Ayurveda is a holistic healing science which comprises
of two words, Ayu and Veda. Ayu means life and Veda
means knowledge or science. So the literal meaning of
the word Ayurveda is the science of life. Ayurveda is a
science dealing not only with treatment of some
diseases but is a complete way of life.
"Ayurveda treats not just the ailment but the whole
person and emphasizes prevention of disease to avoid
the need for cure."
Kerala's equable climate, natural abundance of forests
(with a wealth of herbs and medicinal plants), and the
cool monsoon season (June - November) are best suited
for Ayurveda's curative and restorative packages. In
fact, today, Kerala is the only State in India which
practises this system of medicine with absolute
Kaya chikitsa or Internal medicine
Salya tantra or Surgery
Salakya tantra or Management of diseases of Eye & ENT
Kaumar bhutya or Pediatrics
Bhutavidya or Psycho-therapy including Seizures by evil spirits
Agada tantra or Toxicology
Rasayana tantra or Geriatrics
Vajikarana tantra or the Science of aphrodisiacs
Kerala is the epi – centre of Ayurveda, the divine
medicinal branch. To know it, seeing is not enough,
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A healing journey, through a magical veda adding
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Specialized treatment packages are available for the following ailments: Spondylitis, Backpain, Insomnia, Paralysis, Joint pains, Gastric disorders, Bronchial disorders, Slimming, Headache, BP, Cholesterol and Diabetic Management, Gynecological complaints, Piles & Fistula, Liver disorders,
Panchakarma Therapy is a classical form of
detoxification. Pancha (five) karma in Ayurveda means
five types of therapeutic ways of treatment to
eliminate toxins from the body and to replenish the tissues of the patient. Practiced in olden days by the
aristocracy, as a method for cleansing the body and
stay healthy, Panchakarma therapy has been made
affordable through Pankajakasthuri's genuine costing
A rejuvenation or relaxation treatment coupled with a
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Ayurveda is the natural health alternative preferred by
millions of people world over and Kerala is a name
tantamount with this traditional system of dignified
and wholesome healthcare. Feel the difference, and have
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Ayurveda is grounded in a metaphysics of the "five great elements" Prithvi- earth, Aap-water, Tej-fire, Vaayu-air and Akash-ether)—all of which compose the Universe, including the human body. Chyle or plasma (called rasa dhatu), blood (rakta dhatu), flesh (mamsa dhatu), fat (medha dhatu), bone (asthi dhatu), marrow (majja dhatu), and semen or female reproductive tissue (shukra dhatu) are held to be the seven primary constituent elements – saptadhatu of the body.
Ayurveda deals elaborately with measures of healthful living during the entire span of life and its various phases. Ayurveda stresses a balance of three elemental energies or humors: vata (air & space – "wind"), pitta (fire & water – "bile") and kapha (water & earth – "phlegm"). According to ayurveda, these three regulatory principles— Doshas (literally that which deteriorates)— are important for
health, because when they are in a more balanced state, the body will function to its fullest, and when imbalanced, the body will be affected negatively in certain ways. Ayurveda holds that each human possesses a unique combination of Doshas. In ayurveda, the human body perceives attributes of experiences as 20 Guna (meaning qualities). Surgery and surgical instruments are employed. It is believed that building a healthy metabolic system, attaining good digestion, and proper excretion leads to vitality. Ayurveda also focuses on exercise, yoga, meditation, and massage. Thus, body, mind, and spirit/consciousness need to be addressed both individually and in unison for health to ensue.
The practice of Panchakarma eliminates toxic elements from the body. The word Panchakarma (in Sanskrit, literally meaning "five actions") signifies the five different procedures used in Ayurveda which purify the body. This is done in two ways:
pacifying the aggravated doshas by using appropriate diet, natural herbs and minerals.
eliminating the increased Doshas from the body.
Panchakarma (meaning "five actions") developed in India, though there are regional variations in therapeutic procedure as well as in the equipment used. According to Charaka, the five actions are Nasya (nasal therapy), Vamana (emesis or vomiting), Virechana (purging) and two kinds of Vasti (therapeutic enema), Nirooha Vasti and Sneha Vasti. Herbal decoctions are used for Nirooha Vasti and herbal oils for Sneha Vasti. This five major procedures in Panchakarma, is meant to purify the whole body by eliminating the accumulated toxins from it.
Another school of the surgeon Sushruta, regards Rakta (blood) also as a dosha (humour), the vitiation of which can cause diseases, and advocates Raktamokshana (bloodletting) as the fifth in the Panchakarma therapies. In this school the five therapies are Nasya, Vamana, Virechana, Vasti and Raktamokshana. As bloodletting involves medical venesection, it is no longer popular. Leeching, however, is still practised.
This fivefold therapy is aimed at Shodhana, the eradication of the basic cause of disease. Shodhana or eradication, along with Shamana, the mitigation of the disease and its symptoms, are the two concepts of disease management in Ayurveda. Panchakarma is also believed by practitioners to have a rejuvenating effect when it is subject to a healthy person.
Panchakarma is always performed in three stages; Purva Karma (pre-treatment), Pradhana Karma (primary treatment) and Paschat Karma (post-treatment). The patient who opts for any one of the five therapies must invariably undergo all three stages.
Snehana (oleation or oil therapy) and Swedana (sudation) two Purva Karma procedures are the most important preparatory measures to have Panchakarma. Snehana (internal and external oleation) is said to loosen the toxins stuck in various sites of the body. Snehana is administering sneha or snigdha dravyas in the form of taila, gritha, vasa (muscle fat) and majja (bone marrow) to the body. The sneha is given with herbs tailored to help a specific patient's disease. If sneha is given in a pure form without adding herbs its called Achcha sneha, and is considered the most effective. Snehana is given in the early morning for upto seven days. Snehana directs the doshas or toxins into the alimentary tract from the extremities for easy evacuation (vilayana and uthkleshana of doshas). If snehana is not given before panchakarma, the body is will bend like a thin dry stick through the effect of five karmas.
Oil massage (Sanskrit: abhyanga) is an important treatment in Ayurveda. It involves a therapeutic massage of about 45 minutes' duration, which treats disease. The massages are done with two therapists working on either side of the patient who lies on a wooden bed called a droni in Sanskrit. Special attention is paid to the foot area. Practitioners of panchakarma believe there are nerve nodal points (called Marmas in Sanskrit) on the soles of the feet, which are closely related to certain internal organs. The sole of the right foot is massaged with clockwise movement and the left foot with anti-clockwise strokes. During the treatment the patient is made to recline in seven standard positions. This begins with the person seated in an upright position, supine or flat on the back, turning to the right side, supine again, turning to the left side, supine once again, and finally sitting as in the beginning, Sometimes the position of lying face down is also adopted.
Swedana is a fomentation therapy given to the whole or part of the body depending on the disease. Steam of medicated herbs is given, using the fire-saagni sweda. Without using the fire fomentation, anagni sweda is done by sitting under the sun, being in thirst, hunger, covering the body with thick bed sheets, or being in a closed dark room. Swedana is said to dilate channels in the body to facilitate the movement of the ama towards the Koshta (alimentary canal). Fomentation covers both dry and sticky materials (snigdha dravyas). It is said to help in the liquefaction of doshas; it is given after Abhyanga or massaging the body, so after the seventh day of oleation, the patient is made ready for Vamana and other procedures.
The ama that reaches the Koshta is believed to be eliminated during the Pradhana Karma (primary treatment). This is the panchakarma itself: Nasya (nasal therapy), Vamana (emesis or vomiting), Virechana (purging) and two kinds of Vasti (therapeutic enema), Nirooha Vasti and Sneha Vasti. Herbal decoctions are used for Nirooha Vasti and herbal oils for Sneha Vasti.
Vamana Karma (Vomiting) - Vamana Karma is used for Kapha disorders like Bronchitis, Cold, Cough, Asthma, Sinus, & Excess mucus. One to three days prior to Vamana Karma, the persons body should be oilated both internally and externally. Externally through the Abhyanga(Ayurvedic massage) and internally taking Ghee (clarified butter) in his or her diet. The person should also eat a kaphagenic diet to aggravate Kapha in the system. It is always recommended that during this major action, one should stay only on the Khichadi recipe.
Contra-Indication for Vamana Karma - Vamana Karma is contra-indicated before teenage and after 60. Heart disease, Hypertensive, Hypoglycemia, all Vata disorder and person with Vata Prakriti.
Virechana Karma (Therapeutic Purgation) - Virechana Karma is used for pitta disorders like Skin disorders, Acidity, Heart burn, Peptic ulcer, Jaundice, Intestinal parasites. Virechana is induced by administering herbal purgatives given orally which passes through whole gut and eliminate excessive pitta.
Contra-Indication for Virechana Karma -- Childhood and old age, Ulcerative colitis, Diarrhea, Dehydration, Debility and weakness, bleeding from rectum, Acute fever or any acute condition.
Basti Karma(Enema) – Basti karma is used for Vata disorder like Chronic Constipation, bloated stomach, gases, malnourished people, sexual disorders, constipation, backache, Spinal pain. Basti Karma is one of the important procedures of Panchakarma. The procedure emphasizes on loosened Vata dosha removal out of the body through the rectum. Medicated oil or decoction is administered through the anus to pacify the aggravated air.
Contra-Indication for Basti Karma – Hemorrhoids, bleeding piles, fistula-in-ano, diarrhea, any acute condition.
Depending on the body type, basti Karma can be two type - Nirooha Vasti in which herbal decoction is used. Anuvasan Basti in which herbal oil is used in Enema.
Dietary regimens, restricted bodily exertion and the intake of herbs believed to promote health come under the Paschat Karma (post-treatment). Paschatkarma is administering required food for the body after the purification of the body, to intensify the agni (digestion power) which will subside after Panchakarma. During the treatments, food is given according to the degree of purification intended for the body.
Hindu mythology attributes the origin of Ayurveda medicine to the physician of the gods, Dhanvantari.
Several philosophers in India combined religion and traditional medicine—notable examples being that of Hinduism and ayurveda. The philosopher Nagarjuna—known chiefly for his doctrine of the Madhyamaka (middle path)— wrote medical works The Hundred Prescriptions and The Precious Collection, among others.
Hinduism and Buddhism have influenced the development of many of Ayurveda's central ideas — particularly its fascination with balance, known in Buddhism as Madhyamaka. Balance is emphasized; suppressing natural urges is seen to be unhealthy, and doing so may certainly lead to illness. Emphasis is placed on moderation of food intake, sleep, sexual intercourse, and the intake of medicine. However, people are cautioned to stay within the limits of reasonable balance and measure.
The Charaka Samhita recommends a tenfold examination of the patient. The qualities to be judged are:
origin of the disease
prodrominal (precursory) symptoms
typical symptoms of the fully developed disease
observing the effect of therapeutic procedures
the pathological process
Ayurvedic practitioners approach diagnosis by using all five senses. Hearing is used to observe the condition of breathing and speech. The study of the vital pressure points or marma is of special importance.
Hygiene is an Indian cultural value and a central practice of Ayurvedic medicine. Hygienic living involves regular bathing, cleansing of teeth, skin care, and eye washing. Occasional anointing of the body with oil is also prescribed.
Oils such as sesame and sunflower oil are used extensively in ayurvedic medicine. Studies show that both these oils contain substantial amount of linoleate in triglyceride form. Oils rich in linoleic acid may have antineoplastic properties.
Hundreds of plant-based medicines like cardamom and cinnamon are used in ayurvedic medicine.
Ayurveda stresses the use of plant-based medicines and treatments. Hundreds of plant-based medicines are employed, including cardamom and cinnamon. Some animal products like milk, bones, and gallstones may also be used. Fats are also used for consumption and for external use. Minerals, including sulfur, arsenic, lead, copper sulfate and gold are also consumed as prescribed. This practice of adding minerals to herbal medicine is known as rasa shastra.
Alcohol is sometimes used as a narcotic for the patient undergoing an operation. The advent of Islam introduced opium as a narcotic. Oil and tar are used to stop bleeding. Traumatic bleeding is said to be stopped by four different methods ligation of the blood vessel; cauterization by heat; using different herbal or animal preparations locally which facilitate clotting; and different medical preparations which constrict the bleeding or oozing vessels. Different oils may be used in a number of ways including regular consumption as a part of food, anointing, smearing, head massage, and prescribed application to infected areas.
Ensuring the proper functions of channels (shrotas) that transport fluids from one point to another is a vital goal of Ayurvedic medicine, because the lack of healthy shrotas can cause rheumatism, epilepsy, paralysis, convulsions, and insanity. Sweating and prescribed steam-based treatments are induced by practitioners as a means to open up the channels and dilute the Doshas that cause the blockages and lead to disease.
The mantra written on rocks. Chanting mantras has been a feature of ayurveda since the Atharvaveda, a largely religious text, was compiled. Around 1500 BC, ayurveda's fundamental and applied principles got organised and enunciated. Ayurveda traces its origins to the Vedas, Atharvaveda in particular, and is connected to Hindu religion. Atharvaveda (one of the four most ancient books of Indian knowledge, wisdom and culture) contains 114 hymns or formulations for the treatment of diseases. Ayurveda originated and developed from these hymns. In this sense, ayurveda is considered by some to have divine origin. Indian medicine has a long history, and is one of the oldest organised systems of medicine. Its earliest concepts are set out in the sacred writings called the Vedas, especially in the metrical passages of the Atharvaveda, which may possibly date as far back as the 2nd millennium BC. According to a later writer, the system of medicine was received by a man named Dhanvantari from Brahma, and Dhanvantari was deified as the god of medicine. In later times his status was gradually reduced, until he was credited with having been an earthly king. The Sushruta Samhita of Sushruta appeared during the 1st millennium BC. Dwivedi & Dwivedi (2007) – on the work of the surgeon Sushruta – write: "The main vehicle of the transmission of knowledge during that period was by oral method. The language used was Sanskrit — the vedic language of that period (2000–500 BC). The most authentic compilation of his teachings and work is presently available in a treatise called Sushruta Samhita. This contains 184 chapters and description of 1,120 illnesses, 700 medicinal plants, 64 preparations from mineral sources and 57 preparations based on animal sources."
Underwood & Rhodes (2008) hold that this early phase of traditional Indian medicine identified 'fever (takman), cough, consumption, diarrhea, dropsy, abscesses, seizures, tumours, and skin diseases (including leprosy)'. Treatment of complex ailments, including angina pectoris, diabetes, hypertension, and stones, also ensued during this period. Plastic surgery, cataract surgery, puncturing to release fluids in the abdomen, extraction of foreign elements, treatment of anal fistulas, treating fractures, amputations, cesarean sections, and stitching of wounds were known. The use of herbs and surgical instruments became widespread. The Charaka Samhita attributed to Charaka is arguably the principal classic reference. It gives emphasis to the triune nature of each person: body care, mental regulation, and spiritual/consciousness refinement.
Cataract surgery for the eye was known to the physician Sushruta in the first millennium BC, and was performed with a special tool called the jabamukhi salaka, a curved needle used to loosen the lens and push the cataract out of the field of vision. The eye would later be soaked with warm butter and then bandaged. The earliest surviving excavated written material dated to the 4th century AD containing the works of Sushruta is the Bower Manuscript. The Bower manuscript quotes directly from Sushruta and is of special interest to historians due to the presence of Indian medicine and its concepts in Central Asia. Some of the other works on traditional medicine are by Vagbhata, the son of a senior doctor by the name of Simhagupta. Early ayurveda had a school of physicians and a school of surgeons. Tradition holds that the text Agnivesh tantra, written by the sage Agnivesh, a student of the sage Bharadwaja, influenced the writings of ayurveda.
The Chinese pilgrim Fa Hsien (ca. 337–422 AD) wrote about the health care system of the Gupta empire (320–550). He described the institutional approach of Indian medicine, also visible in the works of Charaka, who mentions a clinic and how it should be equipped.Madhava (fl. 700), Sarngadhara (fl. 1300),and Bhavamisra (fl. 1500) compiled works on Indian medicine. The medical works of both Sushruta and Charaka were translated into the Arabic language during the Abbasid Caliphate (ca. 750). These Arabic works made their way into Europe via intermediaries. The Branca family of Sicily and Gaspare Tagliacozzi (Bologna) in Italy became familiar with the techniques of Sushruta.
Physicians from Britain traveled to India to see rhinoplasty being performed by native methods. In 1974 reports on Indian rhinoplasty were published in the Gentleman's Magazine. Joseph Constantine Carpue spent 20 years in India studying local plastic surgery methods. He performed the first major surgery in the western world in 1815. Instruments described in the Sushruta Samhita were modified further in the Western World
Researchers have found that Terminalia arjuna is useful in alleviating the pain of angina pectoris and in treating heart failure and coronary artery disease. It may also be useful in treating hypercholesterolemia. As a traditional medicine, many ayurveda products have not been tested in rigorous scientific studies and clinical trials. Research in ayurveda is largely undertaken by the statutory body of the Central Government, the Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha (CCRAS), through a national network of research institutes in India. A systematic review of ayurveda treatments for rheumatoid arthritis concluded that there was insufficient evidence, as most of the trials were not done properly, and the one high-quality trial showed no benefits. A review of ayurveda and cardiovascular disease concluded that while the herbal evidence is not yet convincing, the spices are appropriate, some herbs are promising, and yoga is also a promising complementary treatment.
Ayurvedic products, mainly herbs used for phytotherapy, have been tested with promising results. Studies suggest that Turmeric and its derivative curcumin are antioxidants. Tinspora cordifolia has been tested. Two varieties of Salvia have been tested in small trials among
the medhya rasayanas (intellect rejuvenation), one trial provided evidence that Salvia lavandulifolia (Spanish sage) may improve word recall in young adults, and another provided evidence that Salvia officinalis (Common sage) may improve symptoms in Alzheimer's patients. Ayurvedic medicine may provide clues to therapeutic compounds in some cases. For example, derivatives of snake venom have various therapeutic properties. Many plants used as rasayana (rejuvenation) medications are potent antioxidants. Neem has beneficial pharmacological properties.
Azadirachta indica is believed to have immunopotentiating abilities and used often as an anti-infective. It enhances the production of IL-2 and increases immunity in human volunteers by boosting lymphocyte and T-cell count in three weeks.
The traditional trikatu mixture in ayurveda is made by combining black pepper, long pepper and ginger. This mixture increases appetite, promotes the secretion of digestive juices, and cures certain gastric disorders, particularly achlorhydria and hypochlorhydria. Mitra & Rangesh (2003) hold that cardamom and cinnamon stimulate digestive enzymes that break down polymeric macromolecules in the human body. Research suggests that T. arjuna is useful in alleviating angina pectoris and in treating heart failure and coronary artery disease. T. arjuna may also be useful in treating hypercholesterolemia.