Ayurveda

naturalmedicineMedicine 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 group of symptoms that require relief rather than a looking at the underlining causative factors.

Dating back to more than 5000 years, Ayurvedic medicine is the worlds oldest medical science. In fact, even plastic surgery originated in the Ayurvedic medical system. Modern day plastic surgeons learn about the Ayurvedic physician named Sushruta, the father of Surgery in India and Plastic surgery to the world.

Based on thousands of research studies, clinical trials, comparative studies and case studies, Ayurveda has proven to be extremely effective in a wide range of conditions including both acute and chronic diseases.

For example:

1. Hepatitis B
Double-blind clinical trial of HD-03/ES versus placebo in the management of Chronic hepatitis B.

2. ADHD
An open-label study to elucidate the effects of standardized Bacopa monnieri extract in the management of symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children.

3. Menorrhagia, Metrorrhagia, DUB
A Study on Ayurveda Poly Herbal Compound of Yogaratnakar (17 – A.D.)
w.s.r. Rakta-Pradara (Abnormal Uterine Bleeding) 

4. Osteo-Arthritis
Ayurvedic medicine offers a good alternative to glucosamine and celecoxib in the treatment of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: a randomized, double-blind, controlled equivalence drug trial.

5. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
The effects of Nigella sativa on thyroid function, serum Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) – 1, Nesfatin-1 and anthropometric features in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: a randomized controlled trial.

The interesting thing about this science is that even in cases considered “incurable” by Allopathic medicine, Ayurveda has shown greater promise with outstanding results. It’s not unusual to hear about a patient of Hypothyroidism, Diabetes, or Crohn’s Disease, spontaneously entering remission after Ayurvedic treatment.

A good example of Ayurveda’s efficacy is the following case series on forty-three patients with ulcerative colitis, whom received Ayurvedic treatment:

Effects of Ayurvedic treatment on forty-three patients of ulcerative colitis

In India, Ayurvedic medicine is the prime choice for anyone suffering with a chronic disease. This is because time and time again, people have witnessed the effectiveness of this medical science. Modern medicine (Allopathy), is the choice for acute diseases like infections or emergencies requiring surgery.

Due to the popularity and efficacy of Ayurvedic medicine, people from all over the world flock to India when they are diagnosed with incurable illnesses. I myself have witnessed, while studying in India, numerous international guests visiting my medical school professors and the local Ayurvedic hospitals. All of them seeking a “Cure”.


What is Ayurveda?

The literal translation of “Ayurveda” is  “The science of life”

It is the oldest known medical sciences on earth. The science originated with the Yogis and Spiritual Practitioners of India. The historical references indicate that much like the other Vedic sciences, Ayurveda is possibly of extraterrestrial origin. This knowledge was passed down to scholars and they went on to write various texts on Ayurveda. Some of these books are “Sushruta Samhita”,”Charaka Samhita”,  and “Ashtanga Hrudaya”.

These books are still available today, and date back to pre-biblical times.

Sushruta Samhita was written by the Ayurvedic Physician mentioned earlier, known as Sushruta. He was a well accomplished surgeon and is considered to be the “Father Of Plastic Surgery”, since his work included reconstructive surgery. Sushruta is studied by all Ayurvedic scholars and is held in high regard to this day.

Charaka Samhita was originally known as “Agnivesh Tantra”. Agnivesh was one of the first Ayurvedic Scholars to study directly under the guidance of the spiritual practitioners who discovered the knowledge. Charaka was the physician who redacted the work of Agnivesh and compiled what is now known as “Charaka Samhita”

There are eight branches of Ayurveda

1-Internal Medicine (Kaya Chikitsa)
2-Ear, Nose, Throat & Supra Clavicular Medicine (Shalakya Tantra)
3-Toxicology (Agada Tantra)
4-Pediatrics (Kaumar Bhritya)
5-Surgery (Shalya Tantra)
6-Psychiatry (Manas Roga)
7-Sexology (Vajikarana)
8-Rejuvenatiion & Anti-Aging (Rasayana)

Before getting into the actual science behind the Ayurvedic understanding of the body, lets first take a look at the classical (Ancient) method of understanding.

Elemental Understanding

Ayurvedic medicine is based on the 5 elements : Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space. All things that exist are believed to be made up of these five elements.

In the body, for example, all hard things (bones, nails, etc) are made up of earth; all liquids (mucus, CSF, etc) are associated with water; enzymatic activity and digestion are part of the fire element; movement and electric impulses are a result of air; and the hollowness of organs and structures are due to Space.

When these elements fall out of balance, disease occurs.


Ayurvedic Physiology

Ayurveda states that the body is made up of Bio-humors (groups of physiological systems which work closely together) which regulate all physiological processes: Vata, Kapha, and Pitta.

Vata refers to the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system and mental faculty including neurotransmitters (Norepinephrine, Epinephrine, etc), Respiratory system, Cardiovascular system, Peristaltic movement, etc.

Kapha refers to the anabolic processes, including hormones (GH, Insulin, Testosterone, Estrogen, etc), inhibitory neurotransmitters (GABA, Serotonin, etc), bodily fluids responsible for lubrication and cushioning (CSF, Synovial Fluid, Mucus, etc), etc.

Pitta refers to the catabolic processes including acids (HCl, Acetic acid, etc), enzymes (transferrin, Pepsin, Gastrin, etc), Lymphatic system, digestive function (Bile, HCl, etc), excitatory neurotransmitters (Acetylcholine, Glutamate, Dopamine, etc), etc.

When any of these three bio-humors increase or decrease, it results in disease.

In addition to this, Ayurveda primarily focuses on “metabolism” (known as agni) – both overall-digestive metabolism, including enzymes (Lipases, Amylases, Proteases, Nucleases, etc), Pro-biotics, and absorption, as well as cellular metabolism (processes such as autophagy, apoptosis, etc).

Another very important aspect of health in Ayurveda is “Ojas”, which refers to Adenosine Triphosphate, Immunoglobulins, Glycogen and several other energy and immunity related components – which is responsible for strength and vitality as well as resistance.

And finally, “prana”, which refers to the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for maintaining consciousness via regulation of involuntary functions such as respiration, heartbeat, peristalsis, and more.


Ayurvedic Anatomy

Ayurveda states that the body is made up of 7 Primary Tissues:

Plasma (Rasa)
Blood (Rakta)
Muscle (Mamsa)
Fat (Meda)
Bone (Asthi)
Marrow/Brain (Majja)
Reproductive Fluid (Shukra)

As well as secondary tissues and components such as Skin, Nails, Hair, Teeth, Sweat, Ligaments, Tendons, Bile, Mucus, Glycogen, Lymph, etc.

This, together with the major and minor organs (liver, kidneys, pancreas, glands, gonads, etc), Skeleton and Vital Points (marma) make up the anatomical understanding of Ayurveda.

The third and most important factor, which diagnostically determines close-to everything, is waste products.

Primarily, 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 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. A few simple examples would be:

– Pale colored stools can indicated a bile duct blockage
– Semi-solid stools or frequent loose stools can indicated a problem with fluid absorption
– Sugar in urine indicates diabetes
– Excessive sweat indicates hyperactivity of parasympathetic nervous system
– Frequent bowel movements can indicate hyper-stimulation of the vagus nerve

More complex examples would be:

– Excessive urination, leading to nutrient deficiencies (Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium)
– Blood in stool indicating intestinal ulceration, leading to poor nutrition and anemia.
– Extremely foul smelling stools can indicate mal-absorption or infection.


Why Choose Ayurveda?

The most interesting 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 generate 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 are 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 reverse it or prevent a heart attack, is with proper Ayurvedic Treatment – which involves the use of medicinal herb, extracts and formulas, as well as nutritional support and lifestyle changes.

When it comes to chronic diseases, complete relief 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 – 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. Think of disease as a tree: If you remove it from its root, it will not grow again. If you just chop a few branches, it will just grow back again. Ayurveda focuses on the root.

Dr. Nishal R.
Copyright © 2017

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