Ayurveda (Science of life) is the traditional medicine and natural healing system of India and its cultural sphere. Its foundation comes from the Vedic Era, the primitive age around 5000 years ago. It is appropriate to say that it is the Mother of all Healing Systems. Ayurveda is one of the most comprehensive healing systems in the world, dealing integrally with body, mind and spirit. Ayurveda has classified the body system according to the theory of Tridosha to overcome all ailments by eliminating the basic cause.
The basic objective of Ayurveda is to educate people on how to take care of their health by themselves and increase their span of healthy life. One can achieve this goal by monitoring and balancing one’s nutritional diet and life style. Keeping good habits to heal and prevent and inadequacy of body functioning. This system is related to the soul, body & mind simultaneously. Psychosomatic theory recognizes that the mind can create illness in the body.
To Understand the Ayurvedic System, the following fundamental section must be understood in detail:
- Five elements (Base of constitution of the universe).
- Three doshas-their normal and abnormal stage.
- Three types of doshas and their significance.
- Diseases caused by individual doshas.
- Application of treatment as per symptoms of doshas.
- Pathya-Apathya (Precaution and care of diet) (Foods to be taken – Foods to be avoided)
- 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.
- Six tastes-Sweet, salty, bitter, sour, pungent and astringent. These become the cause of different diseases when aggravated.
1. Creation of Five Elements
The whole universe is made up of five essential elements-Building blocks that all life forms contain: Ether, air, fire, water and earth. We can easily see how life was created from the subtlest to the grossest matter. From eternity, the subtlest form of matter is ether. Ether mixing with eternity creates air, more observable or experiential element. As air moves, it eventually creates friction, which creates 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 says that all of the creations, including humans, are made up of the combination of all five elements. These elements are the subtlest aspects of human life, finer than the molecular, atomic, or subatomic levels. This is the level that Ayurveda healing works on. Focusing on the cause of the grosser levels of life, the denser aspects will be taken care of since they are made of these five elements. Just as a strong foundation supports a strong building, the five elements (the foundation of all matter) when strong and balanced in a person, they will automatically balance the more material levels. Thus, Ayurveda does not need to look at isolated parts of the human anatomy, or at the vitamin, chemical, or nutritional level of health. It simply balances the elements, and this balances the more physical levels.
A person diagnosed with a duodenal ulcer is an example of this balancing. Rather than creating a name for a symptom, Ayurveda identifies the 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 like tomatoes and peppers. 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.
Description of the Five Elements
- Space-Sky-Akash (Ether): It is an omni present and all prevailing element, which serves as an abode (dominating or controlling) to all the other four elements and objects in the universe. It is due to space that one can separate or differentiate various objects and different parts of the objects. The same space exists in the body, which creates differentiation and division in the tissues of the body.
- Air-Vayu: Air contains oxygen, which is a vital element for the existence of all living creatures. Wind is responsible for all the movement in nature. It is in the presence of oxygen in the air that fire can exhibit its action.
Wind, in the form of a storm, can cause the 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.
- Energy-Agni (Heat) (Pitta): The sun and fire are the main sources of energy in nature. The sun maintains equitable environmental temperature and light. These properties of the sun are essential and vital for survival of life. The sun’s heat is the source for ripening of plants, vegetables, fruits as well human body cells. It also causes evaporation of water, forming clouds which supply the water to the earth, mountains, hills and streams etc. These elements of nature constitute the life of human beings. The same heat is known as Agni or “Pitta” in Ayurveda. It has the role of chemical changes in the body helping digestion, forming various secretions and enzymes.
- Water-Apa (Kapha): Water is found in the atmosphere, the sea, lakes, rivers etc. Water is the basic element for sustaining life. It has the cooling effect in 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.
- Solid or Earth: This element itself is predominantly solid. It gives shelter and protection to human beings to work and move on the surface of earth. It is also a source of life and existence. The solid (Earth) maintains life and 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.
Parallel to the three qualities of mind in creation are the three doshas or constitutions in human body.
Vata, Pitta and Kapha are the three biological elements, which constitute the structural and fundamental units of all the living cells, tissues, organs and the body as a whole. The three doshas originate from five elements, i.e. the doshas are the basis of five elements.
Relation of the five elements with the three doshas:
- Vata has relation with air.
- Pitta has relation with Heat – Energy – Fire (Agni).
- Kapha has the relation with liquid substances of nature i.e. Water (Earth)
- Akash (Space) forms the space in the body and division in the various cells.
- Earth forms the solid parts of the body.
Therefore, the doshas act in the body in accordance with the five elements that are the base of nature as well as Ayurvedic Theory of treatment.
The functioning and existence of the body entirely depends on Vata, Pitta, Kapha. To the three elements of constitution i.e. air, water and heat, the Sanskrit names have been given according to their significance (properties) i.e. Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
The name themselves show their properties and foundation:
3. Details of Doshas
Vata or air means movement in the universe. Vata is responsible for all the movements. Vata molecules are light, minute, clear, rough and dry. They are always mobile and move in all directions. They quickly spread throughout the body. Vata is cold in nature and causes the diseases related to cold. Because of its minute nature, it cannot be visualized in any form in the body but its presence can be proved by its actions. It is the electricity, setting the organism into motion, marinating the equilibrium between Pitta and Kapha (inerts). It is the sole power to control all the movements of nerves, tissues, cells and systems.
Vata may be understood as nerve force, electro motor, physical activity or that which is responsible for motion. It controls the actions of the prefrontal lobe, motor cortex and spinal cord. It carries all the sensory impulses to their centers 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 located in the head and governs the chest, throat, mind, heart, sense organs, intelligence, expectorating, sneezing, belching, inspiration, and swallowing of food-outward movement.
- Udan resides in the chest and controls the nose, navel, throat, and is responsible for initiating speech, effort, enthusiasm, the capacity to work, complexion, and memory-upward movement.
- Vyan is found in the heart and rapidly moves throughout the body. It regulates all body movements, including walking, raising and lowering of the body parts, and opening and closing the eyes.
- Saman is located near the digestive fire. It works in the alimentary tract, and other abdominal organs. It holds food in the alimentary tract (absorbing nutrients and excreting wastes), helps digest foods, separates nutrients from waste, and eliminates the waste-equalized movement.
- Apan is seated in the colon, and controls the waist, bladder, genitals, and thighs. Its main function is downward movement of wastes (feces, urine), reproductive fluid, menstrual fluid, and it also controls the downward movement of the fetus.
Pitta represents energy or heat (Calorie) in the body. Further, Pitta is the combination of energy (heat) and liquid. Heat is the active principle whereas liquid acts as a vehicle. Life on earth depends on energy derived from the Sun. Digestion entirely depends on Pitta (Agni). The process of digestion continues in the gastro-intestinal tract and in the tissues by means of various digestive and tissue enzymes (known as Pitta).
Character of Pitta
Pitta is hot, light, clear and viscous and has a penetrating power, mobile, pungent, sour and has strong foul smell. It tends to move upward and downward (on the principle of gravity). It increases heat and body temperature as well as appetite and thirst. It maintains the complexion, color and luster of skin. It renders the skin soft and thin. It also maintains the vision. Its main sites are digestive tract, body fluids, blood, sweat, skin, eyes and brain.
There are five types of Pitta in the body which exist in the different parts of the body.
Pachak Pitta: (digestive fire) – The gastro-intestinal tract is the seat of Pachak Pitta. The fire digests and transforms food, emulsifying food fats and separating absorbable nutrients from wastes, so they may be passed to lacteals by absorption (Food becoming partially digested in the stomach is called chyme. This chyme passes into the small intestine where it becomes digested by the pancreatic juice and bile. The usable byproduct is lymph and fatty matter, or chyle. The chyle moves through lacteals, or lymphatic vessels which carry chyle from small intestine to the thoracic duct. From the thoracic duct, the chyle is sent into the blood). Pachaka (digestive enzymes), through digestion, automatically nourishes the other four Pittas.
- Ranjak Pitta: – The main sites of this Pitta are the liver, spleen, stomach and small intestines. It is represented by the bile, enzymes and bone marrow. Its function is synthesis of hemoglobin and imparting red color to the blood.
- Sodhaka Pitta: – The brain is the main site of Shodak Pitta. It is represented by the cellular enzymes of nerve cells. It helps in performing mental function such as knowledge, intelligence and consciousness by maintaining rhythmic and cardiac contractions.
- Alochak Pitta: – It exists in the eyes. It is represented by the enzymes in the rode and cones in the retina. It functions in perception of light.
- Bhrajak Pitta: – The skin is the main site of this Pitta. It keeps the skin warm and is responsible for its normal complexion and luster by keeping secretions from the sweat and sebaceous glands of the skin active.
The Biological element of Kapha is derived from the two basic physical elements namely earth and water. Kapha molecules are heavy, stable, smooth, soft, viscous, shiny and moist, white in color and predominantly have a sweet and slightly salty taste. Kapha constitutes the main body mass and is responsible for the shape and form of the body. Kapha fills the intercellular spaces of the body as connective tissues including mucus, synovial fluids and tendons. All the cells, tissues and organs of the body are predominantly composed of Kapha elements.
The biological combination of solid and liquids in varying proportions is responsible for the varying structure and composition of various tissues like body fluids (Rasa), semen, blood, muscle, fat, bone marrow and brain.
The fluid component of Kapha is responsible for the maintenance and formation of body fluids. Because of its heavy and stable qualities, it is responsible for strength stability and firmness of body and mind. Because of its oily nature, it prevents friction between the two parts of the body. In muscles, it gives strength to the body. In fact, it gives shape (form) to it. In the semen, it is responsible for fertility. The brain and nerves tissues predominantly contain Kapha molecules. Kapha of inferior quality in the brain produces a stab of ignorance, delusion, laziness and jealousy.
Five sites of Kapha in body
- Kledak:– It is present in the stomach and intestines up to the colon. It is the mucus secretion in the gastro intestinal tract. It dilutes the food taken, and also helps the digestion and supports the Kapha elements to work properly throughout the body.
- Avalambak:– It is present in the chest. It constitutes the myocardial and Alveoli (Lungs tissue), plensal and pericardial fluids. It supports and gives strength to the heart, lungs and bone cage of the body.
- Bodhak:– Present in the oral cavity and throat, represented by saliva. It helps to appreciate taste by the tongue. It also helps to moisten the food for easy ingestion and digestion.
- TarpakKapha:– Situated in the cranial cavity and is represented by Kapha molecule of brain, cerebrospinal fluids. It supports the nutrition of brain and nourishes the sense organs.
- ShleshakKapha:– Known as sinovial fluid in the joints. It provides nutrition to the ends of the bones and its presence prevents friction during joint movements and, particularly supports to constitute and strength to the body.
4. Diseases caused by individual doshas
Vayu/Pitta, Vayu/Kapha, Pitta/Kapha, and a combination of all three (tridosha). Although finding the cause of an illness is still a mystery to modern science, it was and continues to be the main goal of Ayurveda. Six stages of the development of disease were known, including aggravation, accumulation, overflow, relocation, a buildup in a new site, and manifestation into the recognizable disease. Modern equipment and diagnosis can only detect a disease during the fifth and sixth stages of illness. Ayurvedic physicians can recognize an illness in the making before it creates more serious imbalances in the body. Health is seen as a balance of the biological humors, whereas disease is an imbalance of the humors. Ayurveda creates balance by supplying deficient humors and reducing the excess ones. Surgery is seen as a last resort. Modern medicine is just beginning to realize the need to supply rather than to remove, but still does not know how or what to supply.
Additionally, there are over 2,000 medicinal plants classified in India’s materiamedica. A unique therapy, known as pancha karma (five actions), completely removes toxins from the body. This method reverses the disease path from its manifestation stage, back into the blood stream, and eventually into the gastrointestinal tract (the original site of the disease). It is achieved through special diets, oil massage, and steam therapy. At the completion of these therapies, special forms of emesis (vomiting), purgation, and enemas remove excesses from their sites of origin. Finally, Ayurveda rejuvenates—rebuilding the body’s cells and tissues after toxins are removed.
5. Significance of Doshas
Disease is caused by imbalancing of the doshas. For example, if a Pitta dosha eats much ginger, it will create excess fire in the digestive system (body). This results in Pitta disorders like acid indigestion. Disease may be caused by deficient, improper or excess contact with seasons ( e.g., excess cold in winter), sensory objects (e.g., excessive light/sound), and activities (e.g., over exercise).
VATA SYMPTOMS AND SIGNIFICANCE
The following symptoms show the causes of Vata and significance (existence) in the body:
- Joints and Muscles:-Pain all over the body or in individual parts i.e. joints-muscles-nerves etc.
- Muscles:– Myalgia, muscular pain, tenderness in the muscles.
- Nerves :– Neuralgia- Other stages of Vataproblems- hemiplagia, facial paralysis, trigerminal, neuralgia, neurotic pain in any liart of the body—other diseases of the nervous system
- Convulsions Hysteria: –epilepsy –spasm, tremors—stiffness
- Abdominal Pain:-Accumulation of wind in the digestive tract.
- Renal Colic: Colic pain
- Pain in the joints: – Pain in the chest, pain in the back
Loss of weight, pain in the eye-ear-head, fingers etc, prostate enlargement (hardness), stiffness of thighs, stiffness of body, (emacian), reduction of body tissues, (tremring)
For most of the complaints caused by Vatadosha—the following procedures should be applied:
- Massage, fomentation and purgative procedures should be adopted regularly.
- Mild taste, salty, astringent, hot foods.
- Covering of the affected parts by woolen clothes or bandages.
- Dry herbal formulations and tonics.
- Mild and small doses of alcohol.
- Digestive, palatable and light food.
- In the stage of neurotic disease like neuralgia, hemiplegics, seitier, pain all over body etc.
- YograjGuggal:- 2 pills twice daily
- RasnadiQwath :- one cup twice or MahaRasnadiQwath 1 or 2 pills twice daily
- Meat of pegeon :- Meet soup
- In the stage of abdominal pain (Flati lens)
- Garlic:- 1 pills thee times daily
- Gastro Care:- one pill after every meal
- Hingvastika Churna:- one tea spoon twice
- Joint Pain
- Guggual Formulation (item #600-618):-2 Pills twice daily
- 2. Ashwagandha Powder/Tablets :- Tea spoon twice/ 1tablets twice daily
- Pain in back
- ChandarPrabhaVati :- 2 pills daily with milk
- Convulsions, hysteria etc
- Vacha Churn:- Jatamansi powder/tablets
- ShankhPushpi Powder/Tablets with cows milk.
- Brahmi Powder/Tablets
- Tinet:- Jaipal (Croten seeds or Nishottara), javil, long
PITTA SYMPTOMS AND SIGNIFICANCE
The following symptoms show the cause and significance (existence) of Pitta in the body:
- Burning sensation:- Hot feeling in the body.
- Inflammation:- In different organs i.e. throat, tongue, eyes, skin eruptions, itching
- Excess heat in the digestive system, gastritis, blood mixed in the stool, bleeding piles.
- Functional problems:-Hepatitis, Jaundice, Nepotistic, Colitis, acidity, etc.
- Fever caused by hot climate, hot food, drinks.
- Yellowish discoloration of urine, eyes, stool and skin.
- Foul smell of the body, sweating.
- Bitter or acidic taste in the mouth:- Supportive
- Use of Ghee.
- Massage by Ghee.
- Sweet, bitter food and herbs.
- Cold water and drinks.
- Icy cold swaps on the fore head.
- Bath with cold water.
- Mild, cold, heart tending (Pleasing) atmosphere.
- Ice cream, jelly, milk shake, icy cold milk etc.
- Sandal or Khas drink, Kutki (PicorrhizaKurroa), Guduchi, Gokhru, Shatavari, lieral calcium, Blood cleaner, MahamanjisthaKwat
- For local application- SilfinaOil,Glories oil,
KAPHA SYMPTOMS AND SIGNIFICANCE
The following symptoms show the cause and significance (existence) of Kaphadosha in the body :-
- Numbness in the body, coldness in the extremities, palm and sole.
- Desire for hot food and hot environment.
- Drowsiness and sleepy habit (excessive sleep).
- Poor intelligence, or dullness, laziness.
- Increased Phlegm in the chest, mouth and throat.
- Spitting of saliva and sputum
- Coldness of body and head.
- Obesity and heaviness of the body.
- Nasal frontal and maxillary sinuses obstruction.
- Sinking of heart, respiratory obstruction.
- Inactivity and sluggishness.
- Weak digestive lower.
- Cause of high sugar level.
- Sweet taste in the mouth.
- Increased quantity of urine and stool.
- Week respiratory system.
- Obstruction in the nasal.
- Dry and hot foods.
- Hot environment.
- Hot clothes.
- fast emetic (vomiting) and Purgatives emetic.
- Old wine.
- Avoid sleepiness.
- Dry massage by dry powders (BhosBhesan-chikpeas powder).
- Fat reduction agents (medicine and diet).
- Periodical fast.
- Honey with water and lemon drops.
- Reslim, Gluco health, Chander prabha, Respiton, Sitopladi churna, Talisadi churna, Trikatu, Antma syrup
- Kapha Oil for local application or steaming
Tastes have crucial significance in Ayurveda. According to Ayurvedic theory, there are six tastes existing in every food, plants, herbs, etc. and these play a vital role in human body:
- Sweet (Madhus)
- Sour (Amal)
- Salty (Lawan)
- Pungent ( Kattu)
- Bitter (Tikt)
- Astringent (Kashaya)
These tastes have the direct relation with doshas. These tastes may either aggravate or pacify the doshas: Vata (air), Pitta (fire), Kapha (water).
- Sweet (Madhu):- Increases the Kapha and subsides the Vayu (Vata) and pitta.
- Sour (Amal):- Increases the pitta and subsides the Vayu (Vata) and Kapha.
- Salty (Lawan):- Increases the pitta and Kapha and subsides the Vayu (Vata).
- Pungent (Kattu):- Increases the pitta and subsides Kapha and Vayu (Vata).
- Bitter (Tikta):- Increases the Vayu (Vata) and subsides the pitta and Kapha.
- Astringent (Kashaya):- Increases the Vayu (Vata) and subsides the pitta and Kapha.
- Sweet, Sour, Salty: Subsides the Vayu and increases the Kapha and pitta.
- Pungent, Bitter, Astringent: Subsides the Kapha and increases the pitta and Vayu.
- Astringent, Bitter, Sweet: Subsides the pitta and increases the Kapha and Vayu.
- Sweet, Sour, Salty:- Increase Kapha and pitta, subsides the Vayu.
- Pungent, Bitter, Sweet:- Increase the Kapha and subsides the pitta.
- Astringent, Bitter, Sweet:- Increase the Kapha and subsides the pitta.
8. The six tastes have the relation with five elements also:
- Sweet, Pungent, Astringent:- (Relation with):- Water
- Salty:- (Relation with):- Earth
- Sour, Salty:- (Relation with):- Fire (Heat)
- Astringent, Bitter:- (Relation with) :- Vayu (Air)
Omni Present:Akash (ether).
Sweet taste is the most nourishing and as each taste becomes less nourishing, it becomes more bitter, until it is astringent – the least nourishing. That is why meals should be tasteful. In aggravated doshas, to maintain health, a little of each taste is prescribed in Ayurveda.
Qualities of the Brain-Satva-Rajas-Tamas
- Satva means good quality of mind.
- Rajas means undesirable/medium quality of mind.
- Tamas means bad quality of mind.
Parallel to the three qualities of mind in creation are the three doshas or constitutions in human body. These are the three qualities of mind, which are formed at the time of imbedding of the fetus in the human being and just compared with the formation of genes, which sustain throughout life. They have a deep relation with the Ayurvedic system and treatment. Treatment of Satva persons is maintained and applied according to nature of the Satva person; similarly Rajas and Tamas persons are treated according to their nature.
- Satva persons are holy, steady, clear minded, religious and follow the path of truth. They are persons of good manners and characters. They posses a great degree of self control and never become upset or angry. They remain calm, quiet, mentally strong, less sleepy and respectful. They are always dedicated to improving their knowledge, efficiency and skill. They are persons of strong and correct decisions and many times they are found like saints.
- Rajas persons have involvement in worldly affairs. These persons are egoistic, proud, ambitious and have a tendency to rule on others as they are persons of uncertain decisions. Though inattentive they are hard working. They lack proper planning and direction. Their mental makeup is not strong. A wavering mind, emotions like anger, joy, attachment, jealousy and selfishness rules them and are good friends with others for their own interest.
- Tamas persons are less intelligent, depressed and lazy. The slightest mental exertion tires them. They a have tendency to feel sleepy even during the day. They indulge in eating, drinking, sleeping and sex affairs. They are extremely greedy, irritable and have no interest in the affairs of others. They go to the extent of harming others to safeguard their own interests.
These qualities are transferred by parents to their children during fertilization.
Environment and diet plays a decisive role in the formation of all the above noted three qualities (Satva-Rajas-Tamas)
Some considerable factors:
Ayurvedic address to basic cause. So that’s why Ayurvedic herbal products are supposed to be taken with confidence, regularity, and should be used for a long time.
There is more stress put on the carrier, i.e. the type of liquid that is used to take herbal formulas, and precautions (food habits). The properties of many herbs change simply whether they are taken with cold water or hot water. This shows how the carrier plays a key role in the effectiveness of herbal formulations.
The herbal formulation acts faster in a physically weak person, as compared to a healthy person.