Ayurveda Reveals the Fountain of Youth
& Evergreen Health

Opinion by Aacharya


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Literally translating into "the science of life" or "life knowledge" from Sanskrit, Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine is often believed to have been passed on to humans from the gods themselves; so powerful and all-pervasive is its strength in curing a whole spectrum of diseases - genetic, lifestyle-based or chronic. Focused on preventing diseases and leading a balanced existence rather than treating ailments, as is the case with most other branches of medicine, its constant practice ensures a healthier, more fulfilling life.

The knowledge of Ayurveda is believed to have been passed on from generation to generation as an oral tradition before it was formalised as a practice over 5,000 years ago. Many of its principles have been collated as texts, some of which include the Sushruta Samhita, the Charaka Samhita and the AshtangaHrudaya.

With Sanskrit being the core linguistic source in all the documented recordings about Ayurveda, without doubt it comes to say that India boasts of complete ownership of Ayurvedic methods of treatment. Majority of the Ashtavaidyans, or traditional experts in the eight branches of Ayurveda, have their origins back in Kerala, where Ayurveda has been not just an alternate system of medicine, but a mainstream one for over 5000 years. The illustrious 8 families of Vaidyans (Healer), the Ashtavaidyans, and their practices being followed till date, have played a significant part in cementing Kerala's position as the foremost centre for Ayurveda in the world. They utilised Kerala's rich medicinal flora, where Ayurvedic herbs are available in abundance and coupled this with years of textual knowledge to establish the supremacy of the state in the field of Ayurveda.

Basic Tenets

The cornerstone of Ayurveda is the philosophy that every human being comprises of five primary elements - air, space, fire, water and earth. In order to maintain a healthy and happy life, all five elements must be well-balanced in every individual.
Depending on one’s inherent constitution, one is affected more by certain elements and less by others. An understanding of one’s constitution, or dosha, can therefore, help identify what diseases or discomfortsone he/she is more prone to and how they can be dealt with.


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The main doshas in Ayurveda are as follows:

  • KaphaDosha: Predominant influence of water and earth
  • Pitta Dosha: Predominant influence of the fire element
  • VataDosha: Predominant influence of air and space

Doshas, as per Ayurveda, affect a person’s build, his/her proclivity towards certain diseases as well as moods and temperament. In fact, many a times, the fact that a person is very energetic and full of life while someone else is lethargic and laid back can also be attributed to the balance or imbalance of one’s dosha. A person with a Pitta dosha will, consequently, have a personality reflective of fire i.e they will be perpetually charged up and ambitious while a person with Kaphadosha will have a strong, sturdy built and a calm temperament.
In Ayurveda, doshas play a comprehensive role in the well-being of a person. If one lives in a way that is harmonious to one’s natural dosha, one is bound to have a higher sense of balance and good health.

Ayurveda always prescribes remedies that are in synchrony to one’s individual needs. Unlike other branches of medicine, therefore, it is a more personalised approach to illness or physical disorders, thus making its effects furthermore long-lasting and more incisive.

Embracing Ayurveda

As has been established, Ayurveda focuses more on preventing health issues by prescribing habits, foods and exercises that are in line with one’s natural body build-up. Once an understanding has been gained of the basic principles of Ayurveda, it is very simple to incorporate the guidelines of this branch of medicine in one’s daily life.

Certain changes to one’s diet, a few alterations to one’s general behaviour and daily routine can go a long way in helping one avoid medical issues and lead a life that is generally happier and healthier. The World Health Organization has recognised Ayurveda as a complete natural healthcare system with intense curative and healing abilities.


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Ayurveda can help treat many lifestyle and chronic diseases which have become fairly common in our busy, hectic and fast-paced world, where we give little thought to what we consume, how we behave and how we spend our time on a daily basis.

Here's a look at some of the common ailments that plague people in urban areas very frequently and their treatments in Ayurveda.

Arthritis

The dependence on Ayurveda for this common problem is widespread. In fact, it’s one of the most popular medical treatments as far as Arthritis is concerned. According to Ayurveda, the disease is caused by an aggravation of Vata and an over accumulation of air/gas in the body due to improper digestion. The gas deposits in the weaker parts of the body, such as joints, and causes pain.

Ayurveda seeks to cure the problem by targeting the patient’s digestion and altering the food that he/she has been taking as per the dosha. Consumption of warm water, lemon and honey is also advised for patients suffering from, or those prone to joint pain. In addition, one of the most effective Ayurvedic treatments for Arthritis is a body massage with warm mustard or sesame oil.

Diabetes

Diabetes has been classified as a major disease in Ayurvedic treatises and therefore the branch of study offers very specific treatments to cure this disorder. Known as Asrava, diabetes is said to disturb five sheaths of the body, including food, energy, mind, intellect and happiness. There are 20 types of diabetes as per Ayurveda and all of them stem from an increased Kapha dosha in the body.

Besides regulating the diet, Ayurvedic cures for diabetes pivot around certain vital herbs such as Jambhul, Gurmar, Gourd, Turmeric, Neem, Triphala and others. A good blend of these herbs, a proper diet, weight loss endeavours and a regulated exercise regimen can help uproot this lifestyle disease completely.

Obesity

In a world where everyone is struggling to match pace with innovation, technology and globalisation, losing count of what we eat and how much we’re moving our bodies is easy. Weight gain and even obesity have undoubtedly become one of the biggest problems of the 21st century and have several spiralling outcomes on one’s health and well-being.

Ayurveda can play a vital role in helping everyone with the battle against excess weight by guiding people to eat right and exercise in order to recalibrate the body. Special treatments like Udwartanam, ChoornaSwedam, DhanyamlaDhara, Virechana, Vasthi and medicated steam baths can help amplify the effects of weight loss efforts. Intake of Ayurvedic herbal preparations can also go a long way in cleaning up the bowels, eliminating toxins and pacing up the metabolic rate.

The natural concoctions, approaches and programmes ensure that the body’s harmonious balance is always in order and that there are no side effects.

Ayurveda is relevant and helpful for people of all age groups, regardless of what bodily malfunction they may be suffering from. Conflicts in any of the three major doshas in a person’s body are addressed by a range of Ayurvedic treatments, including herbal remedies, dietary restrictions, massage etc. and the physical, mental and emotional balance can be restored with great efficacy.

Ayurvedic Herbs - The Essentials for Ayurvedic Treatment

With its origins in the Indian sub-continent, many of the herbs used in Ayurveda are available in abundance around us, especially towards the southern region; Kerala in particular. The humid climate, monsoons lasting for almost half the duration of a year, pristine lands filled with greenery at each nook & corner, naturally abundant forests, and the Western Ghats playing host to over 700 varieties of herbs in its dense woods, Kerala has been blessed as an Ayurvedic destination - traditionally, culturally and geographically.


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The existence of different varieties of medicinal plants in its floral community also plays a strong role in attributing the widespread acceptance and practise of Ayurveda in Kerala. The Western Ghats is considered to be a rich abode to medicinal plants, with maximum density running in from the Malabar Region, up to the southern tip of Kerala. The heterogenity found in terms of tropological factors as total rainfall, maximum temperature and soil composition contribute widely to the presence of the umpteen number of herbs in the region. Since Ayurveda rests on the concept of ‘prevention is better than cure’, consuming some of the easily accessible herbs can ensure that one never needs healing and elaborate treatments. This is in fact, is the best part about this natural branch of medicine, since in the other fields one can hardly ever consume the medication as a preventive measure.

Not all the medicinally valued plants found in this area are herbs. Some are extracted in the form of algae, lichen, shrubs and even as full grown trees. Most of the human settlements closer to these regions can be found still practising the age-old version of Ayurveda, the knowledge, having been passed on directly from one generation to another.

Kerala : God's Own Country for God's Own Medicine

Once a person is convinced that Ayurveda is the ultimate science to adopt for a harmonious co-existence of the body, mind and the soul, the question that arises is this : How do I gain access to the best Ayurvedic treatments and what’s the ideal place to begin my interactions with this ancient holistic science. The answer to this inevitable query is, Kerala. Besides its palm-lined beaches and stunning backwaters, Kerala is also home to the largest congregation of institutes and academies devoted to the medical practice of Ayurveda. This is a natural progression from the 5000-year old legacy of the medicine that has thrived in the state. Vaidyasor, the traditional practitioners of Ayurveda had established Kerala as their home thanks to its clement weather and geographical tranquillity. Kerala’s deep-rooted Sanskrit tradition has also had a part to play as the decoding of treatises was handled with way more facility and accuracy than would be possible anywhere else in the world.



The existence of different varieties of medicinal plants in its floral community also plays a strong role in attributing the widespread acceptance and practise of Ayurveda in Kerala. The Western Ghats is considered to be a rich abode to medicinal plants, with maximum density running in from the Malabar Region, up to the southern tip of Kerala. The heterogenity found in terms of tropological factors as total rainfall, maximum temperature and soil composition contribute widely to the presence of the umpteen number of herbs in the region. Since Ayurveda rests on the concept of ‘prevention is better than cure’, consuming some of the easily accessible herbs can ensure that one never needs healing and elaborate treatments. This is in fact, is the best part about this natural branch of medicine, since in the other fields one can hardly ever consume the medication as a preventive measure.

Not all the medicinally valued plants found in this area are herbs. Some are extracted in the form of algae, lichen, shrubs and even as full grown trees. Most of the human settlements closer to these regions can be found still practising the age-old version of Ayurveda, the knowledge, having been passed on directly from one generation to another.

Today, people from across the globe come to Kerala for a host of Ayurvedic treatments and go back with utmost levels of satisfaction and after having healed themselves off all previous suffering. The expertise of the Ashtavaidyans, which has been carried on for numerous centuries, hasn’t seen a downfall like many of the indigenous offerings of our culture, but rather thrived on its efficiency and its decisive results in defining healing strategies for all surviving generations. As a result, today, the state boasts a robust health infrastructure centred on Ayurveda. From Ayurvedic centres, Ayurvedic ashrams, clinics to sprawling resorts and luxurious spas, Kerala has Ayurvedic facilities that cater to needs of every kind. The expertise offered here, comes without any parallel offerings anywhere in the world, thus making Kerala a rather proficient monopolistic destination for Ayurveda.

Scriptures have always praised Dhanvantari, the god of Ayurveda and the physician of the devas, for blessings humans with sound health. And in this modern age, the tradition continues. The Ashtavaidyans of Kerala carry forth the legacy set by gods.


God's own medicine is home, at God's own country.

About Kerala Tourism

Fondly called God’s Own Country, Kerala has been a must do destination for tourists around the globe. Kerala, with its traditions, veritable natural beauty and friendly people, has played host to millions who come here every year. With its scenic backwaters and forests, dazzling art-forms and dreamy cuisines, Kerala is a destination that caters to the fascination of travellers from around the globe.