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Commonly called siberian ginseng but really a distant relative of the “true” asian/panax ginseng, eleuthero is worthy of a spot in your diet, especially if you constantly feel worn out.
We’ll tell you why.
The herb is an adaptogen – which means it can help your body and mind endure periods of stress. Your energy is directed to where it’s needed the most in your body and you’re not spending your precious reserves frivolously.
Best known for its use as a nerve tonic and immunity booster, velvet bean, also known as kapikacchu, owes its accolades to a compound called L-dopa or levodopa. The body, too, naturally synthesizes this compound, which it converts to dopamine – a game changer for mental well-being. With an extra supply of L-dopa from this legume, you could smoothly transition from healthy to healthier.
The seeds are where the magic lies, including rich reserves of protein.
The turmeric root has around 235 identified compounds capable of working in harmony in your body and improving your health. The most noteworthy are curcuminoids, responsible for turmeric’s trademark orange-yellow color, and volatile oils.
While recent research is biased toward curcumin as turmeric’s most potent compound, there are studies that suggest other components contribute to our health as well.
Why It’s So Great 1. Strengthens Immunity The immune system is constantly at war with invaders like bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi, and anything that doesn’t match the body’s own sensibilities – say, the normal wear and tear of joints with age.
First off, shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) is also called asparagus, but it is not the same as the vegetable (Asparagus officinalis) you’re likely familiar with – same genus, different species.
Shatavari holds great value in the ayurvedic universe because of its versatile reach in the body, owing most of its benefits to a group of compounds called steroidal saponins. Pigment compounds called flavonoids also pull their weight.
The roots of the plant store most of these chemicals and are, hence, the most health-promoting part of the plant.
When you’re looking to create a simple, daily habit that will help you feel a lot healthier, having Indian tinospora may be a good bet. Also called amrita or guduchi, the medicinal herb is loaded with compounds that power up your immune system, giving you more spring in your step.
The mature stem is the most beneficial part of the plant, though the leaves and roots contribute as well. Take a look at their components:
Looking out for your overall well-being, Indian kudzu (also known as vidari) brings balance to both your body and your mind. Its rock-like root tubers have chemicals to help do just that. They mostly include pigment compounds called flavonoids and their derivatives.
If you venture to do some of your own research on Indian kudzu, you’ll repeatedly come across puerarin, daidzein, and genistein. These three compounds somehow form a team and bring about most of Indian kudzu’s benefits.
Well deserving of the title “The Queen of Herbs,” holy basil or tulsi is quite the multitasker in the health department. You’ll reap the most benefits if you’re patient with it, but even a single cup could perk up your energy levels.
The mojo is in the leaves, more specifically the oil of the leaves.
Eugenol, a phenolic compound, deserves the most accolades. But the rule of thumb for herbs, or any natural food, though is that whole is always better than isolated active ingredients; so think of it as a team of compounds working together.
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.
Boerhavia, also known as punarnava, very tactfully focuses on three important facets of your health – your immunity, your blood glucose, and your liver function. All of its goodness is hidden away in its unassuming leaves and roots.
As you can tell from the names, purnavarine and punarnavoside have grabbed the most attention from white coats, and rightfully so! The boeravinones aren’t too far behind either.
With such a supportive team of compounds, it’s no wonder the herb has been handed down generations of ayurvedic wisdom.
A creeping marsh plant, bacopa (also known as brahmi in Sanskrit) 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 bacopa’s health benefits, we can’t ignore the fact that any herb is a lot more complex than isolated compounds.
Also known as kalmegha (“King of the Bitters”) or bhunimba, andrographis 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 your immune system remain an impenetrable shield. 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.
Often considered the “best among the sour fruits,” the amla fruit (also known as amalaki) 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.
The aloe vera plant, a succulent, stores water in its leaves to survive in dry regions. The slightly yellow gel you see when you split the leaves in half is nothing but water storage cells. Even though about 99% of these cells is just water, the remaining 1% has compounds that are health promoting.
Take a quick look:
Adding to its accolades, aloe vera has seven of the eight essential amino acids that your body can’t synthesize on its own and needs from food.