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Principals of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is an ancient system of health care, principal to the Indian sub-continent. The word "Ayurveda" is an amalgam of the word ayus meaning "life" and the word veda, which refers to a method of "knowledge". Therefore "Ayurveda" more or less translates as the "knowledge of life".

Ayurveda is a system that helps maintain wellbeing in a person by using the intrinsic principles of nature. In essence Ayurveda has been in existence since the beginning of time as we have always been governed by nature's laws.

Many Ayurvedic methods were handed down by word of mouth and were used before there were written records. Two ancient books, more than 2,000 years old, are thought to be the first texts on Ayurveda – Caraka Samhita and Susruta Samhita.

Ayurvedic Elements

Ayurveda believes that every human being is a made up of five primary elements. These five primary elements combine and create various physiological functions in the human body.

Ether or Space
Air
Water
Fire
Earth

These elements combine to form three doshas - Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

Ayurveda believes humans are all made up of unique proportions of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These ratios of the doshas vary in each individual. Each person has one predominant dosha in their constitution.

An imbalance in the doshas is the cause of any disease. Imbalances may be caused by an unhealthy diet, too much or too little mental and physical work, or from the weather, chemicals, or germs.

Doshas

Vata dosha: Ether and air combine to form what is known as the Vata dosha. Vata administers to the principle of movement and is considered the most powerful of all doshas. It controls the very basic body developments such as cell division, heart, respiration, and the mind. Vata can be out of balance by, staying up late at night, or eating before the previous meal is digested. People with vata as their main dosha are thought to be particularly prone to skin, neurological, and mental diseases.

Pitta dosha: Fire and water combine to form the Pitta dosha. Pitta controls the hormones and digestive system. When pitta is out of balance, a person experiences harmful emotions and has physical symptoms such as heartburn. Pitta is upset by, eating spicy or sour food; being angry, tired, or fearful, or spending too much time in the sun. People with a predominantly pitta constitution are vulnerable to heart disease and arthritis.

Kapha dosha: The elements water and earth combine to form the Kapha dosha. Kapha is considered to help keep up strength and immunity and to control growth. A symptom of kapha imbalance is nausea immediately after eating. Kapha is aggravated by, sleeping during the daytime, eating too many sweet foods, and eating and drinking foods and beverages with too much salt and water .Those with a predominant kapha dosha are exposed to diabetes, gallbladder problems, stomach ulcers, and respiratory illnesses.

Ayurvedic Medicines

Ayurveda operates on the principle that materials of vegetable, animal, and mineral origin have an assortment of medicinal values. The medicinal properties of these materials have been established by the practitioners of Ayurveda over a period of 2,000 years.

Ayurveda has been used for centuries to cure illness and maintain good health. Ayurvedic medications are made from herbs or blend of herbs. Ayurveda also uses herbs in combination with minerals, metals and other ingredients of animal origin. The metals, animals and minerals are cleansed by diverse procedures before being used for medicinal purposes.

In Conclusion

Ayuerveda is a pure holistic treatment in sync with nature. It is health, not disease, specific and takes into account the patient's entire individuality – body, mind and spirit before treatment.
About the Author
Ashish Bhattacharya is an exponent of oriental and alternative medicine. Armed with a degree in East Asian Therapies from China, he has worked in an Ayurvedic spa resort in Mauritius, and is an expert in spa reservation.
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