FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ( FAQ) ON AYURVEDA
Q.1 WHAT IS AYURVEDA?
Ans) "AYURVEDA" is made up of two words-Ayuh and Veda. Ayuh means life and Veda means knowledge or science. Thus "AYURVEDA' in totality means ‘Science of life'. It incorporates all aspects of life whether physical, psychological, spiritual or social. What is beneficial and what is harmful to life, what is happy life and what is sorrowful life; all these four questions and life span allied issues are elaborately and emphatically discussed in Ayurveda. It believes the existence of soul before birth and after death too.
Q.2 WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF AYURVEDA ?
Ans) Ayurveda, the ancient most health care system originated with the origin of universe. With the inception of human life on earth Ayurveda started being applied. The antique vedic texts have scattered references of Ayurvedic Remedies and allied aspects of medicine and health. Atharva-veda mainly deals with extensive Ayurvedic information. That is why Ayurveda is said to be the off shoot of Atharva Veda.
Q.3 WHAT IS THE AYURVEDIC VIEWPOINT OF STRUCTURE AND FUNCTIONS OF BODY?
Ans) Universe as well as human body are made up of five basic elements colectively called ‘Panch Mahabhootas'. These are Aakash (Ether), Vayu (Air), Agni(Fire), Aapa (Water) and Prithvi (Earth). The sixth mandatory component of life is Atma (life spirit) without which life ceases. The human body is made up of Doshas (Bio-humours), Dhatus(Body matrix) and Malas (excretable products). Vata, Pitta and kapha, known as Tridoshs are physiological entities of the body which are responsible for carrying out all the functions of the body. Dhatus are the structural entities of thebody. These are Rasa (Plasma), Rakta (Blood cells), Mamsa (Muscular tissue), Meda (Fatty tissue), Asthi (Bony tissue), Majja (Bone marrow) and Shukra (Hormonal and other secretions of genital). Agni (Metabolic fire) is in thirteen different forms and carries out the whole metabolism of the body. The waste products of the body which are excretable are produced in the body as bye-products of metabolism. These are known as malas which include pureesh (faeces), Sweda (sweat) and Mutra (urine). All biotransformations within the body occur through Srotases (body channels) which are the sites for action of agni.
Q.4 WHAT IS THE BASIC PHILOSOPHY OF HEALTH, DISEASE AND TREATMENT IN AYURVEDA?
Ans) As per Ayurveda, ‘Health' is a state of equilibrium of normal functions of doshas, Dhatus, malas and Agni with delighted body, mind and soul. It means that when Dosh-Dhatu-Malas and Agni are constantly in a state of functional equilibrium, then the health is maintained. Otherwise distortion of the equilibrium results into diseases. Erratic lifestyle is believed to be one of the basic causes behind the failure of mechanism of maintaining equilibrium.
Treatment either with or without drugs and application of specific rules of diet, activity and mental status as described, disease wise, brings back the state of equilibrium i.e. health.
Q.5 HOW IS DIAGNOSIS DONE IN AYURVEDA?
Ans) Diagnostic procedures in Ayurveda are two pronged; one is aimed to establish the state and type of pathology and second to decide the mode of treatment tobe applied. The former implies examination of the patient and make different investigations to diagnose the disease entity. Inspection, palpation, percussion and interrogation are the main modes of physical examination. The second type of examination is to assess the strength and physical status of the individual so that accordingly the type of management required could be planned. For this examination of Prakriti (Body constitution), Saar (Tissue quality), Samhnan (physique), Satva (Mental strength), Satamya (specific adaptability), Aaharshakti (diet intake capacity), Vyayaam shakti (exercise capacity) and Vaya (age) is done. On the basis of this examination the individual is decided to be having Pravar bal (excellent strength), Madhyam Bal (moderate strength) or Heen Bal (low strength).
Q.6 WHAT ARE THE MODES OF AYURVEDIC TREATMENT?
Ans) There exists eight divisions of Ayurvedic therapeutics, namely Kayachikitsa (Internal medicine), Shalya (Surgery), Shalkya (Otorhinolaryngology and Opthalmology), Kaumr Bhritya (Paediatrics, Gynaecology and Obstetrics) Agad tantra (Toxicology), Rasayana (Gerentorology), Vajikaran (Aphrodisiacs) and Bhoot Vidya (Psychiatry).
The principles of treatment are Shodhan (purificatory), Shaman (palliative and conservative), Nidan parivarjan (avoidance of causative and prescipitating factors of disease) and Pathya Vyavastha (do's and don'ts regarding diets lifestyle). Shodhan therapy includes Vamana (medically induced emesis), Virechana (medically induced laxation), Vasti (medicated enema), shirovirechana (administration of medicines through nose) and Raktmokshan (Blood letting). These therapeutic procedures are collectively known as Panchkarma. Before executing Panch karma treatment Snehan (olation) and Swedan (getting perspiration) are to employed first.
Q.7 WHAT ARE THE MAIN CLASSICAL REFERENCE BOOKS OF AYURVEDA?
Ans) 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.8 WHERE DO RAW MATERIALS FOR MANUFACTURING AYURVEDIC MEDICINES COME FROM?
Ans) 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.9 HOW ARE AYURVEDIC MEDICINES MARKETED?
Ans) 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.10 IS THERE SCOPE FOR AYURVEDA IN THE CONTEMPORARY PERIOD?
Ans) Ayurveda has a wide scope as far as the prevention of disease, promotion of health and its preservation are concerned. Lifestyle rules mentioned in Ayurvedic texts if applied rigorously give definite results. Lifestyle related diseases, drug abuse, degenerative diseases, auto immune diseases and certain metabolic and allergic disorders are well manageable with Ayurvedic techniques and medicaments.
Q.11 IS THERE ANY RATIONALE BEHIND INTEGRTING AYURVEDA AND WESTERN MEDICINE?
Ans) Because of multidimensional wide range of efficacy of Ayurvedic treatment, where certain disease conditions or symptoms become refractory to conventional treatment, a harmonised approach of these two systems of health care has proven to be successful and fruitful. Sometimes Ayurveda helps for a synergistic activity while at other places to antagonise and minmise the toxicity of modern drugs.
Q.12 IS AYURVEDA RECOGNISED BY W.H.O?
Ans) About 20 years back, W.H.O. adopted Traditional Medicine programme in conjunction with the goal of health for all with the adoption of primary health care approach. W.H.O. has an open mind on Traditional Medicine. However, it endorses only that therapy which has solid scientific evidence with no toxicity. In view of this Ayurveda is duly recognised by W.H.O.
Q.13 DOES AYURVEDIC SYSTEM OF MEDICINE HAVE PLUS POINTS OVER CONVENTIONAL MEDICINAL SYSTEM?
Ans) Being holistic and disease eradicative with principles of individualised treatment, condusive to socio-economic conditions of India and with availability of abundance of formulations for any particular disease, use of food items as medicine and lifestyle rules, Ayurveda enjoys a better place in respect of prevention and cure of the disease is concerned in comparison to western medical system.
Q.14) How should I access Ayurvedic Medicines?
Ans) Ayurveda Medicines are being sold in two ways, by practicing Ayurveda doctors and through retail counters. Again retail counters are of two types- purely Ayurvedic & secondly alongwith allopathic medicines. Classical Ayurvedic medicines as mentioned in original texts of Ayurveda are usually available in former type of counters whereas patent and proprietary medicines are mainly available in allopathic chemist shops. Both types of chemists by and large are available in almost all small and big towns/ cities where from required Ayurveda medicines can be accessed.
Q.15 How do I find a competent Ayurveda practitioner?
Ans) Any Ayurveda doctor having such degree/ qualifications as mentioned in 2 nd ,3 rd and 4 th schedules of Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970 is a recognized medical practitioner. BAMS and MD (Ayurveda) degrees of new pattern and equivalent qualifications of the time before the enactment of Central Act are recognized qualifications for the purpose of registration and practice of Ayurvedic Medicine.
Q.16) How safe is to buy Ayurveda Medicines over the counter?
Ans) Medicines are safe if the manufacturer is licensed and the label of the container specifically describes date of manufacturing, expiry date, batch number of the medicine, dose and indications alongwith ingredients of the medicine and necessary precaution.
Q.17) Can one take Ayurveda Medicine with modern medicines?
Ans) If not indicated otherwise by the attending physician, Ayurveda Medicines can generally be taken alongwith allopathic medicines. Moreover, Ayurveda Medicines are used as adjuvant to allopathic medicines in most of chronic and degenerative diseases. As such there is no harm to consume simple herbal formulations of Ayurveda even without the prescription of the doctor but mineral based medicines must be used after due consultation and advice of the doctor.
Q.18) What are the main Rasayana (Immuno-modular) Medicines of Ayurveda?
Ans) Ashavgandha (Withania somnifera), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Amla (Emblica officinalis), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Shilajeet (Black bitumen or Mineral pitch), Suvarn Bhasm (incinerated Gold with herbal excipients) are very potent Rasayana medicines, prescribed judiciously in somatic degenerative disease conditions for immuno-modulation and and adaptogenic effects. Mandookparni (Bacopa Monieri), Mulethi (Glycirrhiza glabra), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) and Shankhapushpi (Convolvulus Plenricaulis) are from main Psychomodular Rasayanas used extensively in mental disorders and for improving higher mental functions like concentration, retention and memory, Vijaysara (Pterocaspus marsupium) for Diabetes Mellitus, Katuka (Picrosshiza kurco) for liver disorders Vidang (Abies Webiana) for Hoelminthic induced Gasto intestinal problem, Bakuchi (Psorylia Corylifolia) for Leucoderma Bhallatak (Semecarpur anacardium) for piles and autoimmune disorders), Shirees (Albizzia Lebek) fr allergic conditions), Vacha (Acorus clamus) for speech disorders, haldi (Curcuma Longa) for urinary, allergic and septic problems, Neem (Melia Azadiracta) and Khadir (Acacia Catechu) for skin problems and Chirayata (swertia chirayata) for febrile disorders are some of the other Rasayana Medicines for disease-wise use.
Apart from the above mentioned medicines there is an eleborate code of conduct described in the classical text for achieving rejuvenation and maintaining youthfulness.
Q.19) What are the aphrodisiacs/Sexual Tonics for improving the quality of semen/sperm count and motility and fertility?
Ans) Musli, Kaunch, Shatavari, Gokshur, Ashavgandha, Utangan, Salmpanja, Vidari, Vijaya, urd, Bhautak, Akarkara, Abhrak Bhasm, trivang Bhasm, Makardhvaj are some of the Vajikarana medicines which on judicious use and adoption or specific do's and don'ts of diet, definitely give a desired result.
Q.20) What and where are the specialised treatments of Ayurveda available in the State?
Ans) 1. Kayachikitsa 2. Salya 3. Salakya 4. Panchakarma 5. Prasati Stree Roga & Bala Roga 6. Kshara Sutra (Piles & Fistula)
OTHER MOST PROMINENT QUESTIONS
Does Ayurveda advocate vegetarianism?
The classical texts describe three types of diets- saatvik, rajasik and tamasik, the saatvik diet consists of leafy vegetable, fresh fruits, milk, curd, butter, honey and so on. The rajasik diet consists of hot and pungent foods meat, beans and so on. This is suitable only for those who engage in heavy physical work. A tamasik diet includes fermented and highly spiced foods, curd, wines and so on and is considered harmful to health.
According to Ayurveda, a saatvik diet, moderate physical exercise and regular practice of yoga help one to maintain good health.
Does Ayurveda have beauty treatments ?
In Ayurveda, beauty is not just about carefully applied makeup or well manicured nails. Though there are various herbs to improve the texture of the skin and hair, beauty, according to Ayurveda, is the result of a radiant inner self. The radiance is caused by a healthy Ojas , the subtle quality of vigour or vitality. Which is the superfine essence of the seven dhatus.
Why aren’t ayurvedic medicines standardized ?
Ayurvedic medicines are not manufactured as per any of the standards that apply to allopathic medicines. Moreover, treatment of diseases in Ayurveda is more patient oriented than disease oriented and lays emphasis on the humoral aspect of the patient both in diagnosis and treatment, the patient is an unstandardizable entity in various aspects such as his prakruti (constitution), food habits, dinacharya (daily routine) and so on besides, it is the patient’s interpretation of the disease that determines the therapy as such the scope of having standardized drugs is limited though researches in the field are going on.
What is the ayurvedic approach to prevention of diseases ?
Traditional societies did not need a specialized approach for prevention of diseases. As such, the concept of pathogenesis in Ayurveda is basically different from theat of modern medical science. Ayurveda defines health as the state in which the dhatus are in equilibrium if this is disturbed disease is caused. Therefore the prevention of vitiation of the doshas (humors) is the first step in prevention of diseases, whether agantu( exogenous), nija ( endogenous) or manasa( mental) in nature.
Why are most ayurvedic treatments time consuming ?
Toxins (amam) that accumulate in the human body take a long time to manifest as some disease, in the meantime, our body and mind get somewhat habituated to them. Removal of these at one go. Like the surgical removal of a tumour, is practically impossible besides, it would also go against the wisdom of the body according to which the immune system works. This is why a comparatively lengthy purvakarma – pradhanakarma – paschatkarma mode of therapy has been designed for the elimination of disease causing factors.
Does Ayurveda have antibiotics ?
Antibiotics are substances derived from microorganisms to destroy harmful microorganisms, usually disease causing bacteria or fungi. There are no anibiotic drugs in Ayurveda as the term denotes in modern medicine. But the active principles of some herbs, which produce the same effects as antibiotics are used in the formulation of ayurvedic drugs. Thus infectious diseases ( krimiroga) which are exogenous ( agantu) were effectively treated even in the pre antibiotic period. But unlike antibiotics, these drugs helped the patient to develop resistance against the pathogens and were not intended to attack them.
Does Ayurveda have treatment for poisoning ?
Agadatantra ( toxicology), one of the eight branches of Ayurveda, is a well developed science. The charaka samhita describes treatments for the poisonous bites of snakes, scorpions, rats, spiders and so on and also lists 21 types of vegetable poisions.
What is the average shelf life of an ayurvedic drug ?
The classical texts mention certain general principles about the shelf life of various types of drugs. For example, pills can be stored for nearly a year without any loss in potency, ghritas and tailas are to be used within two months, however the potency of asavas, which are alcoholic extracts, increases over a specific period of time.
Do Ayurvedic drugs have side effects ?
Ayurvedic drugs cause neither side effects nor physical or psychological dependance. This is why ayurvedic treatment is termed shuddhachikitsa – ‘ a genuine treatment ‘.
To quote vagbhata, the author of ashtanga hrudaya
Naason vishudha: shudhastu
What are the kinds of restrictions associated with ayurvedic treatment ?
Pathya is the term to denote the diet regimen that forms and integral part of most treatments. For the proper assimilation of drugs as well as food the patient is advised to follow a new daily routine while undergoing treatment. A diet that might cause the opposite effect of the drug taken is to be avoided and that which increases the potency of the drug. To be followed. Since the drug-diet interaction is considered a significant factor, the physician decides on a suitable pathya after considering various factors like the nature of the illness, the constitution of the patient, his tolerance to various regimens and so on.
What are the principles of Ayurveda?
The essential principle of Ayurveda is life in compliance with one’s constitution and with the laws of nature. Ayurveda is a holistic science; it concerns the whole human being. It does not aim at the suppression of symptoms but searches for and cures the cause of illness. It directs itself to the maintenance of energy balance in the body, the most important condition for health. Ayurveda is engaged in details not only in treatment but also in prevention of illness and longevity. The diet, exercise and the whole way of living is individually recommended according to the constitution, race and climatic conditions. The admission of individual distinctness and individual approach to treatment is one of the unique features of Ayurvedic medicine.
What are three doshas, prakruti and vikruti?
According to Ayurveda a human being is composed of five elements, three vital energies – principles (dosha), seven tissues (dhatus) and a large amount of canals (shrotas). Of these five elements – air, space, fire, water and earth – two elements always form the basis of each of the three doshas. The word „dosha“ itself and the names of the three doshas, Vata,Pitta,and Kapha, are Sanskrit words.Dosha – the three principles – interpenetrate everything in nature. Vatta is the energy of movement, Pitta expresses the metabolism and Kapha corresponds to the principle of substance and structures. These energies occur in each of us, only in different amounts in each individual. Each of us has a unique structure of energy – therefore each human being is so unique. The combination of those three doshas comprises our constitution.
How can people get ill?
The basis of health is the balance between the body and the mind. The mind, body and the whole world are connected vessels. The way we think, what we eat, our diet or where we work – all of these affect our senses and influence our entire organism. According to Ayurveda most diseases arise in our mind. In the event imbalance sets in with the participation of outer (environment, unhealthy life style) or inner (improper diet) factors, weak digestion, inability to absorb necessary nutrients and low immunity are considered as the main reason of the mal (illness). As result of weak digestion toxins (Ama) are formed in the body; they migrate throughout the body and settle in different organs and damage them. In Ayurveda there are curative methods that eliminate this “Ama” (toxins) from the body.
What are the differences between Ayurveda and western medicine?
Ayurveda does not stand against western medicine. In acute cases, the role of classical medicine is irreplaceable. In chronic illnesses, combination with Ayurveda can be beneficial, and in many chronic illnesses Ayurveda achieves excellent results even where classical medicine has failed. Ayurveda is strictly individual (the treatment is determined on the basis of given person’s consti-tution and state of his/her health). It aims at the elimination of causes, not the suppression of symptoms; during the treatment only natural remedies free of any side effects are used. The cause of illness can be found in the inner imbalance as well as in the relation with the surrounding environment whereas western medicine considers, for instance, virus or bacteria as the main cause.
What are the main treatment techniques?
Ayurveda offers a treatment for each of the five senses: herbs and nutrition act on the sense of the taste, the olfactory sense is influenced by aromatherapy, the touch is related to Yoga, precious stones and massages, the hearing is treated by mantra (sound energy with curative effect) and we can affect the sight by colours (colour-therapy).
Ayurveda mostly proves successful in the treatment of chronic illnesses. Ayurveda covers and cures a wide range of illnesses, from the common cold to chronic illnesses, allergy, chronic fatigue, ulcers, bad digestion, from insomnia to grave mental disorders. The choice of relevant therapy depends on the individual constitution, on the type of imbalance and on the season. The following are the most frequently used treatment techniques:
aromatherapy including the use of aromatic oils and incense sticks
herbal treatment using natural substances without side effects
special breathing exercises carried out before meditation
choice of appropriate exercises contributes to the whole health
the detoxication method called Panchakarma cleans the organism and eliminates the settlement of toxic substances
shirodhara with its deep calming effect,
alimentation and contingent change of diet belong to the most important measures to keep or recovering health. Agni, the fire of digestion, operates in the stomach; it is responsible for correct and perfect digestion. To a large extent our health is dependent not only on the kind of food but also on the amount of food we eat and when we eat it. An improperly set-up meal, eaten at an inconvenient time or eaten in a haste – all of these factors contribute to our imbalance and disease
meditation influences positively our mind and thus the entire organism
marma therapy stimulates by gentle massage some points on the body and reflexively affects the respective organs
yoga – special exercises called “Asany” belong to the part of treatment of many illnesses. Hathayoga is the nearest to Ayurveda,
therapy by colours and stones.
What is Shirodhara?
Shirodhara is a method during which warm oil is applied on the patient’s forehead for 15 to 40 minutes from a specialised vessel which is suspended above the head of the reclining patient. The application of oil on that place promotes not only a deep relaxation and thus regeneration of the organism, but also helps to cure approximately 80 illnesses such as headache and migraine, insomnia, memory loss or concentration failure, depressive state and other mental complaints.
Do you provide original massages?
Yes. You can try our massage provided by experienced masseurs for very reasonable prices.
What importance do herbs have?
Herbs are gentle and natural treatment. They do not have any side effects, because they are compatible with the body’s own chemicals. They are absorbed easily and because of their different characteristics (desiccant/humid, incentive/sedative etc.) it is possible to choose exactly the right herbs which can cure in the given case depending on the illness.
What is the importance of food in Ayurveda?
According to Ayurveda up to 70 % of illnesses can be influenced by correct diet. A maximally satisfying diet that leads the organism to balance can be designed in compliance with the constitution. Ayurveda does not forcibly forbid any food, nor does it incline to any artificial unnatural diet, but rather in each group (fruit, vegetables, meat, cereals and dairy products) there are certain foodstuffs that are more appropriate and others less so. Properly chosen food, through its own quality, has a curative influence on particular organs.
Why try Ayurveda?
The history of Ayurveda goes back 5,000 years. At present there are more and more physicians from all over the world who are interested in it and who have adapted this medicinal system to our western society. Ayurveda and ayurvedic treatment techniques have been proven effective in many clinical studies. Ayurveda should be the first choice in case of chronic (drawn-out) illness, which can not be treated in a satisfactory manner by conventional medicine. Ayurveda aims not only to treat the sick person, but also to prevent illness in healthy people, who can get ill due to stress, family problems and so on. Therefore it is not possible to call Ayurveda, the science of life, merely as alternative medicine.