Rasayana is the Ayurvedic word for alchemy
In Ayurveda Rasayana is the word used to describe the process of alchemy, of turning materials into higher quailty materials. Rasa translates a the Sanskrit word for gold. However not only gold was involved in alchemy. Other metals, materials and humans were transformed.
This alchemy, this transformation is the goal of the Ayurveda practitioner.
The yogis created these alchemist processes so that we could live an enlightened and enlightening life, for an enormous length of time. Rasayana is designed to take us beyond regular health into the the potential to live to our potential.
In the Ayurveda system Rasayan herbs include; Haritaki, Amla, Shilajit, Ashwagananda, , Guduchi, Holy Basil and Shatavari, and the composite that is used as a sweet, Chyawanprasha (a jam-like mixture of herbs, honey and spices).
These herbs all display qualities that researchers call “adaptogens”, herbs that help the body adapt to stress and return the body to normal. Herbs and fruits that we in the west have heard of and are commonly recommended as adaptogens are blueberries and ginsing. The studies of Haritaki reveal that it works extremely well on the gastro intestinal tract , that it helps diseases such as Crohns and diabetes.
Modern Research on Rasayana herbs
There has been quite extensive research on Haritaki and other herbs designated in the Ayurvedic texts as Rasayana. Here is some of the research:
The whole, aqueous, standardized extracts of selected plants (Tinospora cordifolia, Asparagus racemosus, Emblica officinalis, Withmania somnifera, Piper longum and Terminalia chebula) were administered orally to experimental animals, in a dose extrapolated from the human dose, following which they were exposed to a variety of biological, physical and chemical stressors. These plants were found to offer protection against these stressors, as judged by using markers of stress responses and objective parameters for stress manifestations. Using a model of cisplatin induced alterations in gastrointestinal motility, the ability of these plants to exert a normalizing effect, irrespective of direction of pathological change was tested…. All the plant drugs were found to be safe in both acute and subacute toxicity studies. Studies on the mechanisms of action of the plants revealed that they all produced immunostimulation. The protection offered by Tinospora cordifolia against stress induced gastric mucosal damage was lost if macrophage activity was blocked. Emblica officinalis strengthened the defence mechanisms against free radical damage induced during stress. The effect of Emblica officinalis appeared to depend on the ability of target tissues to synthesize prostaglandins. Recent data obtained with Tinospora cordifolia have led researchers to suggest that it may induce genotypic adaptation, further opening the arena for more research and experimentation.