Chyawanprash, a sweet and spicy Ayurvedic herbal jam, is the most widely consumed Ayurvedic supplement in the world. The original recipe dates back 2,000 years to the Charaka Samhita (one of the oldest Ayurvedic books). In that recipe, 40 herbal ingredients are combined to work synergistically and provide support to all systems of the body.
There is a fable told by Ayurvedic doctors about a sage called Chyawan who meditated in the forest centuries ago. He awoke one day, wiser but older, and having lost his youthful vigor. He decided to make a potion from fruits and herbs from the forest to restore his health. He settled on a recipe for a sweet and spicy herbal jam. Within just a couple of months, this jam (“prash” in the Indian language) was able to restore his health and became known as chyawanprash.
Chyawanprash’s main ingredient is the Indian gooseberry (Emblica officinalis), better known as amla. Chyawanprash uses its pulp in combination with fruit and herbal extracts. Amla is highly concentrated in vitamin C, having between 470 to 680 milligrams per fruit. However, in chyawanprash, the vitamin C changes its form into a more bioavailable complex of tannins—powerful antioxidants that protect cells against damage.
Chyawanprash also contains grapes, another source of antioxidants. The sage Chyawan’s recipe contains herbs, including ashwagandha, shatavari, and gokhsura for reproductive health and improved endurance as well as phyllanthus and boerhavia for liver support.
Cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, long pepper, and black pepper support digestion and taste wonderful. Some other commonly used jam ingredients are ghee (clarified butter), unrefined sugar, and honey. The sweeteners add to the taste profile and aid the absorption of the herbs.
Balance Your Dosha
Chyawanprash is considered a “rejuvenative” or “rasayana” because it has many other benefits that work to help revitalize the body.
Chyawanprash is considered tridoshic, meaning it is beneficial for any of the three doshas, vata, pitta or kapha, when taken daily. Our doshas (most of us are a combination of two out of the three) can become imbalanced due to stress, diet, and lifestyle.
Research has shown that when formulas using amla—such as chyawanprash—are taken, the immune system is strengthened and the body is better protected from oxidative stress.
Chyawanprash can also increase energy, decrease anxiety, and promote healthy digestion and respiration. Emerging studies show it also helps reduce renal dysfunction that occurs in oxidative stress during the aging process. Results indicate a reduction in the elevated levels of stress markers such as serum creatinine and urea nitrogen. Therefore, chyawanprash can be very useful for age-related conditions.
Chyawanprash is suitable for all individuals, except those who have diabetes. This supplement can be taken year-round but is most favored during winter. It can be taken in a variety of ways—by the spoonful, in a drink or with yogurt, fruit, or on toast.
“Amla (Emblica officinalis) Attenuates Age-Related Renal Dysfunction by Oxidative Stress” by T.L. Yokozawa et al., J Agric Food Chem, 9/07
“Emblica officinalis Causes Myocardial Adaptation and Protects Against Oxidative Stress . . .” by S.L. Rajak et al., Phytother Res, 1/04