Ayurveda

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Why Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is “UPAVEDA” of “ATHARVAVEDA”. It is an ancient health & life science, having not only treatment for ill ones, but also,

  • DINACHARYA (Daily routines)
  • RUTUCHARYA (Seasonal routines)
  • PATHYAPATHYA - AAHARA & VIHARA (Diet & Lifestyle)
  • SADAVRUTTAPALAN (Ideal Codes of conduct) etc for the healthy ones
"Swasthasya Swasthya Rakshanam Aturasya Roga Nivaranam"

- To rejuvenate and preserve the health of the healthy and alleviate the disease of the sick. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term, made up of the words "Ayus" and "Veda". "Ayus" means life and "Veda" means knowledge or science 'The science of long and healthy living' is called as an "Ayurveda".

Ayurveda, the holistic health science, with its wide range of treatments including the Panchakarma, Internal Medications along with Diet and Lifestyle Modifications incorporating with the other systems like Yoga definitely opens up a way of hope for the ailing humanity. The modern treatment especially the surgical procedures are many a times causes many number of side effects with huge financial burden for the patients.

The Ayurvedic treatment firstly insists on removing the causative factors. We practice and use single or compound herbal preparations, herbal-mineral preparations and suitable dietary advices, daily activities etc. In very chronic disorders, we advice Panchakarma therapy, which has special identity in Ayurveda. These Panchakarma (Five procedures ) are aimed to clean the whole body and prepare the body in a way that it could not get the problem again and again. According to Ayurveda everything in this world (living and non living creation) is composed of the five proto-elements (Panch Mahabhuta- Akash, Vayu, Agni, Jal and Prithvi), which turn into the Tridoshas to cause life.

Origin of Ayurveda

Historians have not pin-pointed the exact time Ayurveda came into being. Most agree that Ayurvedic classical texts were written in India between 3,500 and 5,000 years ago, though some suggest an even longer history.

Legend:

The origins of this system of course are lost in time. In legend it is said to have been taught by the creator, Brahma, to the Prajapati Daksha. (One of the lords of the animals) who taught it in turn to the divine twins called the Ashwinikumars.

Ashwinikumars are the heavenly healers. They taught Indra, the chief of the shining ones. The personages mentioned were deities of early Vedic times. When mankind started suffering from various diseases the wise men like Bharadvaja learnt from Indra the knowledge of medicine. Gradually the huge amount of knowledge accumulated was divided systematically into different branches.

Physiology

All matter is thought to he composed of five basic elements (Panchamahabhutas) which exhibit the properties of earth (Prithvi), water (Jala), fire (Tejas), wind (Vayu) and space (Akasha). These elements do not exist in isolated forms, but always in a combination, in which one or more elements dominate. According to Ayurveda, the human body is composed of derivatives of the five basic elements, in the form of Dosha, tissues (Dhatu) and waste products (Mala).

  • Dosha :

    The most fundamental and characteristic principle of Ayurveda is called "Tridosha" or the Three Humours.Dosha are the physiological factors of the body. They are to be seen as all pervasive, subtle entities, and are categorized into Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata regulates movement and is represented by the nervous system. Pitta is the principle of biotransformation and is the cause of all metabolic processes in the body. Kapha is the principle of cohesion and functions through the body fluids. Together, these three Dosha determine the physiologic constitution of an individual.

  • Dhatu :

    The tissues are classified into seven categories: Rasa(plasma), Rakta(blood cells), Mamsa (muscular tissue), Meda(adipose tissue), Asthi(bony tissue), Majja (bone marrow) and Shukra (the reproductive tissue).

  • Mala :

    Three main waste products are urine, faeces and sweat.

  • Agni :

    For the metabolic processes in the body, there are three main groups of biological factors, probably exhibiting enzymatic functions (Agni).


    • 1. Jatharagni

      is responsible for the digestion and the absorption of nutritious substances During this process, digestion takes place in three stages: first the digestion of sweet (Madhura) and salty (Lavana) nutrients, then the digestion of sour (Amla) nutrients, and finally the digestion of bitter (Tikta), sharp (Katu) and astringent (Kasaya) nutrients. The respective products of these three stages are sweet, sour and sharp.

    • 2. Panchabhutagni

      containing five types of biological factors, is responsible for the processing of the five basic elements into a composition useful to the body.

    • 3. Dhatvagnis

      The third group contains seven types, each for the assimilation of the seven tissues. This assimilation takes place successively. From the absorbed nutritious substance, plasma (Rasa) is produced first; from plasma, blood (Rakta) is formed, then muscular tissue (Mamsa), adipose tissue (Meda), bony tissue (Asthi), bone marrow (Majja) and the reproductive cells (shukra).

Pharmacology

The materia medica of the Ayurveda, composed of the five basic elements, has been categorized according to the derivatives of these elements. They include: taste (Rasa), potency (Virya), taste of the digestion product (Vipaka), properties (Guna), specific properties (Prabhava) and action (Karman).

Taste (Rasa) is six fold: sweet (Madhura), sour (Amla), salty (Lavana), bitter (Tikta), sharp (Katu) and astringent (Kasaya). Each taste is composed of two of the five elements. The condition of the food substances after digestion is also expressed in terms of taste (Vipaka), however it can only be sweet, sour or sharp.

The properties (Guna), are grouped in 10 pairs, each one complementary to the other: heavy and light, cold and hot, fat and dry, slow and sharp, stable and labile, soft and hard, clear and slimy, smooth and raw, fine and massive and viscous and liquid.

The potency (Virya) of a drug is defined as its capability to express its property. Sometimes, potency is grouped in the same way as the property, but for practical reasons, it is usually expressed in terms of hot (Ushna) and cold (Shita).

The specific property (Prabhava) distinguishes two drugs that have the same taste, taste after digestion and potency. This might be due to the composition of the drug or the location in the body where the drug acts.

Finally the action (Karma) of a drug on the body is expressed in terms of the three Dosha. A drug can increase or decrease the vata dosha, the pitta dosha and the kapha dosha.

The drugs used in Ayurveda are made by several processes from vegetable and mineral raw materials. Mostly plant alkaloids are the active ingredients. Obviously barring some chemical changes it is mostly natural deviates. We hope that you will continue to explore Ayurveda to enhance your health and to gain further insights into this miracle we call life.

Pathology

Under normal conditions, the Dosha, Dhatu and Mala correspond to certain standards regarding their quantity, quality and function. However, this situation is not static, and due to several endogenous and exogenous factors, the Dosha may become unbalanced, resulting in disease. Every disease is related to an imbalance of the Dosha. Other coherent factors can be: the disturbance of the biological factors (Agnis), the formation and accumulation of undigested nutrients (Ama), obstruction of the body channels (Srotorodha), and a disturbed assimilation in the tissues.

Ayurveda gives us a model to look at each individual as a unique makeup of the three Dosha (Prakruti) and thereby design treatment protocols that specifically address a persons health challenges. When any of the Dosha (Vata, Pitta or Kapha) become imbalance, Ayurveda will suggest specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines to assist the individual in reducing or increasing the Dosha that has become imbalance. If toxins in the body are abundant, then a cleansing process known as Panchakarma is recommended to eliminate these unwanted toxins.

Few Examples:

  • Obesity

    mainly due to absence of physical activity. Other causes may be sleeping during the day, intake of Kapha - increasing foods, finally results in the accumulation of fat. These block the channels of nutrition. This blocking causes an increase in hunger because the body does not get nutrition.

  • Rheumatism

    Eating foods which are incompatible, lack of physical exercise in general, doing exercise particularly after eating fatty foods , incorrect use of purgatives, causes improper digestion. The half digested food called Ama associates itself with Vata and moves about. It fills the seats of kapha, and blocks the transport channels of the body. This blocking of channels produces weakness of the heart, which is the seat of the disease. This results in loss of strength, feeling of heaviness, stiffness of the body, small and big joints alike.

  • Indigestion/dyspepsia

    Taking excess of water, taking small/large quantities of food at odd times, suppression of the natural functions of the body, loss of sleep at night and sleeping during the daytime, causes gastric fire (Jatharagni) responsible for the digestion and the absorption of nutritious substances weak.

  • Skin problems

    Are often due to imbalances in Pitta dosha & Rakta dhatu. This is caused by excessive exposure to sunlight, taking foods which are pungent, hot and alkaline.

  • Pharmacology

    The materia medica of the Ayurveda, composed of the five basic elements, has been categorized according to the derivatives of these elements. They include: taste (Rasa), potency (Virya), taste of the digestion product (Vipaka), properties (Guna), specific properties (Prabhava) and action (Karman).

    Taste (Rasa) is six fold: sweet (Madhura), sour (Amla), salty (Lavana), bitter (Tikta), sharp (Katu) and astringent (Kasaya). Each taste is composed of two of the five elements. The condition of the food substances after digestion is also expressed in terms of taste (Vipaka), however it can only be sweet, sour or sharp.

    The properties (Guna), are grouped in 10 pairs, each one complementary to the other: heavy and light, cold and hot, fat and dry, slow and sharp, stable and labile, soft and hard, clear and slimy, smooth and raw, fine and massive and viscous and liquid.

    The potency (Virya) of a drug is defined as its capability to express its property. Sometimes, potency is grouped in the same way as the property, but for practical reasons, it is usually expressed in terms of hot (Ushna) and cold (Shita).

    The specific property (Prabhava) distinguishes two drugs that have the same taste, taste after digestion and potency. This might be due to the composition of the drug or the location in the body where the drug acts.

    Finally the action (Karma) of a drug on the body is expressed in terms of the three Dosha. A drug can increase or decrease the vata dosha, the pitta dosha and the kapha dosha.

Ayurvedic treatment [Chikitsa]

Does not mean suppressing the main symptoms and creating some new ones as side effects of the main treatment. It is to remove the root cause and give permanent relief.

There are four main classifications of management of disease in Ayurveda: shodhan, or cleansing; shaman or palliation; rasayana, or rejuvenation; and satvavajaya, or mental hygiene.

The treatment mainly comprises of powders, tablets, decoctions, medicated oils etc. prepared from natural herbs, plants and minerals. Because the medicines are from natural sources and not synthetic, they are accepted and assimilated in the body without creating any side effects and on the other hand, there may be some side benefits.

Along with medicine, proper diet, exercise and living style is also advised. This is equally important. If we are taking a medicine to remove the root cause and at the same time we are taking some food or following a life style which is increasing the cause of disease, then we may not get well or will be getting less relief. In addition to these Panchakarma and Yoga therapy can be very safely used to promote good health, prevent diseases and acquire longevity.

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