Medicinal Herbs and Their Uses

Medicinal Herbs and Their Uses


Ashish Paul is one of very few herbalists educated both in Ayurveda and Western Herbal Medicine. Ashish believes passionately about educating people in relation to the advantages of combining the ancient practice of Ayurvedic medicine with its rich history alongside the familiar benefits of Western Herbal Medicine.  Here are some everyday but medicinal herbs used in our treatments and their benefits.

Basil – Ocilum basilicum – tea has antiseptic qualities to aid nausea.  Infusion aids indigestion, loss of appetite, flatulence and bloating. Refreshing bath.  Applied externally a crushed leaf relieves insect bites and stings.  Soothes a sore throat and is a cold remedy too.

Bay – Laurus nobilis – young leaves dried and used in an infusion are used to treat digestive disorders, such as colic and stomach bloating.

Caraway – Carum carvi – seeds can be chewed to give relief for indigestion and wind.

Cardamom – Elettaria cardamomum – seeds can be chewed to sweeten breath.  Digestive tonic.

Chamomile – Chamaemelum nobile – Chamomile tea is a good tonic and is said to prevent restlessness and nightmares.  Improves appetite.

Coriander – Coriandum satinum – tea made from bruised seeds, relieves indigestion and wind.  Chewing seeds sweetens breath after eating garlic.

Dill – Anethum gravedens – seeds are effective for treating indigestion and hiccups, particularly in infants and young children.  Infusion of dried seeds treats digestive problems. Poultice of leaves and dried fruits can be used to treat bruises and gum infections.

Fennel – Foeniculum – flowers of bronze plant can be chewed for a breath sweetener.  Seeds and leaves used as a facial steam to deep clean skin.  Tea aids digestion, indigestion, wind and colic.  Improves milk flow when breastfeeding.

Feverfew – Chrysanthemum parthenium – leaves infused for tea may help migraine sufferers and relieve muscular tension.

Garlic – Allium sativum – normalises blood pressure, yeast and bacterial infections, colds and is a cell rebuilder.  It is a cell rebuilder and strengthens the immune system.  Aids digestion, gas, motion and morning sickness.  Lowers bad cholesterol and increases good.

Ginger – Zingiber officinale – Raw ginger increases metabolism, is an anti-flatulent, appetizer, aids digestion and mildly laxative.  An infusion from a raw piece of ginger can aid nausea (inc morning sickness), vomiting, poor digestion, period pains, flatulence and diarrhoea.

Horseradish – Armoracia rusticana – young leaves added to salads and smoked fish pates.  Fresh root shredded to make sauce, traditionally served with beef.

Hops – Humulus lupulus – tea made from the infusion of flowers and a little honey has a calming effect and helps hangovers.  The tea added to a bath (1 litre) relieves nervous problems.

Lavender – Infusion of flower heads added to a cup of boiling water soothes and relaxes at bedtime, helps nervous agitation and digestive problems.  Avoid during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Lemon balm – Melissa officinalis – crushed leaf brings relief from insect bites and stings.

Lemon grass – Cymbopogon citrates – taken internally, a cooling herb that eases digestive upsets and minor feverish illnesses.

Lemon verbena – leaves used to make teas (hot or iced) and finger bowls.  Soak pads in tea and place on eyes to reduce puffiness.  Helps in bronchial and nasal congestion.

Marjoram – Origanum majorana – infusion of leaves relieves cold, coughs, flu, tonsillitis, bronchitis and digestive problems.  Do not use medicinally when pregnant.

Mint – Mentha spicata – infusion of dried leaves eases bloating, sluggish digestion, belching and flatulence.  Fresh leaves in boiling water can soothe colds and oral infections by inhaling steam or using as a mouthwash.  Teas relaxing and relieves colds.  Hair rinse to relieve scalp.

Oregano – Origanum vulgare – infusion of aerial parts can ease abdominal wind, stomach upsets and bronchitis.

Parsley – Petroselinum – leaves rich in vitamins (especially A & C) and minerals.  Help digestion and freshen breath – so eat your garnish ….

Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis – relaxing tea for tension headaches and low spirits, as a restorative after viral infections and as to aid digestion.  Use in bathwater for an invigorating effect.    Also improves blood flow to the brain – good for improving cognitive functions

 Sage – Salvia officinalis – tea gargled or used as a mouthwash good for sore throats, mouth ulcers and gum infections.  Taken as tea has a tonic effect on nervous and digestive systems and can help regulate women’s hormonal imbalances, via its oestrogen content, especially during menopause.  Not to be taken internally when pregnant.

Thyme – Thymus vulgaris – soothing tea for chest pains, an aid to sleeping and to relieve coughs, colds and throat and chest infections.  Strong infusion can be gargled for throat, gum infections and thrush.

Internal medicines used in Ayurvedic treatments

Internal medicines used in Ayurvedic treatments

Following the traditional Ayurvedic principles, medicines, both for external and internal use, are prepared and organically grown local herbs from our herbal garden or an approved provider.

Internal medicines used in Ayurvedic treatments

Typically include:

Kashayam – A herbal decoction

Choornam – A powdered medicine

Gulika – Tablets

Lehyam – Herbal Paste

Gritham – Medicated ghee.

Arishtam/ Asavam -Fermented decoction

Oils or Thailas:

Oils used as part of Panchakarma and other procedures are prepared with an herbal decoction or fresh herbal juice. They are mixed with a medicinal herbal paste and sesame oil as the base and cooked together. This process is a long procedure taking up to 2-5 days to prepare to ensure the whole mix reaches a non-sticky stage after continuous stirring. The therapist massages this oil onto the skin making sure it is completely absorbed. This oil nourishes and regenerates the cells, stimulates the lymphatic system, releases the toxins and carries them to the surface of the skin. After treatment, the skin is washed with a paste made of chicken pea and lentil flour.

Continuation of the prescribed medication even after the treatment is recommended.