Herbs 101

Herbs 101

Herbs 101

Did you know that herbs have healing properties just like crystals? Most people use herb magick in the kitchen without even knowing it! Before modern medicine, herbs have historically been used to alleviate physical illness symptoms and everyday pains. We can expand our understanding of herbal medicine to apply to emotional, mental, and spiritual misalignments as well, and use them for holistic healing. They can be used to bring in certain desires or expel unneeded ones and align energy systems within your body.


There are a variety of different methods to determine the properties of herbs, including Ayurvedic medicine, which is considered one of the oldest and most popular [1]. Originating in India, Ayurvedic medicine practitioners believe that our connection to life energy forces indicate how healthy we are. The food and drinks we consume can vastly shift our physical health, which influences the mental and spiritual. This is similar to the chakras in our bodies, which are wheels of energy that can affect us if they are not properly aligned [2]. Therefore, using Ayurvedic dietary practices can aid your chakra alignment.


Ensuring that we maintain a balanced diet, utilizing herbs of different properties we can balance all other aspects of our lives. Although this does not treat diseases and illnesses, it can go far in preventing them from occurring. We can use this practice to better understand the various properties herbs have with a simple breakdown of ayurvedic properties, which relate to specific physical and mental attributes.


Ayurveda uses the human body’s response to the food and drinks that are consumed as the center of its practice [3]. This can refer to the way it tastes, smells, and digests before and after you consume it. These are believed to have direct effects on your physical body, which can in turn change other aspects of ourselves. Ayurveda has four distinct categories for food and drink consumption and its relationship with the body: Rasa, Virya, Vipaka, and Prabhava [4].


Rasa correlates with the taste of an item in terms of your senses. This can be sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, or astringent [5]. Many herbs have more than one of these properties, making each individual herb and food items with herbs a unique combination. Each taste is associated with different mental, physical, and emotional effects. Depending on which properties you most commonly consume in your food or drink items, you can aid or hinder your healing journey. For example, salty foods are good at stimulating digestion, which can increase your vitality. However, overconsumption may lead to excess thirst and discomfort from heat that ends up damaging your energy source [6].


 After the initial taste and consumption of food or drink, your body will thermally react to that item, otherwise known as Virya in Ayurvedic medicine [7]. According to this practice, herbs can either be heating or cooling, which relates to other effects in the body and mind. While “hot” foods can help digestion and circulation, “cold” foods are good for inflammation and lowering body temperature [8]. This can affect our energy levels, emotional state, among other non-physical areas of our lives.


Once the food you consumed has been digested, it changes the overall intake of different types of foods within your system. Vipak refers to the long-term effects after the digestion state [8]. This is the stage that involves your overall dietary habits and the ways that over or under consumption may be affecting your health. Too much or too little absorption of a Rasa or Virya property overtime may result in a variety of different outcomes that last long past your digestion of the food [9]. This can cause certain physical ailments, such as oily skin from an overconsumption of salty food.


Although Ayurveda accounts for most properties within herbs, there are exception to the rules. Prabhava accounts for these anomalies, and the unique affects certain herbs possess beyond Rasa, Virya, and Vipak [10]. For example, cooking food with Ghee, even with differing properties, the effects of Ghee (cooling and sweet) will still be prominent [11]. Normally, they use of warming and nonsweet items would outweigh these properties, but Prabhava explains this exception.

 Sources Cited:

  1. https://www.ayurveda.com/ayurveda-a-brief-introduction-and-guide/
  2. https://www.lybrate.com/topic/how-is-chakra-healing-related-to-ayurveda/24e8713d1fd5539430645d548694aca5
  3. https://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/ayurvedic-treatments
  4. https://www.planetayurveda.com/concept-of-prabhava/
  5. https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/ayurvedic-living/living-ayurveda/diet/six-tastes/
  6. https://www.joyfulbelly.com/Ayurveda/herbal-action/Salty
  7. file://Users/enclavegems/Downloads/article_1519801883.pdf
  8. https://www.joyfulbelly.com/Ayurveda/article/How-to-Understand-Food-Like-an-Ayurvedic-Counselor-Rasa-Virya-Vipak/40
  9. https://www.easyayurveda.com/2016/04/20/vipaka-taste-conversion/
  10. https://www.easyayurveda.com/2016/04/20/prabhava-special-effect-of-herb/
  11. https://www.ayurvedacollege.com/blog/gheebiochemicaltreatise/






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