is India’s traditional, natural system of medicine that has
been practiced for more than 5,000 years. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit
word that literally translated means "science of life"
or "practices of longevity." Ayurveda was
the system of health care conceived and developed by the seers
(rishis) and natural scientists through centuries of observations,
experiments, discussions, and meditations. For several thousand
years their teachings were passed on orally from teacher to
student; about the fifth to sixth century BC, elaborately
detailed texts were written in Sanskrit, the ancient language
of India. For many years Ayurveda flourished and was used
by rich and poor alike in India and Southeast Asia.
Ayurvedic manuals were written by Charaka, Sushruta,
and Vagbhata that give detailed descriptions of the various
practices. Charaka listed 500 remedies and Sushruta
over 700 vegetable medicines.
emphasizes prevention of disease, rejuvenation of our body
systems, and extension of life span. The profound premise
and promise of Ayurveda is that through certain practices,
not only can we prevent heart disease and make our headaches
go away, but we can also better understand ourselves and the
world around us, live a long healthy life in balance and harmony,
achieve our fullest potential, and express our true inner
nature on a daily basis.
provides an integrated approach to preventing and treating
illness through lifestyle interventions and natural therapies.
It is based on the view that the elements, forces, and principles
that comprise all of nature - and that holds it together and
make it function - are also seen in human beings. In Ayurveda,
the mind (or consciousness) and the body (or physical
mass) not only influence each other - they are each other.
Together they form the mind-body. The universal consciousness
is an intelligent, aware ocean of energy that gives rise to
the physical world we perceive through our five senses. Ayurvedic
philosophy and practices link us to every aspect of ourselves
and remind us that we are in union with every aspect of nature,
each other, and the entire universe.
can be no mental health without physical health, and vice
versa. In Ayurveda, symptoms and diseases that could
be categorized as mental thoughts or feelings are just as
important as symptoms and diseases of the physical body. Both
are due to imbalances within a person, and both are treated
by restoring the natural balance mentally and physically.
In Ayurveda your whole life and lifestyle must be in harmony
before you can enjoy true well being. Lifestyle interventions
are a major Ayurvedic preventive and therapeutic approach.
India, Ayurvedic practitioners receive state-recognized, institutionalized
training in parallel to their physician counterparts. The
research base is growing concerning the physiological effects
of meditative techniques and yoga postures in Indian medical
literature and Western psychological literature. Published
studies have documented reductions in cardiovascular disease
risk factors, including blood pressure, cholesterol, and reaction
to stress, in individuals who practice Ayurvedic methods.
and clinical studies on Ayurvedic herbal preparations and
other therapies have shown them to have a range of potentially
beneficial effects for preventing and treating certain cancers,
treating infectious disease, treating diabetes, promoting
health, and treating aging. Mechanisms underlying these effects
may include free-radical scavenging effects, immune system
modulation, brain neurotransmitter modulation, and hormonal