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What Is Ayurveda? Understanding The Basics Of This Traditional Medicine

By NS Desk | Ayurveda News | Posted on :   20-Dec-2017

Since the early days of civilization, health has remained an integral part of the progress of humanity. A traditional health care practice based on the principles of nature originated a few thousand years ago in India and evolved as Ayurveda. according to experts, It is a 3,000 years old system of medicine. The principles and science upon which Ayurveda is based have been recorded in Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita as well as in other ancient texts, which have further derived it from the Atharva Veda, one of the four Vedas which are the earliest Indian scriptures of classical Hinduism detailing philosophy, hymns, and rituals about balanced living.

Ayurveda is completely a holistic system of healing
Ayurveda is, in its true essence, a holistic healing system. It proposes that a balance between the mind, body, and spirit is highly critical for optimal wellness. At the basic level, Ayurveda is more preventive care that seeks to eliminate the very possibility of disease to culminate in a person. It is also a complete medication system at its advanced level aimed to root out diseases that already have afflicted a person.

For a system of medicine that was conceived about three millennia ago, it is remarkable how many things Ayurveda takes into account while treating a patient. From birth defects to physical injuries to age to weather and climate change, to food and lifestyle to emotions and feeling, it considers a number of things to ascertain the root cause of the problem. Harmony of the body, mind, and spirit is so essential in Ayurveda that it has to look deeper into the problem before prescribing the treatment that would completely remedy the individual.

The important principle of five basic elements
Breaking it down in simple terms, Ayurveda states that people are made of five basic elements which are air, fire, water, earth, and space. These elements together form three different types of doshas (life energies): Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. These energies determine the proper functioning of your body. The proportion of these Doshas vary from individual to individual. Every person has a different dominant Dosha from among these three, that too in varying ratios. These energies separately control different functions of the body.

Understanding Vata
Considered a combination of space and air elements, Vata Dosha is responsible for the primary functions of the body, such as blood flow, breathing, cardiac functions, excretory mechanisms, and even cell division.

Since it controls the most basic functions, Vata Dosha is seen as the most potent life energy. Ayurvedic elucidation on Doshas notes a number of things that can disrupt the balance of this life energy. Fear, resentment, staying awake till late night, or even eating again too soon after a meal can warp the stability of this life force, resulting in health problems or discomfort. When Vata harmony gets aggravated, it usually leads to maladies like asthma, skin disorders, heart diseases, bone and joint problems, etc.

Understanding Pitta
It is a combination of fire and water elements. This life energy maintains metabolism, digestion, and the regulation of hormones which are linked to the digestive system. Eating sour or spicy food frequently can lead to the imbalance of this Dosha.

Problems caused by the aggravation of pitta include heart diseases, high blood pressure, inflammation of the digestive tract (Crohn's disease), and other infections.

Understanding Kapha
This life energy is a combination of water and earth elements. Kapha Dosha accounts for the overall body strength as it regulates the growth of muscles, weight, physical stability, as well as the immune system. Too much intake of sweet or salty food, excessive sleep, drinking too much water, etc. can disrupt the harmony of this life force.

An imbalance of this life energy can cause ailments like diabetes, obesity, nausea after meals, asthma, cancer, and some breathing problems.

The Constitution Principle In Ayurveda
In Ayurveda, the constitution or Prakriti of the person is the most important analysis for the diagnosis of a health problem. The constitution of a person is determined by three factors: their physical characteristics, their emotional nature, and their dominant life energy. Evaluating these three aspects, an Ayurveda practitioner then decides the treatment approach suitable for that person.

The Healing Processes In Ayurveda
Since Ayurvedic healing tends to address the root cause in its treatment, it prescribes a comprehensive approach for the complete remedy of the health problem. Treatment involves a number of processes which include detoxification, blood purification, massage, etc. panchakarma is a common cleansing therapy in Ayurveda with all such processes. Besides this, natural herbs are used in precise ratios to prepare the medicines for the treatment of different diseases. Purity and zero contamination while making these medicines is an absolute parameter.

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Image Credit: practical cures

NS Desk

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