An Introduction to Ayurveda

“Ayurveda” is an ancient holistic medical system that originated in India more than 5,000 year ago. It is considered as the Upaveda of Atharvaveda (One among the 4 important Vedas).

The term Ayurveda is derived from the Sanskrit word “Ayu” which stands for the integrated relation of body, sense, mind & the soul; and “Veda” means Science. Thus, Ayurveda can be translated to “Life science”.

Basic Principles of Ayurveda

The most important principle that Ayurveda considers is the “Panchamahabhuta” principle, which says that everything in this universe is made up of five basic elements namely:

  • Akasha (Space)
  • Vayu (Air)
  • Agni (Fire)
  • Jala (Water)
  • Prithivi (Earth)
The proportion in which these five elements combine determines the differences among all things. The presence of the mind and soul in combination with the five other elements make a living being and this separates them from inanimate objects or the non-living.

All living beings make use of the same naturally occurring five principles in the form of food, water & air. These are then metabolized with the help of Agni. The synthesized elements which are taken in by the body are termed as “Dhatus” and discharged excretory waste is called Mala.

Each cell, tissue or organ of a living being continuously carries out these activities to sustain life. Every entity undergoes three stages namely:

Sristhi (Kapha) : Stage of formation
Sthithi (Pitta) : State of existance, establishment & transformation.
Nasha (Vata) : State of destruction.

“Ayush” which is the period of life is a constant interaction of these three stages.

The growth of body depends on the food consumed (ingested and digested) containing significant elements which are combined together and are necessary for the growth of tissues in the body.

The building up of the tissue is represented and denoted by the “Kapha” principle. The transformation of various elements found in the body is represented as “Pitta” principle. The absorption, separation and elimination of materials, which takes place in the cells, tissues or the body on account of energy principle, is symbolically expressed as “Vata” that is - Movement.

The body is said to be “healthy” when these principles operate in harmony and it is said to be “diseased” when theses factor get vitiated or imbalanced

Concept of Prakruti

Ayurveda believes that each individual is born with a definite constitution which is governed by the qualities of parent gametes, time of fertilization, environment, diet and behaviour of mother during pregnancy etc. This Prakruti determines natural health and displays normal life activities and is always same throughout the life.

Prakruthi not only shows characters of the parents it also carry certain genetic ailment or hereditary diseases. Every individual is a product of these elements and has specific body structure, definite temperament of mind, skin colour, immunity towards diseases and so on.

There are seven basic constitutions
  • Vata Prakruti
  • Pitta Prakruti
  • Kapha Prakruti
  • Vata-Pitta Prakruti
  • Pitta-Kapha Prakruti
  • Kapha-vata Prakruti
  • Vata-Pitta-Kapha
  • Prakruti (Same Dose Prakruti)
The knowledge of Prakruthi helps a physician calculate and design the treatment strategies or therapeutic measures that should be employed to overcome individual diseases.