Chyawanprash is an Ayurvedic herbal 'jam' that offers immense benefits. Read to find out how you can incorporate this miracle jam' in your daily regimen & reap the benefits.
In today's article, we are going to talk about a brilliant & very famous Ayurvedic recipe called chyawanprash. Every Indian knows about it, has probably taken it at some point in their life (myself included, yummy!!) and almost every household in India has at least a minimum of 1 jar of chyawanprash at any time! Yes! Seriously!
This is one product you must add to your regimen if you want to stay healthy, beat inflammation, increase immunity, improve energy, mood, hormones, weight and well...just overall well-being. Chyawanprash is also a great addition to any cancer patient's health regimen as not only does it give energy but it also creates healthy digestion by eliminating toxins effectively.
What is Chyawanprash?
Stories are so important, esp. mythological stories - they create connectivity and help us to bind to the thread of life called history. They also create that special bond or connectivity between us and sacred, ancient remedies. Such is a case with chyawanprash - it has a story of its own and a very sweet one.
Chyavana was a rishi (a great sage in Hinduism) who fell ill due to being covered by white ants and looked feeble. The Ashwini twin brothers, who were the physicians during Vedic times, prepared the herbal paste to rejuvenate Chyavana. This was at Haryana, India at Chyavana's ashram. As Chyavana ate the herbal paste, he got better and this herbal paste restored his divine youthfulness, much to the delight of his newly wed wife, Sukanya. In gratitude, Chyavana kept his wife's wishes & her suggestion - to give sacrificial offerings in Kurukshetra (a city in Haryana) to Ashwini twins for all their help.
And this is how this powerful herbal paste came to be known as chyawan-prash. The first documented formula for chyawanprash dates back to 1st millennium BCE and was mentioned in Charaka Samhita, the ancient Ayurvedic treatise, written in Sanskrit. Yes! Chyawanprash is that ancient! Chyawanprash is considered a rasayana - a Sanskrit word meaning path (āyana) of essence (rasa), hence implying the lengthening of lifespan.
What is Chyawanprash made with?
In Sanskrit, "prash" refers to a specially prepared food. Chyawanprash is made with herbs and spices in a blend of raw honey, jaggery (unrefined cane sugar), black sesame oil and ghee (clarified butter from non-hybrid cows). The honey, ghee and sesame oil act as carriers (yogavahis) of these herbs & spices to the tissues and cells while the sugar in the form of jaggery is used as a preservative (samvahaka dravya).
It can contain anywhere between 25 to 80 herbs & spices depending on the brand you buy and the availability of herbs due to the rising demand of chyawanprash. The main ingredient of a quality chyawanprash is always amla (amalaki or Emblica officinalis), also known as Indian gooseberry. Amla is very high in bio-available vit C and despite the long cooking process required to produce this recipe, the tannins in amla make sure the vit C is preserved.
The herbs used in Chyawanprash are considered as rasayanas, meaning rejuvenating herbs that give energy and vitality to the body. The raw honey is added at the end of the process as according to Ayurveda, honey becomes toxic if cooked or heated. It takes 21 days to produce a batch of chyawanprash.
Some Herbs In Chyawanprash & Their Benefits:-
Amla (rich in vit C, good for immunity, skin/hair, cancer, full of antioxidants), Ashwagandha (adaptogenic herb - helps manage stress), Shatavari (mental clarity/brain fog, uterine & hormonal health, women's health tonic),
Long Pepper/Pipli (to improve digestion), Malabar Nut Tree (respiratory health/lungs), Arjuna (heart health & asthma), Holy Basil (antioxidant, adaptogenic & anti-inflammatory), Bacopa/Brahmi (adaptogenic herb - good for stress, memory, inflammation, brain fog), Neem (immunity, clears skin & blood, great for digestion & metabolism), Cyperus Root/Musta or Nut Grass (great for obesity as cuts fats, digestive help, uti/hormonal issues, allergies), Tribulus fruit (healthy testosterone, reduce swelling, stamina & muscle help).
Raisins, Cardamom, Ginger, Cinnamon, Wood Apple/Bael, Saffron, etc
Taste & How It Looks?
In Ayurveda, taste is a precursor to digestion and there are 6 tastes mentioned - salty, pungent, sweet, sour, bitter, and astringent. Chyawanprash contains 5 of the 6 tastes, excluding salty. But in reality, when you taste chyawanprash, you will feel it has a sweet, sour and spicy taste all at once. When you eat it, you will know what I mean. It has been called a "nutritive jam" since many people just like the taste so much, they spread it over toast or crackers.
As far as how it looks, it is dark brown to black in color with a resin or thick paste like consistency (look at the pic above).
How To Take & Best Time?
You can take it as is - a spoonful or two each day. You can also mix it with some warm almond milk or any plant based milk to heighten its anti-inflammatory properties and to help it reach the tissues faster. The best time to take it is in the morning on an empty stomach with warm water - take it first thing and you will see a difference. For additional dose, you can take at evening or even after dinner since it contains herbs that help digestion.
Who Can Take Chyawanprash?
Anyone! Yes! It is a wonderful remedy for all ailments and also as a preventive measure. Children take it too in India - though you can start at 3 yr of age with just a teaspoon or less and see how their digestive system adjusts to.
Dogs take it too! No, I am not kidding. Lot of people let their dogs lick the chyawanprash as a treat and dogs love it. Between a bone and a chyawanprash, I have heard it is always chyawanprash! Smart dogs..:)
Where To Find Or Order From?
You can find chyawanprash in Indian stores or specialty, health food stores like Whole Foods (U.S.). But better option is to find high-quality one that is organic, ethically made from online options. This is specially beneficial as you can order some more herbs (listed below) to increase its efficacy and get faster results if you are trying to heal a condition in your body.
What More You Can Add To Heal Faster & Increase It's Benefits?
1. Shilajit - Shilajit comes from very high altitudes of the Himalayas. It is a sticky resin and black in color. It develops over many centuries from the decomposition of plants. It contains around 85 minerals, fulvic acid and humic acid. It is very revered as it is considered the best nutrient carrier in the body by Ayurveda's Materia Medica.
You can add this to warm water - only a pea sized amount is needed and take it along with your dose of chyawanprash. Because of its nutrients, it is touted for increasing energy, detoxification, better memory & mood, better absorption of nutrients, and overall well-being.
2. Triphala - Triphala means "three fruits" and so it is made with amalaki (amla), bibhitaki and haritaki. It is a gentle yet very effective cleanser that is used very much in Ayurvedic medicine. It cleans the colons, maintains regularity, helps issues like leaky gut/ibs, nourishes the tissues and helps healthy digestion, supports weight loss (due to its cleansing properties) and gives energy. You can match this with your daily dose of chyawanprash if you are suffering from obesity, chronic constipation, leaky guy or ibs/ibd, or as a cancer patient want to stay 'regular' and help keep your colon/internal system clean.
3. Haritaki (Terminalia Chebula) - This herb is an excellent digestive aid and is considered as a rejuvenating herb in Ayurveda. It helps the whole body by eliminating toxic waste, strengthening it, supporting oxygen supply in the blood, providing immunity and energy, etc. If you are a cancer patient or obese, then this herb along with a dose or two of chyawanprash each day might be a great tool to help clean your body thoroughly, flush fat out, restore strength, help with energy and overall well-being.
You can also take chyawanprash with mushroom powder in warm water. This is specially beneficial for cancer patients. So, I hope you will order some chyawanprash and start taking it right away. Where else can you find 40+ herbs in a spoon, in a delicate blend of spices along with honey?
Just make sure when you buy the chyawanprash it is ethically made, has wild crafted herbs, organic, non-hybrid ghee from well-loved cows and jaggery instead of sugar. The first ingredient should be amla and that will tell you whether you should buy this brand or that. Like I said, 'health' is always 'tasty'.
Ready to Buy Your Chyawanprash & Shilajit?
Check out - Lotus Blooming Herbs
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