Ayurveda is made up of two words; Ayu: life and Veda: Knowledge or science literally meaning “science of life.” It is a holistic science of healing. Ayurvedic is fast becoming the most accepted alternative therapy worldwide. It is a combination of physical, psychological and spiritual therapies in its approach to create overall good health. It is based on a system of tri-dosha which classifies all individual constitutions of people, diseases, herbs and other non-herbal remedies and therapies according to whether they are Kapha, Vata or Pitta.
There are a few myths which have been associated with Ayurvedic medicines.
Top 5 myths about Ayurvedic herbal medicine and the truth associated with them are:
Principles of Ayurveda are not as genuine as that of modern medicine
Ayurveda has been documented by our ancestors as being health promotive, preventive, curative and nutritive. The principle of Ayurveda views the body as constituted of three elements and diseases according to the vitiation of ‘tri-doshas’ namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These are responsible for various functions in the body. Each person has a unique blend of these three doshas and hence Ayurvedic treatment is always based on individual approach towards therapy.
Ayurveda views disease as a state of imbalance in one or more doshasof a person. An Ayurvedic physician aims at adjusting and balancing these doshas using a variety of therapies.
The principles of Ayurveda may not be similar to modern medicine, but they are genuine and based on a scientific approach towards disease. it is based on herbs and plants and the medical texts contain the most elaborate instructions about methods of collecting and identifying them; the method and time of collection the exact plant part etc. there are descriptions regarding the method of preparing medicines and different formulations such as powders, extracts, boluses, decoctions, infusions, expressions, syrups, medicated oils etc.
Anybody can practice Ayurveda
Ayurvedic treatment is based on holistic study of individual’s imperfections and imbalances in doshas and a detailed approach towards cure and improvement of symptoms is carried out. It is a medical science which cannot be practiced by anyone. Self-medication is not to be practiced in Ayurveda.
Ayurvedic practitioners have formal degree in Ayurveda medicine and then only they can officially and legally practice Ayurveda. It is very important to have knowledge of history and background of Ayurveda for the Ayurveda practitioner because Ayurveda is not just a medical practice, but a way of life.
Ayurveda is only a supportive therapy
Ayurvedic treatment is a wholesome approach towards treatment of various diseases. There is a separate section devoted to surgery in Ayurveda. Ayurveda can be used both as principle therapy as well as supportive therapy. It has been effectively used in the treatment of diseases such as asthma, paralysis, arthritis etc.
Ayurveda treats the cause of the disease rather than a symptomatic treatment. It is an alternative medical science which is totally accepted as a mainstream therapy today.
Ayurvedic therapy is a side effect free treatment
There are some side effects associated with Ayurvedic therapy though these may be minimal and rare. In other words, side effects are negligible when compared with conventional modern therapy.
Some side effects that have been reported with the use of Ayurvedic medicines are lead poisoning, nausea, heart burn, aches, acidity, faintness, diarrhea, muscular spasms etc.
Many herbs contain certain toxins and harmful chemicals. They may provoke certain side effects if consumed without a prescription or doctor’s advice. Certain food items taken with Ayurvedic medicines may also cause side effects.
Ayurvedic medicines do not come with an expiry date
It is not at all true. All the Ayurvedic texts have mentioned the expiry date associated with various Ayurvedic medicines. Herbs have chemical constituents in them and these change over time and environmental conditions.
The expiry date of Ayurvedic herbal medicines largely depend on the:
- Quality of herbs and ingredients used in Ayurvedic medicine
- Nature of the herb used in a particular formulation, wet or dry.
- The dosage form of the Ayurvedic medicine, whether it is herbal powder, herbal jams ghee or oil.
- Chopra A, Doiphode VV. Ayurvedic medicine, core concept, therapeutic principles, and current relevance. Medical clinics of North America. 2002; 86(1): 75-89.
- Tabor CD. Ripe and unripe: concepts of health and sickness in Ayurvedic medicine. Social science and medicine. Part B: Medical anthropology. 1981; 15(4): 439-455.