Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest and most holistic health systems. It aims at bringing harmony to your mind, body and soul to prevent illness and live a healthy and wholesome life. Your health reflects your connection with nature; anything that disrupts that relationship can cause disease. Among the factors that may upset your natural balance are genetic or congenital disabilities, injury, climate and seasonal change, and age.
Each person has a unique pattern of energy called their prakriti, or constitution. These prakriti determine your physical, psychological, behavioural and immunological traits. These prakriti are determined at conception and remain the same throughout your lifetime. Ayurvedic treatments work best on a person’s specific constitution.
Herbal Medicine is a critical component of Ayurvedic health. Thousands of herbs are used to treat different diseases, promote mental clarity, boost immunity, and enhance skin and hair quality. The herbs are grounded roots, bark, fruits, flowers or seeds derived from plants.
Ayurvedic medicines balance your doshas (the life forces or energies that control how your body works) to provide complete relief from any health problem. It is a holistic approach that combines dietary changes, herbal remedies, yoga, exercise and other natural therapies to heal your body and mind.
Studies have shown that Ayurvedic remedies can reduce stress and anxiety, linked to several positive outcomes in Western medical practice, including lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Ayurvedic practices like yoga, breathing exercises and meditation are also known to boost neuro adaptability, a process in which the body learns to adapt to stressors over time.
Who created Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is attributed to Dhanvantari, the physician to the gods in Hindu mythology, who received it from Brahma. Ayurveda comprises two Sanskrit terms, Ayur (life) and Veda (science). The science of Ayurveda deals with preventing and curing diseases by balancing the body’s natural rhythms.
Its roots go back to the Vedic culture of India, which developed a comprehensive healing system around 5000 BC. It focuses on herbs, diet and other holistic practices to help restore the body’s health and balance.
Ayurvedic treatment is based on the balance of the doshas, the five internal elements of the body that regulate all biological functions and are responsible for the health of individuals. Practitioners assess the state of a patient’s dosha and prescribe treatments according to their needs.
There are eight significant branches of Ayurvedic medicine: Kayachikitsa, Bhootavidya, Kaumar Bhritya, Rasayana, Vajikarana, Shalya, Shalakya, and Agada Tantra. These were formed over time and are still practised today in India.
The primary text in Ayurvedic medicine is Charaka Samhita, compiled in the fourth century BC by the Indian internist Charaka. That is regarded as the first compendium of Ayurvedic medical theory and practice. Other critical Ayurvedic texts include Sharngadhara Samhita, Bhava Prakasha and Madhava Nidanam. These are renowned for their pharmacological formulations, diagnosis, and Panchakarma procedures.
Ayurvedic medicine is practised in many parts of the world, including India, which is considered the oldest form of medical science. It is a primary treatment for many illnesses but has an extensive list of preventive measures tailored to each individual’s needs.
Where does Ayurvedic medicine come from?
Ayurvedic medicine originated in India and is still an essential part of the health care system. Practitioners of Ayurveda use herbal medication, diet, breathing exercises, meditation, and other methods to rebalance the body’s energies (doshas) and improve physical and emotional well-being.
The Ayurveda principles believe that every human being is unique and that the body’s natural balance will maintain health. Treatment had tailored to the individual’s constitution (prakriti) and life forces (doshas).
Using Ayurvedic preparations requires careful attention to ingredients. Research in 2008 found that about one-fifth of Ayurvedic products bought online contained dangerous elements, including lead, mercury and arsenic. Some Ayurvedic herbs may increase blood flow to the heart, which helps lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Another herb, shilajit, is believed to reduce inflammation and support the immune system.
Ayurvedic treatments can also help reduce anxiety and stress, improving overall health. Ayurvedic practitioners often recommend yoga, other forms of meditation, and a vegetarian diet. Ayurvedic treatments can reduce erectile dysfunction (ED). These therapies address the root causes of ED and may improve sexual function by enhancing nerves, hormones, and other factors.
Does Ayurvedic medicine have side effects?
Ayurvedic medicines are a safe, time-tested treatment for health issues practised in India for thousands of years. They help you regain energy and enhance your overall well-being, preventing disease and reversing its effects.
Unlike allopathic drugs, which prepares from synthetic compounds that may cause adverse reactions, Ayurvedic herbal remedies are natural and formulated to address the root of a particular problem. It means they can be more effective and less likely to develop drug resistance.
However, like allopathic drugs, Ayurvedic herbs can cause side effects if misused or abused. They may also interact with other medications, leading to more severe or fatal reactions. One example is crocin, which commonly uses for migraines and headaches. It can also help relieve body pain, colds, and coughs.
Another example is Triphala, a popular Ayurvedic remedy for constipation. Its ingredients stimulate the lining of the bowel and encourage a bowel movement. But, like all Ayurvedic herbs, Triphala should be taken under the guidance of a qualified healthcare practitioner. The correct dosage and length of use are essential to ensure safety and effectiveness.
Ayurvedic herbs, such as senna and dandelion, are commonly prescribed for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). These herb-based laxatives work by stimulating the bowel lining to relieve constipation. But, it should take them for a week at maximum. They may cause rectal bleeding and stomach irritation, so they should be under the supervision of a doctor.
What is Prana in Ayurveda and Yoga?
In Ayurveda and Yoga, prana describes as a primary energy or ‘vital force.’ It is a vital component of the human body and essential in creating health and well-being. It is also an essential component of the mind and is often overlooked by Western practitioners of Yoga, despite its central role in maintaining our health.
The human body divides into three bodies: annamaya kosha (the physical body), pranamaya kosha (the vital body) and manomaya kosha (the sheath of impressions). Ayurvedic and Yoga teachers emphasize the importance of balancing the different vayus, or forces of the air. The five points of the atmosphere are classified according to their movement and direction: samana, vyana, apana, prana and udana vayus.
Each of these ‘forces’ has its specific functions and is responsible for the health of our body based on how it acts. Physiologically, the primary function of prana is to move inward and govern all reception into the body: eating, drinking, inhalation and the reception of sensory impressions and mental experiences.
It also acts as a propeller and lubricator, making the body move by creating openings in the channels of our digestive system. Tejas and Ojas, the two other forces of the air, also play a crucial role in the functioning of our mind. They give it the ability to perceive and determine, to digest ideas, emotions and sensory impressions. They allow our mind to resist disturbances and help us fight off disease.
What is the basis of healing therapies in Ayurveda?
The basis of all Ayurvedic healing techniques is the understanding that optimum health achieves when body and mind are in balance. The body manifests a disease when internal or external factors disrupt this balance.
Every individual has a unique energy pattern that comprises their dosha, which they are prone to vary degrees and can change over time. This dosha imbalance can cause various physical, emotional and spiritual problems.
It is essential to know your dosha to understand the root of your symptoms; this is where Ayurveda comes in handy. Taking a Nadi Pariksha (pulse check) and Ashtavidha Pariksha (urine, faeces, tongue, voice, skin, eyes), an Ayurvedic practitioner can determine your dominant dosha and overall constitution.
Your Ayurvedic practitioner can tailor a treatment plan to meet your specific needs using this information. It includes lifestyle changes, diet and herbs.
Ayurvedic therapy aims to restore the body’s natural balance by cleansing toxins from the system. That does through detoxification, diet, and a combination of herbs, yoga, meditation, and massage treatments.
The ancient holistic system of Ayurveda is one of the oldest medical systems in the world and has stood the test of time. Based on the belief that healthy living involves a delicate balance between the mind, body and spirit.
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