Oils are an integral part of Ayurvedic therapy. To understand this better, we can look to the Sanskrit word for oil – snehana – which contains the root-word sneha meaning love and affection. Oils (and fats) provide nourishment and protection to our bodies, and as such, are viewed as intrinsically linked to health and wellbeing. When combined with herbs, oil’s energetic properties are intensified.
Some of the most useful herbs in Ayurveda are not limited to, but may include:
- Ashwagandha – increases energy and vitality, balances stress hormones, reduces adrenal fatigue
- Brahmi (centella asiatica or bacopa monnieri) – balances brain hemispheres and increases intuition
- Cardamom – reduces Kapha which can lead to excessive mucus, weight gain, lethargy, and a sluggish metabolism
- Cumin – reduces Vata which leads to excess bloating, gas, constipation, anxiety, insomnia, and dry skin and hair
- Manjistha – balances Pitta to purify the blood and reduce inflammation, hyperacidity, oily skin, rosacea, hives, anger, impatience, and irritability; also helps regulate liver and kidney function
- Turmeric – reduces inflammation and is considered an anti-depressive, as well
- Amalaki (amla/Indian gooseberry) – high in vitamin C and contains high antioxidant powers; can boost immunity and promote longevity
- Triphala – an herb blend made of amla, haritaki, and bibhitaki; traditionally used for remedying digestive troubles by acting as a mild laxative; strengthens the digestive system and rejuvenates the liver and tissues
- Arjuna – promotes cardiovascular health
- Shatavari – translates to “she who has one hundred husbands” and is used to improve fertility and functioning of reproductive organs
- Neem – powerful blood detoxifier that works well for treating eczema and psoriasis, and can also be used for joint and muscle pain
At Acuveda, we specialize in Shirodhara, an Ayurvedic oil-dripping therapy, which comes from two Sanskrit words – shiro (head) and dhara (flow). This treatment involves pouring warm, herbed oils directly onto your forehead. It is incredibly relaxing because the flow of oil is continuous for the duration of your treatment, which is generally about 30 minutes. The five primary benefits of Shirodhara are counteracting stress, reducing anxiety, awakening intuition, improving sleep quality, and pacifying the Vata, which leads to restlessness, forgetfulness, and inattention.
If you have questions about Ayurvedic herbs and oils or would like to schedule an appointment, please call us today at (562) 646-7476.