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Ayurveda in a Nutshell

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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

of life.

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

Ayurveda?

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

solved.

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

symptoms.

• 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

distinct categories.

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

good health.

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

in hospitals.

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

Condition Remedy

Acidity Neem+

Acne Neem+

ADHD Gotu Kola, Ashwagandha+

Allergies Triphala

Alzheimer's Gotu Kola

Arthritis Boswellia, Turmeric

Asthma Ginger, Tulsi

Autism Gotu Kola, Ashwagandha+

Back Pain Turmeric, Boswellia

Blood poisoning Neem+

Breastfeeding Shatavari

Bronchitis Pippali, Tulsi

Candida Neem+, Shatavari

Cholesterol Guggul

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Ashwagandha+

Circulation Arjuna+, Turmeric

Colds Pippali, Tulsi

Constipation Triphala

Cough Pippali, Tulsi

Cystitis Gokshura+, Shatavari

Dandruff Bhringraj Hair Oil

Depression Gotu Kola, Ashwagandha+

Dermatitis Neem+

Detox Triphala

Diabetes Karela+

Diarrhoea Ajwan+

Digestion Ajwan+, Ginger, Pippali+

Eczema Neem+

Female reproductive health Shatavari

Hair loss Bhringraj Hair Oil

Halitosis Triphala, Pippali

Hay fever Pippali

Heart conditions Arjuna+

Hypertension Arjuna+

IBS Triphala, Ajwan+

Immunity Pippali, Ashwagandha+

Insomnia Jaiphal+

Insect bites Neem+

Joint pain Boswellia, Turmeric

Kidney problems Gokshura+

Liver problems Neem+

Condition Remedy

Mens reproductive health Safed Musali+, Gokshura+, Ashwagandha+

Menopause Shatavari

Muscle pain Boswellia, Turmeric

Obesity Guggul

Osteoporosis Boswellia

Psoriasis Neem+

Shingles Neem+

Skin Neem+

Stress Ashwagandha+

Thyroid Guggul

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.

Author: BAMS

Biography: Vishal Kohli holds a Bachelors degree in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) from the Bharti Vidyapeeth University in Pune, India. Vishal has a long-standing passion for Ayurveda, and was previously Head of Ayurveda at the W.S Kohli Memorial Hospital in Pune, India. He has also had a number of articles on Ayurveda published in various publications.

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