Ayurveda teaches that the healing power of herbs is based more on their energetic nature than on their chemical nature. To utilize Ayurvedic herbs, you must understand the energetic nature of your own conditioned imbalances—as well as the energetic nature of herbs and foods—in order to restore balance.
Herbal healing involves a complex interaction between two elements: the energetic nature, or prakriti, of the herbs; and the patient's condition, or imbalance, otherwise known as the individual's vikriti. Herbs are products of nature and store within themselves unique patterns of energy (prana), which reflect the nature of their surrounding environment, including the amount and quality of sunlight, soil nutrients, temperature, moisture, and dryness. These energies create the taste of the herb; its heating or cooling ability, its virya; its prime attributes, or gunas (whether it is sattvic, rajasic, or tamasic); and, most importantly, its post-digestive effect on the patient's three doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha).