The short answer to the question is: no. Not on my watch.
This question raises an important set of points that I am keen to cover.
Ayurveda Was Formed and Written Down in Utter Precision
Not a stone was left unturned and not a hair is out of place. I mean it covers everything. From the subtle and sublime, to the most gross and material of all matter and disease. The Seers (Rshis) – thousands and thousands of years ago – came upon this whole medicine while their minds were clear and in the depths of meditation. They saw and understood how a body, mind and soul could thrive, keep disease at bay and heal once imbalance had set in. They saw the qualities of every living thing on this planet (plants, trees, animals, countries, terrains, planets, solar systems etc.) and how they should be treated, combined or meet each other for greatest efficacy in different situations.
I say all this to explain why we have to listen to and honour the ways in which these sacred medicines were prescribed.
How Should Chyawanprash Be Taken?
Chyawanprash should be taken on its own, first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, followed by some warm water or warm milk.
Why Should Chyawanprash Be Taken On its Own First Thing in the Morning?
- Chyawanprash is a Rasayana: meaning it is treating the rasa dhatu of our bodies first and foremost. Rasa dhatu is the lymph and fluid that circulates our entire system, it is the essence of our tissues and being. When we take something first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, the potency of the medicine will fill up the entire body. It uses the type of vata dosha that goes in every direction (vyana vayu) to do this.
- This careful concoction of herbs, amla, ghruta, honey and black sesame was formulated with utter precision, understanding how the body digests anything, and how the most important ingredient of this medicine: amla or amalaki will be absorbed in the most efficient way. We don’t want to play with this!
- The taste of this medicine is part of its magic: we need to relish in how it tastes on our tongue (this is part of the prasha aspect in the name Chyawanprash). It is even advised that we lick the medicine off the spoon slowly and carefully in order to savour every morsel of flavour. Our tasting it then becomes the first stage of digestion in our mouth, preparing the rest of the body for what’s to come. (Taste is also called rasa in Ayurveda).
- The medicine’s vehicle: there is this beautiful word in Ayurveda called anupana, it is the means by which a medicine will be transported to where it needs to go in the body most efficiently. This is an important aspect of the medicine. The concoction found in Chyawanprash could be seen as a vehicle for the amla, as well as the warm water or milk being vehicle for the entire medicine. so we don’t need to slap-dashing any other transporters (that might be lurking in your smoothie) into the equation.
Not to ram the point home, but you don’t need to add more to something that has been so exquisitely crafted, so my advice is to take it on its own.
By Selina Van Orden