Updated: Mar 5, 2021
Chyawanprash, also called Chyavanprash or Chavana Prash, is an ancient Ayurvedic recipe that’s over 5,000 years old. A specific blend of herbs, spices, fruits, fats, and honey, it is full of essential vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that can help restore the mind and body. It is specifically designed to enhance ojas (life-force energy, vitality), fortify each system, and balance the whole being.
Its’ origin story comes from a legend about a Rishi, or enlightened spiritual aspirant, named “Chyawana” who sought Enlightenment and physical restoration. He found and used this recipe to do just that. Legend has it that he used this mixture everyday for forty days before meditating, and was able to alleviate the pains of old age and regain his youthfulness. Chyawanprash was later named after him; “Chyawan,” after his name, and “prash,” meaning “specifically prepared,” or “to consume artfully.”
The mixture resembles jam in texture, and has a unique flavor. That’s because it uses the six tastes: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Bitter, and Astringent. Each taste plays a role in our health and wellbeing, and works with different elements of the natural world and our bodies; salt, for example, uses the elements of water and fire, as its formed from weathering and volcanic activity, and if used too much can aggravate Pitta (the dosha, or humor, in Ayurveda that is associated with Fire and Water) within us.
The Six Tastes of Ayurveda and Their Elements
Sweet (Madhura) is Earth & Water Sour (Amla) is Earth & Fire Salty (Lavana) is Water & Fire Pungent (Katu) is Fire & Air Bitter (Tikta) is Air & Ether Astringent (Kashaya) is Air & Earth
Each element has a different effect on different parts of the body, and you can learn a little more about the elements and doshas (the main aspects we look at to understand your particular constitution and needs), from our previous article, “Understanding Prana—the Foundation of All Life.”
Each taste is important, and when eaten in moderation (and with consideration of your personal constitution) can keep the body in balance. When we overindulge in one or a few of the flavors, we can easily get out of balance. Like sweetness, for example. It can energize us, and can do wonders for our skin, hair, nails, and immune system. Too much sweetness/out of balance, it can slow down digestion, promote cravings and greediness, impact our lungs and make colds, coughs, and difficulty breathing common. It can make us feel sluggish, lazy, tired and in some cases, depressed, and it can lead to complications like candida, swollen lymphs, obesity and diabetes. *Keep in mind, when we refer to the benefits of “sweet” in Ayurveda, we mean sweet natural, whole foods, like: banana, mango, cantaloupe, figs, dates, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans, lentils, tofu, ghee, eggs, basil, cardamom, cinnamon, etc. We don’t mean processed cereals, candies or soda drinks, which are more harmful than they are helpful to the body.
The wonderful thing about Chyawanprash, is that it includes all six tastes, which means that it works with all the elements and systems in our bodies, and that it is balancing for everyone regardless of their constitution. Ideally, it’s taken first thing in the morning. You can eat a small spoonful or you can blend it with room temperature or warm water or milk and drink it.
Benefits of Chyawanprash
This blend supports the body on every level. It helps build strong, healthy tissues in the body, which means it helps create strong, healthy organs and promote overall physical wellbeing. It helps our bodies regulate, and supports each system repairing itself on a regular basis—our tissues are made up of cells, which are constantly feeding off of what we ingest. Eating Chyawanprash can help our cells rebuild and restructure overtime—which makes it an anti-aging agent. It can literally slow down the rate at which our bodies age. Since it works with each system, regular use of it might shift things for you like:
1. Improved digestion; regular movements, less flatulence and bloating
2. Clearer skin; less wrinkles and acne, more color/tone, elasticity and evenness
3. More mobility and flexibility in your muscles and joints, less pain and tension in the body
4. A calmer mind, with more capacity for focus and memory retention
5. Deeper breaths and little to no symptoms of any agitation in the chest (like bronchitis, coughs, breathing difficulties, shortness of breath, etc.)
6. More overall energy and stamina
7. Healthy weight loss or gain (can help you find and maintain a healthy weight for your body)
8. Less stress and anxiety, improved overall mood
9. Heathy Gut, Immune System, Reproductive system, Lymph system
Some of the Ingredients & Their Properties
"AMLA: a sweet, sour, and astringent flavored fruit with a high Vitamin C content. It is usually used for people with Pitta constitutions, but it won’t aggravate the other humors. It can help expel metal toxicity from the body, especially lead, aluminum and nickel. Among a wide range of uses and benefits, Amla is also great for reducing cholesterol, managing weight, and detoxifying the body.
ASHWAGANDHA: a bitter and astringent root used to rejuvenate the entire system—nerves, tissues, organs, blood, etc. It’s great for the immune system, central nervous system, and works as an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and anti-stress herb. It has also been known to tone the lungs and heart, stabilize low blood pressure, and regulate heartbeat. Ashwagandha is great for Kapha and Vata constitutions, and okay in moderation for Pitta.
LICORICE: a sweet, bitter root that can promote the growth of naturally occurring antibodies—improving the immune system and having a strengthening effect on the whole body. It works well for restoring the lungs, and can be especially effective against bronchitis. A Kapha dominant person, or persons with hypertension, ought to seek counsel before working with Licorice. For Pitta and Vata, this herb is excellent. There are countless other powerful, potent, beneficial herbs discussed in the Ayurvedic teachings. Those three are safe to use on a fairly regular basis.”
In conclusion, once you start learning about Chyawanprash (and once you start using it regularly), you realize there’s not much it can’t do for you. This blend is very high in Antioxidants, Vitamin C, and other ingredients that can help lower cholesterol, purify the blood, support healthy weight gain or loss, improve digestion, lower the likelihood of wrinkles, fight free radicals, improve memory and cognitive functions, strengthen the immune system, support reproductive health, heart health, lung health . . . the list goes on . . .
Ayurveda is a system of medicine designed to keep the body balanced and well, and Chyawanprash is an ancient Ayurvedic recipe that can help a lot. Using it daily is a great way to take care of your body at home.
Our favorite Chyawanprash is made by a company called PIOR. We sell their Chyawanprash at our clinic, so feel free to come in and purchase a jar, or you can check them out here: https://piorliving.com/product/chyawanprash
Quotations from the book “Practical Ayurveda,” by Atreya.
“Practical Ayurveda,” by Atreya, 1998. (Pages 15-30).