In search of the ‘real’ chyawanprash

A group of eight rare but potent herbs are missing in most commercial brands of the ayurvedic paste. Now, there are efforts to bring them back.

If you, like me, were raised on a breakfast of milk and chyawanprash, you’d have noticed something odd about it: No two brands of the product are alike. 

There are significant differences in texture (smooth or grainy), colour (jet black or matte brown), taste (a mix of sweet, sour, bitter, pungent and astringent) and aftertaste (which makes you smack your lips or wrinkle your nose). There are mango, chocolate and mixed-fruit flavours for those easily bored. There’s even a sugar-free variant. 

Chyawanprash is among the highest-selling ayurvedic products. Across India—especially in the northern and central parts—it is widely used as …


Omkar Khandekar

Omkar specializes in long-form narrative features and has reported from India, the UK, Germany and the Maldives. He writes across beats, from politics and crime to cinema and sports. His works have been published in Indian and international outlets including The Caravan, Mint Lounge, the BBC, Al Jazeera and The Huffington Post.

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