Traditional Ayurveda
Kenneth G. Zysk

As the health care professions look seriously at complementary and alternative modalities of medicine, a growing interest in traditional Indian medicine is emerging simultaneously. As with any popular development, aspects of the Indian medical system and its cures have sometimes been appropriated by individuals not wholly familiar with the basics of Ayurveda or the Science of Longevity. Over the past decade, however, a group of dedicated scholars has undertaken serious study of this ancient healing tradition. In this textbook, it is appropriate to present the fundamental principles and practices of traditional Ayurveda, as they may be understood from classical Sanskrit sources and traditional Indian practitioners. History
Based on available literary sources, the history of Indian medicine occurred in four main phases. The First, or Vedic phase dates from about 1200 to 800 BCE. Information about medicine during this period is obtained from numerous curative incantations and references to healing that are found in the Atharvaveda and the Rigveda, two religious scriptures that reveal a “magicoreligious” approach to healing. The second, or classical phase is marked by the advent of the first Sanskrit medical treatises, the Caraka and Sushruta Samhitas, which probably date from a few centuries before to several centuries after the start of the common era. This period includes all subsequent medical treatises dating from before the Muslim invasions of India at the beginning of the eleventh century, for these works tend to follow the earlier classical compilations closely 1

and provide the basis of traditional Ayurveda. The third, or syncretic phase is marked by clear influences on the classical paradigm from Islamic or Unani, South Indian Siddha, and other nonclassical medical systems. Bhavamishra’s sixteenth century Bhavaprakasha is one text that reveals the results of these influences, which included diagnosis by examination of pulse or urine. This phase extends from the Muslim incursions to the present era. I would term the final phase as “New Age Ayurveda,” wherein the classical paradigm is being adapted to the world of modern science and technology, including quantum physics, mind-body science, and advanced biomedical science. This recent manifestation of Ayurveda is most visible in the Western world, although there are indications that it is filtering back to India. These four phases of Indian medical history provide a chronologic grid necessary to understanding the development of this ancient system of medicine.

Theoretical Foundations
From its beginnings during the Vedic era, Indian medicine always has adhered closely to the principle of a fundamental connection between the microcosm and macrocosm. Human beings are minute representations of the universe, and contain within them everything that makes up the surrounding world. Comprehending the world is crucial to comprehending the human and, conversely, understanding the world is necessary to understanding the human. The Human Body According to Ayurveda, the cosmos is composed of five basic elements: earth, air, fire, water, and space. Certain forces cause these to interact, giving rise to all that exists. In human beings, these five elements occur as the three doshas, forces that, along with the seven dhatus (tissues) and three mains (waste products), make up the human body.

irregularity. the three doshas maintain health. Its normal locations are the upper part of the body. light. fluid. stable. mobility. and is a side effect of motion. and smooth. lymph. pelvic region. It regulates Vata and Pitta. two. hunger. The intensity of excessive heat produces irritability in the body and mind. and legs. Flesh includes muscle tissue. its primary manifestation is liquid and mucus. It is the principle of kinetic energy. soft. and sour. leading to pain. or bile. they defile the normal functioning of the body. 2. chyle. pungent. is composed of the elements of earth and water. liquid. tears. and functions as nourishment. thighs. mucus of the nose. cold. Vata or Vayu meaning wind. It connotes the principle of cohesion and stability. cold. Pitta. small intestines. It provides all that is required to sustain the organism and is the principal cause for all maladies from which an individual suffers. The attributes of each dosha helps to determine the individual’s basic bodily and mental makeup and to isolate which dosha(s) is responsible for a disease. pigmentation. and abundance. with or without discharge. Bone includes bone and cartilage. but when an imbalance occurs among them. Kapha is heavy. pitta. leading to the manifestation of disease. in the bladder. dense. is composed of the elements fire and water. tissues. 6. meaning phlegm. The process of digestion and assimilation of nutrients will be discussed under the topics of . large intestines. and results from firmness caused by Kapha. Kapha or Shieshman.hindu. 2 putrid. Blood includes the red blood cells. 7. light. resulting from change caused by Pitta. 5. is composed of the elements air and space. includes the tissue fluids. A fourth category of other waste products includes fatty excretions from the skin and intestines. roughness. ear wax. its primary manifestation is gas and muscular or nervous energy. its principal seat is the lungs. hair. Too much dryness produces irregularity in the body and mind. According to Ayurveda. and functions as support. upper portion of the stomach. It is located below the navel. Rasa. the stomach. Dryness occurs when Vata is disturbed. and eliminate urine six times a day. The Three Malas These are the waste products of digested and processed food and drink. Ayurveda considers digestion to be the most important function that takes place in the human body. sexual power. thirst. It also controls patience. courage. unctuous. and functions as stabilization. leading to swelling. and functions to invigorate the body.dk The Three Doshas When in equilibrium. and functions as lubrication. 3. Heat appears when Pitta is disturbed. urine. sight. spleen. and plasma. When disrupted. Pitta is hot. When disrupted. the thorax. Heaviness occurs when Kapha is disturbed. and kapha. It governs enzymes and hormones. and strength. and areas between joints. intense. body temperature. When it is disrupted. its principal seat is the stomach. Ayurveda delineates three principal malas. head. neck. liver. It comes from digested food. an individual should evacuate the bowels once a day. and is responsible for all bodily movement and nervous functions. saliva. and functions as filling for the bones. leading to inflammation. skin. and nails. is responsible for keeping the body lubricated and maintaining its solid nature. It is located between the navel and the chest. The qualities of Vata are dryness. and mental activity. The viscosity of excessive heaviness and stability produces slowness in body and mind. Fat includes adipose tissue. and blood. its principal seat is the colon. The Seven Dhatus The seven dhatus or tissues are responsible for sustaining the body. Each dhatu is responsible for the one that comes next in the following order. The three doshas are vata. bone marrow. nervous system. 1. and functions in reproduction and immunity. meaning sap or juice. fat tissues. pleural cavity. and sweat. An imbalance indicates an increase or decrease in one. feces. 4.© INTERNET EXHIBITIONS MOESGAARD www. and is responsible for digestion. Marrow includes red and yellow bone marrow. Shukra includes male and female sexual fluids. its primary manifestation is acid and bile. or all three of the doshas.

Shukravahasrotas convey ingredients for the male and female reproductive tissues and originate in the testicles and ovary. and abundant gas. and assist the chyle to assimilate with the corresponding five elements in the body. however. 4. Mutravahasrotas convey urine and originate in the kidney and bladder. The Thirteen Agnis The Agnis. and the Srotas (channels of circulation). Internal diseases begin with Ama. The waste product of feces results from this activity. or enzymes. Svedavahasrotas convey sweat and originate in the fat tissues and hair follicles. and helps to break down food. 3. Mamsavahasrotas convey ingredients for muscle tissue and originate in the tendons. is formed when there is a decrease in enzyme activity. It frequently mixes with the doshas that circulate through the same pathways and it gravitates to a weak or stressed organ. 8. an offensive odor. meaning “coming from Ama. which is determined at the . results in disease. and gastrointestinal tract. Ama primarily accumulates within them.” is a synonym for disease. depending upon their normal bodily constitution (prakriti). turbid urine with foul odor. the chief cause of disease. and skin. and external diseases produce Ama. the word Amaya. Jatharagni is active in the mouth. 7. Blockage of the channels. stomach. 1. The remaining waste products result from this activity. 9. 3 The Thirteen Kinds of Srotas The srotas are the vessels or channels of the body through which all substances circulate. ligaments. Udakavahasrotas convey water and fluids and originate in the palate and pancreas. nourishing the body and supplying the seven dhatus. Annavahasrotas convey food from the outside and originate in the stomach. or small. 10. The principal course of treatment in Ayurveda involves the elimination of Ama and the restoration of the balance of the doshas. Ama (improperly digested food and drink).© INTERNET EXHIBITIONS MOESGAARD www. blocking the channels. Ama can be detected by a coating on the tongue. Medovahasrotas convey ingredients for fat tissue and originate in the kidneys and fat tissues of the abdomen. Dhatvagnis are seven enzymes which synthesize the seven dhatus from the assimilated chyle homologized with the five elements. Purishavahasrotas convey feces and originate in the colon and rectum. The homologous chyle circulates in the blood channels as rasa.dk the Agnis (enzymes). assist in the digestion and assimilation of food. Pranavahasrotas convey vitality and vital breath (prana) and originate in the heart and alimentary tract. uterus. Ama Ama. 12. Human beings differ. and plasma. 13. and veins. Rasavahasrotas convey chyle. 11. 6. In general. Asthavahasrotas convey ingredients for bone tissue and originate in hip bone. and feces that is passed with undigested food. 2. Since all diseases invariably come from Ama. or to a site of a disease manifestation. 5. A product of improperly digested food and drink. Raktavahasrotas convey red blood cells and originate in the liver and spleen. They are either large. A healthy body has open and free-flowing channels. it lodges in different parts of the body. such as the capillaries. Majjavahasrotas convey ingredients for marrow and originate in the bones and joints. and originate in the heart and in the ten vessels connected with the heart. They adapt the broken down food into a homologous chyle according to the five elements. Because of its density. it takes the form of a liquid sludge that travels through the same channels as the chyle. arteries. which have undergone a process of metabolism and assimilation in the body. This broad outline exhibits that Ayurveda understands that the human body’s anatomical parts are composed of the five basic elements. such as the large and small intestines.hindu. usually by Ama. Bhutagnis are five enzymes located in the liver. lymph. and are divided into three types.

The latter is balanced. diseases receive their names in one of six ways. including diseases that are otherwise inexplicable. based on the three qualities (gunas) of balance (sattva). in which one dosha predominates. Ayurveda always has recognized that the body and the mind interact to create a healthy. Ayurveda describes the manifestation of all diseases in the same fundamental way. and earthy characteristics. In the state of energy. Disease Aspects of the Ayurvedic understanding of disease have been mentioned in the previous section. The site of manifestation of a disease usually differs from its site of origin. which is best. Disease Names In Ayurveda. Vata-type people tend to be anxious and fearful. Recognizing this distinction enables the physician to determine the correct course of treatment. an Ayurvedic physician seeks to identify its site of origin. its chief physical sign (jaundice. normal (prakriti) or unhealthy. Here I shall focus specifically on the Ayurvedic classification of disease. Classification of Disease Ayurveda identifies three broad categories of disease. or Vata-roga). kapha. energy (rajas). its chief symptom (diarrhea. Ayurveda understands that an individual is influenced by three mental states. from germs. its principal nature (piles. pitta. orJvara). and its site of manifestation. Prakriti There are seven normal body constitutions based on the three doshas: vata. exhibit heavy. Adhyatmika diseases originate within the body. and are prone to kapha-diseases. but extremely rare. Most people are a combination of doshas. the womb. and may be subdivided into hereditary diseases. Causative 4 . In the state of inertia. Regardless of its given name. and the season of the year. Kapha-type people are stable and entrenched. most diseases will involve one or more of the doshas. or the chief organ involved (disease of the duodenum. such as maladies stemming from providential causes. the mother (particularly her food intake). and sama. or Graham). and the manifestations of disease. and a moderate excess of one or two of the doshas will affect the constitution of the child.dk moment of conception and remains until death. A good Ayurvedic physician will determine both the mental and physical condition of the patient before proceeding with any form of diagnosis and treatment. viruses. Pitta-type people are aggressive and impatient. also creating weak discrimination. the mind is excessively inactive. congenital disease. The four factors that influence constitutional type include the father. In the state of balance. and are prone to vata-diseases. vata-kapha. the chief dosha(s) involved (winddisease. or Arshas). A large imbalance of the doshas in the mother will affect the growth of the embryo and fetus. the mind is in equilibrium and can discriminate correctly. abnormal (uikriti) condition. Three Mental States In addition to physical constitution. and bacteria. curses. its path of transportation. vata-pitta. or Pandu). In general. Adhidaivika diseases originate from supernatural sources. exhibit fiery and hotheaded characteristics. and are prone to pitta-diseases. Manifestation of Disease During the course of a disease. and seasonal changes. A disease is named for the misery it produces (fever. planetary influences. and include injuries from accidents or mishaps. or Atisara). These are the principal factors that help the Ayur-vedic physician determine the correct course of treatment to be administered to a patient for a particular ailment. the mind is excessively active.© INTERNET EXHIBITIONS MOESGAARD www. pitta-kapha. the naming of disease. causing weakness in discrimination. wet. Adhibhautika diseases originate outside the body. and in the terminology of the modern era.hindu. based on causative factors. exhibit light and “airy” characteristics. and inertia (tamos). and diseases caused by one or a combination of the doshas.

Urine Examination Like pulse examination. urine. Treatment entails correction of all the steps in the process resulting in disease manifestation. . umbrella shape. After a preliminary examination by means of visual observation. Pale-yellow and unctuous urine indicates Vata. skin. white. Finally. restoring a person to health is not viewed simply as the eradication of disease. and mental state) suppress enzyme activity in the body. The physician also puts a few drops of sesame oil in the urine and examines it in sunlight. and pearl shape. season. and physical features to determine which dosha(s) is affected. or blue urine indicates Pitta. The diagnostic process involves evenly placing the index. I shall therefore briefly explain Ayurvedic diagnosis. The circulating Ama. Examination of Bodily Parts The physician concludes his diagnostic examination with careful scrutiny of the tongue. urine with a blackish tinge indicates a combination of doshas. a pulse resembling the movement of a frog at the middle finger indicates a predominance of Pitta. Therapeutics In Ayurveda. and types of therapeutics. To get an accurate reading. he studies it in the container to determine its color and degree of transparency. thus restoring the entire person to his or her particular. and should take the pulse at least three times early in the morning when the stomach is empty. and diffusion of the oil in the urine indicate the prognosis of the disease. and ring fingers of the right hand on the radial artery of the 5 right hand of men and the left hand of women. It is a highly specialized art. Using the basic characteristics of each of the doshas. The shape of the drops also reveals which dosha(s) is involved. and a pulse resembling the movement of a woodpecker indicates a predominance of all three doshas. the physician submits the urine to two kinds of examination after sunrise. urine examination probably was formalized in the syncretic phase. and interrogation. just at the base of the thumb. The circulating Ama blocks the channels.dk factors (such as food. making sure to wash his or her hands after each reading. and urine resembling lime juice or vinegar indicates Ama. leading to the formation of Ama. involving examination of pulse. or three hours after eating in the afternoon.© INTERNET EXHIBITIONS MOESGAARD www. Kapha. After collecting the morning’s midstream evacuation in a clear glass container. middle. foamy. often combining with one or more of the doshas. regimen. a pulse resembling the movement of a swan or peacock at the ring finger indicates a predominance of Kapha. drink. referred to as the path of transportation. and physical features. Snake-like shape indicates Vata. It entails a complete process of diagnosis and therapeutics that takes into account both mental and physical components integrated with the social and physical worlds in which the patient lives. The shape. reddish. examination of the disease. First. the physician must keep in mind the times when each of the doshas are normally excited. Ayurvedic Diagnosis Ayurveda established a detailed system of diagnosis. he will examine the different parts of the body. intense yellow.hindu. then takes a divergent course. balanced state. Pulse Examination Pulse examination is first mentioned in a medical treatise from the late 13th or early 14th century of the common era. The site of the disease’s origin is where the blockage occurs. A pulse resembling the movement of a snake at the index finger indicates a predominance of Vata. movement. which is known as the site of disease manifestation. Pitta. and muddy urine indicates Kapha. nails. the dosha(s) and Ama mixture comes to rest in and afflicts a certain body part. touch. Not every Ayurvedic physician uses pulse examination. the Ayurvedic physician undertakes an eightfold method of detailed examination to determine the patient’s type of physical constitution and mental status and to get an indication of any abnormality.

the disease is easy to cure. it progressively splits into specific varieties. Prognosis is the final step in the Ayurvedic diagnostic process. and the immediate causes of diet. which causes it to spread through the channels until it lodges in a particular organ of the body. Proper diet and administration of medicine can avert disease if it is recognized early enough. Most signs and symptoms are associated with the site of disease manifestation. diseases involving two doshas. and established his prognosis for recovery. Pitta. the disease is difficult to cure. palliative. hotness and redness indicate Pitta. Once a general form of the disease appears.hindu. Early Signs and Symptoms Early signs and symptoms that appear before the onset of disease provide clues to the diagnosis. the Ayurvedic physician proceeds to examine any malady present. An accumulation of a dosha leads to its aggravation. and coldness indicate Kapha. constitution. If the disease. modem medicine in India has introduced Ayurvedic physicians to techniques of symptomatic treatment in cases of acute disease. disease is one of three types. Although symptomatic treatment was largely absent in traditional Ayurveda. it was important for the physician to know precisely the patient’s chances of full recovery. doshas and Ama. Having completed this phase of the diagnosis. and cracking indicate Vata. or incurable or difficult to cure.dk Coldness. Examination of the Disease A detailed examination of the disease involves a five-step process. Ayurvedic Treatment Ayurveda recognizes two courses of treatment. roughness. leading to a complete understanding of the abnormality.© INTERNET EXHIBITIONS MOESGAARD www. whiteness. and micro-organism. If the disease and constitution are the same. and season correspond to doshic type. Exploratory Therapy Exploratory therapy involves 18 different experiments that use drugs. Pathogenesis Pathogenesis is a six-step process that determines the manner by which a dosha becomes aggravated and moves through the different channels to produce disease. effects of the seasons on the mental and doshic balance. Having determined the patient’s normal constitution. Since Ayurvedic physicians traditionally did not treat persons with incurable diseases. Ayurveda delineates seven basic varieties of disease. from which the physician must work his way back to the site of the origin of disease to effect a complete cure. unbalanced contact between the senses and the objects of the senses affecting the body and the mind. In general. or doshas and micro-organisms. the disease is nearly impossible to cure. and diseases involving all three doshas together. 6 . Manifest Signs and Symptoms The most crucial step in the diagnostic process is manifest signs and symptoms. Kapha) is different from the person’s normal physical constitution. many patients consult the Ayurvedic physician only after the disease appears. diet. dryness. bringing about a manifestation of disease. based on the doshas: diseases involving a single dosha. and of the path of transportation of the Ama and dosha(s). and the combination of interaction of individual components such as doshas and tissues. It involves determining the site of origin and of manifestation. diagnosed his illness. As in systems of medicine the world over. if the disease type (Vata. and wetness. regimen. It is easily curable. and regimens to determine the precise nature of the malady and suitable therapy by allopathic and homeopathic means. Therefore. the Ayurvedic physician can begin a proper course of treatment. Etiology A disease results from one or several of the following factors: mental imbalances resulting from the effects of past actions (karma).

An appropriate diet of food and drink is prescribed. The fivefold process varies slightly in different traditions and regions of India. 2. for an ill person who requires health to be restored. Purification Therapy Purification therapy involves the fundamental Panchakarma. increases Kapha and decreases Pitta and Vata. 5. and Vata. and recorded in medical treatises from ancient times. Sour. the season. a purgative is given until mucus material appears. alleviation therapy. respectively. composed of earth and water. either of oil or decocted medicines. the patient is advised to set aside time for treatment. an enema. and taste after digestion. or a combination of these is prescribed. Because of the close association between food and medicine. increases Kapha and Pitta and decreases Vata. composed of earth and fire. increases Kapha and Pitta and decreases Vata. and sesame oil or castor oil to eliminate Kapha.dk based on the condition of the patient. or Five Action treatment. but a standard regimen generally is followed. Virya. and to prevent disease. Pharmaceutics Ayurveda prescribes a rich store of natural medicines that have been collected. thus removing Pitta. clarified butter and honey . composed of water and fire. When a person is diagnosed with a doshic imbalance. Sweet. Before any action is taken. Fifth.© INTERNET EXHIBITIONS MOESGAARD www. with their individual elemental composition and doshic effect as follows: 1. Pungent.hindu. Third. heavy-light. This therapy and Panchakarma often are used in conjunction with one another. The first is prophylaxis. Pitta. composed of wind and space. potency. taste by the tongue. and vomits until bilious matter is produced thus removing Kapha. and dull-sharp. the five therapies are administered in sequence over the period of about a week. Saline. For instance. 4. 3. based on different factors such as the physical constitution of the patient. sour. It is likely that. 7 Alleviation Therapy Alleviation therapy uses the basic condiments honey. Second. is administered to remove excess Vata. Vipaka. Following this twofold preparatory treatment. head purgahon is given in the form of smoke inhalation or nasal drops to eradicate the dosha(s) that have accumulated in the head and sinuses. and pungent. Fourth. is categorized into six separate tastes. Indian medical and culinary traditions worked hand-in-hand with each other. Because of the profound effects on the mind and body. for the healthy person who wants to maintain a normal condition based on his or her physical constitution. called Puruakarma. The tradition of collecting and preserving information about medicines in recipe-books called Nighantus continues to the present day. and is sweated to loosen and soften the dosha(s) and Ama. either purification therapy. regimen. composed of wind and earth. The second is therapy. postdigestive taste. tested. First the patient might be given an emetic. The most traditional sources of Ayurvedic medicine is the kitchen. potency comprises eight types that are divided into four pairs: hot-cold. Astringent. Rasa. Contrary foods and drugs are to be avoided always. increases Pitta and Vata and decreases Kapha. at an early stage of its development. his or her condition. leeches may be applied and bloodletting performed to purify the blood. medicines. Some physicians do not consider bloodletting in the five therapies of Panchakarma. Once healthy. Ayurveda classifies foods and drugs (usually vegetal) by the tongue. All five procedures can be performed. and the nature of the disease. or a selection of procedures can be chosen. and regular therapeutic purification procedures. composed of wind and fire. unctuous-dry. identifies three kinds of after-taste: sweet. Ayurveda recommends continuous prophylaxis based on diet. Bitter. the patient is given oil internally and externally (with massage). instead counting oily and dry (decoated medicine) enemas as two separate forms. 6. increases Vata and decreases Pitta and Kapha. butter or ghee. increases Vata and decreases Pitta and Kapha.

Every medicine should be able to treat the disease’s site of origin. Large and small pills and suppositories. Four important criteria are considered when compounding plant substances and other ingredients into medical recipes. milk and fish should not be consumed together. Plant and herbal extracts are also formed into pills and suppositories to be used internally. Used externally. only a small portion are commonly employed by most Ayurvedic physicians. alkalies and salt must not be taken for a long period of time. 3. 6. They are found in recipes (Rasayanas) used in rejuvenation therapies.hindu. It is then filtered and often used with butter. called Rasashastra. A brief survey of the different kinds of medical preparations indicates the depth and content of Ayurvedic pharmaceuticals. Space does not allow a discussion of the individual plants used in Ayurvedic recipes. Pishtis are fine powders made by trituration of gems with juices and extracts. Two preparations are delineated: One requires the drug to be boiled before it is fermented or distilled. 8 7. 8. honey. site of manifestation. that of the hundreds of plants mentioned in various Ayurvedic treatises. Bhasmas are ash residues produced from the calcination of metals. or oils. they should be usable in many pharmaceutical preparations. 12. The substances that make up the recipe should have many attributes that enable it to cure several diseases. Collyrium is used especially to improve vision. It is safe to say. Sublimates. Alcoholic preparations are made via fermentation or distillation. that are first detoxified and then purified. Powders are prepared from parts of plants that have been dried in the shade. . and its spread. or the soot from lamps burned with castor oil. Decoctions are vegetal products boiled in a quantity of water proportionate to the hardness of the plant part and then reduced by a fourth. and oils. and they should be culturally appropriate to the patients and their customs. and are derived ultimately from ancient traditions. 10. and other dried ingredients. simultaneously. they should be suitable for the recipe and not cause unwanted side-effects. 4. and skin conditions. Infusions are parts of plants and herbs that have been steeped in water and strained. which undergoes an 18-stage detoxification and purification process. however. Ayurveda maintains that bhasmas are quickly absorbed in the blood and increase the red blood cells. lead oxide. 11. Often the plant and herbal extracts are combined with other ingredients and formed into pastes. the drug is simply added to the preparation. These are prepared by an elaborate method leading to the sublimation of sulphur in a glass container.dk should not be taken in equal quantities.© INTERNET EXHIBITIONS MOESGAARD www. and oil is used for hair and head problems. Several Ayurvedic medicines are prepared from minerals and metals. and in the other. Juices are cold-presses and extractions made from plants. Collyrium is made from antimony powder. The botanicallybased medicines derive largely from the Ayurvedic medical tradition. 2. Cold infusions are parts of plants and herbs that were soaked in water overnight and filtered the next morning. while the mineral and inorganic-based drugs derive from the Indian Alchemical traditions. Medicated pastes and oils. gems. 9. plasters. 5. Medicate oils also are used for massages and enemas. Most are metals and minerals . pastes and plasters are applied for joint. An important bhasma is prepared from mercury. and honey should not be put in hot drinks. In Sanskrit terminology. muscular. plants. 1. the malady Amavata refers approximately to arthritic and rheumatic conditions. and animal products. Ayurvedic Clinical Approach An example of a specific disease will illustrate the traditional Ayurvedic clinical approach. Fifteen percent is the maximum allowable amount of alcohol content in a drug.

and indigestion. Very few reliable sources for traditional Ayurveda are available in English. in order to reestablish and maintain the harmonious balance that exists within the body and between the body and its environment. specifically aimed at informing the general public. After the Panchakarma therapy. Traditional Ayurveda does not distinguish types of arthritis. Ama. especially Vata. distension of the stomach. Vata is the principal dosha affected. leaves the site of origin and affects the enzymes. Sweating might be recommended to aid the digestive process. Little pain is experienced in the early morning because Ama is just beginning to move. Europe. the patient should assume a regimen that includes avoiding sleep during the day and after meals. insufficient exercise.500 years. . The second step of the treatment involves the purification therapy of Panchakarma. Effective treatment of arthritic conditions. The first course of action is to put the patient on a mild fast and to administer medicines that have a bitter taste.© INTERNET EXHIBITIONS MOESGAARD www. In order to provide information on Ayurveda. lymph. Ama then becomes lodged in the joints and the heart. has included wet massage therapy in conjunction with the enemas of Panchakarma. but the entire alimentary canal is involved. the patient gradually becomes crippled. The recently established Indo-Tibetan Medical Project at Columbia University. If Pitta is involved. medicines. and excessive intake of unctuous foods and meat. symptoms include severe pain in the joints. This disease is caused by all factors that lead to the formation of Ama: unwholesome foods and regimens. One of two types of enema will be used. all of which help to reestablish the digestive powers. and North America. as well as heavy foods that hinder digestion. Only a glimpse of this ancient form of medicine has been offered. there is much to be learned from a deeper exploration of Ayurveda. The site of origin is principally the colon. the vessels transporting chyle. propelled by Vata. it focuses on the whole organism and its relation to the external world. especially in the joints. bad digestive power. Like other forms of alternative and complementary medicine. The affected areas are patted with a cloth bag filled with rice that has been cooked with milk and herbs. the sites of manifestation. If Kapha is involved. and restore the balance of the do-shas. The path of transport is the Rasavahasrotas.dk Amavata As the word itself indicates. A selective list of trustworthy and available books in English on traditional Ayurveda follows. is devoted to scientific and scholarly investigation and public education. and procedures to reduce Ama and alleviate Vata. Conclusions Traditional Ayurveda is a sophisticated system of medicine that has been practiced in India for over 2. and scholars about these medical traditions. Contrary foods and mental disturbance aggravate Vata and lead to the formation of Ama in the colon. hot potency. Amavata involves Ama and the dosha Vata (wind). If Ama persists. New York. and pungent postdigestive taste. Studies of Ayurveda and related traditions in Ti-betan medicine are being undertaken in India. Most of the sound works are by and for specialists and are virtually inaccessible to the reader without knowledge of Sanskrit. causing Ama to form at every level. and plasma. These will eradicate the dislodged Ama from the system. health care professionals. during which time the patient maintains a strict diet. The remaining five procedures are performed over the period of a week. The Ayurvedic treatment of Amavata involves actions.hindu. a burning sensation spreads all over the body. the University of California Press has undertaken the publication of a series of books devoted to Indian and Tibetan Medicine. especially in children. Massages with oils also are routinely prescribed. depending upon the amount of Ama present. oleation and sweating. The two preparatory actions. an enema with 9 decoctions is administered until Ama is removed when an oily enema is given. are administered first to dislodge and soften the Ama. rough skin. With the aggravation of Vata.

Indian Medicine. Ancient Indian Surgery. Ayurveda. 3rd Ed. Delhi Dash B. 1986. Medicine in the Buddhist Monastery. Varanasi Dash B. 1991. 1992. Bombay Sen Gupta KN. 3. Bansal & Co. New Delhi Jolly J. 1984. 1908. 1981-1994. The Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office. 1977. Prakruti. Religious Medicine. Caraka-Samhita. Transaction Publishers. Asceticism and Healing in Ancient India. New Jersey . Singhal Publications. Chowkhamba Sanskrit Series Office. Agnivesha’s Treatise Refined and Annotated by Caraka and Redacted by Dridhabala.dk Suggested Readings Bhishagratna KK (trans). Varanasi Svoboda RE. Logos Press. 1972-1993. 1907-16. 1984. Lotus Press. Popular Prakashan. Geocom. Mun-shiram Manoharlal.hindu. The Madhavanidana and Its Chief Commentary. Basic Principles of Ayurveda Based on Ayurveda Saukhyam of Todarananda. An English Translation of the Sushruta Samhita Based on Original Sanskrit Text. EJ Brill. Albuquerque 10 Upadhyay SD. [Sushruta Samhita]. Kashyap L. Wisconsin Meulenbeld GJ. Oxford University Press. The Science of SelfHealing. New Delhi Sharma PV (trans).© INTERNET EXHIBITIONS MOESGAARD www. M. Vols. New York Zysk KG. Reprint. Delhi Zysk KG. Chaukhambha Orientalia. Wilmot. Reprint. Dr. Shamgadharasamhita of Shrangadhara. Panchakarma Therapy. New Brunswick. Chaukhambha Orientalia. Chaukhamba Sanskrit Pratisthan. Concept Publishing Company. Varanasi Srikanta Murthy KR (trans). 1980. Kashikar GC (trans). 1980. Leiden Nadkarni AK. 10 Vols. Varanasi Singh RH. 1906. 4 Vols. Varanasi Singhal GD. New Delhi Lad V. Nadkarni’s Indian Materia Medica. 1983. Nadivijana (Ancient Pulse Science). 1984. Reprint. Your Ayurvedic Constitution. 1990. The Ayurvedic System of Medicine. Fundamentals of Ayurvedic Medicine. The History and Evolution of Indian Medicine. 1974. et al (trans). K. 1993.

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