What is Ayurveda? Ayurveda is a system of traditional medicine that was developed in India. Ayurveda is one of the oldest medical systems in the world, and it is still practiced in India. The word Ayurveda derives from two Sanskrit words: Ayus, meaning life span or longevity, and Veda, meaning knowledge or science. Ayurveda is both a medical science and an evidence-based approach to healthy living. The aim of Ayurvedic medicine is to attain physical and mental balance by analyzing the three doshas (elements) that constitute human beings according to their qualities (dosha). These three elements are vata (wind), pitta (fire), and kapha (water). Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of natural medicine that can be translated as “knowledge of life.”Called the “mother science of India,” it balances mind, body, and spirit through complementary treatment methods.
It’s an ancient medical tradition from India. It has been variously described as a holistic system of medicine, a type of traditional medicine, and as a form of alternative medicine. Ayurveda can be translated to mean “the science or knowledge about life”. Ayurveda stands for the belief that the universe is composed of five basic elements: fire, water, earth, air, and space. Every living thing in the universe is made up of these elements in different proportions. Living in harmony with these elements is the key to maintaining overall health. The physical body is made up of three elements: earth, water, and fire. The mind and the heart are also considered to be one of these three elements: ajiva (the mind) and ajna (the heart). The most important aspect of Ayurveda is that it regards the individual’s mental, physical, and spiritual health as inseparable. In Ayurveda, disease results from imbalances in these subtle dimensions of human existence. The aim of treating the person as a whole person is central to Ayurveda.
Ayurveda is a whole system of medicine, including Ayurvedic medicine, Yoga, and Naturopathy. It is not a religion; in fact, it is independent of religion. It has similarities with other indigenous systems of health like Yoga, Unani and Siddha medicine. According to the Vedas, the basic principles of Ayurveda are in the Upanishads (Indian philosophies from about 1500 BC). The main text for Ayurveda is Charaka Samhita written by Caraka around 800 BC which describes various diseases and remedies for them. There are different “schools” within Ayurveda but they all agree on these fundamentals.
Ayurveda is a common traditional and natural medical system of India. It has been so far practiced for about 5,000 years. It is a complete system of medicine including Natural Medicines, Yoga, and Naturopathy. It is widely practiced in India. It emphasizes the use of herbal medicines, dietetics, and exercises like yoga to cure diseases. The earliest mention of Ayurveda can be found in the Rig Veda (10:17:5). In Sanskrit, the word “Ayurveda” means “the science of life”. Ayurveda developed from different ancient Indian practices and philosophies which are based on nature, the human body, and types (Doshas).
Ayurveda is a system of traditional medicine originating in India. Its exact origins are unknown. The Vedas, ancient scriptures from India around 2000 years BC contain references to the use of medicinal plants and herbs. Other Vedic writings called the Upanishads (around 800–500 BC) link health to happiness and harmony within the individual (atman). Ayurveda considered a disease as an imbalance of qualities called doshas in Sanskrit or “energy patterns” in English. In Ayurveda, these three qualities are Vata (air and space), Pitta (fire), and Kapha (water). The science of Ayurveda was perfected by thousands of years of research and observation based on the Vedas and the Upanishads.
In Ayurveda, the five components of life – Prana, Jiva, Vata, Agni (energy), Kapha (mucus) are not separate or distinct from each other but interrelated parts for maintaining “health”. In addition to these five doshas that make up a person’s constitution, there are three types of doshas; Sattwa (soul), Rajas (activity), and Tamas (obstruction). These three doshas are known as the “Gunas”. The gunas constantly affect the human body, mind, and spirit.
A person is considered to be free from disease if there is harmony between all the five doshas, three gunas, and Prakriti (nature). The main goal of Ayurveda is to attain harmony between the person’s constitution (Prakriti) and his environment for long-term well-being and good health. This state of balance between the individual constitution and nature is a “Swastha Sthiti” (“Correct state”). It is also referred as “Shukra Avastha” (“Healthy state”).
Ayurveda uses a holistic approach. It views health from a wider perspective, starting with the mind, body, and spirit. Ayurveda states that there are three doshas (bodies) that constitute a human being. Every individual has these three components in different proportions. The doshas are classified as sattva, rajas, and tamas (calmness, activity, and obstruction). They also affect the mind, speech, and physical well-being of an individual. In Ayurveda, diseases arise due to imbalances in these subtle qualities present within the individual. Treating the patient as a whole person is central to Ayurveda treatment.
In the Indian subcontinent, Ayurveda is a system of traditional medicine native to India. It is heavily influenced by Dravidian traditions and the medicinal knowledge of the Vedas. According to Ayurveda, people have three doshas, or humors: Vata (air and space), Pitta (fire), and Kapha (water). These are accounted for in five elements; Earth, Water, Air, Fire, and Space. The concept of climate change goes back to ancient times – Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita describes how climatic factors influence one’s health and links seasonal changes with daily routine suggestions. The current emphasis is on Vedic Medicine and on Yoga, Acupuncture, Homeopathy, and Herbalism. Unani medicine also contains many elements of Ayurveda.
Ayurveda is essentially a system of medicine based on the Hindu (Brahman) cosmology and philosophy; it is not a religion, in fact, its practitioners are free to follow any religion they choose. According to Sanjay Rajagopal in the “Encyclopædia Britannica”, “Ayurveda has no gods, no temples, no priests”. It shares some similarities with Siddha (Siddhar) medicine that was developed in the Tamil Nadu states of India and with Unani (Hakhamani) medicine.
In conclusion, Ayurveda is a well-developed holistic system of medicine based on traditional Indian beliefs and practices. It follows from the principle that good health is maintained by the equilibrium of three body types or dosha which in turn is determined by one’s genetic makeup. Ayurveda focuses on prevention but also includes ayurvedic treatment for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
Ayurveda has developed a sophisticated system of medicine, which has an elaborate description and classification of diseases and therapeutic drugs. The main sources of Ayurvedic knowledge are classical texts compiled during its inception, particularly the Caraka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita. Today, Ayurveda is practiced in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.