Ayurvedic Cooking

Ayurveda is a form of traditional medicine in use primarily in India. Ayurveda believes that various materials of vegetable, animal, and mineral origin have some medicinal value. The medicinal properties of these materials are time tested and have been used for centuries in ayurvedic medicines to cure illness and/or help maintain health.

Ayurvedic medicaments are made from herbs or mixtures of herbs, either alone or in combination with minerals, metals and other ingredients of animal origin. The metals, animals and minerals are purified by individual processes before being used for medicinal purposes. Impurified materials are not allowed to be used as medicine.

The forms of Ayurvedic medicaments are:

* Fresh juice of herbs

* Quath : Crushed herbs, used as decoction or tea for internal and external uses

* Churna : Fine powdered herbs, used as medicine with water or in food for internal and external uses

* Taila : Herbs cooked in edible oil according to rules laid down for internal and external uses

* Ghrat/Ghrit : Herbs cooked in clarified butter

* Asav/Arista/Sura : a kind of light wine obtained from fermentation of herbs

* Arka : A distillation of herbs

* Rasausadhi/Kharliya Rasayan : Herbs mixed with metals, minerals and animal ingredients

* Bhasma : Ashes

* Parpaty : combinations of Metals, Minerals, Animal ingredients and Herbs

* Kshar/Lavan/Salt/Drava : these are specially prepared medicaments

* Guggula based medicaments

* Lauha Bhasam : Mandoor Bhasam based medicaments

* Avaleha/Modak/Paak/Prash : Herbs cooked in Jaggery or sugar

* Bati/Gutika/Goli : Mixtures of medicines shaped in pills, pillules or tablets for ease of administration

* Pralep/Anjan/Varti/Dhoop : Liniments, drops, paint, paste etc. for external uses

Ayurvedic tastes

Ayurveda holds that the tastes of foods or herbs have specific physiological effects. Those tastes that transform after digestion (Vipaka) are more powerful.

* Sweet (Madhura) - Sweet foods nourish, cool, moisten, oil, and increase weight
* Sour (Amla) - Sour foods warm, oil, and increase weight
* Salty (Lavan) - Salty foods warm, dissolve, stimulate, soften, oil, and increase weight
* Bitter (Katu) - Bitter foods cool, dry, purify and decrease weight
* Pungent (Tikta) - Pungent foods warm, dry, stimulate, and decrease weight
* Astringent (Kasaya) - Astringent foods cool, dry, reduce stickiness.

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Author's Bio: 

This definition is part of a series that covers the topic of Ayurveda. The Official Guide to Ayurveda is Helen Thomas. Dr. Helen Thomas is an enthusiastic high energy person who loves sharing her passion in alternative medicine. Dr. Helen interned in Pune, India with Dr. Narendra Pendse in an Ayurveda clinic for five years. Helen also served as an Intern in a hospital for Lepers in India and after that experience she declared: "I was the one that was healed".

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