Herb Basics

A Place to Start

| November/December 2004

  • Red clover
    Karen Shelton, www.altnature.com

  • Karen Shelton, www.altnature.com


Ayurveda, a 5,000-year-old East Indian healing system, is thought to be the world’s oldest system of medicine. It aims to create health by nurturing the body (shrira), the mind (manas) and the self (atman). The word Ayurveda means “the science of life.”

Those practicing Ayurveda believe that no single agent alone creates health or causes disease. They also believe there are three primary life forces present in everyone and everything, called doshas. The doshas are vata (air), pitta (fire) and kapha (water). In simple terms, a state of balance between the doshas causes health; imbalance causes disease.

Each dosha is associated with different aspects of the physical body. Vata is associated with movement, including breathing and blinking. Pitta governs the metabolic system — digestion, absorption and body temperature. Kapha forms bones, tendons and muscles, the body’s structure.

People are also classified into dosha categories. We each have a dominant dosha, but everyone contains elements of all three doshas. Herbal and dietary recommendations in Ayurveda aim to keep each dosha in balance. Emphasis also is placed on eating the right foods and spices for your dosha. There are six “tastes,” or flavors: sweet, salty, bitter pungent, sour and astringent. Different tastes are indicated for each dosha.

For further information, see The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies (Three Rivers, 1999) by Vasant Lad.


The herbs in this blend, created by herbalist Christopher Hobbs, help support children’s immune and digestive systems and build strong bones. This naturally sweet brew is a healthful drink to substitute for soft drinks and fruit juices.



September 12-13, 2019
Seven Springs, Pennsylvania

Fermentation Frenzy! is produced by Fermentation magazine in conjunction with the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR. This one-and-a-half day event is jam-packed with fun and informative hands-on sessions.


Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me