Chyavanprash, also spelled chyawanprash among a few other variations, is a natural Ayurvedic health supplement with 10,000 years of history behind it. Much like a multivitamin in Western culture, chyavanprash is the main preventative and restorative preparation given to maintain health and nutrition throughout a lifetime in Ayurvedic medicine and throughout the Indian subcontinent. This jam-like preparation is similar in color and texture to marmite – only a lot better smelling and tasting. The base for chyavanprash is a jelly made out of the fruit of the Indian gooseberry, also known as amla, which is full of fiber and vitamin C and has a bitter or astringent taste said to aid in digestion. It has both antiviral and antibiotic properties which is why it’s known as an immune booster. Added to the mixture is a combination of many of herbs and spices, all rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The jelly base is also sweetened, so the taste is not too bitter, but more like a tamarind sauce. The basic recipe has been well-known for thousands of years though minor variations exist, with one herb being substituted for another in various regions and localities, but all being chosen for their health benefits in addition to being safe and well-tolerated by most everyone of every age. However, check with your doctor before giving it to a child younger than five years old and heed dosage advice. Often it’s recommended for adults to take a spoon or two each morning before breakfast with a food known to be cooling – such as milk – since most of the ingredients of chyavanprash are considered warming.
If you would like to try making it yourself or get a better idea of the ingredients and process, this is a good read: http://easyayurveda.com/2009/09/08/chyawanprash-one-herbal-medicine-many-health-benefits/
Traditionally chyavanprash has been used to treat coughs and colds, ward off malnutrition and improve intelligence, appetite and memory. Most consider it to be anti-aging, probably owing to the natural antioxidant components of most of its ingredients. It’s also known to protect the heart, probably due to the high levels of alpha-Linolenic acid in another ingredient, sesame oil. Alpha-Linolenic acid is an omega-3 essential fatty acid with proven ability to protect the heart by lowering cholesterol and cleansing arteries of fatty deposits that can block them, a natural way to fight hardening and narrowing of vital blood vessels.
Studies also show it has a benefit for blood glucose levels, which makes it of special interest to those concerned about diabetes or metabolic syndrome. One interesting study showing the effect on glucose and also cholesterol and triglycerides can be found here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11211574 History, as recorded in such Indian holy books such as the Mahabharata and Puranas, tells us that chyavanprash was invented by a pair of twins who served as medical advisors during Vedic times, about 10,000 years ago. This concoction was used to help transform the sage Chyavana, who gives his name to the remedy, from an aged and feeble old man to the picture of health and vitality at his ashram on Dhosi Hill. An extinct volcano, Dhosi Hill is located slightly north west of present day Delhi. It is where the earliest Sanskrit texts laying the foundation for modern Hinduism have been found. http://www.livestrong.com/article/141875-benefits-dabur-chyawanprash/
- 1 orange, quartered with pith and peel removed
- 1 cup frozen, mixed berries
- 1 banana
- 1 cup pure pomegranate juice
Blend all ingredients until smooth. http://www.marthastewart.com/335201/pom-berry-banana-smoothie?search_key=smoothie