AYURVEDA" is made up of two words-Ayu and Veda. Ayu means life and Veda means knowledge or science. Thus "AYURVEDA’ means ‘Knowledge of how to live’. Ayurveda is like a manual containing instructions of how to live.
Ayurveda, the ancient most health care system originated in India. Ayurveda is the final product of the observations of the ancient people of India with regard to health, nature and thoughts.
As per Ayurveda, ‘Health’ is a state of equilibrium or harmony of normal functions of Doshas, Dhatus, Malas and Agni with a delighted body, mind and soul.
Straying away from this harmony or order of Nature results in dis-eases or dis-orders.
Erratic lifestyle habits , thoughts and environment are the basic causes behind the failure of mechanism of maintaining equilibrium.
Ayurveda prescribes healthy regimen ( Pathya-Apathya) wrt food, activites and thoughts to prevent diseases . Treatment either with or without drugs and application of specific rules of diet, activity and mental status as described ( Apathya- apathya), brings back the state of equilibrium i.e. health.
The human body contains Doshas (humours), Dhatus(Body tissues) and Malas (waste products).
Vata, Pitta and Kapha, known as Tridoshas are physiological or functional entities of the body which are responsible for carrying out all the functions of the body.
Dhatus are the structural entities of the body. These are Rasa (Plasma), Rakta (Blood cells), Mamsa (Muscular tissue), Meda (Fatty tissue), Asthi (Bony tissue), Majja (Bone marrow) and Shukra (Hormonal and other secretions of genital).
Agni (Metabolic fire carries out the whole metabolism of the body.
The waste products of the body which are by-products of metabolism. These are known as malas which include Pureesha (faeces), Sweda (sweat) and Mutra (urine).
Inspection, palpation, and interrogation are the main modes of physical examination.
For this examination of Dhathus, Doshas, Desha ( place of land and site of disease on the body), Kala ( time of day/ season and chronicity), Anala ( Digestive fire), Prakriti (Body constitution), Vaya (age), Satva (Mental strength), Satamya (specific adaptability), Aaharshakti (diet intake capacity) and comparison with the normalcy is done. From this the cause, stage and pathology of the disease is traced out.
There are eight divisions of Ayurvedic therapeutics, namely Kayachikitsa (General medicine), Kaumarabhritya (Paediatrics, Gynecology and Obstetrics), Graha Vidya (Psychiatry), Shalakyatantra (Otorhinolaryngology and Opthalmology), Shalyatantra (Surgery), Agadatantra (Toxicology), Rasayana (reducing degeneration and Geriatrics), and Vajikaran (producing a better offspring and Aphrodisiacs).
The principles of treatment are Shodhana (purificatory), Shaman (palliative and conservative), Nidan parivarjan (avoidance of causative and prescipitating factors of disease) and Pathya Vyavastha (do’s and don’ts regarding diets lifestyle).
Shodhana therapy includes Vamana (medically induced emesis), Virechana (medically induced laxation), Vasti (medicated enema), Shirovirechana (administration of medicines through nose) and Raktmokshan (Blood letting). These therapeutic procedures are collectively known as Panchkarma.
Samana therapy includes digestive , appetizers, fasting, exposure to sun, wind etc, is for weaker patients or having mild diseases
The main classical texts for reference of Ayurvedic principles comprise of the Brhatrayees - Charaka Samhita, Susrutha Samhita, Astanga Hridaya, and Laghutrayees- Sharangdhara Samhita, Madhava Nidana, Bhavaprakasha.
Apart from that many regional books based on the expertise of local practioners are also followed.
Whatever belonging to plants or animals or minerals: all are considered the source of raw material for Ayurvedic medicines. Ayurveda says there is nothing that is not a medicine.
Ayurveda is not against eating meat, fish etc. Infact Ayurveda prescribes to eat meat in certain conditions where nourishing is required. However in many conditions like early fever, inflammations, skin diseases and along with certain medicines eating meat is best avoided , so that the patient recovers faster and to avoid possible interactions with some medicines
Ayurveda has a wide scope as far as the prevention of disease, promotion of health and its preservation are concerned. Lifestyle rules mentioned in Ayurvedic texts if applied rigorously give definite results. Lifestyle related diseases like hypertension, diabetes, Dyslipidemia, Cancer, allergies, degenerative diseases, auto immune diseases , as well as gynecological , peadiatric, geriatric issues, certain metabolic are well manageable with Ayurvedic techniques and medicaments.
It is always better to buy medicines prescribed by a recognized Ayurveda Practioner rather than use them blindly because for the same disease its cause, its pathology etc are many and its effect might also be different.
The following is a basic Ayurveda daily regimen (Dinacarya) for health
Be punctual regarding the following:
Try to wake up between 3 and 5 in the morning
After waking up , make it a habit to clear your bowels and void urinethe first thing in the morning. Therafter brush your teeth and scrap your tongue.
-Perform exercise according to one’s strength for atleast half an exercise moving all your body parts.
Before bathing ensure that your body has cooled down.
Apply oil on the body before bath for atleast fifteen minutes .
After bath don’t immediately go in the sun.
Eat only when hungry.
Dont completely fill your stomach.
Locally and seasonally available food stuffs are best suited , rather than processed and far away food.
Avoid too spicy, chilly , sour , salty, fried food.
Chew the food properly before swallowing.
Also don’t speak or watch television while eating
The human body has a biological clock which depends on the sun. So try to sleep early so that you can arise early.
The climate and our surroundings also has an effect on us. Change the food and habits according to the cold or heat or rain.
Also preserve air, water and soil, in your surroundings.
Sadaachaara ( ethical codes of conduct)
Our thoughts have an effect on us too.
To be happy, do everything according to the rules of the nature.
Avoid violence, stealing, adultery, unnecessary gossips, harsh words, lies, harming thoughts, greed over others possessions, and doubt.
Be compassive and respect others.
Do your duty, selflessly.
For a particular situation ,neither get too excited nor depressed. Speak cheerfully with a smile , without altercations, in minimum words, and the truth.
So to say it briefly Ayurveda is a way of life in accordance with the rules of nature , a lifestyle to stay healthy, both mentally and physically.