What are the Most Useful Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants?

Donn Saylor

There are more than 500 useful Ayurvedic medicinal plants. Three of the most commonly utilized are Vatsanabhi, or Aconitum ferox, Patha, and Bala. Each of these plants works in tandem with the principles of Ayurvedic medicine, which seeks to heal the body and mind through balancing the system's elemental energies. Plants used for Ayurvedic treatment are normally dried, ground, and taken as supplements.

Vatsanabhi is a medicinal plant that might relieve back pain.
Vatsanabhi is a medicinal plant that might relieve back pain.

Vatsanabhi, or Aconitum ferox, is one of the most popular and widely utilized Ayuvedic medicinal plants. A member of the aconite genus, Vatsanabhi was one of the first plants used in the practice of Ayurveda upon its inception around 1500 BC. Skin diseases, lower back pain, and respiratory ailments may be aided by use of Vatsanabhi.

Patha is a commonly used Ayurvedic medicinal plant, and is common throughout India.
Patha is a commonly used Ayurvedic medicinal plant, and is common throughout India.

This plant is a biennial herb with long blue flowers that grows in many areas around India and throughout the Himalayan peninsula. The root tubers of Vatsanabhi have long been recognized as the most beneficial part of the plant, though their toxicity levels are extremely high. Even in moderate doses, the plant can be lethal. Vatsanabhi should only be consumed under the care of an Ayuvedic physician who can properly monitor dosage and the herb's effects on the body.

Patha is another of the most commonly used Ayurvedic medicinal plants. It is primarily employed for its calming effects on the brain and circulatory system. It can also be used to treat conditions of the reproductive and digestive systems. The leaves of Patha are lustrous and vibrant green, and the plant sprouts small yellow flowers; the fruit of the Patha is red and hairy. This plant is common throughout India.

Among Ayurvedic medicinal plants, none is perhaps more typically prescribed then Bala. It is a popular cure-all and immune system booster and grows as an undershrub. The roots and leaves are the most commonly used parts of the Bala plant, which is prescribed for a number of conditions, including arthritis, asthma and fevers. It may also be used to treat hemorrhoids and general aches and pains. It grows abundantly as a weed in the hotter regions of India.

Ayurvedic plants in supplement form can be purchased from Ayurvedic pharmacies and certain health food retailers. When used in conjunction with the appropriate energy systems, or doshas, within the body, these plants can help restore health and balance. Ayuvedic medical experts stress the importance of following a professional's advice since the plants in Ayurveda each possess their own unique properties and some, like Vitsanabhi, can be lethal.

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