Way ahead of most conventional systems of medicine operating at the symptomatic level, Ayurveda is an ancient Indian holistic medicinal system that tackles the root of the disease.
By Dr Harshita Sethi
I have always been taught to look within myself to find out the causes and factors responsible for anything which did not go up to the mark. Being an Ayurvedic Practitioner, I try to find the root cause rather than just superficially looking at whatever is visible by naked eye.
If we go deep into the history of every civilization, it has the evidence of treating illnesses with the resources at its disposal such as plants, soil, sea shells, animal products like urine, dung, nail, skin etc. Our ancestors had an in-depth knowledge of properties and effect of these natural resources which were used in treating fevers and chronic ailments and even in healing the wounds in the wars when there were no antibiotics and anesthetic drugs.
So many antibiotics have come and gone in just 200 years of time span but the ancient system of medicine of India which is called Ayurveda (Ayu refers to life and veda refers to science, so it is science of life) still holds the same principles, same medicines, and same methods of diagnosis & treatment which were known for more than 5000 years ago.
In modern system of medicine too, one can find so many drugs which are derived from plants like chloroquine (anti-malarial) from the cinchona bark, reserpine (Anti-hypertensive) from sarpagandha and many more.Ayurveda is an ancient Indian holistic medicinal system based upon achieving physical, mental and spiritual harmony. Ayurveda sees everything in the universe, including human beings as composed of five basic elements (Panchmahabhutas):Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth which in turn combine to give rise to three bio-physical forces or doshas within the human body.
Each individual is thought to be born with a basic body constitution (prakriti) which is a unique combination of various proportion of three doshas: Vata (A combination of Air and Space) Pitta (Fire and Water) and Kapha. (Water and Earth). Ayurveda stresses on balance of these forces to ensure longevity. Although an individual’s prakriti (body constitution) never changes, the balance of the doshas constantly shifts in response to many factors such as natural and seasonal rhythms, diet, fatigue, lifestyle and stress.
This altered state of doshas reflects the current state of health and reveals any imbalances. It is known as the current body constitution(vikriti). When the three doshas are in equilibrium, the body enjoys health, but a lack of equilibrium can lead to ill health. While most conventional medical treatments operate at the symptomatic level, Ayurvedic treatments work at much deeper level, restoring balance and tackling the root of the problem. All this is done by making changes in our diet, taking medicines at prescribed dosage, and follow some measures in our daily life.
(The author is Ayurvedic Physician, Diet and Lifestyle Consultant and Director of Avedna Ayurveda Panchkarma and Yoga Centre)