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Ayurvedic drugs consist principally of natural remedies made from herbs, with more than 600 herbal formulas designed to treat various conditions. Many single plant remedies are also used as ayurvedic drugs along with certain foods, minerals, and vitamins. Ayurvedic drugs come in different forms including powders, pills, essential oils, infusions, and poultices. Powdered ayurvedic drugs are known as churna. A medicated butter called ghee is often used as an ayurvedic drug, and fruits can be used in this way as well.
For example, triphala is an ayurvedic formula that consists of three fruits: amalaki, bibhitaki, and haritaki. These fruits are reduced to powdered form to make triphala, one of the most commonly used ayurvedic drugs. Triphala is indicated for constipation and other digestive disorders, and is used to detoxify the liver, treat infections, and strengthen the immune system. Its amalaki ingredient, commonly known as gooseberry, has a high vitamin C content and is effective at eliminating the fluid of edema and easing inflammation.
The bibhitaki component of triphala is a fruit traditionally used to cleanse the blood and reduce inflammation. Haritaki is the third ingredient in triphala and is used in many other ayurvedic drug formulations as well. Also known as black myrobalan, haritaki is used to treat E. coli and other bacterial infections. It is also prescribed to expel parasites, and can be used as a tonic for the digestive system and a purgative.
Medicated ghee is clarified butter with a high fat content that is prescribed by ayurvedic doctors to restore vitality to those suffering from weakness. It is also used to treat ulcers. Milk is another dairy product that is used to make many ayurvedic drugs. According to ayurvedic medical philosophy, milk increases the potency of certain herbs and provides a cooling effect that can help reduce inflammation.
Boswellia serrata is an ayurvedic drug that has become popular worldwide. This herb can be used both internally and externally to treat arthritis and other types of inflammation. Boswellia contains boswellic acid, a natural anti-inflammatory agent, and the herb is used in ayurvedic medicine to promote joint function and promote longevity.
Turmeric is another herb that has been used in ayurvedic medicine for centuries and which has also become a popular herb in the alternative healing field in the west. This common kitchen spice contains curcumin, an anti-inflammatory chemical considered by many to be as effective as analgesic medicines like aspirin and acetaminophen that can be purchased over the counter. Turmeric also strengthens the immune system and promotes healthy liver function.
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