Ayurveda has been around for thousands of years, and in ancient India, it was considered one of the best ways to manage ailments and lead a healthy lifestyle. The ancient system that made its way to India more than 5000 years ago was formally recognized by the WHO in 1976.
Developed in the Indian subcontinent, Ayurveda is derived from two Sanskrit words, Ayus meaning "Life" and Veda meaning "Science."
The Science of Ayurveda
The science and practice of Ayurveda were prescribed in the ancient texts. Charaka Samhita is the primary resource, a composition on general medicine written in Sanskrit. Several books have been written on Ayurveda since then. If we were to go by the ancient records, Ayurvedic medicine paved the way for several medicinal segments that are in practice today. There are currently approximately 7,00,000 certified Ayurveda doctors in India. Unlike common belief, Ayurveda treatment is about herbs and includes household substances such as honey, butter, ghee, and milk, to name a few.
Ayurveda stresses that there should be an equal balance between physical and mental health in a person. When balance prevails, an individual enjoys good health. Similarly, when there is an imbalance, an individual goes through various health-related ailments. Ayurveda seeks to address this state of balance through an integrated healing procedure. Following a healthy diet and practicing meditation and yoga are the primary requisites of an Ayurvedic-inspired lifestyle.
The primary objective of Ayurveda is to nurture and promote good health by managing and preventing diseases. Normally, treatment involves medicinal use and following a specific diet towards a prescribed daily routine.
Ayurveda A holistic healing system
Ayurveda is known as a holistic healing system that cures the problem of its root, i.e., the underlying cause of the health issue and not just the symptoms. Ayurveda also emphasizes prevention as much as a cure.
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Specialties in Ayurveda
There are eight Ayurveda specialties called Ashtanga Ayurveda: Kayacikitsa (medicine), Salakya (ENT and ophthalmology), Salya (surgery), Visa Vigyan (toxicology), Bhuta Vidya (psychiatry medicine), Kaumarabhrtya (pediatrics), Rasayana (rejuvenation therapies), and Vajikarana (sexual health).
Correlation between Ayurveda and the body
Prakriti in Ayurveda means an individual's unique body constitution and identity. Body constitution is determined by birth and relies upon several factors such as race, physical structure, personality, habits, and nutrition.
Genome-wide analysis correlates Ayurveda Prakriti. In 2015, a paper published on "Nature" studied 3500 individuals, suggests that the physical composition of India's traditional medicine has a genetic root. Prakriti-based practice, in trend for many centuries, reverberates with personalized medicine.
Impact of COVID-19 on Ayurveda and the industry
During the pandemic, the importance of Ayurveda has played a significant role. The surge in demand was due to the need for immunity boosters. Unlike any other therapy, Ayurveda is a lifestyle that has a long-term impact on a person's health. Companies have manufactured supplements formulated with natural ingredients understanding customers' demands to adopt the goodness of Ayurveda in their daily life.
Well-known herbs like Guggulu, Yashtimadhu, Guduchi, Haridra, and Tulasi, have had a positive, multifaceted influence on immunity and respiratory functions. Ayurvedic preparations containing these herbs have significant immunomodulatory properties, whereas herbs such as Haridra, Tulasi, and Vasaka can be used to treat various respiratory ailments.
The article is contributed by Dr. Vijendra Prakash, General Manager - Regulatory, Corporate Affairs, Himalaya Wellness Company.