By: Nutrition expert- Vidula Kozarekar, Mumbai.
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Chyawanprash, a household remedy in northern India is popular for its nutritional value. In Ayurveda, Chyawanprash is classified under the category of Rasayana; which aims at maintaining physique, vigour and vitality, while delaying the aging process. In recent times; it has gained immense popularity all over the world. It is a comprehensive herbal tonic, which serves as a nutrient for healthy individuals includes around 50 herbs. Chyawanprash can be consumed in all seasons, as it contains ingredients, which are whether friendly nullifying the unpleasant effects due to extreme environmental and climatic conditions (1).
This recipe has remained India’s most popular remedy for around 2000 years, since the times of the Vedas. According to the Charaka Samhita, Chyawanprash is “the foremost of all rasayanas.” It is especially good for alleviating cough and asthma. Chyawanprash has been widely used in India as tonic, rejuvenator, energizer, anabolic, immune-modulator and memory enhancer. This Ayurvedic health tonic is often called “the elixir of life” due to its numerous nutritional properties and benefits to the body (2), (3), (4).
Chyawanprash is made in amalaki (Indian gooseberry) base, which is the most useful Rasayana in maintaining homeostasis. Amla fruit paste, the major ingredient of Chyawanprash, is the richest source of vitamin C.
Health benefits of Chyavanprash:
According to Charaka Samhita (the ancient Ayurvedic text book for internal medicine), Chyawanprash has been known to promote following conditions:
Regular consumption of chyawanprash strengthens digestion, absorption and assimilation. It eases constipation. Piper longum, Cinnamon zeylanicum, and Emblica officinalis help correct hyperacidity, dyspepsia, and flatulence. Cinnamomum tamala helps reduce intestinal cramping and flatulence. Aegle marmelos and Pistacia integerrima alleviate intestinal inflammation and diarrhoea. Terminalia chebula have anti-ulcer, astringent and mild laxative effects (5).
- Immune system
Due to its high vitamin C content, Chyawanprash is well known to enhance the immune system and thereby reducing the incidence of common infections like cough, cold and fever.
- Brain and heart
Amla is a very good cardiac stimulant and helps in the smooth functioning of the heart. Chyawanprash nourishes the neuronal cells and promotes intelligence and memory. It has a calming effect on Central Nervous System (CNS), thereby reducing anxiety and stress induced psychiatric problems and imparts sound sleep. Nagkesar, guduchi, nagarmotha, vidarikand, kanwal, agar, ashwagandha, shalparni, prishniparni and amalaki help to sharpen the CNS (5).
- Respiratory system
Chyawanprash helps in the smooth functioning of the respiratory system by maintaining moisture balance and stimulating the metabolism. Pistacia integerrima, Adhatoda vasica, Inula racemosa, Tinospora cordifolia, Cinnamomum tamala and Mesua ferrea are commonly used to alleviate cough, asthmatic breathing, and bronchi spasm. Piper longum, Elettaria cardamomum are used for respiratory infections (5), (6).
- Hair, skin, bones and teeth
Chyawanprash helps improve skin complexion and prevent skin infections. It promotes hair growth and helps in calcium absorption and hence strengthening of bones and teeth.
- As a liver tonic
The presence of herbs like Bhumiamalaki (Phyllanthus niruri), Amla (Emblica officinalis), Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa), and Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) makes chyawanprash a very good liver tonic. It is believed that Chyawanprash purifies blood, eliminates toxins and is beneficial to liver (7), (8).
It also works as an antioxidant, thus slowing down the aging process. It lowers blood glucose and blood cholesterol levels. It also improves muscle tone by enhancing protein synthesis. It enhances fertility and keeps menstruation regular. It has also shown benefits in decreasing anxiety, stress and depression. It is effective in enhancing libido and fertility in both sexes. It thickens semen in males and streamlines menstrual cycle in females. Gokhru, varahikand, til oil, shatavari, vidarikand, bala, jivanti, mudgaparni, mashparni, ashwagandha and vanshlochan, have been found to act as aphrodisiac (9), (10), (11), (12), (13).
In the wake of the Covid 19 outbreak, entire mankind across the globe is suffering. Enhancing the body’s natural defence system (immunity) plays an important role in maintaining optimum health. We all know that prevention is better than cure. While there is no medicine for COVID-19 as of now, it will be good to take preventive measures which boost our immunity in these times.
Ministry of AYUSH has recommended consumption of Chyawanprash to boost immunity in this pandemic. Ministry has suggested to take Chyawanprash 10gm (1tsf) in the morning. Diabetics should take sugar free Chyawanprash (14).
- Charak Samhita. Chikitsasathanam. Motilal Banarsidas. Banaras, 1954; Vol II: 4.
- Wagner H. Therapy and Prevention with Immunomodulatory and Adaptogenic Plant Drugs. Update. Ayurveda, Bombay, 1994; 24–26.
- Sharma RK. Samhita Chikitsa Sthanam, 1st edn. Varanasi: India: Bhagwan Dash Choukhambha Sanskrit Series Office. 1988; 20–22.
- Sharma PV. Dravayagun- Vigyan, Chaukhamba Bharti Academy, Varanasi, Vol II, 2003; 535.
- Ojha JK, Khanna NN, Bajpay HS, Sharma NA. Clinical study on Chyawanprash as an adjuvant in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis. J Res Ind Med. 1975; 10:11–14.
- Jeena KJ, Kuttan R. Hepatoprotectice activity of Emblica officinalis and Chyavanaprash. J Ethnopharmacol. 2000; 72:135–40.
- Handa SS, Sharma A, Chakraborti KK. Natural products and plants as liver protecting drugs. Fitoterapia 1986; 57:307–21.
- Manjunatha S, Jaryal AK, Bijlani RL, Sachdeva U, Gupta SK. Effect of Chyawanprash and Vitamin C on glucose tolerance and lipoprotein profile. Indian J Physio. 2001; 45:71-79.
- Shastri AD. Bhaishjya-Ratnavalli, Chaukhambha Sanskrit Bhawan, Varanasi, 1996; 286.
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