Ayurveda- An Ancient treasure to mankind
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30 Aug 2021
Ayurveda:- The term Ayurveda is originated from ancient Sanskrit literature ( two Sanskrit words, Ayur meaning life while Veda translates into knowledge). Ayurveda is often denoted as “The Science of Life.” Origins of Ayurveda are found in Atharvaveda, which contains 114 hymns and incantations often described as magical cures for disease. Ayurveda is eventually reffered as the “Mother of All Healing.” In medieval taxonomies of the Sanskrit knowledge systems, Ayurveda is assigned a place as a subsidiary Veda (upaveda). There are traces of medicinal plant names from the Ancient Atharvaveda and other Vedas and these are subsequently found in Ayurveda literature.
History: The practice of Ayurveda is not recently emerging science, it has a history of more than 5,000 years. The roots of Ayurveda is from the ancient Vedic culture and been taught for several years by accomplished masters to their disciples. Till date there are about 4,00,000 registered Ayurveda practitioners all over, this system of medicine is recognized as one of the most ancient and worthy living traditional practice. Some concepts of Ayurveda are known to have their existence since the times of Indus Valley Civilization. The practice of Ayurveda is one of the few systems of medicine developed in ancient times that is still been widely practiced in present modern days.
Global significance : Ayurveda, officially recognised by WHO (World Health Organization) in 1976 and occupies a remarkable portion in the health care system and has a great emphasis on prevention and cure of commonly occuring health ailments. Ayurveda encourages the maintenance of health and promotes the necessity of maintaining healthy body through balancing individual life, positive thinking, regular diet, lifestyle modifications and the use of naturally available herbs. There are around 1100 medicinal plants that are been used as medicine and among them 60 plants are of great demand all over.
Ayurveda in India: Ayurvedic techniques are widely practiced in the Indian subcontinent , about 85-90 percent of Indians in the present days use one or more forms of Ayurvedic medicine or remedies for various ailments. In the year of 1971, the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) was established under the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha medicine and Homoeopathy (AYUSH), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, to monitor the higher education in Ayurveda in India. Government of India supports the research and academic teaching sessions in Ayurveda through various channels at both the national and state levels, and helps in the institutionalisation of traditional medicine so that it can be studied in major towns and cities across the country.
Ayurveda across countries: The practice of ayurveda in Sri lanka is similar to the Indian tradition. Nepal is one of first country to execute a National Policy on Ayurveda. Ayurveda has the status of a regularised medical system in Nepal. A Full-fledged Ayurveda degree course of 5½ years is conducted by the Institute of Medicine in the premises of Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu. At an average of 75%-80% of the population of Nepal use Ayurveda and it is the most practiced form of medicine in the country. The traditional medicine of Myanmar has its origin in Ayurveda. Up to 79% of the total raw materials for medicines are of herbal origin and the remaining are of animal and mineral origin. This ayurvedic tradition has gained remarkable popularity in the Western world, though it's still been considered an alternative medical treatment.
Concepts of Ayurvedic practice: The therapeutic principles of Ayurveda sciences basically focus on concept of prakriti and tridoshas, and these principles emphasize that every individual has their unique constitution called as prakriti. Prakritic therapy determines the characteristic response of each individual person to medications applied, environmental conditions and dietary factors. The science of Ayurveda believes that the entire universe is composed of five major elements: Vayu (Air), Jala (Water), Aakash (Space or ether), Prithvi (Earth) and Teja (Fire), often referred as Pancha Mahabhoota in Ayurveda. Ayurveda states that the human body is composed of various tissues (dhatus), waste products (malas), and biomaterials (doshas). The seven dhatus in human body are plasma (rasa), blood (rakta), fat (meda), muscles (mamsa), bone (asthi), marrow (majja) and semen (shukra). These dhatus are believed to form the three basic and frequently occuring humors of human body in varying combinations.
Humors in human body: The three humors in the body Vata dosha, Pitta dosha and Kapha dosha are collectively called as the “Tridoshas” and they are known to control the basic physiological functioning of the body. Vata dosha is responsible for maintaining the electrolyte balance, cellular transport, elimination of waste products and its effect is increased by dryness. Pitta dosha involves in the mechanism of regulating the body temperature, coordination of optic nerves and hunger and thirst management. Heat variations of the body aggravate Pitta. Kapha dosha is increased due to quantities of sweet and fatty food and it provides lubrication to the joints for proper functioning. For maintaining a state of healthy body, a balance between the three doshas and other factors are to be maintained and in case of any imbalance between the three causes a state of illness or disease.
This form of medical and natural approach has many specialized techniques such as Shalya-chikitsa (Surgery), Rasayanam (Rejuvenation), Kaayachikitsa (Internal Medicine), Shalakya (Disease located above the shoulder), Bhutavidya (Psychiatry), Kaumarabhrutyam (Paediatrics), and Agadatantram (Toxicology).
This Ayurvedic approach is believed to have the ability to treat many of chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, asthma and other bodily functional disorder with the usage of naturally available herbs.
Some of the major Ayurvedic herbs:
Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is one among the traditional and ancient ayurvedic medicine used for multiple purposes. The term Ashwagandha is taken from a Sanskrit word where Ashva means horse, and Gandha means smell. This helps in Boosting immune system, decreasing stress, improves sleep patterns and calm your body, enhance the memory and cognition.
Neem: Neem is a traditionally well-known and most commonly heard herb among the common people due to its bitter taste. The word “Neem” is from the Sanskrit word Nimba – which means the bestower of good health. Neem has miraculous healing efficiency used in various disorders. Neem is appiled as an antiseptic, anti-microbial, and antifungal properties. It is a significant blood purifier and detoxifier, used to treat acne, eczema, and skin diseases. It is used in almost 75% of formulations in Ayurveda.
Haritaki: Haritaki is known as a ‘king of herbs’ in the ayurveda form of medicine. It is useful in strengthening energy and intelligence. The benefits of Haritaki are includes maintaining the vital functions of the body, such as strong digestion, nutrient absorption, elimination of waste products etc, this reduce cholesterol levels, reduce the chances of lung infections, significantly improves vision.
Shatavari: Shatavari is a notable medicinal herb with excellent health benefits. Shatavari is also denoted as ‘queen of herbs’. It accommodates antioxidant properties due to the presence of Saponins in it. It enhance immunity power, reduces inflammations, improve female reproductive system, effective in alleviating respiratory symptoms, works as a excellent remedy to relieve acidity symptoms.
Brahmi: Brahmi is also called a Bacopa Monnieri is a traditional ayurvedic herb that has been used specifically to treat neurological disorders. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Works as a active brain tonic, memory enhancer, concentration, and intelligence developer, improve nervous system function, reduce the common symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) like hyperactivity, impulsiveness in children. It is used as a great antioxidant that helps in removal of cancer-producing cells.
Conclusion: The ultimate aim of Ayurveda is to give greater priority to overall well being of individuals and to promote the concept of healthy living rather than to make selective disease treatment or organ specific therapies. The Knowledge obtained from Ayurveda practice enables one to understand how to manage and coordinate the body and mind in accordance to varied individual body constitution and their varied life style practices.The practice of ayurveda has became very popular as it applies reagents and remedies which are majorly taken from nature and it is eco friendly as well as bio-friendly. But unfortunately, due to lack of scientific validation in various concepts, this precious gift of treatment which is been blessed from our ancestors is not been fully utilized by our mankind.
Written by :
D V S NAGAPHANI SHARMA
D V S NAGAPHANI SHARMA
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