Lehyam - Roots of Healthy Living
Origin of Lehyam
Ancient Ayurvedic masters designed water Kwath - decoction as the primary dosage form. For Kwath, herbs were boiled with water, filtered and consumed. Though this is very fast-acting, the disadvantages were very short shelf life and palatability. Most of the Kwaths were bitter and astringent in taste. Another disadvantage was spices with highly volatile principles, such as clove, could not be converted into Kwath.
To solve all these problems, ancient Ayurvedic scientists designed Lehyams. It is highly palatable, has a longer shelf life of 1 – 3 years and even volatile herb spices can be incorporated into it.
General method of manufacturing of Lehyas
- First, Kwath is prepared by adding one part of herbs with 8 or 16 parts of water. This is boiled, reduced to 1/4th part and filtered.
- The pulpy medicinal part is taken from fruit or vegetables, as per the traditional formula.
- For example, the boiled amla fruit pulp is taken in Chyawanprash, boiled ash gourd pulp is taken for preparing Kushmanda Avaleha, raisin pulp is taken for preparing Draksha Avaleha, etc.
- The pulp is fried in sesame oil or ghee, as per the formula.
- Then, the prepared Kashaya and fried pulp are taken in a wide-mouthed vessel. It is added with a sweetening agent. Natural sugar, candy sugar, and jaggery are commonly used as sweetening agents.
- This mixture is heated. While heating the recrystallization of the sugar takes place, increasing the consistency of the liquid. After a while of heating, the whole mass starts turning semi-solid. Once the mass gains perfect semi-solid consistency, heating is stopped.
- Spices, if any, as mentioned in classical texts like cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, long pepper, ginger etc. are added once the mass starts cooling down. The mixture is stirred continuously to ensure homogenous mixing of ingredients. Finally, honey is added, if mentioned in the traditional formula and mixed thoroughly.
Dose of Avaleha
50 grams in single or divided doses, per day.
Lehyams are usually administered along with milk, honey, water, sugarcane juice, etc. In some cases, herbal teas/decoctions such as Dashamoola Kashaya, Vasa Kashaya, etc are administered along with Lehyams to improve the efficacy.
Advantages of Lehya over other dosage forms
- Lehya is highly palatable - This is due to sweetening ingredients like sugar, jaggery, honey, and spices.
- Lehya is easily digestible - Spices added to the Lehya make it very easy for digestion and absorption.
- Lehya contains water-soluble active principles - Kwath is prepared first. This carries all the water-soluble medicinal values to the Lehya.
- Lehya shelf life - Added sweetening agents and honey act as natural preservatives, giving Lehyas at least a year of shelf life.
- Lehya contains added volatile principles of spices - Spices make the lehya, easy to digest. Spices are very useful to improve the functions of the lungs and digestive stomach. Spices improve the absorption of other ingredients.
- Lehya contains oil / fat-soluble medicinal principles - Frying of pulp in oil and ghee brings in the oil and fat-soluble principles to the Lehya. Adding oil /ghee makes the lehya rich in nutrition.
- The wide utility of Lehyam - Lehyas are used as anti-aging medicines. Such medicines are called Rasayana in Ayurveda. They are usually administered to delay the aging process. Lehyas, being rich in spices, water-soluble, fat-soluble principles, are usually rich in antioxidants, thus helping in improving the lifespan of cells and tissues. Example – Chyawanprash and Brahma Rasayana
- Lehyas are used extensively in treating respiratory conditions. This is mainly due to its spice ingredients. Eg: Kantakari Avaleha used for the treatment of cough, cold and Asthma.
- Lehyas are used in the convalescent period. After suffering from chronic diseases such as tuberculosis, chronic fever, chronic bronchitis, etc., the patient lacks immunity and digestion strength. Example - Agastya Rasayana, used in post-tuberculosis care of the patient.
- Lehyas are extensive digestion care – Chitraka Haritaki Avaleha promotes digestion strength and relieves bloating. Vilwadi Lehyam is useful to relieve vomiting, nausea and acid reflux.
Syrup Vs Avaleha
Syrup and lehya - both contain sweetening agent and herbs. But Avaleha contains spices and fat soluble principles, which makes it rich in nutrition and therapeutic benefits.
Examples of Important Avalehas
Kerala Ayurveda Aswagandhadi Lehyam – With powerful ingredients such as Ashwagandha, black gram, sesame and ginger, rich anti-oxidants, this Lehyam is useful in improving body strength and stamina. It is especially used to improve muscle mass and strength. It is extensively used by body-builders.
Kerala Ayurveda Dasamoola Rasayanam – With ingredients such as Dasamoola - a group of 10 roots, ginger, pepper, etc., this is an excellent medicine for chronic cough, cold and asthma.
Kerala Ayurveda Narasimha Rasayanam – A famous Ayurvedic herbal jam for the treatment of hair loss, premature greying of hair. It is useful in improving sexual strength and also to gain weight. It promotes immunity, physical stamina and also skin complexion.
Kerala Ayurveda Vilwadi Lehyam – With gastro-intestinal system targeted ingredients such as Bael, cumin, caraway, cardamom, cinnamon, etc., this herbal jam is an excellent remedy for stomach ailments such as nausea, vomiting, weak digestion strength, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Kerala Ayurveda Thrivruth Lehyam – The herb Thrivruth is a very good purgative agent. This herbal jam is used for the treatment of constipation. In higher doses, under strict medical supervision, this medicine is used for the treatment of Virechana Panchakarma treatment, wherein purgation is induced for the treatment of Pitta imbalance disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, liver disorders, etc.
Kerala Ayurveda Thamboola Rasayanam – With betel leaf juice extract, sugar, cumin, long pepper, and honey as ingredients, this herbal jam is useful for the treatment of bronchitis, asthma, allergic rhinitis, vomiting, and weak digestion strength.
Kerala Ayurveda Navajeevan Rasayanam – With ingredients like Gambhari, Bael, Tribulus, Brihati, naturally processed Iron, long pepper, etc., this herbal jam is useful for the treatment of bronchial disorders, breathing difficulties, cough, and cold.
Kerala Ayurveda Ajamamsa Rasayanam – It is an excellent strength promoting herbal jam and a nervine tonic. It is useful for the treatment of body ache, neurological pains, muscle wasting, as in the case of paralysis, paraplegia. It helps to improve muscle strength and also to gain weight.
1. Are there any side effects of consuming Lehyam?
Lehyam, also referred to as Leham or Avaleha, is an Ayurvedic preparation that is a thick syrup-like semi-solid which is usually sweet in taste. The Lehyam is usually a concoction of various herbs, jaggery, and other ingredients.
Since Lehyam Ayurveda is made of herbs, there are no real identified side effects it could have on an individual.
2. What is the use of Ashwagandhadhi Lehyam?
The Ashwagandhadhi Lehyam is a herbal preparation made from instructions handed down from ancient Ayurvedic scriptures. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), sesame, ginger, and black gram are the prominent ingredients that go into this Lehyam. In a world where fitness has been gaining prominence steadily, this Lehyam provides a natural option for people looking to improve their wellbeing. A great mix of potent herbs, the major benefits of consuming this Lehyam include helping maintain healthy stamina and strength.
3. Should I take Lehyam on an empty stomach?
There is no hard and fast rule that all Lehyams must be taken on an empty stomach. In Ayurveda, there is a simple rule that different concoctions are taken at different times of the day/between different meals/before certain meals/during certain meals. The Sushruta Samhita, an ancient Sanskrit text on medicine, has shortlisted some directions on specifically when Ayurvedic medicine must be ingested. With Lehyam Ayurveda, it also depends on the Doshas, primary functioning energy, and also various medical conditions of the individuals in question.
4. Who can consume Lehyam?
Lehyam is a very simple preparation that can be consumed by people of all ages and genders. Different Lehyams are consumed based on the Dosha of the individual.
5. I am diabetic. Is lehyam safe for me?
Most lehyams have added sugar and jaggery, so it is better to consult your Physician before consuming if you are diabetic.