Ayurveda the science of life, is a comprehensive medical system that has been the traditional system of healthcare in India for more than 5000 years.
The word Ayurveda derives from the very old and traditional Indian language “Sanskrit”. “Ayus” means life or life spam. “Veda” means wisdom, knowledge, science.
“Ayurveda is the science of life.”
Ayurveda is not only a medical system rather a philosophy, which teaches how to lead a healthy life in which the body, mind & soul are balanced.
According to Ayurveda Life itself is defined as the combination of the body, sense organs, mind and soul, the factors responsible for preventing decay and the death.According to this perspective, Ayurveda is concerned with measures to protect AYUS which includes healthy living along with therapeutic measures that relate to Physical, mental, social and spiritual harmony.
One is in perfect health when the Three doshas ( vata, pitta and Kapha) Digestive fire ( digestion, assimilation and metabolism) all the body tissues & components (Dhatus) (the entire physical body) all the excretory functions (the physiological functions of urination and defecation) are in perfect order with a pleasantly disposed and contented mind, senses and spirit.
Based on citation in RIGVEDA (An ancient Sanskrit text) the traditional system of healthcare in India originated around 4500 to 1600BC.
In early days, healthcare was considered a part of the spiritual tradition of a universal religion. The concept of disease management using various herbs and dietary intervention evolved in to science that formed the basis of the name AYURVEDA around 2500 to 600Bc.
The early sages conceived the vast knowledge of Ayurveda without animal testing or randomisation controlled traits. It is believed that the sages were deeply devoted to god and considered health an integral part of spiritual life, receiving the knowledge of Ayurveda through divine revelation.
This knowledge was then transmitted orally to subsequent generation and eventually transcribed in palm leaves and from palm leaves transcribed to books.
This science evolved in to 2 schools- the school of physicians and the school of surgeon.
Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Astanga hridaya as the senior triad texts and madhava nidana, Sharangadhara Samhita and Bhavaprakasha are the junior triad texts.
Kayachikitsa (Internal Medicine): The Ayurvedic treatment based on digestive fire known as ‘Agni’ is defined as Kayachikitsa. This branch deals with general medication mainly due to improper functioning of the digestive fire, which is solely responsible for transforming food into the essential elements of energy for the human body. It takes care of treating many health disorders related to Agni like diarrhoea, fever, anaemia, nausea and few other general health conditions that mainly occur when there’s a change in an individual’s way of living.
Balaroga chikitsa (Child Disease Treatment) or Paediatrics: This branch is also known as Kumaraya Bhritya, deals with the treatment of diseases of children including pregnancy and childbirth. Generally the Ayurvedic medicines according to this branch are not very powerful and low doses are recommended to protect the health mechanism of children. An extensive range of sickness issues related to children are treated and Ayurveda always recommends quality breast-feeding (without any germs in breast milk) for the complete growth of children.
Graharoga chikitsa or Psychiatry: Ancient people trusted that their life was often being affected by Grahas (bhoot) means ‘demons or devils’. This branch deals with treating the psychological problems like psychosis, epilepsy, lunacy and other mental disorders due to the influence of ghosts, evil spirits etc.
Urdhvanga Roga chikitsa (Treatment of Disease in Head and Neck) this part specially handles the prediction, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases in the upper part of the body like head and neck. Eyes, ears, nose, throat, head, teeth and mouth related health conditions are treated with an unique tool known as Shalaka, for which this branch of Ayurveda is also known as Shalakaya Tantra.
Shalyaroga chikitsa (Treatment of disease caused by a foreign body) Shalyaroga chikitsa can also be called as the surgical science that has been healing human race for thousands of years together. This branch of Ayurvedic healing was of great use during the wartimes where the warriors were affected by foreign bodies like swords, arrows and other such sharp weapons. It also deals with diseases caused by external sources that need surgical treatment. Piles, urinary stones, abdominal damages, cataract, fistula and accidents are also treated through this system. The ancient physician ‘Sushruta’ is still remembered for his expertise in this field and is celebrated as the father of plastic surgery.
Damstra Roga Chikitsa (Treatment of diseases caused by poisons) This division of Ayurveda is also known as Toxicology as it treats the diseases caused by the poisonous insects, reptiles, plants, minerals, metals and certain other toxins.
Jara Chikitsa or Gerontology: It is also known as Rasayana for its power of revitalizing and preventing the body from the symptoms of aging. This branch provides special treatment for augmenting the quality of living along with prolonged existence. Geriatrics or Jara chikitsa suggests natural herbs, Ayurvedic oils and other natural medications to retain the texture of the skin, body’s natural shine, enhanced memory power, munificence and improved physical strength as well.
Vrsha Chikitsa or Aphrodisiac treatment: According to the spiritual science of Ayurveda, sex is one among the essential component of human life that enhances his health and grants him the endurance and the power to pave way for his future generations. This branch is also known as Vajikarana and it deals with the aphrodisiacs therapy for being paid with good descendants and virility, proffering remedies for contentment and delight in real sex. It washes away the problems related to infertility in men and women
The concept of Panchamahabhuta (Five elements) is the foundation of Ayurveda to understand its physiology (normal functioning), pathology (disease formation) & pharmacokinetics (movement of drug within the body). Ayurveda believes that everything in this universe is made up of five basic elements. These five elements are earth (prithvi), water (jal), fire (Agni or tej), air (Vayu) and ether or space (akash) and collectively they are termed as Panchmahabhuta.
These are the minutest elements, which constitute living and non-living matters. Everything, including drugs, herbs and living beings are made of these basic elements. Every matter contains all of these five elements. Depending on the predominance of the content, the matter is classified as Parthiva, Apya, Taijasa, Vayaviya and Akashiya (With predominance of earth, water, fire, air and space respectively). The permutation and combination of these elements and its quantity in a given matter determines its properties.
Akasha Mahabhuta (space)
Akasha Mahabhuta is the space without which matter cannot exist. Its main sense attribute is Sound and Non-resistance is its main property. All the body channels, pores or empty spaces symbolizes Ether or space.
Vayu Mahabhuta (Air)
Vayumahabhuta evolved from Akashamahabhuta. Touch (Sparsha) is its chief sense attribute and as it is evolved from Akasha it also inherits attribute of sound (Shabda) movability is its chief property.
Air is the gaseous form of matter which is mobile and dynamic. Conceptually anything that moves or transported does so because of this Mahabhuta. In living beings this Mahabhuta is a major constituent of Vata dosha which is responsible for movements like that of motor or sensory nerve impulses, food through G.I.T, movements of the joints etc. Vayu or air follows Akash in the hierarchy of creation.
Agni mahabhuta (Fire)
Agnimahabhoota evolves next from Vayumahabhoota. The main sense attribute of Agni is Vision and the chief property is heat. It also inherits the sense attributes of sound and touch. Fire possess power to transform the state of any substance. In living beings, Agni Mahabhoota is the major constituent of biological humor Pitta dosha. It is responsible for biotransformation. This Agni provides the energy required for all activities in our body. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but it can be converted from one form to another. We derive energy from the food we eat. Biological Agni transforms the energy in the food to the energy, which can be utilized by our cells. The vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats etc. we consume, are bio transformed by this Agni to the substances that can be utilized by our body. All the activities in body are performed smoothly as long as this Agni is in balance. Any disturbance in this Agni causes imbalance in the homeostasis and disturbs functioning. Ayurvedic therapeutics is entirely based on this concept of Agni. The branch of Ayurveda which deals in internal medicine and treatment is known as “Kaya chikitsa”, where Kaya means Agni and Chikitsa means treatment. Ayurvedic therapeutics focuses on rectification and maintenance of biological Agni.
Ap Mahabhuta (Water)
Aapamahabhuta (Jalmahabhuta) evolve from Agnimahabhoota. Taste is its main sense attribute and liquidity is the chief property. Water symbolizes the liquid state. Our blood, lymph, and other fluids bringing energy, carrying away wastes, regulating temperature, bringing disease fighters, and carrying hormones from one area to another. This Mahabhuta brings and keeps things together. Conceptually all biological and chemical are feasible because of this Mahabhuta.
Prithvi Mahabhuta (Earth)
The last to evolve is Prithwimahabhuta. Roughness is the chief property and Smell is the main sense of this Mahabhoota besides properties inherited from the earlier once. Earth represents the solid state of matter. It symbolizes stability, permanence and rigidity. In our body, the parts such as bones, teeth, cells and tissue indicate earth element.
The basic premise of Ayurveda is that the entire universe is a 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 to 100 million cells, when healthy, is in harmony, self-perpetuating and self-correcting Just as the universe is.
The ancient Ayurveda text, Charaka says
Man is the epitome of the universe. Within man, there is a much diversity as in the world outside. Similarly, the outside world is as diverse as human beings themselves”.
In other words, all human beings are a living microcosm of the universe and the universe is a living macrocosm of the human being.
Health will be good if one’s mind and body are in harmony, and one’s interaction with university is natural and wholesome. Disease Arises when a person is out of harmony with the universe.
THE CONCEPT OF HUMAN PHYSIOLOGY IN AYURVEDA
Tridosha theory is the foundation of the Indian System of medicine, Ayurveda. To explain the function-correlative, substantive and reproductive of the living matter, the ancient scholars of Ayurveda postulated the concept of Tridosha-the theory of the three somatic humours.
The three humours are known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
This theory forms the basis of Ayurvedic physiology, pathology and pharmacology.
Though, the term ‘Dosha’ means ‘the disturbing factor’, it has got definite physiological importance in normal state. Basically three ‘Dosha, s are responsible for maintenance of homeostasis in the body, and health is nothing but a state of equilibrium of these ‘Tridoshas
Disease is manifested as a result of disturbance in the state of equilibrium among these ‘Dosha’s
The central concept of Ayurveda medicine is the theory that health exists when there is a balance between three fundamental bodily humours or doshas.
Each Dosha is responsible for regulating an essential aspect of organism function, connected to a recognised definition of life
ata is the Air principle necessary to mobilize the function of the nervous system, energy of movement, functions of nuclear and neurological activity.
Pitta is the fire principle which uses bile to direct digestion and hence metabolism in to venous system, energy of digestion and transformation, functions of mitochondria, hormonal and enzymatic activities.
Kapha is the water principle which relates to mucous, lubrication, structure, secretory activities and carrier of nutrients in to the arterial system.
Imbalance in the state of bodily-tissues is known as ‘Disease’ and equilibrium is called Health’. (Ca.Su. 9/3, Ca. Sa. 6/18). Aim of this entire stream of science (Ayurveda) is to re-establish the state of equilibrium among different tissues (Ca. Su. 1/53).
‘Dhatusamya’ is the term given for homeostasis in Ayurveda. In Susruta’s view, the life on this Universe is maintained because of three opposing factors known as Sun, Moon and the air.
The Sun exerts a drying effect on earth whereas the moon is coolant and strengthening in nature. Air brings about all types of movements. In exactly similar manner, the body is Sustained by three opposing factors called ‘Vata, pitta and kapha. (Su. Su. 21/8).
CONCEPT OF A CELL:
Caraka has explained that the body parts can be divided and re-divided into innumerable individual components called ‘Paramanus’. These are innumerable because of their huge number, highly minute structure and limited perceptive ability of sense organs (ca.sa7/17)
This statement indicates that there existed a concept of minute and numerous individual living units in the body. Today we call such microscopic units by the name ‘Cell’.
‘Anu Srotas’ is another such very similar term, probably indicative of a cell. Some scholars Even held the view that the living body is nothing but the resultant of aggregation of such Innumerable ‘Srotamsi’. (Ca.Vi. 5/4).
‘Srotamsi’ is the plural form of ‘Srotas’. The term ‘Srotas’ means an individual ‘Cell’
TISSUE PHYSIOLOGY: AN AYURVEDIC PERSPECTIVE
The human physical body is composed of “sapta dhatu”. Saptadhatu is a Sanskrit word which means seven constituents.
Body is made up of Seven Tissues and their function is to maintain the body matrix, the dhatus are responsible for the entire structure of the body, they ensure that all organs and systems work in the body.
1. Rasadhatu (feeding plasma) : it contains the substances occurring in the digestive system, it feeds the tissues, organs and systems. It contains the builders of the food digest.
2. Raktadhatu (blood) : it controls the oxygen supply and the exchange of construction materials and waste of all tissues of vital organs and maintains life.
3. Mamsadhatu (muscle) : it covers the delicate vital parts. It makes the movement of the joints as possible and keep the body strength to stand. It covers major organs.
4. Medadhatu (adipose tissue) : it makes possible lubrication, flexibility of the body, and determines the content of fats in the tissues. It protects and also serves as a food reserve.
5. Asthidhatu (bone) : this is the skeleton of the body and supports the body.
6. Majjadhatu (bone marrow and nerves) : it fills the empty areas of the body, and conveys the motor and sensory stimuli. Provides support.
7. Sukradhatu (reproductive tissues (ovum and sperm)) : it contains ingredients of all tissues and is responsible for reproduction. Contains genetic information.
Prakriti is an inherent nature of an individual determined at the time of your birth, which cannot be changed during your lifetime. It is the basic constitution of your body and mind formed by the unique combination of three doshas. According to Ayurveda following are the factors, which determine the prakriti of the foetus: ?Time and season during the conception. ?Doshic dominance in the uterus. ?Condition of the sperm and ovum. ?Maternal food and lifestyle.
Types of Prakriti
Prakriti is of two types:
1. Sharirika prakriti
2. Manasika prakriti
There are seven types of sharirika prakriti based on permutation and combination of doshas:
1. Vata prakriti.
2. Pitta prakriti.
3. Kapha prakriti.
4. Vata-pitta prakriti.
5. Pitta-Kapha prakriti.
6. Kapha-vata prakriti.
7. Tridosha- Vata pitta kapha prakriti.
And three types of manasika prakriti based on three gunas: Saatvika, Rajasika, Tamasika.
The concept of prakriti makes Ayurveda unique from other medical systems. Selection of treatments, medicine is different for each individual depending on their prakriti. According to Ayurveda, each individual is different. Hence, they need to be thoroughly examined for prakriti (physically and mentally), agni, dosha and dhatus before starting any medications
The purpose of Ayurveda is to protect the health of the healthy and to alleviate disorders of the diseased’. So, in simple terms, Ayurveda has two different aspects to it:
1) The Preventive aspect
2) The Curative aspect.
The Preventive aspect deals with methods, recommendations and ways of life, which if adopted and followed religiously from the beginning, can boost the strength and resistance of human beings physically, mentally and emotionally in such a way that they can protect themselves from diseases.
The Curative aspect deals with providing relief to the diseased. Ayurveda recommends the use of several herbs, massages and therapies etc. and even recommends subtle alterations to dietary habits and lifestyle, for an affected individual to get back his/her state of good health.
Ayurveda also deals with the mental and spiritual aspects of life. It explains the difference between good and bad life. It explains the difference between good thoughts, behaviour and actions (the promoters of health) and those which are inappropriate (the non-promoters of health like anger, jealousy, greed, lust etc.)
Disease is as old as mankind itself. Man has always tried to understand natural phenomena and attempted to give his own explanation to it. The Indian system of medical thought has its origin in the vedas dated about 5000 years ago. Later Charaka samhita (1200B.C.), Sushruta samhita (1000B.C.) and Ashtanga sangraha (600B.C.) scientifically documented the bequeathed medical concepts. Disease was described as an imbalance of the three humours of the body vata, pitta and kapha.
THERE ARE THREE MAIN CAUSITIVE FACTORS FOR DISEASES
1. Misuse of the senses : Misusing the senses involves over indulging in things that are detrimental to our health. For example, through the sense of taste we often over eat in foods that taste good – such as sweet and salty foods
2. Failure of the intellect (Prajnaparadha) : The failure of the intellect is when we act against our greater knowledge and wisdom. However, when we listen deeply within ourselves, we find ways to act that bring us toward more health and peace of mind. Our intellect is connected to both our senses and our higher Self.
3. Time & Motion (Parinama) : While linear time is static, biological time is dynamic. The pace of biological time changes in response to motion.
The movement of time innately leads to aging, to which we are all subjected to through our cycles of births, lives and deaths. No one is excluded from this law.
It is important to understand that biological time increase more by how busy we are in the movement of the mind rather than physical motion.
When the mind is active, caught up in the future or the past, biological time speeds up. When the mind is focused and in the present, biological time slows down.
Diagnosis is very important aspect of Ayurvedic treatment. Diagnosis means to find out the basic cause of a disease (Nidan). Without the proper diagnosis it is difficult to suggest medicine and cure the diseases. Two Main methods of Diagnosis in Ayurveda:
Diagnosis of a disease
Examination of a patient
Diagnosis of a disease
Direct Observation (Pratyaksha)
Etiology of a diseases (Nidana)
Early signs and symptoms of a diseases (poorvaroopa)
Main sign and symptoms of a disease (Roopa)
Touch, palpation and percussion (Sparshan)
Body type/ Body constitution (Prakriti)
Outlook of patient (Sara)
Type of food consumption like vegetarian and non –vegetarian (Samhanan)
Mental strength of patient (Satva)
What suits to patient (Satmya)
Food intake (Aaharshakti)
Physical fitness (Vyayam-shakti)
The quantitative measures for examining a patient. Abnormalities related to the Structure and functions of body are observed (Pramana)
Eightfold examination as the name suggests that there are eight methods for the diagnosis. These types are more practical and useful.It helps to get on quick diagnosis of an OPD patient.
Pulse reading (Nadi pareeksha)
Hoarseness of voice (shabda)
Examination of eyes (drik)
Shape of body (akruti)
Ideal treatment according to Ayurveda is one, which cures the disease without causing adverse effect.
The three classical therapeutic modes advocated by Ayurveda are:
1) Therapies with divine powers (Daivavyapasraya chikitsa)
2) Rational treatment with medicines (Yukti vyapasraya chikitsa)
3) Preventive and remedial measures by Psychotherapy (Satwavajaya chikitsa)
The rational Ayurveda treatment is carried out in four parts.
1. INTERNAL MEDICATION
Dosha pacifying therapy (Samsamana) - It is advised when the morbidity of Dosha is minimum.
2. BIO-CLEANSING THERAPIES
Bio-cleansing therapy (Samsodhana or Panchakarma) should be selected when morbidity of Dosha is severe or maximum, which cannot be subsided by Samshamana therapy.
3. AVOIDING CAUSATIVE FACTORS (NIDANA PARIVARJANA)
Causative factors for any diseases are irregular food habits, improper sleep, and unhealthy habits like smoking, alcohol etc., exposure to unhealthy environment.
4. DIETETICS (PATHYA VYAVASTHA)
Ayurveda has specified different diet food for each person depending on his body type.
Pharmacology in Ayurveda is very vastly described in "Dravya guna vigyan", and has in its armamentarium different medicinal plants to be used either alone or in combination.
Ayurveda believes that medicines (and these could be drugs or dietary substances) are created from the specific combinations of the panchamahabhoota (five elements that form all matter on earth).
These medicines help the individual to maintain his health as well as to treat disease when it occurs.
Dravyagunavigyan deals with the properties, actions, uses, doses, time of administration as well as formulation of drugs. The analysis of medicines and their activities is the subject of Ayurvedic pharmacology. Ayurvedic medicines are analysed on the basis of their stable tastes, efficacy, physical properties, unstable tastes and unique powers.
Analysis of Stable Tastes (Rasa Pariksha)
The expected actions of a medicine can be analysed based upon taste. Taste is divided into two categories, stable and unstable. A medicine is said to have a stable taste if that taste and its related properties persist after digestion. This statement is of course a generalization, and actions can vary in the case of specific medicinal agents.
SWEET TASTING MEDICNE
Sweet-tasting medicines in most cases have the physical properties of greasiness and heaviness and so nourish the serum, blood, muscle, fat, bone, marrow and semen. They also strengthen physical energy, increase weight and lifespan, counteract toxins and help to heal injuries. They are good for diseases where the pathogenic agents have altered the physical properties of bile (Pitta) and gas (Vata). They are bad for diseases where pathogenic agents are present and active in altering the properties of the mucus (Kapha).
SWEET TASTING MEDICNE
Sour-tasting medicines tend to be greasy and heating. Because of this they stimulate digestive power, increase weight and peristaltic movement, regulate heart function, and moisten the body. Sour medicines are good for diseases where the pathogenic agents are active in the properties of gas (Vata) and bad for diseases where the pathogenic agents are active in the properties of mucus (Kapha) and bile (Pitta).
SALTY TASTING MEDICNE
Salty-tasting medicines increase both fluid and heat, and so stimulate appetite, promote digestive power, moisten the body, open blockages, stimulate the glands and promote blood circulation. Salty medicines are good for diseases where the pathogenic agents are active in the properties of gas (Vata) and bad for diseases where the pathogenic agents are active in the properties of mucus (Kapha) and bile (Pitta).
PUNGENT TASTING MEDICNE
Pungent medicines are hot in nature and so stimulate the sense organs, promote appetite, and purify the blood (burn away toxins). Pungent medicines are good for diseases where the pathogenic agents are active in the properties of mucus (Kapha) and bad for diseases where the pathogenic agents are active in the properties of gas (Vata) and bile (Pitta).
BITTER TASTING MEDICNE
Bitter-tasting medicines tend to be dry and light in property, and so promote appetite and digestion, decrease weight, mucus secretions and perspiration, counteract toxins, kill worms, purify milk and strengthen the skin and muscles. Bitter medicines are good for diseases where the pathogenic agents are active in the properties of mucus (Kapha) and bile (Pitta), and bad for diseases where the pathogenic agents are active in the properties of gas (Vata).
ASTRINGENT TASTING MEDICNE
Astringent medicines tend to be dry and heavy to digest, and so promote healing of injuries, supress stool and urine, and constrict the capillaries. Astringent medicines are good for diseases where the pathogenic agents are active in the properties of mucus (Kapha) and bile (Pitta), and bad for diseases where the pathogenic agents are active in the properties of gas (Vata).
Analysis of Medicine Efficacy (Virya Pariksha) The efficacy or action of a medicine depends upon its dilating and constricting effects. Medicines are classified according to those which dilate generate heat, and those which constrict and cause a cooling sensation. In general, sour, salty and pungent medicines generate heat, and sweet, bitter and astringent medicines have cooling effects. An important point to grasp is that any medicine whose heating or cooling action does not follow its taste as just described will be more medicinally powerful. Medicines that are warming help counteract the pathogenic agents present in the properties of mucus (Kapha dosha) and gas (Vata dosha). Medicines that are cooling help counteract the pathogenic agents present in the properties of bile (Pitta dosha)
Analysis of Physical Properties
Ayurveda defines twenty physical properties. These are:
1. Heavy (Guru) and Light (Laghu)
2. Mild (Manda) and Strong (Tiksna)
3. Cold (Shita) and Hot (Ushna)
4. Greasy (Snigdha) and Dry (Ruksha)
5. Smooth (Slakshan) and Rough (Khara)
6. Solid (Sandra) and Liquid (Drava)
7. Soft (Mridu) and Hard (Kathina)
8. Stable (Sthira) and Unstable/Mobile (Sara)
9. Microfine (Suksma) and Dense/Bulky (Sthula)
10. Non-Sticky (Visada) and Sticky (Picchila)
The physical properties are related to their effects on the body. Physical properties are normally related to specific tastes (sweet medicines tend to be heavy etc.), and medicines that “follow the rules” work in concert with the effects of the related taste. For example, to say a medicine is sweet and heavy means both that it is heavy to digest, as well as making the body heavier if ingested over time. The nutrients that normally accompany the sweet taste support this general “heaviness” effect on the body. In simple terms, people who eat too much sweet food will become heavy.
However, if the physical properties of a medicine are different than predicted by the taste, then that medicine becomes more powerful in counteracting the physical properties of toxic gas, bile or mucus. For example, if a sweet medicine is also warming in property, it has a more powerful effect in controlling neurological (Vata) problems.
Analysis of Unstable Tastes (Vipaka Pariksha)
The tastes of some foods and medicines change after digestion, and this affects its action on the body, and the bowel in particular. Such changes make the medicine more powerful in effect than predicted by taste alone. Medicines that become sweet after digestion help moisten to bowel (increase mucus), clear stool and urine, and increase semen (general vital force). Medicines that become sour after digestion helps stimulate stool and urine and increases bile secretion. Medicines that become pungent after digestion dry the stool (cause constipation) and increase gas.
Analysis of Unique Power (Prabhava Pariksha)
Unique and powerful components of a medicine can create extraordinary effects specific to that medicine. Such effects do not follow the rules of stable or unstable tastes, heating or cooling effects or physical properties. Special properties include such things as laxatives, emetics, intoxicants, rasayanas (longevity promotion), and benefits for particular organs. Knowledge of them is the result of the experience of different Ayurvedic physicians over long periods of time.
The pathogenesis of diseases is a complex phenomenon involving and affecting many factors and systems. The Ayurveda an ancient science of medicine has a remedial measure to cleanse the deep seated toxins and morbid material by specific therapy called Panchakarma.
The Panchakarma = Fivefold Bio-Cleansing therapy, is a minimal invasive having many fold health benefits. Panchakarma will remove the excess doshas and correct imbalances in them as well as eliminate the harmful ama out of your system through the body’s own organs and channels of elimination (colon, sweat glands, lungs, bladder, urinary tract, stomach, intestines, etc.). Panchakarma purifies the tissues at a very deep level. It involves daily massages and oil baths, herbal enemas, nasal administrations.
Panchakarma is highly individualized based on the needs of the individual depending on the Ayurvedic constitutional type, doshic imbalances, age, digestive strength, immune status, and many other factors. Depending on each individual’s needs all or only parts of the five therapies are utilized. Specially trained therapists must administer these procedures in a definite sequence for a specified period of time.
Panchakarma treatments have been shown to create measurable brain wave coherence and to lower metabolic activity. They allow the body and mind to drop into a profound level of peacefulness. In this state of relaxation, it is possible to cleanse toxins from tissues as well as to release deeply held emotional tensions.
Human body requires food to provide energy for all life process, growth, repair and maintenance. A balanced diet contains different types of foods in such quantities and proportions that the need of the body is adequately met. Eating a well-balanced diet on a regular basis and staying at ideal weight are critical factors in maintaining emotional and physical well-being. In Ayurveda, diet forms the important component of life as it is included in the Tri-Upastambha (three pillars of life). Being supported by these three factors, the body is endowed with strength, complexion and growth, and continues up till the full span of life, provided a person does not indulge in such regimen as are detrimental to health. Any material in the universe, according to Ayurveda is composed of five basic elements, the Pancha Mahabhootas, namely Prithvi (Earth), Ap (Water), Teja (Fire), Vayu (Air) and Akasha (Ether). The Tridoshas (Biological Humors) i.e. Vata, Pitta & Kapha which constitutes the body is also made up of Pancha mahabhootas. Each food article either has Dosha aggravating action or pacifying or balancing action on human body. To keep the homoeostasis of Doshas (health), Ayurveda has described specific diet. Proper planning and indulging of the diet can maintains our body.
Four forms of food: Basically Ayurveda describes four forms of food preparations
1. Eatables (Ashitam)
2. Masticable Food (Khaditam)
3. Drinks, Beverage( Peetam)
4. Licking Form (Leedham)
Principles of diet:
1. One should take food in proper quantity which is hot, unctuous and not contradictory in potency and that too, after the digestion of the previous meal. Food should be taken in proper place equipped with all the accessories, without talking and laughing, with concentration of mind and paying due regard to oneself. The quantity of food to be taken again depends upon the power of digestion including metabolism. The amount of food which without disturbing the equilibrium gets digested as well as metabolised in proper time is to be regarded as the proper quantity.
2. If the food article is heavy, only three fourth or half of the stomach capacity is to be filled up.
Incompatible Diet Viruddha Ahara:
The food with incompatible or contradictory qualities has poisonous effect on the body that aggravates Tridoshas intern leading to various disorders viz: Gulma (Lump), Fever, Allergic Dermatitis, Eczema, Abscess and other Skin diseases. It also destroys strength, vigour, memory, immunity etc.
Few contradictory combinations are
1. Fish or its soup along with milk
2. Milk or milk products with alcoholic beverages
3. Radish consumed with milk
4. Lotus stem with honey etc.
5. Equal quantity of honey with ghee
The Ayurveda prescribes specific diet for different seasons.
Spring season – Bitter, hot and astringent diet is advised while salty, sour and sweet food should be avoided. Wheat, barley, honey syrup, fruits like mango, jack fruit-etc. and meat of forest animals is advised.
Summer season – Due to hot climate aggravation of pitta occurs. Hence pitta pacifying cold, liquid, sweet and oily diet is advised. Excessive hot, spicy, sour salty diet should be avoided. Intake of rice, milk, ghee, sugar, grapes, coconut water, and meat of forest animals are advised.
Rainy season – In this season aggravation of vata occurs due to cold climate, hence vatashamaka sweet, sour and salty food and drinks are preferred. The food should be hot, dry, fatty and easily digestible. Preserved rice, wheat, barley and mutton s++++++oups are advised.
Winter season – Increase of Vata dosha occurs due to cold, dry, chilly atmosphere in this season hence vataghna, pittavardhaka diet is recommended. Hot, sweet, sour and salty food, milk, sugarcane, rice, oils and fats are advised.
Autumn season – In this season aggravation of Pitta dosha occurs. Therefore, it is ideal to take ghee processed with bitter drugs; purgation, bloodletting, coolant, and light diet are advised. Bitter, sweet, pungent dominant diets are advised.
Rejuvenation therapy is known as “Rasayana” in ayurveda. This therapy is one of the eight branches of ayurveda. Rasayana has two words in it “rasa + ayana”. Rasa has different meanings like juice, taste, essence, flavour, emotions etc. Ayana means path. In therapeutic process Rasa is concerned with the conservation, transformation, and revitalization of energy. Rasa nourishes our body, boosts immunity and helps to keep the body and mind in best of health.
The path which leads us to the nourishment and rejuvenation of body and mind is known as “Rasayana”.
Benefits of rasayana therapy are innumerable. Few are mentioned here.
The rasayana therapy nourishes and rejuvenates body tissues. This therapy helps to slow down ageing process, increases memory, boosts body immunity, and enhances complexion and youthfulness of skin. Sense organs and voice regain their sharpness.
Benefits of rejuvenation therapy:- (Rasayana)
Long life ,Increase in memory power, Good health ,Young looks ,Glowing skin ,Modulated voice, Calmness, Resistance to diseases.
Apart from these rejuvenation therapy is beneficial in Bronchitis, Rhinitis, Allergy, Heart diseases etc this is an unique therapy in the science of ayurveda. It keeps the body young and agile even after one has passed his/her youth. Charaka says this therapy extends one's lifespan by many years. It enhances one's energy and is even known to have cured the sick. It also increases a healthy person's mental and physical capabilities. It is known to have improved skin complexion and texture, modulates the voice and increases sensing capacity of sense organs.