Herbs and Yoga For Healing


Herbs and Their Healing Powers

Through the ages, herbs were a critical component of most of the traditional and holistic therapies. They were the most vital medicinal agents all over the world and across various cultures. The West had used herbs extensively to cure various ailments and in the East, India and China had made significant progress in herbal science. The practice of the herbal science was mostly restricted to men who were involved in spiritual and religious activities and many of the herbs actually remained unknown to the common man for thousands of years. But as the various religious institutions lifted their restrictions and opened their collection of medicinal literature to men from outside, the knowledge of herbal science slowly became available in the public domain.

Today, yoga borrows the best of the herbs from all over the world. The knowledge is already there, and practitioners of yoga are making full use of it. So when we talk about yoga and herbs, we do mean ayurveda to a large extent. But it goes beyond ayurveda too. Take for example the use of ginseng today. It is an oriental tonic herb that has been imported from China. Ginseng is a particularly helpful herb for anyone who is practicing yoga as the herb helps to increase the chi or the vital energies that resides deep in our bodies. Ginseng thus helps to make our muscles stronger and our nerves more receptive. The overall strengthening properties of the tonic herb are particularly helpful for vegetarians who are in a way restricted in the way of sources of nutrients available to them. Therefore, a herb like Ginseng can actually make a world of difference to someone who is practicing yoga. Not only will he fill refreshed and revitalized which will help him to do the asanas better, but it will also mean a stronger and fitter body. Another import from China is the herb tang kuei. It is renowned for its ability to support a woman’s reproductive system.

The West has also contributed heavily to herbal science. Many of the commonly used western herbs that make up the list of yogic herbs include bayberry, barberry and calamus. The bark of the bayberry tree is particularly effective in treating coughs, colds, diarrhea, ulcers, sores and bleeding gums. Barberry has been thought to have particular properties that help in controlling the blood pressure, reducing inflammation and even fighting cancer. Calamus aids digestion and stimulates appetite.

Ayurveda has a long list of herbs and since yoga has been closely associated with ayurveda through centuries, many of the ayurvedic treatments have been incorporated into the yogic life. Some of the most effective ayurvedic herbs are aloe, basil, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, mint, parsley, poppy seeds, etc. Aloe is particularly helpful in curing ailments of the liver, the spleen, blood and the female reproductive system. Basil is one of the most effective diaphoretic and helps in curing coughs, colds, flus and various other lung problems. Parsley is especially beneficial for the kidneys and the uterus.

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