Chyavanprash, chyawanprash.

Chyavanprash Benefits, Ingredients + How To Take Chyawanprash

Chyawanprash is a time tested Ayurvedic herbal formulation gaining immense popularity worldwide as an immunity booster. In addition to boosting the immune system, chyawanprash has other wonderful health benefits. It falls under the rasayana category of herbs which means, it has the ability to rejuvenate the mind and body. This formula contains around forty herbs and some other ingredients. Amalaki or Indian gooseberry is its main ingredient. 

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article.

About Chyaanprash
Chyavanprash Benefits
Clinical Studies On Chyavanprash
How Chyawanprash Is Made
Properly Made Chyavanprash
Facts Related To The Preparation Of Chyawanprash
How To Take Chyawanprash
Precautions And Contraindications

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About Chyavanprash

The first historically documented recipe of chyawanprash appears in the Charak Samhita, the renowned Ayurvedic text book. Following this, many other respected Ayurvedic text books have described the method of making chyawanprash. There are some alterations. These minor amendments are acceptable however because the basic method remains the same and they all share the similar core benefits of chyawanprash.

Chyawanprash consists of two words, ‘chyawan‘ and ‘prash‘.

The mythological story behind the nomenclature is of Chyawan, a sage. This herbal formulation was concocted by the divine twin Ayurvedic physicians for the sage Chyawan to restore his youth and vitality. In Sanskrit, ‘prash’ means specially prepared food. That is why this formulation got the name chyawanprash.1

Some brands have a picture of an old sage doing meditation on the jar of chyawanprash. This picture is devoted to the sage Chyawan.

This formulation looks like a jam. It is dark brown in color.

Chyawanprash Benefits

Chyawanprash, chyavanprash.

The benefits of chyawanprash according to the renowned Ayurvedic text books are described below.2

  • It is considered a very good remedy for cough and cold.
  • Helpful in pulmonary tuberculosis.
  • Useful in people who become emaciated due to chest injury. Chyawanprash provides them nourishment.
  • Helpful in rejuvenation of old age people.
  • It is useful in young children to provide them nutrition.
  • Helpful in throat problems and problems related to the voice.
  • Helpful in various lung problems and chest infections.
  • Useful in heart related problems.
  • Helpful in gout.
  • Helpful in excessive thirst.
  • Helpful in diseases related to the urinary tract.
  • Useful in problems related to the reproductive system.
  • Helpful in Vata related diseases.
  • It is helpful in improving intelligence.
  • It may improve memory.
  • It is useful in making the skin lustrous.
  • It builds ojas for supporting a healthy immune system. In the Ayurvedic system of medicine it is believed that ojas is the essence of the body. It provides immunity, strength, vigor and vitality. It is the finest product of the digestive process.
  • It is helpful in maintaining overall health.
  • Helpful in increasing longevity of life and slows down the effects of aging.
  • Increases strength and stamina.
  • Provides strength to the sense organs.
  • Increases sexual stamina in men.
  • Helpful in increasing appetite and digestive fire.
  • Improves skin complexion.
  • Promotes easy bowel movement.

READ MORE: How To Protect Your Memory After 50

Clinical Studies On Chyavanprash

A six month clinical study conducted in 2015 in India was done on school-going healthy children between 5 to 12 years old. The children were divided into two groups. One group had chyawanprash with milk daily for six months and the other group continued their normal, routine diet.

The group having daily chyawanprash with milk showed more than two times protection from immunity-related illnesses. This group also showed improvement in energy levels, physical fitness, strength, stamina and quality of life.3

READ MORE: Why You Should Take Ashwagandha With Milk

Ingredients And Preparation Of Chyawanprash4

  • Bilva (Aegle marmelos)
  • Agnimantha (Clerodendrum phlomidis)
  • Shyonaka (Oroxylum indicum)
  • Kashmarya (Gmelina arborea)
  • Patala (Stereospermum suaveolens)
  • Bala (Sida cordifolia)
  • Mashaparni (Teramnus labialis)
  • Mudgaparni (Phaseolus trilobus)
  • Shalaparni (Desmodium gangeticum)
  • Prishniparni (Uraria picta)
  • Pippali (Piper longum)
  • Shvadamstra or gokshura (Tribulus terrestris)
  • Brihati (Solanum indicum)
  • Kantakari (Solanum surattense)
  • Shringi (Pistacia chinensis)
  • Tamalaki (Phyllanthus niruri)
  • Draksha (Vitis vinifera)
  • Jivanti (Leptadenia reticulata)
  • Pushkara (Inula racemosa)
  • Aguru (Aquilaria agallocha)
  • Haritaki (Terminalia chebula)
  • Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)
  • Riddhi (Habenaria  intermedia)
  • Vridhi (Habenaria edgeworthii )
  • Jivaka (Malaxis acuminata)
  • Rishabhaka (Malaxis mucifera)
  • Shati (Heydichum spicatum)
  • Musta (Cyperus rotundus)
  • Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa)
  • Meda (Polygonatum verticillatum)
  • Maha meda (Polygonatum cirrhifolium)
  • Sukshma Ela (Elettaria cardamomum)
  • Chandana (Santalum album)
  • Utpala (Nymphaea stellata)
  • Vidari (Pueraria tuberosa)
  • Vrusha or vasa (Adhatoda vasica)
  • Kakoli (Roscoea pupurea)
  • Ksheer Kakoli (Lilium polphyllum)
  • Kakanasika (Martynia annua)

In the Ayurvedic text books there is mentioned a group of eight herbs called ashtavarga. These herbs are jivaka, rishabhaka, meda, maha meda, kakoli, ksheer kakoli, ridhi and vridhi. But these plants fall under the category of rare medicinal plants. They are still a subject of botanical research. A lot of research has been done based on their identification and according to medicinal properties. Yet a lot of work still has to be done. They are not available easily and everywhere.

So according to the Ayurvedic textbooks, the above representative herbs can be used in their place. These representative herbs have many qualities in common. They are shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), vidari kanda (Pueraria tuberosa), varahi kanda (Dioscorea bulbifera) and ashwagandha (Withania somnifera).5

READ MORE: 21 Ways To Take Ashwagandha (Ashwagandha Remedies + Recipes)

How Chyawanprash Is Made

Chyavanprash, chyawanprash, how to make chyavanprash.

This method of preparation is derived from the Ayurvedic text book, Bhaishjya Kalpana, The Ayurvedic Pharmaceuticals.6 The step by step preparation of chyawanprash is explained below.

  • Take four tola (ancient method of weight measurement) of each of the above mentioned herbs in coarse powder form. Four tola is equal to 50 grams.
  • Take 500 fresh fruits of amalaki or Indian gooseberry.
  • Keep these coarse powder herbs in a copper vessel. If you are using a copper vessel it should have a protective covering on its inner side. You can also use other vessels like stainless steel.
  • Soak all these herbs in 13 liters of water and let it sit for one whole night.
  • In the morning, boil these herbs using the same container. When 4 to 5 liters of water remain, strain the decoction into another vessel and set aside.
  • Now, add all the fruits of the Indian gooseberry to the decoction. When it is fully boiled the fruits get soft. You can then remove it from the heat. Set it aside to cool.
  • After the mixture cools down, take out the fruits with the help of a strainer. Keep this decoction safe in a container.
  • Remove the seeds from the fruits of the Indian gooseberries. Now mash it with the help of your hands and then grate it.
  • Take six pala (equal to approximately 300 grams) of each of sesame seed oil and ghrita or clarified butter made from cow’s milk. Heat this for some time and then add the fruits of the Indian gooseberry. Fry the Indian gooseberry fruits in the oil mixture using a spatula. When the color of the Indian gooseberry starts changing and the mixture of ghee and oil separates from the fruits, stop frying. These are the signs that the fruits are fried properly. Remove the fried fruits into a separate container.
  • Now take the strained decoction and pour it into a container, adding about a half tula (approximately 2.5 kilograms) of sugar and bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves. When the sugar dissolves then boil it over a low to medium flame. Whenever a boil comes, stir it with the help of a spatula. Continue boiling this mixture until you achieve a semi solid consistency or consistency of a linctus. Check whether the mixture formed is correct or not, and only then you can stop heating it.

READ MORE: How To Use A Neti Pot Correctly

Properly Made Chyavanprash

Here’s how to check whether the mixture formed is correct or not.

The mixture will have a pleasant smell. Drop 8 to 10 drops of this mixture into a bowl full of water. It should sink immediately and will not spread. This indicates that the chyavanprash was made correctly.

  • If the mixture formed is correct then stop heating it. Remove it from the flame. Add the fried Indian gooseberry fruits to it and mix it well.
  • After mixing it well, take the following herbs in the mentioned amounts.

Vanshlochan (Bambusa bambos)- 200 gms
Badi pippali or long pepper (Piper longum)- 100 gms
Dalchini (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)- 50 gms
Ela (Elettaria cardamomum)- 50 gms
Patra (Cinnamomum  tamala)- 50 gms
Nagakesara (Mesua ferrea)- 50 gms

Make a fine powder of all of these herbs and combine it into the above jam, mixing it well. Allow it to cool down completely. Once cooled, add 300 grams of honey and mix well. Now it is ready to serve. Store in an airtight container.

Facts Related To The Preparation Of Chyawanprash

The honey, ghee and sesame oil in chyawanprash serve as yogavahis. A yogavahi is a Sanskrit term which means catalytic agent. It carries the qualities of that thing or substance with which it is associated in the combination, along with it own qualities. This helps to carry the herbs deep into the tissues.

Sugar added to the chyawanprash is considered a samvahaka dravya. Samvahaka means which acts as a preservative substance. It helps in maintaining the efficacy of the main ingredient.

How To Take Chyawanprash

You can take 1-2 teaspoons of chyawanprash once or twice daily with lukewarm milk, or as recommended by your Ayurvedic practitioner. Milk is considered an anupana or vehicle which helps to carry its qualities deep into tissues.

Children should take half a teaspoon of chyawanprash. It can be started after three years of age. Certainly follow the advice of your Ayurvedic practitioner or health care provider before giving supplements to your children.

Some people use chyawanprash as a jam spread over bread or toast. But the ideal and authentic method is to take it along with milk.

READ MORE: Golden Milk For Arthritis (Turmeric Milk For Arthritis)

Precautions And Contraindications

In general there are no side effects associated with chyawanprash. But keep these things in mind while taking it for the first time.

  • As it contains sugar, diabetic patients and people with high blood sugar levels should avoid it. However, sugar free chyawanprash has also been made available commercially. You can consume it after discussing with your Ayurvedic practitioner.
  • If you are allergic to any of the ingredients, do not take it.
  • If you are taking any kind of prescription medicine, take it only after discussing with your Ayurvedic practitioner or health care provider.
  • If you feel any side effects after taking chyawanprash, it is better to stop taking it and discuss the matter with your Ayurvedic practitioner or health care provider.

Some side notes about chyawanprash:

  • Some people believe that chyawanprash increases weight because it contains clarified butter and sesame oil, but that is not true. It does contain both clarified butter and sesame oil, but the amount per teaspoon is very minimal that it will not cause any weight gain.
  • There are many varieties of chyawanprash. It comes in many flavors. But in the ancient Ayurvedic textbooks there is no mention of these flavored varieties. So its better to take an original formulation over other varieties.

READ MORE: What’s An Ayurvedic Practitioner?

References

  1. Bhaishjya Kalpana Vigyan with hindi commentary by Aacharya Sidhinandan Mishra, page no.172, Chaukhamba Surbharti Prakashan, Varanasi,1988.
  2. Bhaishjya Kalpana Vigyan with hindi commentary by Aacharya Sidhinandan Mishra, page no.169, Chaukhamba Surbharti Prakashan, Varanasi,1988.
  3. Gupta, Arun, et al. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5566825/.
  4. Bhaishjya Kalpana Vigyan with hindi commentary by Aacharya Sidhinandan Mishra, page no.167, Chaukhamba Surbharti Prakashan, Varanasi,1988.
  5. Bhaishjya Kalpana Vigyan with hindi commentary by Aacharya Sidhinandan Mishra, page no.170, Chaukhamba Surbharti Prakashan, Varanasi,1988.
  6. Bhaishjya Kalpana Vigyan with hindi commentary by Aacharya Sidhinandan Mishra, page no.168, Chaukhamba Surbharti Prakashan, Varanasi,1988.

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Dr. Alka Sharma, BAMS is an Ayurvedic practitioner and an avid learner of the field. She graduated with a Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) from Dayanand Ayurvedic College, Jalandhar, Punjab in India. She has been practicing Ayurvedic medicine and doing related work for the last six years. She works as an independent consultant in Ayurveda through online consultancy services. She has a personal app on the Google play store where she consults patients on their health problems following the Ayurveda medical sciences. She additionally has a Masters degree in Business Administration for Health Sciences from Sikkim Manipal University (SMU), India.

2 comments

  1. It is a great, informative blog reciting the ancient preparatory method mentioned in Charak Samhita for preparing a mixture of essential herbs and gooseberry commonly own as Chyavanprash. The essential and beneficial qualities of this herbal is very beautifully explained in this blog.

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