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Ayurveda: Information and Treatment Methods

Disabled World: Revised/Updated: 2019/12/14

Synopsis: Information regarding traditional Ayurveda alternative medicine and complementary therapies for health and illness. Ayurveda, or Ayurvedic medicine, is a system of Hindu traditional medicine native to the Indian subcontinent. Today Ayurveda has been enjoying a major resurgence in both its native land of India and throughout the world. Tibetan medicine and Traditional Chinese medicine both have their roots in Ayurveda.

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What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is India's traditional, natural system of medicine that has been practiced for more than 5,000 years and is native to India, and practiced in other parts of the world as a form of alternative medicine. Evolving throughout its history, Ayurveda remains an influential system of medicine in South Asia.

Ayurveda, or Ayurvedic medicine, is a system of Hindu traditional medicine native to the Indian subcontinent. Practices derived from Ayurvedic traditions are a type of alternative medicine. Ayurveda is a discipline of the upaveda or auxiliary knowledge in Vedic tradition. The origins of Ayurveda are also found in the Atharvaveda, which contains 114 hymns and incantations described as magical cures for disease. Ayurvedic practices include the use of herbal medicines, mineral or metal supplementation (rasa shastra), surgical techniques, opium, and application of oil by massages.

In the United States, Ayurvedic medicine is considered a type of CAM and a whole medical system. As with other such systems, it is based on theories of health and illness and on ways to prevent, manage, or treat health problems.

Today Ayurveda has been enjoying a major resurgence in both its native land of India and throughout the world. Tibetan medicine and Traditional Chinese medicine both have their roots in Ayurveda.

The earliest literature of Ayurveda appeared during the Vedic period in India.

The Sushruta Samhita and the Charaka Samhita were influential works on traditional medicine during this era. Ayurvedic practitioners also identified a number of medicinal preparations and surgical procedures for curing various ailments and diseases.

Ayurveda defines mental health as a state of mental, intellectual and spiritual well-being.

"A complete and foolproof definition and interpretation of the mind is impossible to provide... Yet ayurveda has attempted to examine every detail of the mind's attributes with fair success. Ayurveda emphasizes prevention of disease, rejuvenation of our body systems, and extension of life span.

In Ayurveda, symptoms and diseases that could be categorized as mental thoughts or feelings are just as important as symptoms and diseases of the physical body.

Ayurveda seeks to remove the root causes of mental illness in a holistic way. Its focus is on prevention through correct diet, exercise, meditation and cultivation of the right attitude. It offers a complex array of therapeutic techniques and natural medicines to restore balance and harmony.

These various views are considered complementary rather than contradictory.

Ayurvedic treatments rely heavily on herbs and other plants, including oils and common spices.

Dried Cassia bark in and around a white bowl.
Dried Cassia bark in and around a white bowl.

Currently, more than 600 herbal formulas and 250 single plant drugs are included in the "pharmacy" of Ayurvedic treatments. Historically, Ayurvedic medicine has grouped plant compounds into categories according to their effects (for example, healing, promoting vitality, or relieving pain). Health officials in India and other countries have taken steps to address some concerns about these medications. Concerns relate to toxicity, formulations, interactions, and scientific evidence.

Laboratory and clinical studies on Ayurvedic herbal preparations and other therapies have shown them to have a range of potentially beneficial effects for preventing and treating certain cancers, treating infectious disease, treating diabetes, promoting health, and treating aging.

Summary

Ayurveda is an ancient health care tradition that has been practiced in India for at least 5,000 years. The word comes from the Sanskrit terms ayur (life) and veda (knowledge).

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