What is Ayurvedic Medicine?

Medicine is a science that has existed since the beginning of time. Every living being experiences illness, disease, and injury. And every living being desires relief when in such times. Since mankind originated, there has always been a means of treating disease. However, in recent times our species has gone down the wrong path of treatment. We look at most illnesses as a bunch of symptoms that require relief rather than a looking at the underlining causative factors.

A patient may ask “how did i get lupus?” or “how did i get an auto-immune disease”. And the doctor will reply “the cause is unknown”. But is that really true? Did we miss something? Perhaps we have diverted our attention from the very basis upon which all living beings are sustained, aka our diet. Oh no, not this diet thing again, everyone says that! Where is the evidence behind this diet theory?

Let me give you a scenario. You eat something that is loaded with preservatives, and other harmful ingredients and on top of that, the food is not properly cooked because you wanted “fast food”. Now, this meal goes into your gut and has a hard time digesting. Undigested particles remain and begin to ferment as a result of little or no fiber. Now suddenly you eat another meal and during digestion, some of those fermented particles get absorbed into your bloodstream. They then go to the tissues requiring maintenance and bond with those tissues. Now we have morbid material building up in your tissues. Lets say this tissue is MUSCLE tissue. Now this goes on, and it also builds the secondary tissue of muscle which is skin. Now one day you decide to eat something that gives your immune system a boost, like a glass of fresh orange juice. Suddenly your immune system wakes up and realizes that the muscle tissue is made of morbid material which shouldn’t be in your body. Now what? Your immune system attacks BUT, this is your muscle tissue! And the secondary tissue is a problem too. What happens? Your body decides to attack and attempt to form the tissue in a different way. Perhaps it decides to use Collagen type 1. Now what do we have? Now we have SCLERODERMA, aka an auto-immune disease. A diseases which is claimed to have “no known cause” in allopathic medicine. This, my friends, is the beauty or understanding medicine from an “Ayurvedic” perspective. This is the evidence behind the “bad diet” theory.

So, what is “Ayurveda” or “Ayurvedic Medicine”?

The literal translation of “Ayurveda” is “The science of life”
“Ayu” means life.
“Veda” means science.

It is one of the oldest known medical sciences on earth dating back to around 5000 BC. Ayurvedic medicine is based on the 5 elements : Earth, water, fire, air, and ether. All things that exist are made up of these five elements. In the body, for example, all hard things (bones, nails, etc are made up of earth; all liquids are associated with water; enzyme activity and digestion are part of the fire element; movement and electric impulses are a result of the “moving” quality of air; and the hollowness of organs and structures are due to ether. When these elements fall out of balance, disease occurs.

Ayurveda states that the body is made up of “Bio-energies” which regulate all physiological processes: Vata, Kapha, and Pitta.

– Vata is of the air element and governs all movements including the nervous system’s electrical impulses and consciousness itself.
– Kapha is of the water and earth element and is responsible for the anabolic processes and moistness.
– Pitta is of the fire element and is a little watery. It is responsible for the catabolic processes as well as color.

When these three bio-energies increase or decrease, it results in disease.

In addition to this there is “agni” which is for the overall digestion and immune response. “Ojas” which is responsible for strength and vitality as well as resistance. And “prana” which is responsible for consciousness and the presence of life itself.

Anatomically, Ayurveda states that the body is made up of 7 Tissues:
-Plasma -Blood -Muscle -Fat -Bone -Marrow -Reproductive fluid.

This together with the major and minor organs make up the anatomical understanding of Ayurveda.

The third and most important factor, which diagnostically determines close to everything is the waste products. Primarily, “purisha, mutra, and sveda” aka “feces, urine and sweat make up the waste products. However, other waste products like dandruff, rheum, ear wax, smegma, as well as dried nasal mucus are just as important.

Now you must wonder “what on earth is so important about waste products”.

The answer is simple:

The waste product is the final product, and therefore, its nature can give us a good understanding of the processes occurring inside the body. For example, pale colored stools can indicated a bile duct blockage. Semi-solid stools or frequent loose stools can indicated a problem related to pitta.

The great thing about Ayurvedic medicine is , even if an actual diagnosis cannot be made (which happens more frequently nowadays), by knowing the involvement of these bio-energies etc, an Ayurvedic Physician can administer treatment based on that itself and have a successful result.

There are far less limitations and far more options in Ayurvedic medicine. Infact, most people believe that if your illness is not an emergency condition, then the best option is Ayurvedic Medicine. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re having a heart attack, the best option is allopathic medicine. It always has been, and it probably always will be. However, if you have been diagnosed with heart disease, the best way to cure it or prevent a heart attack, is with Ayurvedic Treatment.

When it comes to chronic diseases, finding a cure is nearly impossible. Keyword “nearly”. Finding treatment that doesn’t ruin the rest of your body from the harmful side-effects is just as difficult…. That’s if you are thinking in terms of Allopathic medicine. The Ayurvedic belief is “treat the cause”. By treating the cause, we can eliminate the disease. By cleansing the body we can remove the morbid material and return to equilibrium. By rejuvenating the body we can restore health and youthful vigor even in old age. This is the beauty of Ayurveda.

Dr. Nishal R.

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