The ancient Indian medical system, also known as Ayurveda, is based on ancient writings that rely on a “natural” and holistic approach to physical and mental health. Ayurvedic medicine is one of the world’s oldest medical systems and remains one of India’s traditional health care systems. Ayurvedic treatment combines products (mainly derived from plants, but may also include animal, metal, and mineral), diet, exercise, and lifestyle.
Ayurveda names seven basic tissues (dhatu), which are plasma (rasa), blood (rakta), muscles (māmsa), fat (meda), bone (asthi), marrow (majja), and semen (shukra). Like the medicine of classical antiquity, Ayurveda has historically divided bodily substances into five classical elements, (Sanskrit) panchamahabhuta, viz. earth, water, fire, air and ether. There are also twenty gunas (qualities or characteristics) which are considered inherent in all matter. These are organized in ten pairs: heavy/light, cold/hot, unctuous/dry, dull/sharp, stable/mobile, soft/hard, non-slimy/slimy, smooth/coarse, minute/gross, and viscous/liquid.
Ayurveda places great emphasis on prevention and encourages the maintenance of health through close attention to balance in one’s life, right thinking, diet, lifestyle and the use of herbs. Knowledge of Ayurveda enables one to understand how to create this balance of body, mind and consciousness according to one’s own individual constitution and how to make lifestyle changes to bring about and maintain this balance.
Students of CAM therapy believe that everything in the universe – dead or alive – is connected. If your mind, body, and spirit are in harmony with the universe, you have good health. When something disrupts this balance, you get sick. Among the things that can upset this balance are genetic or birth defects, injuries, climate and seasonal change, age, and your emotions.
Just as everyone has a unique fingerprint, each person has a particular pattern of energy—an individual combination of physical, mental and emotional characteristics—which comprises their own constitution.
The earliest classical Sanskrit works on Ayurveda describe medicine as being divided into eight components (Skt. aṅga). This characterization of the physicians' art, "the medicine that has eight components» is first found in the Sanskrit epic the Mahābhārata, c. 4th century BCE. The components are:
Some Ayurvedic preparations include metals, minerals, or gems. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that the presence of metals in some Ayurvedic products makes them potentially harmful. A 2015 published survey of people who use Ayurvedic preparations showed that 40 percent had elevated blood levels of lead and some had elevated blood levels of mercury. About one in four of the supplements tested had high levels of lead and almost half of them had high levels of mercury. Although rare, Ayurvedic products may cause arsenic poisoning.
By Babayeva N.