Ayurveda’s Top 3 Herbs for Women

There is an innate intelligence that orchestrates the whole show…

In Ayurveda, we believe that nothing is a coincidence — whether that be who we are born to, the people we happen to run into at the airport, and even what plants grow in our backyard. There is an innate intelligence that orchestrates the whole show, and that innate intelligence resides in our bodies and all living beings, including plants.

Plants also have their own purpose on this planet — some are here to maintain a certain balance in the ecosystem and many are here to heal. They respond to the qualities of their environment and grow the opposite qualities to help maintain balance. The wise ancient seers of Ayurveda were acute observers and noted this fact: they learned how to use plants to offset imbalances within the body.

It is very important to choose herbs that are of the highest quality. Plants are energy. The energy with which they are cultivated and nurtured transfers to the plant and then to our bodies, which is why fair trade and sustainability are more than a cause for humanity and the ecosystem. When ingesting herbs, it is also important to hold intention and gratitude for the healing they provide.

The science of herbology within Ayurveda is vast. If we were to choose just three herbs to home in on for supporting our health and life as women, they would be shatavari, ashwagandha and triphala.

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Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)

Good For: women during the menstruating and menopausal years. Perfect for women who are planning to get pregnant.

Ayurvedic Properties: Shatavari is sweetly cooling to the system. It is good for pitta (warming) and vata (dryness) imbalances.  

How can you incorporate this herb into your life?

  • For a daily rejuvenative effect, particularly if you are planning for healthy fertility or even to support healthy lactation, take a half-teaspoon and boil it in a cup of milk for a few minutes, adding a sweetener of your choice. This can be taken every morning.
  • If you are experiencing a lot of heat, whether from an occasional heavy menstrual flow or hot flushes, try taking this herb with a tablespoon of aloe vera gel, a cooling carrier that has a particular affinity to the reproductive tract.
  • Sauté shatavari with ghee (clarified butter) and mix in some digestive herbs, such as cardamom and ginger, to make a nutritious, yet easy to digest mix. You can take this with milk as well or have a spoonful in the morning when you are on the go.
  • Since this herb is quite building and heavy, it can be hard to digest. Consider taking it in a liquid extract form for easier digestion and absorption, particularly if you struggle with digestive issues.
  • For convenience and ease, take shatavari in a tablet form.

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Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Good For: As Ayurveda’s quintessential adaptogen, Ashwagandha helps a person adapt by balancing the body as needed. Its innate qualities give this herb the versatile ability to support a number of things from sleep, energy and stress, to rejuvenation, muscle strength and joint strength.

Ayurvedic Properties: Ashwagandha has a bitter and astringent taste, which makes it good for rejuvenation and cleansing. It also has a sweet taste, providing a strong nourishing quality.

Ashwagandha is an exciting herb for so many reasons. To get started, consider one of these simple ingestion methods:

  • For much needed sleep, boil a half-teaspoon of the herb in a cup of milk for a few minutes, and drink about an hour before sleep. Add your favorite sweetener to taste.
  • For rejuvenation and energy, take a teaspoon of ashwagandha with a half-teaspoon of honey and half-teaspoon of ghee (clarified butter). You can repeat this throughout the day.
  • Add ashwagandha to your protein shake for physical strength and repair after a hard workout.
  • Consider the liquid extract form for better digestibility or for faster action, like before a hard task that requires focus and concentration. You can also take ashwagandha in a tablet form.

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Triphala 

Translates as “three fruits” 

The combination of haritaki (Terminalia chebula), bibhitaki (Terminalia belerica) and amalaki (Emblica officinalis). 

Good For: Keeping the digestive tract clean and free of toxins, and aiding in proper absorption of nutrients. Simultaneously cleanses and detoxifies while replenishing and nourishing. Triphala also works on the subtle level, supporting digestion of thought and emotions.

Ayurvedic Properties: Readily moves excess energies (doshas), bringing balance and proper functioning to the entire body. 

There are many ways to use triphala. Choose what best fits your lifestyle and needs.

  • The traditional way of taking triphala is as a tea, which lets you taste the herb fully (the first step in digestion). Steep a half-teaspoon of triphala powder in a cup of hot water for a few minutes, and drink. For a cleansing action take the tea before bed, and for a more rejuvenative action take it upon waking, both on an empty stomach.
  • For an easy, on-the-go solution, take the tablet form before bed or upon wakening. Taking triphala as a liquid extract is also quite efficient, and particularly helpful if you have a weakened digestive system.
  • For a stronger rejuvenative effect (such as when planning for a pregnancy), mix a half-teaspoon of the herb with a half-teaspoon of ghee and honey and take first thing in the morning.

As women, we have so much to offer to the world. Allow the healing and nourishing qualities of these herbs to support you in your path in doing just that. Banyan Botanicals provides organic, fairly-traded, sustainably-sourced Ayurvedic herbs and products, as well as accessible and practical educational content on using an Ayurvedic lifestyle to achieve optimal health and well-being.

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