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The literal meaning of Ayurveda is the perfect knowledge of Life. Ayurveda is a philosophy, a way for purposeful and healthy living and a practical and pragmatic science. The highly integrated and intelligent men of yore (Rishi), out of compassion towards the predicament of their fellow beings, started exploring and experimenting with physical, mental, intellectual and pathological aspects of living organisms in general and human beings in particular. They understood the causes and the consequences of birth, growth, disease, decay and death and prescribed effectual remedies to maintain and preserve positive mental and physical health and also explained how to prevent, diagnose and cure diseases.
Ayurveda is considered as an ‘Upaveda’ (branch or section) of ‘Rigveda’. Veda embodies perfect knowledge. It enables us to understand things correctly. In the presence of knowledge, confusion is replaced by clarity and courage. Only with courage and clarity can correct action be performed. In the absence of correct understanding and courage, confusion and conflict will arise. The power of concentration, comprehension and discrimination will vanish and the subject will fall into the depths of mental agony, inaction and inability leading to ‘MANOVEDANA’ (Mental Pain) and ‘SAREERA VEDANA’ (Physical Pain). In short, through Veda, ‘Vedana’ or pain can be conquered. Ayurveda not only deals with the health of human subjects but also has incorporated into it ‘Vriksha Ayurveda’ (the Health Science for plants) and ‘MrugaChikitsa’ (Health Science for animals).
The Tridosha Concept
According to the Ayurveda philosophy, there are three forces functioning in our body. They are ‘vayu’, the vital air force; ‘pitha’, the force responsible for thermogenesis and metabolism and ‘kapha’, responsible for the production of mucus and synovial fluids for protecting the various organs and parts of the body. When these three forces are harmoniously balanced in the system, health prevails and if they are imbalanced various afflictions arise.
Vital Air or Vayu
The ‘Rishis’ of yore understood the importance of oxygen to each and every cell of the body. The beating of the heart and the proper functioning of the central and autonomic nervous systems depend upon this vital air force in the body. Distribution of nutrients, excretion of waste products, muscular movements, nervous system, etc, are the main functions of this force. Vitiation of this air or ‘vayu’ is nothing but the release of new free radicals in the body and the resultant diseases.
This essential force is responsible for thermogenesis or heat in the body. This principle regulates the entire endocrine system and the production of secretions from various glands, digestion, absorption and assimilation are the other functions achieved by this force.
It is protective and preserving in nature. Production of mucus, synovial fluids, saliva, fat and the protection of the important organs by giving a protective coating are the main functions of this vital force. Derangement of ‘kapha’ causes diseases of the lungs, heaviness in head, cold, congestion and damage to the mucus membranes.
It is very important that these 3 essential forces should be in the state of equilibrium and any derangement of this will change the total metabolism and body climate making the body a fertile soil for various disorders. Ayurveda believes in correcting the deranged subtle forces, thereby restoring the original state of health.
Datus and Malas (Tissues and waste materials)
According to Ayurveda, there are seven types of ‘Datus’ or tissues by which the body is built up and sustained. They are:
Besides this, there are 'Upadhatus' such as cartilages, various membranes and tendons in the body. 'Malas' are waste products formed during metabolic activity in the body and are to be excreted. These are faeces, urine and sweat. 'Upamalas' are secondary excretion such as secretion from eye, ear and nose.
- Adipose tissues
- Bone marrow
- Male and female reproductive agents.
Ojas or Human Energy
Ayurveda considers the entire working of the body with vigour and virility as dependent upon the energy called ‘Ojas’, which provides immune power to the body. Ayurveda describes two types of ‘Ojas’: ‘Apara’ and ‘Para’. The loss of this energy causes infectious diseases.
Birth, (Jananam or creation) life (Ayus, the time of existence) and death (Mruthyu or degeneration - the end) – these are realities of life. Nature has given specific time periods for each and every living thing in the universe. Human beings, animals, birds and insects – all have distinctly different average spans of life. These three forces viz. the tendency to generate, live (maintain) and to die always exists in every living entity. The harmonious balance between generation, maintenance and death of the various cells and tissues in the body results in healthy living, whereas the imbalance of these forces causes various generative, functional and degenerative diseases of the body. Modern Medicine has described the disturbances of the essential balancing forces as acid base imbalance, hormonal imbalance, electrolyte imbalance etc. The manifestation of these imbalances in the body is known as disease.
A part of a plant, a particular alkaloid or a glucoside or a single volatile constituent cannot by itself alone be a balancing Medicine; on the contrary, it may further complicate the system. Treatment without side effects can only be achieved by composite herbal extractives. The total plant extract is fully balanced whereas any splitting and separation can affect the recipient. The separation of active principles from ‘Rauwofiaserpentina’ plant and ‘Ephedra vulgaria’ and the resultant chaos are tell-tale evidences supporting the above. For psychosis, ‘sarpagandha’ as a total plant extract is given in India from time immemorial without causing side effects. When the active principle ‘reserpine’ was separated, it caused severe depression and suicidal tendency in patients on administering it. The ‘Ephedra Plant (Mahuang)’ is used in China for Asthma without any problem of side effects from centuries. When ‘ephedrine’ was isolated and used, side effects cropped up and it was widely reported. Medical Herbalism believes in using the total extract of herbs and not any isolated active principles.
In ancient Indian literature, the Medicinal herbs are known as ‘OUSHADHI’ or ‘BHESHAJA’. In the ‘RIG VEDA’, a plant known as ‘SOMALTHA’ is mentioned and it is said that even ‘INDRA’ had become powerful and energetic after consuming ‘SOMARASA’. The Vedas contained various recipes and remedies for diseases and it is practised since then. Ayurveda, an “UPAVEDA”, is a classic life science, which is tested over time, and proved to be effective and safer than modern Medicines. The incontestable and incontrovertible treatises composed by Acharyas like Kashyapa, Charaka, Susrutha, Bhela, Nararjuna, Vagbhata are ever-shining beacons in the field of medical herbalism, which give light and hope for the entire world forever. The depth of knowledge and understanding about the diseases and remedies in these treatises will certainly astonish any modern scientist and it is our sacred duty to make use of the treasure of knowledge and information bequeathed by our ancestors for the wellbeing of humanity at large.
The Drug Therapy in Ayurveda
Ayurveda is a rich science and provides effective prescription for various ailments, especially for chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, liver complaints and geriatric disorders. Ayurveda promises cure for various illnesses, while other modern medicines merely help the patient against the symptoms. Now at the end of the 20th century, it is in the fitness of things that the mode of administration of drugs propagated and practised by Ayurveda nearly 4000 years ago, has been recognized by modern science and certified as one of the most effective methods of drug administration.
The latest trend in modern medicine of Transasal drug administration has been very much practised in India from time immemorial to treat various CNS disorders, degenerative conditions, migraine and sinusitis and to recover from coma. A variety of preparations are very effectively used in Ayurveda transdermally for systemic action. It is to be noted that transdermal drug transport is a recent trend in modern medicine. It is also significant that transdermal drug delivery is part and parcel of Ayurvedic therapy. The rectal administration of therapeutic agents in Ayurveda for rheumatic disorders and other allied complaints are used so commonly in modern science as well. Ayurveda claims drug absorption from head, foot, navel region and through the eyes or certain systemic areas. Modern science can explore the possibilities for treating various disorders through such novel ways of drug administration.
Beauty of Ayurvedic Pharmaceutics and preparations.
Ayurveda has a time-tested toxicology, pharmacology and pharmacognosy wherein only natural substances are used. Ayurveda advocates the usage of natural products and advises to live in harmony with nature. A detailed classification of drugs has been done in Ayurvedic science. Honey has been classified into 8 types and its specific uses are described. ‘Terminalachebula’, a ‘myrobalan’, is classified into 7 varieties according to its size, shape, colour and taste; specific uses are mentioned for each variety. We have to salute the wisdom, insight and foresight of our great saintly scientists of the past as the practitioners of the real and natural medicine for the well-being of mankind.
The dosages of these natural products are prescribed according to the physical condition of the patient and not according to age or body weight. In oedematous conditions, there can be significant weight variations and hence, the physician decides the dosage after examining the overall condition of the patient.
Modes of administration
There are various modes used in Ayurvedic therapy for drug administration, such as aqueous extracts of herbs, tablets, pastes for external application, enemas meant for rectal absorption, herbal emulsions for transdermal absorption, transnasal medications for systemic effect, and inhalation for various respiratory tract disorders, powders, ointments, creams, etc.
Pharmacon Remedies& Research Pvt.Ltd. armed with the ancient wisdom, assisted with modern technology joins in this crusade against diseases with the help of natural products, which are standardized according to pharmacopial requirements for better efficacy and safety. In our R & D Laboratory, we are engaged in screening, extracting and experimenting upon various natural products used in Ayurvedic medicines; standardizing, formulating and presenting them in a modern form to modern clinicians. Clinicians will find our products most effective, economical, safe and free from side effects. Yes, we have RUMARUB the anti-arthritic embrocation par excellence.
What is Medical Herbalism
Today there is a greater understanding, awareness and interest in Herbal Medicines than ever before. People at large are vehemently reacting against synthetic, semi-synthetic drugs, chemicals and food products, which are widely, but unwisely promoted, distributed and prescribed all over. Consumers have become aware about the harmful effects of these unnatural substances and are welcoming natural herbal products for healing, health promotion, nutrition and as cosmetics. The chemical pollution started showing its disastrous effects on ecology and the environment in general and the human race in particular. There is a growing demand for natural foods and medical products at a global level and an upsurge of interest in complementary Medicine, especially Herbal Medicines. We are undertaking a new scientific study, search and research to make this new herbal health science suitable for the modern age.
Medical Herbalism is a science and an art of preparing and combining natural products without losing their natural balancing property and without causing alarming side effects similar to those of synthetic preparations, to heal physical disorders, to improve health, nutrition, to prevent disease and for cosmetic use.
The advantages of Medical Herbalism:
- It is not symptomatic but corrective.
- It improves the total system.
- Naturally balanced and maintains the body balance and harmony of endocrine function.
- Arrests degeneration.
- It is well tolerated and free from side effects.
- It is safe.
- It is universal.