Ayurveda – The Indian Means to Checkmate all Common Ailments

WHAT EXACTLY IS AYURVEDA?

The term ‘Ayurveda’ is made up of the two Sanskrit words ‘Ayush’ and ‘Veda’. Ayush connotes life while Veda means science or knowledge. Therefore, ‘Ayurveda’ refers to the ‘Science of Life’.

TRACING AYURVEDA ROOTS

Its principles have been encapsulated and detailed in the ancient Indian treatises. It has evolved down the ages and now evolved into a scientific alternative medical science.

The ancient treatises of Ayurveda were composed by noted exponents of the subject like Parashara, Shalihotra and Nakula.

AMERICAN USERS OF ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

Researches estimate that 83 million USA residents spend more than $27 million a year using alternative medicine including Ayurveda. Similarly, there is a large following of Ayurveda and other alternative therapies among the Canadian English and Australian citizens.

THE THREE AYURVEDA EPOCHS

Broadly speaking, the annals of Ayurveda fall into three clear stages down the ages. They are the golden ancient stage, the desecration period and the post-independence rejuvenation age.

The ancient stage was the golden age of Ayurveda. This stage extended over years encompassing the age of the independent kingdoms when Ayurveda was the sole dependent means to effectively diagnose and treat illnesses of plants and also animals. There were royal and public patronages. Ayurveda flourished. Ayurveda treatises were composed. Study of Ayurveda occupied a pride of place. Brilliant students pursued Ayurveda with zeal and vigour.

The ancient stage was followed by the desecration period when the Indian kingdoms (patronizing Ayurveda) was exposed to the onslaughts of marauders from foreign countries. It was a time when most of the invaders destroyed invaluable Indian treasures including Ayurveda tomes. Sadly enough, many valuable Ayurveda treatises were entirely obliterated through various ways. To make matters worse, quacks made hay while the sun shone and introduced illicit variations in the Ayurveda system. Ayurveda also fell into disuse.

The post-Independence age of India is the rejuvenation epoch of Ayurveda. Particular reference must be made of the fag end of the 19th Century and the 20th Century. The Swadeshi movement gave the ultimate impetus to the all-round development of Ayurveda. Deliberate attempts of the national governments bore fruits to diagnose the problems and also implement the means to remove those hurdles. This is in spite of the fact that zealous studies of Ayurveda practices proceeded simultaneously along with those of the other modern and alternative medical sciences. Mentionably, Ayurveda studies went along scientific lines. As a consequence thereof, different parts of India witnessed the establishment of Ayurveda institutions, colleges, dispensaries, pharmacies, and even hospitals.

AYURVEDA MEDICINES

Since the ancient times, Ayurveda experts (composed of mendicants or saints) specialized in varied aspects of life of all living beings. Interestingly enough, the medicines prepared for the different types of diseases affecting various plants and animals were brewed from locally available natural substances. Notably, Ayurveda never uses artificial elements or concoctions.

A SUPPORTIVE THERAPY

Ayurveda is considered useful in supporting many other kinds of treatment programs. Ayurveda supporters believe it is a preventive as well as a curative therapy. They opine that Ayurveda strengthens the immune system against disease. So, they advise patients to change their radical lifestyles. They also believe that changing lifestyle habits can improve persistent problems such as back pain, arthritis, tension headaches, high blood pressure, obesity, constipation, allergies and colds, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and other stress disorders.

FOCUS OF AYURVEDIC THERAPIES

Ayurvedic therapies focus on lifestyle changes and herbal remedies, concentrating on diet, exercise, yoga, meditation, massage, herbal tonics, steam baths, enemas, and other alternative medical practices such as aromatherapy. Special cleansing therapies such as bloodletting and blood-thinning herbs are also used to rid the body of disease-causing toxins.

ENJOY THE AYURVEDA ADVANTAGE

Needless to say, the Indian public has been flocking to Ayurveda exponents owing to its effectiveness. Moreover, Ayurveda is cost effective as well.

Ayurveda extends the rational ways to treat all diseases of the internal organs.

Mentionably, these diseases are deemed by different modern medical sciences as rather chronic and even incurable.

What’s more Ayurveda underlines the aspects determining the healthy life of a person.

Naturally enough, Ayurveda extends the means to cure and even shield the human body against the attack of all ailments.

Ayurveda also offers the steps to pursue a disease free and disciplined life.

This Ayurveda does by studying the basic natures of human beings.

Above all, Ayurveda studies the human urges like sex, sleep, hunger and thirst among others.

Ayurveda gives us the means to keep these urges under control.

THE SCOPE OF AYURVEDA IS QUITE VAST

The scope of Ayurveda is really vast. It includes not just the medicines but all aspects concerning life. Hence, the purview of Ayurveda encompasses biology and also medical sciences.

Ayurveda diagnoses and offers effective homemade treatment for ailments affecting almost all animals and plants.

AYURVEDA SPECIALIZED COURSES

Hence, it is not surprising that the ancient Ayurveda exponents specialized in the modern-day veterinary and medical sciences. In fact, there were ‘Vriksha-Ayurveda’ (the natural science of diagnosing and treatment of diseases affecting plants and trees); ‘Gaja-Ayurveda’ (the natural science of diagnosing and treatment of diseases affecting pachyderms or elephants); ‘Go-Ayurveda’ (the natural science of diagnosing and treatment of diseases affecting cattle particularly cows); and ‘Ashwa-Ayurveda’ (the natural science diagnosing and treatment of diseases afflicting horses).

AYURVEDA DEGREES

In India, more than 100 colleges offer five-year courses on Ayurveda. These institutions grant degrees in Ayurvedic medicine upon completion of the program. In the United States of America, Ayurvedic practitioners must be licensed in some other form of health care, such as allopathy (Western medicine), or another system of alternative medicine, such as naturopathy, homeopathy, chiropractic, or acupuncture.

Ayurveda – The Allure of Ayurvedic Medicine in the Western World

Ayurveda is an ancient medical practice native to India whose prevalence in the Western world finds foothold in the last three decades. While there is an obvious attraction to Ayurvedic medicine in the western world, one can always find skeptics who wouldn’t even consider educating themselves on the subject before rushing to judgment.

Is Ayurveda a Medical Practice?

No. Ayurveda is not a medical practice, which is in contrast to the prevalent notion in the West. Ayurveda is akin to ‘herbalism’. Herbalism is the ancient practice of finding natural cures for human maladies which goes back 60,000 years when the Neanderthal men depended on nature’s herbs to cure human sicknesses as well as attend to their animals’ health issues.

As civilizations started developing in China, Greece and India, the inhabitants started following different forms of herbalism, which is now known in India as ‘Ayurveda’.

Isn’t Ayurveda based on Science?

It is a common misconception in the western world that since Ayurveda is thought of as an alternative medicine, it is non-scientific. Often Ayurveda is thought of as an exotic practice enjoyed in health spas. The Sanskrit word Ayurveda is made of two words: Ayur, meaning life and Veda, meaning knowledge. In other words, Ayurveda is a logical and systematic arrangement of herbal knowledge; it’s the science of life which encompasses mind, body and spirit.

Ayurvedic Medicine in the Western World

As mentioned before, Ayurvedic medicine has become popular in the western world in the last two or three decades. Many universities now offer courses in alternative medicine practice and many people have begun to treat it as a mainstream career option.

The allure of Ayurveda is mainly because of its nature of treatment. There are two main aims of Ayurvedic medicine:

“It treats the symptoms of a disease and it helps individuals to strengthen their immune system. Ayurveda treats the body, mind and spirit of a person as a whole entity, and works on the basis that the mind and body affect each other, and together can overcome disease”.

In other words, Ayurvedic medicine believes in holistic healing. Unlike the conventional or western medicine which begins treatment only when a human body contracts an ailment, Ayurveda begins healing before any diseases take place. This is preventive medicine in its purest form.

Ayurvedic herbs can be found in almost every household in India. Hence, the children are surrounded by the preventive nature of the herbs right from the beginning, which lessens the intensity with which diseases are contracted. Let’s take a small example – in any western country chances are that someone suffering from the common cold will rush to the doctor or the nearest medical center for treatment. In Asian countries, you will seldom find people visiting the clinic just to treat the same condition. The Ayurvedic remedies for the same condition are: a pinch of turmeric mixed with a glass of milk, a teaspoon of honey and a few drops of lime juice.

It is true that people in Asian countries also suffer from major health problems but their focus is always on holistic cure rather than short-term solutions which western medicines provide. The preventive nature of Ayurveda, or rather its curative nature, is the prime reason why western researchers are increasingly allured by Ayurveda.

Ancient & Modern Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a transnational phenomenon in the 21st century whose wide range of perspective incorporates the economic, socio-political, anthropological, philosophical, pharmacological and biomedical responses.

In the recent past, a dichotomy between the classical (ancient) and modern Ayurveda was created. Ayurvedic experts, practitioners and researchers classify the ‘ancient’ Ayurvedic wisdom as the original. ‘Modern’ Ayurveda to them is that very same knowledge which has been exported from the East to the West, where it was modified. reinterpreted and then was re-imported to Eastern countries.

Yet, there are still many who feel that this is simply an ideological difference. Some would argue that the western world which is so attuned to giving importance to things based on its “provable” value backed by scientific research is trying to modernize Ayurveda too on the same grounds.

To any practitioner of Ayurveda, this is an unjustified and unimportant addition to Ayurvedic medicine because a healing system which is based on the natural healing processes endowed by Mother Nature itself cannot be confined into scientific proportions.

Nevertheless, the allure of Ayurveda remains a predominant factor in the acceptance of the same in the western world because of its natural and preventive healing measures.