Ayurveda is an ancient and complete science of natural health care. This holistic approach to healthcare covers prevention, maintenance, treatment, rejuvenation and much more.
The term “Ayurveda” is derived from two Sanskrit words, “Ayu” means “life” and “Veda” means “science” or "Knowledge". Hence, it is also known as "The Science of Life”.
Ayurvedic knowledge originated in India thousands of years ago and is often called the “Mother of All Healings.” It stems from the ancient Vedic culture and was taught for many thousands of years in an oral tradition from accomplished masters to their disciples.
As per Acharya Charak (CharakSamhita), Ayurveda can be described as under:
The above Sanskrit shlok from CharakSamhita means that Ayurveda is the science of life that contains the details of living a healthy and long life. It also defineswhat are good (hita) and bad (ahita) for the four different types of aayus (i.e. hitayu, ahitayu, sukhayu and dukhayu) that concerns the different conditions of a diseased or healthy life.
Ayurveda is a system of holistic healing unlike any other. Ayurvedic medicine teaches us to see the world as it relates to the elements or doshas of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. According to Ayurveda, everyone is born with a mixture of these three doshas.
The aim of Ayurveda is to keep the three body doshas in a normal, balanced state resulting in balance of the seven basic tissues of Saptadhatus and a balanced combination of Pancha Mahabhutas and thus freedom from diseases. Ayurveda also encourages a balanced diet of the six rasa (tastes). Certain foods bring balance or create imbalance. Fresh vegetables, whole grains and certain legumes, nuts, and dairy products can provide healthy stabilization for each dosha. In general, though, the recommendations to prevent imbalances for each dosha are:
Vata: Limit cold, crunchy, and salty foods and carbonated and caffeinated drinks.
Pitta: Limit spicy, fried, and meaty foods and excessive alcohol.
Kapha: Limit creamy, sweet, and overly heavy foods and drinks.
Ayurveda teaches the simple principles of early to bed and early to rise i.e. to get up in the early morning in Brahma Muhurta, to clean by brushing the teeth, cleaning the body by elimination of wasteful matter, taking daily oil massage, cleaning the body by bath, putting on clean clothing and other means of safety of health.
This ancient science deals with not only longevity but also formaintaining good healthy body and mind.
Ayurvedic aushadhies (medicines) are based on a traditional medical system. Ayurvedic practice is thousands of years old, with a long history of managing diseases. The 3 basic principles, called doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha), are derived from 5 elements (Akasha, Vayu, Agni, Jal and Prithvi) of Indian philosophy. Ayurveda’s doshas can be identified as regulatory control factors for fundamental physiologic processes in living systems that maintain their identity throughout biologic history: Vata and its subdoshas regulating input/output processes and motion; Pitta and its subdoshas regulating throughput, turnover, and hence energy; and Kapha and its subdoshas regulating storage, structure, and lubrication.
Factors such as food, activity, the climate and stress can, however, disrupt or destroy these functions. Ayurveda seeks to normalize body functions with varied techniques including advice on food and activity, internal herbal preparations, purification treatments (Panchkarma), and surgical methods (Shalya-chikitsa).
Oral administration routes play a major role in influencing individual's doshas, via the ingestion of food, spices and herbal medicines. These elements are influencing doshas in different ways: stabilizing, disturbing, and supporting the body’s healthy state. A detailed knowledge of the action of food, spices and medicines is needed in order to understand their potential influence fully.
Ayurvedic aushadhies (medicines) arebecoming increasingly popular worldwide, with many chronic conditions responding to it well. While conventional medicine dominates many fields in this market, it does not always outperform traditional Ayurvedic approaches. Conventional medicine frequently relies on lifelong medication, on which patients come to depend. Many medication, have side-effects, and withdrawal symptoms that, if the medications are later discontinued, can become problematic. In such circumstances, Ayurveda has much to offer. Patients generally respond well to Ayurvedic treatments, experiencing a reduction, and sometimes even a cessation of their symptoms. Most patients begin to take conventional medications as soon as their diagnoses are made, so Ayurvedic treatments are usually undergone alongside and/or after conventional medical approaches. Patients therefore tend to experience Ayurveda once their conditions have progressed. Despite this, much can be done to minimize condition's symptoms and control their progress. Ayurveda can help improve patients’ symptoms by reducing their cortisone and analgesic usage, thereby enhancing their quality of life.
Ayurvedic medicines are generally seen as safe and free from side effects but their safety purely depends on their method of administration, taking into account individual's needs and their specific disease conditions.