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This is a glossary of some commonly known Sanskrit terms used in Ayurveda. The commonest meanings have been included and have been defined in the simplest way possible. It may be noted that some of these words may have more than one meanings as is very common with Sanskrit words. Here the terms have been compiled so that they are helpful while referring to this site too.

  Everything that is heat in the body (temperature, sight, heat), the digestive fire, its function is transformation, absorption, elimination and discrimination. Agni is the essential form of fire and heat and is imperative to good digestion and metabolism.
Akasha Free space, void, substratum of the property of sound, also referred to as ether in other sciences.
Ama Raw, undigested food products, having become fetid, producing toxins in the system. It is formed due to malfunctioning of Agni. Ama is considered as the main cause of most diseases.
Anticoagulant Ayurvedic herb examples: Sesame seed oil (4 parts), black mustard seed (1 part), mix together and apply to the affected area, massage in well.
Antiepileptic Ayurvedic herb examples: Red purnarnava: 500mg (a laxative works well on the central nervous syst–take daily, after meals).
Anthelminthics Destroy or expel parasitic worms from the digestive system. Ayurvedic herb examples: Haritaki, hingvastak, triphala. Western herb examples: Garlic, tansy, wormwood.
Antihydrotics Herbs that decrease sweating. Examples: Astralgus.
Anti–inflammatory Counteracts inflammation or its effects. Ayurvedic herbal examples: Aamalaki (aamla), haritaki, shatavari, triphala.
Antioxidant Absorbs or attaches to oxygen free radicals. Free radicals are highly receptive compounds that attack cell membranes, enzymes, etc. Ayurvedic herb examples: Aamalaki, haritaki, triphala.
Antipyretic Reduces fever. Ayurvedic herb examples: Aamalaki, triphala, maha sudarshan churna (ayurvedic preparation).
Antispasmodic Prevents or relieve spasms. Ayurvedic herb examples: Ashwagandha, haritaki, hingvastak, shatavari, for the relief of muscle spasms. Substances one may use are: Salt, ginger, cumin, castor oil (externally), hing (asfoeteda), or ajwain.
Aphrodisiac Heightens senses and stimulates sexual drive. Ayurvedic herb examples: Ashwagandha.
Appetizer Stimulates the appetite. Ayurvedic herbs examples: hingvastak, trikatu.
Asthi One of the seven dhatus, the bone tissue, supports the body by forming the skeleton, giving protection, shape, nourishment and longevity.
Astringent Constricting or binding effect i.e. checks hemorrhages, secretions. Ayurvedic herb examples: Aamalaki, haritaki, shatavari.
Atman True self, the self, spiritual self, oneself. The cause of consciousness.
Basti Enema therapy of panchakarma which is induced and controlled general indications for Basti: Constipation, low backache, gout, rheumatism, sciatica, arthritis, nervous disorders, vata, headache, emaciation, muscular atrophy etc.
Brahma The first in the Hindu God Trinity, the creator of each element in the universe, taking the universe as his body, manifesting the energy of creation.
Carminative Relieves intestinal gas, pain and distension, promotes peristalsis. Ayurveda herbs: Aamalaki, haritaki, hingvastak, trikatu, triphala. Substances one may use are: Baking soda, hing, triphala, and ajwain.
Churna Churna means “Powder” in Sanskrit. Churnas are ayurvedic preparations and may contain isolated or a combination of herbs and minerals.
Dhanvantari The incarnation of Vishnu (the second in the Hindu God Trinity), the physician of the Gods, said to have been produced at the churning of the ocean with a cup of nectar in his hand, represents the true healer in all beings
Dhatu The basic nutritional and structural factors of the body, literally, to support or to nourish, there are seven dhatu (tissues) in the body. The seven bodily tissues are rasa, rakta, mamsa, meda, asthi, majja and shukra.
Dipaniya Kindles the gastric fire, increases the appetite. Substances one may use are: Pippali, ginger, black pepper, ajwain, and hing (asfoeteda).
Diuretic Promotes activity of kidney and bladder and increases urination. Ayurvedic herbs examples: Aamalaki, ashwagandha.
Dosha Dosha literally means fault, blemish, defect, or morbid substance, the three Doshas are vata, pitta, and kapha, these three Dosha are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the human body, governing all the biological, psychological, and physiopathological functions of the body, mind, and consciousness. Every being is born with an inherent combination of Doshas and that decide the constitution or 'Prakruti'. A change in the balance of the Doshas leads to diseases.
Dravya Substance, the substratum of properties, one of the special properties of the nine eternal substances accepted in Ayurveda. The nine eternal substances are: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether, Time, Space, Self, and Mind.
Dukkha (doo–k–kha) Means “Unhappiness” in Sanskrit. Vata persons tend toward a Dukkha of insecurity, anxiety, fear, loneliness. Pitta constitution individuals tend towards a Dukkha involving judgment, nothing to do, being judged, criticism, and lack of acknowledgment. Kapha dukkha is related to too much physical activity and hardship.
Emetics That which eliminates the impurity from the upper part of the body is known as an Emetic. Some emetic herbs in Ayurveda are: Yashtimadhu, sugarcane juice. These are herbs that cause vomiting and have been used in the past in conditions characterized by a great deal of mucus (dispel kapha with vamana), to clear the mucus from the body. In modern herbalism, used to cause forceful emptying in cases of poisoning. Western herb examples: Ipecacuanha.
Hrudya (hru–dya) Promotes cheerfulness, heart strengthener, strengthens the cardiovascular system, improving elasticity and dilation. Substances to use for this are: Arjuna, pomegranate, punarnava, gold, rudraksha, gulwel, and triphala.
Karma Action, work, a complex concept, the word originally denoted a religious act or rite and gradually assumed other shades of meaning, as in, action, work, past actions as producing good or evil results, the accumulated effect of deeds in lives, past and present.
Kapha One of the three dosha, the water humor, the extracellular and intracellular fluid playing a vital role in the nutrition and existence of cells and tissues in the body. Responsible for strength, lubrication of joints etc.
Keshya (key–shya) Strengthens the hair and the hair root. Substances one may use are: Licorice, jatamamsi, hibiscus, elephant tusk, amla (aamalaki), and brahmi (the latter two strengthen hair roots).
Khichadi (khi–cha–di) Is a simple dish of basmati rice and split mung dal (one of the pulses), with the appropriate spices added according to one’s dosha, and/or according to the particular nutritional healing that needs to be addressed. It is easily digested and assimilated, and is the primary food to be taken during panchakarma. The basic recipe calls for one part mung dal and two parts basmati rice, with the appropriate herbs as mentioned above.
Lekhaneeya Scraping fat from the body, removes the non–essential adipose tissue (catabolic). Substances one may use are: Honey, hot water, vacha, kutki, copper k, and shilajit. Good for cellulite removal.
Lord Shiva The third God in the Hindu Godhead Trinity, he is the deity of the people, of the common folks, literally, Shiva means “Good” or “Auspicious”, known as Rudra, the dissolver, the benevolent on, Shiva has eight qualities: Independence, purity, self–knowledge, omniscience, freedom from mala, boundless benevolence, omnipotence, and bliss (Hindu mythology : Shiva is responsible for the destruction of worldly elements).
Majja One of the seven dhatus, bone marrow, it is unctuous and soft, its main function is to oleate the body, to fill up the asthi, and to nourish the shukra.
Malas Waste products: Primarily includes urine, feces, and sweat.
Mamsa One of the seven dhatus, produced by rasa and rakta, its main function is to provide physical strength, and to support meda dhatu.
Marmas These Marmas are the 365 vital energy points in the body, of which 108 are of great importance in Ayurveda, anatomically, marmas are perceived as nerve crossings where nerves come to the fascia, they relate to the vital organs of the body. Injury to a marma leads to serious harm to the organ/body part related to that marma.
Meda (may–da) One of the seven bodily tissues (dhatus), it is the fat tissue, supported by mamsa dhatu, its function is to support the body and to lubricate the body, meda in excessive quantity may produce obesity and physical weakness.
Moksha Liberation, spiritual freedom, release, the spiritual self dwelling in its own nature. Hindu mythology states that a being, after death is re–born in some other form depending on his Karma. Moksha is the ultimate freedom after which the being is transported to the Heaven.
Nasya Nasal administration of herbs. The nose is the doorway to the brain and it is also the doorway to consciousness. The nasal administration of medication is called Nasya. It is a part of panchakarma. An excess of bodily humors accumulated in the sinus, throat, nose or head areas is eliminated by means of the nearest possible opening, the nose.
Ojas Vitality, luster, splendor, superfine essence of body tissues, prevents decay and degeneration of the body, while supporting the body, it provides strength and is essential for sustenance.
Paachaneeya Aids digestion. Substances one may use are: Fennel, coriander, cumin, trikatu, and chitrak.
Panchakarma The five–fold purification measures, for the purpose of internal purification, these are: Vomiting (vamana), purgation (virechana), decoction/oily enema (basti), and nasal administration of specific medications (nasya). Panchakarma is often thought of as the entire procedure. It is one part of a group of therapies belonging to a class of cleansing procedures called shodhan. There is also a group of milder techniques called shaman for those not strong enough for shodhan.
Pitta One of the three doshas, the bile humor, is responsible for body temperature and physiochemical activities (metabolism) constantly going on in the body during life.
Prakruti The Unconscious, material–energy principle, the inherent relationship between self and matter is an eternal attribute of prakruti, primal nature, also, the individual’s constitution which is determined by the doshas and fixed at the time of arrival.
Purgative That which eliminates the impurity from the lower part of the body is purgative. Purgatives stimulate the production of bowel movements. Ayurvedic herbs examples: Amalaki, haritaki, triphala.
Rakta Second of the seven dhatus, supported by rasa, it is one of the most important dhatus, responsible for the nourishment of the permanent dhatus, provides physical strength and color to the body, the basis of the life, it can be referred to as blood.
Rakta–mokshan One of the methods in panchakarma. It means blood–letting. This is done either by venesection or with the help of leeches. The sites depend upon the ailments. It is very beneficial in gout, skin disorders, pigmentation of skin, blood disorders, alopecia etc.
Rasa The first of the seven dhatus, Rasa is derived from the digested food, and after absorption it circulates in the entire body by specific channels, its main function is to provide nutrition to each and every cell of the body, can be compared to the plasma.
Rasayana Rejuvenate therapy which regenerates body–mind, prevents decay, postpones ageing. Rejuvinating herbs are: Aamalaki, ashwagandha.
Shukra The last of the seven dhatus, can be compared to the male reproductive tissue (Aartava refers to the female reproductive tissues. But sometimes the word Shukra means both Shukra and Aartava).
Sukha Sukha is “Happiness” in Sanskrit. Vata persons when experiencing sukha are easily bored, vata sukha is superficial, physical, and shaky. Pitta sukha involves solving problems, understanding, and solving puzzles. Kapha sukha is passive, involving napping, eating or sitting.
Triphala An ayurvedic preparation consisting of aamalaki, haritaki, bibhitaka. It is commonly used as a laxative.
Trikatu An ayurvedic preparation consisting of sunthi (dry ginger), pippali (Indian long pepper), and kali mircha (black pepper).
Vamana Therapeutic vomiting, one of the five methods of panchakarma. Indications for Vamanas: Used for all kapha type disorders – good for pitta headache, dizziness, and nausea will help to release blocked emotions, urticaria, respiratory, congestion, bronchitis, chronic, cold, sinus, congestion, asthma caused due to kapha dosha.
Varnya Improves the complexion. Substances one may use are: Turmeric, sandalwood, manjista, and grass (darba).
Vata One of the three humors (doshas), wind (air), that force which keeps kapha, pitta, and all of the seven dhatus and the malas in motion. Responsible for all voluntary and involuntary movements of the body.
Virechan Purgation therapy of panchakarma. Administration of therapeutic purgation or a therapeutic laxative. Virechan is facilitated with senna leaves, flax seeds, psyllium husks or triphala in a combination that is appropriate for the individual person. Indications for Virechan: Allergic rash, skin inflammation, acne, dermatitis, eczema, chronic, fever, ascites biliary, vomiting, jaundice, urinary disorder, enlargement of the spleen, internal worms, burning sensation in the eyes, inflammation of the eyes, conjunctivitis gout etc.