Regarded by many connoisseurs as the ultimate health supplement, Chyawanprash has been around for thousands of years. Chyawanprash is a traditional Ayurvedic herbal jam prepared according to an ancient Ayurvedic formula with multiple health benefits.
Rasayana is a branch of Ayurveda which deals with all specialized approaches aimed at prolonging life, preventing aging and disease, elimination of all degenerative processes and promoting excellent health. Not only does Chyawanprash, as a formulation, find its place under this specialized subject but is foremost among all Rasayana formulations in Ayurveda.
Chyawanprash is named after a great sage called Chyawan who had become very old, but once more became young and strong by taking this preparation. According to the legend, Chyawan married a very young and beautiful princess. But he soon realized that he would become a burden to her and sought help from the celestial physicians. They worked on an herbal preparation that made him young and strong again. Hence this herbal preparation was called Chyawanprash.
Chyawanprash which has been used and treasured in India for thousands of years consists of forty seven ingredients out of which Amla (Emblica officinalis) or Indian Gooseberry is the main ingredient. Chyawanprash is well known as an immunity booster, antioxidant, rejuvenator, a great source of vitamin C and a very good energy provider. It is made from natural herbs, fruits and spices and has been the preferred antioxidant to fight free radicals in the body.
The ingredients of Chyawanprash have been very scientifically divided into the following categories:
- Pradhana Dravya (main ingredient): Amla (Emblica officianalis) or Indian gooseberry constitutes the main ingredient of the formulation.
- Samsadhana Dravya (processing ingredients): These ingredients helps to process the main ingredient i.e. Amla. Some examples are: Pippali (Long Pepper), Draksha (Vitis vinifera), Bala (Sida Cordifolia) etc.
- Yamaka Dravya (ingredients as lipid media): This set of ingredients helps to treat Amla fruits. The process, which is also called lipophilization, helps to promote tissue penetration of the main ingredient. Clarified butter and sesame oil fall under this category.
- Samvahaka Dravya (preservative ingredients): This group of ingredients not only acts as a carrier for the main and supportive ingredients but also helps preserve the clinical efficacy of the main ingredient (Amla).
- Prakshepa Dravya (flavoring ingredients): These ingredients are also termed as balancing drugs. They help balance the Doshas and Dhatus (tissues) in the body. Herbs that fall under this category are saffron, cinnamon, pippali etc.
Amla or India Gooseberry, which is the main ingredient, is highly regarded for its health and nutritional benefits.
- Its juice contains almost 30 times as much vitamin C as orange juice. Its fruit contains moisture, proteins, minerals (calcium, phosphorous, iron, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin and vitamin C), fibers and carbohydrates and therefore a very effective antioxidant and rejuvenator.
- It has been mainly used as a Rasayana to prevent aging, and promote health to eyes and hair.
- Its use is also recommended in heart diseases and other debilitating conditions.
- It is also known to improve intelligence and memory.
Classical method of preparation:
All herbs that fall under the Samsadhana group are first changed into powder form and boiled to make a herbal decoction.
- The fruits of Amla (Emblica officinalis) or Indian gooseberry are tied in a cloth to make a bag and suspended in the above decoction. As a result of this procedure the Amla fruits are softened.
- The pulp of the fruit is separated from the seeds. This pulp is then fried in clarified butter and sesame oil (Yamaka group).
- This fried pulp is then added to syrup of Samvahaka group.
- Finally, ground ingredients from the Prakshepa group are added.
- The whole procedure may take up to several days and the final product is a sweet sour tasting herbal tonic with a jam like consistency.
Chyawanprash is used for preventive and therapeutic purposes. According to Charaka Samhita (the ancient ayurvedic text book for internal medicine) Chyawanprash is very beneficial in the following conditions:
- Pulmonary tuberculosis
- Renal conditions
- Chest diseases
- Excessive thirst
- Urinary disorders
- Disorders of he reproductive system
Chyawanprash has been very thoroughly studied and has been labeled as the best antioxidant ever to be researched and used.
- Chyawanprash helps promote digestion and relieve nausea.
- Ingredients like Amla and cinnamon help to treat hyperacidity, flatulence and dyspepsia
- Due to its high vitamin C content, Chyawanprash is well known to enhance the immune system and thereby reducing the incidence of common infections like cough, cold and fever.
Brain and heart:
- Amla is a very good cardiac stimulant and helps in the smooth functioning of the heart.
- Chyawanprash nourishes the brain cells and promotes intelligence and memory.
- It also has a calming effect on the nervous system thereby aiding in stress relief.
- Chyawanprash helps in the smooth functioning of the respiratory system by maintaining moisture balance and stimulating the metabolism.
- It is very good to prevent coughs and colds.
- It is also known to reduce symptoms of asthma.
Hair, skin, bones and teeth:
- Chyawanprash helps improve skin complexion and prevent skin infections.
- It promotes hair growth and helps in calcium absorption and hence strengthening bones and teeth.
Chyawanprash as a liver tonic:
- The presence of herbs like Bhumiamalaki (Phyllanthus niruri), Amla (Indian gooseberry), Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) makes Chaywanprash a very good liver tonic.
Effects on Doshas:
- Chyawanprash helps to balance all the three Doshas.
- It has a marked effect on Kapha which governs the defense systems and plays a role in stabilization of all systems of the body.
- This formulation is fit for all Dosha types and perhaps through all seasons of the year.
Chyawanprash has a sweet and sour taste and a jam like consistency. It is traditionally taken with milk once a day where by 1 table spoon is mixed in a cup of warm milk. It can also be taken on its own. Because of its jam like consistency it can also be taken as a bread spread on toast, crackers or bread.
In short, Chyawanprash is an Ayurvedic herbal tonic that is very high in vitamin C content and helps strengthen the immune system hence protecting the body from everyday infections like cough, fever and cold. It helps revitalize the mind and body and is the best health supplement to fight stress. It has beneficial qualities for all age groups and men and women alike. It is a must have foodstuff that is not only safe and good but tastes great too.