Ayurveda

4 mins read

Origin and History
Ayurveda or Ayurvedic medicine refers to the healing with naturally occurring herbs that can enhance a person’s empirical mind and body state. Ayurvedic treatment in its broadest sense defines the state of equilibrium between the patient and the nature.

Ayurveda is one of the oldest therapies in healthcare. The therapy as a whole originated in India, and its principles and applications can be found in Vedas. One of the most striking features of the therapy dates back to 15th century. Methodologies and various prescriptions were included in the book ‘Rig Veda’. According to the Hindu mythology, the book was written nearly 6000 years ago.

Benefits of Ayurveda
Some of the benefits associated with Ayurvedic treatment includes:

  • No side-effects
  • Prescriptions mostly consist of herbs, shrubs, flower parts, plant parts, thereby making the procedure ethical
  • Provides a holistic approach to illness
  • Effective in various chronic diseases like cardio-pulmonary ailments, cancer, constipation, diseases associated with neck and throat, limbs and internal organs
  • Has proactive approach to adopt lifestyle modifications and nutritional changes
  • Effective and can be applied to any age group
  • Works by ‘multi-variate’ response
  • Does not include complications and adverse effects associated with allopathic medicines, surgeries and interventions

Research and Studies
Unlike traditional Chinese treatment, Ayurvedic treatment is supported by studies conducted by some of the leading institutes of international repute. Meditation and yoga, included in Ayurvedic therapy, have been known to effectively lower blood pressure, relax the mind, soothe body and help in alleviating the spiritual state of a person. Recently, a study conducted to evaluate the role of herbs used in the treatment of cancer. It was found that, certain molecules were effective in destroying the cancerous cells, thereby restricting the malignant nature of the disease. Moreover, Ayurvedic treatment had been found to be efficacious in breast cancer, prostate cancer and lymphocytopenia.

Ayurvedic Treatment and Principles
Ayurveda basically targets mind, body and soul and thereby maintains equilibrium between them and with the environment. According to the Vedic practitioners, symptoms and diseases occur because of the lack of harmony between these factors. The fundamental principle behind the treatment lies in the three elements (Doshas in traditional language).

  • Air and space (Vata dosha)
  • Fire and water (Pitta dosha)
  • Water and earth (Kapha dosha)

Since Ayurveda mostly is restricted to the use of herbs, these herbs or plant parts are administered in either solution form or as pills (after grinding and churning). Most practitioners tend to administer these along with food, liquid, medicated oils, etc.

Treatment in various conditions
Ayurvedic treatment is perhaps the only therapy regimen that uses a diverse range of herbs. Ayurvedic treatment aims at the following: cleansing, palliation, rejuvenation and stability.

From mild conditions like cough, common cold, acne, acidity, allergies and constipation to chronic syndromes like AIDS, Cancer, kidney disorder, liver enlargement, cardio-pulmonary syndrome, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and herpes, therapy is said to be widely effective and well-established.

Precautions, contraindications and interactions
Since majority of the treatment consists of herbs; some people may be allergic toward one or the other plants being used. Moreover, these wild growing herbs are vulnerable to get mutated, thereby giving rise to entirely new species. Herbs may be poisonous or may affect the person in some unique manner.

Some of the possible side-effects have been summarized as under:

  • Allergy and hypersensitivity
  • Mutation in the generic species
  • Unknown effect in different niche

Besides these factors, there has not been any written evidence in support of Ayurvedic medicine interactions.

Citations

  1. Agarwa P, Sharma B, Fatima A, et al. An update on Ayurvedic herb Convolvulus pluricaulis Choisy. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2014;4(3):245–52. PMID: 25182446
  2. Kishore RK, Abhishekh HA, Udupa K, et al. Evaluation of the influence of ayurvedic formulation (Ayushman-15) on psychopathology, heart rate variability and stress hormonal level in major depression (Vishada). Asian J Psychiatr. 2014. pii: S1876-2018(14)00184-1. PMID: 25219946
  3. Parasuraman S, Thing GS, Dhanaraj SA. Polyherbal formulation: Concept of ayurveda.Pharmacogn Rev. 2014;8(16):73–80. PMC4127824
  4. Jansen RL, Brogan B, Whitworth AJ, et al. Effects of Five Ayurvedic Herbs on Locomotor Behaviour in a Drosophila melanogaster Parkinson’s Disease Model. Phytother Res. 2014. doi:10.1002/ptr.5199. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 25091506

 

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