Ayurveda is the oldest surviving complete medical system in the world. Native to India, Ayurveda is the ancient medicinal form, developed during the Vedic times, about 5000 years ago. The word ‘Ayur’ means life, while ‘Veda’ means science. Ayurveda developed and evolved into what it is today from several ancient treatises, most notably Adharva Veda which dates back to five thousand years.
Of the few other treatises on Ayurveda that have survived from around the same time, the most famous are Charaka Samhita and the Sushruta Samhita which concentrate on internal medicine and surgery respectively. The Astanga Hridayam is a more concise compilation of earlier texts that was created about a thousand years ago. These between them forming a greater part of the knowledge base on Ayurveda as it is practiced today.
Ayurveda is not just a medicinal system, but also a way of life. Ayurveda deals with the physical, as well as spiritual health. The objective is to maintain health as well as fighting illness through therapies, massages, herbal medicines, diet control and exercise.
According to the Science of Life, the structural aspect of every individual comprises five elements – earth, water, fire, air and space and The functional aspect of the body is governed by three biological humors (subtle energies) i.e.Doshas. The three biological humors or tridoshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Each Dosha is a synergy of two elements which are as follows
Vata – Space + Air
Pitta – Fire +Water
Kapha – Water + Earth
Among the all biological forms, it is the Kinetic force, which controls body’s auto functions like nerve impulses, circulation, respiration, heartbeats and elimination. It governs entire activities as well as movement of the body, responsible for the expresses as enthusiasm and creativity, also promotes mental adaptability and comprehension.
Vata having 5 subtypes, there site and functions are as follows
- Prana – sites are Head and chest, functions – to control respiration, Ingestion of food, intelligence, Heart functions, emotions and all the senses stimulation.
- Udaana – site is chest region, functions – it controls speech, voice and intellect, gives energy and power to the body
- Vyana – site is Heart, Function – spreads all over the body and controls all the voluntary body movements
- Samana –sites are stomach and small intestine, functions – digestion and assimilation of end products of food and separation into their various tissue elements
- Apana – sites are colon and pelvis organs, functions – Elimination of stool, urine, semen, foetal and menstrual blood. Also it controls the sexual functions.
Pitta responsible for metabolism in the organ and tissue systems, as well as cellular metabolism. It governs the digestion or proper assimilation of physical, mental and emotional elements of a biological entity. It controls digestion of food, metabolisation of sensory perceptions, and discrimination between right and wrong.
Pitta having 5 subtypes, there site and functions are as follows:
- Pachaka – sites stomach and small intestine, functions – major part of digestion i.e. contribution of juices, enzymes and various acids involved in the process of digestion
- Ranjaka – sites are liver, spleen and stomach, functions – formation of the blood
- Sadhaka – site is Heart, functions – it controls the proficiencies of the mind as intellect, emotional distress, anger, love and happiness
- Alochaka – site is eyes, function – vision and good sight
- Bhrajaka – site is skin, function – color, glaze and luster of the skin
Kapha is responsible for biological strength and natural tissue resistance in the body. It gives stability, mass and structure to provide fullness to the bodily tissues and helps in the maintenance and integrity of body tissues. Thus kapha does the function of union.
Kapha having 5 subtypes, there site and functions are as follows
- Kledaka – site is stomach, function is moistens the food, which helps in digestion
- Avalambaka – site is heart, lung and chest. Function – serves as lubricant for throat and heart, thus protect the heart and gives strength to lungs
- Bodhak – site is tongue, function is perception of taste, salivation and primary lubrication of food
- Tarpak – site is head (brain), function is nourishment of sense organs
- Shleshak – site is joints, function is lubrication of the joints
In balanced stated, Doshas are responsible for the appropriate nourishment, strength, glow of skin etc. and in imbalanced or disturbed status they are responsible for fetching the diseases in the body.
While giving Ayurvedic treatment to a person to cure a particular disease, the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being is taken into consideration. Ayurveda gives a complete look into the lifestyle of a person, like starting from his/her personality to the daily food habits. In short, the aim of Ayurveda is to maintain the health of healthy people and to cure the diseases of sick people.