Chyawanprash: Ayurveda’s Elixir of Life

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The Longevity Legend of Chyavan

The holy sage Chyavan became engaged, through a chance meeting and customs of the time, to a young wife, the princess Sukanya. 

He had become very old, and he realized that his aged and weakened body would be a burden to her. He sought help from the twin celestial physicians, the Ashwini Kumars. 

They undertook to make a young man of him, and prepared a rasayana, or longevity tonic.4 He became youthful through taking this delicious herbal jam, which was then named after him (prash means to eat, thus chyanvan-prash).3

What is Chyawanprash?

Chyawanprash is Ayurveda’s premier superfood, containing over forty herbal constituents that have worked synergistically since early in the first millennium BCE, when the formula was first documented in Ayurveda’s major treatise, Caraka Samhita

Chyawanprash is Ayurveda’s premier rasayana, and is commonly called the elixir of life.5In Caraka Samhita, rasayana is described as follows:

From rasayana, one attains longevity, memory, intelligence, freedom from disorders, youthful age, excellence of luster, complexion and voice, optimal strength of physique and sense organs, successful words, respectability and brilliance.2

Chyawanprash was described in Caraka Samhita as “famous”3 more than two thousand years ago and it is still quite famous today. Back in 2000, one herbal company was quoted as saying, “Over 50% of total sales of Ayurvedic products in India is chyawanprash.”4 Personally, it was the first Ayurvedic herb I ever tasted and I have been a fan ever since. 

Chyawanprash for the Whole Family

Our organic chyawanprash was key to keeping my six kids healthy. When they were young, we declared getting sick unacceptable behavior. I read a study years ago that the average child in America gets sick on average six to eight times a year, which, with a big family, sounded overwhelming. But it’s when I ran the numbers that getting sick became unacceptable (well, at least something that required prevention): with six children catching a cold, say, six times a year, that’s 36 days. If each cold lasts 10 days, that 360 days, leaving only five healthy days in our family. (I realize the colds would generally overlap, but caring for multiple sick kids is even worse!)

Chyawanprash has become our go-to formula for preventive health and now, as the kids are older, I regularly get texts asking for chyawanprash.

Learn how to make chyawanprash cookies here.

What’s in Chyawanprash?

The primary ingredient amalaki (Phyllanthus emblica or Emblica officinalis) and its supporting cast of herbal constituents have been found to support healthy blood sugar, even though two of the forty ingredients are small amounts of organic cane juice and organic raw honey.1

Another study found the constituent herbs acted as memory enhancers, improved learning ability, and increased retention capacity in aged animals by virtue of their antioxidant and pro-cholinergic action.6

Other studies suggest the constituent herbs support healthy immune function. As an immune tonic, the constituent herbs (when taken regularly) have shown improvement in beneficial support for overall health status and immunity.7

Finally, in another study, the constituent herbs taken for 15 consecutive days significantly improved memory of aged mice when compared to young mice. There was a significant decrease in brain TBARS (free radical activity) and increase in glutathione (liver antioxidant) levels of aged animals, indicating decreased free radical generation and increased scavenging of free radicals.8

Amalaki

Much of chyawanprash’s amazing benefits must be attributed to the major herbal constituent amalaki, which is considered a rasyana (longevity herb) in its own right. 

It is one of only two herbs in Ayurveda that possess five out of the six tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, astringent, and pungent (it doesn’t contain salty). 

Called the wonderberry by Western scientists, per pound amalaki is loaded with more vitamin C than oranges and supports cardiovascular health, digestion, elimination, joint health, blood sugar, immunity, fatigue, complexion, longevity, and much, much more.10

Learn more about the amalaki wonderberry here.

Stock up on chyawanprash here.

Have you tried chyawanprash? What do you think?

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11211574
  2. Caraka Samhita. P.V Sharma. Cikitsathanam Ch-1, V 7-8. Chaukhambha Orientalia, Varanasi, India. 1983
  3. Caraka Samhita. P.V Sharma. Cikitsathanam Ch-1, V 62-72. Chaukhambha Orientalia, Varanasi, India. 1983
  4. http://www.itmonline.org/arts/chyawanprash.htm
  5. https://www.academia.edu/5260713/Chyawanprash_A_wonder_Indian_Rasayana_from_Ayurveda_to_Modern_Age
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20738179
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27496580
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20738179
  9. Caraka Samhita. P.V Sharma. Cikitsathanam Ch-1, V 62-72.  Chaukhambha Orientalia, Varanasi, India. 1983
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21317655

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