Transcended from the lord Bramha this continued to be studied and taught in the oral form in a Guru Shisya method of teaching till it was compiled and preserved in the form of the main Ayurvedic scriptures, the Charak Samhita, Sushruta samhita and Ashtang Sangraha & Ashtang Hridaya. The Charak Samhita deals mainly with the general medicine as well as the eight branches of Ayurveda. Sushruta Samhita is detailed knowledge on surgeries, while Astang Sangraha and Hridaya is the compilation of the best of the above two scriptures and the latter is considered as the most simplified version of Ayurveda text.
Ayurveda is the oldest known medical science which had eight specialized branches which are, Kayachaikita- General medicine, Balachikitsa- Pediatrics, Graha- Demonology / Exorcism/Psychiatry/ Shalakya tantra- ENT & Ophthalmology, Shalyachikitsa- Surgery, Agada-tantra –Toxicology, Rasayana tantra – Elixirs/Immunity enhancing and Vājīkaraṇa tantra-Aphrodisiacs
Maintenance of the state of health of the healthy, prevention of the diseases, treating the disease from the root and prevention of its recurrence are the prime objectives.
Ayurveda believes in total health as a balanced state of Body, Mind and Soul and disease is imbalance in any of these three entities. This imbalance is caused because of wrong diet and lifestyle, genetic factors, astrological influences, karmic factors etc. Prevention is not just periodical screening but actually taking responsibility in choosing the beneficial diet, lifestyle and minimizing the other influences by doing good actions. Treating any conditions is combination of diet, detoxification, and lifestyle modulations and not just limiting to oral medications.
Three Doshas are the natural physiological constituents of the body present right from the union of sperm and ovum. They are in specific proportion in each individual and this proportion is always influenced by the food we eat, lifestyle we live, the seasons and aging. Any increase or decrease in this proportion over and above a specific threshold is actually the imbalance state and that leads to the generation of disease.
Dhatus are the structural entity or tissues from which all the organs of the physical body are formed. There are seven Dhatus which are, Rasa- Plasma, Rakta- Blood tissue, Mamsa- Muscle tissue, Meda- fat or Adipose tissue, Asthi- Bone tissue, Majja- Nervous tissue, Sukra- reproductive tissue. The healthy and the unhealthy state are the disturbance of normal structure and function of these dhatus because of affliction of imbalanced Doshas.
These are the three metabolic wastes of the body, Stools, Urine and Sweat. Each dhatu also produces metabolic wastes of its own. The increase in the production and poor elimination of these wastes can be the cause of diseases.
Agni refers to the digestion or metabolic energy which converts the food in the most suitable form for the nourishment of the seven tissues. It is used as synonym to the Pitta Dosha as it represents the Fire element in the body. The seven Dhatu has their respective Agni to digest the nutrition which reaches it for its growth and sustenance. Ayurveda believes that the cause of all the diseases is nothing but the poor functioning of Agni. One should protect this metabolic fire from any imbalance. Food in proper quantity will keep this Agni always ignited, while overload of food will hamper its functioning, just like the appropriate fuel will keep the fire igniting and excessive fuel will extinguish the fire.
‘Swasthya’ or healthy state is the balanced state of three Dosha, seven Dhatu, Agni, three Malas, and a happy state of Mind, Soul and properly functioning & happy motor and sensory organs. Disease is the imbalance in the three Doshas afflicting the Dhatus, Agni, sensory organs and Malas.
It is one of the eight diagnostic tools used to examine the patient. These eight tools help to understand the imbalance of the Doshas and the seven Dhatus in a diseases state. Although all these are equally important, the pulse diagnosis gained more importance as it became exotic diagnostic methods of the Ayurvedic physicians to predict the state of Doshas in the body.
Yes all the new advance diagnostic tools can help understand the pathology and the disturbances in the seven body tissues and the Malas. The modern Ayurvedic physician definitely uses the new age diagnostic tools but the diagnosis is always done in terms of the imbalance of Dosha and Dhatus and the treatment is also planned to restore its normalcy back. Science and technology is developed and progressed by humans for humans, so use of any new technology with the wisdom of age old science rather helps the application of Application in much fruitful manner.
Each and every individual has a specific genetic makeup which is decided right at the time of the conception when the three Doshas are in specific proportion derived from the parent’s sperm and the ovum. The Prakruti is of seven types depending upon the predominance of one or more Doshas, they are Vata, Pitta, Kapha, VataPitta, PittaKapha, KaphaVata and Vata Pitta kapha. These Prakruti types helps to understand the individuality and how one can maintain this proportion by not letting the external factors to create imbalance in them to an extend of leading to a disease state. The best tool of remaining healthy is to live a life which is in harmony with the Prakruti by choosing suitable diet, exercise, job, hobbies, habits and emotional engagements.
The first line of approach of treating the disease in Ayurveda is to avoid the causative factors in the diet and the lifestyle. Further there is two main approach of therapeutics; Shaman and Shodhan i.e. Pacification and Detoxification respectively. The former is chosen if the amount of the imbalance in the Doshas is mild while the detoxification is chosen when the increase in the Doshas is in large quantity and hence removing them out from the system will be more effective form of treatment and will offer quick relief.
There are five Shodhan or cleansing therapies known as Pancha (five) Karma(procedures) which are; Vaman (Emesis), Virechana (Purgation), Basti (Enema), Nasya (nasal administration), Raktamookshan (bloodletting). These are the purification procedures to remove the increased Kapha, Pitta, Vata, Doshas from the nearest route, accumulated of Doshas in the Head region and blood impurities respectively. Although these are primarily cleansing therapies but there are exceptions like the Basti and Nasya therapies which can also be used to pacify the Doshas and even for nourishing the organs.
Ayurveda and Yoga are considered as sister sciences. The Ashtang yoga is on similar lines to that of Ayurveda in which the physical body is prepared by following righteous actions, good lifestyle, proper food, Asanas, Pranayam and finally reaching the goal of Liberation by Dharana, Dhyan and Samadhi. The purificatory procedures like Neti, Nauli, Dhauti, etc. are on the same principles of Panchakarma detoxification therapies. As the total health is related to Mind, Soul and Physical health, these two sciences goes hand in hand and in a true sense a very healthy integration.
The fundamentals principles of using the nature and its resources as the tools in treating and preventing the diseases is the most important commonality in these two Sciences. Albeit there is no recommendation of oral medications in Naturopathy at all, the use of herbs as a supportive care is merely an integration of Ayurveda which always will remains in the domain of Ayurveda. The use of food as one of the important tools in treating diseases is common in both of these pathies, although there are some important differences which needs to always considered. Naturopathy has more influence of modern Nutrition science contrary to Ayurveda which has its own deep knowledge and system of understanding of the effects of food on the body with the help of six tastes, post digestion effects, potency, properties like hot, cold, greasy, drying etc.
Yes the pharmacological action of Ayurvedic medicines does not interfere with that of Allopathic medications, although there are some exceptions related to Blood pressure and Diabetes medications which definitely needs close monitoring. The health supplements can be safely taken together with the herbs again discussion with the physician about this will be very helpful.
In the modern age there are many new conditions identified and they will keep on adding. They may not have been mentioned in the classical Ayurvedic text but the deeper knowledge of the body’s physiology and the influence of internal and external factors on its balance is much advanced in Ayurveda, which helps to understand the process in all such modern diseases. Once the cause and the disturbance in the functioning of the body is understood the choice of herbs, treatments, food and lifestyle are advised to help bring back the normalcy. Now considering the nature of the new age diseases there is definitely a time which demands fast and immediate interventions which can be achieved only by fast acting medicines. They stand tall when they are needed. Anything which acts fast and with high potency will have some or the other or even sometimes severe effects on the body. Hence to prevent such adversities, Ayurvedic support in achieving balance and enhancing the Immunity plays a very important role. There is great need to understand how the most needed emergency medicines and the long term health benefits of Ayurveda particularly for the conditions like CANCER, HIV, AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES, LEUKEMIA, KIDNEY FAILURE, HEART DISEASE, CIRRHOSIS OF LIVER etc. can work in Integrative manner to give the best support for the ailing. For this you have to take the responsibility of selecting the right option of such support from Ayurveda.
In all chronic conditions and diseases in which complete cure is not possible only with the Modern medicines, there is great need of Integration of Ayurveda system to give the best support for the ailing. For this you have to take the responsibility of selecting the right options and take initiations in discussing with the doctors you are seeing in Modern Medicine. Many patients are afraid of discussing Ayurveda with their doctors. The same is true other way round where Ayurvedic Physician, who needs to know all the kinds of medication (Allopathic) or of any other medicine system you are consuming. There are some herbs which have to be taken with precaution with certain chemical medicines. It’s true that many Allopath doctors may not know about the uses, risks, and potential benefits of Ayurveda as it is not in the scope of their learning. On the contrary Ayurveda Physician in their graduation has much knowledge of modern medicine about the pathology, diagnosis, investigations and basic pharmacology.
The lack of knowledge can widen the gap between patient and the treating Physician especially when it comes to using Ayurveda along with regular Allopath treatment. So you can help to bridge the gap by:
• Collect information regarding the expected potential benefits and also the possible risks of the treatment you are thinking to include from your Ayurveda Physician.
• Share this information with your doctor in a way that shows you know that your doctor wants what is best for you. Let him or her know that you are thinking about Ayurvedic treatments what you are considering.
• Request your doctor to be a supportive partner as you learn more about your options.
• A friend or family member may accompany with you to the doctor’s clinic to support you and relieve the stress of making the decisions alone.
• Even though you may be giving up the mainstream treatment for your conditions, still it will be your choice to make.
First step is to seek answers to the following questions before selecting any product.
1. Is the product manufactured by genuine pharmacy with reputation and FDA approval?
2. Can anybody use this same product?
3. What are the claims made for the benefits it delivers?
4. Does it claim to cure certain diseases?
5. Does the product have sufficient research and clinical trial studies?
6. What is the nature of ingredients in the formulations, Herbal or herbomineral, self-fermented alcohol based?
Following checklist will help you avoid going for fraudulent treatments.
· Does the treatment promise a cure for all serious illnesses?
· Claims that any unconventional treatment can cure any disease may be suspicious.
· Claims that a treatment can cure all diseases are certain to be fraudulent.
· If you are told not to use regular medical treatment?
· Is the treatment or medicine or herb a secret that only certain people can know and can give?
· If the advertisements use terms like “scientific breakthrough,” “miracle cure,” “secret ingredient,” or “ancient remedy”?
· The method of promotion of the products is in the mass media, magazines, the Internet, TV, infomercials, and radio talk shows rather than in scientific journals?
· Personal stories of amazing results are delivered instead of actual scientific evidence to convince you? As you are unaware of the terminologies this is taken advantage of.
Things you should look for-
· Find out about his or her qualification and education.
· M.D in Alternative medicines (AM) does not stand for any Ayurved post-graduation.
· Individuals who are unqualified in Ayurveda may incorporate it with Naturopathy or Aromatherapy or any other complimentary therapies which may be harmless and complimentary in less advance health conditions but they are domain of Ayurveda.
· See if the person can read the medical investigations reporting and can interpret the findings.
· Display of qualification certificates in the clinic should be seen properly.
Ayurveda does recommend resorting to the surgical approach for only specific condition in which the medicine or other therapies will have limitations. It also recommends simple surgical techniques like blood-letting, cauterization with alkalis and fire-Agni karma which act as supplements to surgery and helps to avoid surgery and even complementary to it. Acharya Charak has clearly stated that the cases which are out of the scope of medicine have to be referred to the branch of Surgery. Sushruta the founder of Ayurvedic School of Surgery is called as ‘Father of Surgery’ because of his highly advanced surgical techniques such as incising, excising, probing, extracting, draining, scraping, puncturing, and suturing which are carried out even today. He has also designed surgical instruments which are the basis on which all the modern instruments are designed. There are also some unique surgical treatments like Medicated threads for conditions like Hemorrhoids, fistula-in-ano which are studied to be more effective option than conventional surgeries.
Ayurveda is one of the official systems of medicine in India and several other South East Asian countries. India holds a huge infrastructure of Ayurveda in education, service and research sector with 200 plus Under Graduate Colleges with 20,000 admissions, 40 plus Post graduation Colleges with 1500 admissions, 5,00,000 Registered Practitioners, 10,000 licensed pharmacies, two Universities, 25 Research & Development centres.
Some Asian countries like Nepal, Sri lanka, Bangladesh has recognized degree courses and the practice is legalized. In the 21st century the entire world is looking towards Ayurveda with lots of hope and promises. People seeking help and providers of health botanist, pharmacologist, and doctors all are praising Ayurveda and they are working on it to shape this pathy to fit the entire world’s population. To understand this universally applicable science almost 40+ countries are studying at private institute level and at few places at the University level as well. But still the focus is more on the commercial use of the herbs knowledge and its use in consumer finished products and not on understanding the science as a whole for the benefit of mankind as preventative and therapeutic science. The scope and legality in practice of Ayurveda various in nature according to the region and state laws in different countries.
The Central Council of Indian Medicine is a body established under the provisions of IMCC Act, 1970 to maintain Central Register of Practitioners of Indian Medicines and for maintaining the minimum standards of education in term of uniform teachers, curriculum, degrees etc.
Any Ayurveda doctor having such degree/ qualifications as mentioned in 2nd, 3rd and 4th schedules of Indian Medicine Central Council Act, (IMCC) 1970 is a recognized medical practitioner. Ayurvedaacharya i.e. B.A.M.S or B.A.M& S and Ayurvedavachaspati i.e. MD (Ayurveda) post-graduation degree in respective subject of new pattern and equivalent qualifications of the time before the enactment of Central Act are recognized qualifications for the purpose of registration and practice of Ayurvedic Medicine.
Indian Drugs and Cosmetic Act 1940 and rules there under regulate the manufacturing and quality of Ayurvedic Medicines. There is a mandatory requirement of Manufacturers License (GMP) to be issued by State Government License Authority.