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Chyawanprash: History And Origin
Chyawanprash is a herbal preparation that Indians have been using since time immemorial. It has antioxidant, immunoprotective, and rejuvenating properties. Chamanprash or Chyavanaprasam are the other names of it.
The Ashvinis are a pair of twin Indian Gods credited for giving Chyawanprash to the world. They served as royal physicians in Hindu Gods’ court and first developed it at the behest of revered sage Chyavana. As a tribute to the sage, the developed formula was named Chyawanprash.
Today it enjoys immense popularity in India as well as abroad as a herbal health supplement. While you can easily find it on the supermarket shelf, you may find that the task is complex if you think of concocting it at home.
Secret Formula Of Chyawanprash
India is a land with a culturally rich past. It is known to have been at the forefront in technology, medicine, art, and engineering, to name a few. Scholars who studied traditional Indian medicine wrote several books on the topic. One such great book revered by Ayurvedic physicians to this day is the Charaka Samhita.
The Charaka Samhita is the oldest book ever to discuss the formula and the process of making it. Many other books were written later on the composition and benefits of Chyawanprash.
Chyawanprash has a marmalade-like consistency and a dark brown color. The taste is a balance of sour and sweet. But what goes into the making of this immunity-boosting supplement? Over the years, several Ayurvedic scholars experimented with it and modified its ingredients and recipe. However, twelve core ingredients are indispensable for the preparation of this health supplement.
These ingredients are as follows:
- Safed Chandana: White sandalwood is obtained from the bark of the sandalwood tree. It shows its benefits by preventing skin infections and promoting wound healing.
- Arjun: The leaves and bark of the Arjuna tree are essential in its preparation. Arjuna plant has properties to control blood pressure and other health issues related to it.
- Tulsi: Leaves of the holy basil plant give immunity boosting powers to Chyawanprash.
- Elaichi: Pods and seeds of the green cardamom make it the ideal supplement for natural weight loss.
- Shahad: The good old honey gives a distinct taste and consistency to it. Honey is good for the health of hair and skin.
- Brahmi: The leaves of the Brahmi tree are a critical Chyawanprash ingredients, making it the ideal choice for a brain-boosting supplement.
- Kesar: Strands of saffron give Chyawanprash the property to improve sexual wellness and overall physical stamina.
- Ghrita: The Chyawanprash recipe is incomplete without adding Ghrita, commonly known as ghee or clarified butter. Ghee activates a healthier metabolism and keeps diabetes at bay.
- Amlaki: The fruits of Indian gooseberry, also known as amla in several Indian dialects, are boiled and mashed to prepare it.
- Neem: Leaves of neem are one of the main ingredients of Chyawanprash and give it the power to resist infections.
- Pippali: The Indian long pepper is used in Chyawanprash to make it the ideal tonic for digestive disturbances.
- Ashwagandha: The medicinal properties of the Ashwagandha plant are suitable for the treatment of a wide range of disorders, from infertility to severe depression.
Several Ayurvedic drug manufacturing companies have mastered their signature formula of Chyawanprash. These companies use a combination of several other ingredients in the large-scale production of this health supplement.
Vasaka (Adhatoda vasica), Dalchini (Cinnamon), Guduchi (Giloy), Shalaparni (Desmodium gangeticum), Shati (Spiked ginger lily), Lal Chandana (Red sandalwood), Jeevaka (Microstylis muscifera), Utpala (Blue star water lily), Karkataka Shringi (Crab’s claw), Maha Medha (Tendril leaf Solomon’s seal), Bala (Country mallow), Gokshura (Small caltrops), Brihati (Solanum Indicum), Sunthi (Ginger) and Mudgaparni (Wild gram)are the some of these ingredients.
The Ashvini brothers put extensive research and thought into their invention of the Chyawanprash. Each ingredient included in the recipe has a therapeutic effect on a person’s mental and physical health.
Health Benefits Of Chyawanprash
Most Indian kids have grown up eating a spoonful of Chyawanprash every day. This health supplement with a unique sweet and sour taste is a powerhouse of robust health and immunity. It has numerous therapeutic and preventive health benefits.
- Active Digestion: Chyawanprash is the most preferred digestive health supplement by most Indians. Its anti-flatulent properties make it ideal for consumption among those who battle bloating regularly. Regular consumption has magical effects on the quality of digestion. It effectively treats and prevents recurrence of constipation, gastric ulcers, IBS, and acid reflux disease.
- Cardioprotective Effect: Arjuna and Ashwagandha are the two Chyawanprash ingredients that contribute to its cardioprotective properties. Arjuna helps in enhancing the strength and tone of the heart muscles. It also regulates blood pressure, thereby reducing the burden on the heart muscles. Ashwagandha balances the cholesterol levels and prevents the blockage of coronaries.
- Rejuvenation Of Mind: Chyawanprash has properties to enhance blood circulation and increase the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. It helps the brain tissue to re-energize quickly and prevents mental stress. Taking a spoonful has long-term positive effects on mental health.
- Sexual Wellness: Chyawanprash is suitable for men who suffer from fertility and sexual ill-health. Reduced virility, infertility, loss of libido, and inability to perform well during sexual intercourse among men are some of the sexual complaints that respond well to Chyawanprash. Men and women undergoing infertility treatment may consume it with milk every night for positive results.
- Strong Metabolism: By enhancing the digestive power and improving blood circulation to the gut, Chyawanprash boosts the intestinal capacity to absorb and assimilate nutrients. Chyawanprash contributes to fat metabolism by reducing levels of harmful cholesterol. It helps to balance the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates and accelerates healthy weight loss.
- Immunity Booster: Chyawanprash has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, both of which help to enhance a person’s immunity. It helps to fight a variety of viral, bacterial, and fungal infections at bay. Vitamin C, which helps to boost immunity, is one of the main micronutrients present in Chyawanprash.
People of all age groups can consume it safely. Pregnant and lactating women, people suffering from any chronic health issue, babies, and toddlers should not consume Chyawanprash without consulting with an Ayurvedic doctor.
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Chyawanprash For A Long Life
Chyawanprash is a multi-purpose herbal supplement having numerous health benefits, which have been covered earlier in the blog. Its anti-inflammatory properties help to keep cardiac disorders and harmful metabolic disorders like diabetes at bay. It is also a powerful antioxidant that prevents premature aging of cells by controlling tissue degeneration. It helps maintain an ideal range of weight, adequate levels of cholesterol, and prevent dietary disorders. These are some of the properties of Chyawanprash, which allow preservation of good health and prolong the functionality of all body tissues. It is the key to enjoying a long and healthy life.
The Satapatha Brahmana is a book that is a commentary on the Yajurveda. It narrates a rather strange incident that occurred in the ashram of Sage Chyavana. King Sharyati was out hunting near the ashram with his children in tow. Sage Chyavana was, at that time, in deep meditation. He had been sitting in one position for so long that white ants had crawled over his entire body, leaving only his eyes visible.
The children of King Sharyati made fun of this appearance of Sage Chyavana, which enraged him. To avoid the curse that the sage laid on his family, King Sharyati offered his young daughter Sukanya to marry Maharishi Chyavana. Later the Ashvini brothers happened to visit the ashram of sage Chyavana and attempted to seduce Sukanya. Her loyalty to her husband made her reject their advances. She insisted that the Ashvini Gods help restore her husband’s youth, to which they agreed. The Maharishi ate Chyawanprash as one of the three methods to regain his youth. The story of Sukanya is yet another example of how Chyawanprash helps to enhance one’s lifespan.
Ideal Way To Consume Chyawanprash
It is one of the few health supplements that are suited to all age groups. Everyone from children to the elderly, men and women, healthy and unwell people can safely consume Chyawanprash without any side effects. The dosage will change from one individual to another depending on their age, health history, immunity, appetite, and sleep cycle, to name a few.
Ideally, it should be avoided in children below five years of age. Children aged six years and above may consume up to 1 tablespoon of Chyawanprash daily. It is safe to give teenage children about two tablespoons daily. Adults may consume as much as three tablespoons of Chyawanprash daily.
The ideal time to consume it is an hour before taking your meals. You may choose to have it with a warm glass of milk. Lactose intolerant people and vegan folks may opt for dairy-free milk like almond milk or consume Chyawanprash all by itself.
Bloating, indigestion, constipation, and other digestive troubles are some side effects of Chyawanprash. These symptoms may also occur if it is eaten after its shelf life has passed. To prevent it from spoiling, store it in an air-tight container away from heat, moisture, and light.
The Ayurvedic Connection
Charaka was an Ayurvedic doctor who lived in an era that dates back to 300 B.C. His contributions to the development of ancient Indian medical science are unparalleled. He penned the Charaka Samhita, which is one of the foundation stones of Ayurvedic science. The book is also one of the oldest in Ayurvedic literature to mention the ingredients, mode of preparation, and benefits of Chyawanprash.
Other books on Ayurveda like Ashtanga Hridayam and Sangandhara Samhita also detail the mode of preparation. Chyawanprash was used extensively in the olden days for the wellness of the body and mind. To this day, Ayurvedic physicians prescribe it and rely on its positive health effects.
Ayurveda promotes the concept of three doshas (abstract substances) within the human body. The science of Ayurveda attributes the characteristic traits of each person to the combination of the doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha).
Chyawanprash has Rasayana (rejuvenation) properties, which help balance the Kapha dosha and look after the wellness of the lungs. Rasayana therapy involves performing activities, eating food, or consuming herbal products that have a rejuvenating effect on the mind and body. Regular consumption is a form of Rasayana therapy due to its ingredients like Ginger, Saffron, and Ghee.
The effect of Chyawanprash on Kapha dosha also helps to prevent bouts of breathlessness in asthmatic patients. It has the Medhya property, which allows it to sharpen mental focus and increase cognitive power. Medhya properties help to balance the disturbances in Vata dosha and re-energize fatigued brain tissue.
Digestion, blood circulation, urine, and sweat formation are some of the physiological processes that produce toxic wastes. These wastes are known as Ama in Ayurvedic literature. It helps in detoxification by promoting the elimination of Ama from all the body tissues. Ayurveda promotes regular consumption for good health, albeit with proper guidance from an Ayurvedic doctor.
Some of the twelve core Chywanprash ingredients have now become endangered species of plants owing to rapid deforestation and lack of environmental awareness. Several governments have begun promoting the plantation and preservation of these plants. Only by including all the necessary ingredients in the Chyawanprash recipe can its medicinal potential be retained.
Including one teaspoonful in your daily diet will make a considerable difference in your health. Try it to experience its benefits!