Fundamentals of Ayurvedic Medicine

Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.


What is Ayurvedic Medicine?

The practice of Ayurvedic medicine has its historical roots in India and the subcontinent. Its theory is largely pseudoscientific, but it is widely used today in countries like India and Nepal.

It is estimated that over 80% of the population of these countries use it for health care. However, now, after numerous studies, components of it are being accepted within Western medicinal practice.

Ayurvedic medicine is a medical system from India

Ayurveda is a comprehensive health system that was developed in India more than 3,000 years ago. It focuses on promoting good health through diet and lifestyle, but it can also be customized to address specific health problems.

It is based on the concept of universal interconnectedness and the four basic life forces, and aims to reduce symptoms and promote resistance to disease. The treatment typically uses herbal medicines and meditation, and also focuses on lifestyle and diet.


Ayurveda is rooted in Hinduism, which teaches that the body, mind, and soul are interconnected. However, the system has evolved over the centuries to address modern health concerns.

Today, Ayurveda is recognized as a legitimate medical system in India, where doctors are trained in state-licensed institutions. Today, two-thirds of India's rural population uses the system.

There are 751,000 people in the United States who have received treatment using Ayurveda.

The traditional Indian medical system has slowly becomoing more recognized as a highly effective system of treatment for people suffering from conditions.

Ayurvedic practitioners often specialize in treating illnesses and diseases that are chronic but non-life-threatening. This knowledge-based system is the preferred treatment option for many patients in India.


Ayurvedic practitioners customize a treatment plan for each patient based on the patient's individual constitution, emotional makeup, and primary life force.

Treatments aim to restore harmony and balance in the three elements. In some cases, herbal medicines are combined with exercise and yoga.

This holistic approach has many advantages, including the ability to improve a person's physical and emotional well-being and improve relationships.

For instance, if you're suffering from an acute illness, an Ayurvedic practitioner may prescribe a medication that contains a combination of medications, herbal medicine, and lifestyle changes.

Ayurvedic medicine was also influential in the evolution of other medical systems around the world. Ancient Egyptians and Greeks learned the system through sea trade with India.

The Romans and Greeks also came into contact with it through Alexander's conquest of India. Buddhism also spread throughout the East and was influenced by Ayurvedic medicine.

Natural plant extracts 

It focuses on cleansing and restoring the body's equilibrium through diet, herbal medicines, meditation, and physical therapy. The treatments are also known as Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

The Ayurvedic system recognizes that the different doshas of the body cause different symptoms and ailments.

Different types of toxins can affect different organs in the body. The Kapha dosha, for example, is characterized by excess mucus buildup, which slows the movement of energy and nutrients through the organs. As a result, Ayurvedic medicine recommends doing yoga to stimulate the organ systems and clear excess mucus.

Ayurvedic medicines are often used in conjunction with Western medicines to treat illness. However, ayurvedic herbs can interact with certain medicines and cause side effects. Those who are sensitive to certain herbs should consult a physician before using them. 

Nonetheless, they continue to be produced and prescribed to millions of people in India. There are published papers that report excellent results gained from Ayurvedic medicines.

Afterall, let's not forget, even the most effective and widespread western medicines such as aspirin, morphine and chemotherapy are all rooted in plant sources.

Ayurvedic medicine promotes health

The philosophy behind Ayurvedic healing focuses on the power of the mind. Studies have shown that changes in belief can have a profound impact on health.

This understanding has inspired new models of health that incorporate the mind. One of the primary benefits of Ayurveda is its ability to reduce stress. Chronic stress is detrimental to our health and quality of life.

Researchers have found that reducing stress levels is associated with better health, longevity, weight control, and overall happiness. In the United States, an estimated 751,000 people have sought Ayurvedic treatment.

The aim of Ayurvedic medicine is to treat diseases by correcting imbalances in the five different elements of the human body.

Each element has different properties and functions. For example, kapha regulates immune function and lubrication.

Ayurveda also emphasizes the importance of maintaining emotional and physical stability. It also promotes love, compassion, forgiveness, and patience.

Let's not forget, the mind and mental health is also susceptible to degredation. 

Anti-inflammatory effects

Another benefit of Ayurvedic medicine is its anti-inflammatory properties. It has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing inflammation, hypertension and cholesterol buildup in the body.

Additionally, Ayurvedic approaches to health and wellbeing have been reported in studies to reduce stress and improve sleep, mental performance and treat type-2 diabetes.

Ayurveda is one of the oldest forms of alternative medicine. It is used by about 80% of the Indian population and has become more widely accepted in the United States in the last two decades.


There are potential risks

Although the benefits of Ayurvedic medicine are numerous, it is important to consider the risks that may be associated with using it.

For example, many of the drugs used are unregulated and may contain dangerous amounts of heavy metals.

Ayurvedic practitioners may not undergo rigorous training and are unable to monitor the risks associated with their products. There are also risks of side effects, such as adverse reactions.

Some doctors are skeptical of the effectiveness of Ayurvedic treatments. These treatments aren't widely trusted by Western doctors. They consider them a risky addition to conventional medicine.

However, a study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ayurvedic Trust in the 1970s concluded that Ayurvedic treatments were effective and safe in relieving symptoms associated with arthritis.

Ayurvedic Studies

The study looked at 33 Ayurvedic medicines. The risk of adverse effects was low in most cases. In some studies, the adverse effects were minor.

For example, fasting blood glucose levels were decreased by four to 56 mg/d in studies of different Ayurvedic medicines.

However, there were very few studies that assessed the adverse effects on health-related quality of life. Most adverse effects were minor and related to the gastrointestinal tract.

One case involved a woman who had rheumatoid arthritis who had visited the emergency room for pain and nausea.

Further tests showed that she had microcytic anemia and moderate basophilic stippling. She also had elevated levels of zinc protoporphyrin and lead.

Ayurvedic medicine is believed to have many positive effects. It is a holistic approach to health and promotes a healthy lifestyle.

The treatments should be complementary to traditional medical practices, including proper rest and exercise. However, it is important to take note of the risks involved.

What Ayurvedic Treatments can Improve Performance?

Whilst there any many effects, proven or otherwise for Ayurvedic treatments, we're interested in which ones may help with improving performance, which are supported by reliable evidence.

Military Muscle contains four plant extracts that are used in Ayurvedic medicine, so here's a run down of those included and their benefits. 

Health Benefits of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is known to boost the thyroid's function. The thyroid gland is located at the back of the neck and is responsible for regulating hormone levels in the body.

It has been found to help people with thyroid disorders like hypothyroidism. Ashwagandha has also been shown to enhance hemoglobin levels in patients with anemia.

Ashwagandha reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The body releases cortisol when it is stressed or fasting.

Taking ashwagandha has shown to reduce cortisol levels significantly, particularly in those who are chronically stressed.

In addition, it improves the functioning of the nervous system and helps protect the brain from degenerative diseases.

Ashwagandha's medicinal properties are based on its unique composition. The plant contains a number of phytochemicals that have unique functions in nature.

The compounds help plants perform specific tasks, including defending against harmful bacteria, improve the immune system and improve mental health.

Ashwagandha may also help cancer patients who suffer from low white blood cell counts. These decreased white blood cells can make them more susceptible to infections.

As a result, ashwagandha may be an important adjunct to conventional cancer treatments, however, it must be noted that this isn't a cure for cancer, nor is it considered a viable treatment.

There are several studies showing that ashwagandha may reduce the levels of inflammation.

Studies have found that the herb may help reduce the inflammatory markers C-reactive protein (CRP).

This marker is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. When taken daily, ashwagandha can reduce levels of this marker in the body.

Research on Ashwagandha has also shown that it can reduce blood glucose levels, which can help prevent Type 2 diabetes.

It can also improve insulin sensitivity, which is important for blood sugar regulation. In addition, it lowers cholesterol and improves sleep quality. Ashwagandha has also been shown to reduce the amount of body fat and improve insulin sensitivity in muscle cells.

Research on Ashwagandha has also shown that it reduces stress and food cravings.

In a recent study, healthy adults who took ashwagandha had significantly decreased stress levels and food cravings compared to those who took a placebo. They also reported being happier than before.

Another health benefit of Ashwagandha is its antioxidant activity. Ashwagandha may also improve cognitive function.

Researchers have shown that a daily supplement of Ashwagandha improved the reaction time and task performance of healthy men. This is a promising sign for future studies of Ashwagandha.

While ashwagandha is generally considered safe for therapeutic use, it is important to follow appropriate dosage instructions.

Excessive consumption of the herb may cause stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea, and other minor side-effects.

It should not be used by pregnant women and breastfeeding women. Ashwagandha may interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland.

Ashwagandha For Muscle and Strength Development

A recent study examined the effects of ashwagandha on muscle and strength development. The researchers found that it improved muscle strength and helped decrease muscle soreness.

In addition, ashwagandha increased testosterone levels and decreased cortisol, the body's main stress hormone. High levels of cortisol prevent the body from being in an anabolic state, which is crucial for building muscle.

Ashwagandha is most effective when taken at a dosage between 250 and 500 mg daily. However, some studies suggest that 240 to 300 mg twice a day can have beneficial effects. Ashwagandha can also help with anxiety and stress. This herb also helps improve recovery.

Researchers also noted that ashwagandha reduces body fat. In one study, a group of men who took 1000 mg of Ashwagandha per day showed a reduction of 18% in their body fat compared to a group taking a placebo.

Further, a group of hockey players who took 1000 mg of Ashwagandha daily showed a 35% improvement in body fat compared to the control group.

Ashwagandha also has an effect on the nervous system, improving concentration and focus.

Moreover, it helps to enhance muscle coordination. However, despite its positive effects on muscle strength, it has not been shown to improve thigh size. Further studies are needed to clarify this issue. 

Ashwagandha and Testosterone

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb, which boosts the body's ability to fight stress and other factors. It has been used for centuries to combat stress and boost energy and concentration.

Some studies have found that it can also increase testosterone in men. Ashwagandha can help increase testosterone levels in men by targeting various mechanisms within the body.

Low testosterone levels can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, increased body fat, decreased sperm quality, hair loss, and even memory loss. Ashwagandha can also help boost testosterone levels by reducing oxidative damage.

Though testosterone is typically associated with males, it also affects women. Ashwagandha can help with this by increasing levels of luteinizing hormone, which signals the testes to make more testosterone.

Studies of ashwagandha for boosting testosterone in men have found that 600mg daily can boost testosterone levels. 

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The Health Benefits of Fenugreek

Fenugreek is an annual herb that belongs to the family of plants called Fabaceae. Its seeds and leaves are used in cooking and as a spice.

Fenugreek has many health benefits, and one of these is that it has the potential to lower blood sugar levels. It works by inhibiting the absorption of sugar and increasing the secretion of insulin.

This helps people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. It can also reduce pain associated with periods.

The fenugreek plant contains a substantial amount of fiber, as well as protein and vitamins. It is also rich in iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, and phospholipids, which provide important fatty acids. 

Fenugreek may also help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. The fiber in fenugreek is helpful in preventing heart disease, and can lower bad cholesterol levels.

Fenugreek is also used in the treatment of pain, as the alkaloids in the herb may help block sensory receptors and ease pain.

Another benefit is that fenugreek can help women reduce their menstrual pain. While the research is not conclusive, some people still use this plant as a natural menstrual cramp remedy.

This herb is popular among women in North Africa. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health has published research on fenugreek's benefits for menstruation.

Another benefit of fenugreek is that it may prevent the onset of diabetes. In one three-year study, people with prediabetes who took five grams of fenugreek powder twice daily before meals were less likely to develop diabetes.

This was likely due to a reduction in insulin resistance. In addition, their LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels decreased.

Fenugreek and Testosterone

The fenugreek extract inhibits an enzyme that depletes T. It inhibits the enzymes aromatase and reductase, which convert testosterone into estrogen and dihydrotestosterone.

This can raise T levels, improve muscle composition, and improve overall health.

Research indicates that fenugreek may improve testosterone levels in men and increase libido.

It also boosts free testosterone, which has been linked with improved sexual functioning. Fenugreek may also improve cardiovascular health and improve mood and mental alertness. 

The Health Benefits of Urtica Dioica

Urtica dioica, or stinging nettle, has a variety of benefits for human health. It has been used as a diuretic, for the treatment of kidney disease, eczema, allergies, and urinary problems.

In a recent study, the herb was found to improve the immune response of rats that were severely malnourished.

The plant's leaves are also used in the preparation of nettle tea. It is a perennial herbaceous plant of the genus Urtica.

It is native to Europe, North America, and parts of Asia. In Nepal, it can be found in the hills and mountains. Many cultures have found the stinging nettle useful in the cooking of foods.

The stinging nettle plant has been used in herbal medicine since Ancient Greece. It is found in many parts of the world but has its roots in the colder regions of Europe.

It blooms from June to September and prefers moist, fertile soil. Its flowers are yellow or pink in color.

In addition to its medicinal benefits, stinging nettle can also be used as a vegetable. Its leaves, stems, and roots are used for cooking and as a herbal remedy for arthritis, acne, and muscle pain.

The plant contains substances that decrease inflammation and increase urine output.

The herb has a variety of uses in animal husbandry. It can be fed to animals to improve their digestion of grains and other plant materials.

Researchers have also found that urtica dioica can be integrated into a ruminant's diet. It improves the digestibility of DM, OM, and NDF.

Nettle is also used to promote good health by improving immunity and gut health. It can reduce inflammation and can help reduce the symptoms of anemia and fatigue. Additionally, it contains vitamin C and potassium.

Both of these compounds can help reduce tension in the arteries and blood vessels, which reduces the risk of heart attack.

The antioxidant properties found in nettle have also been found to reduce inflammation and pain in various tissues, including the joints.

Stinging Nettle and hormones

A perennial plant in the Urticaceae family, stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) contains a wide range of phytochemicals with a variety of clinical and pharmacological effects.

These phytochemicals have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antiviral effects. The plant is a well-known herb and is used in traditional medicine for a variety of ailments, including diabetes and prostate problems.

Its phytochemical composition is unique, revealing bioactive phytochemicals with various biological properties.

Urtica dioica can also prevent allergies and colds. It contains anti-inflammatory properties that prevent the body from producing prostaglandins, a type of hormone that causes colds and allergies.

Studies have shown that 600mg of Urtica dioica can prevent colds and allergies. In addition, it contains vitamins A and C, which boost the immune system.

In addition, a study found that stinging nettle root extract inhibited the conversion of testosterone to estrogens in vitro. Further, methanolic extracts of the root were also found to inhibit aromatase activity.

Although the mechanism of action of stinging nettle is still not clear, it is known to inhibit SHBG. The extract is effective in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

The active ingredients in urtica dioica include phytosterols, lignans, and polysaccharides. Urtica dioica also contains a lectin known as UDA.

This lectin is an anti-inflammatory that has anti-inflammatory and anti-ulcer properties. It has a range of other health benefits, such as the reduction of arthritis symptoms.

The Health Benefits of Mucuna Pruriens

Mucuna pruriens is a plant that is native to tropical Africa and Asia. It is also known by many common names, including monkey tamarind,

Bengal velvet bean, Florida velvet bean, lacuna bean, and Yokohama velvet bean. It is a great source of vitamin A, antioxidants, and fiber.

Mucuna pruriens is cultivated worldwide as a food crop. The dried seeds and silage contain up to 35% crude protein, while the fresh stems and leaves are also used to feed livestock.

Both of these sources of protein are beneficial for human health, as they help build muscle tissues and strengthen the immune system.

Another benefit of Mucuna pruriens is that it has been shown to help improve sleep. It contains a chemical called L-DOPA, which is a direct precursor to the compound dopamine.

Dopamine is a key part of the brain's reward system, as it creates pleasurable feelings and makes people feel good. Its effects on the nervous system include enhancing the ability to focus and remember things.

Mucuna pruriens is an annual plant found throughout tropical regions and is used to treat a variety of ailments.

It is often used to treat male infertility and sexual disorders, and is also used as an aphrodisiac. It is also used to produce the beverage Tempe, which is made from fermented seed paste.

The seeds of Mucuna pruriens contain 15% L-dopa, which is the precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine. It is used as a first-line treatment for people with Parkinson's disease.

However, synthetic L-dopa can lead to a number of side effects when used for extended periods.

Research has indicated that Mucuna pruriens can boost the production of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. This can improve mood and reduce anxiety. It has also been found to be helpful in reducing the symptoms of depression and Parkinson's disease.

Mucuna pruriens is also used to treat venomous snake bites. However, these claims have not been scientifically proven.

The plant is used in Brazil and India to lower blood sugar levels. In addition, it has been shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of type II blood disorder.

Mucuna has been studied for its potential as an anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory agent. In tests performed on diabetic rats, a substance found in

Mucuna pruriens seed extract helped control blood sugar levels. The antioxidants in Mucuna seeds may enhance brain protection.

Another benefit of mucuna pruriens is its ability to increase libido and sexual desire in men.

In addition, Mucuna also increases testosterone production and protects sperm from oxidation. Testosterone plays an important role in building lean muscle mass.

Moreover, Mucuna is a very easy plant to include in your diet. It is available in a powder, liquid extract, and tablet form.

It is easy to take on the go and can be easily integrated into your busy schedule. Moreover, it can be used by individuals who are looking for a natural way to boost their mental energy.

Mucuna Pruriens Reduces Prolactin 

Mucuna pruriens, a plant with a unique pharmacological action, contains an active ingredient known as l-DOPA, which is associated with the dopaminergic system in the brain.

When prolactin levels are elevated, they can cause a variety of problems, including impotence. 

In some studies, Mucuna pruriens has shown benefits for dopamine-deficient people, as well as patients with Parkinson's disease.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that stimulates the brain, wakes people up, and helps them focus. Without enough dopamine, we feel tired and cannot perform our daily tasks.

Increased levels of dopamine reduce prolactin levels in the body, improving mood and boosting cognitive function.

Mucuna Pruriens and Testosterone

In studies, mucuna pruriens was found to enhance testosterone levels in male rats. The seed extract was effective in increasing serum testosterone and testicular testosterone, and it reduced prolactin levels which is crucial for muscle growth.

This means that mucuna pruriens could be useful in treating male infertility. 

Mucuna was also found to improve the motility and size of spermatozoa. This is particularly beneficial in the case of asthenospermia, a condition caused by a lack of motility in spermatozoa.

It was also found to decrease the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Despite the positive effects of mucuna pruriens, it has some drawbacks. It is a natural herb that can cause side effects in some people.

While it is not recommended to use it on its own, it can be used in combination with other supplements, such as magnesium, vitamin D, and D-aspartic acid.

Moreover, it is essential to follow the recommended dosage level. Positive effects have been apparant in studies at 360mg daily.

Mucuna pruriens has been used as a post-steroid booster also known as as a 'post cycle therapy' (PCT) and to help improve sexual function.

However, the main benefit of Mucuna pruriens is its effect on reducing the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Using Mucuna pruriens in combination with other herbs can help you balance hormones, improve mood, and reduce stress.


Ayurvedic medicine can be an effective treatment option for many ailments. Its holistic approach promotes the body's inherent capacity for maintenance and balance. It is non-invasive, and is generally considered safe to use alongside conventional therapies.

In addition, some Ayurvedic preparations have shown significant results in combating stress-related conditions, are anti-inflammatories, anti-oxidants, anaphylactic, antispasmodic and can either help treat some conditions or promote good health.

Furthermore, ayurvedic plant-extracts can work with your body to increase physical performance, studies are also availble demonstrating how they can increase strength and positively affect hormones.


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