The Five Elements and Their Attributes

The rishis perceived that in the beginning the world existed in an unmanifested state of Consciousness, avyakta— meaning unmanifest. From that state the subtle vibrations of the cosmic, soundless sound Aum manifested. From the subtle vibration of Aum came the Ether or Space elem ent. This ethereal element then began to m ove and through its subtle movements created the

Air element, which is Ether in action. The movement of Air produced friction and through friction heat was generated. Particles of this heat combined to form intense light and from this light the Fire element emerged. Thus, Ether produced Air and it was Air that further manifested into Fire. The heat of Fire dissolved and liquefied certain ethereal elements, forming Water that then solidified to form the molecules of Earth. In this way, Ether manifested into the four elements of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. From Earth, all physical bodies for organic living beings were created, including both the plant and animal kingdoms. Earth was also the origin of all inorganic substances that comprise the mineral kingdom. Thus, out of the womb of the Five Elements all matter was born. The five basic elements exist in all matter.

Water provides the classic exam ple: the solid state of water, ice, is a manifestation of the Earth principle. Latent heat (Fire) in the ice liquifies it, revealing the Water principle. Eventually water turns into steam, expressing the Air principle. The steam disappears into Ether or Space. Thus the five basic elements— Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth— are all present in one substance. All five originated from the energy within Cosmic Consciousness and all five are present in all matter in the universe. Thus, energy and matter are one.

Man is a microcosm of the universe and, therefore, the five basic elements present in all matter also exist within each individual. In the human body, many spaces are aspects of the Ether or Space elem ent. The spaces in the mouth, nose, gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, abdom en, thorax,
capillaries, and tissues are all examples of Space.

Air is the element of movement. All movements involve Air as an element, because it alone moves everything. Any time there is motion, it means Air is present. The nature of the elements themselves determines the nature of physiology. Within the human body, Air is present in the pulsations of the
heart and the expansion and contraction of the lungs. Under a microscope, even a single cell can be seen to move. Response to a stimulus is the m ovem ent of afferent and efferent nerve impulses, which are sensory and motor movements respectively. Movements of the nervous system are also governed by the Air principle present in the body. The third element is Fire. The source of Fire and light in the solar system is the sun. In the human body, the source of Fire is metabolism. Fire works in the digestive system as well as in the gray matter o f the brain, where Fire manifests as intelligence. Fire also activates the retina to perceive light.

Therefore, body temperature, digestion, thinking processes, and vision are all functions of bodily Fire. All metabolism and enzyme systems are controlled by this element. Water, the fourth element, manifests in the body as the secretions of digestive juices, in the mucous membranes and in
plasma and cytoplasm. Water is vital for the functioning of all the systems of the body. For example, dehydration resulting from diarrhea and vomiting must be treated immediately to protect the patient’s life. Earth, the fifth element, is also present in the microcosm of the human being. Life is possible on this planet because the Earth holds all living and non-living substances to its solid surface. In the body, all solid structures are derived from Earth.




Ayurveda is one of the oldest known healthcare science known to the world. It is said to be originated in the Indian Subcontinent around 5000 years back. It is also one of the oldest documented science.

The changing lifestyle and increase in stress has driven people towards finding a natural way of healing, thus leading towards Ayurveda. Ayurveda literally means Science of Life.

Ayurveda books or granthas basically describe how to lead a long and disease free life giving preventive and social measures and also providing medicine knowledge to help people lead a disease free life physically and mentally.

In ancient times Ayurveda was known all over the world by travellers documenting their version of Ayurveda studied in India though Greek, Roman and middle east, Buddhist monks thought Ayurveda to Tibet, Nepal and China.

It we want to understand Ayurveda in the deepest form. We have to understand and learn Sanskrit.


Sanskrit is the language from which the present day Indian languages originated. All the granthas or texts were written in Sanskrit. So it given us the ability to understand and interpreted the science better.

Since it is a very old science .It is important that people understand what the ancient books or granthas exactly mean. The Indian Ayurveda books or granthas are written in Sholas or Verses that are rhyming. This style helps in keeping the Vedic oral traditional of conserving knowledge.

Now a day many Ayurveda doctors have penned down their vast experience to help the new generation, to understand the science better in their local language.

The shlokas are written in such a manner that they can be recited well and remembered because in ancient time all the Shlokas or granthas were recited and remembered by heart.

With time the need to be written down of this vast knowledge became important. So all the sages or vaidyas in ancient day wrote the whole granthas on palm leaves.

Lord Dhanvantari is the God of Ayurveda and health according to Ayurveda.

As per the text Astanghridya Ayurveda was introduced to humans to relive the suffering of mankind by God Brahma. Sages brought the knowledge to earth to help people understand life and live a healthy and long life.

Ancient History

Ayurveda developed significantly through the Vedic period.

Vedas are the oldest written document available to mankind.

There are 4 Vedas

  1. Rig-Veda –which introduce us to panchamahabhuta or the basic elements.
  2. Sama veda
  3. Yajur veda.
  4. Atharva veda.

Ayurveda is branch of atharva veda. Life or ayu according to Ayurveda is the combination of samyoga or balance of the mindbody and soul.

Ayurveda says what is in nature as is in body. So the nature effects the body in positive and negative way .The food, season, day and night all effects the body.

This science is the product of constant verification and fine tuning so it keeps on improving, this is because of the concept of sandheya sambhasha (discussion, authentication of active communication of physicians)

Later with time the acharyas/scholars like Charak,Shusharut and Vagbhat wrote the knowledge and documented it in manuscripts in the language Sanskrit.

The same texts were later again explained deeper by Tikakars (interpretators) like Dalhan for Shushrut , Arundatta for Charak. Due to which the text were easy to understand.

If we look at in short the way Ayurveda was documented –

  1. Reciting(memorising)
  2. Manuscripts(palm leaves)
  3. Books granthas
  4. Small interpretation of big books for common students to understand according to need of topic by new age books and authors.

If you are a beginner to Ayurveda. There are two types of Ayurveda Books

  1. One is the old Sanskrit version or manuscript version which is written in Sanskrit the original Indian languages. Over which the other local languages originated.
  2. New age books – written in the local languages of scholars or English for the common people to understand. If we look at the granthas /Ayurveda texts they all were written in Sanskrit and have a specific pattern.

The basic book is called grantha. IT is again divided into Stahanas or subtitles according to matter to be explained. Stahanas are again divided into Adhayas or chapters. Which explained the needed topic divided by sthanas. The adhays are written in a specific amount of shlokas.

The shlokas are written according to concept of Adhayas. The shlokas are written in such a way that the knowledge is not rewritten and repated of the same knowledge is avoided to keep the grantha concise.

So it become important to correlate or connect the knowledge as a whole and look at the book as whole not chapter in sthana/chapter wise.

Because of this a lot of meaning can be put in few words.

  • Eg- grantha/book – astang hridaya by vagbhatta
  • Stahana-sutrasthana
  • Adhaya /chapter-ayushkamiya ashaya

How a grantha/ayurvedic text is written

There are 8 branches described in Ayurveda.

  • Kaya-medicine
  • Bala – paediatrics
  • Graha – psychiatry
  • Shalya – surgery
  • Shalakya – E.N.T
  • Visha – toxicology
  • Jara/rasayana – geriatrics and long life with health
  • Vajikaran – Aphrodisiacs, increasing health of progeny.

For example if we take astang hridaya

sthanas.                                    Adhayas /chapters

sutrasthana                                 30

sharirsthana                                 6

nidansthana                                 16

chikitsasthana                              22

kalpasiddhisthana                            6

uttrasthana                                 40

These chapters have content material/knowledge according to the mentioned sthanas.

Brief descriptions of sthanas. Here we are taking the example of astang hridaya


It deals with basic doctrines/concept of Ayurveda, principles of health, prevention of disease, properties of articles related to diet and drugs, about physiology and pathology.

Sharir sthana

This deals with embryology, anatomy, physiology, signs of prognosis.

Nidan sthana

This contains the cause, premonitory symptoms, character, features, pathogenesis and prognosis of important disease.

Chikitsa sthana

This sthana elaborates the method of treatment of all major disease including medical recipes, diet according to disease and care of patient.

Kalpa and siddi sthana

This sthana explains preparation of medicine recipes, administration of purification therapies/panchakarma, management of complication of procedures and principle of pharmacy.

Uttra sthana

This sthana is devoted to the remaining seven branches of Ayurveda. Psychology, disease of E.N.T, surgery, toxicology, geriatric, aphrodisiac and increase in health of progeny.

Brief description of major Ayurveda granthas /texts

We can categorise then in to old texts and new age books.

Old texts

The basic/ major granthas or (major Ayurveda texts)

  1. Charak samhita-by charaka,agnivesha

It basically is based for a healthy long life and more related to medicine.

Charak follows Aterya school of physicians which predominately deals with external and internal medicine and treatments. He also told the timing and manner in which plants should be collected. It is also called the samhita of agnivesha. It has 8 sthanas and 120 adhayas or chapters. It mentions more than 600 drugs related to plant mineral and animal origin.

  1. Sushrut samhita- by sushrata

It is the first ancient text that mentions surgery so sushruta is called the father of surgery by modern science. It mentions how to dissect a body.

It explains cosmetic surgery related to ear, nose, brain and other major surgeries such as prosthetic surgery are explained.

Vital points or marmas are explained in this text which is very unique.

Anatomy is widely discussed in text. Surgical instruments more than 120 types are explained in the text. It explains embryology on detailed basis.

  1. Astanghridaya – by vagbhatta

He wrote this text keeping charaka and sushrata in mind abstracted important portions, and tried to remove all the flaws of the previous texts.

He has given all the knowledge of the previous texts in a more understanding manner, concise, does not repeat the same contents twice , and a smaller version which makes it more easy to understand.

These texts have all the 8 branches and their specialties explained and incorporated in it. The most fascinating aspect of Ayurveda is that it accepts all other sciences and incorporates it to make Ayurveda better.

Example in those times yoga, meditation, gemology, astrology, and languages.

       Then comes the laghutrayi (3 minor ayurveda treatises)

  1. Madhav nidan by madhav kara

This has extensive work on the pathogenesis of the disease, it gives elaborate description of causes, symptoms, aetiology, prognosis complications, and treatments of the diseases .he has explained the ashtavidha pariksha (8 diagnostic points).

  1. Bhavprakash by bhav Mishra

It is one of the major compilation on herbs mentioned in Ayurveda with all is properties and uses. Plant drugs are described according to – taste, quality, potency, post digestive effect, special effects and their benefit on disease.

  1. Sharandar samhita by sharandhara,

This deals mainly with information of various medicine formulae. It contains topics related to preparation of food, medical uses of metals, many treatments of specific disease with their diagnosis and deals with terminology, weights, measures, preparation of medicines, pulse examination, and metallurgical techniques are has 3 divisions, 32 chapters,2600 verses.

Rasashastara (Indian alchemy)

It is the pharmaceutical branch of Ayurveda which deals mainly with metals, minerals , animal and plant origin products and also explains their therapeutic uses elaborately. It also widely describes the medicines made from to mercury sulphur and all other metals and minerals available during that era.

These texts refer how to use metals and minerals by purifying them, to be consumed and used as medicine, for different illness by processing them, absorbable to human body. Some of the text names are rasa ratnasamucchaya, rasendra chudamani, rasa hidriya tantra.


In the later periods after 500 ad.  Many major texts called nighantus were written.

These were basic related to plants and their uses and their medicinal formulations.

Some famous nighantus are, bhavprakash, raj ,shaligram, shodal, kaidev , nighantu sangraha etc.

Then there are many famous texts related to many different subjects

Example –

  • Yog ratnakar
  • Bhaishjya ratnavali
  • Sahasara yogam (1000 medicinal formulas)
  • Bharat bhaishjya ratnakar
  • Kashyap samhita (Pediatric text)
  • Bhel samhita
  • Haritha samhita


Modern text books.

Majorly inspired from the old and major texts they are divided by subjects, disease, medicine, diet, yoga, spices, basic fundamentals, and published in local language or English for the new generation to understand.


Today Ayurveda is increasingly popular and a growing science.

It is popular because it speaks of elementary concepts like

  • Contact with nature
  • Holism
  • We are what we eat
  • Daily and seasonal regime
  • Balanced meal and unique concept of digestive fire and digestion.(concept of agni)
  • Preventive health care and health promotion by rasayana.

The ultimate goal of Ayurveda is to help people live a healthy and long life.

As a seeker of good health it is important to be aware of history and its lineage towards Ayurveda, and its core principle in order to appreciate its application in our daily life.

Obviously the classical texts of Ayurveda are not light reading material, it is meant for vaidys or ayurvedic doctors. The new generation books are more simplified and easily understood leading to a clear concept of Ayurveda.


The Ancient Ayurvedic Writings





The Great Three Classics of Ayurveda

Charaka Samhita

The Charaka Samhita is believed to have arisen around 400-200 BCE. It is felt to be one of the oldest and the most important ancient authoritative writings on Ayurveda. It is not known who this person was or, if indeed, this represents the work of a “school of thought.” It could have been from a group of scholars or followers of a man known as Charaka or an original composition from a single person named Charaka. This work is sometimes considered a redaction of an older and more voluminous work, Agnivesha Samhita (46,000 verses), which is no longer extant. Dridhabala, living about 400 AD, is believed to have filled in many verses of missing text (perhaps up to 20%) in the Chikitsasthana and elsewhere, which disappeared over time.

The language of Charaka is Sanskrit and its style is poetry, with meter and melody. Poetry was known to serve as a memory aid. For example, Charaka contains over 8,400 metrical verses, which are often committed to memory, in toto, by modern medical students of Ayurveda.

It presents most of the theoretical edifice of Ayurveda and concentrates on the branch of Ayurveda called kayachikitsa (internal medicine). This is largely the theory of the internal fire–of digestion–or internal medicine, in modern terms. Charaka never discusses the sub-types of pitta and kapha, but does list and describe the 5 sub-types of vata.

Seen from a greater perspective, this work seems to represent a certain value of consciousness that is different from other works. It gives more discussion about the notion that life is fundamentally a field of intelligence and pure knowledge. This field is self-aware; it is the Knower as well as the object of perception, and for Charaka this is part of what is to be treated by the physician.

The P.V. Sharma translation comes in four volumes, two of original text and two of commentary about the original work. Sharma’s English version is said to be a scholarly and relatively faithful work. It has numerous appendices and an extensive index. The B. Dash / R.K. Sharma version lacks these features but does have extensive commentary incorporated in with the original text. All three translators have excellent academic or/and clinical credentials supporting their works.Sushruta Samhita

The Sushruta Samhita presents the field of Ayurvedic surgery (shalya). This branch of medicine arose in part from the exigencies of dealing with the effects of war. This work also is said to be a redaction of oral material passed down verbally from generation to generation. It is thought to have arisen about the same time period as the Charaka Samhita, slightly after or before it according to different authorities. Its style is both prose and poetry with poetry being the greater portion.

The Sushruta Samhita, while dealing with the practice and theory of surgery, is an important source of Ayurvedic aphorisms. For example, the most comprehensive and frequently quoted definition of health is from Sushruta. This work is unique in that it discusses blood in terms of the fourth doshic principle. This work is the first to enumerate and discuss the pitta sub-doshas and the marmas. With its emphasis on pitta, surgery, and blood, this work best represents the transformational value of life.

This work, also originally written in Sanskrit, is now available in English with Devanagari. Bhishagratna’s translation is English and Sanskrit. P.V. Sharma has recently written a translation with both the Sanskrit/Devanagari and English that includes Dallana’s commentary. Dallana has been regarded as the most influential commentator on Sushruta’s work.Ashtanga Hridayam and Ashtanga Sangraha

Ashtanga Sangraha and Ashtanga Hridayam are the work of a person named Vagbhata. There are two works by a person or persons with this name. The Ashtanga Sangraha is nearly 40% greater in size (by verse count) and is primarily poetry with prose. The Hridayam (about 7,800 verses) is written in prose and seems to have a slightly different organization of material than the former. Both works have been dated about the same time and are thought to date after the Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita (400 CE).

The exposition is relatively straightforward and also deals primarily with kayachikitsa. In this work, we see the kapha sub-doshas are listed and described for the first time, completing our modern edifice of vata, pitta, and kapha with their five sub-types. Its emphasis on treating the physiology of the body and suggestions for therapeutic use of metals and minerals means the perspective of the treatise represents the gross, material value of life more than its counterparts Charaka and Sushruta. While Charaka has entire chapters dealing with the Self, these works merely mention that the body is the home for the Self without any elaboration.

Srikantha Murthy’s translation includes the Sanskrit/Devanagari for those who want to delve into the original text. S. Murthy has translated many of the ancient Ayurvedic writings into English, for which we are indebted. He has weighty credentials and brings them to bear in this work.

The Lesser Three Classics of Ayurveda

Sharngadhara Samhita

The Sharngadhara Samhita is a concise exposition of Ayurvedic principles. Its author, Sharngadhara, has offered his work as a digested version of Ayurvedic knowledge, deliberately omitting much detail because the works of The Great Three were already widely known. This treatise is thought to have originated in the 15th century AD. The Sharngadhara Samhita is prized for its enumeration and description of numerous pharmacological formulations used in panchakarma and contains the first textual elaboration of diagnosis by means of the pulse. Its subject matter is again the field of kayachikitsa. This work is available in Sanskrit/Devanagari and English translation by Srikantha Murthy.Bhava Prakasha

Bhava Prakasha is just now available in English translation. It is the most recent of the classical texts, written in the 16th century. It is a well-organized and compact re-presentation of the earlier classics. There are about 10,268 verses of varying meters. It deals with kayachikitsa generally and has a large section entitled Nighantu, which gives the characteristics of many foods, plants, and minerals. Many of it sutras are direct quotes from earlier writers. Sri Kantha Murthy again does this Sanskrit/Devanagari and English translation.Madhava Nidanam

Madhava Nidanam, available here in Sanskrit/Devanagari and English translation by Srikantha Murthy, deals with the classification of diseases in Ayurveda. Its taxonomy is slightly different at times from those given by Charaka, Sushruta, and Vagbhata, while for the greater part its verses are seemingly direct quotes from them. This work is dated around 700 AD and is prized for covering a wide range of diseases in the fields of bala (children and women’s disorders), shalya, damstra (toxicology), shalakya (ear, nose and throat), and kayachikitsa. While this treatise gives detailed description of disease etiology (disease doctrines), prodroma and cardinal signs and symptoms, it does not give explanation or suggestions for chikitsa (treatment).

  1. Charaka Samhita — PV Sharma Translator, Chaukhamba Orientalia, Varanasi, India, 1981, pp. ix-xxxii (I) 4 Volumes
  2. Sushruta Samhita — KL Bhishagratna Translator, Chaukhamba Orientalia, Varanasi, India, 1991, pp. iii-lxvi (I), i-xvii (II) 3 Volumes
  3. Ashtanga Hridaya — Shri Kanta Murthy Translator, Chaukhamba Orientalia, Varanasi, India, 1991, pp. ix-xxvi 3 Volumes
  4. Sharngadhara Samhita — Shri Kanta Murthy Translator, Chaukhamba Orientalia, Varanasi, India, 1984, pp. iii-xvi
  5. Madhava Nidanam — Shri Kanta Murthy translator, Chaukhamba Orientalia, Varanasi, India, 1993, pp. iii-xv
  6. Bhava Prakasha — Shri Kanta Murthy translator, Chaukhamba Orientalia, Varanasi, India, 1998, pp.vii-xii 2 Volumes

NOTE: This article is not strictly transliterated from the original Sanskrit. Charaka is often transliterated as Caraka as kayachikitsa is often kayacikitsa. The “c” was changed to “ch” to aid in the correct pronunciation in these cases.


Daily habits that can make you happier

The search for happiness is not a new one. When you end the day wishing you could just feel happier, you’re not alone. It’s easy to think that you’ll be happy once you reach a certain milestone. Maybe it’s when your retirement is fully funded, you graduate college, or get married. Or perhaps you think when your kids are finally potty trained, you’ll feel it. Happiness. Unfortunately, once your last child is potty trained, the happiness train doesn’t just pull in. Then you pick another day. Another time when you’ll be happy. Thankfully you don’t have to wait until that elusive day to feel happier. You can start today by building habits into your daily routine that can help you feel happy, no matter your life circumstances. Try doing these habits on a daily basis for a few months and see if they make a difference. 

Pare down your media

Are you watching the news every night? Scrolling social media every chance you get? The media is a great way to gather information. But it could also be contributing to some dissatisfaction and unhappiness in your life. Evaluate your media habits and cut out anything that is affecting your mood. Not convinced it’ll make that much of a difference? Try cutting back to one hour of media use a day and see how you feel. Experiment with it until you find a good balance for yourself.

Get enough sleep

Have you ever been around a toddler that hasn’t gotten enough sleep? They are not typically happy people in that moment. After a good nap, that same toddler will run happy circles around you. Your moods might not be as easily changed as a toddler, but the amount of sleep you get does impact your moods. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. If you aren’t a morning person, go to bed earlier at night.

Go outside

There is something about being outside that lifts your mood. Not only do you get to enjoy the beauty of nature, but you soak in mood lifting Vitamin-D. Get outside. Explore things you haven’t seen before. Even if you are just walking around the block, you’ll feel better when you are finished.

Treat your body well

It’s pretty hard to feel happy when your body is sick or not getting the things it needs. Treat your body well. Drink plenty of water. Eat nutritious foods. Exercise every day, even if it’s just for 20 minutes. Make and keep regular doctor’s checkups.

Spend time with people you love

Spending quality time with the people you love is an essential part of being happy. Even when you are busy, carve out some uninterrupted time for your kids, spouse, family, and dear friends. Put down your phone. Listen to what they have to say. Play together. That quality time with loved ones will help you feel happy.

Work hard and with a purpose

Working hard can get you incredible results in your life. But hard work without purpose can feel like drudgery. Anyone who has worked a job they don’t love can tell you that. Set out to find purpose in your life, and then work hard to fulfill that purpose. Maybe that means running ultra-marathons, teaching kids how to play basketball, or volunteering in your local animal shelter. Whatever it is you love, work hard at it.

Exercise gratitude

The best way to feel appreciative and content with your life is the exercise gratitude every day. You may feel, from time to time, that you are missing important things in your life that will help you feel happy. But if you look around, you’ll notice that your life is full of amazing and wonderful things. Choose a time every day to write down three things you’re grateful for.

Learning how to be happy every day is a choice. If you are intentional, you can create happiness in your life by creating daily habits.

CategoriesLifestyle Tips & Tricks

How to sleep better at night naturally?

Having a good night’s sleep is of utmost importance nowadays with sleep issues becoming common with more and more people. Many complain about sleepless nights and disturbed sleep that causes fatigue and low energy levels throughout the daytime.

Here are the top tips that can help you sleep better at night naturally. Going for natural methods is the best mode of action because of the harmful side effects offered by chemical-based sleeping pills. These life hacks can help you get your 8 hours of sound sleep. Stop using blue light coming from the screen of smartphones and TV screens

The blue light coming from TV and smartphone screens has been shown to interfere with sleep. Binge-watching late in the night can make your brain alert and it gets hard to fall asleep.Stop consuming caffeine after 3 PM

Caffeine consumption throughout the day and especially later in the evening can cause you to stay awake at night. It is a known fact that the consumption of caffeine canenhance focus, energy, and overall performance.

It can stay effective in your bloodstream for 6-8 hours. So, the intake of caffeinated beverages should be stopped around 3 PM. Reduce long daytime naps

It has been shown by multiple sleep studies that shorter naps are more effective for your brain functioning as compared to longer and irregular naps. 

Taking random longer naps in the daytime can step in the way of a good night’s sleep. It s recommended to take shorter naps if you are tired during the dayLimit your alcohol consumption

Alcohol consumption can be bad for your sleep quality and routine as multiple studies suggest multiple herbal supplements in the market can its a negative impact. Many studies have shown that alcohol can increase the symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring and disrupted sleep patterns.

Alcohol consumption also alters the body’s circadian rhythm and interferes in sleep by altering melatonin production.Try to create a cozy bedroom environment

Maintaining an optimum temperature, noise, external lights, and furniture arrangement, 

Make sure your bedroom is a quiet, relaxing, clean, and enjoyable place.Go for early dinners

It will be beneficial for you if you follow a habit of eating early dinners.  Eating late in the night can reduce sleep quality and can hamper the release of HGH and Melatonin. 

Studies have shown that eating dinner 4-5b hours before bedtime can help induce sleep faster. Do relaxing activities in the evening time to calm yourself down. One such example is listening to classical music during the day

Intentionally planning some relaxing activities in the evening time can relax and calm you down. For example, listening to calming music, reading a book etc. Such activities can calm you down and create a relaxed space for you to fall asleep faster. Taking relaxing shower with warm water 

It has been shown through studies that taking a bath before bedtime can help you fall asleep faster.

You can also wash your feet with warm water before going to sleep if you don’t want to bathe.Avoid drinking too much liquid before bedtime

Taking fluids throughout the day is recommended to maintain optimum levels of hydration in the body. But, drinking too much water in the evening can cause frequent urination in the nighttime. 

This can come in the way of you getting sound sleep. So, it is recommended to reduce to intake of water and other fluids 2-3 hours before sleep time.  In addition to this, make sure that you empty your bladder before going to bed. This will reduce the unwanted trouble of getting up in the night frequently and you can sleep undisturbed for 8 hours at a stretch. Make sure your bed mattress, pillow and bed is comfortable

If you have an uncomfortable mattress that is causing strain on your back and a pillow that gives you neck pain then it’s high time to change them. 

Long term use  ofIt’s recommended that you upgrade your bedding at least every 5–8 yearsTry to get exercise or schedule your workout in the daytime

It is a well-known fact that exercise or any kind of physical activity is necessary for your well being. Also, daily exercise can reduce the time taken to fall asleep thereby improving sleep for people with Insomnia.

Exercising through the daytime is highly effective and it is recommended that exercising late in the evening can cause more alertness due to the spike in hormones such asepinephrine and adrenaline. This can further delay the onset of a good night’s sleep. Reduce or Quit smoking

Everyone is aware of the hazardous effects of smoking. But, did you know that cutting on your cigarettes can improve your sleep? The reason is “Nicotine”. 

Nicotine being a stimulant candisrupt sleep as well as raise the risk of developing sleep conditions, such as sleep apnea. It is also great at masking exhaustion gives you an alert mind immediately. 

Even if you wish to quit smoking, the withdrawal of Nicotine can cause irritability and lack of sound sleep.  These withdrawal symptoms subside over time, so it is always advised to quit smoking and be patient with yourself while quitting it.Get hold of good herbal supplements

Multiple herbal supplements in the market can help improve your sleep quality. These offer the benefit of being natural and free from any harmful chemicals. Practice meditation or relaxing exercises

Meditation has numerous benefits in calming a stressed mind and enhancing mental clarity. When meditation is practiced before bedtime, it helps manage stress and allows you to sleep better. Make a sleep schedule and follow it daily

Following a daily routine with specific timings allotted to various activities is the key to a healthy lifestyle. It is suggested that you should sleep and wake up daily at the same time. 

Studies have shown that irregular sleeping patterns can hamper your circadian rhythm and melatonin production. This will benefit in the long term by allowing the body to feel sleepy and wake up at the same time daily. 

  • Monitor your sleep position

The sleeping position also plays a key as side sleepers can experience more pressure on one side of the body. Back and stomach sleepers need a firmer mattress to keep their spine aligned. If you notice that your sleeping position has been an impeding factor that causes discomfort and body aches, then it’s time to make the necessary changes.Keep your sleeping place strictly for yourself

Sleeping with your pet or sharing your sleeping space with kids can interrupt your sleep. So, it is suggested that you keep separate sleeping spaces for kids and pets to ensure undisturbed sleep at night.  Avoid taking  chemical-based sleeping pills

Any chemical-based formulations have some side effects. Sleeping pills can interfere with normal breathing and can be dangerous in people who have certain chronic conditions such as Asthma etc. In addition to causing numerous side effects, it is addictive and often leads to sleepless nights when stopped. 

Some of the common side effects arechanges in appetite, Constipation, Diarrhoea,Balance problems, Dizziness,Daytime drowsiness, Dry mouth or throat, Headache,Heartburn, Weakness etc.

Sleeping Pills also causes drowsiness in the morning making it difficult to start your day with an alert mind.  Manage stress levels

Managing stress levels on a day to day basis is the key. High levels of chronic stress can negatively impact your physical as well as emotional health. 

Chronic stress in your life needs to be addressed and managed constantly to lead a healthy and balanced life. 

For this, you need to address the sources causing you stress and prioritize your activities to eliminate unnecessary stress. 

A simple thing that you can do is to make a stress journal and answer the following questions:

  • What caused you to stress?
  • How do you feel both physically and emotionally?
  • What was your response/reaction to it?
  • What did you do to make yourself feel better?

Simple lifestyle changes such as time management, making time for fun and relaxing activities, spending time with pets and loved ones etc can help reduce and manage stress. 

When your stress is managed well, you will feel happier, healthier and more productive. This will help you sleep better at night too. Acknowledge physical pain areas that need to be addressed immediately

If you are experiencing physical pain, then it is necessary to address it with medical intervention. There could be some underlying reasons for the physical pain that need attention as it could interfere with a good night’s sleep.  

Here are the top herbs that help you sleep better at night

Indian Valerian/ Tagar

Tagar is a root found mainly in the Himalayan region. Its benefits were mentioned in the Charak Samhita. The Valerian root offers a sedative and tranquillizing effect on the mind and body.  The sedative properties are helpful in inducing sound sleep, treatment of Insomnia and calming the mind. 


Best known for its apoptogenic properties. It helps the body manage stress by calming the body and mind. 

Many studies have been done on Ashwagandha that proves itssleep-inducing properties, improvement in sleep quality and reduction of sleep latency in patients with Insomnia.

Indian tinospora/ Gudduchi

Studies have proved the positive effects of Guddchi on memory and the nervous system.  It reduces prolonged sleep deprivation along with other multiple health benefits.


It is rich in flavonoids, glycosides and alkaloids that help soothe your nervous system by reducing mental fatigue. It acts as a natural tranquillizer for anxiety neurosis that further helps in improving sleep.


Also known as Brain Tonic in Ayurveda, Brahmi has powerful properties that calm emotional turbulence and also help improve concentration and alertness. It is also known for promoting restful sleep.


This natural ingredient has strong sedative properties that calm an agitated mind and support the nervous system. It has shown positive results for people with Insomnia as it relaxes the mind and promotes deep sleep. Results have also shown that it reduces mental stress, tension, anxiety and nervousness.



Ayu = Life / Veda = Knowledge

Conceived through meditation and intuition and passed on in form of poetry from generation to generation, this ancient science of life is sacred.

Ayurveda suggests that our body is comprised of the five elements of nature (space, air, fire, water, earth). These elements are combined into three categories called “Doshas” also known as Vata (space and air), Pitta (fire and water), and Kapha (water and earth).

Every person contains all three doshas and therefore qualities of all five elements, however, each of us has a unique blend possessing certain elements more than others.

Due to many sources of imbalances in and around us— including our environment, lifestyle, and diet— our ideal state can be disturbed. These disturbances leave us exposed to further stress and illness in the system. The holistic science of Ayurveda provides a path to return to your optimal state of balance. With the help of herbal remedies, lifestyle practices such as yoga and dietary changes, and traditional ayurvedic body-work (known as Panchakarma) Ayurveda offers a strong support in healing and cleansing the body/mind.

Sources of Imbalance

Many factors are involved in altering our ideal state in Ayurveda known as Prakruti, our nature or “constitution”, with which we were born. Some of these include: current season, daily weather, time of day, lifestyle and routine, our core relationships, age, pollution and the food we eat. By correcting these factors we can return to our ideal state, preventing and even curing disease from the body and mind.

5 Basic Elements

Space | Air | Fire | Water | Earth

Ayurveda recognizes that our body and mind similar to the Universe are made up of these five elements. To understand in depth, these are further categorized into the following three doshas (constitutions).

20 Main Gunas (Qualities)

These 20 main gunas (qualities) outlined in Ayurvedic text are used to describe the characteristics of the five main elements.

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CategoriesHealthy Foods

The Benefits of Ashwagandha

Your Complete Guide to Ayurveda’s Most Popular Adaptogen

The Benefits of Ashwagandha

Your Complete Guide to Ayurveda’s Most Popular Adaptogen

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years as a rasayana (rejuvenative). It is a renowned adaptogenic herb, which means it is used to help the body resist physiological and psychological stress by adapting to the needs of the body. Deeply supportive of many tissues and body systems, including the immune system, the reproductive system, a healthy thyroid, and much more, ashwagandha is a wonderful herb to help nourish overall health and well-being.

What’s in a Name?

A fun fact about this beloved Ayurvedic herb is that the Sanskrit word “ashwagandha” translates as “the smell of a horse,” (ashwa—horse, gandha—smell), which refers to its ability to bring you the strength and stamina of a horse while nourishing the female and male reproductive and nervous systems.

Its botanical name, Withania somnifera, also tells us something about this herb: somnifera translates as “sleep-inducing,” reflecting its relaxing and calming properties that bring us energy by supporting deeper rest.

Ashwagandha has other names as well. It is often called “winter cherry,” referring to its small, red berry fruit that looks like a tiny cherry tomato.

Ashwagandha belongs to the Solanaceae, or nightshade, family—the same family as tomatoes and potatoes. Another common name is “Indian ginseng,” though it is not related to the ginseng family and most likely gets this name in reference to its energy promoting qualities.

Freshly harvested ashwagandha being held over a bowl.

Characteristics of the Ashwagandha Plant

Ashwagandha plants are native to India, northern Africa, and the Middle East, but they can now be cultivated in temperate climates around the world, including in the United States. We even grew some at our Southern Oregon project farm!

Interestingly, ashwagandha’s adaptogenic properties and its ability to help the body adapt to stress is reflected in the fact that the plant thrives in arid conditions and in poor quality, alkaline soils. While most plants would suffer from severe stress in this environment, ashwagandha flourishes.

This perennial shrub grows up to three feet tall, and the entire plant is covered in silver-gray, felted hairs. The leaves are oval and about two to six inches long, and its small, yellow-green, star-shaped flowers grow up to a half-inch in any direction. The ashwagandha berry is enclosed inside a papery calyx that serves as protection for the fruit.

Although the leaves and berries have therapeutic value, most of the benefits are derived from the stout, fleshy roots of the shrub, which is what we use at Banyan.

Ashwagandha Benefits

Ashwagandha is used to tone, support, strengthen, and revitalize bodily functions. It has been revered over time for its dual capacity to energize and calm at the same time.

Maximizing the body’s ability to resist stress, it enables the body to reserve and sustain vital energy throughout the day while promoting sound, restful sleep at night.

Stress can cause fatigue, often manifesting as “hyper” signs like agitation and difficulty sleeping. By providing a nourishing, yet energizing effect, ashwagandha can support a healthy nervous system.

With the use of ashwagandha, stress doesn’t impact the nervous system with such intensity, and the “hyper” signs of stress and agitation will naturally resolve over time. In this way, ashwagandha has a rejuvenating and calming influence on the nervous system and, consequentially, on the entire being.

This quality of ashwagandha makes it a prime supplement to use in the toning and rejuvenation process. In addition to its dual energizing and calming effect, ashwagandha offers a number of benefits:

  • Supports a healthy immune system*
  • Calms mental processes*
  • Fosters healthy sleep patterns*
  • Benefits a healthy reproductive system in both males and females*
  • Supports sustained energy levels, strength, and vitality, including with physical activity*
  • Supports a healthy back and joints*
  • Supports healthy muscles*
  • Promotes thyroid health*
  • Promotes healthy functioning of the adrenals*

From the Ayurvedic perspective, ashwagandha is particularly balancing to vata and kapha in excess, and because of its heating, unctuous, building nature, it can imbalance pitta, and also worsen ama (toxic build-up).

Research on Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha has become of interest to a number of researchers, particularly as it grows in popularity.

  • It has been the subject of studies looking at the benefit on the immune system, including possible support of the immune system during radiation and chemotherapy.
  • Used in combination with licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), safed musli (Chlorophytum borivillanum), and sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum), ashwagandha has been shown to support healthy cholesterol levels and antioxidant properties.
  • It has been studied for its stress-relieving effects, demonstrating its ability to help support individuals in times of stress and anxiousness.
  • A study using male participants has shown ashwagandha’s ability to improve energy, strength, and vitality.
  • Ashwagandha has been shown to support muscle mass, strength, and recovery.
  • Additional studies on ashwagandha can be reviewed on PubMed.
Ashwagandha plants

Ashwagandha Uses

Ashwagandha is incredibly versatile—it can be taken as a powder, a tablet, or a liquid extract, with or without food, and at any time of the day, even right before bed.

As an added benefit, ashwagandha root actually tastes good, and there are many delicious ashwagandha recipes, making it easy to incorporate this herb.

Take our free Ayurvedic Profile™ quiz to see if ashwagandha is one of the herbs recommended for you.

Traditionally used as a powder, ashwagandha can be mixed with water or warm milk and honey. Taken before bed, this mixture calms vata and fosters healthy sleep patterns, supports the reproductive system, and bolsters strength. A general serving is 1/4–1/2 teaspoon once or twice daily.

Ashwagandha is traditionally taken with ghee and honey (equal parts), which act as anupans (a medium for carrying herbs deeper into the tissues) for overall nourishment and rejuvenation.

While combining equal measurements such as 1/2 a teaspoon each is fine, be sure you are not putting in equal weights of honey and ghee (such as 1 gram each) as this is considered toxic. 

Taking ashwagandha with raw sugar adds a cooling effect and can even be substituted for the honey, particularly in the summer months. It can also be used with ghee and sugar as a supplement to support the female reproductive system and joints.

The Ayurveda’s Carrier Substances guide is a great resource for determining which anupan is most appropriate to use.

Ashwagandha Tea Recipe
Ingredients:1/2 teaspoon ashwagandha powder1 cup hot water1 teaspoon honey
Directions: Combine hot water with Ashwagandha powder and mix well. Add honey to taste. Sip and enjoy!
Ashwagandha Tonic Recipe
Ingredients:1–2 teaspoons ashwagandha powder2 cups milk1 tablespoon raw sugar1/8 teaspoon cardamom
Directions: Simmer 1 to 2 teaspoons powdered ashwagandha in 2 cups milk over low heat for 15 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon raw sugar and 1/8 teaspoon cardamom and stir until well mixed. Turn off heat. Drink a cup once or twice a day for a pick-me-up.

If you prefer a more convenient way of taking your supplements, ashwagandha is also available in tablet form. This can be an easier method, especially for those that travel a lot, have a shortage of time, or do not like the taste of ashwagandha tea.

Banyan Botanicals prefers tablets over capsules as it is still possible to taste the herb. Taste starts the digestive process and sends signals to the body as to what to expect, initiating the body’s own inner pharmacy. Take 1–2 tablets once or twice daily, in the morning, at night, or whenever is most convenient for you. They do not need to be taken with food.

Ashwagandha liquid extract is also available and provides an alternative method of taking this herb. It’s convenient, easy to assimilate, and has a long shelf life. Add 30 ml (approximately one dropperful) to water or juice 1–3 times daily.


  • Large doses of ashwagandha can cause abdominal discomfort and diarrhea. Ashwagandha has otherwise been tolerated well in the few reported studies that exist.
  • Though the herb is traditionally used in India during pregnancy, it is recommended that ashwagandha be avoided in pregnancy in the West; this is because of its spasmolytic activity on the uterus, and its induction of abortions in animals when given in very large doses.
  • From an Ayurvedic perspective, use ashwagandha with caution in cases of excess pitta and ama.

From Seed to Harvest: Banyan’s Ashwagandha

Any time you purchase an herb, there are a variety of questions to consider relating to the quality of the herbs, the values of the company, and the impact on the environment. We are committed to providing the highest quality organic ashwagandha that is grown sustainably and is fairly traded.

On the Map: Where Banyan’s Ashwagandha Is Grown

All of Banyan’s ashwagandha is grown in an arid region of north Karnataka (Southwest India). Due to the harsh farming environment and the limited choice of crops that can be grown, farmers here are poorer than average, and few can afford to dig wells for irrigation.

Ashwagandha is remarkably drought-resistant, making it the perfect crop choice for areas that are difficult to irrigate.

Caring for the Ashwagandha Plant from Seed to Harvest

As with any farming story, our ashwagandha plants’ journey starts with the soil before the seeds are even sown. In order to provide certified organic ashwagandha, we must first start with certified organic land, and all farming practices must meet stringent organic regulations, ensuring no synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or other harmful chemicals are used.

Tending to the seeds is next. The way in which herbs are grown on the farm can have a significant influence on the quality and cost of the final product. In the case of ashwagandha, the spacing of the seedlings in the field is a surprisingly important factor.

Seeds are sown at the beginning of the monsoon season and harvested approximately five months later. The distance between the plants, combined with the time of harvest, determines the thickness, shape, and fiber content of the root.

If the seedlings are planted too close together, or harvested too early, they will not be well developed, and result in a poor yield. If the seedlings are spaced too far apart, or left in the field for too long, a thicker fibrous root will develop, which causes challenges when attempting to produce a uniform fine powder.

This is just one example of why it’s so important for us to support projects that maintain close relationships with the farmers. Only with regular communication and feedback can our herb suppliers understand and respond to the challenges faced on the farm.

And as a result of this dedicated communication, we get correctly spaced out seedlings that produce perfectly powderable ashwagandha.

Ashwagandha plant

Sustainability and Fair Trade in Action

Verifying sustainable planting and harvesting of our ashwagandha is another key part of the story.

All herbal companies have a choice in how ashwagandha is gathered, and like most other herbs, they can be harvested on private farms where sustainability can be managed, or they may be wild-harvested legally from their natural habitats.

Sometimes the herbs, particularly the endangered ones, are taken illegally, threatening long-term sustainability.

Because we maintain a connection with the farmers, we can ensure sustainable planting and harvesting of our ashwagandha plants.

It goes without saying that this whole process wouldn’t be possible without the farmers. Without their care, we couldn’t provide such amazing, high-quality ashwagandha.

Banyan strongly believes in making sure the farmers are cared for as a part of the supply chain. In addition to preserving our own relationship with our farmers, the farms we source from are inspected to make sure they follow fair-trade principles.