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Ayurveda-The Life Science

Ayurveda-The Life Science

Hitaa hitham sukam dhukamayusthasya hitaahitham II

Maanam cha thatcha yathrokthamayurveda sa uchyathe II

The above verse in Sanskrit from Charaka Samhita says that Ayurveda is a science that helps one to gain knowledge about the different living states of a human being (good, unfavorable, happy, miserable), things which are useful and harmful for such types of life, and it aims to protect the health of a person-body, mind and soul, by showing the ways of right living.

Origin of Ayurveda

Origin of Ayurveda

Brahma having known the immortal and eternal science of Ayurveda in full, taught it to Daksha, Who transmitted it to the Asvini Kumaras (twins), they in turn taught it to Satakratu (Indra).

When diseases began to trouble the human being, causing hindrance to acquisition of dharma(religious Merit), Artha(wealth), Kama(desire) and Moksha(Salvation) sages like Dhanvanthari, Bharathwaja, Nimi, Kashyapa, Kasyapa, Alambayana and others went to Indra, the lord of the immortals, making Punarvasu (Athreya) as their leader, to learn Ayurveda from him. Indra being pleased to see the galaxy of Sages, taught them Ayurveda, which is sacred and which had been taught by Pittamaha (Brahma).

The Sages having learnt the science and becoming satisfied with their new knowledge exchange views among themselves and came back happily to the world of men. To spread this knowledge to the world, they wrote books and also taught it to their disciples like Agnivesa, Harita, Bheda, Mandavya, Sushrutha, Karala and others, who receive it with great reverence. They in turn, wrote their own treatises and recited them to their teachers seated in the assembly of learned sages. Those treatises which were adjudged as best, attained fame in this world.

Branches of Ayurveda

  1. Kaya chikitsa (Internal Medicine)
  2. Bala chikitsa (Pediatrics)
  3. Graha Chikitsa (Demonology)
  4. Urdhvanga Chikitsa (Treatment of diseases above the clavicle(Head& sensory organs)
  5. SalyaChikitsa (Surgical Treatments)
  6. Samstra Chikitsa (Toxicology)
  7. Jara chikitsa (Geriatrics)
  8. Vrsya (Aphrodisiac)

Objectives of Ayurveda

“Svasthaya svastha rakshanam Aathurasya roga prashamanam”

- meaning preserving the healthy state of the healthy person and curing the disease of the diseased person are the aims of Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda concentrates mainly on the Causative factor of the disease which is the root of the disease.

“Nidana parvarthanameva chikitsa “

- Meaning avoiding the root cause of the disease is called treatment (Chikitsa).

Basic Principles of Ayurveda

According to Ayurveda:

The universe is made up of five elements: Air (Vayu), Space (Akasha), Fire (Agni), Water (Jala) and Earth (Prithvi).

These elements are represented in humans by three "Doshas", or energies: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The functioning and existence of the body is due to the balancing of the three doshas. When any of the doshas accumulate in the body and the balance gets disturbed then it results in disease. One`s individual health and well-being depend on balance of the Tridoshas.

A healthy state of a person is defined in Sushrut Samhita, one of the primary works on Ayurveda, as "when doshas are in balance, appetite is good, all tissues of the body and all natural urges are functioning properly, and whose mind, body and spirit are cheerful..."

What is 'Tridosha'?

The Three doshas or energies found in our body are:

Dosha Composition Function
Vata Air and Space elements This energy is generally seen as the force, which directs nerve impulses, circulation, respiration, and elimination.
Kapha Water and Earth elements Growth and protection.
Pitta Fire and Water elements Metabolism- transforms the food into nutrients.

Treatment modalities in Ayurveda

Treatment depends on one`s Prakriti (constitution), primary dosha, and the balance between all three dosha. Medicines are suggested:

  • To restore dosa balance.
  • To increase Immunity.
  • To reduce symptoms.

Panchakarma Therapy- Cleansing Therapy

The main aim of Panchakarma therapy is cleansing the body, of toxic substances formed due to poor digestion in the channels of the body called ama. This therapy is used to reduce any symptoms and reestablish harmony and balance.

Cleansing Therapy (Procedures to remove toxins from the body) is of five kinds:

  • By Vomit (Vamana)
  • By Purgation (Virechana)
  • by instilling medicated oil through Nose ( Nasyam)
  • By enema (Vasti)
  • Through bloodletting (Raktha Mokshana)