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Introduction to Ayurvedic Medicine

Posted Aug 20 2009 10:06pm
As the world becomes more dangerous, new and more terrifying health conditions rear their ugly head at every juncture. Modern medicine often doesn’t seem to be up to the task of dealing with these diseases, which have root causes that may be nutritional, environmental, or even psychological.

Many people have started turning to the ancient ways of curing diseases, with herbal, natural, and Ayurvedic medicine. In this article, I will describe the principal tenets of Ayurvedic medicine so you can decide if it is right for you. As always, consult a doctor before embarking on a course of treatment on your own.

Ayurvedic medicine was first documented in the Vedas, the ancient texts that describe life in pre-colonial India. Ayurveda literally translates as “the science of life,” and remains an influential path of treatment in much of Southeast Asia to this day. The essential concept of Ayurvedic medicine teaches that the body is composed of seven principal substances, and a healthy individual maintains a balanced composition of three of those substances - vata (air), pitta (bile) and kapha (phlegm). This balance helps regulate metabolic and digestive rate and ensures continued health.

Many people make the mistake of considering Ayurvedic medicine to be a primitive, non-invasive form of medicine, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Documents of the practice reveal patients being operated on with a variety of surgical instruments to address illnesses such as bone fractures and intestinal blockages. However, most modern Ayurvedic treatments concern themselves more with the dietary, metabolic and physical conditioning aspect of the practice.

As with many alternative medicine practices, the scientific proof of Ayurvedic medicine’s effectiveness has yet to be revealed. Peer-reviewed studies have not provided an improvement outside of the common bounds of the placebo effect. However, some of the main herbs used in the composition of Ayurvedic medicines are being found to have legitimate health benefits – cardamom and cinnamon, for example, can stimulate the production of digestive enzymes. Turmeric and its chemical derivative curcurmin are used in many places as an antiseptic and antibacterial agent.

If you are currently considering a treatment of Ayurvedic therapy, there are a few health and safety concerns to be aware of. A recent study revealed that up to 20% of Ayurvedic medicines are potentially contaminated with noticeable amounts of heavy metals and other minerals. There are serious toxicity risks involved with consuming these metals, so please make sure that your supplier and practitioner can assure you that your supplements are pure.
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