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What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is an ancient Indian holistic medical science. It has been known since the past 5000 years. It was passed down through generations. Ayurvedic theory is that everything which is present in nature is present in your body and it helps in treatment. Macrocosin represents itself in the microcosin in a miniature form and vice versa. It states that diseases are caused due to an imbalance of three inherent energies called the Doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha). Not just the physical symptoms of the body, but the mind too is taken into consideration during the treatment.

What are the sources of Ayurvedic medicines?

Ayurveda derives medicines from the nature, various medicinal herbs, animal products and minerals are used to prepare drugs. For example amla (Indian gooseberry), neem (margosa), chandan (sandalwood), and metals like gold, silver, iron etc.

How are the drugs prepared?

Ayurvedic Drugs are mostly prepared by pharmaceutical companies now a days. But even now many Ayurvedic physicians prepare their own drugs. These drugs can be in form of powders, decoctions, tablets, pastes, aasava (decoctions preserved through self–generation of alcohol etc.)

Do Ayurvedic medicines have any side–effects?

All Ayurvedic drugs are natural. They are very safe and can be used for children too. There are no side effects when the drugs are used properly.

Are Ayurvedic drugs used for chronic ailments only?

Most of the people look to allopathy for cure and when the results are negative, they turn to Ayurveda. By this time the diseases become chronic. This has to do with the misconception that Ayurvedic drugs cannot be used for minor ailments like cold, cough, fever, acidity, loose motions and other aches and pains. Ayurveda can cure such common ailments too.

What are the types of diseases that Ayurveda can treat?

Ayurveda has proven very effective for a vast majority of diseases which affect the body, including skin diseases, ailments of the bones and joints (e.g. Arthritis etc), diabetes and other hormone related diseases, nervous system disorders like paralysis, epilepsy etc. It has become popular in treatment of cases related to decreased vitality. It is helpful in ailments that are recurring or persistent and have no definitive treatment in other systems of medicines.

People say that Ayurvedic medicines are not fast–acting. Is this true?

This is not entirely true. Though you might see some patients taking Ayurvedic medicines for a couple of years, it is mostly because they have been suffering from the disease for many years. In such kind of chronic cases drugs have to be given so that all the imbalances in the Doshas that have accumulated in the years can be cleared. This is the reason behind long treatments. But Ayurveda is equally effective and fast acting in case the ailment is new. It can even be used in such acute cases as angina pain.

Can allopathic medicines be taken with Ayuvedic medicines?

Yes, Ayurvedic medicines can be taken along with medicines of any other pathy. It does not cut down the effect of any other drugs and vice versa.

Does Ayurveda say anything about diet?

The diet which contains balanced food viz. vegetable, fruits, wheat, rice, etc. The best time of having food is when hunger is generated in the navel region. Normally one should have 2 to 3 meals a day, slight breakfast, good lunch and a light dinner. Of the full capacity of one’s stomach, 1/2 should be filled with solid food, 1/4 with liquid food and the remaining 1/4 should be left empty. Water should be taken as and when one feels thirsty. It is not good to drink water before or after meals only. It should be properly interspaced with food during the meals. 

Are there lot of dietary restrictions when taking the medicines?

Ayurveda believes that to cure a disease, the root person is suffering from cold, it would do no good to be exposed to cold or eat chilled food. Thus Ayurvedic physicians advice to avoid certain food or that the disease and its cause can be removed.

Is there surgery in Ayurveda?

The ancient texts on Ayurveda do describe surgeries, but they are not similar to the modern surgery. Today, Ayurvedic science has changed itself to suit the modern technologies and life–styles. It can definitely help in faster recovery in post operative cases and make the patient’s stay in the hospital shorter and less painful.

How can I identify a quack from a genuine Ayurvedic physician?

In India, to become a registered Ayurvedic physician, a student has to complete his higher secondary schooling and then undergo a 5 and 1/2 years degree course. The students are trained in anatomy, physiology, the concepts of Ayurveda and its diagnosis and treatment. Only then can they practice as physicians. Please check your physicians degrees and qualifications before consulting them.

Can I buy Ayurvedic drugs off the counter?

Many Ayurvedic physicians make their own drugs. You don’t need to buy them. Many common Ayurvedic drugs are available in drug–stores. But these should only be used after consulting your Ayurvedic physician.

There are many Ayurvedic drugs in the market that claim to reduce obesity. How good are they? Can Ayurveda help in weight loss?

Taking advantage of the ‘Health–Fitness’ wave, many people claim to cure obesity with herbal medicines. Ayurveda does have cure for this condition but it states a complete diet regime that includes certain yoga exercises. Your Ayurvedic physician needs to examine you and determine your constitution before starting any medication. Merely taking drugs for weight–loss without any diet restrictions is not suggested by Ayurveda. Thus it is advisable to be cautious and examine such claims analytically before actually using such drugs.