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The name “Ayurveda” is derived from two words in Sanskrit, “ayuh” meaning “life” or “longevity” and “veda” meaning “science” or “sacred knowledge.” Ayurveda’s definition therefore roughly translates as “the science of longevity” or “the sacred knowledge of life.”

HOW DOES AYURVEDIC MEDICINE WORK?

Ayurvedic practitioners use a well-balanced healthy diet, lifestyle changes, stress relief and various herbal remedies to heal all sorts of conditions by helping to bring the body back into balance. The overall belief is that disease and suffering results from an imbalance in the three doshas, which are ways of categorizing the body’s three basic energy types: Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

According to Ayurvedic medicine, everyone is unique in terms of his or her individual balance between these three energy (or personality) types. Everyone has some vata, pitta and kapha to their personality, but usually one or two of the doshas are more dominant in a particular person — and this ultimately governs body type, appetite, energy levels, moods and tendencies. Each dosha has both physical and emotional characteristics, so Ayurvedic practitioners use the three doshas to describe common traits of someone’s body type and personality.

7 BENEFITS OF AYURVEDIC MEDICINE

1. Helps Lower Stress and Anxiety

Because stress is related to nearly every aspect of overall health, an Ayurvedic medicine practitioner might call for a number of different techniques used to naturally treat anxiety and depression symptoms, lower cortisol and rebalance the body’s hormones or “energy.” This can include meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, herbal treatments, skin brushing, visualization or repeating inspirational mantras.

Studies have found that transcendental meditation, a component of one branch of Ayurveda called Maharishi, helps anxiety with regular practice. Pranayama, a series of various targeted breathing exercises, also helps calm nerves and results in better energy, restful sleep and improved hormonal function. And while yoga isn’t always necessarily included in someone’s recovery plan, it, too, offers well-documented benefits for reducing stress and anxiety.

2. Lowers Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

Studies have shown that Ayurveda diets and relaxation techniques can lower inflammation and help reduce plaque build up, even reversing the thickening of artery walls known as atherosclerosis in both healthy adults and those with a higher risk for heart disease. Atherosclerosis is a slow, complex disease in which cholesterol, fats and other substances build up in the inner lining of an artery. This build up, known as plaque, can lead to heart attack and stroke. Thankfully, Ayurvedic techniques lower cholesterol naturally and naturally lower blood pressure.

3. Helps with Recovery from Injuries and Illnesses

Ayurveda is also especially helpful in detoxing the body using various herbs, teas, healthy foods and plenty of rest. Certain practices also increase circulation and liver function — for example, Abhyanga is the practice of rubbing the skin with herbal or essential oils to increase blood flow and help draw toxins out of the body through the skin. Ayurveda practitioners might also prescribe various herbs that help lower cortisol such as holy basil or ashwagandha.

4. Promotes a Nutrient-Dense, Antioxidant-Rich Diet

Ayurvedic medicine promotes a mostly plant-based diet filled with a variety of real, whole foods. While each person’s diet depends on body type and needs, Ayurvedic diets for the three different dosha types all include various fresh herbs, spices, teas, vegetables, healthy fats, high-antioxidant foodsand protein. General dietaryguidelines of Ayurveda emphasize consuming fresh, hot and easy to digest foods, while taking into account several variations that depend on someone’s ancestry, customs and traditions. For example, Ayurveda practitioners consider social, geographic and climatic variables all when prescribing a diet to balance the doshas.In coastal areas, cooling and detoxifying fermented foods are common. For example, pickled, probiotic-rich foods are prescribed to help with digestion and temperature regulation. In other regions, and during colder parts of the year, healthy fats and hot foods are emphasized more to help warm the body and promote better circulation.

5. Can Help with Weight Loss or Maintenance

While fast weight loss isn’t necessarily the primary goal, Ayurvedic medicine can help someone shed excess weight naturally using a healthy diet, stress reduction and even essential oils for weight loss.

6. Lowers Inflammation

Ayurvedic medicine rests on the assumption that a combination of a poor diet, bad digestion, not enough rest or sleep and insufficient air (vaayu) inhaled cause oxidative stress and inflammation. This results in an imbalance in metabolism — or in other words — in the three doshas. The focus of Ayurvedic healing looks at using various ways of reducing inflammation with hopes of regulating the heart and circulatory system, digestive tract and the means of elimination of wastes. People are prescribed a combination of herbal treatments, antioxidants to quench free radicals, exercise that is gentle but boosts metabolism and circulation and a combination of phytochemicals from natural herbs.

7. Helps with Hormonal Balance

People have turned to Ayurveda to balance hormones naturally, conceive and have a healthy, natural pregnancy or menstrual cycle for thousands of years. Studies have even shown that various therapeutic effects of Ayurveda have been effective in helping to treat subfertility due to PCOS, a common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age, resulting from insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances.

The Five Elements

Ayurveda recognizes five elements as the fundamental building blocks of nature:

  • Earth
  • Water
  • Fire
  • Air
  • Ether (Space)

Every substance contains all five of these elements. That said, in a given substance, one or two elements are typically predominant over the others.

The 3 Doshas of Ayurvedic Medicine

By helping to balance the three doshas — not letting one type become overly dominant and another to become ignored — handling stress, following a healthy diet, dealing with change and maintaining relationships are all expected to be easier.


  • A vata imbalance occurs when vata is in excess. This can cause fear, anxiety, physical and emotional constriction, ungroundedness, poor circulation, constipation,dry skin, cracking joints, emaciation, insomnia, twitches, tremors, and other abnormal movements.
  • A pitta imbalance occurs when pitta is in excess. This can cause anger, jealousy, inflammation, excessive heat, heartburn, loose stools, migraines, rashes, bruising, bleeding disorders, sharp hunger, an overactive metabolism, and difficulty sleeping.
  • A kapha imbalance occurs when kapha is in excess. This can cause attachment, greed, resistance to change, lack of motivation, heaviness in the mind and body, excessive sleep, depression, a sluggish metabolism, congestion, water retention, hardening of the arteries, and the formation of masses and tumors.
  • It is also possible for more than one dosha to be out of balance at a given time, or for all three doshas to be imbalanced.

As mentioned earlier, Ayurveda teaches that like increases like and that opposites balance. (See the twenty qualities table above.) For example, let’s say your pitta is aggravated. You’ve had a short temper lately, are overly judgmental, and have some acidity in your digestive tract. Which qualities should you be interacting with to find balance?

  1. Qualities that are hot, sharp, light, liquid, spreading, and oily.
  2. Qualities that are cool, slow, heavy, dense, stable, and dry.

If you said “B,” you’re learning quickly! When we know which particular qualities are aggravated, we can be even more precise in our treatment strategies, finding specific practices to incorporate the necessary opposite qualities into our lives to find balance.

Vata

Vata energy is often said to be like the wind. It’s primarily in charge of mobility, motion, circulation, breathing and other essential body functions. Vata types are known to be creative and energetic when they’re in balance but fearful, stressed and “scatter-brained” when they’re not. Physically, vata types are usually on the thin side, have smaller bones and tend not to put on weight easily. They also might be cold a lot of the time, have a delicate digestive system and have dry, sensitive skin.

UNDERSTANDING VATA

VATA FUNCTIONS :

  • It performs normal functioning of all organs of the body.
  • Five types of Vata Dosha controls speech, body movements and directs mind.
  • It coordinates, stimulates & controls all the sense organs.
  • It maintains the compactness and unison of all the body organs.
  • It is the root cause for happiness and enthusiasm.
  • It controls Agni (appetite), digestive strength (air is necessary for the fire to stay on) & evacuates waste products out of the body.
  • It dries up Pitta and Kapha dosha’s.
  • It forms all the body channels/ ducts – minute and large.
  • It is responsible for growth of the foetus, moulding and shaping of embryo.
  • It performs division of cells & continuity of life.
  • It is placed & has domination below umbilicus in the body.

INCREASED VATA SIGNS & SYMPTOMS :

  • There is Weight Loss, Dryness in the body.
  • There is Increased Dryness, wrinkles & black discoloration of the skin.
  • There is Distension & feeling of bloating of abdomen due to gas.
  • There is Abdomen fullness & Constipation.
  • There are Tremors & Loss of Strength in whole body.
  • Increase in Anxiety, restlessness & Insomnia is noted.
  • Possibility of Weakness of Senses & organs noted.
  • Feeling of Giddiness & Imbalance increases.
  • There is increased Pain in the muscles, bone and whole body.

VATA REDUCING FACTORS :

1] VATA DIET DO’S :

  • One should have food with sweet, salty and sour tastes in the diet.
  • One should Eat Warm & Well-cooked meals mostly freshly prepared.
  • One should use an adequate quantity of healthy oils in each meal. The best options are sesame oil, almond oil and ghee.
  • One should include Spices in meals. The suggested spices for Vata are - turmeric, fresh ginger, cumin, fennel, ajwain, hing, black pepper, sesame seeds, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Sweet, heavy, well-ripened fruits at regular intervals are very good for Vata including bananas, soaked raisins, dates, coconut, figs, peaches, pears, mangos, apricots, papaya, watermelon and plums.
  • One can have whole-fat, organic dairy (unless lactose intolerant) products. Milk if taken should be warmed and spiced with cinnamomum or nutmeg.
  • One should have regular snacks in morning in which Nuts are good option in moderation.
  • Eating on a consistent schedule is a Mantra for Vata dominant person. Do not skip meals in any case.
  • One should have meals with a state of equilibrium of mind and in calmness. Never eat food in hurry and swallowing the food in a rush.

VATA DIET DON’Ts :

  • One should avoid the bitter, astringent and pungent (spicy-hot) tastes in the diet.
  • One should avoid light, dry, rough & uncooked foods such as salads, raw vegetables, dry cereals, dried fruit, crackers, rice cakes and dried vegetables.
  • One should also avoid cold, frozen or stored (leftovers for 1-2 days) foods and beverages.
  • One should avoid hard-to-digest veggies such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, bitter greens, white potatoes, brinjals, & starchy vegetables. These tend to produce flatulence, bloating and cramping, especially in Vata types.
  • One should avoid all beans varieties, especially chana’s, rajma’s, chola’s etc.
  • One should avoid stimulants like caffeine, tannins, nicotine etc

2] HERBS :

Ayurveda mentions use of Single Herbs Powders or combination of herbal powders as per suggestion of Ayurvedic Vaidya’s which are in tradition from ancient times. Some of the herbs that are supposed to be helpful for reducing Vata are :

  • Moringa Leaves
  • Bhringraj Powder
  • Harda Powder
  • Amla Powder
  • Triphala Powder
  • Ashwagandha Powder
  • Tulsi Powder
  • Fenugreek Powder
  • Licorice Powder
  • Giloy Powder
  • Shatavari Powder
  • Psyllium Powder
  • Noni Powder
  • Mucuna Powder
  • Sankhapuspi Powder
  • Ginger Powder
  • Hibiscus Powder
  • Gokhshur Powder
  • Peppermint Powder
  • Punarnava Powder
  • Safed Musali Powder
  • Dadim Chaal Powder
  • Passiflora powder

3] LIFESTYLE :

  • One should exercise moderately on regular basis – 20-25 minutes brisk walking, 30-35 minutes swimming, cycling and slow jogging with mild muscles stretching.
  • One should have regular warm oil massage especially with Sesame seed oil and take mild steaming.
  • One should avoid stress, anger, anxiety & sad environment and over commitment.
  • One should learn proper Yoga asanas and do it after Oil massage with pranayam early empty stomach for 15-20 minutes regularly.
  • One should also learn Meditation techniques and perform it regularly with deep breathing exercises.
  • One should cover up the body to keep it adequately warm and stay away from cold surroundings.
  • One should enjoy greenery with soothing music, sweet aromatic smell in surrounding areas and cheerful persons.

PITTA

Pitta is the energy force that governs most metabolic activity, including digestion, absorption of nutrients, body temperature and energy expenditure. Pitta types tend to be smart, hard-working and driven (even competitive) when in balance but can be overly angry and aggressive when they’re not. They tend to have a medium build, be athletic and are versatile in terms of putting on weight or muscle.

UNDERSTANDING PITTA

PITTA FUNCTIONS :

  • It is directly involved with digestion and metabolism. This is not only restricted to the level of stomach and intestines, it also extends to cellular level, Like using up of nutrients at the cellular level to produce energy etc.
  • Pitta means hotness; it keeps the body hot and healthy. Hence, all the conditions where there is increase of temperature, as in inflammation, fever, etc, there is Pitta involvement.
  • Function of Vision – Fire is also related with light. Vision is always correlated with light. Hence, it is a Pitta function.
  • The skin complexion, body aura and skin health are directly controlled by Pitta Dosha.
  • Initiation of hunger, thirst and appetite control is handled by Pitta Dosha.
  • The Taste perception is functioned by Pitta.
  • All mental activities pertaining to intelligence, courage and valour are controlled by Pitta Dosha.
  • It is placed and has domination in upper abdomen above Umbilicus.

INCREASED PITTA SIGNS & SYMPTOMS :

  • Increased Irritation and anger
  • Increased acidity, nausea and headache
  • Yellow discoloration of Stools, Urine, Skin, eyes
  • Excessive Hunger & Burning sensation in stomach
  • Excessive Thirst and burning sensation in throat
  • Ulcers in mouth and digestive system
  • Increased sweat and yellow tanning of clothes due to excessive sweat
  • Insomnia and migraine
  • Redness in eyes and burning sensation

PITTA REDUCING FACTORS :

1] PITTA DIET DO’S :

  • It’s better to have foods that are naturally sweet, bitter, and astringent in taste.
  • All foods which have Cooling effect on body and are cool to touch externally by temperature.
  • Herbs and spices such as coriander, cumin seed, fennel and cardamom, which produce coolness in body can be used.
  • Dairy products to be used in less quantity only if you digest it well. You can have buttermilk in afternoon and develop probiotic effect.
  • One can use good quality of oil like Olive, sunflower, coconut in moderate amount.
  • A Routine time for having your meals should be followed.
  • After swallowing your last bite, have a gap with deep breathings & hundred steps walking before heading off for your next activity.
  • Eat your meal in a cool & peaceful environment.
  • Fruits with lot of water /fluid content to be taken

PITTA DIET DNT’S :

  • Avoid Sour, Salty and Pungent, spicy foods like chilly, cayenne peppers
  • Avoid deep fried items, pickles, excessive use of butter, milk fermented items
  • Avoid Highly processed foods, excessive use of canned foods and red meat.
  • Excessive use tea, coffee especially caffeine, regular use of tannins, nicotine’s and other stimulants
  • Certain unripe fruits or sour taste fruits.
  • Food which are Hot in potency and physically by temperature.
  • Fermented beverages like wine, alcohol.

HERBS :

Ayurveda mentions use of Single Herbs Powders or combination of herbal powders as per suggestion of Ayurvedic Vaidya’s which are in tradition from ancient times. Some of the herbs that are supposed to be helpful for reducing Pitta are :

  • Manjista Powder
  • Papaya Leaves Powder
  • Harda Powder
  • Jamun Powder
  • Sarsaparilla Root Powder
  • Senna Leaves Powder
  • Amla Powder
  • Triphala Powder
  • Neem Powder
  • Gymnema Powder
  • Shikakai Powder
  • Licorice Powder
  • Karela Powder
  • Stevia Leaves Powder
  • Giloy Powder
  • Shatavari Powder
  • Psyllium Powder
  • Mucuna Powder
  • Kalmegh
  • Brahmi
  • Peppermint
  • Arjun
  • Bhibhitak
  • Adulsa
  • Dadim Chaal

LIFESTYLE :

  • Have your food on right schedule and eat adequately whenever there is appetite.
  • Avoid frequent fasting and over eating.
  • Have your regular exercise especially brisk walking around water bodies like ponds, lakes etc, swimming.
  • Stay cool, avoid anger/ conflicts, have regular refreshing drinks like Kokum juice (Garcenia Indica juice), Dhania (Corriander) seed water, Jeera (Cumin seed) water etc.
  • Be in a cheerful & floral environment.
  • Llisten to soothing musics, relax in a happy & positive company.
  • Have a blissful, relaxing, aromatic oil massage to relieve stress.

KAPHA

Kapha controls growth in the body and is considered the nourishing dosha. It supplies moisturize to the cells and organs and helps keep a strong immune system. Kaphas are known for being grounded, supportive, loving and forgiving when in balance — almost like a motherly type. However, they can also be lazy, insecure, envious and sad when they’re not in balance.

UNDERSTANDING KAPHA

KAPHA FUNCTIONS :

  • It is responsible for Stability & Compactness of all cells in all organs.
  • It is responsible for mental calmness and Stability of Mind. It helps to reduce restlessness and arrive at decision.
  • Kshama- Forgiveness – Kapha helps to understand and know the correct situation and helps to forgive oneself & achieve Serenity.
  • It helps to retain vast thoughts, experiences and boosts memory power.
  • It helps to achieve Lubrication & Moisturizing effect in all organs of the body especially Joints, eyes, gastro-intestinal tract etc
  • Fluidity in body is due to kapha, plasma in blood, extra cellular fluid, synovial fluid in joints etc.
  • It performs taste and smell functions
  • All bulky feeling and heaviness is kapha function – like increased fat and bulky muscle.
  • Kapha helps to function as regenerative agent, growth factor and nourishes all organs.
  • It is placed in chest region.

INCREASED KAPHA SIGNS & SYMPTOMS :

  • White Discoloration of Skin and cold feeling
  • Increased Fat % and Flabbiness of the Body
  • Recurrent cold and excessive phlegm production
  • Heaviness in Chest region due to fluid accumulation
  • Difficulty in Breathing & increased coughing
  • Thick fur coating of tongue, excessive salivation
  • Over eating or increased daily food intake
  • Heaviness in abdomen and constipation
  • Increased frequency of urination and whitish discolouration
  • Lethargy and Excessive Sleep

KAPHA REDUCING FACTORS :

1] KAPHA DIET DO’S :

  • One should have foods that are bitter, pungent or astringent in taste.
  • One should have freshly, well cooked & warm (in potency & temperature) food.
  • Regular and small intake of spices—like red chili, cardamomum, black or cayenne pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and cumin helps to prevent or accumulation of extra Kapha.
  • Morning empty stomach intake of warm water & Honey is beneficial.
  • Morning and evening have a warm herbal decoctions or Green tea or Chicory coffee.
  • Increase intake of fibres & veggies.
  • Have a Routine time for your meals with lots of Vitamins/ Protein rich foods.
  • Early to bed and early to rise maintains good health in kapha dominant person.

KAPHA DIET DNT’S :

  • Avoid food having Sour, Salty and sweet taste as it increases Kapha & fluid content in the body.
  • Avoid over eating and late night binging.
  • Avoid food which is cold in potency and stored for a long time in cold/ dry climate.
  • Avoid taking highly processed fatty items like cheese, sweetened butter milk (lassi) and excessive amount of butter.
  • Avoid high sugar intake Or use Honey instead of sugar.
  • Avoid regular intake of flavoured, sweetened fruit juices and canned fruits.
  • Avoid regular use of Curd, buttermilk at night time.

HERBS :

Ayurveda mentions use of Single Herbs Powders or combination of herbal powders as per suggestion of Ayurvedic Vaidya’s which are in tradition from ancient times. Some of the herbs that are supposed to be helpful for reducing Kapha are :

  • Manjista Powder
  • Moringa Leaves Powder
  • Caralluma Root Powder
  • Bhringraj Powder
  • Harda Powder
  • Jamun Powder
  • Yellow Dock Root Powder
  • Amla Powder
  • Triphala Powder
  • Neem Powder
  • Tulsi Powder
  • Fenugreek Powder
  • Shikakai Powder
  • Licorice Powder
  • Karela Powder
  • Stevia Leaves Powder
  • Sh Shilajit Powder
  • Giloy Powder
  • Psyllium Powder
  • Noni Powder -
  • Kalmegh
  • Sankhapuspi
  • Ginger
  • Haldi
  • Hibiscus
  • Gokhshur
  • Pippali
  • Bhringraj
  • Chicory
  • Punarnava
  • Bhibhitak
  • Adulsa
  • Dadim Chaal

LIFESTYLE :

  • Perform a Vigorous exercise each day on a regular basis.
  • Maintain to keep surrounding temperatures warm & dry to avoid accumulation of extra phlegm.
  • Feed your body regularly with Fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes.
  • Get good quantity of sleep, especially - Early to bed, early to rise. Avoid Day time sleeping.
  • Indulge in some sort of routine sports activity and perform Yogasana, Pranayam etc.
  • Be energetic, develop innovative ideas & avoid being couch potato’s.
  • Have a regular warm oil body massage with Hot fomentation like steam and Udvartan (herbal powder massage).

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