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How Ayurvedic Herbs Work

herbal-treatment By Christine Tara Peterson, PhD AHP and Deepak Chopra, MD

From being unknown in the West, the past twenty years have seen a rise of popularity in the West for Ayurveda, the traditional medical system of India. From an Ayurvedic perspective, disease originates in the digestive tract. A potential disorder is identified during the first stage of imbalance as it develops in the gut.  Considering the huge interest that has developed around the microbiome, Ayurveda has for centuries looked to the digestive tract as the root cause of disease, and the location of prevention and cure.

Medicinal herbs play a key role in the Ayurvedic treatment plan. They’ve now caught on throughout integrative medicine, but how do they work? Herbs might promote therapeutic benefits via a variety of mechanisms, not all of them known or even discovered yet. The known mechanisms are already quite intriguing. They include the direct absorption across the intestinal lining into the bloodstream, taste receptor signaling on both the tongue and intestinal walls, bacterial metabolism in the gut, and secretions of various health-promoting products called postbiotics by the intestinal microbes upon breaking down the herbs.

If you are attracted to the herbal applications of Ayurveda, looking into how they work is fascinating. It is also chemically complex, much more than the word “herb’ usually implies—Ayurvedic herbs potentially yield a host of medicinal properties with far-reaching effects on multiple targets and body systems. Their complexity stands in stark contrast to drugs that affect single targets. Therefore, many herbs commonly used in Ayurveda are adaptogens: they have the chemical“intelligence,” based on their complexity, to perform multiple services for the body.

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Respiratory and Immunity Concerns - Now is the Time to Boost Your Immunity

washinghands Respiratory and Immunity Concerns - Now is the Time to Boost Your Immunity

You’ve probably read the warnings to wash your hands, avoid shaking hands with others, and cough into your sleeve during colder weather or when you are not feeling well.

Yet taking precautions can go much farther. For instance, have you taken steps to boost your immunity? After all, a healthy immune system is your best defense.

“Strengthening and maintaining immunity is a vital part of any wellness program or approach,” says Chris Clark, M.D., former Director of the Raj Ayurveda Health Center, and author of Ayurvedic Healing. “You want to give yourself the best opportunity for health, and for that you want to optimize your immune system.”

According to Dr. Clark, immunity is weaker during the seasonal transition from winter to spring. As temperatures fluctuate, so does our gut health, causing toxins to overwhelm the digestive system. At the same time, sleep cycles and other biorhythms are disrupted in the days after Daylight Saving Time begins.

“So there are two factors happening at the same time: the change of seasons and the disruption of normal circadian rhythms due to Daylight Saving Time,” Dr. Clark says.

Fortunately, Maharishi Ayurveda offers a wealth of health tips to fortify immunity no matter what your age. Here are five simple ways to shore up your immune power.

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