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About Ayurveda

Ayurveda – The Mother of all Healthcare

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Centuries before western medicines came into existence, man in different cradles of civilization, had invented some form of treatment using herbs, minerals nd other substances like animal products. Ayurveda is the most ancient and famous of them all. There are also others like Naturopathy, Yoga, Siddha, Acupressure etc, but their origins can be traced to Ayurveda the mother of all healthcare.

The conventional or western medicine is based on physiology of man and pharmacology of substances (drugs)

Ayurveda, on the other hand, is based on the understanding of deep philosophy and mysteries of the Nature.

Preparation on Medicine

That prevention is better than cure is an important principle of Ayurveda. Thus, the preparations of medicines are also based on the holistic aspects of the person – his spiritual, mental and physical aspects. These preparations are either decoctions, tablets, other sweetened and fermented oral medicines called arishta-asawas, oils and ointments, powder, syrups, drops and even injectables.

All are from natural sources, mainly composed of different herbs, single or as a mixture of parts or whole. In certain cases herbs are mixed with other vegetable products like honey, oil, etc., as well as selected minerals and animal products like salt, fat, milk, etc.

According to the specific nature of ailments prescribed herbs are compounded in different proportion to prepare the medicine. In some cases, more then fifty herbs are used. Ayurvedic medicines are prepared generally by cooking the row herbs. Certain preparations are based on abstracts. In that, a combination of medicines rather than “just a medicine” is administered to remedy the root causes including karma. This organic nature and holistic approach of these preparations assures that the treatment does not produce any adverse effect. If anything, it produces only side benefits.
The Four Ends of Human Life

In brief, Ayurveda’s holistic approach to health care is based on the ends of human life. Man basically is immortal. But due to ignorance he is unable to realize that the real Self, which is identified with the intellect, lies within the heart and it is eternal. “He has to wait only as long as he is unrealized; then ,he attains perfection, “ says Chandogya, ne of the scriptures f Indian tradition. Man, simply, has to realize his real nature and his immortal self. AS he develops this ability, he becomes capable of detaching himself from this perishable world and attains perfection.

According to the Vedic teachings, there are four ends of human life. Artha (wealth), Kama (pleasure) Dharma (duty to fulfill) and Moksa or mukti (liberation). Man must find the means to live, and wealth is essential for his needs. In oreder to live and progress, man also needs pleasure in life. So he uses wealth to meet hid needs for pleasure (kama) and to enjoy life.

Using wealth for life and pleasure must, however, be in accordance with duty (Dharma) for man to reach his final destination. For man, life in this world is not the end. It is only a limited phase leading to eternal life. So, he must apply everything towards that goal, realizing that the path, which leads him to his destination is his Dharma.

Liberation from all the material and physical bondage in this perishable and suffering world to attain Moksa or Mukti and experience the state of immortality is the ultimate destination of man. In this final stage he attains perfection. Ayurveda through the healing process aims at the physical, mental and spiritual perfection of man for perfect
happiness.

Triguna – 3 Components of the Universe

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The whole universe as well as man is based on three basic principles or components called Triguna loosely translated as quality. They are Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. Sattva is the principle or cause for the existence, light etc. Rajas is the principle or cause of action, movement, pain, etc. Tamas is the principle or cause of laziness, steadiness, death and darkness, etc. All these qualities are essential and the character of a person can differ according to the predominance of any one of these qualities over the other. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas produce pleasure, pain and indifference respectively.

When Sattva is predominant in a person, he can be more spiritually elevated and have longevity of life. Persons of this character can be ascetics, philosophers, and artists. If Sattva is less in a person he can have the problem of depression and easily stressed. When Rajas is predominant in a person, he can be more active and energetic. He likes to move and to be moved. With less Rajas, he loses interest in doing anything and appears as moody. He tries to avoid the company of people. On the other hand, when Tama is predominant in a person, he is lazy, sleepy and not having much initiative for anything. He likes darkness rather than light. He likes to eat more but work less.

When these qualities in a person are in the proper balance he is healthy. But if any one or all of them are not in balance he can be considered sick. In this condition, there are prescribed treatments in Ayurveda to correct the character and make a person healthy. The food intake and certain natural medicines with certain prescribed exercises will help these qualities become balance and make a person healthy again.

Panchabhutias and Tridoshas – Five Elements, Three Faults

Based on this belief, Ayurveda defines the human body a composed of five elements- vayu (air), agni (fire), akasa (ether), pritvi (earth) and jel (water). Each part of the body contains all these elements in different measure; and they generate three essential conditions in the human body, either alone or by merging with another. Air and ether together, for example, would make vata (loosely translated in English as air) Fire remains as it is and produces pitha, which is bile, Water and Earth together would make kapha or phlegm. These three conditions – vata, pithe, kapha – assist the body in its functions when they are in correct balance. Any imbalance, on the other hand, leads to an healthy state of the body.

The role of vata is to regulate breathing ,movement of food through the digestive process to separate the waste matter from the essence and discharge as urine and stool, as well as maintain the senses and feelings.

Pitha helps to assimilate the digested food into the body, controls the body’s temperature, maintains its softness and color, and controls appetite, thirst, taste, sight, intelligence and the power of memory.

Kapha helps the muscles and joints with flexibility and strength, which, in turn, generates a sense of general comfort and overall well being.

Subject to the influence of internal or external forces or conditions, any, or al, of the three could be aggravated and cause a imbalance in the body, which in turn would produce a state of uneasiness and lead to sickness. Because of this particular character of Vata, Pitha and Kapha causing aggravation of tridoshas can arise from food intake. The food we eat have six taste – sweet, sour, salt, bitter, hot, astringent. The tastes, which can change according to varying proportions of each item of food, can help correct the imbalance of trishodas. Sweet, sour and salt helps correct vata; sweet astringent and biter are god for correcting pitha; while hot and astringent helps correct kapha.

Everything that God created, he gave to man for his nourishment, well being and fulfillment of his mission on earth. Therefore, it is logical that the remedies for all the problem man might experience be found in the Nature,

In nature exists an order of harmony. All elements in nature from the smallest to the largest, and from the lowest to the highest are composed of different atoms, each arranged in a certain proportion and order for maintaining a perfect equilibrium. That is the order of Nature which God intended.

So when this equilibrium, or balance, is disturbed, there will arise a disorder. In the case f vegetables, animal and humans, such disorders render the body weak and defective and hamper health and growth. This is what we call “diseases” or infirmity. Providing remedy for the disorder is “treatment” and, the means used for the treatment “medicine”

Areas of Man where Disorders Can Occur

Man, As God’s most perfect creation and a micro universe is composed for four aspects – matter, vegetable, animal and spirit or atman (the image of God) These aspects are known as physical, mental and spiritual. And these are the areas where disorder can occur. Since all these aspects are inherent in one being that is man, they are interconnected and cannot b separated from each other. This simply means that if one part of this being is affected by a disorder, all other parts of it will also experience the effect of that disorder. Therefore, any remedy should be for all these aspects – taking man as whole interconnected areas of functions.

In short, the right and effective form of treatment for humans should be holistic that would cover the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of the person. This is the basis of Ayurveda, and it achieves all this relying on what is available in the Nature – vegetation, minerals, metals and animals.

A Healthcare System Based on Nature’s Wealth

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Ayurveda – The science of life is the worlds oldest form of healthcare. Developed in ancient India some 3000 years before Christ, For centuries it remained unknown to other civilizations. Then, following Western colonization of India, Ayurveda, like other Indian achievements, were relegated to the background only to promote Western products. But over the past more than half-a-century, Ayurveda has reemerged and is now a well-documented, fully fledged medical practice with training by Acharias and university course up to post graduation of PhD. With such progress, this healthcare based on natural cure has crossed the boundaries of India to reach other parts of the world.

Ayurveda forms part of the ancient Indian scripture known as Vedas. Originally the Vedas were in the form of oral tradition, but later on written down in Sanskrit on palm leaves. Paper was yet to be invented many centuries later in AD 105 in China. These scriptures written down on palm leaves comprise four books – Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Athervaveda. One of the upavedas (sub-Vedas) is called Ayurveda. The name Ayurveda is composed of Two Sanskrit terms : ayus meaning life, and veda meaning the knowledge or science – effect, Science of Life or healthcare. Two main sources for information about Yurveda are the writings of Charaka and Sushruta, two authoriries on Ayurveda who lived in 700 BC in India.

Those who are no familiar with Yurveda in countries like the Philippines but have heard the term herbal, might think that it is the use of particular herb for a specific physical problem – like lagundi for asthma or some herbs available at the side of Quiapo Church, in Metro Manila Ayurveda is far from such concepts.

Ayurveda is not like any other healthcare. It is a system rooted in Nature’s wealth and man’s relation to the Universe. It can deal with all problems of man from physical and mental to even spiritual. In short, it is a lifestyle program that includes learning what and how to eat, how to exercise and how to take medicine. .

Cleansing of the body, mind and soul os all part of it. Many preparations of Ayurveda in small doses work as preventive while prescribed dose works as curative. Therefore both the healthy and the sick can take them.

A Holistic Remedy

According to Dr. Prashant Sawant, a present day Indian scholar and practitioner of Yurveda, this healthcare that has survived thr trials over 5000 years could also offer hope for AIDS victims, because it emphasizes on the importance of developing the individuals immune system to fight all possible infections.

“The fundamental philosophy of Ayurveda, “ says Dr. Sawant, is that sufficient is that suffering is diseases and contentment is good health. No human being, he points out, can be called healthy if he does not posses a sound body, sound mind and a sound atman (soul). Ayurveda, he explains, describes a whole way of life; it narrates how one should keep healthy by advising even on the smallest things of personal hygiene and social conduct.

Emphasizing on Ayurveda’s holistic approach towards healthcare, another contemporary Indian scholar of Ayurveda, Vaydya Bhagvan Dash, says: “ Contrary to the present trend of specialization for the treatment of diseases in different parts of the body in isolation, Ayurveda believes in the functional unity of the body as a whole. Different parts of the body are functionally interconnected… For example good bowel movement is the sine qua non for the promotion of eyesight. For the treatment of refraction error, medicines administered ensure removal of constipation, in addition to correcting any morbidity of the eyes. Similarly, purgatives are also given for the prevention and cure of bronchial asthma, cardiac disorders, arthritis, allergic manifestations and skin as Ayurveda is a holistic system, no diseases is ever treated in isolation. Many doctors agree that Ayurveda medicine, with its emphasis on health as much as illness, is probably the most complete health system so far developed. It also involves various practices including massage, emetics, enemas, oil treatment, steam baths, breathing exercises, and YOGA (Readers Digest Family Guide to Alternative Medicine)

Ayurveda Science of Life

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Ayurveda the science of life, the traditional medicine of INDIA is one of the oldest scientific medical systems in the world, with a long term record of clinical experience. Ayurveda is a way of life that teaches how to promote longetivity. Ayurveda treats mas as a whole, which is a composition of body, mind and sould. Therefore is truly a Holistic and Integral medical system.

More than Just Herbal

Those who are not familiar with Ayurveda might think that its uses a particular herb for a specific physical problem – such as Lagundi or Ampalaya. Ayurveda is far from such concepts.

A Holistic Remedy

Unlike any other healthcare system. Ayurveda is a system rooted in Nature’s wealth and man’s relation to the universe. It can deal with all problems of man from physical and mental to even spiritual. In short it is a lifestyle program that includes what and how to eat, how to exercise and how to take medicine. Cleansing of the body, mind and soul is all part of it.

A traditional medicine of INDIA is one of the oldest scientific medical systems in the world, with a long record of clinical experience. Ayurveda is a way of life that teaches how to maintain and promote health, it show to cure diseases and how to promote longevity. Ayurveda treats man as a whole, which is a composition of body, mind and soul. Therefore it is truly holistic and integral medical system.

Ayurveda believes that diseases occur not as arbitrary phenomenon but for definite reasons which if correctly understood could help to cure and, more importantly prevent recurrence of the diseases. Ideally human begins and nature should be in perfect harmony. Diseases occurs when the equilibrium between these two is disturbed. Restoration of this fundamental balance, through the use of nature and its product is the main goal of this medical system. ” The object of Ayurveda” said Susruda, the famous physician some 2600 years ago, ” is the restoration to health of those who are afflicted with diseases and the preservation of sound health of those who are well”

Evidently Ayurveda believes in the treatment of not just affected part, but the individual as a whole. The Stress is on prevention of bodily ailments and not jut curing them. As the limitations of antibiotics are becoming evident, such regimes for strengthening our own energy of immune systems may be crucial for our health.

Two important aspects or specialty of Ayurveda as a holistic approach in treatment as well as in the preparation of medicines are included. Holistic approach is not only the physical wholeness but the spiritual, mental and physical wholeness thus considered.

The difference in preparation of medicines is that all the natural sources or substances are used in preparing the medicines in Ayurveda is practically nil.

Ayurveda gives more importance to prevention than cure, when we can prevent, why do we wait for an accident to happen? That is why Ayurveda medicines are used not only by the sick but the healthy as well. Four ends of human life too are briefly mentioned to know the holistic nature of Ayurveda.

All the systems of healthcare have their identity and uniqueness. Either old or modern all are important for the progress and development. It is better to know than condemning any without knowing it. Here, the words of Acharya Characa, the foremost scholar of Ayurveda, is remembered. ” The wise considers the entire universe as his preceptor. It is only the unwise who finds enemies in it. One should, therefore, unhesitatingly accept proper advise from whichever quarter it may come, even from the enemy, and follow it.”

Know more about Ayurveda

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Ayurveda the science of life, the traditional medicine of INDIA is one of the oldest scientific medical systems in the world, with a long term record of clinical experience. Ayurveda is a way of life that teaches how to promote longetivity. Ayurveda treats mas as a whole, which is a composition of body, mind and sould. Therefore is truly a Holistic and Integral medical system.

More than Just Herbal

Those who are not familiar with Ayurveda might think that its uses a particular herb for a specific physical problem – such as Lagundi or Ampalaya. Ayurveda is far from such concepts.

A Holistic Remedy

Unlike any other healthcare system. Ayurveda is a system rooted in Nature’s wealth and man’s relation to the universe. It can deal with all problems of man from physical and mental to even spiritual. In short it is a lifestyle program that includes what and how to eat, how to exercise and how to take medicine. Cleansing of the body, mind and soul is all part of it.

A traditional medicine of INDIA is one of the oldest scientific medical systems in the world, with a long record of clinical experience. Ayurveda is a way of life that teaches how to maintain and promote health, it show to cure diseases and how to promote longevity. Ayurveda treats man as a whole, which is a composition of body, mind and soul. Therefore it is truly holistic and integral medical system.

Ayurveda believes that diseases occur not as arbitrary phenomenon but for definite reasons which if correctly understood could help to cure and, more importantly prevent recurrence of the diseases. Ideally human begins and nature should be in perfect harmony. Diseases occurs when the equilibrium between these two is disturbed. Restoration of this fundamental balance, through the use of nature and its product is the main goal of this medical system. ” The object of Ayurveda” said Susruda, the famous physician some 2600 years ago, ” is the restoration to health of those who are afflicted with diseases and the preservation of sound health of those who are well”

Evidently Ayurveda believes in the treatment of not just affected part, but the individual as a whole. The Stress is on prevention of bodily ailments and not jut curing them. As the limitations of antibiotics are becoming evident, such regimes for strengthening our own energy of immune systems may be crucial for our health.

Two important aspects or specialty of Ayurveda as a holistic approach in treatment as well as in the preparation of medicines are included. Holistic approach is not only the physical wholeness but the spiritual, mental and physical wholeness thus considered.

The difference in preparation of medicines is that all the natural sources or substances are used in preparing the medicines in Ayurveda is practically nil.

Ayurveda gives more importance to prevention than cure, when we can prevent, why do we wait for an accident to happen? That is why Ayurveda medicines are used not only by the sick but the healthy as well. Four ends of human life too are briefly mentioned to know the holistic nature of Ayurveda.

All the systems of healthcare have their identity and uniqueness. Either old or modern all are important for the progress and development. It is better to know than condemning any without knowing it. Here, the words of Acharya Characa, the foremost scholar of Ayurveda, is remembered. ” The wise considers the entire universe as his preceptor. It is only the unwise who finds enemies in it. One should, therefore, unhesitatingly accept proper advise from whichever quarter it may come, even from the enemy, and follow it.”

4th World Ayurveda Congress & Arogya Expo

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“Health can be maintained and disease can be prevented. Though technology is advancing, people are still falling sick. Health care costs keep on increasing, and there is no way to reduce that unless you introduce prevention. The best prevention is through Ayur veda, because it is a ver y comprehensive system, since it is based on natural medicine, which is devoid of toxicity.

Even something old and time-tested may, on occasion, need a new approach and a fresh reaffirmation. As has been the case with Ayurveda, the science of life and the source of most alternative health-care systems.

At the turn of the 20th century, however, the Ayurveda sector was beset with challenges. Its growth rate was stagnating. Certain ‘scientific’ reviews were questioning the efficacy of Ayurvedic formulations, given their heavy metal content. European legislation was threatening to bar Ayurveda from the continent for ever. Ayurvedic organizations did register protests but could not garner the cohesive, critical mass needed to make their voices heard. What they needed were advocacy groups and forums to offer robust scientific support to the idea of Ayurveda.

This felt-need for a credible platform to unite all concerned parties to disseminate authentic, unbiased, comprehensive information to national and global audiences catalysed a revivalist movement. As a result, in 2001, the WAC (World Ayurveda Congress) was established, an appropriately optimistic development to harbinger the start of the new millennium. Of course, this was helped by the fact that despite the stated challenges, global awareness of Ayurveda was on the rise. Increasingly, people across the world were discovering what a panacea for lifestyle-related and chronic diseases Ayurveda could be. Also, there was new evidence to validate Ayurvedic scriptures, thus piquing interest in this science.

Over eight years and through three Congresses, the WAC has emerged as a global forum for all stakeholders to not only network with each other but also engage in intellectual exchange to strengthen the Ayurveda sector, reaffirm their sense of purpose and think about the future direction. It showcases advances in relevant fields, orients students and facilitates interaction between professionals and consumers, thus boosting Ayurveda commerce.

The 2007 annual report of the Department of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy) confirms that Ayurveda’s popularity and commerce have improved tremendously since 2001. As the accompanying graph reveals, after the first WAC in 2002, the foreign trade of AYUSH products increased by 48% over the previous year, a rise of Rs 5862 million. There has been continuous growth in AYUSH exports thereafter, showing 74% growth in volume in 2007 as compared to that in 2002. More than 86% of trade related to AYUSH is contributed by Ayurveda.

The report adds that concerned state governments increased budgetary outlays for Ayurveda, in the wake of WAC. In 2003, the Government of India provided Kerala with Rs 2877.5 million via a scheme for hospitals and dispensaries, a humongous increase over the Rs 50 million allotted in the previous year. Maharashtra received Rs 2167.5 million in 2006, a substantial improvement over the Rs 178.9 million allotted in 2005. The Ministry of Railways has included Ayurveda in the health scheme of Railway employees and initiated 39 Ayurvedic dispensaries across India. The Ministry of Coal and Mining has included Ayurveda for the occupational hazards management of miners and started 16 Ayurvedic dispensaries in coal/lignite mines in Central India.

In fact, the WAC’s activities have paved the way for betterorganized pro-Ayurvedic movements the world over. To propagate the practice, science and trade of Ayurveda, the WAC organizes events and scientific discourses across the globe. It takes keen interest in trade improvement, acceptance of Ayurveda as a medical system, registration of Ayurvedic practitioners and popularisation of Ayurveda drugs in respective countries.

Having established itself as a vital platform for Ayurveda, the WAC has set itself the following goals for the future (2009–14).

  • To facilitate acceptance and recognition for Ayurveda as a complete health system adoptable in all countries across the world
  • To create appropriate platforms for ‘scientific basing’ of Ayurveda along with suitable infrastructure to popularize the outcomes
  • To make Ayurveda an integral part of health-care management

Within the larger objectives, the specific key achievables identified are as follows.

  • To create interest groups in 30 countries including those in the European Union, Association of South-East Asian Nations, the United Arab Emirates, and North America
  • To formulate international peer-review panels in basic and medical sciences for credible guidance and validation of research
  • To initiate the creation of a network of medical institutions, laboratories, and universities across the world for aiding joint research and creating a database of management efficacy of Ayurveda.

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