Ayurvedic Medicine
On the Ancient Indian Philosophy of Ayurveda 'Science of Life', Uses, Types of Dosha, Hair, Diet, Foods, Recipes, Skin, Human Health and the Universe

Man is the epitome of the universe. Within man, there is as much diversity as in the world outside. Similarly, the outside world is as diverse as human beings themselves. (The Ancient Ayurveda text, Charaka)


Summary of Ayurveda

'Ayurvedic medicine (also called Ayurveda) is one of the world's oldest medical systems. It originated in India and has evolved there over thousands of years.

The term 'Ayurveda' combines the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge). Thus, Ayurveda means 'the science of life'.

Ayurvedic medicine aims to integrate and balance the body, mind, and spirit; thus, some view it as holistic. This balance is believed to lead to happiness and health, and to help prevent illness.

Eight Branches, Uses & Sacred Texts

Many Ayurvedic practices predate written records and were handed down by word of mouth. Two sacred books, written in Sanskrit more than 2,000 years ago, are considered the main ancient texts on Ayurvedic medicine, Caraka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita. The texts describe eight branches of Ayurvedic medicine:

* Internal medicine
* Surgery
* Treatment of head and neck disease
* Gynecology, obstetrics, and pediatrics
* Toxicology
* Psychiatry
* Care of the elderly and rejuvenation
* Sexual vitality.

Ayurvedic medicine continues to be practiced in India, where nearly 80 percent of the population uses it exclusively or combined with conventional (Western) medicine.

http://nccam.nih.gov/health/ayurveda/introduction.htm


Interconnection, Constitution (Prakriti) & Life Force (Dosha)

Ayurvedic medicine has several key foundations that pertain to health and disease. These concepts have to do with universal interconnectedness, the body's constitution (prakriti), and life forces (doshas).

Interconnectedness

Ideas about the relationships among people, their health, and the universe form the basis for how Ayurvedic practitioners think about problems that affect health. Ayurvedic medicine holds that:

* All things in the universe (both living and nonliving) are joined together.
* Every human being contains elements that can be found in the universe.
* Health will be good if one's mind and body are in harmony, and one's interaction with the universe is natural and wholesome.
* Disease arises when a person is out of harmony with the universe. Disruptions can be physical, emotional, spiritual, or a combination of these.

Constitution (prakriti)

Constitution refers to a person's general health, the likelihood of becoming out of balance, and the ability to resist and recover from disease or other health problems.
The constitution is called the prakriti (a Sanskrit word that means, 'nature', 'creativity' or 'the first creation'). The prakriti is a person's unique combination of physical and psychological characteristics and the way the body functions to maintain health. It is influenced by such factors as digestion and how the body deals with waste products. The prakriti is believed to be unchanged over a person's lifetime.

Life forces (doshas)

Important characteristics of the prakriti are the three life forces or energies called doshas, which control the activities of the body. A person's chances of developing certain types of diseases are thought to be related to the way doshas are balanced, the state of the physical body, and mental or lifestyle factors.

Ayurvedic medicine holds the following beliefs about the three doshas:

* Each dosha is made up of two of five basic elements: ether, air, fire, water, and earth.
* Each dosha has a particular relationship to bodily functions and can be upset for different reasons.
* Each person has a unique combination of the three doshas, although one dosha is usually prominent. Doshas are constantly being formed and reformed by food, activity, and bodily processes.
* Each dosha has its own physical and psychological characteristics.
* An imbalance of a dosha will produce symptoms that are unique to that dosha. Imbalances may be caused by a person's age, unhealthy lifestyle, or diet; too much or too little mental and physical exertion; the seasons; or inadequate protection from the weather, chemicals, or germs.

Types of Doshas

The vata dosha combines the elements ether and air. It is considered the most powerful dosha because it controls very basic body processes such as cell division, the heart, breathing, discharge of waste, and the mind. Vata can be aggravated by, for example, fear, grief, staying up late at night, eating dry fruit, or eating before the previous meal is digested. People with vata as their main dosha are thought to be especially susceptible to skin and neurological conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, anxiety, and insomnia.

The pitta dosha represents the elements fire and water. Pitta controls hormones and the digestive system. A person with a pitta imbalance may experience negative emotions such as anger and may have physical symptoms such as heartburn within 2 or 3 hours of eating. Pitta is upset by, for example, eating spicy or sour food, fatigue, or spending too much time in the sun. People with a predominantly pitta constitution are thought to be susceptible to hypertension, heart disease, infectious diseases, and digestive conditions such as Crohn's disease.

The kapha dosha combines the elements water and earth. Kapha helps to maintain strength and immunity and to control growth. An imbalance of the kapha dosha may cause nausea immediately after eating. Kapha is aggravated by, for example, greed, sleeping during the daytime, eating too many sweet foods, eating after one is full, and eating and drinking foods and beverages with too much salt and water (especially in the springtime). Those with a predominant kapha dosha are thought to be vulnerable to diabetes, cancer, obesity, and respiratory illnesses such as asthma.

http://nccam.nih.gov/health/ayurveda/introduction.htm


Ayurveda: Humans & the Universe

'The basic premise of Ayurveda is that the entire cosmos or universe is part of one singular absolute. Everything that exists in the vast external universe (macrocosm), also appears in the internal cosmos of the human body (microcosm). The human body consisting of 50-100 million cells, when healthy, is in harmony, self-perpetuating and self-correcting just as the universe is.

Every person is subjected to the constant interaction with his or her environment which will affect the person's constitution at any time. The body will try to maintain a dynamic equilibrium or balance with the environment.

Your current condition is called your vikruti. Although it reflects your ability to adjust to life's influences and is always changing, it should match your prakruti, or inborn constitution, as closely as possible. If the current proportion of your doshas differs significantly from your constitutional proportion, it indicates imbalances, which in turn can lead to illness. The farther your Vikruti is from your Prakruti, more ill you are.

Ayurveda teaches that your Vikruti can be changed by means of diet and meditation so as to approach your Prakruti or the state where you have perfect health.

http://www.usenature.com/ayurvedic.htm


What Dosha Are You? Take a Quiz

Taking the dosha quiz is free and fun! It helps you to determine your dosha, (mind & body type). There are three doshas, Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Your score on the dosha quiz will give you an idea about what proportion those doshas show up in your physiology, and usually one or two of the doshas will be more dominant, and that is your dosha, baby!

http://www.whatsyourdosha.com/index.php


Watch a Lecture on Ayurveda

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTOJ8c__rk8


Study on Toxic Metals Found in Ayurvedic Medicines

'Lead, mercury, and arsenic have been detected in a substantial proportion of Indian manufactured traditional Ayurvedic medicines. Metals may be present due to the practice of rasa shastra (combining herbs with metals, minerals, and gems).

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of Ayurvedic medicines available via the Internet containing detectable lead, mercury, or arsenic and to compare the prevalence of toxic metals in US vs Indian manufactured medicines and between rasa shastra and non–rasa shastra medicines.

Design: A search using 5 Internet search engines and the search terms Ayurveda and Ayurvedic medicine identified 25 Web sites offering traditional Ayurvedic herbs, formulas, or ingredients, for oral use and available for sale.

From 673 identified products, 230 Ayurvedic medicines were randomly selected for purchase in August-October 2005.

One-fifth of both US manufactured and Indian manufactured Ayurvedic medicines purchased via the Internet contain detectable lead, mercury, or arsenic.'

http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/300/8/915



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Ayurvedic Medicine: Indian Philosophy of Ayurveda, Uses, Types of Dosha, Hair, Diet, Foods, Recipes, Skin





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