THE MOTHER OF ALL HEALING SYSTEMS: AYURVEDA
Known as the Science of Life, Ayurveda is a natural healing system born thousands of years ago has the solution for every problem, and hence it is appropriate to regard it as ‘The Mother of All Healing Systems’. Ayurveda is one of the most effective healing systems in the world, dealing simultaneously with body, mind and soul. Ayurveda has distinguished the body system according to the theory of Tridosha to overcome all ailments by eliminating the root cause.
To Understand the Ayurvedic System, the following fundamental section must be understood in detail:
1. Five elements (Base of constitution of the universe).
2. Three doshas: their normal and abnormal stage, their significance, disease caused by each of them
3. Application of treatment as per symptoms of doshas.
4. Pathya – Apathya: Precaution and care of diet: foods to be taken, foods to be avoided
5. Three types of vitalities and their relation with the human being and the basis of their healing treatment. These are known as qualities of mind (Satva-Rajas-Tamas) and should be considered.
6. The six tastes - Sweet, salty, bitter, sour, pungent and astringent. These become the cause of diseases when aggravated.
CREATION OF THE FIVE ELEMENTS
Ether, air, water, fire and Earth; the five elements make up the whole universe. We can see how life was created from the finest to the grossest matter. The finest form of matter is ether. Ether coming in contact with eternity creates air. As air moves, it creates friction, which results in heat or fire. Heat produces moisture, thus creating water, the densest element. If one tries to walk through water one is slowed by its density. Finally, water produces the densest form of matter, earth. Ayurveda states that all the creations, including the human beings are comprised of these elements. These elements are the finest aspects of human life. Ayurveda focuses on the cause of the grosser levels of life, and depending upon that, denser aspects are taken care of. Just as a strong root gives you a strong tree, the five elements (the root of all matters), when strengthened enough in a person, will result in balancing the more material levels of life. Thus, Ayurveda simply balances the elements to balance the whole body.
A person suffering from duodenal ulcer sets an example for this type of balancing. Ayurveda identifies this illness as an excess of the fire elements. Acid is a by-product of heat. Ayurveda will look to see in what part of the patient's life overheating occurs. It may be due to eating excessive fiery foods and spices. One's career may be causing undue anger (i.e. hot temper). Perhaps the person drinks alcohol (fire water).
Once the cause is learned, suggestions for reducing a person's excessive intake of fire are discussed. Simultaneously, the patient is advised to use more of the air and water elements to balance the heat with coolness (air cools heat, water puts out the fire).
Thus, the holistic approach of Ayurveda seeks the cause of an illness and restores balance, using the insight of the elemental creation of the universe.
THE FIVE ELEMENTS
1. Ether/Space: An all prevailing element, which is present everywhere, acts as a shelter to us. The same space exists in the body, which creates differentiation and division in the tissues of the body.
2. Air Vayu: Wind is responsible for all the movements in nature. And as air contains oxygen, which supports combustion, is a very vital element. Wind is a curse too. It at times, is the cause of destruction of trees, crops, houses, etc. The same term as "Vata" applies to the body, which acts in the body as commanding all activities and functions for its betterment and its abnormalities. The knowledge of these facts helps in the treatment of disease.
3. Agni: The main reason why life exists on the Earth is sun. It is one of the main sources of energy. The sun maintains a balanced temperature on the Earth. The same heat is known as Agni or "Pitta" in Ayurveda. It causes evaporation of water, which results in the formation of clouds and comes down as rain. Hence, sun is a supplier of water too.
4. Water: Water is found in the atmosphere, the sea, lakes, rivers etc. Water is the basic element for life existence. It has a cooling effect on the environment. It also feeds the plants, crops etc. The same element in Ayurveda is Kapha. It constitutes the various cells of the body and provides strength as well as life to human beings.
5. Earth: This element is predominantly solid. It is a shelter and a protection to the human beings. The Earth maintains stability in the nature. The same element represents the development and stability of the body. All the solid elements in the body, such as the bones, teeth, etc. are of the Earth constitution. The Earth property is the base of the constitution of the body.
Alike to the three qualities of mind, in creation are the three doshas of the human body.
Vata, Pitta and Kapha are the three biological elements which add up to the fundamental and structural units of all living cells, tissues and organs of the human body. The three doshas emerge from the five elements, i.e., the elements laid up the doshas. The functioning of a human body entirely depends on these three doshas.
Relation of the five elements with the three doshas:
1. Vata has relation with air.
2. Pitta has relation with Heat - Energy - Fire (Agni).
3. Kapha has the relation with liquid substances of nature i.e. Water (Earth).
4. Akash (Space) forms the space in the body and division in the various cells.
5. Earth forms the solid parts of the body.
Therefore, the doshas in the body act in the accordance to the five elements that set the base of the nature as well as The Theory of Ayurvedic Treatment.
VATA: The word ‘Vata’ means to flow or blow like wind. Vata controls all the movements in the human body. It manages the blood flow, elimination of the waste products, breathing and movement of thoughts across the brain. The molecules of Vata are light, minute, clear, rough and dry. They have the capability to quickly spread throughout the body, and hence they can control all the bodily movements. Vata is cold in nature and causes diseases related to cold.
Vata dominantly controls the prefrontal lobe, motor cortex and the spinal cord. It carries all the sensory impulses to their centres and also maintains the efficiency of the sense organs. Vata has five divisions or responsibilities in the body, which exist in the different parts of the body.
Pran is present in the mind and captains the chest, throat, mind, heart, sense organs, intelligence, expectorating, coughing, belching and swallowing of food.
Udan has its presence in the chest, controls the nose, navel, stomach and throat. It is responsible for initiating speech, effort, enthusiasm, capacity to work, complexion, and memory upward movement.
Vyan shelters the heart and rapidly makes its movements throughout the body. It has the control over walking, raising and lowering the body parts, including blinking our eyes.
Saman homed near the digestive fire. It has the control over the alimentary tract and the abdominal organs. Absorbing the nutrients, it holds the food over the alimentary tract, excreting the unwanted part. It contributes in digesting food and separating the nutrients from wastes.
Apan resides in the colon, commands the waist, bladder, genitals and thighs. Its main job is the descending movement of waste, reproductive fluid, menstrual fluid and the downward movement of fetus.
PITTA (Heat): Pitta refers to the heat or energy (calories) in our body. Pitta is the combined form of heat and liquid. Liquid acts as a vehicle for the heat. As we know, life on Earth depends on the heat given by sun, the digestion in our body, too depends on the Pitta. Digestion keeps up in our body in the gastro intestinal tract and in the tissues through digestive and tissue enzymes.
NATURE OF PITTA: Pitta is hot, light, clear, viscous piercing a sour and a repulsive smell. It is relevant to move upwards and downwards, by the means of gravity. It raises our body temperature, hunger and thirst. It sustains the colour and lustre of the skin. It also manages the vision. Its main sites are digestive tract, body fluids, blood, sweat, skin, eyes and brain.
There are five types of Pitta. They exist in different parts of the body.
Pachak Pitta (Digestive fire): The Pachak Pitta rests in the gastro-intestinal tract. The fire is responsible for the digestion and the transformation of the food. It blends the fat from the food, and separating absorbable nutrients from wastes, so that they can be passed through the lacteals by absorption. Food becoming partly digested in the stomach is called chyme. This chyme goes through the small intestine where it becomes completely digested with the help of bile juice and pancreatic liquid. The by-product then formed is lymph and a fatty matter called chyle. This chyle then undergoes the lacteals or lymphatic vessels which deliver it to the thoracic duct, from the small intestine. From the thoracic duct, this chyle is transported to the blood. The digestive enzymes, by the means of digestion, nourish all the other Pittas.
1. Ranjak Pitta: The main seats of this Pitta are spleen, liver, stomach and small intestine. It is portrayed by the bile juice, enzymes and bone marrow. Its main task is to give blood its colour.
2. Shodhak Pitta: The brain stores the Shodhak Pitta. It is characterized by the cellular enzymes of nerve cells. It helps function the mental operations like knowledge, intelligence and consciousness by sustaining rhythmic and cardiac contractions.
3. Alochak Pitta: This pitta has its presence in the eyes. It is depicted by the enzymes in the rods and cones in the retina. It works in the perception of eyes.
4. Bhrajak Pitta: This Pitta shelters the skin. It is in charge of the skin tone and the skin lustre by keeping alive the secretions from the sweat and sebaceous glands.
5. Kapha: Kapha comprises of two basic elements: Earth and water. All the cells, tissues and body organs constitute of this element. Kapha molecules are weighty, firm, smooth, viscous, shiny, moist and white in colour. They have a sweet and a tinge of salty taste. Kapha has the credit to keep our body in shape. Kapha gets into the intercellular cells in the body and acts a connecting body like mucus, synovial fluids etc.
The biological alloy of solids and liquids which differ in proportion, result the differ in composition and structure of various tissues like body fluids, semen, blood, muscle, fat, bone marrow and brain.
The liquid characteristic of Kapha is answerable for keeping alive the formation of body fluids. Its weighty and firm quality help maintaining the strength stability and firmness of the body and mind. Its oily characteristic keeps away friction between the body parts. Muscles give shape to the body. Semen is responsible for fertilisation. The Kapha molecules mark their presence mainly in the brain and nerve tissues. The subordinate quality of Kapha is present in the brain gives out a skewer of ignorance, delusion, laziness and jealousy.
FIVE POSITIONS OF KAPHA:
1. Kledak: It is found in the stomach and the intestines up till the colon. Its presence is marked by the mucus secretion in the gastro intestinal tract. It helps in digestion and dilutes the food taken.
2. Avalambak: It exists in the chest. It is formed when the myocardial and the alveoli tissues, pleural and pericardial come together. It strengthens the heart, lungs and the rib cage.
3. Bodhak: It is present in the oral cavity and throat. Saliva marks its presence. It helps us identify the taste with the help of tongue. It also has a hand in moistening the food for easier digestion.
4. Tarpak Kapha: It is seated in the cranial cavity. It has the Kapha molecule of brain, cerebrospinal fluid to mark its presence. It boosts the nourishment of brain and the sense organs.
5. Shelshak Kapha: It is the synovial fluid in the joints. Its existence stays away from friction during joint movements. It is responsible for giving nutrition to the bones.
Vayu-Pitta, Vayu-Kapha and Pitta-Kapha make up the Tridoshas. Finding the root cause of a disease has always been a trouble for modern Science. Though, it was and always remains the main aim of Ayurveda. There are six stages of development of a disease: aggravation, accumulation, overflow, relocation and manifestation. Modern Science can only sight a disease at the fifth and the sixth stage. Ayurvedic specialists can recognize the disease at early stages and hence take precautions before it creates more diversions in the body.
IMPORTANCE OF THE DOSHAS:
A disease enters when an imbalance is created among the doshas. For instance, Pitta swallows a lot of ginger which creates additional fire in the digestive system. This echoes in the Pitta disorders like acid indigestions. Diseases can be even caused due to inappropriate or too much connection with the seasons. For example, drinking cold in winters, sensory overload, too loud music is an example.
VATA SYMPTOMS AND DOMINANCE:
The following cases show the causes and presence of Vata in the body:
1. Arthritis: Pain in joints and nerves of the body
2. Myalgia: Ache and soreness feels in the muscles
3. Neuralgia: Irritation caused in the nerves results in neuralgia, hemiplegia, facial paralysis, trigeminal and neurotic pain in any part of the body
4. Convulsions hysteria: epilepsy spasm, tremors, stiffness
5. Abdominal pain: Assemblage of wind in digestive tract
6. Renal colic: colic pain
7. Pain in bones: chest aches and back aches
TREATMENT OF VATA DOSHA:
If discomforts caused by Vata, following procedures must be followed:
Massage and purgative procedures should be taken into consideration.
Salty, astringent and hot foods should be swallowed.
Affected parts should be coated with bandages or woollen clothes.
Gentle doses of alcohol should be imbibed.
Light food should be taken.
BY USING HERBAL MEDICINES:
1. During neurotic diseases:
a) Yograj guggal: 2 pills twice daily
b) Rasnadi Qwath: one cup twice or Maha Rasnadi Qwath 1 or 2 pills twice daily
2. During abdominal pain:
a) Garlic: 3 pills thrice a day
b) Digestive tonic: After meals, 20 ml twice a day
c)Hingvastika churna: one tea spoon twice
3. During joint pain:
a) Mahayograj Guggual: 2 Pills twice daily
b) Ashwagandha powder: Tea spoon twice daily
4. During back ache:
a) Chandar prabha Vati: 2 pills to be ingested with milk
5. Convulsions, hysteria:
a) Vacha churna: Jata mansi powder
b) Shankh Pushpi sarbat with cow milk
c) Brahmi powder
PITTA SYMPTOMS AND DOMINANCE:
The following cases show the causes and presence of Pitta in the body:
1. Burning sensation in the body
2. Inflammation, skin eruptions and itching in different body organs like throat, eyes, tongue etc.
4. Surplus heat in the digestive tract and gastritis
5. Blood in stool
6. Diseases like hepatitis, jaundice, nepotistic, colitis, etc.
7. Fever caused by hot climate and food
8. Yellowishness in urine, stool, eyes, skin as a result of jaundice
9. Excess sweating
10. Tongue tastes bitter or acidic
TREATMENT OF PITTA DOSHA:
1. Usage and massage by ghee
2. Sweet and bitter food should be swallowed
3. Cold drinks and water are preferable
4. Bathe in cold water
5. Home mild, cold and pleasant environment
BY USING HERBAL MEDICINES:
1. Sandal or Khas drink, Kutki (picorrhiza Kurroa), Guduchi, Gokhru, Shatavari, calceeyog tablet, Mahamanjistha Kwat
2. For special cases: Beauty Bright-Aroma oil lotion
KAPHA SYMPTOMS AND DOMINANCE:
The following cases show the causes and presence of Kapha in the body:
1. Insensitivity in the body, coldness feels in the palm and sole
2. Preference of hot food and environment
3. Dormancy, accessory sleep and laziness
4. Additional phlegm in chest, mouth and throat
5. Throwing out of saliva and sputum
6. Coldness in body and head
8. Nasal and maxillary issues
9. Respiratory and heart related obstacles
11. Brittle digestive power
13. Tongue tastes sweet
14. Excess urine and stool
16. Bronchial problems
TREATMENT OF KAPHA:
1. Consume hot and dry foods
2. Hot atmosphere and warm clothes are advised
3. Having old wine would help
4. Keep away with too much sleep
5. Regular exercise should be added to the routine
6. Avoiding foods which contain fat
7. Frequent fasts
8. Honey with lemon juice should be taken
BY USING HERBAL MEDICINES:
Any Tulsi syrup would do, Slimu herbal mix, Chanderprabha, Sitopladi churna, Talisadi churna, Trikatu
M.N Oil should be used for steaming
SIGNIFICANCE OF TASTES IN AYURVEDA:
Tastes have a very important role to play in Ayurveda. Ayurveda says that there are six tastes breathing in every food, plant, herb, etc. These six tastes are:
1. Sweet (Madhus)
2. Sour (Amal)
3. Salty (Lawan)
4. Pungent (Kattu)
5. Bitter (Kikt)
6. Astringent (Kashaya)
These tastes have a straight relation with the doshas. They either intensify or content them. For example:
1. Sweet (Madhu): Accelerates the Kapha and drains the Vayu and Pitta
2. Sour (Amal): Accelerates the pitta and drains the Vayu (Vata) and Kapha.
3. Salty (Lawan): Accelerates the pitta and Kapha and drains the Vayu (Vata).
4. Pungent (Kattu): Accelerates the pitta and drains Kapha and Vayu (Vata).
5. Bitter (Tikta): Accelerates the Vayu (Vata) and drains the pitta and Kapha.
6. Astringent (Kashaya Accelerates the Vayu (Vata) and drains the liitta and Kaliha.
7. Sweet, sour, salty: Accelerates the Kapha and pitta and drains Vayu
These tastes have a direct communication with the five elements as well.
1. Sweet, luingent, astringent relate with water
2. Salty relates with Earth
3. Sour and salty relate with Fire
4. Astringent and bitter relate with Vayu
The most nurturing is the sweet taste. And as it becomes less nurturing, it turns bitter and results in astringent, which is the least nurturing. And that is why Ayurveda prescribes flavourful food and a necessity of each taste.
Satva, Rajas, Tamas are the three qualities of brain:
Satva means optimum quality of mind.
Rajas means uninvited or unpleasant state of mind.
Tamas means the bad state of mind.
These qualities take birth in the fetus of the human body and helps in the formation of genes. They have a huge connection with Ayurveda. Treatment of Satva aggravated persons is done according to the nature of the effected person, and the same with Rajas and Tamas aggravated persons.
When any person vouches for an Ayurvedic treatment, he has to keep in mind that the process will take a long period of time to get into its effect. The diseases is flushed out as soon as the root cause is eliminated.