Ayurveda : An Introduction to Ayurvedic Medicine
Posted on 5th Aug 2014
Ayurveda came from the Sanskrit words Ayu and Veda which means Life and Science/Knowledge (1). Hence, Ayurveda is the Science of Life. This originated from a 5-6,000 book called the Atharva-veda, fourth among the Vedas in India. It is a unique form of medicine since it deals with the prevention, healing, and preservation of life through a holistic and natural approach. It operates in this: Yatha Pinde tatha Bramhande which means “as is the Macrocosm, so is the Microcosm.” Ayurveda operates in the principle that the universe is made up of these five elements (Panchamahabhutas): fire, air, water, earth, and ether. Three doshas (tridoshas) or energies are formed from these 5 elements namely - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Vata dosha is ether and air, responsible for movement in the body through circulation, respiration, and nerve impulses. Pitta dosha is fire and water, responsible for transformation like metabolism, heat, and chemical reactions. Kapha dosha is water and earth responsible for growth, nourishment, and lubrication. There should be a balance between these three energies in order to be in good health.
It is written in Ayurveda that “a person who eats a wholesome diet, does not require medicine, and no medicine will cure a person who does not eat a wholesome diet.” If you would notice it is similar to what Hippocrates, father of Western medicine, said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Perhaps what is unique about Ayurvedic medicine is the practice of blood letting and therapeutic vomiting. Aside from that other forms of treatments are available like emotional release, purgatives, enema, nasal administration, and palliation.
Also included in Ayurveda is the practice of astrology, lifestyle and routine advices, yoga, mantras, meditation, herbal medicine, massage, color therapy, aromatherapy, and the use of gemstones.
(1) Kshirsagar, M., & Magno, A.C. (2011).Ayurveda: A Quick Reference Handbook. Wisconsin: Lotus Press
(2) Lad, V. Ayurveda (2005). The Science of Self Healing: A Practical Guide. Delhi: Lotus Press