What Is Chyavanprash & Why It’s Great for Winter
Winter is a great time to foster a healthy immune system. This season can be a stressful one, which can make it challenging for many to prioritize health. Consistent stress can also lead to degeneration of the body, leaving us more vulnerable to imbalances.
However, Ayurveda gives us a tasty treat to help us out during these times. It is an ancient recipe that helps us support a healthy immune response, build our ojas, and maintain our vibrancy…It is known as chyavanprash. But what exactly is it, and how can it support your health?
What Is Chyavanprash?
According to Ayurvedic legend, the celestial physicians known as the Ashwin Kumaras sought to help the elderly sage, Chyavana, attain virility and youth in order to satisfy his young bride.
The results of this request? Chyavanprash, a dark, rich, herbal jam that helped Chyavana live a healthy life for years.
Chyavanprash, (alternatively spelled “chyawanprash”) is sweet, a bit sour, and slightly tangy. It is known for many of its rejuvenating and immune bolstering properties. Depending on the formula, chyavanprash can contain 15–40 powerful Ayurvedic herbs, along with honey, ghee, and raw sugar.
The ghee, honey, and raw sugar are important ingredients in this formula, acting as anupans, or carriers, taking the herbs in the formula deep into the tissue layers for lasting support.
One of its key herbal ingredients is fresh amalaki fruit, also known as Indian Gooseberry, Embilica officinalis, or amla. This fruit is one of the best-known rasayanas (rejuvenatives) and natural sources of antioxidants in the Ayurvedic pharmacopeia.
Amalaki is also a natural source of vitamin C. The amount of vitamin C is a point of contention, with some saying it has hardly any while others say it has over 60 times the amount of vitamin C as an orange. Where these numbers come from is dubious at best, but one reputable study found amalaki to have 121mg of vitamin C per fruit.1 Compared to an orange, which has about 70mg vitamin C per fruit, amalaki has about 10 times the vitamin C content as an orange! 2
Even more impressive is that the vitamin C from the amalaki fruit is highly bioavailable because it is a part of a tannoid complex, which protects it from being destroyed by heat or light.3
The Benefits of Chyavanprash
This strengthening herbal jam provides deep rejuvenation to all seven of the body’s dhatus (tissues) and all three doshas, contributing to its wide range of benefits and making it a great herbal jam for practically everyone.4 It is commonly used to support:
- The Immune System. Chyavanprash helps the body’s natural defenses by supporting the natural production of hemoglobin and white blood cells.4
- The Lungs. Chyavanprash also supports and nourishes the mucous membranes of the lungs to help cleanse the respiratory tract, supporting clear and comfortable breathing.4
- The Reproductiive Tissues. Nourishing to the shukra (male reproduction) and artava (female reproduction) tissues of the body, chyavanprash supports fertility and a healthy libido.3 4
- Rejuvenation. Because it is such a powerful Ayurvedic rejuvenative—especially for the mamsa (muscle) tissue of the body—chyavanprash is useful to take for promoting strength and supporting energy and vitality.3 4 It is also traditionally used during periods of rehabilitation, when more building and nourishing qualities are needed.4
- Digestion. Chyavanprash promotes a healthy metabolism and supports proper function of the digestive tract.
- Healthy Skin. Supportive of the rasa (plasma) and rakta (blood) tissues, chyavanprash promotes healthy skin an overall healthy glow.3
How to Take Chyavanprash
Chyavanprash can be enjoyed by the entire family—from young children to the elderly. It can be taken year-round, although it is a wonderful winter tonic.4
The recommended dose is 1–2 teaspoons in the morning and evening. This jam tastes quite delicious right off the spoon, spread on a piece of toast, or mixed into a cup of warm water or warm milk (dairy, almond, or coconut).