Ayurvedic Medicine is the ancient Indian medical system, also known as Ayurveda. The Sanskrit term Ayurveda translates to “knowledge of life”. It is 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 remains one of India’s traditional health care systems. Ayurvedic treatment combines plant based products along with animal, metal, and minerals; diet, exercise, and lifestyle.
It is believed that humans are made of five basic elements: space, air, fire, water and earth. These elements are combined in the human body to form three life forces or energies called doshas. The doshas control how your body works. The doshas are Vata (space and air), Pitta (fire and water), and Kapa (water and earth). Each dosa controls a different body function, and any illnesses are linked to the balance of one’s doshas.
According to the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, Ayurveda customizes preventative wellness to the unique constitution of every individual. In addition, ancient Ayurvedic doctors produced detailed descriptions of acute and chronic conditions; its causes, signs, and symptoms to develop extensive holistic treatment protocols. Preventative care and treatment of disease falls under Ayurveda’s eight branches, which 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
Ayurveda starts with an internal purification process, followed by a special diet, herbal remedies, massage therapy, yoga, and meditation. The cleansing protocol, panchakarma 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.
Ayurvedic practitioners are not licensed in the United States, and there is no national standard for Ayurvedic training or certification. The US Food and Drug Administration warns that some Ayurvedic preparations may include metals, minerals, and gems which makes them potentially harmful.