our enrichment, nourishment, and healing.
From veggies and herbs to minerals and elements, our planet was designed to provide the essentials for natural healing and wellness.
Our top 5 favorite Ayurvedic herbs and minerals: