Humans have been trying to achieve great feats for ages, and for many centuries, we have been trying to make nature obsolete, as if we don’t require it; however, being a part of nature, we can’t run away from it, and accepting it is the only way. Thankfully, more people are realizing this, and in the last two decades, there has been a massive shift towards natural products and medicines, and out of all the natural treatments available, Ayurveda reigns supreme. It is one of the ancient forms of medicine in the world, which isn’t obsolete in the modern world. Whereas other medical disciplines work on the symptoms or just the diseases, Ayurveda provides complete healthcare. Moreover, Ayurveda doesn’t cause any ill effects to the patients, and here are some interesting facts about it:
The term Ayurveda is a portmanteau of the words Ayur and Veda, which means life and science, respectively. This is the reason why Ayurveda is often referred to as “The Science of Life”. While it may appear as if Ayurveda is based on pseudoscience, it is a complex study of human physiology, the properties of plants, and their interaction with the human body.
The entire practice of Ayurveda revolves around Doshas within the human body. According to Ayurveda, combinations of the five fundamental elements, i.e., earth, wind, fire, water, and space, result in Vata, Kapha, and Pitta, the three doshas. Vata is formed with the combination of space and wind, and it can be understood as something being dry, cold, and rough. Secondly, when earth and water elements are combined, it results in Kapha, which is described as slow, soft, and heavy. Lastly, water and mostly fire results in Pitta, which is specified as hot, oily, and sharp. Each human possesses all three doshas. Interestingly, it is the proportions of the doshas that make an individual who they are, as these not only affect the physiology but also the psychology of humans.
3. Perfect Health
These three doshas dictate the lives of all humans, from their thought patterns to eating habits. “Perfect health” can only be achieved if the mentioned doshas are balanced within an individual. Even if one of these doshas is unaligned, it results in diseases, especially if the dominant dosha of the individual is imbalanced. This imbalance occurs because of eating the wrong foods for a dosha or poor lifestyle choices. Practitioners don’t treat diseases directly in Ayurveda, instead, they balance doshas that heal patients.
4. Rich History
According to Hindu mythology, Ayurveda was gifted to humans by the god of medicine, Dhanvantri. Also, it is said that these sacred rules were manifested by Lord Brahama, and then, given to Dhanvantri. Initially, the knowledge of Ayurveda used to be passed down to the following generation simply by reciting the rules and guidelines; however, nearly 5,000 years ago, the first Ayurvedic texts were recorded in Sanskrit in India. These were divided into four Vedas called Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sam Veda, and Atharva Veda. Furthermore, Ayurveda is divided into either surgical or medicinal practice, and in total, there are eight branches of Ayurveda, which are:
- Kaaya Chikitsa- a form of practice dealing with digestion
- Bala Chikitsa- this branch of Ayurveda deals with pediatrics
- Graha Chikitsa- treating psychological disorders
- Urdhvaanga Chikitsa- the ancient version of E.N.T, along with treating neck, mouth, and vision
- Shalya Chikitsa- the surgical sect of Ayurveda
- Damstra Chikitsa- also known as Visha Chikitsa, is usually utilized for treating animal bites
- Jara Chikitsa- also known as Rasayana Chikitsa, provides rejuvenation
- Vrsha Chikitsa- lastly, the segment of Ayurveda dealing with sexual problems
5. Recognized Worldwide
While most people are under the impression that alternative medicines are not real or it is pseudoscience, Ayurveda is a genuine medicine discipline, which is even recognized by the World Health Organization as one of the oldest forms of healthcare. Moreover, the WHO also states that this medical discipline has the least amount of risks.
6. A Difficult Path
The general idea about ayurvedic practitioners is that they don’t invest enough time in the practice, and anyone can become an ayurvedic doctor easily; however, the truth is completely opposite to it. First and foremost, one must learn Sanskrit because all institutions across India teach Ayurveda in this language. Secondly, one must graduate with a degree of Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery, which is a four-year-long course similar to modern medical education. From this point onward, a practitioner can decide to further train in one of the eight subspecialties, which are at least two-year-long courses. Therefore, becoming an ayurvedic doctor requires an equal amount of time and effort, if not more, than becoming an allopathic doctor.
7. Spread Globally
While Yoga has been accepted and implemented by millions around the world for many decades, Ayurveda has only now gained similar popularity. Even in countries like the United Kingdom, birthplace of the modern medicine, there are over 30 ayurvedic clinics. Moreover, celebrities are also promoting the ways of Ayurveda. In an interview, Gweneth Paltrow (a Hollywood actress) stated that she performs oil pulling each morning, which is an ayurvedic technique of using oils, usually coconut oil as a mouthwash.
8. Linking to Modern Science
In March 2009, the first-ever event organized by the International Ayurveda Congress was held in Italy. This committee was formed with an aim of helping humanity and spreading awareness towards the natural ways of living. They are helping people by allowing them to continue taking their prescription medicine, yet incorporating small changes in their lives based on their ayurvedic composition, which results in significant positive changes. After the first event, these meetings are held each year at different venues around the world.
9. Treatments for all Diseases
As mentioned previously, Ayurveda first brings a balance of the doshas in an individual, and then, all the toxins from the body are removed, and sometimes, this procedure alone is enough to treat the patients. Still, following that, a thorough treatment is started. This approach is unique to Ayurveda, and ayurvedic doctors have been able to treat even chronic diseases that are deemed incurable. Ayurvedic treatments are never just about medicines, instead, it is a combination of natural medicines, yoga, and lifestyle changes.
10. Curing Cancer
While the credit for the discovery of cancer is given to Egyptians, as they discovered it in 3000 BC, ancient ayurvedic practitioners already knew about this disease and called it Arbuda. They have also stated that the properties of cancer are similar to Kapha dosha imbalance. Psychotherapy is also an important part of the treatment for most chronic diseases in Ayurveda.
Panchakarma is one of the most practiced procedures of Ayurveda because not only does it provide better health, but it provides relief to mental issues as well. Panchakarma is also a portmanteau, where Pancha means five and karma means action. It is a process of cleansing the body of toxins. These five procedures are:
- Vamana- a type of induced vomiting
- Virechana- clearing bowels using laxatives
- Vasti/Basti- similar to an enema, which is usually followed by Virechana
- Nasya- cleansing of nasal passage with water
- Rakta Mokshan- blood-letting or leech therapy