Ayurveda is a kind of traditional Indian medicine that dates back to around 3000 BC. Mysticism was an integral part of early Ayurvedic practise, and the discipline had a firm scientific foundation. Early Ayurveda was an alchemy of mythology and science. Ayurveda was first taught orally from one pupil to another by a teacher, and then it was written down in a collection of ancient Indian writings called the Vedas. The words “Ayus” and “Veda” are where the term “Ayurveda” originates from. Ayus, which comes from Sanskrit, is translated into English as “life,” and Veda, which comes from Sanskrit, meaning “knowledge” or “science.”
Sanskrit, an ancient language used in India, was used to write the manuscripts that outline the intricate practises of Ayurveda. Ayurveda was practised by both wealthy and impoverished people throughout the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia over the course of many centuries.
This age-old medicinal practise is gaining fresh ground in today’s contemporary society, which is becoming an increasingly hostile environment for its citizens. The principles of natural living are often disregarded in our contemporary way of life, which is rife with pollution, stress, and harmful ways of living. In contrast, Ayurveda may be seen as a step-by-step guide for maintaining a healthy and balanced coexistence between humans and their surrounding environments. By gaining an understanding of this natural philosophy of existence, one may develop the ability to “heal” themselves.
The modern medical science is dependent on organ and system specialisations, and it often disregards the environment as a comprehensive whole. Humans are viewed as inherent part of their habitat and not as distinct from the natural world, which is one of the tenets of the Vedic ideals, which seek natural equilibrium both inside the body and in its relationship to the surrounding environment.
One of the goals of Ayurveda is to keep the body and the mind, as well as the relationship between those two and the external world, in a state of equilibrium. Both your physical health and mental well-being will benefit from a lifestyle that is in tune with the natural world and is guided by the laws of nature. Maintaining your health and preserving your happiness may be accomplished by paying attention to the warning signs that your body sends out when anything is wrong. Ayurveda does not need the use of complex machinery or high-priced experts. A fundamental knowledge of one’s own body as well as the nutritional value of the food consumed is essential to the upkeep of good health.
Ayurveda’s primary goal is to help people keep their health, while the treatment and prevention of illness is a secondary goal. A favourable state of health is the starting point for Ayurvedic treatment, which is accomplished on a daily basis via careful attention to one’s nutrition and way of life. In this way, illnesses are unable to establish a foothold from which they may attack or expand.
A purusa, as opposed to just a body, is what an Ayurvedic patient is referred to as. The comprehensive mix of the body, intellect, senses, and soul is what Purusa includes in its entirety. It is not enough for an Ayurvedic physician to only mask or reduce a patient’s physical symptoms; rather, they are responsible for restoring the patient to full health. A personal connection with the patient and care for their wellbeing form the foundation of Ayurvedic medicine from the standpoint of the treating physician. There is a possibility that healing cannot take place in the absence of this intimate connection between the patient and the practitioner.
The Five Element Theory, also known as the Pancha Mahabhutas, is one of the core tenets of Ayurveda. According to this theory, everything on Earth may be broken down into one of five fundamental categories: earth, water, fire, air, and space. The Pancha Mahabhutas hypothesis categorises not only the things that may be found on Earth, but also natural cycles such as the changing of the seasons. It is an effective method for gaining an understanding of how man interacts with the environment in which he lives.
There are characteristics associated with each of the five elements (mahabhutas) that have an effect on both the body and the intellect. Every piece of matter is composed of a combination of the five elements, but each kind of matter has a predominating constituent that characterises it. The equilibrium and nature of the elements are never held in a fixed state; qualities such as warmth (agni), dryness (vayu), and humidity (jala), among others, are always in a state of natural flux. Storms, hurricanes, floods, and droughts are all types of severe weather that may result from the combination of these two factors becoming volatile or excessive.
Composition of Humans People are one of the numerous living species that can be found on Earth, and they are fundamentally composed of the same elements that make up all of the other entities that can be found on Earth. After death, our bodies are returned to the elements—the earth, water, fire, air, and space. Through breathing and nutrition, a person is able to preserve the mix of elements that are already existing in the body. This is accomplished by absorbing the elements that are present in the natural environment. The “five element” idea proposes that the link between people and the rest of the natural world may be explained by these five elements. As a result, the human body may benefit from the healing properties of foods and plants. Because humans and flora have the same elemental make-up, people may be repaired and regenerated by flora.
According to Ayurvedic philosophy, a person may be divided into two separate categories: the first relates to the physical body, and the second relates to the mind. This mix of body and mind categories is what determines an individual’s Prakriti, which may be translated as “nature.”
Dosha is a Sanskrit word that literally translates to “that which contaminates.” The doshas are a kind of infectious agent or a vector for illness. Disease develops in the body when the three doshas—vata, pitta, and kapha—are out of balance. Dosha is a term that precisely refers to the vata, pitta, and kapha types of biological energy. A feature, an influence, or an urge are all examples of what the word guna means when translated from Sanskrit.
When you are aware of your Dosha and Guna, you get an insight of your fundamental nature, both physically and mentally. If you are aware of your prakriti, you may create a personalised diet and way of life that can aid in the avoidance of illness and bodily illnesses, as well as the achievement of mental tranquilly. This knowledge is essential to maintaining harmony with one’s environment and is the cornerstone of good health. It is not possible to alter a person’s elemental nature, also known as their dosha. Nevertheless, the mind may play a part in reshaping your personality by gaining beneficial attributes and eliminating undesirable mental features. This can be accomplished via the process of self-improvement.
There are three qualities, which are known as the Gunas. A guna is either a trait or a quality. In certain contexts, a guna may also refer to an influence or an inclination. It is stated that there are three gunas that make up all of the matter in the universe. Our thoughts are made up of all of the gunas in the same way that our bodies are made up of all of the elements. The three primary gunas or attributes are known as sattva, rajas, and tamas. Sattva refers to wisdom and purity, while Rajas refers to activity and passion (inertia, ignorance).
In the context of humans, guna is a term that alludes to the mental nature as well as the individual’s character. The gunas are the factors that determine whether a person is sattvic, which means they are calm, tolerant, and patient; rajasic, which means they are greedy, passionate, impulsive, exploitative, materialistic, and focused on sensual gratification; or tamasic, which means they are slothful, ignorant, deceitful, and insensitive.
Because the mind and the body are so closely intertwined, an increase in rajasic or tamasic things—whether by interaction with them or consumption of them—causes an imbalance in the mind and suffering in the body. This expresses itself as a variety of diseases and illnesses in their various manifestations. When there is an imbalance in a person’s dosha, it might cause disturbances in their mental guna.
The 20th century saw the formation of professional groups for Ayurvedic doctors, elevating their stature to that of modern practitioners. In recent years, India has moved to officially recognise and incorporate Ayurveda into its mainstream medical system. The Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) is in charge of the administration of the system. In order to get their Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (B.A.M.S.) degree, Ayurveda practitioners in India must first complete five and a half years of academic study at an Ayurveda medical school, followed by one year of clinical training.
Practice in the Western Hemisphere Because of the norms and regulations that govern medical practise in the West, Ayurvedic therapies are often done in the form of massage therapy and as dietary/herbal nutrition. Research on Ayurveda is carried out by an organisation in the United States known as the National Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine.
In terms of intellectual property rights, a number of western (US and European) pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions have come into conflict with their Indian counterparts and traditional practitioners of Ayurveda regarding the IPR’s of various natural products that have recently been researched in the West. Indian practitioners have been aware of the pharmacology of these medicines for generations, and as a result, they have priority when it comes to their patent rights.
Primary criticisms relate to the absence of thorough scientific investigations or clinical trials of many ayurvedic medicines. These criticisms are at the heart of the scientific study and standardisation issues. The majority of clinical studies using Ayurvedic treatments have been small, had flaws with study designs, had proper control groups, or had other concerns that influenced how significant the findings were, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).
Concerns relating to safety It has been shown in the laboratory that the use of certain ayurvedic medications that include herbs, metals, minerals, and other substances may lead to substantial toxicological and metabolic problems.
A study that found significant levels of toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and arsenic in over 20% of Ayurvedic medicines made in South Asia and sold in the United States was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), which is the official publication of the American Medical Association (AMA). The Journal of the American Medical Association came to the conclusion that the use of these drugs in accordance with the recommendations provided by the makers “may result in heavy metal intakes that are over established regulatory levels.” Research along these lines that was carried out in India found the same results.
“Miracle Cures”: Critics also argue the safety of some Ayurvedic medications that claim to be “Miracle Cures.” This is due to the fact that “miracles” are subject to theology rather than scientific examination. “Miracles” are believed to have occurred by God.
Ayurvedic knowledge originated within the Vedas as a way of life – an intimate connection with nature and spirit. It then evolved into medical aspects, which took priority over the spiritual forms of healing. As Ayurveda becomes globally commercialised – it’s spiritual aspects may recede. Nevertheless, there is an increasing body of physicians who weave Ayurveda’s spiritual therapies most effectively into the medical realm, with spectacular results.
It has been a source of therapeutic hope for people and civilizations for hundreds of years. Ayurvedic science and medicine are ancient, but they continue to endure with a relevance and wisdom for human beings across the ages. Ayurveda’s gentle wisdom embraces an intimate knowledge of the spirit and the body, which serves as its temple.