Ayurvedic Medicine is not new, it’s been around for more than 3,000 years! What is new however is more and more people have realized the benefits of this herbal holistic healing system and practice, and are using it for better health in their lives.
Let’s find out why Ayurveda is now such a respected holistic approach to health and healing.
1. Personalized Approach Toward Medicine:
Every person is unique in some way. Though there are limited elements from both Ayurveda and Modern Scientific point of view. However the organization of these elements renders us unique. Indian Ayurveda theoretically maintains this viewpoint and practically devises means during the diagnosis and management phase as well.
- The Different Conditions Of Doshas: increase/decrease, balance/imbalance, upward/downward/oblique movement of humors, peripheral dependent, main cavity dependent, middle path dependent, native positioning, foreign positioning, independent/dependent, differential micro-planning, positioning in tissues etc. These are some of the considerations that are used during the management of the disease in ayurvedic medicine.
- The Stage Of Herbs Or Medicine: ripe/unripe, dry/fresh, natural/altered taste, qualities, active principle, effect and medicinal forms etc. These considerations are kept in view while dealing with medicinal herbs in Ayurveda.
- The Stages Of Time: the six seasons, time of the day and sometimes astrological considerations are important to devise the time of administration of medicine in Ayurveda.
- The Conditions Of Place & Surroundings: dry area, humid area, forest area, living in flats, living in nature etc.
- The Different States Of Our Strength: The natural strength of our body and mind varies so it is essential to evaluate them before administering any herb. e.g. natural, time-bound, Dependent on means, high/moderate/mild.
- The Conditions Of Food: There are rules to be observed by every body pertaining to ayurvedic dietetics.
- The Conditions Of Suitability: Some persons are easily adjusted to particular conditions due to their natural tendency and their being habitual to those conditions like environmental or surrounding related conditions, time related conditions.
- The States Of Mind: It refers to EQ or emotional quotient. Our mental strength and endurance and sensitivity varies for different conditions like pain, temperature, emotions etc.
- The States Of Body: Obesity, emaciated and Tissue strength tests are done to evaluate these conditions.
- Our Humoral Tendency: The states of Doshas and their differential conditions are also to be inferred before commencing treatment.
- The Stages Of Age: The age of patient is important for diagnostic, prognostic and management point of view in Indian medicine.
Definitely all these considerations might appear too complex initially. Gradually with some practice these are easily incorporated into proper place. Some Index cards or file format help to systematically consider them all. You will see these to be practically used in Holistic Herbalist consultation segment.
2. Equal Emphasis On Preventive Aspect Or Enhancing Quality Of Health:
Most of the medical therapies concentrate on medical or therapeutical aspect of health. Long before the modern Social & Preventive Medicine, all the important considerations of Preventive Medicine had been present and is being used in Indian Ayurveda medicine like vaccination or improving the immunity, dealing with epidemics, dietetics, exercises, lifestyle modifications, massage, seasonal and daily health regime, health guidelines for children, youngsters, adults, ladies and aged; prayer, meditation, yoga.
On independent scrutiny, one can easily find in Ayurveda the theoretical and practical conglomeration of alternative and holistic medicine and therapies. Indian holistic medicine can best be used in the foundational role for Holistic & Integrated Approach toward health and disease.
3. Aiming Toward Side Effects Free Medicine:
Ideally and practically this is the toughest part of any system of medicine. But every system should strive to maintain this goal. It is the hardest goal to achieve with modern pharmacological drugs. Still modern pharmacology considers this as the ideal consideration for a drug.
Ayurveda considers the appropriate treatment to that management which relieves the disease and doesn’t cause any other disease as a result of treatment. This is effected through balancing the qualities and synergistic planning and formulation of medicinal herbs.
4. Rejuvenative & Anti-Ageing Treatment In Indian Ayurvedic Medicine:
Among all the health enhancing aspects of Ayurvedic medicine, this approach toward rejuvenative and anti-ageing therapies are one of the best and most intensive one. Ayurveda endorses two kinds of use of these therapies – one for the common active persons that can be used daily in the form of herbal supplements like rasayanas or rejuvenative agents and the second one for persons who can devote intensively a few months for this purpose alone.
5. The Upholding Of Moral & Spiritual Values:
The original propagators of Ayurveda introduced Ayurveda as a result of having compassionate feeling toward the suffering mankind. Ayurveda upholds morality and spiritual values. Previously the ayurvedic Vaidyas also got training in religious activities. Many of them considered their ayurvedic set up equal to temples.
6. Eradication Of Disorders By Panchakarma Purification Therapy In Ayurvedic Medicine:
Indian ayurveda recommends both pacifying or suppressive and purification therapy. Pacifying therapy is good for mild to moderate disorders. Panchakarma purification therapy is recommended for eradication of diseases, for severe diseases and before rejuvenative therapy. Any healthy person can undergo rejuvenative therapy for better health and for preventing seasonal diseases.
The general benefits of purification therapy are – better digestion and assimilation, pacification of disease, better health, healthier and more alert senses, development of mind and intellect, radiant complexion, increase in strength, healthier tissues, anti-ageing effect and longevity.
7. Use Of Natural Medicinal Herbs In Ayurveda:
Ayurveda chiefly uses natural herbs for medicinal purpose. Herbs are used in their natural form. Even the extracts contain the natural ingredients. There are five basic forms of medicinal herbs – extracted juice, paste, decoction, hot infusion and cold infusion. Many other forms of medicine are derived out of these five basic forms.
Right from the beginning Ayurveda observed quality control. There had been provisions for proper measurements for liquids and solids. Herbal collection guidelines are in proper place. Herbal drying and storage methods are also dealt with. And even the best potency period of herbs is mentioned in ancient literature, contrary to the popular belief that herbs don’t have expiry date.
Some of the poisonous and toxic herbs are used after proper purification. They are advised to be used in lesser dosage with good therapeutic safety index, after purification and after adding proper antidotes. This gives the balance and synergy to this holistic approach to health.
8. Use Of Minerals & Animal Products After Purification & Calcination:
This is the most defamed, least understood field of Indian Ayurveda. The coming decades or might be a century will unravel the marvel in the development of these ayurvedic products. Modern science is becoming more equipped to check the quality and bio-safety of these bhasmas or calcined products.
The crude minerals and gems are purified several times and calcined several times in the mentioned ways to instill the properties of bio-safety, bio-activation, bio-availability and therapeutic and life energy enhancement. These preparations are useful in small dosages, with less consideration of bodily humors and to activate the associated herbal formulation.
When I was studying Ayurveda and was in third year, I used to wonder and doubt about the use of these special calcination processes after the minerals ash is ready. This was simply due to my science background – Physics, Chemistry and Biology. As I became exposed to Yoga, Reiki and Pranic Healing, the presumption became a practical matter. These preparations affect our vital energy or Prana the most.
The world as a whole is underway to the understanding and use of these preparations as latest technologies like HPCL studies, clinical research trials report, toxicity reports, Nanotechnology is affirming their safety and efficacy.
One of my friend, Arvind Balyan during MTech at IIT or Indian Institute Of Technology, New Delhi, completed a research on daily mixing the herbal powder in kharala. For doing this for two hours a day for 30 days, he found the size of particles present in herbal powder to be in the nanometer (10-9 meter). Ayurvedic formulation prepared simply in kharala can render the particle size in nanometers! Yes!!
9. The Role Of Ayurvedic Dietetics & Lifestyle:
Ayurvedic treatment should be coupled with proper diet, exercise and lifestyle. The person should follow the rules of hygiene, daily and seasonal regimen. The ayurvedic physician should advise the patient about what to take and what not to take.
10. Avoiding The Causative Factors Of Diseases As Primary Approach In Ayurvedic Medicine:
Whatever dietary, lifestyle and emotional imbalances that cause the disease should be rectified and modified. Suppose, someone is of Pitta nature. If he uses a lot of sour and pungent tasting food, he will suffer with hyperacidity and later gastric ulcer. So it would be a better recourse to adopt the dietary, emotional and lifestyle related practices that avoid the causative factors. It will help in maintaining the health and in earlier recovery from the disease.
The Indian Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine system serves the individuals holistically while maintaining their physical, mental, moral and spiritual integrity. It is a medicine system that was developed more than 3,000 years ago and relies on using natural herbs to cleanse and restore the body to good health.
Ayurvedic Medicine has the qualities to play the foundational role in integrating all the therapies and systems of alternative medicine. Ayurveda is emerging as the platform of holistic medicine the world over. There are some features of Ayurveda that can be of use for any system of medicine to qualify for having integral approach and becoming a balanced system.