Q What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is the ancient healthcare system of India, based on the eternal principles of healthy life. Ayur in Sanskrit means `life` or `daily living` and Veda means `science`. Ayurveda is the name given to the science of life and longevity, which is a vast body of invaluable knowledge with eight branches.
Q How is it different from modern medicine?
Modern medicine tries to treat and remove symptoms rather than treating the patient suffering from it. This stems from the view that all people are more or less the same. Ayurveda makes special contributions by addressing the uniqueness of each patient and by helping each body to heal itself.
Q Why is Ayurveda becoming more and more popular in the western world ?
Ayurvedic science though ancient, could not be more relevant to todays medical challenges and needs. In fact along with Buddhism it is the fastest growing belief system in the West. In ancient India, Buddhism enriched the Ayurvedic system and took it to the masses. Ayurveda is becoming so popular because it complements western medicine and Ayurveda understands how and why we become ill. It can offer effective treatment for many conditions for which conventional medicine has not found cure.
Q Are all Ayurvedic products of natural origin?
Ayurveda favors administration of natural health care products (of plant, animal, mineral origin) and their preparations. Generally Ayurvedic medicare products cause no toxic or side effects, and hence are totally safe. These are time-tested preparations, which have been used by many generations. There is no question of tolerance, resistance or addiction with Ayurvedic health care products.
Q What is Panchakarma ?
Basic objective of "Panchakarma" (Five internal detoxification procedures) is to remove the excessive accumulated toxin, which causes the vitiation of `dosha` (fault). If any `dosha` is upset due either to environment or dietary factors it is often difficult to be normalised with diet and drugs alone. In many cases, diet regulation and drug regime may take too long.Actual `Panchakarma` procedures are always preceded and succeeded with specialised procedures. The pre procedures are called `Poorva Karma` and consists of digestion (Pachana), oleation (senehan), fomentation (swedan). Thus digestion relies on the use of drugs to digest any ama (undigested or unripe substance) that present in digestive system. Sneham consists of administration of ghee, oil, or bone marrow over a period of days. Usually the vitiated toxins tends to accumulate in the gut. This then gets absorbed with food and blocks the channels of tissues. The ghee eaten in measured quantities during oleation eranters it and helps to open the channels. Swedan is giving hot fomentation, which gives a feeling of well being. Hot fomentation opens up the channels to tissues, which already has been worked on by oleation.Then follows the `clean up` (Shodhan) procedures which are of five types known as Panchakarma. If used as therapeutic measure they can be done at any time of the year, i.e., at the time of disease occurs. If one use it as a preventive measure, it should be used at the appropriate time for each doshaThere are five procedures in Panchakarma therapy. These are 1) Forced vomiting (vaman) 2) Purging (Virechan) 3) Medical enema (Vasti) 4) Nasal administration of substances (Nasya) and 5) Blood letting (Raktomokshana).
Q What is the Ayurvedic view of skin and hair care ?
Ayurveda emphasis the all important value of good diet as it creates good quality nourishment. (Rasa) which in turn will nourish blood (rakta) and subsequently influence the skin. Ayurveda says that skin diseases occur primarily due to sluggish liver function which leads to `pitta` and `kapha` dosha dysfunction. Another vital factor that contributes to healthy appearance is the clean bowel. Hence the need for regular and complete bowel evacuation.The hair is the metabolic end product of bone and marrow. Thus if thediet falls short of nourishing bones, the quantity of hair is affected. Similarly stress and worry leads to unhealthy hair. Wholesome diet is necessary for good skin and hair. Ayurvedic skin and hair care products are formulated with this fact in view.
Q What is the importance of Ayurvedic procedures ?
These are basically therapeutic measures taken either to prevent diseases or cure them. Thus Ayurvedic procedures are done either to detoxify the body or as a prelude to strengthening the immune system. Panchakarma -or five procedures, is the most sought after anti aging, detoxification therapy.
Q What are popular pharmaceutical forms of Ayurvedic medicines ?
a) Fermented preparation (Asavarishta)
b) Medicated Ghee (Ghrita)
c) Paste (Lehya)
d) Incinerated metals and minerals (Bhasma)
e) Fine powder (Choorna)
f) Coarse powder for decoction (Kashaya Choorna)
g) Decoction (Kashaya)
h) Pills (Gulika)
i) Ophthalmic preparation (Rasakriya) .
Q What are the diseases for which treatment is available in Ayurveda?
Ayurveda has effective treatment for diseases of all systems of the body, of persons of all age groups. There are special treatment for the diseases of elderly, women and children. Disorders of nervous system, respiratory system, digestive system, circulatory system, diseases of urinary tract, water metabolism disorders of reproductive system, fibril and infectious diseases, mental disorders and many more illnesses are successfully treated with herb and plant based Ayurvedic procedures. But authentic Ayurvedic treatment, medicine and facilities are only available in India. The Southern most state of India Kerala is known as the heart land of Ayurveda. "Panchakrama" detoxification, and rejuvenation therapy was perfected in Kerala, the mountains of which are rich in medicinal herbs. Ayurvedic medical system is being upgraded all over India now to meet the needs of present day. Research institutions and Ayurvedic medical colleges in India are engaged in research and development which has resulted in bringing to light the efficacy of many age old formulations. New drugs, which can cure killer diseases in a natural way, are being formulated. Well-documented studies in many parts of India confirm the breakthroughs in this field, through scientific research studies, Ayurvedic doctors have unequivocally proved their claims of having cured cancer. Effective herbal remedies to control diabetes are also formulated. Ayurveda successfully treats many diseases for which modern medicine has no effective cure. Treatment of arthritis has been perfected by Ayurvedic system, which is sought by many from all over the world.
Q What are the eight branches of Ayurveda ?
1. Internal medicine (Kaya chikilsa)
2. Pediatrics and gynecology (Balaroga Chikilsa)
3. Surgery (Shalya Chikilsa)
4. E.N.T- ear,nose and throat surgery (Shalakya Chikilsa)
5. Toxicology (Agadatantra)
6. Rejuvanation ((Rasyana)
7. Study of sexual function and reproduction (Vajikarana chikilsa)
8. Psychiatry (Manasroga chikilsa) Notice how pediatrics and geriatrics were given important place in healthcare even in those early days of history.
Q What is the central principle of Ayurveda ?
The central principle of Ayurvedic science is that each human being is unique, having a distinct individual constitution, genetic inheritance and predisposition to certain diseases.
Q What are the salient features of Ayurveda Health care system?
Ayurvedic healthcare system has perfected efficient methods and herbal preparations to keep the physical, mental and emotional health of a person in its prime throughout life. It is contrary to the current practice of seeking treatment when a disease strikes or waiting to get medical help till symptoms manifest. It is a mind and body health care system evolved to help human beings get the maximum out of their lives in a perfectly natural and healthy way. Ayurveda instills in you a view of life that is holistic and congenial to enjoy the pleasures of life in a sustainable way. This can be achieved without disturbing the rhythm of your life.
Q What are the main classical reference books of Ayurveda?
The main classical texts for reference of Ayurvedic principles comprise of Charak Samhita, Susrut Samhita, Astang Hridaya, Sharangdhar Samhita, Madhav Nidan, Kashyap Samhita, Bhavprakash and Bhaisajya Ratnavali etc.
Q. Where do rawmaterials for manufacturing Ayurvedic medicines come from?
What ever is natural whether belonging to plants or animals or minerals: all are considered the source of raw material for Ayurvedic medicines. However 600 medicinal plant products, 52 minerals and 50 animal products are commonly used.
Q. How are Ayurvedic medicines marketed?
Ayurvedic medicines are marketed in various forms. The main ones are tablets, pills, powders, fermentation products (Asva-arishta), decoctions, medicated fats (Ghrita and Tel). For topical use drops, creams, lotions, liniments and ointments are available. Dried plant extracts in capsule form are also in use presently.
Q. Is there any regulation for manufacturing Ayurvedic Medicines?
Yes, there exists such a regulation bywhich commercial manufacturing of Ayurvedic medicines is regulated. Manufacturers have to take prior license from the State Drug Controlling Authority for running an Ayurvedic Pharmacy. Formulations whether classical or patent proprietary have to be got cleared from the competent authority before starting commercial manufacturing.