Ayurveda Introduction & Guide
How This Helps
Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medical practice, follows a traditional approach in healing various ailments. This traditional system of medicine is based on anthropological and naturopathic beliefs. Among the various Samhitas mentioned in ancient literature, Sushruta Samhita is the one written by Sushruta. Sushruta mentioned that Dhanavantari, the god of Hindu incarnated himself as a king of Varanasi who taught Ayurvedic medicine to a group of physicians along with Sushruta himself. Ayurveda and ayurvedic therapies have been evolved over the years. Ayurvedic medicine (AM) is gaining popularity in day to day life for keeping various aspects of safety, efficacy, stability, and quality and thus providing good health and well-being. Even though Ayurvedic therapies tend to have lower side effects and minimal contraindications, it is insufficiently appreciated by western medicine in India and almost every country.
What is Ayurveda?
Definition of Ayurveda:
Ayurveda is a science that deals with the human body and a particular disease as a whole. The word Ayus comes from Sanskrit origin which means the coexistence of various aspects of the human body (Shareera), mind (Satwa), soul (Atma) and your sense organs (Indriya) altogether. Ayurveda is defined as the science of medicine that deals with dhari, jivita, nityaga, and anubandha.
See: Dosha Quiz
How does Ayurveda work?
What does Ayurveda deal with?
Ayurveda is a holy book of medicine which describes the complete medical system that deals with the human body. Ayurveda mentions all the aspects of the human body related to physical health, mental health, spiritual well-being, social welfare, along with considering the various environmental considerations. It also guides on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and focuses on dietary related changes to help fight the disease. It also describes managing specific diseases that result due to seasonal variations.
Ayurveda has been classified into eight main streams which are mentioned below:
1. Kayacikitsa - It describes the general medicine and medicine used for the body to treat certain diseases.
2. Shalakya Tantra- Dealing with diseases of the supra-clavicular region like ears, eyes, nose, mouth, etc
3. Salyapahartrka - Dealing with the extraction of foreign bodies employing surgical techniques.
4. Visagara-Vairodhika-Prasamana - It provides information regarding various harmful toxins present in animals, about vegetables and minerals. It also provides information regarding artificial poisons anomalies related to it and their antidotes.
5. Bhuta Vidya - Pacifying people who are possessed with negative energies, spirits. Also, calming the minds of people who are affected by such possession.
6. Kaumarabhritya - Deals in pediatrics, prenatal and postnatal care of both baby and mother. Describes the methods of conception; midwifery and childhood diseases.
7. Rasayana- Dealing with health promotion measures. It describes various compositions of tonic like brain tonics, tonics for strength and rejuvenation.
8. Vajikarana - Involves Aphrodisiac treatments to deal with infertility problems. It also provides treatment for increasing the volume and viability of semen and enhancing sexual pleasure.
Besides, to the above mentioned eight components, Ayurveda also offers one of the very known and world’s most comprehensive protocols related to cleansing and detoxifying, known as Panchakarma. This ancient practice involves five cleansing treatment therapies, which help remove the accumulated toxins either using emetics or promoting defecation. It aims to balance the dosha by removing the excess Ama (toxins) that are present deep within the tissues.
Five elements of Ayurveda
The five basic elements of Ayurveda are based on the constitution of the universe, which includes Air, water, earth, fire, and elements of space. There are three ayurvedic doshas, which are combined with the five elements of the universe known as Vāta, Pitta, and Kapha.
1. Vāta Dosha - It is a combination of Air and several elements of Space. It governs the flow and motion of the body.
2. Pitta Dosha - It combines Fire and elements of Water. Help promotes digestive health, Body metabolism and production of energy.
3. Kapha Dosha - It constitutes earth and water as its core elements and promotes physical, mental and emotional well-being.
According to the sayings of Ayurveda, a human body is made of these three doshas. It also tells that an individual is healthy if they have a balanced dosha state. Doshic imbalances can be treated through yoga, dietary, lifestyle modification and various Ayurvedic remedies like herbals and Panchakarma treatment.
Diagnosis in Ayurveda
The diagnosis of illness has its unique way in Ayurveda. Ayurveda describes disease can be diagnosed by a total of eight modes.
- By examining the nadi (Pulse)
- By analyzing the mala (stool)
- Assessing the mootra ( urine)
- Observing shabda (speech)
- Looking at your jihva (Tongue)
- Druk (eyes)
- Sparsha (touch)
- Aakruti (appearance)
Ayurvedic practitioners also approach evaluating the five basic senses of the human body to diagnose the disease. For example, if an individual is suffering from disorders related to breathing (snoring, cough, and cold), an ayurvedic practitioner diagnoses the condition by hearing. The study of lethal points is also included in Ayurveda called marma point therapy.
Ayurveda offers a holistic approach to treating an ailment. It addresses human disease from its roots. Ayurveda believes in promoting overall good health of an individual, and not just fighting the disease. Ayurveda focuses on treating a human ailment by a specific diet, delivering oily infusions in the area of the head, use of enemas, and several medicinal plants and their formulations. Contemporary Ayurveda that excludes the surgery part, aims to promote a healthy metabolic system by improving digestion. It also advises doing physical activities like exercise, yoga, and meditation, which can help healthy blood circulation throughout your body to promote good health. Consuming a Sattvic diet, maintaining proper hygiene, and following regular sleep and wake cycles are other important treatment parameters followed in Ayurveda.
1. Development of Ayurveda - Tradition to Trend Pulok K Mukherjee, Ranjit K Harwansh, Shiv Bahadur, Subhadip Banerjee, Amit Kar, Joydeb Chanda, Sayan Biswas, Sk. Milan Ahmmed, C.K. Katiyar.
2. Raj, Sreena & Sivashanmugam, Karthikeyan & Gothandam, K M. (2011). Ayurveda -A glance. Research in Plant Biology. 1. 1-14.