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What is Ayurvedic Medicine?

Ayurvedic medicine can treat insomnia.
An Ayurvedic practitioner may recommend yoga.
A trained Ayurvedic practitioner might recommend aromatherapy as part of a treatment.
Hindus in India have used Ayurvedic medicine for millennia as a philosophy that brings health to mind, body and soul.
India, where Ayurvedic medicine was developed.
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  • Written By: S. Mithra
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 23 July 2014
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For millennia, Hindus in India have used Ayurvedic medicine as a philosophy that brings health to body, mind, and soul. "Ayurveda" translates, in Sanskrit, as "knowledge of life," and it is this view that informs a system of disease and cure as related to the overall health of a person. Ironically, this holistic school of thought doesn't use "medicine" at all, but relies on balancing diet, exercise, herbs, and spiritual fulfillment.

Although over 3,000 years old, Ayurvedic medicine is still meaningful to today's modern, hectic lifestyle. It relies on maintaining the balance of our three doshas, which are similar to the western medieval concepts of "humors," or energies. Doshas are elements that compose and control the self. Vata, meaning "breeze," relates to the nervous system, such as coordination. Pitta, roughly translated as "choler," involves the digestive system, like metabolism or food allergies. Kapha, or "phlegm," controls the lymphatic system, as well as body fat and asthma. People have a different ratio of each of these energies, so their amounts might mean you're susceptible to hay fever or predisposed to acid indigestion.

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Treatment of common ailments under Ayurvedic medicine differs strongly from a Western doctor's. Ayurveda does not differentiate between symptoms, causes, or cures. It treats the entire body and spirit as one. Therefore, if you suffered both from a sore back and panic attacks, they would be addressed together, because they are interrelated. A trained Ayurvedic practitioner might rebalance your doshas by recommending acupressure, acupuncture, exercise such as yoga, meditation and breathing regimens, aromatherapy, massage, or dietary adjustments. Many believe Ayurvedic medicine is most successful as treating chronic conditions, such as depression, anxiety, pain, insomnia, skin or food allergies, and digestive irregularities that even Western doctors treat with a combination of lifestyle changes and medicine.

This is not a conventional system; therefore Ayurvedic medicine borrows from herbology, psychology, religion, nutrition, and faith to encourage our bodies to heal themselves using our inner strength. Ayurvedic practitioners believe that selective treatments of specific symptoms can ignore underlying problems and only provide temporary relief. Of course, Western doctors and scientists can create studies to test some of the tenets of Ayurvedic medicine. While they have not proven that this method would be better or equal at treating cancer or diabetes, for instance, they have found that some practices are helpful when used in conjunction with pharmaceuticals.

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Discuss this Article

Glen Godfrey
Post 2

Chemotherapy, radiation, surgery treatments are quite violent and invasive, so for a natural cure of cancer its better to choose Ayurvedic medicines. Curcumin is said to inhibit tumor promoting enzymes and interfere with the growth of cancerous tumors. As a powerful antioxidant, curcumin neutralizes free radicals that increase the risk of cancer or heart disease.

sputnik
Post 1

Similar to Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda uses herbs for healing, as well as therapy similar to acupuncture, except that it does not use needles.

Ayurveda philosophy is the belief that the whole universe contains the same energy, and is made up from the same elements. It holds that our differences are a result of different combinations of these elements and forces.

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