It's origin is shrouded in the mists of time, but Ayurvedic references are found in the Vedas the oldest known written records of human civilization.
The Indian subcontinent contains about 25,000 species of vascular plants of which around 7500 are used by folk and other traditional systems of medicines. India is one of the major suppliers of medicinal plants to the world.
Ayurveda - An Introduction
Ayurveda is known as the "mother of medicine" because Ayurvedic principles have influenced the development of Chinese, Arabic, Greek and Roman schools of medical thought. Modern western medicine has adopted Ayurvedic concepts, as well as other more recently developed therapies like aromatherapy, homeopathy and naturopathy. Ayurveda is a complete way of life. It is not only about treating sickness - it is based on preventing disease and enhancing health, longevity and vitality. The goal of Ayurveda is to achieve harmony and balance. This is attained without drugs or invasive treatments. It is comprehensive natural method of treatment ranging from diet, herbs, massage to life style counseling and meditation. A balanced diet, herbal remedies, gentle exercise and physical therapies (such as massage) are the main methods used. It also encourages one to a spiritual life- style and the pursuit of self -realization. Yoga is also related to ayurveda in that ayurveda shows how Yogic practices can be used on a therapeutic level for treatment of diseases and for maintaining ones health. Ayurveda is recognized by the World Health Organization, and is currently used by 70-80% of the Indian population. A WHO estimate reveals that around 80% of the global population consume phyto-medicines and the emphasis on Ayurvedic medicine is slowing shifting from under-developed countries to the developed ones. Recently, Ayurveda has also become increasingly popular in the West. Ayurveda is slowly entering into the mainstream health care being adopted by medical doctors, naturopaths, chiropractors, herbalists and nutritionists.
Basic Concepts of AyurvedaDisease in Ayurveda is due to an imbalance of three fundamental elements of the body. These are VAATA, PITTA and KAPHA. The entire universe is made of five elements. (which are not material in the usual sense of the term, and are types of energy.) For identifying them they are called
- Akaasa (space)
- Vaayu ( air )
- Tejas ( light )
- Ap ( water )
- Prithvi( earth )
KAPHA - It is one of the primary constituents of the body, having "water" and "earth" as elements. Function of pitta is conserving and stabilising . It organises the tissues (into their microscopic and macroscopic form) .