Ayurveda – Timeless Instruction
for Enhancing Life!
Harmonize your health with Ayurveda – Try ginger for indigestion or goldenseal for toothache! Today, ancient remedies like these are being verified by science.
Older even than Chinese medicine, Ayurveda arose out of the Vedic culture of India, around 5,000 years ago. Its meaning in the sacred text is “An instruction for enhancing life.” The herbal medicine of ancient Greece was strongly influenced by it, migrating there through trade and conquest after 500 B.C.E.
In the West, until recently, it was eclipsed by Chinese Medicine, with the enthusiastic reaction to Acupuncture. Now science is starting to investigate Ayurvedic medicines that have proven their effectiveness.
Both Ayurveda and Chinese medicine share a highly individual-based approach to health. Dr. Kazuo Uebaba, of the International Traditional Medical Science Center in Japan, addresses differences between Eastern and Western medicine in this article from the website of JAFRA, (Japan Functional Food Research Association). In "
," he observes that “The mainstream of medical treatment in the 21st century will be that based on individual constitutions, rather than that of Western medicine which is universally effective to sick people.” (Check out JAFRA's home page, too - click on the link at the bottom of the page.)
The essence of Ayurvedic medicine is instructional, with its origins in religious texts (the Vedas), rather than scientific ones. However, that said, when I first explored it, it took me only several seconds to pick out my primary dosha, or body type – and it was exactly right! I thought to myself then
(respectfully) that there had to be some science to it,
if I could do that thousands of years later from my
To put it in modern terms, Ayurveda teaches that the world is modular. A computer programmer strings together many modules, which he has completed one at a time. Each module is self-standing, but interacts with all the others, to accomplish the overall mission.
Ayurveda uses the word dosha, instead of module. The world is made of doshas – doshas in our bodies, doshas in the environment – the building blocks of life. According to its beliefs, people fall into three primary doshas, or body types: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. By keeping our eyes and ears open, and learning about our body type(s), we can accumulate vital knowledge about self health.
The keyword in Ayurveda is harmony. The goal is to restore an individual’s health by harmonizing body, mind (and spirit) with the doshas of the surrounding environment. This starts on a very fundamental level: Ancient texts state explicitly that harmony cannot be achieved without eating locally grown food. (Edgar Cayce, Father of Holistic Medicine, agrees!)
All foods are considered to be medicinal, with distinct properties, and are carefully chosen for specific effects on certain body types. The term “functional food” has evolved to describe this approach.
For an in-depth look at ayurvedic tradition, and the ways it could benefit you and your family, see this excellent site,
Ayurveda in Health, the Science of Life.
A COUPLE OF WELL-ESTABLISHED NATURAL REMEDIES
Ginger for indigestion – Recently, I had a problem with poor appetite and uneasy digestion. My symptoms weren’t dramatic, but every time I ate, I felt drained and on edge.
Being busy, I ignored it for a couple of days, until I saw that it wasn’t going away on its own. Then I recalled the Ayurvedic use of ginger for indigestion, and I’d read that the Vata body type was prone to that. So, the next morning, I took a half-teaspoon of ginger in my coffee.
I felt better in 5 minutes, but realized I would have to take it long enough to permeate the stomach and colon. I took it three more times that day, before each meal, and before bed, and after every dose, I felt myself normalizing. The next day the problem was gone, and did not recur.
Western science classifies ginger as anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants... Anything that reduces swelling is good, especially as you age.
Goldenseal root powder for toothache - I don’t usually have toothaches, even though my teeth have lots of caps and flaws, because we eat a lot of organic parsley from the garden every day, all year long. But recently, our new bed wasn’t ready, so we ran out. My teeth kicked up a fuss within a day or two – sore gums, and aching teeth on a rotating schedule. One tooth was definitely getting really annoying -- especially at night.
I didn’t know what to do, at first (other than go to the dentist), but I happened to see the goldenseal when passing our apothecary, and decided to try it. I took it several times that day, and after 24 hours, the problem disappeared!
That reminded me of the time when I had a painful abscessed tooth. The dentist gave me an antibiotic, which took care of it. But this time, the goldenseal was just as effective, and Western science recognizes its antibiotic properties. Fascinating that the Vedic culture of India knew it thousands of years ago!
Goldenseal has too many uses to list here, but Justice uses it for stopping severe coughing in the aftermath of colds and flu – the kind that keeps you awake all night – when nothing else works.
BRINGING IT HOME
Consulting an Ayurvedic practitioner is the quicker way to find solutions for building your natural health. However, they can be hard to locate. Try the links on this page, and there are many other sites that can help. And if you happen to be acquainted with any of the Indian people working in countries around the world, they may be able to direct you.
There are some cautions to ordering Ayurvedic herbal medicines online due to recent contamination of lead and mercury found in some supplements. Before you order, do some research on the source of supply.
But don't let this stop you from using Ayurveda in your own life, as we do. This ancient discipline is still a cornerstone of alternative medicine!
Scientific basis for Ayurvedic Therapies
One highly reputable supplier we use regularly is Mountain Rose Herbs. They have quality herbs at reasonable prices. (Click on picture below to check out)
MORE WEB RESOURCES
Copy and paste these links into your browser to learn more:
The Vedic Culture of India - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedic_period
American Cancer Society - Clinical studies http://www.cancer.org/docroot/ETO/content/ETO_5_3X_Ayurveda.asp
Ayurvedic herbs: A clinical guide - http://www.routledgenursing.com/books/Ayurvedic-Herbs-isbn9780789017680
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