Herbal Diets

Herbal Diets

Ayurveda and Diet

Ayurveda - The Indian Science of Life

Ayurveda is the most ancient and traditional system of medicine in India. The Ayurvedic system of medication is based on many centuries of experience in medical practice, handed down through generations. Ayurvedic medicine originated in the early civilizations of India some 3,000-5,000 years ago making Ayurvedic medicine the oldest surviving healing system in the world.

The word Ayurveda is formed by the combination of two words - "Ayu" meaning life, and "Veda" meaning knowledge. Ayurveda is regarded as "The Science of Life" and the practice involves the care of physical, mental and spiritual health of human beings.

Life according to Ayurveda is a combination of senses, mind, body and soul. Ayurveda is not only limited to body or physical symptoms but also gives a comprehensive knowledge about spiritual, mental and social health. Thus ayurveda is a qualitative, holistic science of health and longevity, a philosophy and system of healing the whole person, body and mind.

The two principle objectives of Ayurveda are :

  1. To prolong life and promote perfect health
  2. To completely eradicate the disease and dysfunction of the body.

Another goal of ayurveda is to achieve "Nirvana" or liberation from all kinds of "Wants". This is primarily achieved through good health, which is regarded as the supreme foundation of life.

According to Ayurveda, all matter is thought to he composed of five basic elements known as thePanchamahabhuthas - Earth (Prithvi), Water (Jala), Fire (Tejas), Wind (Vayu) and Space (Akasha).These elements interact and exists in combination, in which one or more elements dominate. The human body is composed of derivatives of these five basic elements, in the form of doshas, tissues (dhatus) and waste products (malas). The Panchmahabhutas therefore serve as the foundation of all diagnosis and treatment modalities in Ayurveda.

Ayurveda advocates that the primary and essential factors of the human body that govern our entire physical structure and function, is a combination of any two of the five bhutas with the predominance of one. This is the most fundamental and characteristic principle of Ayurveda and is called "Tridosha" or the Three Humours. They are categorized into Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata governs movement, Pitta is concerned with functions of heat, metabolism, and energy production and Kapha, governs physical structure and fluid balance. Thus in Ayurveda, disease is viewed as a state of imbalance in one or more of these doshas, and the treatments aims to establish the balance in these three fundamental qualities.

Vata Pitta Kapha
Basic Function Governs bodily functions concerned with movement. Governs bodily functions concerned with heat, metabolism, and energy production Governs bodily functions concerned with physical structure , and fluid balance.
Qualities Moving quick, light , cold, minutes, rough dry, leads the order doshas. Hot, sharp, light, acidic, slightly, oily. Heavy, oily, slow, cold, steady, solid, dull.
Results of Balance Mental alertness
Proper formation of body tissues
Normal alimentation
Strong immunity
Sound sleep
Sense of exhilaration
Normal heat and thirst mechanism
Strong digestion
Sharp intellect
Lustrous complexion
Muscular strength
Strong immunity
Affection, generosity, courage, dignity
Healthy, Normal, Joints
Vitality and stamina
Stability of mind
Results of Imbalance Dry or Rough Skin
Common fatigue ( non-specific cause )
Tension headaches
Intolerance of cold
Anxiety, worry
Rashes, skin inflammations
Premature graying, baldness
Hostility, irritability
Visual problems
Excessive body heat

Oily skin
Sinus congestion
Slow digestion
Nasal allergies
Lethargy, dullness

Ayurveda has eight specialized branches :

  • Internal medicine
  • Surgery
  • Management of diseases of Eye & ENT
  • Pediatrics
  • Psycho-therapy including Seizures by evil spirits
  • Toxicology
  • Geriatrics
  • Science of aphrodisiacs