I have been taking Chyawanprash for a month now, should I be taking other supplements? I want to be vibrant and healthy for the next 40 years…
Great to hear you have been taking it for a month now. How are you now feeling?
This is an important point and something that often comes up with people I’m working with. I am pleased to have a chance to elaborate upon it here.
Often when I start working with new patients they tell me of the smorgasbord of supplements they take on the daily in their fight to be well. Ayurveda is not a battle, but a lifestyle. It is about being in flow with yourself, raising your consciousness and awareness, so that you can have the confidence (on a cellular level – prana! (more of that later)) to know what your body needs.
And the truth is, your body and being is keen for things to be kept as simple as possible. As the age we live in is anything but simple, we need to work within this context. So my process is to start from where we are, before stripping it all back, and then working on replenishing and rejuvenating in order to get the person back in vibrant balance.
Where should we get our nourishment from?
Ideally, we would get all our nutrition: minerals, vitamins, and nourishment from our food. But we do not all have access to highly fresh vegetables and herbs. I have a friend whose father is a biodynamic farmer, he would test the mineral and vitality levels of the food he grew and then compare them to those of Wholefoods. The comparative levels were jaw-dropping, in that the supermarket’s food was veritably void of freshness, even though it was labelled as organic. Now this is not always the case in such a place, but it is something to be aware of.
So with this in mind, there is a checklist of things I think of when considering supplementation:
- Are the channels clear?
- Does the body have the capacity to absorb what I am giving it?
- How strong is the agni & body, and where is it in need of extra support?
- Where is the person’s lifestyle and routine at?
- What time of day should they be taking the prescribed herbs and supportive medicines?
- How long should they take these medicines for?
A word on absorption…
In order for our tissues and cells to get the nourishment we are trying to feed them from our food, we need the channels of our GI tract, small intestine, gut and blood vessels to be clear of build-up and toxicity that could line them. Absorption happens via their channel linings. If these pathways are blocked, the nourishment will be treated like waste and either flushed out or left to circulate as more undigested waste. And so the saga continues.
A word on supplements
I am hesitant to recommend that anyone takes a large and consistent variety of supplements. Firstly, the liver has to metabolise everything the mouth consumes, and supplements are incredibly concentrated and potentially heavy on the liver. On top of this, if we take pill-like supplements for a long period of time, our body can become habituated to them, and they can start to be seen as waste and ama, rather than nourishment. Now, there are plenty of exceptions to this, and people can be in dire need of a quick vitamin reboot, perhaps they are very low on iron or vitamin b12. This is usually a sign that something else needs to be addressed systemically though.
Where is the person’s lifestyle and routine at?
Ayurveda is the opposite of western medicine in so far as medicine and lifestyle goes. Emphasis is put on lifestyle and the long game of being well rather than quick fixes and magic bullets. And when considering a medicine like chyawanprash, it is all about the long term…
Chyawanprash works best when it is taken consistently over a period of time, it is great that you have been taking it for a month now, it will be helping replenish and rebuild the tissues, it is a wonderful way of getting what we are probably lacking from our food.
And, in light of my diatribe above on supplements, chyawanprash is digested by our body like a foodstuff, rather than a heavily concentrated supplement. This is the joy of Ayurvedic medicine, its plants and formulas were created with complete understanding and care, there was no willy nilly slapping of things together, rather the body and its digestive system is seen as the crucible through which life is upheld. Therefore what is put in it – in terms of combinations and timings – was worked out to the Nth degree.
I would therefore advise you to look into doing some inner cleansing. I recommend you see an Ayurvedic practitioner about this, everyone has a unique constitution and needs: physical, spiritual and mental, and each level needs to be met and supported. This will also be a way of checking out how well your digestive fire or agni is working, how strong your body and mind is, as well as how clear the channels of them are.
Then chyawanprash is a beautiful tonic that suits every constitution, so once you have done this cleanse, I would suggest you continue to take this medicine.
Following on from this, your practitioner will be able to advise you what other herbs might be good for you right now or at specific times and seasons of your life.
By Selina Van Orden