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