THE BORDER LIFE
 





RIVERDAVE'S MEDICINE HERB PUDDING 
CHYAWANPRASH
  
       My basic method of herb ingestion is the medicine herbal pudding. In the herbal practice of Ayurveda, there is a strong tradition of blending several dozen rejuvenative herbs together using gooseberry fruit as a base, along with ghee and raw sugar as carriers.  The result is an herbal jam known as Chyawanprash.
 
       This formula was named after Chyawan, a rishi (seer) of ancient India, who directed physicians in his ashram to create the ultimate restorative dietary formula, or "prash" in Sanskrit.  An infinite number of recipes have since evolved, but many of the core herbs are the same or have similar properties. 
 

       In my personal recipe, I use one ripe banana as a base instead of cooked gooseberries.  I also include much less sweetener, my one tablespoon of molasses adding an excellent sweet flavor to the formula, but not providing enough sugar to act as a preservative.  I therefore make my Chyawanprash fresh every morning with the intention of immediate consumption, not to preserve it for later use.  
 
       I find it helpful to consider both the MAKING and the TAKING of my daily breakfast Chyawanprash to be an important early morning practice on the path of working through my personal health challenges. 
 


1 -  Place one banana in a mixing bowl.  I prefer banana as a base, but there are obviously other possibilities. There is concern by some that the banana is potentially constipating.  But taken in moderation, my own research and experience has shown me the benefits far outweigh any negatives. Other fruits might include ripe papaya, mango, apple, pear or berries. 


2 -  Add to the bowl a rounded teaspoon of each powdered herb that you are working with. If this is your first experience with a particular herb, start with a half teaspoon and then work up to a full teaspoon over the course of a week. 


3 - If the herbs happen to have an unpleasant taste,  add a half teaspoon of cinnamon or anise, which often renders the entire mixture zesty and pleasant.  Sweeten with molasses, honey or raw sugar.


4 - For extra moisture and nutrition, add ghee, yoghurt, tahini, coconut oil, maple syrup, agave, date paste, raisins, honey and aloe vera gel.  For a more "smoothie" consistency, simply dilute with fresh fruit juice or water.


5 - Blend the entire mixture with a large wooden pestle or whiz (if you must) with hand-held blender. But make an effort to find a good sized pestle or have a woodworker make one for you. Using a pestle will align you with the traditional herbal art practiced by humanity from the beginning of time.  I had my pestle made from a branch of a  black walnut tree felled by Hurricane Fran in 1996.    

 

Photos by RIverdave:  sample medicine herb pudding or Chyawanprash that I use during winter months to meet my challenge of seasonal affective disorder: one ripe banana, one tablespoon each of ghee, kefir, tahini and molasses; one half to one teaspoon each of powdered mucuna, gokshura, triphala, asafoetida, turmeric, cinnamon, anise, hawthorn, slippery elm and passion flower.  I stir in water to make a pudding consistency and top with whole sunflower or pumpkin seeds and raisons or elderberries and one crushed cacao bean.