There is a word for vigor in Ayurveda—ojas. Ojas does have an exact parallel in Western medicine. It is not single thing, but rather one’s immunity, wellbeing, and sense of vigor and vitality. When ojas is strong there is vigor and vitality; when ojas is weak, illness sets in. Special herbs, a nourishing diet, yoga, and meditation all build and protect ojas. When it comes to Ayurvedic medicine for vigor and vitality, a category of herbs known as rasayanas are well-respected for their ability to support vigor and vitality.
Rasayanas are special in that they do more than energize. Instead, they build vigor and vitality from the inside out. As Ayurvedic practitioner Vishnu Dass (2013) explains,
“Rasayana literally means ‘to enter the rasa,’ the water element of the body (plasma and lymph) with which all tissues are bathed and nourished.” (1)
Since all the tissues are bathed in the rasa (fluids), when herbs enter the rasa, they nourish all the organs.
Rasayanas, Ayurvedic medicine for vigor and vitality, are generally safe to take regularly and over extended periods of time. (The same may not be true for many purifying herbs). However, it is always wise to consult with an herbalist, Ayurvedic practitioner, or physician before incorporating new herbs into your routine. This is especially true if you take medications, are very sensitive to substances, or have serious health concerns.
There are many herbs for vigor and vitality to choose from. Let’s take a look at just a few of the favorites in Ayurveda.
Ashwagandha, known for its ability to instill the energy of a horse, is one of the premier herbs for balancing Vata disorders. This starchy root has a bitter, astringent, sweet taste, a warm energy, and a sweet (nutritive) post-digestive effect (1). Ashwagandha is indicated for boosting libido and fertility (especially in men), nourishing the nervous system, regulating sleep cycles, and is helpful for any type of wasting or deficiency. Chyawanprash contains ashwagandha. You can also take ashwagnadha as a powder, capsule or tincture.
Amla or Amalaki berry is the base ingredient in Chyawanprash. This tart berry is incredibly rich in vitamin C. It has a cool energy and is especially balancing for Pitta dosha. Interestingly enough, amla is also a key ingredient in the classical blend Triphala. Amla, a nutritive herb for vigor and vitality, is indicated for constipation, diarrhea, osteoporosis, early graying, tissue deficiency, and debility (1). It is also a well-respected blood-builder in the Ayurvedic tradition.
Tulsi or holy basil is another wonderful Ayurvedic medicince for vigor and vitality. Whereas ashwagandha is especially useful for Vata dosha and amla has an affinity for Pitta, tulsi is useful for all three doshas. It’s warming, purifying energy makes it especially good for Kapha dosha. This lovely, pleasant-tasting aromatic herb makes a wonderful tea infusion. You can also take tulsi in tincture form, keep a tulsi plant in the home, or enjoy tulsi in the classic blend Chyawanprash.
Tulsi has many usages, including cough, cold, headaches, stress, and even heart disorders (1). Tulsi tea may be enjoyable for those going through grief or heartache.
Ayurvedic Medicine for Vigor and Vitality – Tried and True Plant Favorites
These are just a few favorites in the realm of rasayanas and Ayurvedic medicine for vigor and vitality. You could try each of these herbs as a stand-alone to get acquainted with the unique taste, energy, and effects of each. Or, Chyawanprash is a wonderful, tasty way to enjoy all three in one spoonful!
(1) Dass, V. (2013). Ayurvedic herbology East & West. Lotus Press.
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.