Amalaki: Highest Source of Vitamin C

Amalaki: Highest Source of Vitamin C

Amalaki: Highest Source of Vitamin C

The fruit of the Amla tree (amalaki) contains the highest amount of vitamin C than any other known source. There is approximately 750 mg of vitamin C in 10g of fresh fruit. Visually, it looks like a large white grape when fresh. If a person found an amla tree and bit into the fruit, they would experience an extremely sour taste, but the flavor soon turns sweet. (After amla has been cooked and processed in medicinal form, it will no longer have an extremely sour taste- it will be just mildly sour.)

Even though Amalaki is sour, it has a cooling effect on the body- making it especially useful for pacifying the pitta dosha. Normally the sour taste is contraindicated for individuals with high pitta in their bodies. However, amla has a prabhava, or special quality of cooling, and is an exception to this rule.

Like many ayurvedic herbs, Amalaki works on many systems in the body. For example, it can increase reproductive fluids and sexual potency- so is considered an aphrodisiac. It has an affinity toward the rakta dhatu, or blood tissue. Due to this, it purifies the blood, is a heart tonic, and can heal bleeding disorders. It can also lower cholesterol and help rectify arterial damage.

Digestively speaking, Amla is especially useful in inflammatory disorders- such as ulcers, colitis, gastritis, and bleeding conditions. In small doses, it can be constipating, but in large doses it can be a laxative. It extracts toxins from the liver. It has the rare quality of increasing agni, or digestive fire, without aggravating the pitta dosha.

Amla can increase energy- so it is a great immune system tonic and builder. It is a main ingredient in Cyanaprasa- the superb and ancient Ayurvedic rejuvenative tonic. It can be used to strengthen a person if they are weak or experiencing debility. In addition to being rejuvenating, this herb has been called an adaptogen and has been indicated in slowing the aging process. It increases virility, vitality, and is an immune-restorative.

Amalaki pacifies vitiated sadhak pitta, which is a sub-dosha of pitta that deals with the way information is digested in the mind. In other words, if a person is feeling mentally “on fire” or aggravated, amla can help relieve this. It has been known to impart a peaceful state of mind and quality of wellbeing on a person’s psyche.

Amla is also very nourishing for the hair. You will find it in ayurvedic hair products or in henna hair powders as a conditioner and nourishing ingredient. It alleviates hair loss and early greyness as well.

 

Ashwagandha Lattes

Ashwagandha Lattes

Ashwagandha Lattes for Abundant Energy and Peaceful Sleep

Ashwagandha for both abundant energy and peaceful sleep? How is that possible? I’m here to answer that question and to provide you with two delicious ashwagandha latte recipes that will harness these dualistic properties of ashwagandha, so you can kick off your day with healthy energy and relax into restful night’s sleep.

An adaptogen, ashwagandha is useful in all conditions that are caused by stress. Read the full article on Ashwagandha here.

Ashwagandha maximizes the body’s ability to resist and respond to stress in a healthy way, while also calming the nerves and sustaining vital energy throughout the day. It helps reduce excess heat, relaxes the muscles, and calms the nervous system so you can let go of the day, both physically and mentally, and can then drift off to sleep.

Ashwagandha has multiple benefits as a nighttime beverage. In fact, its botanical name, Withania somnifera, tells us something about its connection to sleep. Somnifera translates to “sleep-inducing,” reflecting its relaxing and calming properties that bring us energy by supporting deeper rest.

Welcome ashwagandha into your day with these warm ashwagandha drink recipes. The morning latte will give you an energized yet calm and balanced kickstart to your day, and the second recipe will help your mind and body relax and wind down for sound sleep. This is only a taste of what ashwagandha can do for you! 

Good Morning Ashwagandha Matcha Latte

Ashwagandha’s powers are accentuated by matcha in this recipe. Matcha, a powdered green tea, is made from the whole tea leaf and is loaded with natural antioxidants, providing a sense of calm while also promoting awareness.
Matcha also contains high levels of an amino acid called L-theanine, which calms muscles. Plus, matcha contains moderate amounts of caffeine for a gentle energy lift. Blend this superfood with the goodness of ashwagandha and you will be ready to take on the day.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces heated water
  • 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  • 1 teaspoon ashwagandha powder
  • 1 cup whole grass-fed milk (or substitute, see below for suggestions)
  • Maple syrup to taste
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon powder

Directions:
Add matcha and ashwagandha to a large mug. Pour in water (heated to approximately 180 degrees), and mix vigorously with a whisk until completely dissolved. Stir in heated milk, sweeten with maple syrup to taste, and top with a pinch of cinnamon.

 

Good Night Ashwagandha Chamomile Latte

Ashwagandha’s ability to help the body relax into a restful night’s sleep is strengthened in this recipe with the aid of other popular herbs. Well-known as a sleep aid, chamomile (both European and Egyptian) has been consumed for centuries for its calming and relaxing effect on the nervous system. The floral flavors work well in this recipe with the earthy ashwagandha.

Turmeric works its magic while you are sleeping, easing excess heat, boosting the immune system, and supporting healthy intestinal flora. The ginger and cardamom aid the digestive process, while the cinnamon can help to support healthy blood sugar. Nutmeg crowns this golden latte, calming the mind, while also adding its warming and fragrant nature.

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces purified water
  • 2 tablespoons dried chamomile
  • 1 teaspoon ashwagandha powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ inch ginger root, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • ¼ inch piece of cinnamon
  • 1 cup grass-fed milk (or milk substitute, see below suggestions)
  • Maple syrup to taste
  • 1 pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (powdered is also fine)

Directions:

In a small pot bring water to a boil. Add chamomile, ashwagandha, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon. Lower heat to a simmer and cover for 5 minutes. Strain the herbs from the concentrated liquid and pour into a mug.
While the herbs are simmering, bring the milk to a gentle boil. Remove from heat.  

Once the herbs have finished simmering, pour the liquid into a mug while straining out the herbs. Pour milk over the tea. Sweeten to taste with the maple syrup. Add a pinch of nutmeg to finish.
Sip on this delightful drink a half hour to an hour before bed, before you begin your bedtime routine.

Milk Substitutes

Please feel free to use a milk substitute for either of these recipes. A creamier type is recommended, such as coconut, or even macadamia.
You can also use other nut milks as substitutes. I encourage to you choose a substitute that is appropriate for your dosha, be it vata, pitta, or kapha, and to make your own nut milk rather than store bought. It will not contain stabilizers or preservatives and generally be healthier for you. And yummier too!

Bulletproof Coffee Ayurveda Style

Bulletproof Coffee Ayurveda Style

How Can This Ayurvedic Recipe Make Your Coffee Better?

Coffee is stimulating and depleting, but adding this Ayurvedic coffee booster can help mitigate the harmful effects of coffee. Grass-fed butter (rich in vitamin A which is key for adrenal and thyroid health) and nourishing coconut oil contain stable, healthy saturated fats that soothe your nerves and help protect your stomach lining from acidic coffee.

Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants, but is also a very strong stimulant and is therefore only recommended when it can be balanced with formulas such as this one. It is one of the few ways that Vata-types can safely enjoy a cup of coffee without getting over-stressed and depleting their adrenals. Even though it is high in fats, the idea is to utilize bulletproof coffee in a way that the fats are used as a source of energy. The fats help ‘time-release’ the caffeine for longer, sustainable energy.

Roasted dandelion gives a complementary flavor and supports the liver and adrenals. Cinnamon, Cardamom, and Rose are cooling and demulcent which will balance the heating and drying effects of coffee. Ashwagandha & Shatavari are a potent adaptogenic powerhouse that nourish the adrenals and nervous system. 

Enjoy the Bulletproof Coffee Booster with coffee, coffee alternatives (Veda Roast), tea, desserts, snack bars, and shakes!

 

5 Spices for Rest & Digest

5 Spices for Rest & Digest

Ayurveda has been using a powerhouse 5 spice blend for digestion and not only for everyday use and prevention but help to heal issues at the root. The most common reported digestive symptoms are gas, bloating, indigestion, and abdominal discomfort. When these symptoms occur, even (and especially) if it’s subtle, it is vital not to ignore them for long term health.

If you have not been diagnosed with any severe digestive issues, then consider working with a practitioner to reset your digestive strength and efficiency naturally with diet & lifestyle modifications, and of course herbs and spices. These 5 spices in particular have been used for thousands of years with repeated success. 

  • Fennel
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Cardamom
  • Ginger

Commonly in Indian restaurants, you may see a bowl of fennel seeds offered after a meal. What I appreciate most about these spices is how they reset digestive function without creating dependency (like enzymes could) and they are as gentle as they are potent. These spices actually support the body’s natural ability to digest, rather then just addressing symptoms. Digestive enzymes only temporarily provide enzymes to digest protein and starches, while this 5 spice blend will amp up the body’s ability to produce its own digestive enzymes and bile.

Digestive Benefits:

  • Increases bile flow
  • Supports Pancreatic enzymatic activity
  • Boosts small intestine enzymatic activity
  • Decreases gas & bloating
  • Improves fat & sugar metabolism 
  • Promotes optimal weight
  • Supports healthy microbiome
  • Increases healthy growth rate of beneficial bacteria
  • Stimulates digestive organs
  • Quickens intestinal transit time supporting health elimination

 

Why these spices?

Coriander – Coriander is probably the most cooling of the five. The seeds are commonly used in herbal remedies. The leaves, known as cilantro, are slightly less cooling then the seeds whereas the seeds are best known for their digestive properties of cooling excess pitta in the intestinal tract, making it a go-to for heartburn. It is a natural carminative meaning it prevents or relieves gas from the GI tract. Coriander has also been shown to increase natural production of bile from the liver and digestive enzymes from the pancreas. 

 

Cardamom – A member of the ginger family, Ayurveda reveres this spice in making your dishes more digestible and delicious! (Especially masala chai!) Cardamom also neutralizes the stimulating effects of caffeine, allowing chai to boost digestion without taxing the nervous system. It is also fondly known to reduce the extreme acidity of many foods and caffeinated beverages (including coffee) and is the signature spice in traditional Turkish coffee. These reasons and more are why I added it to my Bulletproof Coffee Blend. When cooked into your food, it balances excess mucus, gas, and bloating in the stomach and small intestine. Cardamom has also been found to support healthy liver function, supporting healthy levels of cholesterol and weight loss. 

 

Cumin – Cumin, we dare say, is the most powerful digestive tonic of the five spices. While very effective alone, it blends well in both taste and effectiveness with the others. It is much like coriander in that it cools the digestive system, as well as boosts strength, supports health assimilation, cultivation of good microbes, and detoxification of the GI tract. Cumin is the go-to for gas & bloating. 

 

 

Fennel – Not only does it combat gas and bloating, it is extremely gentle for digestive stress and as one of Ayurveda favorite lymph-movers, containing natural antioxidant compounds that support healthy lymphatic function.As a lymph mover, it also supports healthy lactation and radiant skin, inside & out. Fennel seeds are considered to be the most sattvic of spices(promoting purity and balance), because of it’s optimal balancing effect on all the Doshas. It is considered one of the best digestive herbs as it strengthens digestive fire (Agni) without aggravating pitta, and is beneficial for abdominal cramping, nausea and dispelling flatulence.

 

Ginger – Known in Ayurveda as the ‘universal spice’ because of its many health benefits. It is heating for the upper digestion, with its pungent taste, but cooling and soothing for the lower digestion, as a result of its sweet aftertaste. It is therefore considered to be tri-doshic, balancing all Doshas (except in excess). Ginger is the classic kindling to start digestive fire in the stomach. Ginger has been studied to support the body’s natural production of stomach acid, pancreatic enzymes, and liver bile – acting as a digestive reset for all aspects of the upper digestive system. Scientific studies have shown it supports healthy microbes and intestinal wall, while acting as a digestive stimulant for nutrient assimilation.

 

In my Rest & Digest Tea, I combined these 5 spices in proprietary amounts for a delicious taste and optimal effectiveness of each spice. To make it even more special I added Indian Sarsaparilla. This brings the tummy soothing feeling and is known for aiding in many digestive ailments.

Digestive strength is the number one thing assessed in an Ayurvedic consultation. “When diet is correct, medicine is of no need, when diet is wrong, medicine is of no use” – Ayurvedic Proverb
If you are having problems with digestion, assimilation, and elimination, it is the root cause of all imbalance and disease in your body. Please consider a “Clarity Call” with Seva Ayurveda to see if Ayurveda can help you!

Plant Based Collagen

Plant Based Collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It is found in our skin, blood vessels, muscles, bones, tendons, and the organs of the digestive system. It is what helps give our skin strength and elasticity while also replacing dead skin cells. When it comes to joints and tendons, Collagen is the glue that binds them together.

The skin, nails, bones, and connective tissue (even our organs) need collagen to be strong and radiant.

Collagen production naturally declines as we age yet if you nourish and take in high quality collagen sources you can take generous preventative measures towards reducing loss. The herbs used in our Collagen Support tea have substantial scientific studies claiming their benefits towards building Collagen.

Horsetail Herb Collagen Horsetail – Horsetail is an ancient plant known and used by our ancestors. The hollow stems and shoots of horsetail are a rich source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and silica. The form of silica it is abundant with, is easily absorbed by the body. Silica is an essential trace mineral for developing, strengthening and maintaining healthy bones, teeth, and nails. Silica also restores weak connective tissues in blood vessels, cartilage, tendons. Silica speeds the healing of bone injuries and increases density. It may help in arthritic conditions by improving the elasticity of the joints & is recommended for athletes to prevent, or heal from injuries.

Gynostemma – Gynostemma is a rich source of healthy vitamins and minerals, a strong adaptogen equal to ginseng, and it contains two very important antioxidants – glutathione and superoxide dismutase.  Gymnema has many rejuvenating benefits against stress and premature aging. It is commonly used for its energizing effects, digestive support, cardiovascular health, and hormone balancing. It’s demulcent qualities provide nourishment to the gut as it helps flush the intestinal walls and is anti-inflammatory.

Nettle – Nettle contains a high amount of calcium, silica and sulfur, making it an excellent source to help boost collagen receptors. Nettle is a valuable tonic that can support literally all the systems in the body, and the adrenals, thyroid and pancreas. Nettle is a multi-vitamin, especially rich in calcium, magnesium, carotene, potassium, and protein. Also rich in Silica and Sulfur, for strengthening the hair follicle, shaft, and strands to prevent easy breakage. The abundance of minerals and protein in Nettles nourish the scalp and promote healthy hair. Due to its also high antioxidant makeup, it assists in combating the effects of multiple stressors.

Calendula – Calendula is widely known and used for its phenomanal abilities to restore skin, assist in wound healing and activate Calendulacollagen receptors to increase your glow. Folk medicine shows its beautifying chemistry, from preventing wrinkles, healing wounds and scars, and oxygenating the blood, protecting the skin from cellular and oxidative damage

Hibiscus – Hibiscus is very high in Vitamin C. The role of Vitamin C in the production of collagen is to interact with amino acids within Collagen cells adding hydrogen and oxygen so the amino acids may do their part in collagen production.

Comfrey – Claimed to be “one of nature’s greatest medicinal herbs” Comfrey is potent tissue strengthener, containing very high amounts of calcium, magnesium and Vitamin C. Countless studies and reports show its strong anti-inflammatory effects and ability to heal breaks and wounds at record speed. Comfrey is used here to enhance to overall potency of this formula.

Brahmi Gotu Kola

Gotu Kola – Gotu kola is rich in antioxidants and contains saponins which improve the appearance of the skin. Many cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies are interested in it because of its ability to reduce the appearance of scars, wrinkles, and other blemishes. According to research studies, gotu kola is also effective in the treatment of wounds, burns, and hypertrophic scars. Some studies also suggest that the use of gotu kola or its components may be useful in the treatment of psoriasis and scleroderma. Gotu kola is a common ingredient of cosmetics applied to skin, also in cellulite and striae. Gotu Kola is also know to increase cognitive function.

Brahmi – Brahmi is very similar to Gotu Kola. It is the ‘indian’ version. Most known and used for it’s ability to boost cognitive function, but recently discovered in some studies to increase the collagen levels of your visceral tissue. Repairing intestinal lining to prevent leaky gut etc.

Seva Ayurveda Collagen Support Tea is all plant based and a powerhouse combination! We all need this support for our bodies. This tea is so delicious and floral! Serve it hot or make it as a sun tea for the summer!

 

 

Ashwagandha aka ‘Junior Ginseng’

Ashwagandha aka ‘Junior Ginseng’

Ashwagandha in Ayurveda means “smelling like a horse”. When it was discovered in ancient times this is how they identified this herb. The English name is ‘Winter Cherry’. It has beautiful leafy greens and small red berries. It is part of the nightshade family so if you have allergies to night shades please choose a different adaptogen to work with.

Ashwagandha is known for being a tonic, rejuvenative, nervine, aphrodisiac, sedative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant. A superb remedy for nervous exhaustion. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen. Adaptogens help the body adapt to various stressors—e.g., heat, cold, exertion, trauma, sleep deprivation, toxic exposure, radiation, infection, psychological stress. Ginseng is regarded by some as the prototypic adaptogen. Ashwagandha can be considered a ‘junior’ ginseng, making it the least over stimulating of the ginseng family.

In Ayurveda, adaptogens are known as ‘rasayanas’ which are herbs believed to promote youthfulness and increase resistance to illness. 

Ashwagandha as an adaptogen, appears to enhance endocrine function, and can help support an under-active thyroid and support balanced functioning for the testes and adrenal glands. It is often used in Ayurvedic formulas to support fertility and vitality in men. For women, it can be supportive during heavy periods because it is rich in iron and has been used as a uterine tonic.

For the immune system, ashwagandha has a balancing action and can be used in the presence of either hyper- or hypo-immune function.

General uses include:

Nerve exhaustion
Loss of memory
Loss of muscle energy
Insomnia
Paralysis
MS
Weakened Eyes
Rheumatism
Anemia
Fatigue
Infertility

Contraindications:
Severe congestion, high ama (toxins), lymph congestion, cold and flu.

Ayurvedic herbalism uses ashwagandha for general debility and exhaustion, emaciation, memory loss, nerve diseases, cough, anemia, anxiety, and insomnia. Study after study confirms the stress tolerance, performance and endurance enhancing benefits of this herb. It has been shown to increase physical working capacity, increase the size of the heart and the content of blood sugar fuel in the heart and liver.

In another double – blind clinical study, ashwagandha was taken 3 g per day for 1 year, was tested on the process of aging in 101 healthy male adults (50-59 years of age). Significant improvements in hemoglobin, red blood cells, hair pigment and seated stature were observed. Serum cholesterol decreased, nail calcium was preserved and 71.4% of those who received the herb reported improvement in sexual performance.

Ayurveda considers it a ‘grounding’ herb. One that nourishes and regulates metabolic processes and stabilizes mood. As well as being a slow-acting tonic herb, this remedy seems to regulate sleep cycles over time. It also has anti-oxidant activity in the brain, which support anti-inflammatory and anti-aging benefits. Ashwagandha promotes sound sleep and supports Yoga and meditation.

A typical dose is about a gram per day, taken over long periods up to several years, as a rejuvenator. Ashwagandha is typically given with pungent, heating herbs (ginger, pepper, etc.) to increase its tonic effects.

Ashwagandha was named “Herb of the Year” in 2019 and I have included it in my Ayurvedic products such as Veda Roast coffee alternative, Bulletproof Coffee Booster, and Golden Sleep.

 

Authors note:

*I have brought you this article through research conducted by the writings and wisdom of my teacher and mentor for Ayurvedic Herbs, KP Khalsa. He was the chief formulator for Yogi Teas, and highly credentialed in East West clinical herbal and dietary nutrition. Through him I have taken courses on Ayurvedic Herbs for Women & Integrated Herbology of Ayurvedic, Chinese, & Western Herbs.

*The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs by Michael Terra & KP Khalsa