If you want to get healthy and feel better, why not go back to ancient history?
There are so many health programs and products available on the market, each claiming to be better than the next. But most of the programs don't last more than a year and end up being a fad.
When it comes to picking one that's right for you, why not take a look at Ayurvedic medicine?
This practice originates from India and has been around for over 5,000 years.
In fact, in India over 90 percent of the population uses some form of the medicine.
Also, studies show its effectiveness for many types of ailments.
That's not all:
Ayurvedic Medicine: Be A Better You
Ayurvedic Medicine begins with Ayurveda.
Ayurveda teaches that everyone has a specific makeup, or "prakruti," that determines their physical, physiological, and mental characteristics and vulnerabilities towards disease.
First, three bodily energies, or "doshas," determine someone's prakruti.
Most people have one dosha that dominates their makeup, although they may have some features of each.
The name "Ayurveda" comes from the Sanskrit language. "Ayur" means knowledge and "Veda" means life. So Ayurveda means knowledge of life!
According To The Practice, If Someone's Dosha Is In Balance, Then Their Health Is In Balance.
But if their dosha is out of balance, then Ayurvedic medicine gets them back in balance.
Also, since Ayurveda focuses on the whole health of a person instead of the disease, Ayurvedic medicine does the same.
It uses holistic healing methods such as herbal and mineral remedies to bring the body back to total health.
Finally, the practice also uses other forms of "medicine" such as yoga, breathing exercises, meditation, and massage therapy. But we will focus on the main Ayurvedic medicine, which is medicinal herbs.
The three doshas
Ayurveda says that the elements exist inside our body where they represent different physical and mental characteristics. So each dosha is made up of different natural elements that determine someone's personality and bodily makeup.
Vata is made of air and space. The characteristics of Vata is that it is dry, light, cold, rough, and mobile.
It is mostly in these areas of the body:
Here's what to expect:
When the Vata is out of balance you experience symptoms in these areas. Some of those symptoms are constipation, bloating, anxiety, irregular periods, loss of interest in sex, forgetfulness, and loss of appetite.
You can find Vata in people who are creative thinkers, free spirits, original, and lively.
Pitta is made of fire and water. Its characteristics are that it is hot, sharp, oily, liquid, and light.
It is mainly in these areas of the body:
When Pitta is out of balance you experience symptoms in these areas.
Some of the symptoms?
Early balding or graying hair, poor eyesight, anger, stress, acid reflux, heartburn, and ulcers.
Pittas are mostly in people who are fiery, intelligent, and fast-paced.
Last but not least, Kapha is made of earth and water. Its characteristics are that it is heavy, slow, cold, oily, soft, dense, and liquid.
It is mainly in these areas of the body:
Those systems of the body show symptoms when the Kapha is out of balance.
Some of the symptoms are heaviness, fatigue, water retention, depression, weight gain, asthma, and slow metabolism.
Finally, Kapha is found in people who are strong, solid, and calm.
Why You Should Consider Ayurvedic Medicine
In the 1970s, the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted a study with the Ayurvedic trust to study the effectiveness of Ayurvedic treatments on patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
The study found that the treatments were both safe and effective.
That wasn't the only study:
Then nearly 40 years later, in 2013, Dr. Banya Malam, a neurologist and professor emeritus at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, used the principles of Ayurvedic medicine to study populations that might be vulnerable to Parkinson's disease.
He found that those with the Vata dosha had a greater vulnerability to Parkinson's than other groups of people.
So, what does that tell you?
The above studies show that Ayurvedic medicine is gaining ground and scientific studies are proving it.
For those who are skeptical about natural medicine, this is a reputable reason to try Ayurvedic medicine and see what it can do for you.
Another reason Ayurvedic medicine is worth a try?
The practice focuses on a person's vulnerability to a disease rather than the disease itself. This is an important distinction from traditional medicine because its focus is on keeping you healthy, not curing your disease.
In other words, it focuses on you and makes your health journey more personal.
When you practice Ayurvedic medicine, you won't feel like a number or a statistic.
Since Ayurvedic medicine isn't regulated, here's the big question: Is it safe?
The answer, according to some recent studies, is yes.
That's not even the best part:
The WHO recognizes Ayurveda as a traditional form of medicine!
Ready to have your mind blown?
Some of Ayurveda's practices are even being recognized and encouraged in conventional medical settings!
Not only that:
Some of the medical community recognizes Ayurvedic herbs like turmeric and ginger as antioxidants and beneficial to heart health.
But, there are some precautions to take.
First, make sure that when you're considering this medicine, go to a qualified and reputable Ayurvedic practitioner, holistic doctor, or naturopath.
Check their credentials, training, and experience before you put yourself in their hands.
Next, make sure you're communicating with your conventional doctor about any Ayurvedic medicine you're taking, and do the same with your Ayurvedic practitioner.
Let them know if you're taking any medications.
Last, a good practitioner will ask you what you're taking to make sure that there are no negative interactions.
Common Problems And Ailments That Ayurvedic May Help
Ayurvedic medicine may help with some common problems and ailments. Remember that this is not a proven science and you will need to consult with a doctor before practicing it.
Here are some common ones. All of the ailments are from the book "The Idiot's Guide to Ayurveda" with the exception of high blood pressure and diabetes.
High blood pressure
High blood pressure is a rising problem in the United States.
The ailment happens when the blood vessels are stiff and hardened. The herb Rauwolfia helps lower blood pressure by making the blood vessel walls more elastic.
An unfortunate western epidemic, diabetes is becoming more and more common as a higher percentage of the world's population adopt an unhealthy western diet.
An herb that helps reduce the symptoms of diabetes is gymnema sylvestre. This medicine reduces insulin resistance and improves sugar and starch metabolism.
According to Sehara Rose-Ketabi, Ayurveda believes that diarrhea happens when the Pitta dosha is aggravated and the digestive system goes into overdrive.
A medicinal herb that helps with diarrhea is shatavari.
This herb combats chronic loose stools.
Not only are they gross, but they're more common than you think.
Check it out:
Parasites are usually caused by the foods you eat.
Here are some examples of intestinal parasites:
That's a lot of nasty worms!
To find out if you have them, get tested by a doctor.
And if you test positive these herbs can help:
According to Rose-Ketabi, candida overgrowth happens when our digestive fire isn't hot enough and the candida yeast overgrows and spreads throughout our intestines, overrunning our good gut bacteria.
Signs that you have candida overgrowth:
Some herbs that help with candida overgrowth are the following:
Cold and flu
Some Ayurvedic remedies can help relieve cold and flu symptoms, sometimes eliminating them altogether. Amalaki is the main herb that helps relieve the symptoms and gets the body back in balance.
Ayurveda says that fevers happen when there's too much toxicity in your system, making your body unable to fight off infection.
Because of this, it's important that you cool your body from within.
Holy basil (Tulsi) helps cool a fever.
The 11 Best Ayurvedic Medicinal Herbs And Their Benefits
There are a lot of different medicinal herbs in Ayurveda, but there's only a handful that are the best.
Below are the 11 best herbs:
The Difference Between Ayurvedic Medicine And Conventional Medicine
There are several important differences between Ayurvedic medicine and traditional medicine. Let's start with the difference between herbs and prescription drugs. Here are the main differences:
Check with your insurance plan and see if they cover alternative treatments that include herbal remedies. Not a lot of insurance companies offer this. You will most likely need to have some funds set aside for Ayurvedic medicine. Hopefully in the future this will change as the medicine gains ground.
Features of herbs:
Features of drugs:
Besides this, herbs and drugs differ in how they're prescribed.
Pharmaceutical drugs are prescribed by a conventional doctor. but herbal medicines are "prescribed" by an Ayurvedic practitioner, holistic doctor, or Naturopath.
What is a Naturopath?
A Naturopath, or Naturopathic doctor, is a medically trained doctor who combines scientific medical knowledge and training with natural and traditional forms of medicine such as Ayurvedic medicine.
Also, Naturopaths are trained doctors, but are not MDs.
What are they, then?
Instead, they are NMDs or NDs.
This is because their training is in both conventional medicine and natural or traditional medicine and they combine both in their practice.
When looking for an Ayurvedic practitioner, look for someone who is medically trained. Then you know you're in good hands!
How To Make Ayurvedic Medicine
First of all, if you want to make Ayurvedic medicine yourself, use caution.
Similar to buying the medicine, before you look into ways to make the medicine yourself, consult a professional and get advice on whether an herbal medicine is right for you.
Now that we went over the precautions, let's learn how to make it!
The basic ingredients for herbal medicines are at health food stores or prepared in your kitchen.
Also, if you grow herbs, you can find some of them in your own backyard!
Yes, you heard me right:
There are different ways to make herbal medicines.
Here are a few:
To make capsules, grind the dried roots, leaves or blooms of a plant and fill the capsules with the remaining powder.
A great way to grind them is using a mortar and pestle.
If you don't have one, don't worry:
Use an electric blender or coffee mill.
Then for the tincture, soak the fresh or ground herbs with alcohol to extract and preserve the active parts of the plant.
A benefit of tinctures is that they have a long shelf life, sometimes as much as a year or longer. A lot of tinctures are taken internally after being diluted with water.
But some tinctures can be applied directly to the skin.
Here's a video that shows how to make a tincture:
To make an infused oil, dissolve the herb in vegetable oil.
Some infused oils can be applied directly on the skin, while others are the base for some salves and balms.
Salves and balms
For the salves and balms, the only things you will need are a stove and double boiler.
For example, here's a recipe for a salve:
- Add two tablespoons of melted beeswax to each cup of infused oil
- Melt beeswax carefully in a double boiler or over a very low flame. Do not overheat!
- Reheat the oil just enough for the wax to mix well, then let it cool
Balms are made very similarly but are usually thicker than salves. Salves and balms are applied externally.
If your salve is too thick, add more oil. If it is too thin, add more beeswax.
Oil-based salves can turn rancid over time. To prevent this, add Vitamin E as a preservative. You can also add glycerin to make the salve smoother.
Finally, the last way to make Ayurvedic medicine is through herbal teas.
Also, they are probably the most popular way to make the medicine.
Here's what you need to do:
To make the teas yourself, pour a cup of boiling water over a rounded tablespoon of herbs and let it steep for 15 minutes.
Then strain the tea if necessary and drink it hot or cold.
Another option is to use do-it-yourself teabags to take away the need for straining.
Pros And Cons Of Ayurvedic Medicine
Who Uses Ayurvedic Medicine?
Herbal medicine use worldwide has increased significantly in the past 30 years. In fact, over 80 percent of the world's population uses them. But their use varies tremendously in different countries.
Breakdown of different countries and their herbal medicine use:
Some of the results might be surprising:
You wouldn't expect, for example, France to use herbal medicine as much as Nepal.
At the same time, with the rise in popularity of these treatments, the use of this medicine is only projected to rise.
The Spiritual Benefits Of Ayurvedic Medicine
For starters, a big difference between conventional and Ayurvedic medicine is the spiritual component.
As stated before, Ayurveda has been around for over 5,000 years and spirituality is its foundation.
Ayurveda blends medicine and spirituality to form a system that benefits the entire being, not only the physical body.
In addition to this, in "The Idiot's Guide To Ayurveda," Rose Ketabi says that Ayurveda is grounded in Vedic philosophy, which believes that human life has a definitive purpose which is split into four pursuits: Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha.
First, Dharma is the term for the values that every person should have.
They include the following:
Next, Artha is the acquisition of wealth in the four areas:
Then Kama is the controlled fulfillment of desires. It contains two main teachings:
Finally, Moksha is the goal of existence.
When you've reached it, you've attained true bliss and don't desire anything else.
Last, Ayurveda believes that in order to have complete health, you must be whole spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. When you decide to take Ayurvedic medicine, you will benefit not only your body but your mind and soul.
Is Ayurvedic Medicine Worth It?
If you're looking for an alternative to conventional medicine that has a long history and is effective for a lot of ailments, then Ayurvedic medicine is worth a try.
You don't need a prescription, many times it is cheaper, and it focuses on your individual needs.
Most of all:
It has fewer side effects. In other words, it can be a safer alternative to conventional medicine.
Remember to use precaution:
For example, make sure the medicine won't react to any prescription drugs you're taking and use a reputable and qualified practitioner.
If you follow common sense, Ayurvedic medicine can be a helpful alternative to your conventional treatments.