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Ayurveda is the
system of traditional medicine in India. It is based on many centuries of
experience in medical practice, handed down through generations. Composed
of two Sanskrit words, "Ayu" or life, and "Veda" or knowledge, Ayurveda is
regarded as "The Science of Life" and the practice involves the care of physical,
mental and spiritual health of human beings. Ayurveda is also based on sound
ecological awareness of the place of animals, birds and plants in relation
to human life. The time honored, well tested ancient formulas of Ayurvedic
medicines use natural herbs, minerals and even gems, to cure disease and to
promote immunity and there are no deadly experiments on animals in the lab.
The Vedas, Ayurveda and Hippo crates :
As with the tradition
of Hippo crates in Western medicine, the Ayurvedic tradition derives its inspiration
from an ancient lineage. The practitioners of this tradition believe that
at different cycles of Creation, the supreme Creator Brahma inspired the sages
to compose the Vedas, of which Ayurveda is one of the branches. The Vedic
writings have become the commandment like scriptures of Indian civilization
and are regarded as the eternal source of knowledge. It is likely that the
writings of Ayurveda are the earliest medical writings known to humanity.
The moral emphasis in this discipline is that the knowledge is to be used
for the benefit of humanity. Hence you will often find the practitioners of
Ayurveda talk in terms personal matters and use terminology like God, the
Spirit and Nature as opposed to money matters, insurance policies and patient
turn around time.
The names of famous medical practitioners in Ayurveda are sages like Charak, Shusrut, Vagbhatt, and Atrey. Side by side with the intense study of biology and botany, these early masters perfected the system of Yoga, which is a common household word in the West and an integral part of Ayurvedic medical practice. Due to its long history, in-depth clinical experience, and a dedicated sense of service, Ayurveda can be regarded as a kind of science of life. In search of balance and harmony in the complicated personality of the human being, the practitioners of Ayurveda look for the control and direction of the 'vital breath of life', where the spirit, the body and the mind are in harmony. Thus Ayurveda emphasizes the psychology of emotional adjustment in conjunction with drugs, diet, and other habits meant for healthy living. "Prevention is better than cure," is a strong principle in this practice and preventive medicine and self-control are given prime importance in Ayurveda.
The philosophy of Ayurveda:
to a Hindu philosophy, the evolution of a human being becomes possible after
he/she has lived through 840,000 previous births. This symbolic figure is
meant to emphasize the uniqueness of our humanity. It implies that the human
race is special and that our goal is to rediscover and cherish our existence
upon this earth. Ayurveda accepts this symbolism. It also emphasizes the connection
between humans and other worlds, making our race a part of the larger universe.
Ayurveda subscribes to these values of cherishing life and discovery of meaning
in our existence.
Another goal in Ayurveda is to achieve Nirvana or liberation from all kinds of "wants". This is primarily achieved through good health, which is regarded as the supreme foundation of life. A healthy and happy person is no burden to anyone and with the right attitude can contribute to the welfare of others as well as his own. This state of being is called Virtue in Sanskrit meaning leading a virtuous life. Its opposite is Kamma or temptation, which is accompanied by irregular living and disease. With this view, Ayurveda cultivates the awareness that balanced living leads us to being virtuous or to Nirvana and freedom from all "wants".
Balance in Ayurveda:
In clinical terms, Ayurveda advocates that our health is regulated by three fundamental values, called vata, pitta, and kapha. Vata governs movement, Pitta is concerned with functions of heat, metabolism, and energy production and Kapha, governs physical structure and fluid balance. As a group they are known as the quality of "dosha", or imperfections. These three factors govern all the activities of our mind and body and they have to be balanced through intelligent choices for optimal health. The main purpose of Ayurvedic treatments is to establish the balance in these three fundamental qualities.
The sub branches of Ayurvedic medical knowledge.
Ayurveda has eight specialized branches as follows:
(1) Kaya chikitsa or Internal medicine
(2) Salya tantra or Surgery
(3) Salakya tantra or Management of diseases of Eye & ENT
(4) kaumar bhutya or Pediatrics
(5) Bhutavidya or Psycho-therapy including Seizures by evil spirits
(6) Agada tantra or Toxicology
(7) Rasayana tantra or Geriatrics
(8) Vajikarana tantra or the Science of aphrodisiacs
Ayurveda includes the Astronomical science, Astrology including Indian philosophy. Health is the supreme foundation of Virtue, Wealth, Kamma and diseases are the destroyers of Life and Shreyas. According to Hinduism after eighty four lacs of births, a human being is evolved; hence human form is the only stage when man can liberate himself from this cycle of births and deaths. Thus, man's life is the most significant and precious in which he has to strive hard for Liberation-Nirvana.
With this view in mind Ayurveda denotes that this body, the media to Nirvana is to be cared for, just as a Mayor takes care of the city and charioteer daily oils his axle and keeps clean, similarly one has to take care of his body.
Ayurveda prescribes "dos and don'ts" for the preservation as well as promotion of positive health and prevention as well as cure of diseases.
What you need for a balance
Your health can be simplified to three fundamental principles of nature called vata, pitta, and kapha [these three are called dosha]. These three factors govern all the activities of your mind and body. When they are in balance , health is optimal. The main purpose of all Ayurvedic treatments is to establish balance in these three fundamental principles.
Vata : Governs bodily functions concerned with movement.
Pitta : Governs bodily functions concerned with heat, metabolism, and energy production
Kapha : Governs bodily functions concerned with physical structure , and fluid balance.
Vata : Moving quick, light , cold, minutes, rough dry, leads the order doshas.
Pitta : hot, sharp, light, acidic, slightly, oily.
Kapha : heavy, oily, slow, cold, steady, solid, dull.
RESULTS OF BALANCE BALANCE VATA
RESULTS OF IMBALANCE
The Six Tastes and Examples
Sweet : Sugar, milk, butter, rice, breads, Pasta
Sour : Yogurt, lemon, cheese
Salty : Salt
Pungent : Spicy foods, ginger, hot peppers,Cumin
Bitter : Green leafy vegetables, Turmeric
Astringent : Beans, Lentils, Pomegranate
How to Use the Six Tastes
To Decrease Vata- Sweet, Sour, Salty
To Increase Vata- Pungent, Bitter, Astringent
To Decrease Pitta- Sweet, Bitter, Astringent
To Increase Pitta- Pungent, Sour, Salty
To Decrease Kapha- Pungent, Bitter, Astringent
To Increase Kapha- Sweet, Sour, Salty