What is an Ayurvedic Anupan? (How to Properly take Your Herbs)

Dr. Aurore making homemade raw milk yogurt from her cow, an important part of therapeutic lassi and anupans. Say no to pasteurized dairy!

Many people ask me about my recommendations for herbal activators or catalysts in my books “Beyond Natural Cures” and “Beyond Natural Skincare & Weightloss.”  They want to know how important they really are-well, they are really important!  An ayurvedic activator or catalyst is called an anupan.  This is more advanced knowledge for herb, vitamin and mineral utilization but it is primary for proper metabolization.  

In India a very common anupan is mercuric oxide ash.  It is outlawed in the United States because of the acceptance that all forms of mercury are bad, however, mercuric oxide like anything else that is burned-changes, chemically into something different.  The opposite example of this is the destructive process that pasteurization has on milk and juices, not only causing these substances to be useless but even harmful to the body, as the calcium in pasteurized and homogenized milk is not properly metabolized and forms stones (so drink raw!).

Without rewriting my books which address why and how these catalysts are important I would like to share with you some legal anupans and their uses.

Ghee & sugar- acidity

butter and rock candy- anemia

ginger juice and honey- anorexia

honey, ghee-bronchitis (honey and ghee must never be used in equal parts)


honey-facial palsy

castor oil- leukoderma

honey and hot water (not too hot, destroys enzymes!)- renal calculus

shilajit and gokshura-rhematism

castor oi and lemon- tumors

These are more advanced recomendations for specific complaints and disorders.  Usually when I recommend and herbal combination-the anupan is in accordance with dosha. An instance of this for a pitta or fire dosha cleansing the liver would be to recommend bhumiamalaki,  to be taken with a tablespoon of full fat yogurt in tepid rose water with a little cardamom, ginger, fennel and honey.  This is a simple therapeutic lassi.  The rose is cooling, the cardamom and fennel are carminative and digestive, the ginger warms to balance and the sweetness and fat are well tolerated by pittas.  Furthermore, the fat, sugar and spice allows the herb to penetrate deeper into the dhatu layers and go where they need to go.

I cannot stress enough how important anupans are and how greatly they are over looked in Western herbalism and even in Western ayurveda.  Don’t waste your time taking herbs unless you invest in anupan’s to get the full benefit!

Tomorrow we will discuss anupans and timing-when to take your herbs and how 🙂

Hope you enjoyed this article on ayurveda-for more information read my books, or schedule a consult-on-line or in person!

Thirta, Shiva. (1998).  Ayurveda Encyclopedia, The. Ayurveda Holistic Center Press, NY.

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