Ever since Chyawanprash was first described in the ancient Ayurvedic text, Charaka Samhita, in 100 AD, the ingredients list has varied over the years. One of the reasons that it can be difficult to determine exactly what the Chyawanprash ingredients are is because there are a number of different recipes for the jam. Depending on botanical scarcity and manufacturer or herbalist, you’ll probably get a different recipe. Most concoctions of Chyawanprash contain around thirty to fifty different medicinal herbs, however, there are some varieties that contain far fewer and others that contain more. That said, there are a few ingredients that are consistent across most recipes.
Key Ingredients in Chyawanprash
The following ingredients are found in all authentic versions of Chyawanprash:
Amalaki or Amla Fruit
The base ingredient in Chyawanprash is amalaki, also known as amla or Indian Gooseberry. Along with turning the formula into a jam, which makes it easy to consume with various other types of foods, amalaki is a fruit that is revered as one of the most important medicinal properties in Ayurvedic medicine. Some of alma’s health boosting properties are due to its richness in Vitamin C and antioxidants. Amla is said to help reduce blood pressure and boost the immune system to fight colds and infections.
Ghruta (a superior form of ghee) is also one of Chyawanprash’s top ingredients. As with amla, it does much more than simply contribute to Chyawanprash’s smooth consistency. Ghruta ghee provides a number of health benefits including reducing inflammation and improving cardiovascular health. It also contains healthy omega-3 fats, further guarding against inflammation. Ghruta ghee also serves as an anupan, or carrier substance, to bring the nutrients of Chyawanprash deep into the body's tissues. It's important to note that Ghruta ghee is prepared very differently than conventional ghee and very few Chyawanprash brands use this important and essential substance.
Cold Pressed Black Sesame Oil
Black sesame oil is yet another major ingredient typically found in Chyawanprash formulas. Like ghee, it also serves as an anupan and is rich in antioxidants. This reduces damage to the body caused by a range of ailments. For the best quality, black sesame oil should be cold-pressed.
Jaggery and/or Honey
A source of natural sugar, like jaggery and/or honey, is also typically included in Chyawanprash. Both substances are very important ingredients in Ayurveda. Their benefits include boosting immunity, enhancing digestion, limiting respiratory problems, and boosting the metabolism.
The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia lists 44 herbs that are generally included in Chyawanprash. Some of the most well-known include:
- The fruits of the Indian long pepper
- The roots and trichomes of nut grass
- The heartwood of the sandalwood plant
- Cardamom seeds
- The roots and trichomes of the wild yam
- The bark and leaves of the cinnamon plant