Ayurveda in a Nutshell
The word Ayurveda can be translated as the Science of Life, or even
the Art of Living. Ayurveda is one of the oldest systems of natural
health care, originating in the ancient traditions of India. Now
considered one of the leading forms of holistic medicine available in
the West, Ayurveda addresses all factors that influence our quality
This holistic science is the knowledge of complete balance of the
body, mind and spirit at all levels. It includes in its consideration,
longevity, rejuvenation and self-realisation therapies through
medicinal plants, diet, exercise, yoga, massage, aromas, mantras,
meditation and other lifestyle factors.
What is the difference between conventional medicine and
The major difference between Ayurveda and conventional medicine
lies in the treatment method - while most modern medical
treatments operate at the symptomatic level, Ayurvedic treatments
work at much deeper causative levels. By balancing the doshas
(primary life-forces within the body), the root of the problem is
The principles of Ayurveda state that nothing exists in isolation, so
that everything you interact with, your diet, family, work or
relationships, has an effect on your health and well being. One
guiding principle of Ayurveda is that mind and body are connected
and that the mind has a profound influence over our health and
well-being. While conventional Western medicine is still grounded in
the paradigm of mind-body separation, Ayurveda holds that health
is more than the absence of disease; it is a dynamic state of balance
and integration of body, mind, and spirit.
Some key points:
• Ayurveda considers human beings to be part of nature, and as
such, employs all-natural treatment methods.
• Whilst modern medicine is based on germ theory, Ayurveda is
based on the theory of body energies. This helps it to get to
the root of the problem rather than simply addressing the
• A fundamental aim of Ayurveda is to prevent illnesses by
timely adherence to nature's way. Conventional medicine
usually plays no pre-emptive role except in certain specific
situations. Ayurvedic herbs play a great role in this respect.
• Modern medicine uses synthetic and chemical drugs but
Ayurvedic treatments are totally natural. Ayurvedic herbs are
supplemented with any necessary dietary changes, lifestyle
choices, meditation, exercises and yoga. As a result, Ayurvedic
remedies do not have harmful side-effects.
Therefore, Ayurveda allows us to take control of our own destiny.
We empower ourselves with consistent good health, rather than
relying on someone else to look after our health.
Ayurveda's fundamental belief is that whatever we can do for
ourselves to improve our health is far more effective in the long run
than what another person can do for us. It's never too late for us to
start helping ourselves.
The role of Ayurvedic herbs
Herbs play a crucial role in Ayurveda in both preventing as well as
remedying illnesses. Whilst dietary and lifestyle changes are important
towards achieving this goal, herbs are one of the most potent tools for
achieving good health. Ayurveda believes that nature has provided its
own pharmacy (in the form of herbs) that allows people to find solutions
to most medical conditions.
Ayurvedic herbs are categorised according to their herbal properties and
functions. A particular herb may have a number of characteristics which in
turn may be beneficial for a host of ailments. However, one of the key
"secrets" of Ayurveda is the knowledge of these characteristics which
allows the formulation of different herbs which combine with great
effectiveness for specific conditions. For example, the formulation of 3
specific herbs (Triphala) is particularly effective as a natural laxative,
when the 3 herbs taken individually do not have the same effect.
It is this knowledge that sets Ayurvedic herbs apart from traditional
herbal remedies which are more commonly available as single herbs.
The Rise of Ayurveda in the West
It would be fair to say that the future has never been brighter for
Ayurveda in its long (5,000 year) history. So what is all the fuss about,
and why is it taking place now?
We are undergoing a fundamental shift in the way healthcare is provided.
What we are experiencing today represents a move towards holism. The
old medical establishment viewed the human being as a machine, with
separate systems, organs, and tissues; it separated mind and body into
Modern thinking acknowledges the mutual interdependence of the
physical body, mind, emotions, and the environment in creating health
and disease. It has removed the absolute authority from the doctor and
has re-fashioned a model of shared responsibility; primarily by the
patient, but also by the physician to a lesser extent, in order to maintain
At the centre of this shift is Ayurveda as it is a healing system which
promotes health using natural, non-toxic substances and which
recognises the important role of the mind and emotions.
Modern Western allopathic medicine is based on a medical model which is
basically mechanical, materialistic, inorganic and inert. It considers only
the physical body and treats the mind as a physical entity. It emphasises
the use of inorganic substances (drugs), mechanical testing, invasive
treatments like surgery and a passive approach by the patient.
It has difficulty recognising disease which it can't measure mechanically
and it focuses on suppression of symptoms - usually by some form of
treatment which destroys healthy tissue and organic functioning and
poisons the body while it kills the "external invaders". This makes it
potentially very dangerous and in many cases its treatment may actually
create new disease. In addition, the focus is often on treating the disease
and not the person. Treatment is seldom applied with any changes to the
lifestyle or awareness of the patient.
While it is the most sophisticated and complex form of medicine in terms
of equipment, testing and information, it is also the crudest in terms of
treatment - it approaches fixing the body in the same way as fixing a
machine. However, it is an extremely useful form of medicine for treating
emergency situations such as accidents and heart attack victims.
Advances such as antibiotics and immunisation have also saved many
lives. But we need to be aware that allopathic medicine does not have a
long history of success. Many of its medicines are very new and haven't
had time to prove themselves as safe or enduring. Antibiotics are widely
overused and used inappropriately. This is damaging our level of health.
In addition the use by date of antibiotics is just around the corner.
Bacteria are adapting to, and becoming resistant to, antibiotics faster
than we can develop new ones.
This actually says a lot about the life process. Bacteria are living entities
guided by the life-force of the universe. They are outsmarting the
material mind which seeks to use simple mental analysis to conquer
disease. A good example would be the onset of MRSA and other bacteria
Ayurveda should, however not be thought of as a total replacement for
allopathic medicine. Each form of medicine has its own strengths.
Ayurveda is about improving health and preventing illness through
increased self awareness. It is not about treating car accident victims.
Ayurveda, in contrast with conventional medicine, is organic, naturalistic
and energetic. Its treatment focuses on harmonising the life-force and
strengthening the body through natural substances such as herbs and
diet, and action by the individual such as lifestyle changes and exercise.
Illness is frequently seen as an expression of the body eliminating excess
toxins which have been created by poor diet and lifestyle.
Ayurveda sees all life and nature constantly evolving toward a higher level
of consciousness. All substances have an impact at this higher level of
consciousness as well as the more gross body level. Ayurveda seeks to
connect us with this intelligence inherent in nature.
The Story of Supply
Many of our herbs grow in the lush forests of southern India (mainly in
the states of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu), with some growing in
the foothills of the Himalayas (in the state of Himachal Pradesh).
These herbs are often collected by tribal people who are well-versed with
their natural habitat (the forest), which makes them ideally placed to
identify and locate the plants deep in the forest. As there is no
commercial cultivation of these plants, we place much emphasis on the
responsible and sustainable collection of these forest plants - after all, the
last thing we want to see is for these precious plants to disappear from
our flora. We work very closely with the Tribal Co-operative Societies,
controlled by the Government of India, which regulates the purchase and
sale of these forest plants. This scheme also educates the tribal people on
the virtues of sustainability which allows them to survive and flourish in
their natural environment, thus preserving their heritage.
In addition to the tribal communities in the forests, we also procure plants
from small-scale subsistence farmers who may have some surplus land.
These farmers still use the traditional methods of farming, for example
oxen are used to plough the fields. No chemicals, fertilisers and pesticides
are used in the cultivation process.
We offer a buy-back guarantee for the plants at a fair price set up-front
for a particular length of time in a very clear and transparent manner. We
believe that this is a very important poverty-reduction measure which
raises the living standards of these farmers.
At our facilities
As soon as the raw herbs are received at our world class facilities, they
are physically examined for colour, shape, aroma etc to ensure that they
conform to the original plant species. If everything is in order, the herbs
are sent to our laboratory, which is an approved institution for testing and
certification. Here, they are subjected to a rigorous chemical analysis to
determine the active ingredients, level of volatile oils etc and compare
them to our benchmarks.
Based on the outcome of this inspection, the laboratory will either
approve or reject the herbs. If the herbs are approved, they are sent to
the ISO 9002 certified processing unit. This is an ultra-modern, state of
the art facility which is fully geared to world class manufacturing
processes, yet our formulations are in adherence with ancient Ayurvedic
scriptures. It follows strict GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) to
guarantee standardised extract quality, purity and potency.
Following production, a sample from each batch is then sent to the inhouse
quality control department where the capsules are stringently
tested. The next step is to send each batch sample to an authorised
external testing facility where rigorous microbiological and heavy metal
content testing is carried out. Upon approval and certification, the
capsules are then shipped, ready for sale to you.
A key factor which allows us to be able to supply you with herbs of the
highest quality is our dedicated team consisting of clinicians, Ayurvedic
consultants, botanists, pharmacologists and formulation scientists
assisted by a team of committed juniors, for whom their work is more
than just a job, but a passion.
Table of Conditions and Remedies
ADHD Gotu Kola, Ashwagandha+
Alzheimer's Gotu Kola
Arthritis Boswellia, Turmeric
Asthma Ginger, Tulsi
Autism Gotu Kola, Ashwagandha+
Back Pain Turmeric, Boswellia
Blood poisoning Neem+
Bronchitis Pippali, Tulsi
Candida Neem+, Shatavari
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Ashwagandha+
Circulation Arjuna+, Turmeric
Colds Pippali, Tulsi
Cough Pippali, Tulsi
Cystitis Gokshura+, Shatavari
Dandruff Bhringraj Hair Oil
Depression Gotu Kola, Ashwagandha+
Digestion Ajwan+, Ginger, Pippali+
Female reproductive health Shatavari
Hair loss Bhringraj Hair Oil
Halitosis Triphala, Pippali
Hay fever Pippali
Heart conditions Arjuna+
IBS Triphala, Ajwan+
Immunity Pippali, Ashwagandha+
Insect bites Neem+
Joint pain Boswellia, Turmeric
Kidney problems Gokshura+
Liver problems Neem+
Mens reproductive health Safed Musali+, Gokshura+, Ashwagandha+
Muscle pain Boswellia, Turmeric
Travel sickness Ginger
By Vishal Kohli BAMS
All rights reserved. Any reproducing of this article must have the author name and all the links intact.