Ayurveda : The World’s Oldest Medicinal System!

Ayurveda : What is Ayurveda?

ayurveda

Ayurveda is a form of alternative medicine, that originated in India over 5000 years ago. The word Ayurveda comes from the Sanskrit word Ayur means life and Veda means wisdom or knowledge. To have the knowledge of life is Ayurveda. Ayurvedic medicine has a theory which states that every thing in this universe is connected to each other. You can have optimum health when your mind and body is in harmony with the universe.  According to this ancient medicinal system, there are five elements that combine in the body. These five elements are space, earth, fire, water, and air. These elements come together in the human body to form three doshas, which controls how your body works. Ayurvedic medicine also has specific beliefs about the body’s constitution or prakriti.  When we talk about these five elements, they are not the actual physical elements, but the qualities of these elements. For instance, when we talk about fire, the quality that comes to mind is heat or the quality that comes to mind when we think about water is fluidity; with earth the quality that comes to mind is solidity. Ayurvedic medicine is designed to bring body in the balance so the body can heal itself. Ayurveda focuses on not only treating the disease but aims at overall wellness of the body. Ayurveda believes in the detoxification of the body as a first step to balance your doshas as these  imbalance predisposes you to a disease.

 What are the three doshas in Ayurveda?

Depending on the natural constitution or prakriti of a particular person which is already formed in the mother’s womb. These doshas are the results of the pairing of the five elements on which Ayurveda is based on. Body constitution or prakriti in ayurveda refers to a person’s overall health, the likelihood of that person getting a particular dosha, and the ability to the person to resist and recover from a particular disease. These three doshas are:

1) Vata – space and air. Vata types have the qualities of space and air. This dosha is responsible for all the movement in the body and considered as the King of all doshas

Qualities of Vata body type: cold, dry, irregular, thin, fast.

Signs of Vata imbalance:

  • Anxious, overwhelmed
  • Insecure
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Difficulty staying still and relaxing
  • Stomach or digestive  problems like gas bloating and belching.
  • Constipation
  • Forgetfulness
  • Hard time completing a task.

How to balance Vata Dosha:

  • Use clarified butter or olive oil as fat-free diet is not the diet for you.
  • Avoid eating too many dry foods like crackers, bread, salad, cereal and other raw foods.
  • Eat hot, warm, cooked foods.
  • Eat foods that are sweet, salty and sour, and avoid eating foods that are bitter, pungent and astringent.
  • Drink plenty of warm water through out the day.
  • Drink dairy products as they pacify the Vata dosha.
  • Eat nuts, which helps balance the vata
  • Eat foods that help the vata dosha
  • Follow a routine and do not skip meals.
  • Take Triphala, the herb which balances all the three doshas.
  • People with vata dosha tend to have a dry skin, to combat the dry skin give your skin the oil massage.
  • The best exercise for people with vata dosha is walking, which will help balance that dosha.
  • Meditate
  • Stay warm in cold weather.

2)  Kapha- earth and water. Kapha types will have the quality of earth and water. Kapha dosha is responsible for the structure.

Qualities of Kapha body type:

  • calm temperament,
  • solid body frame,
  • very good stamina,
  • over-weight,
  • skin is thick, smooth and moist.
  • Slow digestion and low appetite
  • High endurance
  • Hard to motivate, sluggish and lethargic
  • Heavy sleepers
  • Slow learners with excellent memory

Sings of Kapha imbalance:

  • Weight gain
  • Slow and supperesed metabolism
  • Excessive saliva
  • Sinus, chest, throat and nasal congestion
  • Water retention
  • Digestive issues like gas
  • Allergies
  • Excessive sleep
  • Procrastination
  • Circulatory problems
  • Do not overeat
  • Avoid eating red meat

How to balance Kapha dosha:

  • Exercise
  • Travel to seek out new experiences
  • Meditate
  • Do not eat oily, sweet and greasy food
  • Eat spicy, pungent, bitter, and astringent tasting foods
  • Eat cold dry food, including raw fruits, vegetables and salad.
  • Dairy foods are aggravating foods for kappa, so limit its consumption.
  • Kapha types can avoid eating breakfast
  • Eat foods recommended for kapha types

3) Pitta- fire and water. Pitta dosha will have the quality of fire and water. Pitta dosha is responsible for the metabolism.

Qualities of pitta body type:

  • fiercy, oily skin
  • Medium built
  • Strong digestion
  • Short-tempered
  • Orderly and focused
  • Stubborn, pushy and good public speakers
  • Leadership abilities

Sings of Pitta imbalance:

  • Skin inflammation like rashes
  • Premature graying of hair
  • Easily frustrated and critical
  • Loose motion
  • Unable to tolerate heat
  • Difficulty balancing blood sugar
  • Sleep problems specifically waking up in the middle of the night and difficulty going back to bed
  • Body is more on the acidic then alkaline side.
  • Poor vision

How to balance Pitta Dosha:

  • Avoid hot temperatures and keep cool
  • Eat regular meals to balance blood sugar
  • Eat sweet, bitter and astringent foods
  • Avoid pungent, salty and oily foods.
  • Have a leisure time and avoid over-exerting yourself with work.
  • Eat pitta balancing foods

What is your body type?

Take the Ayurveda Quiz

 Why should you turn to Ayurveda as your choice of complementary medicine?

Ayurveda is the oldest form of medicinal system, which not only treats the physical symptom ; but treats mind, body and soul. In conventional medicine which is designed to treat the symptom and not the underlying cause, causes you depend on the medication taken to treat a particular symptom . These medicines are not without side effects. Unlike conventional medicine which has introduced a medicine to treat a symptom, is unpredictable as some medicines are pulled off the selves because of potential side-effects; Ayurveda has medicinal herbs that are proven and used for thousands of years. Ayurveda emphasizes on changing diet and lifestyle to for optimum health. Ayurveda is more practical as it considers that every person is unique and thus, groups people according to their body type. Knowing your body type is important, because a particular body type is more prone to a particular disease, so the diagnosis becomes easier and more accurate. Ayurveda tries to get to the bottom of your body’s imbalances to heal you as a whole person (mind, body and soul).

What conditions do Ayurveda therapies treat?

  • Losing weight
  • Prevent and treat Chronic pain and inflammation.
  • Depression and other mental illness
  • Improves over all health
  • Can be taken in conjunction with allopathic medicine. It is very important to consult a professional ayurvedic expert if you want to do this as certain ayurvedic medicine can interfere with prescriptions.
  • Digestive ailments
  • Respiratory problems
  • Low Immunity  and much more…………….

When diet is wrong medicine is of no use.

When diet is correct medicine is of no need.
~Ayurvedic Proverb

Sources:

Ayurveda Image: Bindaas Madhavi via Compfight

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