FAQ'S / MYTHS
Which are the main texts of Ayurveda ?
Transcended from the lord Bramha this continued to be studied and taught in the oral form in a Guru Shisya method of teaching till it was compiled and preserved in the form of the main Ayurvedic scriptures, the Charak Samhita, Sushruta samhita and Ashtang Sangraha & Ashtang Hridaya. The Charak Samhita deals mainly with the general medicine as well as the eight branches of Ayurveda. Sushruta Samhita is detailed knowledge on surgeries, while Astang Sangraha and Hridaya is the compilation of the best of the above two scriptures and the latter is considered as the most simplified version of Ayurveda text.
Which are the specialization branches in Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is the oldest known medical science which had eight specialized branches which are, Kayachaikita- General medicine, Balachikitsa- Pediatrics, Graha- Demonology / Exorcism/Psychiatry/ Shalakya tantra- ENT & Ophthalmology, Shalyachikitsa- Surgery, Agada-tantra –Toxicology, Rasayana tantra – Elixirs/Immunity enhancing and Vājīkaraṇa tantra-Aphrodisiacs
What is the objective of Ayurveda?
Maintenance of the state of health of the healthy, prevention of the diseases, treating the disease from the root and prevention of its recurrence are the prime objectives.
How is it different from modern medicine?
Ayurveda believes in total health as a balanced state of Body, Mind and Soul and disease is imbalance in any of these three entities. This imbalance is caused because of wrong diet and lifestyle, genetic factors, astrological influences, karmic factors etc. Prevention is not just periodical screening but actually taking responsibility in choosing the beneficial diet, lifestyle and minimizing the other influences by doing good actions. Treating any conditions is combination of diet, detoxification, and lifestyle modulations and not just limiting to oral medications.
Are the three Doshas manifested only in an imbalance state?
Three Doshas are the natural physiological constituents of the body present right from the union of sperm and ovum. They are in specific proportion in each individual and this proportion is always influenced by the food we eat, lifestyle we live, the seasons and aging. Any increase or decrease in this proportion over and above a specific threshold is actually the imbalance state and that leads to the generation of disease.
What does Dhatu means in Ayurveda?
Dhatus are the structural entity or tissues from which all the organs of the physical body are formed. There are seven Dhatus which are, Rasa- Plasma, Rakta- Blood tissue, Mamsa- Muscle tissue, Meda- fat or Adipose tissue, Asthi- Bone tissue, Majja- Nervous tissue, Sukra- reproductive tissue. The healthy and the unhealthy state are the disturbance of normal structure and function of these dhatus because of affliction of imbalanced Doshas.
What is the Mala in Ayurveda?
These are the three metabolic wastes of the body, Stools, Urine and Sweat. Each dhatu also produces metabolic wastes of its own. The increase in the production and poor elimination of these wastes can be the cause of diseases.
What is the concept of Agni ?
Agni refers to the digestion or metabolic energy which converts the food in the most suitable form for the nourishment of the seven tissues. It is used as synonym to the Pitta Dosha as it represents the Fire element in the body. The seven Dhatu has their respective Agni to digest the nutrition which reaches it for its growth and sustenance. Ayurveda believes that the cause of all the diseases is nothing but the poor functioning of Agni. One should protect this metabolic fire from any imbalance. Food in proper quantity will keep this Agni always ignited, while overload of food will hamper its functioning, just like the appropriate fuel will keep the fire igniting and excessive fuel will extinguish the fire.
What is the definition of health and disease according Ayurveda?
‘Swasthya’ or healthy state is the balanced state of three Dosha, seven Dhatu, Agni, three Malas, and a happy state of Mind, Soul and properly functioning & happy motor and sensory organs. Disease is the imbalance in the three Doshas afflicting the Dhatus, Agni, sensory organs and Malas.
What is the importance of Pulse diagnosis in Ayurveda?
It is one of the eight diagnostic tools used to examine the patient. These eight tools help to understand the imbalance of the Doshas and the seven Dhatus in a diseases state. Although all these are equally important, the pulse diagnosis gained more importance as it became exotic diagnostic methods of the Ayurvedic physicians to predict the state of Doshas in the body.
Does Ayurveda uses the modern diagnostic tools ?
Yes all the new advance diagnostic tools can help understand the pathology and the disturbances in the seven body tissues and the Malas. The modern Ayurvedic physician definitely uses the new age diagnostic tools but the diagnosis is always done in terms of the imbalance of Dosha and Dhatus and the treatment is also planned to restore its normalcy back. Science and technology is developed and progressed by humans for humans, so use of any new technology with the wisdom of age old science rather helps the application of Application in much fruitful manner.
What do you mean by Prakruti or Ayurvedic body and mind constitution?
Each and every individual has a specific genetic makeup which is decided right at the time of the conception when the three Doshas are in specific proportion derived from the parent’s sperm and the ovum. The Prakruti is of seven types depending upon the predominance of one or more Doshas, they are Vata, Pitta, Kapha, VataPitta, PittaKapha, KaphaVata and Vata Pitta kapha. These Prakruti types helps to understand the individuality and how one can maintain this proportion by not letting the external factors to create imbalance in them to an extend of leading to a disease state. The best tool of remaining healthy is to live a life which is in harmony with the Prakruti by choosing suitable diet, exercise, job, hobbies, habits and emotional engagements.
What are the treatment methods in Ayurveda?
The first line of approach of treating the disease in Ayurveda is to avoid the causative factors in the diet and the lifestyle. Further there is two main approach of therapeutics; Shaman and Shodhan i.e. Pacification and Detoxification respectively. The former is chosen if the amount of the imbalance in the Doshas is mild while the detoxification is chosen when the increase in the Doshas is in large quantity and hence removing them out from the system will be more effective form of treatment and will offer quick relief.
What is Sodhana Chikitsa (Panchakarma therapy)?
There are five Shodhan or cleansing therapies known as Pancha (five) Karma(procedures) which are; Vaman (Emesis), Virechana (Purgation), Basti (Enema), Nasya (nasal administration), Raktamookshan (bloodletting). These are the purification procedures to remove the increased Kapha, Pitta, Vata, Doshas from the nearest route, accumulated of Doshas in the Head region and blood impurities respectively. Although these are primarily cleansing therapies but there are exceptions like the Basti and Nasya therapies which can also be used to pacify the Doshas and even for nourishing the organs.
Is Ayurveda related to Yoga?
Ayurveda and Yoga are considered as sister sciences. The Ashtang yoga is on similar lines to that of Ayurveda in which the physical body is prepared by following righteous actions, good lifestyle, proper food, Asanas, Pranayam and finally reaching the goal of Liberation by Dharana, Dhyan and Samadhi. The purificatory procedures like Neti, Nauli, Dhauti, etc. are on the same principles of Panchakarma detoxification therapies. As the total health is related to Mind, Soul and Physical health, these two sciences goes hand in hand and in a true sense a very healthy integration.
Is Naturopathy and Ayurveda the same systems?
The fundamentals principles of using the nature and its resources as the tools in treating and preventing the diseases is the most important commonality in these two Sciences. Albeit there is no recommendation of oral medications in Naturopathy at all, the use of herbs as a supportive care is merely an integration of Ayurveda which always will remains in the domain of Ayurveda. The use of food as one of the important tools in treating diseases is common in both of these pathies, although there are some important differences which needs to always considered. Naturopathy has more influence of modern Nutrition science contrary to Ayurveda which has its own deep knowledge and system of understanding of the effects of food on the body with the help of six tastes, post digestion effects, potency, properties like hot, cold, greasy, drying etc.
Can allopathic medicines, including prescription drugs, and Ayurvedic medications be taken at the same time ?
Yes the pharmacological action of Ayurvedic medicines does not interfere with that of Allopathic medications, although there are some exceptions related to Blood pressure and Diabetes medications which definitely needs close monitoring. The health supplements can be safely taken together with the herbs again discussion with the physician about this will be very helpful.
Is Ayurveda useful in new diseases like AIDS, new bacterial or viral infections, Kidney failure etc.?
In the modern age there are many new conditions identified and they will keep on adding. They may not have been mentioned in the classical Ayurvedic text but the deeper knowledge of the body’s physiology and the influence of internal and external factors on its balance is much advanced in Ayurveda, which helps to understand the process in all such modern diseases. Once the cause and the disturbance in the functioning of the body is understood the choice of herbs, treatments, food and lifestyle are advised to help bring back the normalcy. Now considering the nature of the new age diseases there is definitely a time which demands fast and immediate interventions which can be achieved only by fast acting medicines. They stand tall when they are needed. Anything which acts fast and with high potency will have some or the other or even sometimes severe effects on the body. Hence to prevent such adversities, Ayurvedic support in achieving balance and enhancing the Immunity plays a very important role. There is great need to understand how the most needed emergency medicines and the long term health benefits of Ayurveda particularly for the conditions like CANCER, HIV, AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES, LEUKEMIA, KIDNEY FAILURE, HEART DISEASE, CIRRHOSIS OF LIVER etc. can work in Integrative manner to give the best support for the ailing. For this you have to take the responsibility of selecting the right option of such support from Ayurveda.
Should I talk to my doctor about the support I wish to take from Ayurveda system of Medicine?
In all chronic conditions and diseases in which complete cure is not possible only with the Modern medicines, there is great need of Integration of Ayurveda system to give the best support for the ailing. For this you have to take the responsibility of selecting the right options and take initiations in discussing with the doctors you are seeing in Modern Medicine. Many patients are afraid of discussing Ayurveda with their doctors. The same is true other way round where Ayurvedic Physician, who needs to know all the kinds of medication (Allopathic) or of any other medicine system you are consuming. There are some herbs which have to be taken with precaution with certain chemical medicines. It’s true that many Allopath doctors may not know about the uses, risks, and potential benefits of Ayurveda as it is not in the scope of their learning. On the contrary Ayurveda Physician in their graduation has much knowledge of modern medicine about the pathology, diagnosis, investigations and basic pharmacology.
How can I bridge the gap between these two systems so that I get the best of both?
The lack of knowledge can widen the gap between patient and the treating Physician especially when it comes to using Ayurveda along with regular Allopath treatment. So you can help to bridge the gap by:
• Collect information regarding the expected potential benefits and also the possible risks of the treatment you are thinking to include from your Ayurveda Physician.
• Share this information with your doctor in a way that shows you know that your doctor wants what is best for you. Let him or her know that you are thinking about Ayurvedic treatments what you are considering.
• Request your doctor to be a supportive partner as you learn more about your options.
• A friend or family member may accompany with you to the doctor’s clinic to support you and relieve the stress of making the decisions alone.
• Even though you may be giving up the mainstream treatment for your conditions, still it will be your choice to make.
How can I chose the Genuine and safer over the counter Ayurvedic supplements?
First step is to seek answers to the following questions before selecting any product.
1. Is the product manufactured by genuine pharmacy with reputation and FDA approval?
2. Can anybody use this same product?
3. What are the claims made for the benefits it delivers?
4. Does it claim to cure certain diseases?
5. Does the product have sufficient research and clinical trial studies?
6. What is the nature of ingredients in the formulations, Herbal or herbomineral, self-fermented alcohol based?
How can I spot fraud and questionable treatments?
Following checklist will help you avoid going for fraudulent treatments.
· Does the treatment promise a cure for all serious illnesses?
· Claims that any unconventional treatment can cure any disease may be suspicious.
· Claims that a treatment can cure all diseases are certain to be fraudulent.
· If you are told not to use regular medical treatment?
· Is the treatment or medicine or herb a secret that only certain people can know and can give?
· If the advertisements use terms like “scientific breakthrough,” “miracle cure,” “secret ingredient,” or “ancient remedy”?
· The method of promotion of the products is in the mass media, magazines, the Internet, TV, infomercials, and radio talk shows rather than in scientific journals?
· Personal stories of amazing results are delivered instead of actual scientific evidence to convince you? As you are unaware of the terminologies this is taken advantage of.
How can I spot a Quack?
Things you should look for-
· Find out about his or her qualification and education.
· M.D in Alternative medicines (AM) does not stand for any Ayurved post-graduation.
· Individuals who are unqualified in Ayurveda may incorporate it with Naturopathy or Aromatherapy or any other complimentary therapies which may be harmless and complimentary in less advance health conditions but they are domain of Ayurveda.
· See if the person can read the medical investigations reporting and can interpret the findings.
· Display of qualification certificates in the clinic should be seen properly.
Does Ayurveda offer Surgery?
Ayurveda does recommend resorting to the surgical approach for only specific condition in which the medicine or other therapies will have limitations. It also recommends simple surgical techniques like blood-letting, cauterization with alkalis and fire-Agni karma which act as supplements to surgery and helps to avoid surgery and even complementary to it. Acharya Charak has clearly stated that the cases which are out of the scope of medicine have to be referred to the branch of Surgery. Sushruta the founder of Ayurvedic School of Surgery is called as ‘Father of Surgery’ because of his highly advanced surgical techniques such as incising, excising, probing, extracting, draining, scraping, puncturing, and suturing which are carried out even today. He has also designed surgical instruments which are the basis on which all the modern instruments are designed. There are also some unique surgical treatments like Medicated threads for conditions like Hemorrhoids, fistula-in-ano which are studied to be more effective option than conventional surgeries.
Are there recognized Institutions of Ayurveda in India?
Ayurveda is one of the official systems of medicine in India and several other South East Asian countries. India holds a huge infrastructure of Ayurveda in education, service and research sector with 200 plus Under Graduate Colleges with 20,000 admissions, 40 plus Post graduation Colleges with 1500 admissions, 5,00,000 Registered Practitioners, 10,000 licensed pharmacies, two Universities, 25 Research & Development centres.
Is Ayurveda recognized outside India ?
Some Asian countries like Nepal, Sri lanka, Bangladesh has recognized degree courses and the practice is legalized. In the 21st century the entire world is looking towards Ayurveda with lots of hope and promises. People seeking help and providers of health botanist, pharmacologist, and doctors all are praising Ayurveda and they are working on it to shape this pathy to fit the entire world’s population. To understand this universally applicable science almost 40+ countries are studying at private institute level and at few places at the University level as well. But still the focus is more on the commercial use of the herbs knowledge and its use in consumer finished products and not on understanding the science as a whole for the benefit of mankind as preventative and therapeutic science. The scope and legality in practice of Ayurveda various in nature according to the region and state laws in different countries.
What is regulatory mechanism for Ayurvedic Education and Practice in India?
The Central Council of Indian Medicine is a body established under the provisions of IMCC Act, 1970 to maintain Central Register of Practitioners of Indian Medicines and for maintaining the minimum standards of education in term of uniform teachers, curriculum, degrees etc.
Who is a qualified Ayurveda practitioner?
Any Ayurveda doctor having such degree/ qualifications as mentioned in 2nd, 3rd and 4th schedules of Indian Medicine Central Council Act, (IMCC) 1970 is a recognized medical practitioner. Ayurvedaacharya i.e. B.A.M.S or B.A.M& S and Ayurvedavachaspati i.e. MD (Ayurveda) post-graduation degree in respective subject of new pattern and equivalent qualifications of the time before the enactment of Central Act are recognized qualifications for the purpose of registration and practice of Ayurvedic Medicine.
Is there any regulation for manufacturing Ayurvedic Medicines?
Indian Drugs and Cosmetic Act 1940 and rules there under regulate the manufacturing and quality of Ayurvedic Medicines. There is a mandatory requirement of Manufacturers License (GMP) to be issued by State Government License Authority.
Ayurvedic medicines is free of side effects.
Yes they are free of side effects on administration in the proper form and dosage. Ayurveda states that any medicine be it herb or in any natural form is a power weapon, so if used rightly it will destroy the disease and if used wrongly for wrong duration it can harm. So the popular myth that all Ayurvedic medicines have no side effects and anybody can use any medicine for any given duration may not be right. Again it depends on what is consumed, there are some herbs which are said to be Rasayan i.e. Immunity enhancer which can be consumed for long duration, but even in that case also medical advice would be recommended.
Ayurveda is not very effective.
Ayurveda was the primary systems of health care in India, and has been used for thousands of years for all sorts of diseases and disorders. It definitely has very promising results in prevention and in case of treating, its effectiveness depends on various factors like early intervention, the age, the type of disease, the degree of imbalance, the organs involved, how old is the condition, state of health of the individual and the subjects dedication in following the treatment and following the desired changes in the diet and lifestyle which itself are the cause of the disease. Since Ayurvedic treatment is very individualized, its results will depend on individual factors. Ayurvedic treatments address the multiple factors responsible for a disease hence it destroys the condition from the root and also prevents the recurrence. Again following the instructions of Physician is very important in this process. This subjectivity does not allow over the counter and self-medications which will definitely not be effective most of the times, or will give temporary positive effects.
Ayurvedic treatment takes a long time to treat diseases.
If the disease is treated in a very early stage the curability is astonishingly very fast. In the early stage the degree of dosha imbalance is milder, also there can be only one dosha involved which makes it easy to treat. As the disease progresses, there is involvement of more than one dosha and more organs can get disturbed and it will naturally take more time to reverse. So it is not that Ayurveda take more time but how much time one spends before coming to Ayurveda is more crucial and is the important factor responsible for the duration of treatment.
Ayurvedic treatment is effective till the medicine is consumed?
Mostly this is seen when the condition is very chronic and hence it takes more time to treat completely. Other most commonly seen reason is continuing with the consumption of diet and lifestyle which are the causative factors for that disease, hence as soon as the medicines are stopped the pathology again reoccurs or continues. Also there is a concept of continuing the medications mostly the Rasayan (Rejuvenating) kind of herbs or formulation for some duration even after the symptoms are completely gone, to prevent the recurrence of that condition in future. This many a times is overlooked by the patients and hence the condition reoccurs after some time.
The advertised Ayurvedic and over the counter products are safe for everybody and can be consumed for long duration ?
No, any medication should be always taken under Physicians advice only because of the subjectivity in indications. The main principle of Ayurveda is that every individual is different, then how the same medicine will work equally for mass population.
In order to get benefited from Ayurveda one has to follow certain religion.
Although Ayurveda is originated in India, it is universal and globally applicable to every religion, caste and creed. The principles and fundamentals of Ayurveda are very logical hence irrespective of geographical and cultural variations this science can be helpful to improve the health of the society and the nation as a whole.
It is necessary to be a vegetarian to follow an Ayurvedic lifestyle.
Ayurveda text has given very detail description of qualities of different meats and there therapeutic value in general health an in treating certain health conditions. The time when Ayurveda was designed is to be considered in order to understand the needs of food and lifestyle at that times. Being a logical science the use of non-vegetarian is neither stated to be necessary nor totally a denied factor. It all depends on whether there is a need? what are the best alternates available to gain the equivalent benefits from other dietary products and also respecting the religious and Spiritual importance of the Vegetarian food. Also its influence on the mind’s properties Satva, Raja and Tama has to be considered.
Ayurveda is not safer for Infants and Children?
No, rather in most of the children’s common ailments like cold, cough, vomiting, diarrhea, Colic, tonsillitis, skin conditions etc., it could be very effective and quick treatment preventing the excessive and repeated use of Antibiotics thus preventing side effects. Still there needs to be awareness of what is acute severe condition, in which emergency medications may be required. Hence after trying home remedies for 2-3 days if the symptoms are not going it’s better to visit a physician.
All Ayurvedic Treatments always include Massage.
It is only indicated if required. In all Vata Dosha related conditions massage with medicated oils is one of the important treatment modality, and as nowadays Vata diseases related to bones, joints, and muscles are on rise hence a large number of patients are prescribed with one or the other form of oil applications.
Panchakarma therapies means body massage
Massage is just one of the many body therapies which can be used alone as a therapeutic method or as a preparatory procedure for the Detoxification therapies in Panchakarma. There are more than seventeen plus different therapies done under Panchakrama intended for cleansing as well as for pacifying Doshas, healing and strengthening of body tissues.
Ayurveda medicines are not standardization and clinical trials are not performed.
The pharmacology in Ayurveda is quite advanced considering its origin thousands of years back. The different form of medication with details of pharmaceutical methods of preparation of tablets, powder, alkalis, jams like Chyavanprash, medicated oils, medicated ghee, self-fermented alcoholic preparations, decoctions, extracts, ointments, suppositories, smoke therapy, enema, Anjan- eye applications, nose drops are some of the formulations to mention. A lot of research work is been taken on in the Post-graduation institute, research and development centres on standardization and efficacy of Ayurvedic principles, herbs and formulations.
Authentic Ayurveda is practiced only in Kerala.
Ayurveda is practiced in each and every states of India since ages with some uniqueness, some popularity and choice of therapies by the practitioner. Kerala as a unique state is rich in Indian tradition and Ayurveda is lived there in a very traditional manner. They have accepted Panchakarma as the main approach of treatment hence it has become more popular. On the contrary there are some forms of medications or practices in Ayurveda which is very less used in Kerala as compared to other states which have very high acceptance for Ayurveda like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajastan etc. to name few.