We recently sat down with the owners of Roots in Harmony to learn about Ayurveda, the oldest whole-body healing system in the world.
What is Ayurveda?
Somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 years old, Ayurveda is the oldest health system on the planet. The basis of Ayurveda is to bring the body into balance.
Ayur means "life" and Veda means "knowledge". Ayurveda believes that the secret to health is inside us. Of course, doctors and medical experts are great, but on a day to day basis you have to listen to your own body. Figure out what it is that you're missing and then give yourself the food, healthy herbs, and spices that will help your body come back into balance.
How did you get interested in Ayurvedic healing?
We grew up with all these herbs and spices being used in our home. But a few years back, I had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). After taking all the medications and not being able to find relief or healing, I decided to try a natural route.
Our mom is a firm believer in natural remedies. So together with her, we came up with some classic ayurvedic remedies and I started drinking all these different teas. It really helped me. I shared it with my family, they loved it and that's how we started all this.
I found out that all the things that I needed to balance out my gut health were already in my pantry. Most of the herbs and spices that we use in our herbal teas and natural remedies are the same things that we use in our regular cooking like fennel, cumin, and coriander. So that's why the name of our business is Roots in Harmony. We go back to our roots to bring ourselves into balance.
A lot of your products focus on digestive health. Why?
Yes, the focus of all of our teas and all of our products is digestive health because that's really a cornerstone of Ayurveda - that all imbalances start in the digestive system.
There is a term called agni, which is your digestive fire. According to Ayurveda, a man is as old as agni is. They say if you're agni is strong, a man never gets old.
You have to keep your digestive fire because it's how you digest your food. It's like when you are cooking: if your fire is strong, then your food will cook well. If the fire is very strong, it will burn. And if it is weak, then the food will be raw. It's the same with our digestion.
We use herbs to help maintain strong agni or digestive fire. But not too strong and not too weak. If it is weak, the food will not get digested and will become like toxins. We call toxins in the body ama. The collection of ama results in disease. When your digestion is good, you have more ojas which is the opposite of ama. So that's the main focus of Ayurveda: to get rid of toxins in the body and to build up healthy, optimal digestion.
Are there any specific herbs or spices that are beneficial for brain health?
Yes. The ingredients we use are really healing for the gut and they also promote immunity, hormonal balance, and cognitive wellness.
In Ayurveda, herbs are considered to be "holistic" if they can be used to treat multiple things. There are some great holistic herbs that are good for brain health and for the aging process in general.
The first is turmeric, which studies show really improves brain function and lowers the risk of brain disease. It increases the growth of new neurons and also fights the degeneration process. It is a really powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory spice and it is a staple ingredient in many of our products.
A lot of people already supplement with turmeric but we make sure to tell them that it has to have some black pepper. The absorption of curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) is increased by 2,000 times when taken with black pepper!
We use a lot of raw cacao in our blends as well. It is really good for clarity and focus and it's the best plant-based magnesium that you can have. Raw cacao has 40 times more antioxidants than blueberries and four times more antioxidants than processed dark chocolate. It also has theobromine, the "bliss molecule" that boosts your mood and promotes blood circulation.
Another great one is triphala, which is a blend of three fruits: amalaki, bibhitaki, and haritaki. Triphala has loads of potassium, magnesium, and Vitamin C and is also considered to be an adaptogen, meaning it balances the stress levels in the body, either mental or physical.
All of the herbs and spices we use are good for the whole body, including the brain. Ashwaganda, moringa, Chaga mushrooms, ginger, coriander seeds, hibiscus, cumin seeds, dandelion, rooibos, star anise, allspice, black pepper, coconut, rose petals, cinnamon...these are all great. Cardamom, the "Queen of Spices" is our favorite. The flavonoids in cardamom really help calm the nervous system. And matcha of course, which is considered the Queen of antioxidants. One cup of matcha tea has more antioxidants than ten cups of brewed green tea.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Thousands of years ago, your medicine was the plants around you. To get the most bang for your buck, which one spice can give you a lot of different benefits? That is essentially the definition of a holistic herb. One or two or three things that I can take daily to really improve my health.
In order to bring your body into balance, you have to be very cognizant about looking at your own body and observing yourself very carefully. Listen to your body. Ayurveda says that your body will be different every day.
You can hear about Ayurveda for hours. You can read about it for hours. But you won't know it, because it's not an abstract concept. Ayurveda is oriented towards action. So take that action, whether it's trying that herb or spice in your cooking or in a tea, or in a different form like aromatherapy. Take action and try something, even if it's really small, and see how your body responds to it.
You can learn more about Roots in Harmony, Ayurveda, and their incredible products at roots-harmony.com. I use a number of their products myself on a daily basis including the beetroot cacao latte (blended into my protein shakes), masala chai tea, cheer up tea, and their golden milk turmeric latte mix.
To be clear and transparent, I do not have an affiliate agreement with Roots in Harmoney and I don't get any money if you buy their products. I just like to promote small businesses that I believe in...especially if they're in my local area.
This information is for educational and informational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.