Ayurvedic medicine (“Ayurveda“) is one of the world’s oldest holistic (“whole-body”) healing systems. The goal of Ayurveda is to be healthy by establishing balance and harmony, and not by fighting diseases, therefore prevention plays a more important role in it than therapy. The task of the doctor practicing Ayurveda is to determine the constitution of the organism, as well as predisposition to the diseases characteristic of each constitution. Therefore, in Ayurvedic medicine, most of the recommendations are of a preventive nature, and the basis of prevention is knowledge of Prakruti (the Constitution).
The reasons for the imbalance can be external and internal factors. Whether the causes of the disease are internal or external, a person becomes ill only when the internal balance is disturbed. Health promotion and cure of the disease depends on the reliability of immunity, therefore, the main methods of Ayurvedic medicine are aimed at activating the mechanisms of self-regulation and sanogenesis.
In India, ayurvedic practitioners receive state- recognized, institutionalized training in parallel to their physician counterparts in India’s state-supported systems for conventional Western biomedicine and homeopathic medicine.
Ayurveda is a system of medicine with historical roots. It’s an India’s traditional, natural system of medicine that has been practiced for more than 5,000 years. Globalized and modernized practices derived from Ayurveda traditions are a type of alternative medicine. In countries beyond India, Ayurvedic therapies and practices have been integrated in general wellness applications and in some cases in medical use. Ayurveda provides an integrated approach to preventing and treating illness through lifestyle interventions and natural therapies. Ayurvedic theory states that all disease begins with an imbalance or stress in the individual’s consciousness. Lifestyle interventions are a major ayurvedic preventive and therapeutic approach.
Some scholars assert that Ayurveda originated in prehistoric times, and that some of the concepts of Ayurveda have existed from the time of the Indus Valley Civilization or even earlier. Ayurveda developed significantly during the Vedic period and later some of the non-Vedic systems such as Buddhism and Jainism also developed medical concepts and practices that appear in the classical Ayurveda texts. Doṣa (Dosha) balance is emphasized, and suppressing natural urges is considered unhealthy and claimed to lead to illness. Ayurveda treatises describe three elemental doṣas viz. vāta, pitta and kapha, and state that equality (Skt. sāmyatva) of the doṣhas results in health, while inequality (viṣamatva) results in disease. Ayurveda treatises divide medicine into eight canonical components. Ayurveda practitioners had developed various medicinal preparations and surgical procedures from at least the beginning of the common era.
Plant-based treatments in Ayurveda may be derived from roots, leaves, fruits, bark, or seeds such as cardamom and cinnamon. In the 19th century, William Dymock and co-authors summarized hundreds of plant-derived medicines along with the uses, microscopic structure, chemical composition, toxicology, prevalent myths and stories, and relation to commerce in British India. Animal products used in Ayurveda include milk, bones, and gallstones. In addition, fats are prescribed both for consumption and for external use. Consumption of minerals, including sulphur, arsenic, lead, copper sulfate and gold, are also prescribed. The addition of minerals to herbal medicine is called rasa shastra.