The Origins of Ayurveda
The Origins of Ayurveda
The Origins of AyurvedaThe evolutionary history of Ayurveda is very eventful and fascinating. Not many medical systems can claim the privilege of having a mythological history to boast of, like Ayurveda does. According to ancient Hindu mythology, Ayurveda is a science that originated from Lord Brahma, the creator of the Universe. There is nothing unknown to him and is considered as the ultimate source of knowledge. He initiated the transmission of Ayurvedic wisdom among the Gods, by teaching Ayurveda to his first and only disciple, Dakshaprajapathi.
Dakshaprajapathi found the twin Gods Aswinikumaras as the most eligible ones for sharing the knowledge of Ayurveda he received from Lord Brahma. Aswinikumaras were efficient in making use of the medical wisdom in practice and generous enough to teach every detail to Lord Indra. All schools of Ayurveda have the exact same opinion regarding the descent of Ayurveda upto this stage. The transmission of Ayurvedic knowledge to the humans starts from Lord Indra and different schools of Ayurveda share a different lineage regarding the same.
When the Gods were enjoying the benefits of the divine science in the heavens, the human beings on earth were in misery due to various illnesses. Every human being during those times wanted to live a normal virtuous life, devoid of sufferings to reach their ultimate goal, salvation or Moksha. The great sages during those times understood this agony and determined to find a solution from the Gods. With this sole intention, the first ever great medical conference was held in the Himalayan mountains and the sages entered deep meditation to praise the Gods.
The sages found their savior in Lord Indra and decided to approach him to gain the knowledge of Ayurveda. It is controversial as to who approached Lord Indra first. One opinion says it was sage Bharadwaja who approached Indra directly and the later expounded the science of life to the sage very briefly. But the school of surgeons share a difference of opinion on this. According to them, it was Divodasa Danwanthari who approached Indra and received the knowledge. It is to be noted that this controversy in no way affected the growth and spread of Ayurveda, instead gave origin to two different schools of thoughts – the Charaka school of thought or the school of medicine and the Danwanthari school of thought or the school of surgeons.
ब्रह्मणा हि यथाप्रोक्तमायुर्वेदं प्रजापतिः|
जग्राह निखिलेनादावश्विनौ तु पुनस्ततः||४||
अश्विभ्यां भगवाञ्छक्रः प्रतिपेदे ह केवलम्|
(Charaka Samhita Sutra Sthanam 1/ 4-5)
Both Bharadwaja and Danwanthari were keen on teaching their disciples whatever they learned, for the benefit of humanity. It is interesting to know that upto this stage, Ayurveda was being taught orally and the Gods and sages were exceptionally intelligent to memorize each and every detail. But the later disciples who learned the science of life from Bharadwaja and Danwanthari were quite sure about the kind of intelligence normal human beings possess. So, to make sure Ayurveda’s prosperity in the coming generations, disciples like Agnivesa, Susrutha, Bhela and many others started documenting the teachings in the form of treatises. Thus Tantras, Samhithas and Nighantus were created by different Acharyas and many of them still serve as the ultimate source of Ayurvedic wisdom.
The Flow of Healing Knowledge
As a science with around 5000-year-old tradition, it is certainly evident that Ayurveda must have undergone developmental changes and status-based impact over the years. It is worth giving a look on how it evolved as one of the mainstream medical systems, overcoming the challenges and continues to enjoy its superficial status with all its glory. The influence of civilizations, religious beliefs and different schools of thoughts in various eras are certainly evident in the literature of ancient times. All such cultural and spiritual influences from various fields rightly contributed to the upliftment of Ayurveda during each period. The period from 5th millennium BC to 3rd century AD witnessed several changes and development in Ayurveda while undergoing tremendous influence from different communities and civilizations.
Vedas are considered as the most ancient Hindu scriptures and they are four in number – Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda. These literature scripts contain references related to Ayurveda pointing to the fact that it was the only medical system prevalent during those times. Ayurveda is even considered as the Upaveda of Atharva Veda because it described many Ayurvedic concepts in detail. Acharya Kashyapa gives the status of Panchama Veda(5th veda) to Ayurveda, considering its popularity during the vedic period and the abundance of wisdom it carries. The Upanishads written during 800 to 400 BC describe around 31 herbs mentioned in Ayurveda and also have references about Kundalini awakening and Pranayama. Similarly, the two great epics -Ramayana and Mahabharatha mentions Toxicology, organ transplantation, different herbs and treatment with those, examination of dead bodies etc. so much like Ayurveda.
Spirituality and medicine united during the times of Buddha. The references in Buddhist literature are very much in conjunction with the principles of Ayurveda. Various diseases, its types, treatment etc. are described the same way like Ayurvedic literatures along with anatomical references. Digestion and metabolism are seen explained in Ayurvedic terms in Buddha literatures, showcasing the influence of Ayurveda among the Buddhist culture.
The Samhita period marked the systematic development and division of Ayurveda because it is from this period that written documentations became popular in the Indian subcontinent. The Bruhatrayees (Charaka Samhita, Susrutha Samhita and Ashtanga Hridayam) written during this period paved the way for more enthusiasts to research deeply on Ayurveda and practice it accordingly. Many other treatises were written by eminent Acharyas and Ayurveda started flourishing across the continents. Another important milestone in the periodical development of Ayurveda is the origin of Rasashastra during the 7th to 13th century AD. This is considered as the golden age of Ayurveda as many metals and minerals were introduced in Bhasma form to provide relief from diseases. All the famous Rasashastra literatures available today are written during this golden period of Ayurveda.
It is during the 19th century that formal educational institutions were started in India for Ayurveda, with the sole intention of making it accessible to everyone in need. In 1827, the first Ayurvedic course was started in Calcutta and it was just the beginning of a great educational revolution in the field of Ayurveda. During the 20th century, more institutions were established, and Ayurveda attained a royal status among the national health delivery system. More scientific research and development started happening with the onset of the 21st century and still continues to flourish day by day, signifying Ayurveda is here to stay as long as the human race exists.
The Foundation : Basic Principles
Ayurveda is governed by some doctrine principles adapted from various philosophical schools of thoughts of ancient times. These fundamental principles stay true always and do not change from time to time. One such basic principle that Ayurveda holds to it is the ‘Panchamahabhuta siddhanta’ or the theory of five basic elements. According to this, every substance in this Universe, living and nonliving, is composed of five basic elements – Prithvi (earth), Ap (water), Tejas (fire), Vayu (air) and Akasha (ether/space). The human body is also made up of these five elements and hence anything administered to it, be it food or medicine, should also be composed of the same.
The Ayurveda system of medicine works on the concepts of Dosha, Dhatu and Prakruthi. But the fundamental principle from which these concepts evolved is the Panchamahabhuta siddhanta. In other words, the permutation and combination of these five basic elements are responsible for the different faculties of the human experience.
Ayurvedic treatment practice is structured on the concept of doshas or body humors/energies. The doshas are three in number (‘Tri’ stands for three in Sanskrit) and are responsible for both health and disease in the human body. They are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Like how the Universe maintains its balance always with the living and nonliving things, the same way there should always be an equilibrium between these three doshas to maintain perfect health. When there is a chaos or disturbance in this equilibrium, it leads to ill health or disease.
“वायु: पित्तं कफश्चेति त्रयो दोषा: समासत:विकृताऽविकृता देहं घ्नन्ति ते वर्त्तयन्ति च II”
(Ashtanga Hridayam Sutra Sthanam 1/7)
Many eminent Ayurveda scholars have tried to demonstrate and establish the concept of Tridoshas in different ways. But it is important to explain it in a simple way so that anybody can understand it easily. Before the origin of Ayurveda, Atharvaveda tried to describe human body and diseases, although it is very vague. It describes diseases as something that occurs due to the derangement of three physiological elements – ‘sushka’ (dry), ‘sikta’ (wet) and ‘sanchari’(infiltrating/permeating). Considering these three as the properties of the physiological factors, they were eventually named as Vata, Pitta and Kapharespectively. A keen observing mentality and critical analysis of the ancient sages by connecting everything to the energies in the Universe substantiates the Tridoshatheory. It came to their notice that the entire sustenance of mankind is under the influence of three principal natural forces- Vayu or air (denoting Vata), Agni or heat (denoting Pitta) and Ap or water (denoting Kapha). Thus, it is established that these three bio-energies or humors are the basis of the human body, responsible for health and illness.
Vata has similar properties to that of air. It is responsible for any kind of movement, ranging from the movement of nerve impulses, movement of digested food in the alimentary tract to actual visible movement of human body parts. In short, it is the responsible factor for all the dynamic activities in the body and takes alimentary canal as its seat in the normal state. Pitta shares similarity to fire or heat and confirms its seat at Amashaya (stomach ). It is responsible for digestion, assimilation etc. and all types of metabolic activities. Kapha on the other hand has properties like water. It is cold, responsible for the lubrication aspects of the body, justifying its seat at the human joints. It also helps maintain the structural integrity of the body. Each of these three entities are also further subdivided into 5 for easy understanding. The Tridoshas complement each other in their activities and are responsible for health and illness. So, the main aim of Ayurvedic treatment is to bring back the equilibrium of the vitiated or deranged doshas and thus restoring natural health.
“रोगस्तु दोषवैषम्यं दोष साम्यं अरोगता ।”
(Ashtanga HrIdayam Sutra Sthanam 1/20)
THE SAPTA DHATUS
Human beings are what they eat. The existence of each human is an upshot arising out of digestion and assimilation of food stuff encompassing Panchamahabhuta. Upon digestion, the food turns into two portions- ‘sara’ (essential portion) and ‘kitta’ (non-essential portion). The sara portion gradually transforms into seven dhatus, collectively known as ‘sapta dhatus’ (sapta is seven in Sanskrit). They are:
“रस असृक् मांस मेदो अस्थि मज्ज शुक्राणि धातव:सप्त दूष्या: II”(Ashtanga Hridayam Sutra Sthanam 1/ 13)
1. Rasa (plasma)
2. Raktha (Blood)
3. Mamsa (muscle tissue/protein)
4. Medas (fat tissue)
5. Asthi (bone tissue)
6. Majja (bone marrow)
7. Sukra (reproductive elements irrespective of the sexes)
The formation and transformation of each dhatu takes place successively one after the other. That is, the digested food first transforms into Rasa, then to Raktha, Mamsa and so on until Shukradhatu is formed. This process goes on from conception till death and is the vital part of human existence. Each dhatu gets nourished by the previous dhatu in order and any disturbance in this mechanism results in impaired tissue metabolism, leading to disease manifestation.
PRAKRUTHI – The Innate Nature
“शुक्रार्तवस्थै: जन्मादौ विषेणैव विषकृमे: तैश्च तिस्र: प्रकृतयो…I”
(Ashtanga Hridaya Sutra Sthanam 1/10)
Ayurveda analyses every person in terms of their Prakruthi. This is the innate nature of an individual in its natural form, designed based on the condition of Tridoshas at the time of conception inside the uterus. Thus, they are named after the doshas as Vata, Pitta and Kapha prakruthis. Predominance of any one, two or all the three doshas decides the Prakruthi of an individual. A person’s Prakruthi is unique to himself and it remains the same all through his life. In Ayurvedic treatment aspects, Prakruthi of an individual has immense importance as the treatment, diet and lifestyle are designed considering this unique trait. It is an essential tool to predict the possibility of disease occurrence, its prognosis and selection of therapy in an individual. The opposite of Prakruthi is Vikruthi or illness. So, it is vital to analyze the Prakruthi of an individual to determine the exact nature of Vikruthi or disease.
Ayurveda probably is the only one of its kind to enjoy the status of “divine science”, as its origin is attributed to Lord Brahma, the creator of the Universe. The emanation of Ayurvedic wisdom from Lord Brahma upto Indra was so comprehensive but no treatises in their name are available at present. So, if Ayurveda is still in possession of its glory, it is because of the rich and authentic knowledge passed on through generations. The contemporary source of such supreme knowledge and wisdom is without a doubt, are the Ayurveda Samhitas transcribed by the great sages of ancient India.
Samhita is a Sanskrit word meaning compilation or systematically arranged verse or prose. Thus, Ayurveda Samhita denotes a compendium that encloses methodically arranged text constituting Ashtanga Ayurveda (the 8 branches of Ayurveda). Ayurveda takes its pride in having the oldest documentation available in medical history and they are collectively called as Brihathrayees or “the greater triad”. This ‘Samhita period’ witnessed Ayurveda’s glory at its peak and laid the foundation for the systematic development of Ayurveda in the future.
The Brihathrayees are a set of three classical treatises which are considered as the ultimate reference guide to Ayurveda scholars across the globe. They are,
1. Charaka Samhita
Charaka Samhita is believed to have been written around 400 to 200 B.C by Acharya Charaka and is said to be a redacted version of another original and more voluminous text, Agnivesa Tantra. This original text is unavailable now and around 41 chapters were lost from the revised edition by Charaka. Acharya Dridabala, who lived during the same era took the effort in filling the missing verses and made it available for the future generations. The interesting thing about Charaka Samhita is that the entire text is formatted as a conversation between Lord Atreya and his disciples and contains both prose and verses. Although it explains all the eight branches of Ayurveda in detail, Charaka Samhita is always more popular as the authentic text of Kayachikitsa.
2. Susrutha Samhita
Susrutha Samhita is believed to have been written by Acharya Susrutha, around the same time period as Charaka Samhita. Although it is difficult to pinpoint a definite time period, the treatise, like other ancient literatures, evolved over time. The present available form of Susrutha Samhita is believed to be the work of several eminent Acharyas like Nagarjuna, who added up several lost chapters. While the Atreya school of thought followed general medicine and relied on Charaka Samhita, there was another group known as Danwantari school of thought which specializes in surgery and referred Susrutha Samhita for the same. Needless to say, Susrutha Samhita gives more importance to surgical interventions and even described Rhinoplasty (reconstructive surgery of nose) for the first time and dissection of cadavers in detail.
3. Ashtanga Hridayam
The Ashtanga Hridayam written by Acharya Vaghbata came much later after Charaka and Susrutha Samhitas, during 6th-7th century A.D. The essential details from both the former texts were compiled and updated in the form of simple verses in Ashtanga Hridayam and is still the most popular among the three. There is another version, Ashtanga Samgraham, believed to be written by Vrudha Vaghbhata and is more elaborative compared to Hridayam. The exposition in Ashtanga Hridayam is relatively straightforward and easy to understand, which makes it a favourite reference for Ayurveda scholars.
The Laghuthrayees or the lesser triad
The elaborate nature of the Brihathrayees inspired the later Acharyas and scholars to write more texts in concise form. Thus, the Laghuthrayees or the lesser triad were documented, highlighting the importance of subject specialization. They are:
1. Sharngadhara Samhita
Sharngadhara Samhita is believed to have been written during the 15th century AD by Acharya Sharngadhara. The classical treatise is much appreciated for the elucidation of numerous pharmacological formulations and boasts of having the first textual reference of Nadi Vijnanam (pulse diagnosis).
2. Bhava Prakasha
Written during the 16th century AD by Acharya Bhavamishra, Bhava prakasha is a compact and well-arranged form of the earlier treatises. It gives emphasis to diet, information on medicinal plants and minerals and deals with Kayachikitsa generally.
3. Madhava Nidanam
As the name suggests, Madhava nidanam authorized by Madhavakara during 700AD focused more on the cardinal signs and symptoms of different diseases. It still serves as a good reference to Ayurveda scholars in diagnosing the diseases based on the symptoms but fails to give any explanation on treatment for the same.
Apart from the above six, renowned Acharyas like Kashyapa, Bhela and Harita also wrote their respective Samhitas with special reference to their own specialities. All these classical treatises laid the foundation for the upliftment of Ayurveda and are praised for their contribution to holistic science.
Nighantus In Ayurveda
Samhitas and the Nighantus are the earliest available medical documentations in the present world. These compilations are a rich source of knowledge and are inevitable in Ayurvedic medical practice and education. Ayurveda makes use of different herbs, minerals and products of animal origin in treating various disorders. The Nighantus are an ultimate source of such information. The word Nighantu denotes the one which expresses Nighudartha (hidden meaning) of different concepts. They are a compilation of groups of drugs, synonyms, properties and their description of parts used. The period between 8th to 15th century AD witnessed a surge in the number of Nighantus by various authors. Some of the main Nighantus still relevant among the Ayurvedic fraternity are,
1. Dhanwantari Nighantu – This Ayurvedic Materia medica is believed to be written between 8th to 10th century AD. The author is claimed to be Mahendra Bhogika and the original name of this lexicon is ‘Dravyavali Samucchhaya’. The book contains descriptions of drugs under 7 vargas and a total of 527 different drugs have been described.
2. Sodhala Nighantu – This Nighantu is composed by Acharya Sodhala around 12th century AD in two parts – Namasangraha (dealing with synonyms) and Gunasangraha (dealing with actions and properties of drugs). 26 groups of different drugs have been described.
3. Madanapala Nighantu – This is believed to be written by Acharya Madan Vinoda during 14th century AD. It is one among the very few Nighantus that describes the undesirable effects caused due to wrong consumption or application of various drugs. It also mentions food items like cereals, pulses etc. in detail.
4. Kaiyadeva Nighantu – also known as ‘Pathyapathyavibodhaka’, this Nighantu is written by Kaiyadeva around the 15th century AD. Apart from giving preference to the conducive and non-conducive substances, this book also describes different drugs under 9 vargas (only 8 are presently available).
5. Bhavaprakasha Nighantu – Written by Bhavamisra around the 16th century AD, this lexicon is one among the Laghuthrayees that revived the style of Samhitas. It is renowned for its description of different herbs along with a concise description of metals and minerals, their processing and therapeutic uses.
6. Raja Nighantu – This is composed by Nirahari Panditha during 17th century AD. It mentions around 845 drugs of different origin under 11 different vargas. Adverse drug reactions of around 240 drugs when used inappropriately have also been mentioned.
The references of many formulations available today, quotes different names for the same herb and is a huge challenge to identify the correct one. The Nighantus play a significant role in determining the correct drug based on the extensive details it provides. It also throws light on the flora and fauna of ancient times and serves as a guiding source for the enthusiastic Ayurveda scholars across the globe.
BRANCHES OF AYURVEDA
“Vast is the field of science. The more a man knows, the more he will find he has to know.”
The great sages of ancient India had this foresight and were intelligent enough to divide the meticulous science into eight different branches, for the benefit of those who learn it in the future. Thus, it came to be collectively known as “Ashtanga Ayurveda”, meaning eight limbs of Ayurveda.
“कायबालग्रहोर्ध्वाङ्ग शल्यदंष्ट्रा जरावृषान्अष्टावङ्गानि तस्याहु: चिकित्सा येषु संश्रिता ||”
(Ashtanga Hridayam Suthra Sthanam 1/6)
1. Kayachikitsa – This refers to General medicine or Internal medicine in Ayurveda. The Sanskrit word “Kaya” means body and “Chikitsa” denotes treatment. Thus, Kayachikitsa is that branch of Ayurveda which deals with the prognosis, diagnosis and treatment of various metabolic errors and systemic disorders.
2. Balachikitsa (Koumarabhrithyam) – This branch refers to Paediatrics in Ayurveda and deals with all preventive and curative aspects, starting from fertilization inside the womb till the child attains 16 years of age.
3. Grahachikitsa (Bhootavidya) – This branch of Ayurveda deals with diseases occurring due to unknown or unidentified causes such as demons or spirits. Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in Ayurveda come under this branch.
4. Shalakytantram (Urdhwanga chikitsa) – All diseases pertaining to the parts above the neck, mainly ear, nose, throat and eyes, are studied in detail under this branch (ENT and Ophthalmology).
5. Shalyatantram – This speciality mainly deals with surgical procedures that require the use of different types of instruments. Unique procedures like Ksharakarmam, Agnikarmam, Rakthamoksham etc. are also dealt with in this branch of Ayurveda.
6. Damshtra chikitsa (Visha chikitsa) – Commonly known as Agadatantram, this branch exclusively deals with Toxicology. The diagnosis and treatment of various types of poisons and those caused by the stings and bites of insects and animals are studied in detail.
7. Jara chikitsa (Rasayana chikitsa) – This branch refers to rejuvenative treatments for longevity and age-related diseases and its cure (Geriatrics).
8. Vrisha chikitsa (Vajeekarana chikitsa) – The branch of Ayurveda that deals with sexual problems, infertility and its treatment consisting of Aphrodisiacs is Vajeekarana chikitsa.
All ancient Acharyas dealt with each of the above branches in their own respective treatises. But it is interesting to know that some of them had their own favourite subjects and gave more importance to such specialities in their treatises. Charaka Samhita for example, gave more emphasis on Kayachikitsa when Susrutha Samhita followed the surgical school of thoughts. Thus, all the classical treatises remain as the ultimate reference guide on each of these branches for all Ayurveda scholars across the world.
The popularity and importance of Panchakarma in the Ayurvedic system of medicine is so astound that many consider Panchakarma synonymous with Ayurveda itself. Although Panchakarma is just a part of the vast ocean of Ayurvedic wisdom, it is somehow responsible for the huge popularity Ayurveda receives from around the world. A specialty of Kayachikitsa, Panchakarma plays a significant role as promotive, preventive, curative & rehabilitative therapy. It constitutes five specialized procedures of internal purification and is a comprehensive therapy in itself. It is not merely a detoxification therapy but helps maintain the homeostasis of the biological system. Not many contemporary medical systems can claim such a highly sophisticated internal cleansing procedure to its glory like Panchakarma therapy.
The word Panchakarma refers to five procedures or actions in Sanskrit (‘Pancha’denotes five and ‘Karma’ denotes action). There are two different opinions regarding the therapies included in Panchakarma:
“यदीरयेद्बहिर्दोषान् पञ्चधा शोधनं च यत्
निरूहो वमनं कायशिरोरेको अस्रविस्रुतिः ||”
(Ashtanga Hridayam Sutra Sthanam 14/5)
To get rid of the toxic substances or vitiated doshas out of the body, five internal purificatory therapies are recommended, which are collectively called Panchakarma. They are,
1. Vamanam – therapeutic emesis (vomiting), performed mainly in Kapha doshapredominant cases.
2. Virechanam – therapeutic purgation, intended to expel the vitiated Pitta dosha.
3. Vasti – therapeutic enema, which is one of the most desirable treatments for Vata dosha predominant diseases.
4. Nasyam – administration of medicines through the nasal cavity to expel the morbid doshas, especially related to organs above the neck.
5. Rakthamoksham – therapeutic blood-letting procedure performed using surgical instruments or leech.
But, being a strong advocate of general medicine, Acharya Charaka holds a slight difference of opinion and does not consider Rakthamoksham as one among the five. Instead, he classifies vasti into two and thus explains the Panchakarma procedures as Vamanam, Virechanam, Nasyam, Sneha vasti (oil-based enema) and Niruha vasti(decoction-based enema). However, it is completely the discretion of the expert Ayurveda physician to decide which procedure is suitable, according to the condition of the individual and the doshas.
Each of the five karmas are highly specialized procedures that it requires skill and efficiency to perform. It is not necessary for every person to undergo all the five procedures simultaneously. Depending on the dosha derangement, condition of the illness, condition of the person and seasons, it is not difficult for an expert Ayurvedic physician to determine the most suitable procedure. It is also necessary to prepare the body through some Purvakarmas(preparatory procedures) like Snehapanam (internal oleation), Swedakarmam (fomentation therapy) etc. before performing Panchakarma. Strict diet and lifestyle restrictions followed before, during and after the therapy ensures complete detoxification and rejuvenation of the biological system. Highly reliable in many chronic clinical conditions, the effects of Panchakarma are powerful and long-lasting such that it helps improve the longevity and vitality of the individual.
UNIQUENESS OF AYURVEDA
“Foolish the Doctor who despises the knowledge acquired by the ancients.”
When Hippocrates, the father of Western Medicine quoted this during 370 B.C, little did he know that he was enlightening the future generation on the importance of following the ancient tradition. With the advancement of science and technology, Western medicine modified their theories periodically. But even after 5000 years since its origin, Ayurveda the holistic science follows what the Acharyas preached back then and firmly sticks to its roots. Present day researches carried out on such ancient teachings prove that the ancient sages were well-versed, and all are Apthavakyas (the statement of a trustworthy person which cannot be questioned). This is one of the most significant features that makes Ayurveda unique from the rest of the medical systems.
प्रयोजनं चास्य स्वस्थस्य स्वास्थ्यरक्षणमातुरस्य विकारप्रशमनं च||
(Charaka Samhita Sutra Sthanam 30/26)
Ayurveda is not just a medical system that involves treatment and medicines. As Charaka Samhita clearly states, it is a comprehensive science that intends to preserve the health of the healthy and cures the disease of the unhealthy. This also means that Ayurveda gives great importance to prevention of diseases through healthy diet and lifestyle and has well-defined guidelines for the same.
Ayurveda follows a unique approach in diagnosing the diseases. It integrates the traditional Ashtasthana Pariksha (8-fold examination of the patient), Dasavidha Pariksha (10-fold examination of the patient) and Nadi Pariksha (Pulse diagnosis) along with modern lab reports and instruments/devices to reach a definite diagnosis. An expert Ayurveda physician will always be well-versed in all these and hence the diagnoses tend to be more accurate.
Ayurveda treatment methods are tailored based on an individual’s doshaderangement, Prakruthi (constitution) etc. rather than symptomatic management. It analyzes the root cause first and tries to eliminate the disease with the cause so that the effects are long lasting. In many instances it can thus eradicate the disease completely without a chance of recurrence. Also, the different formulations in the form of Kashayam, Churnam, Gulika, Arishtam etc. are prepared from herbs, natural metals and minerals after proper purification methods. This ensures comparatively very less side effects when taken under expert supervision.
Ayurveda interprets perfect health as a state of complete physical and mental wellbeing and not just the absence of diseases. Rather than taking medicines for the illness, Ayurveda emphasizes more on following the science as a way of life for better longevity.
AYURVEDA DIET AND LIFESTYLE
Ayurvedic treatment principle is not just based on medicines and therapies. Diet and lifestyle modifications according to individual needs is one of the indispensable parts of all treatment schedules. The ancient Acharyas were keen on issuing specific guidelines on daily (Dinacharya) and seasonal regimens (Ritucharya) for preserving perfect health and to prevent recurrence of diseases. Almost all the classical treatises dedicate the first few chapters exclusively for mentioning these regimens, specifying its importance. For an ill person, however effective the treatment is, the entire effort will be in vain if the individual is not willing to abide by the dietary and lifestyle guidelines. The chances of complications cannot be ignored if a medicine or treatment is administered without following proper dietary and lifestyle strategies.
The dietary and lifestyle recommendations in Ayurveda is not just treatment oriented. The chances of getting affected by a disease is very less for a person who follows these daily and seasonal regimens. Therefore, adopting it as a part of daily life can promote immunity and ensure longevity. It helps in enhancing mental health and happiness apart from physical benefits. In this stressful and competitive era where healthy living is a priority, adopting Ayurveda way of living can certainly work wonders on one’s physical and mental health.
Ayurveda : Days Ahead
With zoonotic viruses causing epidemics, the significance of Ayurveda principles which urges man to live in harmony with nature is increasing. More than ever the need for healing body, mind and soul is more relevant in the 21st century.
More than ever natural solutions are necessary for the health threats we face. We understand that a holistic way of living and healing can go a long way in defining the mental, spiritual and physical health. We at SDM believe that a brand of super conscious humans will evolve who can live in sync with the nature & lead to a sustainable future. A future where humankind understand its unique bond with nature and embrace it. Ayurveda is the philosophy, the healing science and the know-how that can make this happen.
“Ayurveda interprets perfect health as a state of complete physical and mental wellbeing and not just the absence of diseases. Rather than taking medicines for the illness, Ayurveda emphasizes more on following the science as a way of life for better longevity”