Gym, Exercise, Fitness And Ayurvedic bodybuilding herbal supplements

Ayurvedic bodybuilding and muscle toning supplements were also famous during the time the Ayurvedic classical text books were written many centuries ago!.

These are the benefits ascribed to regular exercise:

शरीर आयासजननं कर्म व्यायाम उच्यते ।
लाघवं कर्मसामर्थ्यं दीप्तो अग्नि मेदसः क्षयः ॥
विभक्त घन गात्रत्वं व्यायामात् उपजायते ।
वातपित्तामयी बालो वृद्धो अजीर्णे च तं त्यजेत् ॥
अर्धशक्त्या निषेव्यस्तु बलिभिः स्निग्धभोजिभिः ।
शीतकाले वसन्ते च मन्दमेव ततो अन्यथा । – अष्टाङ्ग संग्रह सूत्रस्थान 3

Shareera aayaasajananam karma vyaayaama uchyate |

laaghavam karmasaamarthyam deepto agni medasa kshayaha |

vibhaktaghanagaatratwam vyaayaamaat upajaayate |

vaatapittaamayee baalo vruddho ajeerne ca tam tyajet |

ardhashaktyaa nishevyastu balibhihi snigdhabhojibhihi |

sheetakaale vasante cha mandameva tato anyathaa || – Ashtanga sangraha Sutrasthana 5th chapter.

That which brings tiredness to the body is called as Vyayama.

Regular exercise brings lightness to the body and keeps the body healthy and active throughout the day.

It improves digestive power.

It burns fat and makes body strong and sturdy.

Who should do only limited exercise?

Those who have Vata and Pitta predominant body constitution, who are too young or too old, and those suffering from indigestion  – they better avoid or do less of exercises.

What kind of food is good for gym and exercise?

Snigha bhojana – unctuous food articles – Ghee, carbohydrate and protein rich food articles. This is because, gym and exercise tend to Vata, to mitigate which, the above food is advised.

Which are the seasons best for Vyayama?

During winter and spring one can do the full range of exercises. in rest of the periods, it can be done with care and in limit. This is because Ayurveda explains  – Bala (strength) of an individual will be maximum in winter and spring.

How long one should do Vyayama or exercise:

Upto half of one’s original strength. Till one is having heavy breathing with sweating from forehead, arms and thighs. till that time, it is advised to do exercise.

What are the harms of over – exercising?

Ayurveda says, Over- exercising leads to depletion in body tissues, hunger imbalance, depleted  desire and  depleted body growth.

It is also quite commonly seen that the over exercise  and gym practices leads to an abnormal hunger level, leading to obesity, and many cardiac and respiratory problems, a feeling of excessive tiredness, fatigue etc.

Which is the best time for gym?

Ayurveda explains morning as the best time for exercise.  The routine as prescribed by Ayurveda is – to get up at 5 AM, to attend to daily rituals, and then to exercise.

During morning hours, since all the organs are at rest and are ready to get pumping, it is more sensible to go for gym in the morning. That does not mean that one should not do exercise in evening but one gets easily tired out and feels sleepy, if exercised in evening hours.

Ayurvedic herbal supplements to increase muscle tone:

Ashwagandhadi Lehya is the main product that Ayurveda prescribes for an improved muscle tone and fitness. It is also called as Ajaswagandhadi Leham.

As the name indicates, the main ingredient of this confectionery  is Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera).

Ashwagandha is one of the wonder drugs of Ayurveda. Its characters are described as –

Ashwagandhaa Anila Shleshma shwitra shotha kshayaapahaa|

Balyaa Rasaayanee Tiktaa kashaayoshna ati shukrala || – Bhava Prakasha

It normalizes Vata and kapha, it is also useful in leucoderma. Apart from these, it improves one’s energy, strength and stamina and also is a good aphrodisiac.

Ashwagandha being an excellent anti-stress and anti oxidant agent, can be used as a diet supplement for your daily exercise schedule, by which the energy levels are maintained throughout the day.

Ashwagandhadi lehyam is a potent energy booster.

Aswhagandha is also a potent aphrodisiac herb.

How to take ashwagandhadi lehyam -

One to two teaspoonful of paste  along with half a glass of milk or water.

Research work on Ashwagandha –

There has been many researhes conducted on Ashwagandha, which has again proved the efficacy of the herb.

Study conducted at Department of Physiology at University of Madras has proved the anti-stress activity of Ashwagandha.

Immunomodulatory effect of Ashwagandha is also well established through a research study conducted by department of bio – sciences at Vellore University.

There are many research papers establishing anti-oxidant, cardio protective activity, anticancerous activities of ashwagandha.

Dr JV Hebbar B.A.M.S, MD (Ayu), is an Ayurveda Doctor. Click here to consult Dr Hebbar
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  1. vaidya paul says:

    Hello Doctor,

    I’m doings some body building since march and I realy enjoy it.
    I have some questions on AV and BB.
    I was thinking to do some Matra Basti for strength and also because I’m
    VP prakruti, but more V now in autum and winter.
    I go to the gym almost everyday. I just skip a day when my body say’s I’m tired.

    So when do you think is the best time to do Matra Basti? I do gym in the
    There’s lots of talk on the net about Ashwagandha, but are there other
    products too? Shilajit, Mucuna Pruriens??


    • jannihebbar says:

      Hi, Vaidya Paul, regarding the matrabasti – I suppose, Matrabasti or any type of Shodhana is be undertaken under strict supervision of an Ayurvedic expert. anyways, here is my answer –

      Contra indications – do not take matra basti when you have –
      taken alcohol, acidity, indigestion , lose stools, sticky stools, abdominal problems, diabetes,

      The tongue should not be coated and stools should float on water.

      time to take matrabasti (in your case – for those who do exercise in the morning ) is evening, just five minutes after dinner. The dinner should be hot & light., not oily, avoid cold items and curds, keep yourself warm , to take warm water.

      Gap between Basti and sleep – preferably 2-3 hours.

      suitable herbal supplement for gym goers –
      if you are non vegetarian, then Ajaswagandhadi leham – two spoons in the morning, 10 minutes, after coming back from gym. it contains nutritious and stabilizing Ayurvedic herbs like Ashwagandha, mucuna, etc.,

      if You are vegetarian, then herbovital capsules two tablets in the morning and evening. it contains ashwagandha, shilajatu, shatavari (asperagus) etc. So I suggest this.

  2. I have been using it for years and wouldnt use anything else!

  3. Dear Dr Hebbar

    What about Tribulus Terrestris (Gokshura). Could you explain the benefits of this plant? Fruit and Whole Plant

    Your blog is very informative.
    Many thanks

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      It is a small plant, usually spreads on the ground, having thorny fruits. It is one among Dashamoola (group of ten roots). Tribulus is known for aphrodisiac action. It also acts as mild diuretic and is used in kidney, bladder and gall bladder stones.

  4. Hello Doctor,

    Hello Dr. I am raj 25 years old want to know how to reduce stomach (abdominal excess) fat because of my busy working schedule i wont get time for exercise. Please help me i will be waiting for your reply.

  5. I find your tips very usefull. Could you explain diet recomendations for intensive workout. I do 5days a week 2hrs exercise. my prakruti is PK. living in north Europe, so wheather is cold and wet, and changes often. Thank you.

  6. i would like to know about gokshura in bodybuilding.

    • Gokshura (Tribulus terrestris) is an Ayurvedic herb used since many centuries. There are different clinical trials proving its influence to stimulate testosterone production. But strong evidence is yet to be established. Another interesting fact about Gokshura is, it is an excellent diuretic and helps to give shape to the muscles.
      There are many tribulus supplements in the market but the best way to use it is to get the raw herb, make into decoction and to drink it.

  7. thank you dr. hebbar for your information. from where and how can i get it in the pure form. pls let me know. Thank you doctor.

    • You can get raw Gokshura in any raw herb selling shops. at least in India, there are plenty. I can not suggest you stores in this platform, as any kind of affiliate business is not allowed here.

  8. hello sir,
    i ve taken dabur ashwagandhadhi lehyam and i have it 2 sppon in the morning and evening. would this be enough as a body building supplement since am keen in building musles and started going ti gym.
    with regards,



    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      It is the next best thing to lehya. Ashwagandha capsules are also available in the market.

    • Dipin.K.G says:

      Rush to the Kottakkal Arya vidyashala They provide u to the ASHWAGANDHADHI LEHYAM. For any assistance, let me know.

  10. Just for information.. Is there any suppliment to be taken for diabetic body builders… ashwagandhadhi lehyam and Gokshura safe..

  11. I am taking 2 spoons of ashwagnadha churna everyday and shilajeet.. I am diabetic.. is it ok.
    I do mild exercise alternate days

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Looks just fine. No issues.

      • How much would be a safe maximum daily dose of Ashwagandha churna when taken long term (with say milk) for an average healthy adult?

        (How many grams is 2 teaspoons? 10 grams?)

        • …forgot to mention – I filter out the ashwagandha churana powder after boiling in milk.

        • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

          for a long term use (more than six months), for a healthy adult, 2 grams per day is maximum daily dose.
          1 teaspoon is 5 ml. Approximately 3-4 grams.

  12. jayalath says:

    Dear Dr J.V.Hebbar

    i am from sri lanka and nowdays im doing bodybuilding excercise i used to take english medicine for bodybuilding but sir there is no good answer therefor please let me know where can i buy ASHWAGANDHADI LEHYA or similler to that for bodybuilding in sri lanka or how can i order.
    please send full detail with price


  13. Hi,
    I am very thin , can u pls suggest me the best ayurvedic supplement to gain weight & height. could you pls help me out with this?

  14. how to increase body without suppliment

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      By regular exercise.
      By having fruit / fruit juice twice or thrice a week
      By having more of dates, raisins and almond
      By including ginger and pepper in diet.

  15. rohit p says:

    dear sir

    i ahve been using ajaswagandhadhi lehyam for some tym now. as per my doctor’s instruction, im consuming two teaspoon of the lehyam aftr dinner before sleep. it did wonders for me. but after some time i feel thtat the development of my body has stagnated. do u think that it may be because of over exercising during summer or do i need to increase my dosage for some serious body building?if so, how? kindly note that iam 24 years old and weight aroung 72 kilos. pls suggest.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      The dosage is fine. It can be taken continuously for 4 -6 months. In Summer, naturally there will be decrease in weight gain rate. Continue pursuing exercise and healthy eating habits.

  16. Sir ,
    I am regularly practising asana , pranayama in morning and dand – baithaks kasrats in evening .. i have a comparitively thin frame as compared to others . please suggest some ayurvedic procedure to become strong and attain ojhas and thej, lik yogis

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Ghee in diet, drinking milk with Chyawanprash in the morning before food, are a couple of good ways to improve Ojus and Tejas.

  17. Thanks ,
    I have recently been taking aswagandha with T livonim( tablets for liver ) for improving muscle mass. But i am having diorrhea. Is aswagandha safe for me .

  18. I daily do exercise for 1.1/2 hours in the evening now…..i have good body but i want extra muscles…. i heard that ayurvedam wii not have side effect on the body like allopathy what are the supplement available which wil boost my energy ….


    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      It is not true that all Ayurvedic medicines are devoid of side effects. Consult an Ayurvedic doctor for right medicines for you.

      • hi sir

        Tribulus Terrestris Supplements – i saw a product in a proffessional body building site. i’m sure about the person recommending this. he is a molecular biology scientists and has some evidence with the study of the gokshura and efficacy of body building property by increasing testosterone.
        how ayurveda explains it. can you please let us know.

  19. puneet tripathi says:

    wah wah wah doctor dusoro ko ullu banana khoob aata hai…… maine question poocha…apko difficult laga…or comment hata diya. tooo good…….tarakki karoge …khoob karoge……..

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Translation of above comment in English – “Good doctor, you know how to make fool of people. I asked a question and you deleted the comment, because question was difficult. Too good. You will have all the success, very well.”

      My reply –
      Dear Mr Tripathi, You had asked about Use of Gokshura along with Ashwagandha. Because, this is a personal issue, I had replied you back by email. 26th September, at 3:03 pm. Publishing the answer to your query publicly, here, would have generalized my statement, which would have misguided my ardent readers.
      I do not claim that I know all aspects of Ayurveda. For certain queries for which I am not able to answer, I take the opinion of my peers, or I reply that I do not know about it.
      If you can not believe, I am herewith attaching a snap of email that I had sent you. Please check in your email inbox, it should be there. Till now I was thinking, facebook is the only place, where people run into bragging. Anyway, thanks for your blessings!
      email reply

  20. sachin sharma says:

    hello doctor, i m 27 male, i am training myself for bodybuilding. I brought 500gm gokhru fruits (tribulusTerrestris) and prepared fully fine powder by grinding it in Mixer machine. please tell me the daily dosage for gokhru which i made.
    Is there any side effect of it.
    I am also taking ashwagandha powder with honey 2 times daily.

    thanks for your kind reply……….

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Assuming that you are totally healthy and do not have any health complications, general Dose for gokhru powder is – 500 mg once a day with water, before food.
      There are no side effects. But since it has mild diuretic, people with diabetes and hypertension should only take this under medical supervision.
      As a general rule, any person should take any herb only after “direct” consultation with a doctor.

  21. Doctor,

    What is panchakarma therapy?? My husband has been given Vamanam (made to vomit)
    Prior to the treatment he undergo a preparation called snehapana (took medicated ghee sathavaryadhi). Will this treatment help him in reducing his weight and improve his overall health??

  22. hello sir,
    i have started using nagarjuna ashwagandha pak…what is much better ashwagandhadi lehyam or ashwagandha pak for muscle gain

  23. I noticed in one of your above comments that stools should float above water. Can you please elaborate on what heavy stools that sink in water (do not float) are an indication of? Tongue is not coated and stools are well formed and smooth bowel movements, but stool doesn’t really float. Does it mean there is Ama in the body? Or does it hint towards possibility of malabsorption or indigestion or something else…?

    Thank you,

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Stool sinking, is just a vague sign of Ama. For example, after a heavy fat meal, stool may sink. If your tongue is not coated, if you are feeling lightness in the stomach and digesting your food in time, with proper sleep, there probably no Ama in you.

      • That’s very helpful to know, thank you.

        If there has been constipation (incomplete evacuation of bowels everyday) for many years prior, can the Ama accumulated over the years gradually move out of the body by itself, in time, once bowel movements have improved, assuming no more Ama is getting deposited and if one is generally healthy and maintaining health habits (at least in theory)? (for a Vata/thin constitution).

        Thank you,

        • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

          Yes. In a healthier person, with good digestion and bowel evacuation processes, the chances of accumulation of ‘Ama’ in a thin person is lesser when compared to an overweight person.

  24. Is it better (for stamina/energy) to take ashwagandha churna with (boiled in hot) milk compared to taking with (hot) water? I seem to observe that with milk is more effective, but I’m wondering if it’s just better for me for some reason, or is there an objective reason why the herb would be much more effective with milk.

    Thank you,

  25. Ankit Mishra says:

    hi doctor..can u suggest a proper dietary supplements which increase lean muscles in my body n i should gain more weight as now i m 65 kgs but muscle building process is very low n how to take it….

    i read ur article about ashwagandhadi leyham so should i take this as a dietary supplement n according to u which brand would u suggest.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Dear Ankit Mishra, concentrating on protein rich diet, along with Ashwagandha capsule – 1 capsule at bed time for 30 days should help you. I suggest you to consult an Ayurveda doctor directly.

  26. Ankit Mishra says:

    Hello doc….actually my friend has a problem of gastro intestinal and it is very painful to him as when gas strokes attackes to his chest and after sometime when he takes medicine it is gone but around 10 to 15% of that gas still remains at that point on chest
    we suggested to gastro doctor but theres no relief…what should u suggest as i know there proper treatment in ayurvedic but i dont know how should i help him…can u suggest any kind of herb which can make relief as doctor said it will remain with it for whole lifetime

  27. Dear Sir,

    While trying to buy Ashwagandha from (as mentioned by you)

    It is asking payment in US dollars…where and how can i buy it in India by using indian currency?


  28. Hi Sir,
    THANK YOU for this information,i was searching for natural body building
    supplements.This is very helpful
    can we take ashwagandha lehyam with butter milk?because i drink buttermilk after
    you mentioned to take it with half a glass of water or milk.Half a glass means how
    much quantity in terms of measurements.
    can we replace Ashwagandharishtam for Aswagandha lehyam,if yes then how to
    consume that?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, Ashwagandha lehyam is slightly hot in potency and buttermilk again is hot. So, if you can tolerate this hotness, you can take it with buttermilk. If not, milk or water is preferred choice. For half a glass of water or milk, I mean, a minimum of 50 – 70 ml.
      If it is for body building, A. Lehyam is better than Arishtam.

  29. how about taking safed musli as body building supplement

  30. Hi Dr
    Would it be safe to take ashwagandha, gokshura and arjuna together?

  31. hello dr
    my dr. has given me aswagandharishtam for stress.I want to know will it increase my weight as i am already over weigh

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      No. This medicine alone cannot contribute to weight increase. It would further help in improving muscle strength. So, you can be physically and mentally more active. I suggest you to follow your doctor’s prescription.

  32. Hello Sir,

    Could you also write an article on Safed Musli as well as Shilajit?


    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Sure. an article on both, is coming up shortly.

      • Hello Sir,

        It would be a great beginning to the New Year if you could write about Safed Musli and Shilajit. I am especially interested to know whether Shilajit helps increase Ojas, and it’s enhancement of spiritual practices.

  33. Dear Doctor,

    if one has Stomach/intestine/gastric related to issues likes burning in stomach or loose/semisolid stools with undigested food (stool mixes with water) and gas (especially milk is taken continuously or Ghee/oily or wheat etc.), Does Ajashwagandhadi lehyam cause any issue? if not, what is the preferred way to take this herb for these kind of people in order to help in body building?

    Thanks & Regards,

  34. Hello Sir,

    Could you please help me with a confusion, I want to increase my weight(preferably muscle mass). So, I did a bit of reading and came to know its called mamsa dhatu. However, I am confused as to should the diet be heavy or should it be rich in protien ? Or both? And if so could also provide a couple of examples of such foods as well.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, usually foods rich in protein are heavy (Guru) in nature. Example: beans, cashew, peanut, sesame seed, pistachio, lentil, yogurt, spinach, beetroot, cheese, egg, soyabean, Fish, Cheese, Yogurt, milk, soyamilk, soyabeans, legumes.

  35. from wherre can i get herbovital capsules.. which company?

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