Honoring Tradition and Sustainability: The Story of Banyan’s Chyavanprash

Chyavanprash, a renowned rejuvenative tonic, holds a significant place in traditional Ayurveda.  Made with a long list of health-supporting ingredients, this delicious and beneficial Ayurvedic staple plays an essential role in our line of herbal offerings. 

Join us as we share the story behind our signature Chyavanprash, which has been meticulously crafted with a deep commitment to our core values, a dedication to sustainability, and a profound respect for the ancient Ayurvedic recipe that inspired it. 

Origin and Legend of Chyavanprash

Chyavanprash is a rejuvenating herbal jam traditionally used to support a healthy immune system, healthy energy, and more. The name comprises the fusion of two Sanskrit words, "chyavan," which refers to a wise sage, and "prasha," meaning a spread or edible food. Together, the term denotes food that is good to eat and revered for its ability to support health and wellness. 

This unique herbal elixir is in many ways an offering to the legendary sage Chyavan, a forest saint dedicated to enlightenment. 

According to ancient Vedic texts, the royal physicians, known as the Ashwini Kumar brothers, crafted the original chyavanprash to rejuvenate the aged and weakened sage Chyavan. The formulation was created at Chyavan's hermitage near Dhosi Hill in Haryana, India. The details of this ancient recipe, celebrated for its superiority among herbal rejuvenative tonics, are documented in the Charaka Samhita, an ancient Ayurvedic classic text.1

What's in It? Chyavanprash's Herbal Synergy

At the heart of chyavanprash lies amla fruit. Also known as Indian gooseberry, amla (Phyllanthus emblica) is considered a rejuvenative tonic for all doshas. It also presents a harmonious blend of five of the six tastes—sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and astringent. 

Chyavanprash's magic arises from its unique formulation, which originally included a synergy of around 50 herbs and spices.2

These herbs are broken down into four distinct classes of herbs, each of which contribute to the composition of this herbal jam:

  • The Dashamula class (ten roots): These herbs have a calming effect on the nervous system and support healthy respiratory function.
  • The Chaturjata class (four aromatic spices): Spices to support healthy digestion, remove natural toxins, and balance kapha. They also balance the heavier ingredients in the formula.
  • Ashtavarga (herbs belonging to the northwest Himalayan region): These herbs are known for their rejuvenating and tonic properties.
  • General class: Refers to any additional herbs that add beneficial value to the formula.

Preserving Authenticity: A Look at the Challenges

Chyavanprash, in its original form, contained several herbs in the Ashtavarga category that have, unfortunately, become scarce, threatened, or extinct. 

Luckily, there is a governmental branch in India, the Ministry of Ayush, that was created to protect traditional systems of medicine by preserving and cultivating traditional knowledge and practices related to herbs and natural healing methods. This organization responded to the scarcity of Ashtavarga herbs by encouraging adaptations in modern chyavanprash formulations and prompting a departure from the traditional recipe.

Due to the unavailability of the original Ashtavarga herbs and in line with the Ministry of Ayush's recommendations, many herbalists have resorted to using other rejuvenating herbal ingredients as substitutions. Certain Chyavanprash recipes also get modified due to regional differences in India, based on the availability of herbs in a specific region.

Banyan's Approach to Recreating Chyavanprash

As the popularity of Ayurveda increases, the demand for traditional herbs also increases, putting pressure on the plants and supply chains. This means that it's more important than ever to source plants with integrity and care, and it's that much more important for consumers know how their herbs are sourced, grown, and harvested.

Since its inception, Banyan Botanicals has been aware of the importance of chyavanprash in the traditional Ayurvedic pharmacopeia. So how do we offer an authentic—or close to authentic—chyavanprash formulation that is also ecologically sustainable and responsible?

This question led us to embark on a journey that explored the balance between honoring tradition and mindfully evolving the original chyavanprash recipe to protect and respect the long term well-being of the plants and herbal ingredients. 

This journey—just one example of the complex nature of sourcing sustainable botanicals—eventually led us to adapt our Chyavanprash to reflect our core values as a company. Most importantly, caring for the well-being of people and of the earth.

Our commitment extended to obtaining organic ingredients, following ethical and sustainable practices, and considering the impact on the environment in our sourcing decisions. 

Preserving biodiversity and supporting local communities were—and still are—essential parts of our strategy. 

By choosing herbs that align with our social and environmental goals, we aim to honor our commitments while preserving the essence of this ancient elixir.

This meant saying goodbye to certain herbs that were considered threatened species according to the IUCN red list database, unavailable in organic form, or even extinct. 

Some herbs were also excluded because they weren't listed in the Herbs of Commerce, a reference guide listing herbs officially recognized and approved for trade in the United States which provides a standardized guide for the herbal products industry.

Our signature chyavanprash formula includes 18 of the original ingredients, most of which match the main ingredients of the traditional recipe. While we acknowledge the deviations, we're proud to offer a sustainably sourced chyavanprash that matches the ingredients and benefits of the original as closely as possible.

Ingredients in Banyan Botanicals' Chyavanprash

Banyan's Chyavanprash comprises a blend of meticulously chosen herbs, ensuring both sustainability and efficacy. These ingredients include:

  1. Jaggery (cane sugar): Has a rejuvenating quality and acts as a carrier for the other herbs
  2. Honey: Acts as a rejuvenative and as a carrier for the other herbs
  3. Ghee: Nourishing and rejuvenating, also acts as a carrier for the other herbs
  4. Amla fruit (Phyllanthus emblica): Rejuvenating to the tissues
  5. Cardamom seed (Elettaria cardamomum): Digestive spice to balance the formula
  6. Ashwagandha root (Withania somnifera): Rejuvenating to the tissues
  7. Pippali fruit (Piper longum): Digestive spice to balance the formula 
  8. Vasaka leaf (Adhatoda vasica): Supports healthy immune function and overall well-being
  9. Haritaki fruit (Terminalia chebula): Rejuvenating to the tissues
  10. Punarnava root (Boerhavia diffusa): Supports healthy immune function and overall well-being
  11. Kantakari herb (Solanum virginianum): Has a calming effect on the nervous system
  12. Gokshura fruit (Tribulus terrestris): Has a calming effect on the nervous system
  13. Vidari Kanda root (Ipomoea digitata): Rejuvenating to the tissues
  14. Guduchi stem (Tinospora cordifolia): Rejuvenating to the tissues
  15. Kaempferia galanga root (Kaempferia galanga): Supports healthy immune function and overall well-being
  16. Shatavari root (Asparagus racemosus): Rejuvenating to the tissues
  17. Musta root (Cyperus rotundus): Supports healthy immune function and overall well-being
  18. Bilva fruit (Aegle marmelos): Has a calming effect on the nervous system

These ingredients reflect our commitment to authenticity, sustainability, safety, and efficacy, ensuring a modern adaptation that pays homage to the ancient wisdom of chyavanprash.

Embracing Tradition and Sustainability

In our relentless pursuit of delivering the finest chyavanprash, our commitment to honoring both tradition and sustainability remains unwavering. Despite the unavailability of certain herbs, we take immense pride in introducing our own iteration of this classic formula that offers the same rejuvenative action of the original recipe.

Banyan’s Chyavanprash has earned a devoted following for its exceptional taste and noteworthy health benefits, which include supporting a healthy immune system and maintaining healthy energy and vitality.

Ultimately, Ayurveda goes beyond precise ingredients; it involves understanding the quality and actions of the herbs in a formula and adapting to our current time and place.

This manifestation of mindfulness and awareness is reflected in our Chyavanprash—a thoughtful creation that symbolizes the essence of the “here” and “now.”