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Ayurvedic medicine is a traditional medicine which is native to India. In Sanskrit, ayus means longevity and veda means knowledge or the science of doing things. Ayurveda originated from the Vedic period in India in the mid second millennium BC.
Proving the effectiveness of Ayurvedic medicine are compilations of literature on Indian medical practice called the Susruta Samhita and the Caraka Samnita. From traditional methods to modern medicine, Ayurveda is still used in making medicinal preparations and various surgical procedures that are designed to treat a variety of ailments.
In the United States, a study against the safety of Ayurvedic treatments was done and revealed about 20% of the treatment strategies were considered harmful or toxic to the body. Treatments that used heavy metals like lead, arsenic and mercury. Safety concerns were also raised regarding the lack of quality control in the compounding and preparation of Ayurvedic medicine.
Approaches to Ayurvedic Medicine and Treatments
Ayurvedic medicine aims to integrate the body, mind and spirit into a balance. This promotes wellness, prevents illness through preserving a balance of the body systems. This medicinal approach uses a variety of medicinal products and techniques to cleanse the body from toxins, harmful organisms and from stress that can lead to an imbalance. Ayurvedic medicine is practiced by a trained practitioner; medicines are also prescribed by the same person with special information provided about the therapeutic property of each formulation.
Ayurvedic medicine may be applied in surgery, internal medicine, toxicology, obstetrics, psychiatry, care of the elderly and to improve sexual vitality. This traditional treatment is still being practiced in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. There are Ayurvedic colleges and hospitals in major cities in India with more and more research in this traditional yet effective medicinal practice to date.
Key Points in Ayurveda
Patients who undergo treatment using Ayurveda are expected to participate actively in the treatment. A change in diet, exterminating unhealthy habits and making good lifestyle enhancements are imminent in Ayurvedic medicine. The following are steps taken in an Ayurvedic appointment to treat a particular ailment:
1. The practitioner determines the patient’s dosha balance through a health history of the patient’s diet, lifestyle, overall behavior, illnesses and the person’s resilience to disease.
2. A complete physical exam is done to determine the person’s current state of health. Diagnostic exams are also done like checking the patient’ stool, urine, pulse and many other pertinent examinations.
3. The treatment process is often meant to eliminate impurities and returning the person to a once balanced state. Eliminating impurities is done through the process of panchakarma; enemas, massages with the use of essential oils and many other techniques are used.
4. Reducing symptoms is often done through physical exercises, breathing exercises, massages, changes in the diet and taking herbs to reduce the symptoms. Herbal supplements and preparations may be made with honey to improve their taste and also the addition of metals and minerals may also be done. The patient is also treated to resist disease through the use of herbs, minerals, vitamins and proteins.
5. Ayurvedic medicine is also used to reduce stress and increase harmony. This is done through meditation and the release of negative emotions to encourage spiritual healing.
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