If you are looking for the secret to eternal youth, Ayurveda is not a quick fix. However, it is an artful, time-tested science that offers solutions and support from the inside out. If you wish to age with grace and are curious about anti-aging herbs in India and Ayurveda, it is helpful to consider what contributes to aging. In addition, what is helpful in maintaining and supporting youth, vibrancy, and longevity?
Vigor and Anti-Aging
In looking at longevity and anti-aging herbs in India and Ayurvedic traditions, ojas is a key factor to consider. Literally translated as vigor, ojas is a subtle essence that protects us and contributes to resilience, immunity, and a sense of vibrant health. The subtle roots of ojas are in the heart. Stress, devitalized foods, drugs, lack of sleep, and overwork deplete ojas. Nourishing, fresh whole foods, contact with nature, meditation, and yoga are among the factors that build ojas.
Essentially, lifestyle and diet are major players in building and retaining ojas and the associated sense of vitality and wellness. In addition to dietary and lifestyle factors, special anti-aging, rejuvenating herbs help build ojas. Among those anti-aging herbs are rasayanas such as ashwagandha, shatavari, vidari, amalaki, gotu kola, tulsi, and guduchi. This is not an exhaustive list of anti-aging herbs in India and beyond, but if you are looking to boost vitality, longevity, and overall wellbeing, these tried and true rasayanas are a great place to start. I will discuss three of these anti-aging herbs below.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) root, also known as “strength of ten horses” has become an increasingly popular adaptogen. This starchy root supports a healthy nervous system, regular sleep cycles, and overall strength and vitality. It is well-known in Ayurveda as an herb that boost male libido, but it is a nourishing, supportive herb for people of all genders.
Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) root is another widely used nourishing root in Ayurveda. Its rejuvenating rasayana properties make it another key anti-aging herb. Nicknamed “she who possesses 100 husbands,” Ayurvedic practitioners commonly use this herb for protecting, balancing, and rejuvenating the female reproductive system.
However, like ashwagandha, shatavari is an excellent rejuvenating, anti-aging herb for people of all genders. It has a cool, moist energy and a mild, slightly sweet taste. Also, shatavari has a moistening, demulcent effect, so is helpful for dry skin, a common challenge with the aging process.
Amalaki, or amla, a key ingredient in the Ayurvedic herbal jam Chyawanprash is incredibly rich in vitamin C, builds blood, and is especially rejuvenating and balancing for pitta dosha.
Though this tart fruit is quite sour tasting, it has a cool energy. In addition to forming the base in Chyawanprash, amalaki is also a key ingredient in the classical Ayurvedic blend, Triphala. Triphala, meaning “three fruits” has a remarkably balancing effect on the lower digestive tract. This classical blend regulates bowel movements and has a gentle detoxing, purifying effect.
Where to Start
If you are looking for anti-aging herbs, there are many options to choose from within the Ayurvedic herbal tradition. Beginning with rasayana formulas, like Chyawanprash, and herbs with an overall rejuvenating, nourishing effect is a smart and safe place to start. Also, you may want to consider incorporating special ojas-building foods, such as Ghruta.
Greta Kent-Stoll is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner (NAMA), as well as a writer, editor, and Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher. Her Ayurveda practice is based in Asheville, North Carolina and she is the co-owner of Iyengar Yoga Asheville.