Ayurveda Definition & Meaning

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Table of Contents

Ayurveda definition & meaning

Ayurveda is a term derived from two Sanskrit words: ayur (meaning life) and veda (meaning science). Ayurveda meaning translates to the science of life. The basis of this health system is that disease occurs due to an imbalance in a person’s body and/or mind. Ayurveda encourages dietary and other lifestyle interventions using natural therapies that help to regain a balance between the body, mind, and soul.

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.

See: Ayurvedic Massage

Ayurveda definition

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.

Ayurveda healing

Ayurveda is a pro-healthy lifestyle (vs. anti-disease) system from India used for over 5,000 years. Ayurveda advocates good health by preventing and treating any illness by balancing the mind, body, and soul. Lifestyle practices with sister sciences (yoga, massage, meditation, and dietary changes) and the use of herbal remedies are also tools used in this integrative holistic therapy. The objective of Ayurveda is to establish a balance between the mind, body, and spirit. It is concentrated on the unique constitution of each person.

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.

See: Ayurvedic medicine to lower blood sugar

Ayurveda classifications

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.

See: Ayurvedic Natural Treatment Atrial Fibrillation AFib

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. Doshas are energies derived from the aspects (air, water, fire, earth, and space) and governing body functions. Each is composed of a mix of components. Everybody is born with a unique balance of the three doshas, which is their natural constitution (prakruti) or natural personality. A person’s constitution identifies their mental and physical characteristics.

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.

See: Ayurvedic Oil Types

An individual’s constitution
An individual’s unique constitution is determined through a series of questions and observations that correlate with the three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

Illness according to Ayurveda
Illness can occur due to an imbalance in our natural constitution (prakruti) or when we deviate from our natural tendency. These imbalances can be due to our diet, lifestyle, environment, mental health, and exercise, resulting in illnesses.

Ayurvedic vs. Western medicine approach
Ayurveda concentrates on finding the root cause of the disease and dealing with the patient physically, mentally, and spiritually. All parts of an individual are viewed to be interconnected and related to impact health and wellbeing. Traditional Western medicine mainly concentrates on dealing with the symptoms of the disease.

Approaches used in Ayurveda
Ayurveda uses diet and lifestyle suggestions with herbal supplements, yoga, and other special therapies involving oils, herbs, restorative bodywork, and other strategies. Ayurveda treatments are customized depending on each client’s condition and constitution.

Is Yoga related to Ayurveda?
Yoga is considered a sis science of Ayurveda. Both sciences employ similar principles, and together they work to bring harmony and balance to the body, mind, and spirit.

Ayurveda has gotten incredible popularity over the last few years, and rightly so. It is one of the earliest systems of medicine worldwide and offers a lot of rich, ancient knowledge that is being validated by modern science and research.

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.

See: Ayurvedic Treatment for Prediabetes & Diabetes Type 2

Ayurvedic healing principles

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.

Ayurvedic practice is a holistic method of looking at the body and seeking balance by applying chosen natural herbs, roots, and minerals matched to each person.
Practitioners of Ayurveda think human beings are built from the components of Earth, Fire, Water, Space, and Air, which, streaming with one’s unique balance of aspects, will promote wellbeing. Your mind, body, and soul need perfect balance for good health to result.

Vata dosha is related to area and air; Pitta dosha is fire and water, and Kapha dosha is water and earth. Everybody inherits a distinct mix of the three doshas. However, one is generally stronger than the others.
Ayurveda professionals assist you in finding wholeness by treating two crucial areas. The first is Agni, or inner fire, and focuses on your digestion and nourishment by removing contaminants. The 2nd is called Prana (life force energy) and focuses on enhancing your energy through kinds of food and day-to-day routines.
Food is really important in Ayurveda and is categorized into six tastes: Sugary food, Sour, Salty, Bitter, Pungent and Astringent. You’ll be advised to follow a diet that follows a mix of these kinds of foods.

See: Ayurveda doctors near me

The balance of flavors is associated with your dosha type. Since Ayurveda is 100% natural, there are no side effects. If an Ayurvedic treatment isn’t handy for your body, it won’t have any unfavorable adverse effects. This differs from other medicinal treatments, which typically cost or tax your body in some way or another. Because Ayurveda is also special for each individual, it’s likewise not a ‘one size fits all mindset.

See: Ayurveda Treatment For PCOS

After an assessment and learning a little about your distinct makeup, you can easily buy high-quality Ayurvedic items at health food stores, and likewise, shift your diet to include foods that work best for you. Other lifestyle elements will similarly be examined to discover what works best for you.

See: Ayurveda Treatments To Prevent And Reverse Diabetes Mellitus

Instead of battling a disease or health problem straight– Ayurveda concentrates on enhancing your overall health so the body can do the task for you. Attaining a perfect balance is constantly vital. The holistic nature of Ayurveda is among the things that make it both effective and a long-lasting (instead of a quick bandaid) solution.

See: Ayurveda Treatment For GERD And Acidity

The key to your treatment will be to harmonize and balance your doshas utilizing a mix of food, supplements, and routines. Specific foods and activities can exacerbate or support our dosha type, and learning what empowers us to make choices that develop instant favorable modification.

See: Ayurveda Herbs For Hair Loss & Alopecia Treatment
When you visit an ayurvedic therapist, you will be examined with a mix of physical observation, touch, and concerns about your lifestyle. Healers have many ‘tools in their toolkit to assist with any health issue, and treatments typically include both body and mind practices.
Ayurvedic treatments are customized to your body type, age, physical, physiological, psychic, and behavioral habits. Not simply your signs. Ayurveda treatments are carried out with a range of special oils and herbs (natural) and are typical as relaxing and satisfying as they are effective.

Your healer will administer treatments in a combination of different ways. They will offer you herbs or recommend solutions customized particularly to your needs. They may encourage you to do a day or one-off detoxing routine, and last but not least, they will advise a diet that stabilizes Sugary food, salty, sour, bitter, pungent and astringent foods according to your needs.

Ayurveda provides long-term options and recommendations to remain well and in harmony. When the body remains in balance, it can effectively ward off health problems and disease.

See: Ayurvedic Treatment For Eczema

1. Ayurvedic medicine: In depth. (2019). https://nccih.nih.gov/health/ayurveda/introduction.htm
2. Mishra, P. K., & Rai, N. P. (2014). Rheumatoid arthritis: An Ayurvedic perspective. http://ijpsr.com/bft-article/rheumatoid-arthritis-an-ayurvedic-perspective/?view=fulltext
3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Ayurvedic Medicine: In Depth. Updated January 2019.
4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Ninth Edition. December 2020.
5. Clarke TC, Black LI, Stussman BJ, Barnes PM, Nahin RL. Trends in the use of complementary health approaches among adults: United States, 2002–2012. National Health Statistics Report. 2015;79.
6. Moonaz, S. H., et al. (2015). Yoga in sedentary adults with arthritis: Effects of a randomized controlled pragmatic trial. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4490021/
7. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Credentialing, Licensing, and Education. Updated May 2018.
8. Gupta, S. K., et al. (2015). Management of Amavata (rheumatoid arthritis) with diet and Virechanakarma. http://www.ayujournal.org/article.asp?issn=09748520;year=2015;volume=36;issue=4;spage=413;epage=415;aulast=Gupta
9. Kennedy, K. (n.d.). Nutrition guidelines for people with rheumatoid arthritis.
10. Krishna, K. P. R. (2011). The efficacy of Ayurvedic treatment for rheumatoid arthritis: Cross-sectional experimental profile of a longitudinal study.
11. Tillu, G., et al. (2015). Ayurveda interventions for rheumatoid arthritis. https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD011569/full
12. Payyappallimana U, Venkatasubramanian P. Exploring ayurvedic knowledge on food and health for providing innovative solutions to contemporary healthcare. Front Public Health. 2016;4:57. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2016.00057
13. Rastogi S. Building bridges between ayurveda and modern science. Int J Ayurveda Res. 2010;1(1):41-46. doi:10.4103/0974-7788.59943
14. Conboy L, Edshteyn I, Garivaltis H. Ayurveda and Panchakarma: measuring the effects of a holistic health intervention. ScientificWorldJournal. 2009;9:272-280. doi:10.1100/tsw.2009.35
15. Ramteke, R. (2016). Management of rheumatoid arthritis through Ayurveda. https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/management-of-rheumatoid-arthritis-through-ayurveda-.php?aid=76756
16. Rioux J, Howerter A. Outcomes from a whole-systems ayurvedic medicine and yoga therapy treatment for obesity pilot study. J Altern Complement Med. 2019;25(S1):S124-S137. doi:10.1089/acm.2018.0448