Chyawanprash is a delicious nutritive jam that has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years, offering a wide range of health benefits. In Sanskrit, the word, "prash" refers to a specially prepared food. It is said that two ancient sages of Ayurveda concocted this particular formula to restore youth to the elderly sage, Chyawan—thus the name, "chyawanprash". The transliteration from Sanskrit to English has resulted in a variety of spelling variations, including: chyavanprash, chyavanaprasam, and chyavanaprjasha. Banyan Botanicals offers this preparation as Chyavanprash.
Ayurvedic jams are often used as (carriers) for other herbs, but they can also be used on their own and frequently are especially as rejuvenatives and aphrodisiacs.The Ayurvedic jam known as chyawanprash is made with a base of amalaki fruits (Emblica officinalis) and typically contains a number of other herbs, ghee, sesame oil, sugar, and/or honey. The honey, ghee, and sesame oil serve asyogavahis (catalytic agents) to carry the herbs deep into the tissues, while the sugar is considered asamvahaka dravya (preservative substance) which helps to safeguard the clinical efficacy of the main ingredient, in this case amalaki.
Amalaki, also known as amla, is renowned for its rich antioxidant content and for its very high concentration of vitamin C one of the highest known in the plant kingdom. More importantly, the vitamin C contained in the amalaki fruit is stabilized by the presence of tannins, which help to preserve the vitamin content, even through processing. This is particularly relevant in a preparation such as chyawanprash, which requires extensive cooking.
While the first known source of the "recipe" for chyawanprash is found in the Charaka Samhita, an ancient Ayurvedic text, the jam is also described in several other respected Ayurvedic texts, often with some alteration to the "original" formula. In fact, there is an extensive history of variation in chyawanprash preparations and appropriate amendments are therefore considered acceptable. This being the case, modern concerns for sustainability and availability of herbs have resulted in a wealth of chyawanprash varieties, all essentially sharing the same core benefits.