Q: Do you think dryness is the root of all illnesses?
A: Dryness is certainly the root of some people’s illness, and is often the root of specific illnesses, period. When we look at a patient’s illness through an Ayurvedic lens, we consider how the different elements (fire, earth, air, etc.) work with each other to sustain a person’s body and mind. If the person has too much of the fire element, then they are susceptible to heat-based illnesses like hives and inflammation. If the person has too much of the earth element, then they are susceptible to heavier, mucus-based illnesses like asthma and bronchitis. If a person has too much of the air element, they are likely to be dried up in the body and therefore susceptible to illness like constipation, insomnia, and, in more developed dryness, osteoarthritis.
Given all of this, dryness might be more of a problem in some people than others. Others are likely to even do with a bit more dryness (e.g. people who have chronic congestion in the respiratory system). What Ayurveda does consider to be the root of all illness, though, is faulty digestion. If a person’s digestion is incapable of properly metabolizing all of the food it receives, then the undigested food becomes toxic and leads to illness in any number of ways. To live a life that welcomes less illness over time, eat natural foods in small quantities. After that, your digestion — as well as your general health — will be just fine.