Ayurvedic medicines are a part of every Malayali's medicine kit. They come in gel, powder and liquid forms and have diverse therapeutic applications, ranging from aiding post-partum care to curing nervous disorders and ailments of the digestive tract. Some of the most popular Ayurvedic medicines and their uses are presented here for the benefit of those uninitiated to Ayurvedic treatment practices. However, its intent is purely informational, and medicines must be consumed only under the guidance of a certified vaidyan, or Ayurvedic physician. This presentation covers some of the common Arishtas [Fermented Decoctions], Asavas [Fermented Infusions], Kuzhambus [Unguents], Lehyas [Electuaries], Keras, Thailas [Medicated Oils], Churnas [Medicated Powders], Gulikas [Tablets], Ghruthas [Medicinal Ghee], Kashayas [Decoctions], Rasakriyas [Lambatives], and Avarthis [Medicated Oils] used.
Arishtas (Arishtam) are Ayurvedic medicines prepared by boiling medicinal herbs in water and then fermenting the decoction.
Asava or Asavam is a category of Ayurvedic medicine prepared by the fermentation of fresh herbal juices.
Kuzhambus are unguent-like viscous medicated oils used for external applications.
Lehyas or Lehyam are electuaries or jam-like medicines, sweetened using jaggery or sugar.
Thaila (Thailam), or sesame oil medicated with herbal mixes, is an extremely useful category of Ayurvedic medicine. Its potency can be increased during preparation through the addition of specific ingredients.
Churnas are medicinal powders used for a wide range of treatments. They are prepared by the repeated crushing and sifting of herbs and minerals to achieve a specific consistency.
Gulikas are tablets dispensed to patients for their ease of consumption. They are made by rolling medicinal pastes into balls and drying them under the sun.
Ghrutha is essentially ghee, or clarified butter, heated with a herbal mixture and prepared in the consistency of a Thaila. It is given to the patient to cure issues ranging from joint pains to nervous disorders, epilepsy (involuntary movements and convulsions) and even poisoning.
Kashayas are water-based extracts of medicinal herbs, often mixed with other medicines as well.