Ayurveda in Sanskrit means life (ayur) and knowledge (veda). Caraka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita, and Astanga Hridaya (the Great Trilogy) are considered the main texts on Ayurveda. Ayurvedic Medicine is one of the world’s oldest medicines. It originated in India more than 3,000 years ago.
Ayurvedic Medicine also called Ayurveda, is a holistic medicine which includes, gem stone therapy, color therapy, metal therapy and more. In Ayurvedic Medicine, perfect health is defined as a balance between body, mind, spirit, and social wellbeing.
Ayurveda uses a variety of products including herbs, minerals and metals. It is important to get directions from a trained and certified practitioner as some herbs can cause side effects or interact with conventional medicines.
Ayurveda places great emphasis on prevention of illness, therefore daily practices and special diets are adviced. According to Ayurvedic philosophy, we are born with a special constitution, called Prakriti. It is a combination of physical and psychological characteristics that affect the way we function.
There are Doshas such as Vata, Pita, Kapha, which have an impact on our body functions. The doshas are influenced by eating, exercising, and relating to others. Many factors can cause imbalance, such as poor diet, too much or too little physical or mental exertion, chemicals, and germs.
Pitta energy is linked to Fire, it controls the digestive and endocrine systems. Pitta people are active, energetic and proud. When Pitta energy is out of balance, ulcers, inflammation, digestive problems, anger, heartburn and arthritis result.
Vata energy is associated with Air and Space, it is linked to breathing and blood circulation. Vata people are lively, creative, original thinkers. When out-of-balance, Vata types can have joint pain, constipation, dry skin and anxiety.
Kapha energy, is linked to Earth and Water, and associated with the chest and the back. Kapha people types are considered strong and calm. Diabetes, obesity and gallbladder issues can result when Kapha energy is out of balance.
With unbalanced doshas, individuals are more susceptible to disease.
India’s population still uses Ayurvedic Medicine, even if combined with Western Medicine. In the United States, Ayurvedic products are regulated as dietary supplements. Other approaches used in Ayurvedic medicine, are massage, special diets, cleansing techniques, yoga, meditation, breathing exercises and more.
The research is limited in this field but there is evident correlation between Ayurveda and Western Medicine. In the 1970s, the World Health Organization conducted a study to test the effectiveness of Ayurvedic treatments in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The study found that such treatments were both safe and effective, providing symptomatic relief of arthritis with no harmful side effects.
Another study published in 2005, showed that the Ayurvedic practice of yoga helps reduce anxiety and improve quality of life, making it a beneficial practice for those with heart disease and hypertension.
Ayurvedic practitioners use Turmeric for inflammatory conditions, among other disorders. Clinical trials have shown that Turmeric helps with certain digestive disorders and arthritis. Another Alternative Medicine to explore!