What comes to your mind when I say, “Natural medicines come from Earth and not from the Lab.”? I am sure you must be visualizing all the free, natural, and available resources that have medical properties.
Have you ever heard of Traditional Ayurvedic Medicine? If you are European or American this is a bit harder than if you were, for example, Asian or African.
No matter if you have heard of them or not: I am here to explain you its benefits.
This article will help you know more about Ayurveda and Traditional Ayurvedic Medicines that can work wonders on your body. You can continue reading, to learn about them.
Let me first introduce you to the meaning of Traditional Ayurvedic Medicines and its brief history.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a natural system of medication that originated in India more than 5,000 years ago, and is often called the ‘Mother of all Healing.’ The term Ayurveda breaks down into two main words, where ‘Ayur’ means Life and ‘Veda’ means Knowledge or Science. This Sanskrit word Ayurveda thus translates to ‘Knowledge of Life’ or the ‘Science of Life.’
How do Traditional Ayurvedic Medicines work?
Traditional Ayurvedic Medicines rely on a natural and holistic approach to physical and mental health. It is not only a system of medicine but also a way of living to complete positive health and spiritual attainments. With a strong focus on overall wellness, traditional ayurvedic medicines work to harmonize our internal and external worlds.
The early works on traditional Ayurvedic medicines, as available in scriptures, suggest that these medicines categorize into eight components, prepared from the composition of various products mainly derived from plants, animals, metal, and minerals. The eight components in traditional Ayurvedic medicines – Ashtang Ayurveda – that help with the holistic health maintenance of humans include –
- Kayachikitsa (internal medicine),
- Baala Chikitsa (treatment for children) [this branch is also called Kaumara Bhritya],
- Graha Chikitsa (psychiatry),
- Urdhyaanga Chikitsa (treatment of eyes, nose, ears, throat, and head-related disease) [also known as Shalakaya Tantra],
- Shalyaroga Chikitsa (surgery),
- Damstra Chikitsa (toxicology),
- Jara Chikitsa (geriatric),
- Vajjikaran Chikitsa (reproductive health).
What are the Functional Principles of Traditional Ayurvedic Medicines?
Further, Ayurveda has broadly divided body substances into five elements – earth, water, fire, air, and space. These five elements combine and form three forces, or energies – dosha. Since there are no single words in English that convey these concepts, we use the original Sanskrit words –
- Vata dosha – composed of Space and Air
- Pitta dosha – made up of Fire and Water
- Kapha dosha – bones, muscles, and tendons.
Ayurveda believes in the concept of universal interconnectedness, and these doshas (energies) can affect an individual’s temperament and personality. It, therefore, suggests that all three doshas are maintained in an optimum balance to lead a healthy life. In case the doshas become imbalanced, it leads to illness, and at such time, a person’s state becomes what is known as vikruti. Thus, to cure vikruti, the energies or doshas must be turned back into harmony.
Now that we have understood the brief concept of Ayurveda and how Traditional Ayurvedic Medicines work; let’s have a read at a few powerful ayurvedic herbs and spices that aim to preserve overall health and wellness.
Powerful Ayurvedic Herbs and Spices for Overall Wellness
Ayurveda mainly uses herbs and roots with medicinal value, either used standalone or mixed with other ingredients to manage the Vata, Pitta, and Kapha levels in the body. It helps in maintaining a healthy immune system. There are several traditional ayurvedic medicines, herbs, and spices, and each one of them cures specific diseases and problems. Let me give you some examples of herbs and spices that will help you achieve overall wellness.
Ashwagandha is a small woody plant native to India and North Africa. It is a shrub, and its roots and berries are used to produce the Ayurvedic Medicine. Ashwagandha helps in reducing blood sugar levels, cortisol levels, anxiety and depression levels. It also enhances muscle growth, boosts memory, male fertility, and also improves sleep in people with stress disorders. It reduces inflammation and thus boosts your immune system.
2. Amla or Indian Gooseberry
The benefits of Amla (or Indian Gooseberry) are countless! It is a powerhouse of nutrients, and can be consumed in any form – juice, powdered, or eaten raw. Being a rich source of Vitamin C, iron, and calcium, Amla is full of antioxidants that are effective in reducing the cell damage that reduces the free radicals that can cause disease in the body. It builds youthfulness in addition to calming Vata, pitta, and Kapha dosha in the body. Amla aids in improving digestion and detoxify the entire organ system for better health and immunity. It is also great for younger-looking skin and voluminous hair.
Turmeric is said to be one of the most beneficial ayurvedic spices. It is widely used in India on a daily basis, either in their meals (as a spice) or as an ayurvedic remedy. Turmeric contains an active compound known as Curcumin that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It also helps in improving brain functions and to lower the risk of heart diseases. Finally, it helps fight bacteria, and a daily intake of this herb is great for your immunity.
Tulsi is the most commonly found plant in an Indian household, and serves as a great immunity-boosting ayurvedic herb. There are different variants of Tusli that are used as a medicinal herb for various health conditions. Intake of daily Tulsi leaves can help fighting flu, congestion, asthma, bronchitis, and any lung-related disease. It is also a source to control blood pressure, gastric disorders, cramps, and any skin related problems as well.
Ginger is one of the healthiest spices on this planet. The nutrients and bioactive compounds present in it have incredible benefits for your body and brain. Ginger can be used fresh, dried, powdered, or as an oil or juice. Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger, responsible for much of its medicinal properties. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Ginger can also help treat nausea, morning sickness, muscle pain, soreness, lower blood sugar level, cholesterol level, and heart risk factors. It can also help with chronic digestion and gastric issues and contains a substance called 6-gingerol, which may have protective effects against cancer.
I really like using these superfoods, as they help me maintain my maximum health all the time. They most definitely help me so much to show the world the best version of myself.
Despite benefiting from them all, in particular, the strongest benefits go to my digestion and to the increase of my sleep quality. For several personal reasons, my weakest points are:
1) my stomach (Solar Plexus Chakra)
2) a light ‘difficulty’ to wake up in the morning, as sometimes I feel very drowsy when I wake up in the morning (this is because my Chronotype is Dolphin)
It is sure that I also use other techniques and pieces of knowledge to give the world the best version of myself. Despite this, traditional Ayurvedic Medicines still represents a very strong and good ally to my personal health.
However, one must always consult a Vaidya (Ayurvedic practitioner) for in-depth treatment. Let’s finally have a read at how Ayurveda treatment works.
Treatment by Traditional Ayurvedic Medicines
In Ayurveda, the treatment and diagnosis of problems are divided into two stages. The first stage involves understanding the patient, comprehending the issues he faces and identifying his pathologies (and related severity, i.e. ‘pathology stage’). This illness diagnosis is performed in eight different ways, where each method uses a different approach to analyze and comprehend the patient’s issue. The Nadi uses the pulse, Mootra the urine, Mala the stool, Jihva the tongue, Shabda the speech, Sparsha the touch, Druk the vision, and Aakruti the appearance. The second stage involves the decision of medicinal treatments. These treatments can either be medicines prescribed to the patient, or things they need to do. The status of the patient’s strength, and his physical state, is evaluated when formulating the appropriate treatment.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognized Ayurveda’s relevance and importance to the modern medical field, within the context of India, during the International Conference on Primary Health Care (also known as the Alma-Ata Declaration of 1978). In India, Ayurveda is considered a form of medical care, equal to conventional Western medicine, traditional Chinese Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine, and Homeopathic Medicine. In fact, Tibetan Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine both have their roots in Ayurveda. Early Greek medicine also embraced many concepts originally described in the classical Ayurvedic medical texts, dating back several thousands of years.
It is very necessary to consult a Vaidya (Ayurvedic practitioner) if you are looking to treat a specific disease. He will be able to recommend you a correct medication along with dietary and exercise plans. Also, please keep in mind that while traditional ayurvedic medicines can have a positive effect when used as a complementary therapy, it should not replace conventional medical care if you are currently treating serious or chronic diseases.
If you found this article interesting and want to go deeper into this topic, I would suggest you a great books from one of my favourite teachers and healer: