What Is Ayurvedic Medicine?
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian medical system, based on ancient writings that rely on a “natural” and holistic approach to physical and mental health. Ayurvedic medicine is one of the world’s oldest medical systems and one of India’s traditional health care systems. Ayurvedic treatment includes products that are mainly derived from plants, but may also include animal, metal, and mineral, along with diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes.
The Science Behind Ayurveda
The Sanskrit term Ayurveda translates to “knowledge of life”. Our five senses serve as the portals between the internal and external realms, as the five great elements of ether, air, fire, water, and earth. Ayurveda groups these five elements into three basic types of energy and functional principles that are present in everybody and everything. These principles are described in Sanskrit as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha to describe their combinations.
Using these basic principles, Ayurveda customizes preventative wellness for each individual. In addition, ancient Ayurvedic doctors produced detailed descriptions of acute and chronic conditions (complete with causes, signs, and symptoms), and developed extensive holistic treatment protocols.
Ayurveda’s eight branches include:
● Kaayachikitsa – Internal Medicine
● Baalachikitsa – Pediatrics
● Bhuta Vidya – Psychiatry
● Shalakya Tantra – Ear, Nose and Throat Treatment
● Shalya Tantra – Surgery (not practiced in the United States today)
● Vishagara Vairodh Tantra – Toxicology
● Jarachikitsa/Rasayana – Geriatrics and Rejuvenation
● Vajikarana — Aphrodisiac Therapy, Fertility, and Conception
Panchakarma is Ayurveda’s most comprehensive cleansing protocol which uses five primary therapies to release and eliminate accumulated toxins from deep within the tissues and return the doshas to their proper seats in the body.
But just like every school of medicine, every medicine comes with side effects. Just because Ayurveda uses natural medicines, it is important to understand the actions of each and these cannot be consumed without the guidance and prescription of an Ayurvedic doctor. One shouldn’t consume Ayurvedic medicines without knowing what effect it has on their body.
Dr. Varalakshmi is an Ayurveda doctor who shares the wisdom of Ayurveda for modern women which she calls, ‘The Dr. Varalakshmi Approach’.
“When it comes to healing your disease, it’s not just the medicine but the form of medicine you take also matters”, says Dr. Varalakshmi Yanamandra, an Ayurvedic doctor. “There are several preparations and modes of administration for medicine. Each type of medicine you take has different pharmacological action”.
Ayurvedic Doctor/Practitioner recommends taking churnas (powder), kashaya (bitter liquids), vati (tablets), avalehas (jams), gritam (ghee), asavas (fermented liquids).
But there are certain factors that the Ayurvedic professionals take into consideration. This includes:
1. Taste of the person – if you don’t like one mode of administration. It may not work for you because of the psychological effect.
2. Type of Disease – Diseases like diabetes asavas aren’t recommended. They are sweet and can affect your sugar levels.
3. Stage of the disease – Acute stages ghee form of medicines is not good as mandagni is prevalent and that’s why powders, kashayas are suitable.
4. Mode of action – Asavas are fast-acting and are given in complicated diseases or where there is a need for quick effect.
Right medicine for the disease is always important:
Churnas for digestive problems, cough and cold and kapha diseases.
Kashayas for lekhana and ropana (drying and healing).
Asavas for deep-seated illnesses.
Jams for rasyana or nourishing the tissues.
Ghee for chronic diseases and vata-pitta diseases.