Monday, 23 May 2011

Ayurveda

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is a holistic healing science which comprises of two words, Ayu and Veda. Ayu means life and Veda means knowledge or science. So the literal meaning of the word Ayurveda is the science of life. Ayurveda is a science dealing not only with treatment of some diseases but is a complete way of life.

Ayurveda is the ancient Indian medical science, the origin of which can be traced back to the Vedas, which are the oldest available classics of the world. Vedas are the ancient books of knowledge, or science, from India. They contain practical and scientific information on various subjects beneficial to the humanity like health, philosophy, engineering, astrology etc.

Ayurveda combines physical, psychological and spiritual therapies in an approach to health, that has addressed itself to the fundamental principles of good health and longevity. It has developed a tradition of medicine and a system of treatment based on the inherent ability of the human body to rejuvenate, to heal and to restore its natural balance.

Ayurveda is based on a system of Tridosha or Three Humours which classifies all individual constitutions of people, diseases, herbs and other non-herbal remedies and therapies according to whether they are Vata (air or nerve oriented), Kapha (water or mucoid type) or Pitta (fire type) [5] . Herbs that have pungent, sour and salty flavors stimulate fire; herbs that are astringent (drying) and bitter stimulate vata-air, or the nerve centered humour; herbs that are sweet, salty and sour stimulate or increase Kapha-water, or the mucoid humour.

In contrast, herbs that are sweet, sour and salty flavored ameliorate Vata-air, which means that they have a particular affinity for the nervous system. Herbs that are astringent, sweet and bitter ameliorate Pitta-fire, meaning that they are soothing and anti-inflammatory. Finally herbs that are pungent, bitter and astringent ameliorate Kapha-water, which means they tend to increase digestive fire, expel and dry excessive fluid build up in the system, including clearing excessive fat from the body, and the accumulation of cholesterol and other fatty deposits in the veins and arteries of the body.

This Indian system of medicine has laid down principles and methods of treatment for various diseases including chronic illnesses where there is no definite curative treatment, and symptomatic relief is the only existing treatment option.

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