Archives for March 2021

Shikakai (Soap pod)

Shikakai Scientific Name

Acacia concinna

Shikakai Other Names

English: Senegalia rugata, Soap pod
Hindi: Shikakai
French: Piquant sappan
German: Shikekai-Baum
Sanskrit: Bahuphenarasa

What is Shikakai?

Shikakai is a thorny bush from the tropical forests of India. The pods of the bush are dried and ground in form of powder and used for hair treatments. In Ayurveda, Shikakai fruits and leaves are also used for external body cleansing that is very mild on the skin, owing to it’s neutral soap content. The fruit of Shikakai plant is known to be the “fruit for hair” and it helps to control hair fall and dandruff. It is mostly combined with reetha and amla to create Herbal shampoo which imparts shine and strength to the hair and prevents greying.
As per the Ayurvedic explanation, this herb also works great to manage constipation because of its laxative nature, treats jaundice and alleviates skin problems. Shikakai can be used for faster healing of wounds because of its Varana Ropan (tissue-healing) property and cooling effect on the body.

Common forms of Shikakai


Shikakai is commonly used for:

  • Treating loss of apetite
  • Treating constipation
  • Curing bleeding piles
  • Preventing and treating hair loss, dandruff and premature greying
  • Preventing and treating Baldness
  • Promoting wound healing
  • Treating stomatitis

Shikakai Dosage

Powder: 1-2 teaspoon or as prescribed by the doctor
Oil: 5-10 drops or as prescribed by the doctor.

Shikakai Side-effects and Warnings

Common side-effects: Not known.
Not so common side-effects: Not known.
Pregnant or Nursing Mothers: Avoid use during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
Children: Not known.

Where to Buy Shikakai in US?

Garlic (Lehsun)

Garlic Scientific Name

Allium sativum

Garlic Other Names

English: Garlick
German: Knoblauch
Chinese: Syun tauh
Hindi: Lehsun
Sanskrit: lshunm

What is Garlic?

Garlic is Native to central Asia, South Asia and southwestern Siberia. It is also known to be world’s oldest cultivated crops. Garlic’s name originates from Garleac. It is from the lily family and relates to onion, leeks, chives and shallots. This strong smelled sulphur containing plant is mostly used to boost immunity and increases the ability of the body to fight against various infections. The allyl sulphur compounds in Garlic give it a distinctive smell and pungency.
Garlic is been used in Ayurveda for treating cold and cough and it’s symptoms by facilitating the release of mucus from the respiratory tract. It helps to maintain healthy body weight by boosting metabolism. Scientifically, garlic is found to promote cardiac health by maintaining the levels of good and bad cholesterol in the blood. It acts as a vasodilatory agent that widens the blood vessels, thus preventing plaque formation in arteries (which can later lead to Atherosclerosis) and managing blood pressure levels. The anti-oxidant property of garlic also helps in reducing the oxidative stress in the body further lowering the chances of blood clot formation, heart disease and cancer.

Common forms of Garlic

Raw Garlic, Juice, Capsule and Softgels

Garlic is commonly used for:

Garlic Dosage

Raw Garlic: 1-2 raw garlic cloves.
Juice: 5-10 ml once or twice a day
Capsule: 1-2 capsule in day.
Oil: 2-5 drops or as per your requirement.

Garlic Side-effects and Warnings

Common side-effects: Vomiting if consumed in large amount.
Not so common side-effects: Not known.
Pregnant or Nursing Mothers: Avoid excessive therapeutic doses
Children: Not known.

Where to Buy Garlic in US?

Cardamom (Chhoti Elaichi)

Cardamom Scientific Name

Elettaria cardamomum

Cardamom Other Names

English: Green Cardamom, True Cardamom
Sanskrit: Ela, Sukhshamela, triputta
Hindi: Elaichi, Elachi, ilachi, Choti Elaichi

What is Cardamom?

Cardamom is famous flavoring agent and mouth freshner. This variety of Cardamom, Sukshma Ela which is also known as choti elaichi (Green cardamom). The refreshing, cooling and slightly sweet flavor of Cardamom, makes it a popular ingredient in milk-based desserts.

In Ayurveda, Cardamom is known for it’s antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti- inflammatory properties. Cardamom is used for preventing vomiting and nausea. It is used in treatment of indigestion, flatulence and to provide relief from stomach pain. Cardamom powder when consumed with honey is an effective remedy for cough and helps in removing mucus. Cardamon tea acts as an aphrodisiac and helps in enhancing libido.

Common forms of Cardamom

Powder, Oil, Seeds, Tablets, Capsules

Cardamom is commonly used for:

Cardamom Dosage

Powder: 250 mg twice a day or as prescribed by the doctor
Tablet: 1 tablet twice a day or as prescribed by the doctor.
Capsule: 1 capsule twice a day or as prescribed by the doctor.

Cardamom Side-effects and Warnings

Common side-effects: Not known.
Not so common side-effects: Not known.
Pregnant or Nursing Mothers: Found safe if used in limited quantity during pregnancy and lactation.
Children: Not known.

Where to Buy Cardamom in US?

Sandalwood (Chandan)

Sandalwood Scientific Name

Santalum album

Sandalwood Other Names

English: Sandalwood
Hindi: Chandan, Srigandha
French: Bois de santal
German: Sandelholz
Spanish: Sándalo
Sanskrit: Chandanan

What is Sandalwood?

Sandalwood is obtained from barks and stems of the Sandalwood tree. There are wide stretches of Sandalwood forests in south western region of India, which is the main source of this unique Ayurvedic ingredient. It is also known as Srigandha as per Ayurveda is one the oldest and treasured source of natural fragrance. Sandalwood has an inherent calming and cooling effect which makes it part of many Ayurvedic treatments that aim at reducing the body heat.

Besides fragrance, Sandalwood has hepatoprotective property which helps in managing liver and gallbladder problems.
Some studies suggest that sandalwood tea is of great help in healing mental problems. Smell of Sandalwood is considered to be mood-uplifting and widely used in aroma therapy. Also, sandalwood oil can be used to improve skin quality as it promotes skin cell growth. It also helps to deal with numerous other health issues such as headaches, respiratory infections, reducing inflammation, etc.
Almost all studies show external application of Sandalwood and concentrated ingestion is strongly discouraged.

Common forms of Sandalwood

Powder, Oil, Paste (that is obtained by rubbing the bark against grindstone usually in circular motion with little water)

Sandalwood is commonly used for:

Sandalwood Dosage

Powder: 1-3 g of sandalwood powder a day (edible) in combination with honey/sugar
Oil: Take a few drops of Sandalwood oil in combination with sugar or as directed by the ayurvedic doctor
External application of Sandalwood oil/powder is found to be safe in non-allergic individuals

Sandalwood Side-effects and Warnings

Common side-effects: Excessive use might cause skin allergies, itching, dermatitis.
Not so common side-effects: Gastrointestinal disturbances.
Pregnant or Nursing Mothers: Avoid or consult a physician before using Sandalwood.
Children: Not known.

Where to Buy Sandalwood in US?

Carom (Ajwain) seeds

Carom Scientific Name

Trachyspermum ammi

Carom Other Names

English: Carom seed, Bishop’s weed
Hindi: Ajwain, Jevain
French: Ajowan, Ajouan, Ammi
German: Ajowan, Adiowan
Thai: Phak Chi
Sanskrit: Yamini, Yaminiki, Yaviniki

What is Carom?

Carom aka Ajwain is widely used in Indian cooking as part of spice mixture. Similar to fennel and cumin seeds, carom seeds are highly fragrant, almost like thyme. It has a bitter note and strong flavor, which contributes to the pungency and spice, much like anise with earthiness of oregano
Carom seeds are widely used in Ayurveda for their digestion-boosting properties. It is very effective in curbing flatulence, stomachache and indigestion usually caused after consumption of legumes (possibly a reason, why many traditional Indian recipes with legumes have Carom seeds are a part of their ingredients). The anti-inflammatory properties of carom (i.e essential oil obtained after distillation) especially are effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis and associated joint pain. The seeds also help in relieving symptoms of cough and cold.

Common forms of Carom

Fruits, Seeds, Leaves

Carom is commonly used for:

  • Menstrual Difficulties
  • Its Analgesic properties
  • Treating Gastro-intestinal disorders
  • Anti- tussive effect (suppresses cough)
  • Anti-filarial activity (prevents worm and parasite infestation)
  • For Bronchodilatory effects that helps in clearing air passages in lungs
  • Anti- Hyperlipidemic effect that prevents lipid build up in arteries

Carom Dosage

Seeds: 1 to 3 grams
Oil: 1 to 3 drops
Distilled: 5 to 10 drops

Carom Side-effects and Warnings

Common side-effects: Several adverse effects such as stomach ulcer and heartburns can be seen if over consumed and also can lead to dizziness and nausea.
Not so common side-effects: Not known.
Pregnant or Nursing Mothers: Over consumption might intesify heat in the body. Avoid excessive consumption and stick to food limits
Children: Not known.

Where to Buy Carom in US?

Black Stone Flower (Dagad Phool)

Black Stone Flower Scientific Name

Parmotrema perlatum

Black Stone Flower Other Names

English: Black Stone Flower
Hindi: Dagad phool
French: Fleur de pierre noire
German: Schwarze Steinblume
Spanish: Flor de piedra negra
Latin: Faeniculi
Sanskrit: Shaileyam

What is Black Stone Flower?

Black stone flowers, are called flowers mainly because of their appearance. In reality, they belong to the lichen family of plant kingdom. Also known as Kalpasi, they are largely found in the hilly region of southern India. These are mildew type of flowers that grow on rocks, stones and trees in high altitude places. It is one of the important component of Garam Masala (most common spice powder in Indian Cuisine) Based on it’s natural environment, it imparts a earthy or woody aroma.
Particularly, in Ayurveda, black stone flowers are used in treatment of respiratory disorders like Asthma. Black stone flower acts a vasodilator and helps to keep the lung airways open. It also acts as a diuretic and helps in flushing our kidney stones. It has anti-fungal properties and helps in fighting skin fungal infections like rashes, itching, redness etc. It is an effective anti-inflammatory and pain-reliever and used in treatment of arthritis.

Common forms of Black Stone Flower

Powder, Dried flowers

Black Stone Flower is commonly used for:

  • Relieving pain
  • Reducing inflammation in Arthritis
  • Improving digestion
  • Managing cholesterol levels
  • Reducing the risk of upper respiratory tract infections
  • Promoting healthy kidney function
  • Promoting wound healing

Black Stone Flower Dosage

Powder: 1-3 g of Stone flower powder a day
Decoction made from Black stone flower for treating Urine Stones
Ground back stone flower mixed with coconut oil when applied to wounds promotes healing.

Black Stone Flower Side-effects and Warnings

Common side-effects: Consumption in large quantity can cause cough and cold in people with weak immunity.
Not so common side-effects: Not known
Pregnant or Nursing Mothers: Consult your physician before consuming black stone flower. Avoid therapeutic doses
Children: Not known.

Where to Buy Black Stone Flower in US?