The ancient science of Ayurveda teaches how one can be in perfect health and live a long life. Ayurveda deals with the maintenance of one’s health and the ways and means to lead a longer and healthy life.
Ayurveda makes the prevention of disease one of its ideals. Man’s first medicine was herbal. Herbs grow all round us both in the country and the town. Ayurveda pays a great deal of attention to man’s daily diet. Almost everyone who lived in ancient Sri Lanka knew something about the curative value of herbs. At least one item of diet was a herb.
Long before tea was introduced into Sri Lanka, people were used to drinking herbal tea. Even today, we still find herbal plants boiled and brewed and taken as a drink. Some of the most common are Polpala, Ranavara and Beli flowers. These drinks are very popular in Kataragama, Anuradhapura and many other religious places situated in the dry zone.
1 Ceylon Tea – Black and Green Tea
This is not a traditional Ayurvedic drink in Sri Lanka, but It was during the British era that tea first began to be cultivated and manufactured here. Tea (Camellia sinensis) from Ceylon soon gained the reputation of being the finest in the world.
Perhaps the most significant health-promoting properties of tea lie in the antioxidants or ‘flavonoids’ it contains. Antioxidants are compounds that help remove harmful toxins from the bloodstream, and tea contains uniquely high concentrations of them. Research has shown that consuming such antioxidants can lower the risk of heart disease, strokes and cancer.
There are also indications that antioxidants in tea may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease and age-related memory impairment. Black and green tea both contain higher levels of antioxidants than common fruits or vegetables.
Sri Lankan Tea Research Institute says that black tea also provide health benefits originally attributed solely to green tea. Polyphenolic compounds present in tea may reduce the risk of a variety of illnesses, including cancer, coronary heart disease, oral diseases, diabetes and hypertension.
This herb is described as “one of the best known remedies for bladder and kidney stones. Polpala is effective in the treatment of cough and indigestion and is specially used in the treatment of diabetes and urinary troubles. It is a diuretic and is used as an antidote in cases of arsenic poisoning.
In Sanskrit Polpala has another name Nagajihva. This name refers to the fact that the tap root resembles the tongue of a naga or cobra. It is used either by itself or in combination with other herbs to treat snake bites. Polpala can also be made into paste with cold water cmd used as an application for skin eruptions. Polpala can be cooked as vegetable.
Ranawara or Ranavara (Cassia auriculata) flower has been widely used from generations in Sri Lanka as a Herbal tea Totally natural Caffeine Free Ranawara Ayurvedic Herbal Tea offers many medicinal benefits.
Ranawara Ayurvedic herbal Tea gives the clear complexion. Ranawara herb acts as an agent in restoring sexual vitality, increases sperm count, and counter acts ejaculatory disorders. Ranawara herb is used as a treatment for diabetes Ranawara Ayurvedic herbal Tea is also effective in relieving urinary problems, assists in stomach cleaning and restoration of the skin to its natural glow.
Acts as an agent in easing discomfort in women during menstruation In Africa the herb has been used for treating body aches, eye irritations, diabetes and venereal disease.
4. Beli Flowers
The fresh flowers of the Beli tree (Aegle narmelos) gives Beli Mal Herbal Tea which has it’s significant fragrance and a good and lasting taste and fresh breath. Belimal tea relieves palpitations, heart burn Indigestion, bowel disorders and vomiting. It is used for treating asthma and malaria.
Gotukola (Centalla asiatica) dried and cut into small pieces can be poured like tea. This is a very popular drink among many. It is a remedy for worm diseases in children. It is a very common plant which could be grown in pots as an indoor plant. This drink enriches the appetite in children. It is also a very effective herbal tea for those who suffer from hay fever and Catarrh.
Mukkunuwenna (Altemanthera sessilis) is a common weed used in curry form. This weed is also used as a drink, prepared in the same form as Gotukola. This is a herbal tea that cools the system and clears urinary complaints.
Asswanna (Alysicarpus Vaginalis) is another herb which is used often in Ayurveda. Prepared as tea, this helps the balance of unbalanced watha, and helps to reduce rheumatic pains.
8. Myla flower
In rural areas Buddhist monks drink more of these herbal teas than the common tea: In the dry zone, the Myla flower (Wood fordia fruticosa) is used as a herbal tea. It is a delicious drink. This herb is largely used in indigenous medicine. In Sanskrit it is known in AngiJvala which means fire flame. It is a remedy against dysentery and diarrhoea. This herbal tea reduces flatulence.
There is a great deal of influenza in the country and children often suffer from a heavy nose and painful coughs. Adathoda flowers dried or fresh poured as tea is a very effective remedy forth is. Add sugar candy (preferably Thai Sookiri) instead of sugar.
10. Aruda or Rue (Ruta graveolens)
Aruda or Rue (Ruta graveolens) is a native plant in Europe. Rue was then used as a protection against poison and as a preventive for epilepsy and vertigo. In Sanskrit it is known Anganapriya, a herb dear to women.
It was a common practice among mothers to heat a few crushed leaves, in a teaspoon full of gingelly oil or coconut oil, and to rub it over the chest and head, for infantile catarrh. It is widely cultivated in the hill country. It has a pungent smell and bitter taste, and is called the herb of grace.
Among the Muslims it is highly revered, for it was blessed by the Prophet after it had cured an illness. It is a very potent herb, and should be taken very sparingly. It cures many mental disorders. It improves the condition of the veins and arteries and will cure muscular cramps.
A teaspoonful of Rue leaves infused in three quarter pint of water will give you a bowlful of herbal tea. Take a dessertspoonful of this herbal tea before retiring to bed. It reduces high blood pressure and sciatica and many-forms of rheumatism. Sometimes you find that this herbal tea upsets your stomach.
Source for Ayurvedic tea: Herbal Foods and Medicines in Sri Lanka by Dr Seela Fernando (2003)