Ayurveda – The Nature’s Science Of Healthy Living
Ayurveda is one of the oldest system of medicine in the world. For thousands of years people have been getting benefited with its awesome treatments and procedures. The beauty of ayurvedic medicine is in the fact that it not only treats the symptom or disease but the person as a whole. The sense of calmness, contentment, serenity, and rejuvenating energy that you get with ayurveda is hard to find anywhere else.
Basic Principles Of Ayurveda
In ayurveda disease is seen as a manifest of the internal imbalance in the “doshas”. And the treatment primarily revolves around fixing this imbalance.
Ayurvedic treatments are performed in three different ways: by medicines, by diet and lifestyle modifications and by various physical procedures collectively known as “Panchakarma”.
Ayurvedic treatment revolves around two fundamental basics – Prakriti and Dosha.
The Concept Of Prakriti:
The unique physical and psychological characteristics of a person combine to give a specific constitution or prakriti. Different people have different types of prakriti and thus they have different moods, behavior and specific needs and characters. The prakriti of a person is unchangeable and it remains the same for the whole life. However what you eat and and how to you digest and excrete can greatly influence your prakriti.
The Concept Of Dosha:
According to Ayurveda, universe is made up of five basic things and so are our bodies. They are:
4. Fire and
These five basic elements combining in a specific proportion in our bodies to form “dosha”. These “dosha” help our bodies do their day to day tasks and influence every aspect of our health. There are three doshas explained by the manuscripts:
1. Vata Dosha
2. Pitta Dosha
3. Kapha. Dosha
Vata controls the mind, breathing functions, blood circulation, heart and waste excretion (bowel). It is believed to be the most prominent of the three doshas. If you have predominant Vata dosha you are more susceptible to arthritis, asthma, anxiety, heart problems and skin problems.
Pitta plays role in digestive system, metabolism of the food and controls the appetite. People with predominantly Pitta dosha are emotional, get angry quickly, have dry skin, have plenty of body hairs, acidity and high blood pressure.
The last dosha is Kapha which controls body development, muscular growth, strength of the body, weight and immunity. A person with predominant Kapha nature may have asthma and breathing difficulty, cancer, high blood sugar, nausea, indigestion and obesity.
Various types of tablets, herbal syrups and powders are used by doctors for treatment in ayurveda. The ingredients used in these medicines are sourced from natural resources. This is the main reason why your body digests them so quickly without any side effects. Most of the ingredients used in these medicines are crude or raw in nature which contain many different alkaloids. So when you use an ayurvedic medicine you also get some additional benefits for your health along with the treatment.
The Concept Of Dhatu:
According to ayurvedic principles, there are seven types of tissues (dhatu) in the human body. These are:
- Rasa (plasma)
- Rakta (blood)
- Mamsa (muscles)
- Asthi (bone)
- Meda (fat)
- Majja (marrow)
- Shukra (semen)
The Origin and History Of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is one of the oldest system of medicine in the world today. Its roots take us down to thousands of years back into history. At that time when nothing was available for man to get rid of his health problems the sheer basic instinct of the human mind came into action. Man started searching for a way to cure his aches, pains and wounds. With his curiosity and quest to learn new things he started trying various measures which were available in his surroundings . Man started using tree leaves, mineral stones, animal fat and other natural resources. This started the onset of experimentation and the base of clinical research which today is an established and well developed part of the modern medical science to invent newer drugs and medicines. As time passed by, man started learning what was good and what was bad for his health. This pool of knowledge grew like a never ending sea of information over thousands of years and today the world has this knowledge in the form of ayurveda.
The Meaning Of Ayurveda:
Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word which is composed of two different parts: Ayush meaning “life” and Veda meaning “science”.
So it is essentially the “science of life”. It is believed by the ayurvedic scholars that health is the delicate balance between mind, body and spirit. And whenever this balance is disturbed it presents in the form of a disease. The basic aim of ayurveda is to promote and maintain good health. However it is also offers some time tested and effective remedies for specific diseases as well.
Diagnosis and Treatment in Ayurveda
Ayurveda doctors take in to regard the physical existance, mental existance, personality and appearance to treat a disease. Ayurveda offers a holistic approach to treat illness. According to ayurvedic texts, sysmptoms should not be subsided with treatment. Rather the cause of the symptom be diagnosed first and treated accordingly to eliminate the disease as a whole.
In ayurveda diagnosis is based on examination of the nadi (pulse), tongue, appearance, eyes, stool, urine, tongue and touch. As the cause of a diseases is due to imbalance in the doshas, it is believed that there is a specific change in these paramaters according to the type of imbalance in doshas. Every dosha has some characteristics that are characterised by these diagnostic parameters.
The treatment in conventional ayurveda is primarily based on rectifying the digestion, excretion and maintaining vitality. Diet and exercise in the form of yoga and meditation is thus an integral part of ayurvedic treatments. Personal hygeine like regular bathing, cleaning of clothes, tongue cleaning, skin care etc are also included in the central theme of ayurveda treatments.
What Are The Substances Used In Ayurveda Treatments?
Ayurvedic medicines are primarily based on herbal ingredients. Roots, bark, leaves, seeds, flower etc are all used in ayurveda. Certain minerals like suplphur, arsenic, mercury and lead are also used. The branch of ayurveda dealing with the mixing of herbs and minerals is called Ras Shastra.
It is commonly believed that Ayurveda uses only herbs (vegetable sources) in its medicinal preparatons. But if we look closer, there are some animal parts and products that are also widely used in Ayurveda. Milk, ghee, fat and gallstones are commonly used in some ayurvedic preparations.
Apart from this, certain alcoholic beverages are also used in ayurveda to treat imbalance between the doshas. Alcoholic beverages are made by the fermentation process. Various herbs, fruits, cereals and sugars are used to make these fermented alcoholic beverages. They correct the dosha disturbances by increasing Pitta and reducing Vata and kapha.
Certain narcotic substances like Opium is also used in ayurveda. Purified opium is used to treat diarrhea, dysentery and male sexual problems. Opium is described as a potent retentive substance in ayurvedic texts and its efficacy to treat premature ejaculation is well established.
The Current Status Of Ayurveda In India
According to sources, as much as 80 percent of the Indian population relies on ayurveda in some form or the other.
To standardize the Ayurvedic system of medicine, the Indian Government Ministry Of AYUSH created the Central Council Of Indian Medicine. The council’s main agenda is to maintain a minimum standard for the education of the ayurveda doctors. To work closely with the Government to make guidelines, policies and strategies for the developement and progress of the Indian medicine (including Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy.
Ever since India became Independent in 1447, many Ayurveda Colleges have been opened in india with a vision to facilitate, nurture and pass the art of this natural healing system to the next generation.
The popularity of ayurveda grew exponetially in the past decade owing to the wide spread campaigns, yoga camps and media coverage done by Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev.
Today there are hundreds of small and large companies in India manfacturing Ayurvedic medicines. The industry is estimated to touch $4.4 billion mark in the coming years. The masses have started to accept Ayurveda not just as a way to maintain health but as a full time treatment option and alternative to the modern medical system.