8 Ayurvedic Herbs
Plants and herbs, like everything else, are manifestations of prana. It is prana that gives everything life, and it is the prana of each plant that affects our individual pranas to achieve a therapeutic of biochemical between human and plant that causes any given therapeutic effect. However, from the subtle Ayurvedic point of view, these mechanical actions are caused by the prana itself. In other words, it is the prana that gives the power to each chemical, and it is the pranic interactions with a chemical that starts the biochemical effect. As prana is the force behind each chemical action, we can also recognize it as the fundamental force acting through plants and herbs.
Prana itself is neutral, having no inherent quality except movement. While motion or movement is the only quality of prana, its interaction with the other two cosmic principals of transformation (agni) and cohesion (soma) impart different qualities to the neutral prana on the most subtle level. On a more material level, it gains different qualities through its interaction with the five states of matter-earth, water, fire, air and ether. Together with the different material combinations prana imparts different qualities to the plant it inhabits.
In this universe earth, water, fire, air and space are each of them twice the magnitude of the preceding one. Dissolve the earth in water, water in fire, fire in air, and air in space. Space should be merged in the cosmic space which is the cause for all. Remaining there for an instant in his subtle body, the yogi should feel that I am the self of a;;, having abandoned all self-limitation. That in which this universe rests and which is devoid if name and form is known as prakriti (nature) by some, Maya (illusion ) by others and as subatomic by others.
Ayurveda continuously views life as a whole. This views described in the Yoga Vasistha above shoes the sages considered that a conscious presence abides in all existence; manifest or unmanifest. Simply put, prana is responsible for our life an is also responsible for the life in all other living beings. By the correct use of other forms of life we can either increase or decrease our own prana or life force.
The earth . . . . Inhales and exhales stellar and cosmic forces . . . . These forces are not al material, but include subtle energies of an occult or spiritual nature. Plants transmit the vital-emotional impulses, the life-force that is hidden in light. That is the gift, the grace, the power of plants.
The six tastes that we talked about in chapter 6 re the combination of prana with the five elements. Herbs follow the same rule that are outlined for food, as herbs are food the same rules that are outlined for food, as herbs are food as well. By applying the rules of the six tastes to our herbal intake we are, in fact, stimulating different pranas that control different actions in the body Whether we use food or herbs, it is the prana that they carry that creates the therapeutic action in our body.