Ayurveda Explained

What Is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is the Indian practice of medicine much like the practice of massage in Oriental cultures. The word means the science or study of longevity as translated from Sanskrit. It is seen as a complementary and alternative medicine practice in the western hemisphere.

Ayurveda is based on five life elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether. The body is part of that combination of elements making up the total universe. The different practices are designed to bring the body into alignment with the universe and to promote long life.


Henna is a flowering shrub that is cultivated, most commonly in India. The flowers are pinkish and white. The entire shrub can be used for some medicinal purpose. It was discovered that crushing the bark left a pleasant odor behind. The name “henna” actually means “scent” in Arabic.

Ayurvedic practitioners use henna in powder, paste and liquid form. It can be used in cosmetic preparations and for medicine. Here are some examples.

* Hair dyes – Henna can be used to color white or graying hair. It is mixed with dye to restore color to hair. Used in shampoos, it is an effective conditioner. It has not been proven in clinical trials, but hair stylists that subscribe to ayurveda state that they have seen improvements in clients with alopecia and other hair conditions after using henna on them.

* Skin problems – Crushed leaves of the henna bush can be used to create a paste. This paste can help those who suffer from various skin conditions. Applying it for prickly heat is supposed to draw out the burning by releasing heat and providing relief. For insect bites, it can reduce inflammation that follows. After leprosy has been cleared up, henna can be used to restore smoothness to the skin.

* Gastrointestinal ailments – The seeds can be ground into a powder and used for internal ailments. For instance, it can be mixed with clarified butter and drunk for dysentery relief. Powdering the seeds or the bark can be used to help with liver issues such as cirrhosis or enlarged liver.

* Gynecological problems – Henna has been used in a preparation to relieve inflammation of the vagina, cervix and vaginal ulcers. It is important to use a proper decoction of henna for any ailments.

* Cosmetic – Henna has been found to help those with skin discolorations to restore the color to those spots. In cosmetic preparations it works as a concealer for an even skin tone.

Henna has so many more uses than were previously known. While henna tattoos are popular, you could be missing out on other effective formulations.