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Ayurveda is a holistic medical system. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word that literally means as the knowledge of life (AYU – life, VEDA – knowledge or science).

Ayurveda is the system of traditional medicine in India. It is based on many centuries of experience in medical practice, handed down through generations. Composed of two Sanskrit words, "Ayu" or life, and "Veda" or knowledge, Ayurveda is regarded as "The Science of Life" and the practice involves the care of physical, mental and spiritual health of human beings. Ayurveda is also based on sound ecological awareness of the place of animals, birds and plants in relation to human life. The time honored, well tested ancient formulas of Ayurvedic medicines use natural herbs, minerals and even gems, to cure disease and to promote immunity and there are no deadly experiments on animals in the lab.

The Vedas, Ayurveda and Hippocrates

As with the tradition of hippocrates in Western medicine, the Ayurvedic tradition derives its inspiration from an ancient lineage. The practitioners of this tradition believe that at different cycles of Creation, the supreme Creator Brahma inspired the sages to compose the vedas, of which Ayurveda is one of the branches. The Vedic writings have become the commandment like scriptures of Indian civilization and are regarded as the eternal source of knowledge. It is likely that the writings of Ayurveda are the earliest medical writings known to humanity. The moral emphasis in this discipline is that the knowledge is to be used for the benefit of humanity. Hence you will often find the practitioners of Ayurveda talk in terms personal matters and use terminology like God, the Spirit and Nature as opposed to money matters, insurance policies and patient turn around time.

The names of famous medical practitioners in Ayurveda are sages like Charak, Shusrut, Vagbhatt, and Atrey. Side by side with the intense study of biology and botany, these early masters perfected the system of Yoga, which is a common household word in the West and an integral part of Ayurvedic medical practice. Due to its long history, in-depth clinical experience, and a dedicated sense of service, Ayurveda can be regarded as a kind of science of life. In search of balance and harmony in the complicated personality of the human being, the practitioners of Ayurveda look for the control and direction of the 'vital breath of life', where the spirit, the body and the mind are in harmony. Thus Ayurveda emphasizes the psychology of emotional adjustment in conjunction with drugs, diet, and other habits meant for healthy living. "Prevention is better than cure," is a strong principle in this practice and preventive medicine and self-control are given prime importance in Ayurveda.

The philosophy of Ayurveda

According to a Hindu philosophy, the evolution of a human being becomes possible after he/she has lived through 840,000 previous births. This symbolic figure is meant to emphasize the uniqueness of our humanity. It implies that the human race is special and that our goal is to rediscover and cherish our existence upon this earth. Ayurveda accepts this symbolism. It also emphasizes the connection between humans and other worlds, making our race a part of the larger universe. Ayurveda subscribes to these values of cherishing life and discovery of meaning in our existence.

Another goal in Ayurveda is to achieve Nirvana or liberation from all kinds of "wants". This is primarily achieved through good health, which is regarded as the supreme foundation of life. A healthy and happy person is no burden to anyone and with the right attitude can contribute to the welfare of others as well as his own. This state of being is called Virtue in Sanskrit meaning leading a virtuous life. Its opposite is Kamma or temptation, which is accompanied by irregular living and disease. With this view, Ayurveda cultivates the awareness that balanced living leads us to being virtuous or to Nirvana and freedom from all "wants".

Balance in Ayurveda

In clinical terms, Ayurveda advocates that our health is regulated by three fundamental values, called vata, pitta, and kapha. Vata governs movement, Pitta is concerned with functions of heat, metabolism, and energy production and Kapha, governs physical structure and fluid balance. As a group they are known as the quality of "dosha", or imperfections. These three factors govern all the activities of our mind and body and they have to be balanced through intelligent choices for optimal health. The main purpose of Ayurvedic treatments is to establish the balance in these three fundamental qualities. The sub branches of Ayurvedic medical knowledge.

Another goal in Ayurveda is to achieve Nirvana or liberation from all kinds of "wants". This is primarily achieved through good health, which is regarded as the supreme foundation of life. A healthy and happy person is no burden to anyone and with the right attitude can contribute to the welfare of others as well as his own. This state of being is called Virtue in Sanskrit meaning leading a virtuous life. Its opposite is Kamma or temptation, which is accompanied by irregular living and disease. With this view, Ayurveda cultivates the awareness that balanced living leads us to being virtuous or to Nirvana and freedom from all "wants".

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