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Ayurveda

Overview

Ayurveda (Sanskrit: आयुर्वेद; Āyurveda, "the complete knowledge for long life" or ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional medicine native to India and a form of alternative medicine. In Sanskrit, words āyus, meaning "longevity", and veda, meaning "knowledge" or "science". The earliest literature on Indian medical practice appeared during the Vedic period in India, i.e., in the mid-second millennium BCE.

Origin of Ayurveda

Widely regarded as the oldest form of healthcare in the world, Ayurveda is an intricate medical system that originated in India thousands of years ago. The fundamentals of Ayurveda can be found in Hindu scriptures called the Vedas the ancient Indian books of wisdom. The Rig Veda, which was written over 6,000 years ago, contains a series of prescriptions that can help humans overcome various ailments.

Five Universal Elements

Today more than 100 elements have been detected by modern scientists. These are the basic elements like; hydrogen, carbon, sodium etc; which unite together to create all the beings, living or non living of our world. Presence of any one of these relative to other elements in any material will decide its physical and chemical qualities and its function in the ecological system of ours.
According to Ayurveda everything in Universe is poised of the Panchmahabhootas – Aakash (Space or ether), Vayu (Air), Teja or Agni (Fire), Jala (Water) and Prithvi (Earth). These are mixed in countless varieties of relative magnitude such that each form of matter is distinctly unique. Although each element has a range of attributes, only some get evident in particular situations. Constantly changing and interacting with each other, they craft a situation of full of life flux that keeps the world going. This all happens under the control of TriGunas.

In a simple, single living cell for example the earth element predominates by giving structure to the cell. The water element is present in the cytoplasm or the liquid within the cell membrane. The fire element regulates the metabolic processes regulating the cell. The air element is the gaseous part therein. The space occupied by the cell denotes the presence of ether, the Aakash In the case of a complex, multi-cellular organism as a human being for instance, Akash corresponds to spaces within the body (mouth, nostrils, abdomen etc.); Vayu denotes the movement (essentially muscular but nervous system also); Agni controls the functioning of enzymes (intelligence, digestive system, metabolism); Jala is in all body fluids (as plasha, saliva, digestive juices); and Prithvi manifests itself in the solid structure of the body (bones, teeth, flesh, hair et al)

Principles of Ayurveda

Ayurveda is based on the premise that the universe is made up of five elements: air, fire, water, earth and ether. These elements are represented in humans by three "doshas", or energies: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. When any of the doshas accumulate in the body beyond the desirable limit, the body loses its balance. Every individual has a distinct balance, and our health and well-being depend on getting a right balance of the three doshas("tridoshas"). Ayurveda suggests specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines to help individuals reduce the excess dosha.A healthy person, as defined in Sushrut Samhita, one of the primary works on Ayurveda, is "he whose doshas are in balance, appetite is good, all tissues of the body and all natural urges are functioning properly, and whose mind, body and spirit are cheerful..."

If toxins in the body are abundant, then a cleansing process known as panchakarma is recommended to purge these unwanted toxins. This fivefold purification therapy is a classical form of treatment in ayurveda. These specialized procedures consist of the following:

  • Therapeutic vomiting or emesis (Vaman)
  • Purgation (Virechan)
  • Enema (Basti)
  • Elimination of toxins through the nose (Nasya)
  • Bloodletting or detoxification of the blood (Rakta moksha)

Benefits Of Ayurvedic Medicines

Ayurveda is based on the premise that the universe is made up of five elements: air, fire, water, earth and ether. These elements are represented in humans by three "doshas", or energies: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. When any of the doshas accumulate in the body beyond the desirable limit, the body loses its balance. Every individual has a distinct balance, and our health and well-being depend on getting a right balance of the three doshas("tridoshas"). Ayurveda suggests specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines to help individuals reduce the excess dosha.A healthy person, as defined in Sushrut Samhita, one of the primary works on Ayurveda, is "he whose doshas are in balance, appetite is good, all tissues of the body and all natural urges are functioning properly, and whose mind, body and spirit are cheerful..."