Ayurveda is the Indian approach to health care. This practice dates back thousands of years and remains the primary form of medicine in India. It's starting to become more popular in the United States, partly due to its focus on food and herbs to help heal a wide variety of issues, from acute to chronic pain. Though many look to Ayurveda to lose weight, several Ayruvedic supplements can also help with weight gain. These include ashwagandha, saatavari, vardhamana pippali rasayana and annona squamosa. However, the Food and Drug Administration has not tested many alternative treatments, and many general practitioners do not endorse them. If you're going to try them, consult your doctor.
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One traditional Ayurvedic herb that may be used to gain weight is ashwagandha. Sometimes called "Indian ginseng," ashwagandha is used for a variety of ailments, including stress, strain, fatigue, pain and as a general tonic to increase energy and improve health and longevity, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In his book, "Ayurveda for All," Dr. Murali Manohar says ashwagandha can be used to deal with emaciation, and can be taken alongside a diet consisting of increased calories and nutrition.
Another Ayurvedic supplement that's purported to help with weight gain is saatavari, with a botanical name of Asparagus racemosus. Considered to rejuvenate women's reproductive cycles and increase mammary tissue and milk, Manohar also recommends its use for general weight gain. Its effects on hyperacidity, stomach ulcers and other digestive ailments may be the key to why this herb helps with increasing weight.
Vardhamana Pippali Rasayana
One practice involving an Ayurvedic supplement is called vardhamana pippali rasayana. According to the book, "Prakriti: Your Ayurvedic Constitution" by Robert Svoboda, this practice for gaining weight involves mixing together 1 cup milk with 1/2 cup water, 1 tsp. maple syrup and one long fruit pepper known as the Piper Longum the first thing in the morning. Boil the mixture down to 1 cup, and drink and chew on the pepper for as long as you want. Repeat this every day for 21 days, adding an additional pepper each day. On the 22nd day, remove a pepper until you are back down to zero. This practice is said to stimulate the digestive fire in order to gain weight, says the book "Prakriti: Your Ayurvedic Constitution."
Annona squamosa, otherwise known as custard apple, is another Ayurvedic supplement that may help with gaining weight. A sweet, fleshy, seedy fruit, according to Vaidya Suresh Chaturvedi in the book, "All You Wanted to Know About Diet and Health Through Ayurveda," annona squamosa has cooling effects on the body and reduces heat. In terms of counteracting thinness, it strengthens muscles and promotes weight gain, Chaturvedi says. The dried seeds can also be made into powder and mixed in with water.