Ayurveda Herbal Medicine
Ayurveda is one of the most ancient and traditional ways of Indian medicine. The emergence of Ayurveda dates back to centuries and has been mentioned in various ancient Hindu scriptures.
The Sanskrit word ‘Ayurveda’ translates to – ‘science of life’.
Even though Ayurveda is a vast health system, it has some basic principals that it resides on:
Ayurveda aims at restoring the right balance in various domains of one’s lifestyle.
It follows a plan of good nutrition and diet to keep the body and mind healthy.
Ayurveda looks upon and treats the various physical, mental, as well as emotional elements of life.
Ayurveda makes use of natural and herbal treatments and its techniques, theories, medicinal practices have been extensively adopted by modern medicine.
In modern times this has helped Ayurveda gain great popularity across the world.
When did Ayurveda begin?
The techniques of Ayurvedic treatment, diet, incantations, etc. were in existence during the early Indian civilisations. The Indian texts mentioning Ayurveda were translated into Chinese, Persian, Arabic, etc. to cater to other regions.
Historical evidence traces the emergence of Ayurveda at around 6,000BCE. The very first written records of this medicinal practice were found mentioned in the Vedas, which are the earliest sources of Indian religious scriptures.
Hindu traditions and tales attribute the origin of Ayurveda to mythology. It is believed that Dhanvantri, who was the physicians of the Gods, was given the knowledge of Ayurveda by Brahma. (According to Hinduism Brahma is the creator god.)
This form of medicine was considered as an eternal science and was taught orally and passed on.
During the colonial Indian age, Ayurveda faced constant competition from modern medicinal practices popularised by the British. Unfortunately, this led to Ayurveda being heavily neglected during this period.
However, with the Independence movement, the focus over Ayurveda was refounded. Many experts and traditionalist manage to revive its teachings.
It is now once again, an integral part of the traditional Indian healthcare system. With the many studies, analyses, and discussions over Ayurveda, it has spread all over the world.
Principles of Ayurveda
There are certain accepted principals of the Ayurveda system, to name a few:
Principle of health and wellness encompasses a balance of all bodily systems.
Ayurvedic theories revolve around the body and nature.
According to the theories, there are seven major ‘dhatus’ in the body. Dhatus are considered as the fundamental building blocks of the human body.
They are associated with the body tissues and help in balancing one’s physical state.
There are also the five main elements that link nature with the being. It is believed that nature is an important part that links the human with its environment. Natural ways have an underlying effect on one’s temperament, which ultimately affects the body and mind.
They include –
Furthermore, there exist three ‘doshas’ or bodily humours.
The doshas are known to bring balance in human physical health. These three essential components underlie and determine the physical and mental wellness of a being. These are energies that maintain the proper homeostasis, which is very crucial for the overall balance that Ayurveda aims at achieving.
The composition of the doshas in one’s nature decides one’s personality and physicality. Any imbalances among the doshas are responsible for changes in temperament, bodily discomforts, or ailments.
The doshas are observed to identify the disturbance in composition leading to disease. Accordingly, precautionary measures are taken through nutrition, behavioural changes, natural medicines, etc.
The Three bodily humours or doshas are:
Vata (nervous system),
and Kapha (mucous).
Well-known Ayurvedic treatments
-The purpose of Ayurveda is to observe, suggest precautions, and assist in overall management that helps in prevention of improper health conditions -
It not only aims at curing the disease but at rooting away the cause to restore balance.
Following are some important and famous Ayurvedic treatments:
- Panchakarma: cleansing of the body to decrease harmful symptoms and encourage balance leading to harmony. Detoxification of the internal systems is also a very modern approach. It is a growing technique used to flush out the harmful toxins and clear the body.
- Nasyam: Treats headaches and congestions. It makes use of oils and herbal medicines applied through the nasal passage.
- Kizhi: Using leaves, herbs, and powders to mix with warm oil and massaging the body. It helps to treat spondylitis, swellings, injuries, etc.
- Dhara: It is among the most popular Ayurvedic treatments. Warm oils are used to cure ailments such as Hysteria, Insomnia, Stress, etc.
- Marma Massage: This massage promotes correct stimulations in the body that balance the Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. This reduces accumulated pains from injuries and also makes the muscles and ligaments stronger.
Modern-day massages also aim at the same goals to promote recovery through proper stimulation and relaxation.
Herbs used in Ayurveda
The traditional Indian system of Ayurvedic medicine makes use of natural ingredients only. It promotes the curing and prevention of various diseases and conditions. On the other hand, using natural and herbal-made products does not give rise to any negative side-effects. The treatment is mild, as well as useful.
Here is a list of certain patent herbs, foods, and oils that are used in Ayurvedic treatments and medications:
- Herbs: Tulsi, Aloe vera, Brahmi, Ashwagandha, Boswellia, Liquorice roots, Centella Asiatica, Manjistha, Sage, Cilantro, Camphor, Neem, etc.
- Foods and Spices: Turmeric, Cumin, Ajwain, Cardamom, Bitter melon, Haritaki, Amla, dates, lemons, almonds, ginger, curd, Mung beans, milk, leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, Fenugreek, cloves, etc.
- Oils: Coconut oil, mustard oil, safflower oil, castor oil, neem oil, Jojoba oil, Avocado oil, Sesame oil, Ghee, etc.
Benefits of Ayurveda
The advantages of Ayurvedic treatment and therapies are innumerable. It can cure not only a variety of diseases but also prevents further severity or occurrence of other bodily conditions.
Ayurvedic treatments can have various benefits, such as:
- Promotes Overall Wellness: The alterations suggested by Ayurveda in one’s lifestyle, diet, activities, rest schedules, etc. can improve the overall functioning of the bodily systems and organs and reduces the vulnerability of diseases. It also promotes preventive measures.
- Enriches the energy: The right kind of stimulations, medicines, diets, etc. can be essential in revitalising the lost energies. Constant work and routines can strip off balance in the body, and such accumulated conditions lead to improper health. Ayurveda helps in restoring balance and harmony.
- Promotes Hormonal balance: The balance of hormones is very crucial for proper health. Hormones control the various cycles of the body. Ayurveda aims at balancing the secretion and improving the functioning of these hormones.
- Helps to cure various conditions: It relieves the body from injuries, joint pains, arthritis, diabetes, acidity, indigestion, chronic diseases, cardiac issues, blood circulation issues, coughs, kidney stones, menstrual disorders, deficiencies, paralysis, etc.
- Treats toxicity and inflammation: These conditions provoke the causes of many underlying chronic conditions. The clearing therapies that are carried out through Ayurveda assists in getting rid of toxins. Ayurveda is also recommended for inflammatory effects.
- Helps in controlling and losing weight: Maintaining healthy and normal body weight is essential to keep away diseases and live without any risks—the detoxification, purification, improved blood circulation, etc. via Ayurveda aids in weight management.
- Makes the hair and skin healthy: The various herbs and oils used in Ayurveda are also well-known to purify and nourish the skin. Ayurvedic ingredients are used in hair oils to promote growth, control hair fall, and make the tresses shiny and smooth.
- Helps to control stress: Meditation, massages, and therapies, improves one’s mental being as well. The total balance of bodily fluids helps to encourage healthy temperament that maintains peace of the mind and soul.
- Improves Concentration: The proper functioning of the entire body aids to keep the mind focussed and devoid of stress. This promotes efficiency and overall wellness in one’s life.
Some Famous Ayurvedic Practitioners
In ancient times, the practitioners of Ayurveda were called ‘Vaidya’. There have been many famous practitioners and Ayurvedic doctors throughout time. Here are some important figures in Ayurveda:
- Charaka: Maharishi Charaka was among the greatest contributors of Ayurveda. He authored the essential Ayurvedic literature of ‘Charaka Samhita’ in Sanskrit. He was one of the classical Indian medical practitioners. His book is one of the three foundational books on Ayurveda.
- Sushruta: Sushruta is a physician of ancient India. He authored the ‘Sushruta Samhita’. He mentioned about various surgical practices in Ayurveda. He also wrote another book of Ayurveda that seems to have helped in the foundation of Ayurveda.
- Vagbhata: Another gem in laying the foundation of Ayurveda was done by the classical test of Vagbhata. His works – ‘Ashthangasangraha’ and ‘Ashthangahridayasamhita’ have remarked Indian medicine. He was Charaka’s disciple.
- Balkrishna: He is a relatively modern man of Indian Ayurveda. He has engaged in the studies of various herbs that are used in Ayurveda. Balkrishna is also a part of the Indian Ayurvedic medicine line – Patanjali. His fame in the field of Ayurveda and medicine is well-known all over.
Famous books on Ayurveda
Here are some famous ancient books on Ayurveda:
- Charaka Samhita
- Sushruta Samhita
- Ashtanga Hridayasamhita
- Ashtanga Sangraha
- Bhava Prakasha
- Madhava Nidanam
Ayurvedic Influence on Society
The growing popularity of Ayurveda has led to the recognition of the ancient and traditional Indian medicines and its practicalities. It’s also evidently combined with western and other medicinal practices. Ayurveda is practised in institutions, taught in schools, spread among individuals and the larger society.
Herbal and natural approaches and treatments are deemed safer and efficient by many researchers. With the growing modernity and evolution, man has fallen into the trap of exhaustion. Our everyday lifestyles weigh down our physical, mental, and spiritual senses.
Ayurveda deals with the many underlying causes of degrading health. It aims at removing the causes from the root to eliminate any further manifestations of the disease.
The growing importance of Ayurveda has ensured healthier alterations in life. These techniques assist in the overall transformation and betterment of an individual. The relevance and efficiency of Ayurveda have been proven since time immemorial and will continue to do so.