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)