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Four herbs are referred to as shankhpushpi – Convolvulus pluricaulis, Evolvulus alsinoides, Clitoria ternatea, and Canscora decussate. Convolvulus pluricaulis is considered the “true” shankhpushpi, while the other three are considered replacements depending on their availability in a geographical area.
Best known as a brain tonic, shankhpushpi has its entire aerial part chipping in beneficial compounds. Here’s what they carry:
Convolamine seems to be the champion compound in most research studies, though we’re certain there’s a greater synergy at work.
Neither a nut nor tough to crack, nutmeg is the seed of the plant Myristica fragrans. It can be grated or powdered into a flavoring spice, blending well into comforting baked goods and energizing beverages. But is it healthy? Rest assured.
The seed has two oils: an essential oil and nutmeg butter. The essential oil is responsible for nutmeg’s unique flavor and fragrance while also carrying health-promoting compounds. Nutmeg butter needs a lot more research on it.
When you’re looking to create a simple, daily habit that will help you feel a lot healthier, having guduchi may be a good bet. Also called amrita, the medicinal herb is loaded with compounds that power up your immune system, giving you more spring in your step.
The mature stem is most beneficial part of the plant, though the leaves and roots contribute as well. Take a look at their components:
Belonging to the daisy family, the chamomile herb offers a bouquet of health benefits through its white and yellow flowers. The volatile oils in the flowers carry a range of compounds that mean your nervous and digestive systems well.
The compounds α-bisabolol, chamazulene, and apigenin are given the most credit for chamomile’s health benefits.
Why It’s So Great 1. Induces Sleep With addictive gadgets, lengthy to-do lists, and the perpetual need pick up the pace, your nervous system is constantly bombarded with external stimuli (like lights, sounds, smells).
The credit for cardamom’s health benefits can largely be given to the volatile oils in its seeds – the very oils that make it intensely aromatic and flavorful. The oils terpinene, cineol, and limonene play a big part.
Why It’s So Great 1. Boosts Immunity What do your immune cells do when they see something they recognize as foreign, like bacteria? They “eat” them and shoot them with ammo we know as free radicals.
A creeping marsh plant, brahmi is all kinds of good for your brain. It is also an adaptogen – which means it helps your body cope with both physical and mental stress.
The leaves are especially valuable with their arsenal of health-promoting compounds. Here’s a quick look:
Though the bacosides steal most of the limelight for brahmi’s health benefits, we can’t ignore the fact that medicinal herbs are a lot more complex than isolated compounds.
Literally meaning “fearless,” bibhitaki is believed to take away the fear of disease. While that may seem far-fetched at first, we’d say first understand what the tree offers and see if you can trace any of the benefits back to your body’s needs. If you have a match, there’s nothing like it.
This is also why bibhitaki has earned a spot in the tri-ingredient ayurvedic tonic called triphala. The matured, dried fruits are the most helpful, with the mojo concentrated in the fruit rind.
Also known as kalmegha or “King of the Bitters,” bhunimba wraps beneficial compounds in its roots and leaves. Two groups of compounds – diterpenoid lactones (extremely bitter to taste) and flavonoids (responsible for color) – can help get your immune system through some tough times. That’s not to say there aren’t other benefits.
Andrographolide is usually seen as the star of the show, though its derivatives make an impact as well.
Also known as “gale of the wind,” bhumiamalaki is a field weed that is all kinds of good for your liver and digestion. It’s also believed to dissolve kidney stones, earning the additional title of “stonebreaker.”
The fame preceding the herb stems from the battalion of beneficial compounds tucked away in its leaves.
Why It’s So Great 1. Supports the Liver Like a friend on constant standby, your liver bears the brunt of all the bad lifestyle choices you make – eating junk food, not exercising, drinking too much, smoking.
Though often considered a troublesome weed, bhringaraj (also called false daisies) is quite the herbal antidote. Most of the magic lies in the leaves and roots, though the plant as a whole has loads to offer too.
Here’s a quick breakdown of its beneficial compounds:
Why It’s So Great 1. Protects the Liver We can’t really talk about bhringaraj without mentioning its use as a liver tonic. The coumestans, particularly wedelolactone and demethylwedelolactone, and flavonoids are the knights in shining armor here.
Our bodies need to constantly adapt to ever-changing environments and situations. This involves knowing how to deal with both physical and mental stressors, ranging from cold temperatures to social phobias. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, which means it can help your body adapt – without targeting any one system or organ. It casts a wider net of benefits.
Most of the credit for ashwagandha’s benefits goes to a group of compounds called withanolides.
Often considered the “best among the sour fruits,” the amalaki fruit has earned a spot in go-to ayurvedic concoctions like chyawanprash and triphala. It finds its footing in all five tastes – sweet, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent – and promises to make you feel a lot more upbeat.
The fruit’s USP is its rich reserve of vitamin C (720 mg/100 gm or 1 gm in 100 ml juice) along with other antioxidants, particularly tannins.