“Ayurveda is a sister philosophy to yoga. It is the science of life or longevity and it teaches about the power and the cycles of nature, as well as the elements.” ― Christy Turlington
It’s a common fact that almost everyone who reaches the age of 50 starts experiencing knee pain. So much so, that they consider it to be a “normal” part of the ageing process. And that’s the scary bit.
There is nothing normal about suffering from knee pain day-in-day-out. While most will resort to calcium medicines, there’s a better, more natural alternative you can try. Today, we are going to explore Nature’s biggest gift to mankind when it comes to retaining bone health: the Bala herb.
Having been first mentioned in the ancient Sanskrit text, “Charaka Samhita,” this herb, literally translated, means “strength” in Hindi. This herb is known by various names such as Sida Cordifolia (Botanical name), Country Mallow (English name), and Kungyi/Barial (Hindi name). It is associated with the Hindu Goddess of eternal grace and beauty, Parvathi.
The Sida Cordifolia plant belongs to the Malvaceae family of plants and is native to subtropical and tropical parts of India and Srilanka. It is known to contain compounds such as ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, alkaloids, fatty oils, and steroids. The Bala herb powder provides inner strength and power to the body. In terms of the plant varieties, there are four types, namely: Batyalaka (Sida Cordifolia), Mahabala (Sida Rhomboidea), Atibala (Sida Rhombifolia), and Nagabala (Sida Alba)
Bala Herb’s Bountiful Uses
Bala is used as an integral ingredient in multiple oils and medicines – all thanks to its pain-relieving and bone-strengthening properties. Typically, its roots are used to provide a variety of health benefits however, the plant’s other parts double up as effective health agents as well:
- Bark: Possessing cooling properties, the bark is used for treating issues related to blood, throat, urinary system, piles, phthisis, etc.
- Seeds: The seeds act as effective aphrodisiacs.
- Roots: The roots offer a host of properties such as a cooling, astringent, stomachic, tonic, bitter, diuretic, among other things.
Here’s a low-down of its all-round benefits for the body, mind, and soul:
- Improves skin quality: Owing to its skin-beautifying properties, Country Mallow for skin is a God-send. Plus, this herb is known to be a part of ancient herbal folklore and is referred to as “Tripura Sundari.” It is often used along with the herbs Ashoka and Shatavari.
- Improves the quantity and quality of sperm count, and treats both female and male infertility.
- Acts as a blood purifier.
- Treats bleeding piles.
- Boosts fetal growth and hence, is also known as ‘Praja Sthapana.’
- Acts as a nervine tonic. Nourishes and strengthens the body and especially the muscles and nerves. It is extensively used all structural and nervous disorders with high vata like sciatica, neuralgia, pain, and neurosis.
- Strengthens the heart muscle and acts as an overall heart tonic. It is beneficial in heart disorders like arrhythmia, tachycardia, irregular pulse and palpitations
- Enhances the skin texture and provides a natural glow.
- Reduces inflammation of wounds and eyes.
- Helps to treat cervical spondylitis, paralysis, and facial paralysis.
- Aids in easy absorption of water and nutrients in the intestine and helps in cases of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
- Reduces petechial haemorrhage and treats headaches.
- Acts as a diuretic and rejuvenates the urinary system.
- Treats respiratory issues such as bronchitis, asthma, haemoptysis (bleeding with cough), tuberculosis etc. Useful in all vata–pitta disorders of the lungs.
- Boosts physical endurance and strength.
- Treats flu, cough, cold, and chills.
- Helps to lose weight as it contains stimulant alkaloids.
Ayurvedic Preparations with Bala as the Primary Ingredient
- Balarishta: This liquid form of Ayurvedic medicine strengthens the nerves and comes in handy in issues such as neuralgia, arthritis, spondylosis, paraplegia, etc.
- Bala Tel/Oil: It can be used for external massage, for enema, for nasal application, or for the instillation of oil into the ears. This Ayurvedic oil helps to treat vomiting, cough, asthma, spleen disorders, bloating, epilepsy, etc. It is made of 37 integral ingredients such as:
- Bala Mool / Sida Cordifolia
- Tila Taila / Sesame Seed Oil
- Cow’s Milk
- Dasha Mool Dravya
- Kulath Beeja / Macrotyloma Uniflorum
- Yava / Hordeum Vulgare
- Badri Vriksha Tvaka / Ziziphus Mauritiana
- Jivaka / Microstylis Wallichii
- Rishabhaka / Manilkara Hexandra
- Kakoli / Roscoea Procera
- Ksheer Kakoli / Lilium Polyphyllum
- Meda / Polygonatum Verticillatum
- Maha Meda / Polygonatum Cirrhifolium
- Riddhi / Habenaria Edgeworthii
- Vriddhi/ Habenaria Intermedia
- Jeevanti /Leptadenia Reticulata
- Mulethi / Licorice
- Mashaparni / Teramnus Labialis
- Mudgaparni / Phaseolus Tribulus
- Shatavari / Asparagus Racemosus
- Devdaru / Cedrus Deodara
- Manjishtha / Rubia Cordifolia
- Kushtha / Saussurea Lappa
- Shaileya / Parmelia Perlata
- Tagar / Valeriana Wallichii
- Agru / Aquilaria Agallocha
- Saindhava Lavana / Rock Salt
- Vacha / Acorus Calamus
- Punarnava / Boerhavia Diffusa
- Jatamansi / Nardostachys Jatamansi
- Shweta Sariva / Hemidesmus Indicus
- Krishna Sariva / Cryptolepis Buchanana
- Tej Patra / Cinnamomum Tamala
- Saunf / Fennel Seeds / Foeniculum Vulgare
- Ashwagandha / Withania Somnifera
- Sukshma Ela / Cardamom
- Ksheerabala 101 Thailiam: This oil treats neuro-muscular disorders sciatica, arthritis, paralysis, among other things.
Bala’s Physical Characteristics
- It is a sweet-tasting herb which tastes the same pre and post digestion.
- It is light and oily in nature.
- It comes with a cold potency.
- It is known to balance all three Doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
Bala’s Medicinal Properties
- Anti-inflammatory: It reduces inflammation in the body.
- Anti-oxidant: It neutralizes the oxidant effect of free radicals.
- Analgesic: It acts as a pain-reliever.
- Appetizer: It increases appetite.
- Anti-asthmatic: It helps prevent asthma attacks.
- CNS Depressant: It stimulates the central nervous system.
- Cardio-protective: It prevents heart issues.
- Nervine Tonic: It promotes overall nerve health.
- Diuretic: It promotes urine flow.
- Emollient: It has a soothing effect on the skin.
- Aphrodisiac: It promotes sexual wellness.
- Hepato-protective: It helps to prevent liver damage.
Nutritional Information & Recommended Dosage
- Juice extract: 10-20 ml (in divided doses).
- How to consume it: You can take 1-2 teaspoon of Bala juice and mix with equal quantity of water. You can take it twice a day post meals.
- Powder: 3-6 gm (in divided doses). How to consume it: You can take 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon with water post meals, twice a day.
- How to consume it: You can take ¼-½ teaspoon Bala churna/powder. Then, mix it with milk or honey.
- Decoction/Kashaya: 50-100 ml (in divided doses).
- Capsule: 1-2 capsules twice a day.
- How to consume it: You can swallow it with water after taking food.
Make Your Own Bala Tea?
a. Soak 1 teaspoon of dried Bala or Bala powder in a cup of water.
b. Boil until the water gets reduced to half.
c. You can drink it hot or refrigerate if you wish to drink it later.
Important: Please consult your doctor before consuming this herb in any form as a safety measure.
Bala Herb’s Bevy of Benefits
“Maharsi Caraka has categorized Bala as brmhaniya , a bulk promoting herb and as Balya tonic and Prajasthapana which promotes reproduction.”
Joint Pain, Arthritis, Stiff, Joints, And Inflammation
You can prepare a paste using water and its fresh leaves or 1/2-1 teaspoon Bala powder, and apply externally to treat joint pains and reduce inflammation. Conversely, you can apply the Bala oil which is made from its roots to get immediate relief.
You can take a decoction of its root along with a teaspoon of ghee and honey to treat tuberculosis.
Boost Energy Levels And Promote Sexual Wellness
Bala decoction consumed along with milk, ghee, and sugar/honey can improve general health and promote sexual wellness. Conversely, you can chew the fresh leaves as a restorative tonic.
Bala seeds help in treating facial paralysis and tones the facial muscles effectively.
You can take prepare an oil taking the root’s decoction and mixing it milk and sesame oil.
Blood And Bile Disorders
Its root infusion helps to treat nervous and urinary diseases as well as blood and bile disorders.
You can take a decoction of ginger and Bala for constant shivers, cold, and recurring fever.
Swelling And Wounds
You can massage with Bala Siddha taila/oil to reduce swelling and utilize its crushed leaves to use as a dressing over wounds. Conversely, you can take 1-2 teaspoon Bala powder and mix it with coconut oil to make a paste. Then, apply to the affected area twice a day. If you do this every day, the wound will heal quickly.
Urinary Incontinence And Vaginal Discharge
Sida Cordifolia root is taken along with milk and sugar for treating urinary issues and leukorrhea.
You can cook the leaves and eat it to cure bleeding piles.
You can take the juice of the whole plant along with water and consume in ¼ seers or litres.
You can take the juice of Palmyra tree and use the plant’s roots and make it into a paste. Apply this paste topically for relief.
You can make a paste made from its root powder and mix it with honey. Consume and keep it in your mouth for some time for instant relief.
Inflammation Of Testicles
You can take the milk and boil it along with Bala’s roots till the water has evaporated. Consume this with castor oil for best results.
You can boil a paste of Bala powder along with ghee and consume post meals.
Take 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Bala powder and mix with honey. Consume it twice a day post meals.
Important: Please consult expert advice to understand the dosage for every remedy mentioned above just as a precautionary measure.
Bala Herb’s Side-Effects & Precautionary Measures
Excessive use of the Bala herb can cause the following side-effects:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Loss of consciousness
- High blood pressure
- Memory loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Heart stroke
- Pregnant and lactating mothers should consume this herb only under expert supervision.
- It may act as a depressant rather than a stimulant on the central nervous system.
- It may lower your blood pressure, blood sugar levels, as well as your heart rate. So people with diabetes, thyroid, high BP should refrain from using it.
- Under no circumstances should you use Sida Cordifolia with other stimulants such as caffeine, tea, etc.
- If you suffer from angina, don’t consume Bala.
Disclaimer: Sida Cordifolia has been banned in the US since 2004 as it contains Ephedrine which is known to act as a depressant towards the central nervous system and thus, raises questions about its safety.
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