Le rôle des tisanes dans l'Ayurveda

The role of herbal teas in Ayurveda

By Ghanashyam Marda , Doctor of Ayurveda

Ayurveda is an ancient health system in India, practiced and believed to have existed since 5,000 to 7,000 BC. It is known for its natural ways of achieving and maintaining good health through diet, behavior, psychological modification, lifestyle and herbal therapies.

Ayurveda has incorporated hundreds of plants, through numerous herbal drinks, in the form of hot boiled decoction (Kwatha/Kashaya), hot infusions (Phanta), cold infusions (Heema), concentrates /water extracts (Paniya/Panaka), extracts (Arka), or boiled milks (Ksheerapaka). They are still in common use and are derived from ancient Ayurvedic texts. One of these drinks even became known worldwide under the name CHAI or MASALA CHAI; it is one of those spice blends used with or without milk, with or without tea leaves. The sweet, milky taste of Chai helps you experience the stronger and sometimes bitter flavors of some herbal additives. As well as certain spices, such as cardamom, cloves and ginger, add a pleasant flavor and aroma to tea, as well as health benefits.

The practice of Ayurveda has therefore given rise to a long tradition of different herbal drinks, teas and herbal teas. Traditional Indian cuisines have also long used the medicinal benefits offered by various plants and spices such as turmeric (haldi), cardamom (Elaichi), black pepper (KaliMirch), dry and fresh ginger (Sonth/adrak), clove (laung), as well as holy basil (Tulsi), mint (Pudina), fresh coriander (dhaniya), lemongrass (Gavati), licorice (Mulethi), and fruits like lemon (Nimbu ), Garcinia (Kokum), etc... The leaves or roots have been used for centuries throughout India for different illnesses ranging from the least painful to the most serious, being based on the methods and benefits of Ayurveda.

Tea itself (Camellia sinensis, of the Theaceae family) had grown wild in the Assam region for a long time, but the Indians considered it a medicinal plant rather than a drink. Its use and notoriety date back to the 12th century. Ayurveda being an ancient science born long before Christ, it describes tea leaves (Camellia sinensis) as Shyamparni in various texts. It was used for its astringent (helps absorb water, stops diarrhea or hemorrhage), cardiotonic, diuretic, stimulating and antioxidant properties. It is often used for diarrhea and dysentery in the form of green/black tea/dairy-free decoction. The bitter leaf juice is also used as a hemostatic on cuts and wounds; leaf poultices are applied locally to stop bleeding; the infusion of leaves is used against colds and conjunctivitis. Later it was cultivated in Assam, Darjeeling, Travancore, the Nilgiris, Malabar, Bengal, Dehra Dun and Kumaon.

Ayurvedic herbal drinks are intended for a wide variety of purposes. The boiled decoction forms are stronger and intended for medicinal use, while the method of preparation in the form of infusions is intended for health and food use, while also being useful for medicinal purposes. These various plant-based drinks have recently regained popularity among health-conscious consumers. They have entered an emerging market, alongside other popular drinks such as coffee and cocoa, also made from plant materials. Ashwagandha Latte is becoming popular as a coffee substitute. A rapidly growing segment of the population uses herbal drinks for slimming and various other cosmetic purposes. More recently, immunity-enhancing decoctions are also popular.

Herbal drinks are prepared using natural ingredients from different morphological parts of plants, namely leaves, stems, skin, roots, fruits, buds and flowers. These drinks are rich sources of natural bioactive compounds such as carotenoids, phenolic acids, flavonoids, coumarins, alkaloids, poly acetylenes, saponins and terpenoids, among others. Scientific evidence shows that these bioactive compounds produce a myriad of biological effects, such as antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, antithrombotic and vasodilatory effects, as well as antimutagenic, anticarcinogenic and anti-aging effects, among others.

Many of these drinks additionally contain flavors and scents of spices, fruits, or flowers that make them palatable, which cleverly accompanies their health benefits.

Almost all ranges of illnesses, from fever to arthritis or obesity to heart disease or urinary disorders to diabetes, contain herbal drinks or decoctions, as part of 'a global Ayurvedic prescription. In fact, in classic treatises like Charaka, several chapters are devoted to herbal drinks, in the form of decoctions, for diseases, pain, cosmetological aspect and even anti-aging and vitality. But Ayurveda also provides herbal drinks for everyday life, for simple dietary use, of course with underlying health benefits but without overemphasizing them.

Here is an example of Ayurvedic design of an herbal health drink, which is based on the South Indian beverage tradition in Kerala:

To drink water that is both pleasant and beneficial, people in Kerala choose from a variety of plants like sandalwood, sapwood, Prunus cerasoides and spices like dry ginger, cardamom, cloves. , coriander seeds, cumin seeds, basil vetiver and sandalwood. When cumin seeds are added, this water is called jeeraka vella; malli vella when infused with coriander seeds.

The most famous water is rose water, which is prepared from a decoction of plants which include the bark of Padmaka (or "Himalayan Cherry") which belongs to the Rosacease family and is closely related to the apple tree. You will find a great example of this type of preparation with the SHAMANA infusion, which I designed for TEA TRIBES & Co., because it contains 48% Padmaka bark!

The Malayalis (important people of Kerala) mix this bark with spices. This results in water that is used to cool, reduce heat in the body, to protect against external microbes or parasites and also to improve the skin.

Several studies suggest that this Padmaka bark, which gives a pink color when added to water, has medicinal value. A study by researchers from South Korea, China and the United States, shows that this part of the tree contains relatively high levels of flavones and isoflavones which may be potential sources of phytoestrogens and help relieve postmenopausal symptoms.

Another study carried out by the Department of Microbiology at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar highlights the tree's ability to purify water. Researchers examined its constituents responsible for antimicrobial activity and found that its active ingredients could kill microbes like Klebsiella pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus.

This is a great example of the power of the plants that surround us.

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