Ayurveda is a comprehensive system of natural alternative medicine that approaches and defines the human body in regard to its environment. The term Ayurveda is derived from two Sanskrit words” ‘Ayus’ meaning long life and ‘Veda’ which means knowledge or science. Ayurveda originated from India in the Vedic period and is one of the oldest methods of medical practice. It based on some of the founding principles as described in the Vedic text. Ayurvedic text is considered to be divine, and its authentic origins have been lost in time.
The main aim in any ayurvedic treatment is to recognize the cause behind the illness and treat the cause rather than just treating the illness.
According to ayurveda, there are three major elements (doshas) which control the health of a person. Each individual has one a pre-dominant and two sub-dominant doshas that make up the physical, mental and spiritual body make-up. The three doshas are Vatta, Pitta and Kapha, where Vatta consists of air and space, Pitta of fire Kapha: (mucus) water and earth. As long as the doshas are in balance, there is harmony among the body, mind and soul, and the individual lives in accordance to the characteristics of their dosha type. However, external factors such as environment and food can aggravate the doshas leading to disease and mental stress. Any imbalance in these three elements causes imbalance in the body, resulting in diseases and ailments.
Doshas Characteristics and Balancing diets.
The Pitta dosha is made up of fire and water elements. Pitta dosha controls the functioning of the metabolism, digestive system, glands and enzymes in the body and the quality and quantity of energy produced. People with dominant Pitta characteristics tend to be medium built, and have fair, sensitive and warm skin. Their hair is more inclined to early premature graying or thinning. Pitta individuals are sharp in nature, and express ambition and determination through their thoughts, actions and speech. Its qualities include sharpness, burning, acidic, pungent, liquid (always flowing) and unconstrained.
When unbalanced Pitta dosha individuals tend to get short-tempered and argumentative. An unbalanced Pitta dosha manifest itself through digestion related problems which include burning sensations in the stomach, ulcers, acidity, piles, improper digestion, malnutrition, unexplained weight loss or gain, excessive hunger and loss of appetite. As Pitta Dosha is the transforming heat in the body it imbalance can result in elevated body temperature, vision problems, heat rash and other skin disorders. Other problems of an aggravated Pitta dosha include discolorations of urine, feces and blood, and skin along with disturbed hormone and enzyme secretions.
Mentally the unbalanced Pitta dosha extinguishes the force driving fire resulting in depression, anxiety, negative thinking and mental dullness.
A Pitta balancing diet should be based on heavy and cooling foods to counter-effect the fluid and fiery nature of this dosha. A Pitta diet should include foods with bitter, astringent and sweet taste, and reduce the consumption of salty, pungent and sour foods. Pitta herbal tea, could help to balance the energy.
The Kapha dosha is composed of two elements water and earth and rule creation and functioning of the structure of the body. Kapha dosha is responsible for all cells and tissues in the body. Qualities of Kapha dosha include firm, heavy, soft, sturdy, cold and oily. Kapha dosha types have large build with excellent amounts of stamina and vitality. Their skin is smooth and radiant, hair thick and radiant. Kapha individuals have large sparkling eyes that have a touch of softness to them. Mentally they are supportive, strong, calm, patient and loving. When in balance, they love and enjoy their life, and are rarely in a bad mood.
Aggravated Kapha results in accumulation of toxins and water retention causing weight gain. Inadequate lubrication in the heart and lung regions causes breathing related problems. Unbalanced Kapha dosha could cause any of the following disorders: rheumatic conditions, obesity, diabetes, pneumonia, asthma, and other chest related diseases. Mentally, Kapha dosha aggravation can lead to stubbornness, restlessness, depression and mental lethargy.
A Kapha diet should include light, dry and warm foods with pungent, bitter and astringent taste, should be light and nutritious enough to keep the energy levels high. Kapha doshas should avoid sour, sweet, salty, cold, oily and heavy foods. Eat small proportions and only at required regular intervals to keep the digestive and metabolic systems active and the mind calm.
At any time of the day you can have Herbal Kapha Tea to benefit from its stimulating effect or when you feel overweight, lethargic, slowness in digestion or when the weather is too cold.
The Vata dosha consists of space and air. Vata dosha is critical to elimination of body waste, sweat secretions, breathing and flow of blood. They also govern thoughts, pain, fear, creativity and other emotions. The qualities that characterize Vatta are cool, dry, light, thin, always moving and rough. Individuals with Vatta dosha have thin slender frames with prominent joints, and have dry rough skin and hair. They are friendly and lively, and quick in thoughts and action. Change, creativity and eagerness are hallmarks of a balanced Vatta dosha.
As Vatta dosha is the energy behind force or direction in our body and mind, an imbalance can cause degeneration in the tissues and thoughts. Vatta imbalance first exhibits itself through dry, rough skin that appears dark, uneven and/or cracked. Physiologically an aggravated Vatta dosha results in abdomen swelling, flatulence, constipation, acidity, difficulty in breathing, disturbed sleep, stiff and painful joints, tremors and sudden loss of weight. Psychologically, an imbalance Vatta dosha causes the mind to lose concentration and become indecisive, produce negative thoughts and vibes, and lead to stubbornness.
Diet plays a very important role in balancing Vatta balance. Taste like sweet, sour and salty are good for harmonizing Vatta, whereas bitter, pungent and astringent tend to aggravate this dosha. Consumption of foods that are oily, heavy or warming should be given more prominence to balance Vatta. It is best to avoid cold beverages and foods and to brink a warm Vatta balancing herbal tea.
There are many psychological and environmental factors that cause a dosha imbalance. While deciding upon the course of Ayurvedic medication, the anatomical and physiological subdivisions of the primary dosha are studied to focus treatment on the specific cause of infection or diseases, and region.
Before treating any disease, the imbalance in these factors which has led to the cause of the disease is identified. Physical, mental and emotional conditions of the patient are taking into consideration before being treated.
Ayurveda believes in curing the diseases with natural medicines extracted from pure herbs. There are various plants and herbs which have great medicinal values. The medicinal values of different herbs are taken into consideration and combined together to treat a particular disease. Ayurvedic medicines are available in various forms. They can be either pills, powders, oils, tonics or decoctions. Some neurological disorders require massages for which special oils are being prepared.
Being centuries old Ayurveda has mastered the field of medicine. It offers solutions to almost all the diseases. The experts in the field can detect the disease at a very early stage and hence treat accordingly. Most of the diseases for which the western medicines have no solutions, have effectively been treated by ayurvedic herbal medicines.
Though, ayurvedic medicines are found to show a slower effect, they are known to treat the disease from the root. Ayurvedic treatments do require following a strict diet to aid in sooner recovery. Ayurveda offers medicines both for prevention and cure of the disease.
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