Ayurveda - The Science of Life

Meaning of Ayurveda:

Originating from the two Sanskrit words, ayuh (life) and veda (science), Ayurveda is an ancient healing system originating in the Indian subcontinent that relies on herbs for maintaining good health. Historical records suggest that the journey of Ayurveda began in India more than 5,000 years ago, and this traditional system of healing has influenced both Unani conceptualized by Hippocrates and ancient Chinese remedies.

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The science and practice of Ayurveda are narrated in ancient texts, of which the Charaka Samhita is the principal resource. The Charaka Samhita refers to a large collection of Hindu sacred texts called the Vedas. Written in the Indus Valley area around 1000 BC in Sanskrit, the Charaka Samhita is a treatise on general medicine. This strongly suggests the probability that Ayurveda, though of pan Indo-European origins, had begun to evolve into a distinct entity within the Indian subcontinent by the first millennium BC.

Vedic philosophy believes that human beings are all a part of nature. Just as animals and plants are interdependent on each other to create balance within their beings, there is a concurrent and inherent connection between the universe and human beings. Unlike the animal kingdom, human beings live in a more complex, natural world where they are perpetually exposed to environmental changes. Changes in weather, society, economy, lifestyle, diet, work, financial status, emotions and relationships can easily tip the balance and negatively influence an individual's state of mind, body and soul.

According to Ayurvedic texts, the human body comprises three body states which include Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata consists of the elements air and ether, which give us movement and activity. Pitta includes the elements fire and water, which are responsible for heat, appetite and digestion, and Kapha is characterized by the elements earth and water, which are responsible for water and other bodily fluids. When the three body states are in perfect harmony, the individual enjoys good health, whereas an imbalance in the states causes disease. Ayurveda seeks to address this state of imbalance through a process of holistic healing.

Herbs are at the heart of Ayurvedic medication. Whole flowers, roots, stems and leaves are manually processed in various ways to discover their optimal potential. Over 15,000 herbs are mentioned in the scriptures of which only around 850 are commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine today. One of the most commonly used herbs in Ayurveda is Neem. Described as sarva roga nivarini or that which keeps all diseases at bay, Neem supports the body's natural defense system. Apart from Neem, Ginger, Amla and Ashvagandha, among others, feature highly in the list of important plants in this traditional medicinal system.

 Apart from Neem, Ginger, Amla and Ashvagandha, among others, feature highly in the list of important plants in this traditional medicinal system.The principles of Ayurveda suggests that by maintaining a proper balance between the three elements along with the appropriate balance in health and lifestyles , a little guidance and knowledge of the nutritional values of the foods we intake and right knowledge in taking the Ayurvedic medicines can work wonders in keeping diseases at bay.Interestingly, Ayurveda principles focus not only in healing but also eradicating permanently the root of the trouble too. Taking the help of yoga can also act as an alternative way in treating fatigue and relieving pain.Famous for its permanent healing powers along with its no side effects, Ayurveda principles are useful immensely in treating vulnerable diseases like cancer, diabetes and fearing problems among others. This along with yoga, changes ones outlook by alternating the way one think, feel or respond to various situations of life

Recognizing that human beings are part of nature, Ayurveda describes three fundamental energies that govern our inner and outer environments: movement, transformation, and structure. Known in Sanskrit as Vata (Wind), Pitta (Fire), and Kapha (Earth), these primary forces are responsible for the characteristics of our mind and body. Each of us has a unique proportion of these three forces that shapes our nature. If Vata is dominant in our system, we tend to be thin, light, enthusiastic, energetic, and changeable. If Pitta predominates in our nature, we tend to be intense, intelligent, and goal-oriented and we have a strong appetite for life. When Kapha prevails, we tend to be easy-going, methodical, and nurturing. Although each of us has all three forces, most people have one or two elements that predominate.

In Ayurveda, a classification has been done to treat diseases, like:

1) Shodhana therapy or Purification Treatment

2) Shamana therapy or Palliative Treatment

3) PathyaVyavastha or diet prescription therapy

4) NidanaParivarjanam or disease avoidance therapy

5) Satvavajaya or Psychotherapy

6) Rasayana therapy or Rejuvenation Medicines

Benefits of Ayurveda are everlasting and there is no fear of any harm to your body. The simple reason is that it uses all the natural things which we find around us, like herbs, roots and shrubs of different plants. Try out the Ayurveda treatment for health and enjoy a sound physical condition and an improved psychological and mental state. Benefits of Ayurveda on health are reflected when it is adopted along with yoga.

The combination of both has a telling effect on your body and mind. This management improves the breathing and blood circulation of the body. In addition, natural ingredients are used to improve the body functioning. An important goal of Ayurveda is to identify a person’s ideal state of balance, determine where they are out of balance, and offer interventions using diet, herbs, aromatherapy, massage treatments, music, and meditation to re-establish balance. It is this aspect Ayurveda- Which is most important and suitable to help mankind in the present competitive world; to improve and maintain healthy state of life—makes it most profound science of health and diseases. Hence it is called “Science of Life”.

Historical records suggest that Ayurvedic medicine has paved the way for various branches of medicine practiced today. Susruta Samhita, another revered Ayurvedic text, mentions nine branches in Ayurveda-general medicine, surgery, ear, nose and throat (ENT) and eye disease, toxicology, psychiatry, pediatrics, gynecology, sexology and virility. Some texts also reveal that ancient natural healers delved into plastic surgery.