is the ancient Indian medical science, the origin of which can be traced
back to more than 5000 years. The source of Ayurveda are the vedas , the
oldest available classics.
Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word, derived from two roots: ayur, which means
life, and veda, which mean knowledge. It is fair to say that 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. It is only system of medicine which incorporates
suggestions and remedies for both healthy and diseased people. Centuries
before the World Health Organization recognized that health is not merely
the physical well being and just the absence of disease, ayurveda was
dealing with the mental, physical and social well being of an individual.
The body :
According to Ayurveda every individual is made up of five elements, namely:
» Prithvi or earth.
» Apa or water.
» Tejas or fire.
» Vayu or air.
» Akash or space.
The structural aspect of the body is made up of these five elements, but
the functional aspect of the body is governed by three biological humors.
Ether and air combine to form what is known in Ayurveda as the Vata dosha.
Vata governs the principle of movement and therefore can be seen as the
force which directs nerve impulses, circulation, respiration, and
elimination. Fire and water combine to form the Pitta dosha. The Pitta dosha
governs the process of transformation or metabolism. The digestion of food
in our body is an example of Pitta function. Pitta is also responsible for
metabolism in the organ and tissue systems as well as cellular metabolism.
Finally, the water and earth combine to form the Kapha dosha.
There are seven body types: mono-types (vata, pitta or kapha predominant),
dual types (vata-pitta, pitta-kapha or, kapha-vata), and equal types, (vata,
pitta and kapha in equal proportions). Every individual has a unique
combination of these three doshas. To understand the uniqueness of every
individual is the very basis of ayurveda.
Ayurveda classifies human temperaments into three basic qualities: satvic,
rajasic and tamasic. Satvic qualities imply purity and clarity of perception
which are responsible for goodness and happiness. Rajas is responsible for
all movements, and activities. It leads to the life of sensual enjoyment,
pleasure and pain, effort and restlessness. Tamas is darkness, inertia,
heaviness and materialistic attitudes. There is a constant interplay of
these three gunas (qualities) in the individual consciousness, but the
relative predominance of either satva, rajas, or tamas is responsible for
individual psychological constitution.
The disease process:
According to Ayurveda, health is a state of balance between the body, mind
and consciousness. Within the body, Ayurveda recognizes the three doshas(
bodily humors) vata, pitta and kapha; seven dhatus(tissues), blood, plasma,
fat, muscle, bone, nerve, and reproductive; three malas(wastes), feces,
urine and sweat; and agni, the energy of metabolism. Disease is a condition
of disharmony in any of these factors. The root cause of imbalance, or
disease, is an aggravation of dosha, vata-pitta-kapha.
Ayurveda is the system of medicine incorporating centuries of wisdom in it.
The emphasis here is on ways to promote health rather than just treat
disease. The beauty of the system is that every individual is unique rather
than being just another case of particular disease. It is one of the few
systems of medicine taking mental, emotional and spiritual well being into
account. All the suggestions and remedies prescribed are totally in
conjunction with nature.