Ayurveda and Aromatherapy: The Untold Anecdote

Most of us might have perceived Ayurveda and Aromatherapy as two different parts of the Complementary and Alternative medicine but I take great privilege in revealing the fact that Aromatherapy is an innate or in-built part of Ayurveda, the 5000 years old ancient healing methodology. Ayurveda is proudly celebrated as the Mother of all healing sciences as it has given birth to numerous traditional healing methodologies like Unani, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Acupuncture, Herbalism, Siddha, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Traditional European Medicine and much more.

Aromatherapy is not a separate branch of Ayurveda but it is a vital part or an incredible way of treating illness in Ayurveda through the use of ‘aromatics’ and later given a separate name by Rene Maurice Gattefosse, known as the father of aromatherapy. It’s high time to put an end to this endless myth whether Ayurveda and Aromatherapy are the two poles apart? Let’s analyze.

Holistic approach: Ayurveda is a holistic healing approach that considers an individual as an entity and as a ‘Whole person’. This ancient science considers the physical, mental, emotional, environmental and sociological reasons contributing to a particular illness of an individual. While prescribing medications, Ayurveda does not stop with giving herbs or oils as remedies for a disease instead it suggests regular practice of yoga, meditation, taking an Ayurvedic diet, an Ayurvedic routine and certain other lifestyle changes according to an individual’s body type (doshas) and the unique constitution known as Prakriti. On the other hand, Aromatherapy is also a holistic method that considers the connection between mind, body and spirit.

Use of aromatics: Ayurveda makes use of aromatics to prevent and treat various health conditions. This is because it believes that the strengthening of the five human senses promotes healthy living. Inhalation of the aroma of plants and the essential oils extracted from those plants is trusted to enhance the sense of smell and directly contributes to mental health and treats hormonal imbalances.

This is the basic reason behind the use of incense sticks and other aromatic herbs and oils like sandalwood and tulasi in religious rituals and prayers for instilling the spiritual feeling. When it comes to Aromatherapy, this attribute of using aromatics needs no explanation as Aromatherapy makes use of Ayurvedic essential oils and trusts that the aromatic compounds and therapeutic properties present in these oils helps in healing illnesses invariably.

Abhyanga or the Ayurvedic massage therapy: Ayurvedic massage therapy involves the use of remedial oils like sesame oil, coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil and few other vegetable oils along with effective essential oils. It is a vital part of Panchakarma or the detoxification therapy, where the toxic substances of the body are removed and it inhibits the growth of harmful bodies through systematic massage.

Marguerite Maury, pioneer of Aromatherapy and the celebrated French Aromatherapist, in the traditional British Aromatherapy has talked on the benefits of using essential oils on dermal application through effective    massage techniques, where the concept of massaging itself is indigenous to Ayurveda.

Ayurvedic essential oils: Ayurveda is the oldest of the existing medicinal practices in the world and has a recorded use of herbal plants for more than 5000 years ago. Essential oils are nothing but the highly concentrated liquids extracted from plants and are often known as the essence of the herbal plants. Aromatherapy makes use of these essential oils to reiterate the fact that we are a part of nature and it is safe and secure to treat our illnesses in a natural manner. Dr. Light Miller in her famous book ‘Ayurveda and Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom’ talks about the importance of doshas and the perfect essential oils for each dosha.

For Vata Dosha: Lemon, Eucalyptus, Cinnamon, Basil, Ginger, Angelica, Cajeput, Anise and Rosewood.

For Pitta Dosha: Sandalwood, Lime, Peppermint, Chamomile, Yarrow and Coriander.

For Kapha Dosha: Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Niaouli, Sage, Basil, Savory, Clove and Hyssop.

Vata, Pitta and Kapha is not Greek or Latin in the world of Aromatherapy but it just indicates the predominance existing in an individual’s constitution and these essential oils are said to treat the dosha imbalances with their healing properties.

Limbic System: According to Ayurveda, the sense of smell is connected with the limbic system. This helps in recollecting the memories of a place or a person associated with an aroma. Limbic system is a vital part of the brain that stimulates the function of the nervous system, determines the body temperature and blood sugar level, enables the process of respiration, and controls sexual feelings, sleep and awake responses and much more.

The underlying principle behind limbic system and Ayurveda is that the inhalation of aromatic essential oils with healing properties fosters the essential oil molecule to pass through the nasal passage and reaches the limbic system ultimately as nerve impulses following which, the hypothalamus passes the message to other parts of the body to rejoice, relax, control hunger, hormonal imbalances, thirst and many other feelings. Even Aromatherapy indicates the same mechanism of aroma through the limbic system in healing illnesses.

Hope this information is more than enough to prove that the concept of Aromatherapy has been a part and parcel of Ayurvedic healing methodology since ages till it was given birth under a new name ‘Aromatherapy’ by its father Rene Maurice Gattefosse. Nothing to wrestle or protest but I end this post with the pride of finding something unique and exceptional in all the healing sciences that is nothing but ‘Human beings are special naturally’.

Thought for the day:

‘Healing,’ Papa would tell me, ‘is not a science, but the intuitive art of wooing nature.’
-W. H. Auden

Suggested Reading:

  1. Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing By Dr. Light Miller, Dr. Bryan Miller
  2. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance with Essential Oils By Gabriel Mojay
  3. The Aromatherapy Companion: Medicinal Uses/Ayurvedic Healing/Body-Care Blends/Perfumes & Scents/Emotional Health & Well-Being (Herbal Body) By Victoria H. Edwards

Reference Links:

  1. Aromatherapy from Ayurveda’s Perspective by Yayoi Stavish
  2. Ayurveda and Aromatherapy by AllHealthyFamily News
  3. The Limbic System by Suzanne Bovenizer CMT, CST

Importance of Ayurveda in the West

Modern world has gifted us with enormous innovative tools and techniques that have made life easier to live. But an explicit insight on the pros and cons of this massive technological development instinctively fills our mind with a wide range of chaos! The more the world progresses technically, the more the human life steps ahead in stress, ailments and an innate mechanical progress. Thus life becomes so insensible that one is always deemed with worries and stress. What could be the apt antidote to this malady? Ayurveda stands distinct as the most holistic remedy to end this mechanical life and mark the start of a natural way of living filled with eternal bliss! This is the reason why Ayurveda is widely recognized in the west in recent times.

Ayurveda serves as the root for Traditional European Medicine (TEM), Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Unani – a natural system of healing of the Middle Eastern world. This is the strong reason why Ayurveda is rightly called as the ‘Mother of Natural Healing’. With its genesis in ancient India, the essence of Ayurveda spread to the west with the advent of many foreigners who translated the Ayurvedic encyclopedias namely Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita to Arabic, Latin, German and English.

It is a well known fact that the first major plastic surgery in the western world was performed in 1815 by Carpue who spent 20 years in India to study the Ayurvedic surgery methods. Amazing right!!! This is just a single piece of information that is known to the world and there are much more Ayurvedic secrets to be revealed and relived.

Importance of Ayurveda in the West: Western Culture is more secured with massive man-made technologies that are strong enough to weaken the resources of nature of which human resource forms a major part. Decrease in physical efforts makes life more involuntary thus increasing the mental stress. Apart from this, the modern medical system deals only with the ailments rather than their root causes, resulting in a temporary relief with more side effects that make the ailments permanent and vulnerable. Thus, people are drawn towards the most dependable holistic approach that has a unique gift of a meaningful, mentally strong life with eternal peace for every individual.

To add more life to the fact that Ayurveda has found its place in the west, down comes the sturdy list of causes that has made the western world to feel the importance of Ayurveda.

  • Self-Realization for a Divine Living: Ayurvedic healing methodology includes a wide range of techniques of which Yoga, Meditation and Rejuvenation of the body and mind with effective Ayurvedic oils have gained wide attention in the West. These forms of practice leads to self-realization thus making one to realize the true purpose of living, paving way to eternal satisfaction and ecstasy of leading a meaningful life. Ayurveda serves its sole purpose of making one to realize self and live in harmony with self and nature thus giving comprehensiveness to human existence.
  • Good for All: Unlike modern medical system, Ayurveda is good for all individuals irrespective of their status of health. With its elegant regime, Ayurveda dignifies the diseased and strengthens the stronger ones leading to health and longevity.

Apart from this, Ayurveda remains as the most natural, less expensive medical system with homemade remedies of defensive nature. Effective utilization of Ayurvedic natural herbs, spices, vegetables and natural Ayurvedic Essential oils in your day to day living will support longevity and help you in the long run.

Ayurveda can be made more efficacious if its real essence is absorbed and utilized effectively. Studies have proved that Ayurveda is effective in the treatment of acute chronic diseases like diabetes and the integration of Ayurvedic Healing system with Modern therapy can pave way for finding a solution for some of the life threatening diseases like cancer.

One final yet valid reason that makes the West fascinated towards Ayurveda is its approach towards the patients that is lifted high with a sense of personal touch and care that is often missing in the western medical system.

As a true believer and benefiter of Ayurveda, I take this opportunity to thank all those strenuous efforts of the invaluable immortals who strived a lot in  bringing the knowledge of Ayurveda to the west that has served numerous people in the past and will continue to serve in the future as well!!!

Thought for the day:

“Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease.” –Hippocrates

Suggested Reading:

  1. Ayurveda: A Comprehensive Guide to Traditional Indian Medicine for the West by Frank John, M.D. Ninivaggi
  2. Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life: Achieving Optimal Health and Wellness through Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, and Western Science by Claudia Welch
  3. Ayurvedic Cooking for Westerners: Familiar Western Food Prepared with Ayurvedic Principles by Amadea Morningstar

Reference Links:

  1. Ayurveda by Wikipedia
  2. Meditation by National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  3. Differences between Ayurveda and Modern Medicine (Allopathy) by LuzySalud

Five Vital Elements of Ayurveda

The universe by itself is interrelated in some or the other way. Everything in this world is bound by five unique elements of life and has gradually become the five vital elements of Ayurveda, rightly known as the science of life. I often think that my 2 eyes are just not enough to admire the magnificence of nature and enjoy its excellence in each of its significant existence. One such immeasurable quantum of nature’s solace is the presence of the five essential elements namely Water, Earth, Space, Fire and Air in every survival of this globe. With such importance, the heavenly science of Ayurveda calls these elements as the building blocks of life, comprising human beings as the major part.

Every single thing in this world, be it a living being or a non-living object is exclusive and unique in its own because of a differing ratio of the five elements of life.  Even the Ayurvedic remedies like herbs, Ayurvedic essential oils, yoga, meditation and other natural remedies aim at nurturing the values of these five elements. Ayurveda identifies human body as a combination of the five vital elements in varying proportions, making an individual unique from his fellow being. Every object in nature follows an orderly mechanism that would make us speechless in awe. We rise on Earth and finally rest on Earth only. In between, all the five elements play a significant role in our daily lives, determining our physical, biological, psychological, social and environmental attributes. They are indivisible and together they are known as Panchamahabhutas in Sanskrit.

The theory of five vital elements and human system: Let’s now have a look at the way that these five elements lead, rule and influence the personality traits and attributes of mankind.

1. Water (Jala, Apa, and Neer): Most of us know that the Earth comprises of 70% of water and just 30% of land, similarly the human body is also made up of about 70% water, but for which the human system would stop functioning. The presence of water in our body is witnessed through trouble-free movement of various parts of the body and governs various fluids like blood, saliva, plasma, mucus etc.

In short, our body is supplied with the necessary energy only with the presence of this predominant element that regulates our body temperature as well. All the liquid items that we drink are all various forms of water and intake of water enhances suppleness, coolness, softness and the moisture of the skin. On an emotional perspective, water can be compared to a loving, gentle and compassionate personality with kindness and consideration.

2. Earth (Dhara and Prithvi): Anything that is stable and solid can be represented as a form of earth. The nourishing solid food items that we ingest are from earth. Earth represents strength, durability, firmness and might.  The muscles, tissues, bones, hair, fat, skin, cells, nails and teeth of the human body are governed by this dominant element. Mentally, earth stands for braveness, steadiness, vigor, constancy and the attributes of a warrior at heart, essential for a healthy and hearty life filled with challenges.

3. Space (Akash): The ever-present dominant force encircling the Globe is the space also known as ether. What comes to your mind when you just look at the clear sky in the early hours of the day? This sight brings utmost joy, humbleness, openness, liberty and an immaculate ray of hope and light to me. Space is everywhere and it is this space in the human heart that accepts and gives love without boundaries and in the body, it is considered as the container that accepts all kinds of impressions. This element is said to be present in the human system, wherever cavity and emptiness is present like stomach, intestines, nostrils, lungs, bladder, ears, throat, blood vessels and mouth. Light and hollow food items like wafers, corn flakes etc, are examples of foods with the presence of ether element.

4. Air (Vayu): This vital energy is forceful and itinerant. Without air the entire world would stop breathing and would look lifeless. The oxygen that helps us survive is just a part of air and acts as the foundation for all the positive reactions in the human body. The functioning of the major parts of the body like intestines, heart, lungs, joints and stomach are supported by air. The intake of air enhances circulation, coolness and movement. Physically, air is attributed to light, weightless, dry and movable characteristics and mentally, it is related to an active, vibrant, full-of-life and energetic personality that can influence and stay optimistic.

5. Fire (Agni): Fire grants the essential power that the body needs to digest and react to all metabolic, nervous, perspiring and challenging activities. It is only the fire in you that can help you withstand difficulties and win over the most critical situations in your life. This energy element converts food to fat and transfers the necessary energy to bones and muscles. The presence of fire determines your intelligence and the body temperature. It augments digestion, color and glow of the skin and metabolism. Hot, rough, sharp and clever traits are associated with fire.

Just like the five fingers in our palms, these five elements are highly important and form an integral part of every human being according to Ayurveda. Each of these building blocks play an imperative role in different phases of our life like Earth and Water elements are predominant during the childhood, when the body attains growth physically, whereas the element of Fire rules during adulthood when the body undergoes a drastic change. When we attain old age, the body tends to lose its flexibility and there is the predominance of Air and Space elements. I trust that this fundamental knowledge about the five vital elements of Ayurveda helps us realize that our body that is blended with nature, naturally.

Thought for the day:

“Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind and intellect and also ego-sense; these are the eight-fold division of my nature. This is inferior. Know my mother nature, the higher, Oh Mighty-Armed, the life-element by which the universe is upheld”. (7:4-5)                                                        – Bhagavad Gita

Suggested Reading:

  1. The Ayurveda Encyclopedia: Natural Secrets to Healing, Prevention, & Longevity By Swami Sadashiva Tirtha
  2. The Subtle Energy Body: The Complete Guide By Maureen Lockhart Ph.D.
  3. Textbook of Ayurveda, Volume One: Fundamental Principles By Vasant Lad

Reference Links:

  1. The Five Elements Part I: Ether by California College of Ayurveda
  2. Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Comparative Overview by NCBI
  3. Ayurved, the science of life by Richfield

Ayurveda: The Ancient Treasure of India

Right from a peasant to a president, every one craves for some treasure. A commoner may view treasure as a worldly pleasure, whereas a sage considers it as becoming one with God!!! Do you want to acquire a treasure which serves both these purposes?!?! I’m sure you will certainly wish to!! If yes, then go ahead to equip yourself with one of the ancient treasures of INDIA. Known for its rich natural and cultural heritage, India is a land of spiritual values, which is ruled by the most celebrated emperor of all ages known as AYURVEDA. This holistic, spiritual and absolute healing medical practice is serving the humanity for nearly 5000 golden years and has attained great heights due to its incredible theories and attributes, for which it is rightly called as the Ancient Treasure of India.

Ayurveda – To Start With: The modern world where we survive is derailed with infinite incompatible agents most of which aim at impacting the health of humanity. Thus mankind is left with no option except for thriving in search of a spiritual healing practice that soothes the mind, strengthens the body and eventually enlightens the spirit!!! Mighty with its mythical roots, Ayurveda is what our ancestors have blessed us with to lead a charming life. This age old medical practice of Indian origin had been strengthened with the strenuous efforts of numerous sages and other skillful resources.

Inclusive Chattels of Ayurveda: With a sturdy base, Ayurveda has its branches wide-spread to deal with each single attribute of mankind.

  • The Eminent Disciplines of Ayurveda: There are eight eminent branches of Ayurveda. They are Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, Ophthalmology and ENT, Psychiatry, Toxicology, Rejuvenating and Improving Immunity, Aphrodisiacs and Improving health of progeny. This spectacular medical science thus covers the entire life-cycle of a human being right from his/her birth.
  • Base of Ayurveda: As the universe is composed of five basic elements, Ayurveda considers mankind as one of the life forms of universe with an entity built up with the same natural base. Dealing with Prevention and Cure in a natural way, Ayurveda first analyses the unique constitution of each individual, which is the stepping stone to a holistic approach. Perfect understanding of Prakriti (Constitution of the human body), Dosha (Ayurvedic body types ruled by three biological energies namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha) and Guna (Nature of human character) forms the basis of an Ayurvedic treatment that aims at liberating mankind from all woes; be it physical, emotional or spiritual.
  • Healing Methodology of Ayurveda: With the systematic understanding of the physical and mental constitution of each individual, Ayurveda stands unique with its unique healing therapy. Holistic Healing Approach in striking poise between the mind, body and spirit is what makes Ayurveda to glow with glory. A complete Ayurvedic routine that includes ‘a healthy Ayurvedic lifestyle, Ayurvedic diet, herbal products that are greatly utilized for medications and meditation, a stress-free physical exercise for the mind, body and soul – Yoga, Effective Usage of Ayurvedic essential oils that soothes the mind and the body’ is recommended for each individual based on their body types. This unique healing approach of Ayurveda makes one to feel special and unique and paves way to live in harmony with nature that results in eternal ecstasy.
  • Yoga and Meditation – Mind Tutors of Ayurveda: Human mind has the power to make/break the soul. Taking this into concern the Ayurvedic scholars have advised a powerful pack of physical and mental exercises that pacifies the soul and strengthens the body. Yoga – sister science of Ayurveda and Meditation – Mind healing tool, share the credit of bringing peace of mind to mankind. Incessant practice of yoga and meditation leads one to realize the true value of their purpose of life, leading to a meaningful existence with divine satisfaction.

Impact of Ayurveda in the field of Medicine: A detailed description of the healing techniques in various medical aspects is described in the mass Ayurvedic encyclopedias, namely Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanga Hridaya and Ashtanga Sangraha. These encyclopedias serve as the leading light to massive uplift mainly in the field of Plastic Surgery, Ophthalmology, Human anatomy and Embryology. Intensive care and concern was equally given to treating the diseases and the patients. Privacy of Patient’s Confidentiality was given high importance by the Ayurvedic practitioners of the ancient world who defined the ethical code for all medical practitioners.

Numerous scientific studies have been carried out to study the real essence of Ayurvedic treatments. Ayurveda can cure various diseases that include common cold, fever, toothache, insomnia etc. Based on the study by NCCAM (National center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine), Meditation is found to be practiced by people to deal with anxiety, insomnia and various other health disorders.

Ayurveda at Present: The Ayurvedic encyclopedias were translated into many foreign languages including Arabic, Latin, German and English thus spreading the true knowledge in healing mankind. With its essence spread to the world, Ayurveda is now gaining global attention since this is the only holistic healing approach that alleviates ailments, prevents recurrence of diseases and treats humanity without leaving any traces behind in the form of side effects. Ayurveda acts as an effective stress-buster by calming the human mind, cultivating positive thoughts leading to a healthy living. It is for this reason this mind blowing curing therapy is being greatly acknowledged in the Western World!!!

Isn’t it fascinating to know that one single medical practice that came into existence nearly 5000 years ago covers the entire life of an individual in an innovative natural way? Ayurveda is indeed the ancient treasure of India of enormous wealth that nourishes the entire world with its holistic principles of medical practices. Let’s join together and enjoy the benefits of Ayurveda in a comprehensive way!

Thought for the day:

Anyone who believes that anything can be suited to everyone is a great fool, because medicine is practised not on mankind in general, but on every individual in particular.                                                       -Henri de Mondeville

Suggested Reading:

  1. The Complete Illustrated Guide to Ayurveda: The Ancient Indian Healing Tradition by Gopi Warrier
  2. Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health (Wisdoms of health) By Mark Bunn
  3. Ayurveda: The A-Z Guide to Healing Techniques From Ancient India (The Essential Healing Arts Series) By Nancy Bruning

Reference Links:

  1. Ayurveda by Wikipedia
  2. Brief History of Ayurveda by Healing Sphere
  3. Overview of Meditation by National center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Sushruta Samhita

The field of medicine is undeniably the field of scientific and ethical values that serves humanity since the Stone Age. Ayurveda, the science of life absolutely shares a major part in etching the medicinal world with its efficient and profound knowledge & principles of holistic healing. As any form of science attains completion with the compilation of texts by its scholars, Ayurveda remains still intact with the exertion of three major ancient masterminds who lay behind the creation of magnificent Ayurvedic encyclopedias namely Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanga Hridaya and Ashtanga Sangraha.

Surgery, for sure is a challenging medical remedy both for the practitioner who performs it and for the patient who undergoes it. By the time you reach the end of this post, you will speechless in awe – inspiring astonishment, as your mind will revolve around the history of a great personality, who mastered the field of surgery even before people could think of it!!!

Sushruta – The father of surgery: Sushruta is believed to be one of the initial surgeons, the world was blessed with. According to few reliable sources, Sushruta is said to have survived in the 6th century B.C. He is the notable disciple of Divodasa, who developed a school for surgery in the 6th to 9th century B.C. He came up with an endless Ayurvedic encyclopedia known as Sushruta Samhita, which is highly focused on stupendous medical thesis with its core content dealing with surgery. His excellence in the field of surgery crowned him as ‘The Father of Surgery’.

Sushruta’s Contributions to the Medical World: It will truly be a breathtaking fact to know about Sushruta’s contributions to the field of medicine that has the finest information in some of the most untouched topics of ancient world. I’m sure the forthcoming piece of information will definitely make your eyes wide open with a surprised wave of wonder!

  • ‘Father of Plastic Surgery’ – Sushruta’s contribution to the field of plastic surgery is enormous with his footsteps craved in numerous areas, few of which are Rhinoplasty (reconstruction of nose), Otoplasty (correction of the deformities & defects of earlobe), repair of lip injuries and congenital cleft lip.
  • Being a perfect pioneer of anesthesia, Sushruta advocated the use of wine to block the sensation of the patient undergoing surgery.
  • He was the perfect demonstrator of various medical techniques like making incisions illustrated with the help of vegetables like watermelon, extraction of foreign bodies etc.
  • Sushruta is the unique contributor to the field of obstetrics, orthopedics and ophthalmology and is celebrated as the first cataract surgeon.
  • He was the first to give an in-depth explanation of human anatomy, embryology and the development of fetus.
  • He practiced certain innovative techniques like using leeches to free the wounds from blood clots, ant – heads as stitching materials to stitch the intestines etc.

Sushruta Samhita – A detailed demonstration of holistic healing: Sushruta Samhita talks about every single work of Sushruta in Ayurvedic healing therapy. This book is full of tactful facts that spread the knowledge of medicine applicable to people of all ages. This Ayurvedic encyclopedia illustrates not only the detailed description of surgery & surgical equipments but also about all the related branches of medicine ranging from common illness to complicated cesarean (C-section), thus making it a complete form of medical discipline.

Sushruta Samhita was translated into many languages namely Arabic, Latin, German & English thus spreading the essence of serving mankind in treating various ailments with excellence.

To this Sage of Surgery, health was a composition of mental & physical well-being that can be incorporated by following an Ayurvedic lifestyle, the major part of which encompasses following a healthy Ayurvedic routine, effective usage of Ayurvedic essential oils in day to day life, practicing healthy physical exercises along with yoga and meditation to nurture a healthy mind.

What are you still waiting for?!?!? With the fresh memories of Ayurveda and the Ayurvedic scholar – Sushruta in your minds, grab a sheet of paper to pen down your day to day Ayurvedic activities for your future that will make your lifestyle Unique & Ayurvedic!!!

Thought for the day:

The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.                                                               -Voltaire

Suggested Reading:

  1. An English translation of the Sushruta samhita, based on original Sanskrit text, volume 1: Sutrasthanam By Susruta Susruta
  2. Susruta Samhita: Text in Sanskrit with English Translation By Kaviraj Bhishagratna
  3. Synopsis of Ayurveda: Based on a translation of the Su’sruta Samhit=a (The Treatise of Su’sruta) By G. D. Singhal, T. J. S. Patterson

Reference Links:

  1. Sushruta by Wikipedia
  2. Sushruta Samhita by Wikipedia
  3. The Internal Journal Of Plastic Surgery by Dr.Sanjay Saraf & Dr.Ravi S.Parihar

Charaka Samhita: The Strongest Root of Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a spiritual science with scintillating sources and is the ancient holistic healing methodology. It focuses on prevention and cure of all illnesses and is considered as the most realistic gifts of undying values to mankind. This spiritual science is believed to be of more than 5000 years of age with its attributes described in three major sources namely Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanga Hridaya & Ashtanga Sangraha. Good books are forever the best friends of mankind. For sure, encyclopedias are like eternal teachers to humanity with a great source of immense values. Charaka Samhita is one such Ayurvedic encyclopedia of age old holistic importance.

Charaka – The renowned physician: Charaka (also spelled Caraka) is a renowned physician of the court of Kanishka, a Kushana ruler. He is believed to have born in c. 300 BC. He himself was a living encyclopedia, who in addition to serving the human beings as a great medical preacher & practitioner also gave equal importance to human ethical values in treating the patients. Charaka is often referred to as the ‘Father of Medicine’.

Dawn of a divine Index: Although there is no much proof about the history of Charaka, according to legends he is believed to be a versatile student of Aatreya, who was the disciple of Bharadwaja who in turn was one of the students of Lord Indra. Aatreya’s request to pen down his teachings to his disciples led to the rise of 8 divine works of which Charaka’s Charaka Samhita was found to be the best & has survived for ages! His work was later revised by Dridhbala.

Contributions of Charaka to the world of Medicine: Charaka is the author of Charaka Samhita, the oldest of the existing three Ayurvedic encyclopedias. Being a man of mystical values, Charaka had numerous feathers added to his cap some of which are listed below.

  • First physician to present the concept of digestion, metabolism & immunity
  • Knowledge of Genetics – You’ll be truly amazed to know that a man who lived before 2000 years had the knowledge of genetics and its factors, which is one of the top stories of the modern medical world. Charaka had a thorough understanding about the factors determining the sex of the fetus. He was able to study that the reason behind the genetic defect in a child is possibly due to the defect in the sperm or ovum of the parents rather than the parents themselves.
  • Study of Anatomy of the human body and its organs was done by Charaka, which served as a leading light of interest in this field for most of the medical scholars of the later decades.

Charaka Samhita – The truth of Ayurveda: Samhita is a Sanskrit word which means collection of rules. Charaka Samhita talks about the various aspects of Ayurvedic contexts in treating diseases and in preventing them. This ocean of medical principles constitutes of 8 parts with a total number of 120 chapters mainly focusing on ‘Kaya Chikitsa‘ – The diagnosis and healing of illnesses through internal and external use of medicine. This branch of Ayurveda aims at healing the mind & the body, thus striking a balance between the two great pillars of the human soul. Ethical conducts of a physician in treating the patients, which is now lacking in most parts of the world was given high importance by Charaka. One can even find the details regarding the attributes of various aspects of how a good physician, nurse, healing drugs, hospital and a patient should be.

Source of Medical aid in treating the whole world: Charaka Samhita was translated into many foreign languages, including Arabic and Latin. It remains as a valuable medicinal source that inspired countless medical practitioners in coming up with the most modern medical concepts to treat humanity.

I can now realize the strong reason behind the survival of Ayurveda, the science of life. Mere words are not just enough to appreciate the strenuous efforts put forth by some of the ancient legends in serving mankind in the form of texts of undying values like Charaka Samhita. Let each one of us take into the world, the efforts of such great people by inculcating a healthy life style, which would strengthen their values and our vows.

Thought for the day:

True heroism consists in being superior to the ills of life, in whatever shape they may challenge us to combat.  By Napoleon Bonaparte

Suggested Reading:

  1. Caraka Samhita (1949 Edition, 6 Volume Set) Hindu, Gujarati, English Translation (Caraka Samhita, 6 Volume Set) by Atreva Punarbasu, Great Sage Agnivesa
  2. The Roots of Ayurveda (Penguin Classics) by Various
  3. Textbook of Ayurveda, Volume One: Fundamental Principles by Vasant Lad

Reference Links:

  1. Charaka by Wikipedia
  2. Charaka Samhita by Wikipedia
  3. History of Ayurveda by Professor Dr. P.H. Kulkarni

History of Ayurveda: The Ancient Wisdom Of Healing

History, when explored is always a key to unlock even the most unsolvable mystery. Let us spend some of our dear time in taking a trek through one such historic voyage, where each of our paces will provide us with a stack of treasure pacifying our soul. Let me tell you the name of such an estimable treasure island where I’m going to take you through!!! Yes, AYURVEDA is that one spectacular vicinity of more than 5000 years old, where we are going to fix our vision for the next few minutes. Let’s get started for this notable remark of our journey of life!!!!

Ayurveda – Name & Fame: Ayurveda‘ is composed of two Sanskrit words, Ayus meaning life and Veda meaning knowledge. According to Hinduism, there are 4 major Vedas or the holy books namely Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda and Ayurveda is considered as a subdivision of Atharva Veda. As the name implies, Ayurveda is a true knowledge of life that helps in leading a cultured and civilized life.

This age old spiritual science of holistic healing, which dates back to about 5000 years is still fresh in the world as a newborn pride, the main reason being its efficiency and effectiveness over all sorts of ailing illness. Few reliable sources state that Ayurveda’s basic principles got standardized around 1500 BC but there is no real evidence for the exact beginning of Ayurveda and no one exactly knows when this miraculous science had its birth as it is ageless like Mother Earth.

Ayurveda & Mother India : With its roots being deeply set in ancient India, Ayurveda is still considered to be the only existing form of holistic traditional medicinal treatment of body, mind and soul, which when blended together forms an ideal human system. India is a land of holistic traditional cultures and values, where you can find its eminence in each one of its remnants and Ayurveda, the established epic is not an exception at all.

Ayurveda – Spiritual Methodology of the Eternal Master:  A wise and a knowledgeable Master is often the reason behind any successful system in this world. Ayurveda, the miraculous medicinal approach is believed to have the Master of All Masters as its Mother. Yes, as per the Hindu mythology, Ayurveda is believed to be a boon granted by Brahma – The Lord of Creation to Dhanvantari who was crowned as the God of Medicine.

Ayurveda – Sources & Resources: The main sources of Ayurveda rest in three invaluable texts contributed by the most renowned Ayurvedic practitioners of ancient India- Charaka, Sushruta and Vaghbata. Their contributions include Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and a compilation of a set of major texts called Ashtanga Hridaya & Ashtanga Sangraha.

  • Charaka – The Esteemed Curator: Charaka is a man of mystical and legendary values. He is believed to have been in the court of Kanishka, an age old ruler of the Kushana Dynasty in India. Perfect preaching & practice of medicine together with ‘Privacy of Patient’s Confidentiality‘, one of the golden tenets of a tactful curator meant a lot to this man of values. Charaka’s literary exertion has Kaya-Chikitsa (Internal Medicine) – ‘The diagnosis and treatment of ailments through internal and external application of medicine’ as its core content.
  • Sushruta – The Skilled Surgeon: Sushruta is said to have served in the court of Gupta Dynasty as a surgeon. He is the man who took a giant pace in the field of surgery namely plastic, cosmetic and prosthetic surgery along with cesarean section and handling of compound fractures. Sushruta Samhita dealt with Shalya Tantra (Surgery) to a great extent.
  • Vaghbata – The Versatile Compiler: Vaghbata is believed to have existed in the 5th century AD, who took strenuous efforts in perfectly expressing the essence of Ayurveda in rhythmic verse which is found to be very essential by all the students of Ayurveda who commit to memorize these verses, which is the basis of Ayurvedic study of healing.

Hope this brief journey through Ayurveda proved to be inspiring and informative for you, which will certainly clad your thoughts & actions in an Ayurvedic way!!! Happy Health to You!!!

Thought for the day:

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. By Marcus Garvey

Suggested Reading:

  1. Textbook of Ayurveda, Volume One: Fundamental Principles by Vasant Lad
  2. An English translation of the Sushruta Samhita, based on original Sanskrit text, volume 1: Sutrasthanam by Susruta Susruta
  3. The Ayurveda Encyclopedia: Natural Secrets to Healing, Prevention, & Longevity by Swami Sadashiva Tirtha

Reference Links:

  1. Ayurveda by Wikipedia
  2. Brief History of Ayurveda by Healing Sphere
  3. History of Ayurveda by Professor Dr. P.H. Kulkarni

Ayurveda And Yoga: The Good Great Siblings

I love the natural way of healing, which is the best approach for a balanced living. I’ve done numerous researches and have read manifold books on Ayurveda. You know, I’ve also been to India to explore the most interesting and awe-inspiring attributes of Ayurveda. I didn’t how I missed the most essential verity that Ayurveda is Yoga’s sister science. I was amazed to read this piece of information while I was surfing through the internet in search of something not as thrilling as this one. I’ve heard that the science of Ayurveda insists on practicing Yoga, meditation and other physical exercises but the feeling of looking at these sister sciences together from the same Indian family is simply great!

These siblings are born to Spirituality and Purity, the father and mother respectively. Both of them share the same truth-seeking and optimistic underpinning and aim at granting the best ways for healthy and harmonious living. Ayurveda and Yoga are been taken to many parts of the world are proven successful mainly due to the fact that they help people achieve the promised results without much side effects. These sister sciences have many attributes in common and the most significant among them are listed below:

  1. Meditation: Ayurveda as well as Yoga insist meditation as these sciences believe that a clear and calm mind can do all the magic for your determined and active living in the pink. Through meditation, you can realize your actual powers and it improves your concentration, giving a good start to your day.
  2. Primitive teachings of Veda: Yoga and Ayurveda have come from the ancient Vedas, where the former has originated from the Yajur Veda and the latter from Rig Veda and Atharva Veda.
  3. Practices for holistic healing: Both these sciences teach and preach health practices that support holistic healing. They stress on striking the balance of doshas (elemental energies or humors), dhatus (tissues) and malas (waste materials) for sustaining a hale and hearty system.
  4. A healthy mind in a healthy body: This is the watchword of Ayurveda and Yoga and that is why Ayurveda suggests worshipping God, healthy eating, use of herbs and Ayurvedic essential oils along with meditation, Yoga and other physical exercises while Yoga suggests meditation and workouts for physical fitness as well as mental strength along with a balanced diet and regular prayers.
  5. Predominant aims of life: Both share the predominant aims of life which is nothing but accomplishing one’s duties, earning wealth, fulfilling the desires and attaining liberation, popularly known as Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.
  6. Psychology, physiology and anatomy: The principles of Ayurveda and Yoga are same when it comes to psychology, anatomy and physiology where both these practices nigh on 5 sheaths of human body, 72,000 subtle channels known as Nadis, ultimate energy called as Kundalini Shakthi and the 7 predominant Chakras representing the energy centers. On a psychological perspective, both of these sister sciences robustly signify that mind, emotions and spiritual concerns have a direct impact on the physical health and are the root cause of all infirmities.
  7. Cleansing techniques: Ayurveda and Yoga have an organized system for detoxification of the human body, in which the earlier science follows 5 cleansing methods known as Panchakarma and the later science specifies 6 refining means called as Shatkarma for eliminating the unwanted materials of the body in a natural way.

Hope you’d have enjoyed this amazing piece of information, if you have explored it the first time, just like me! Bring these siblings to your family as well for all the good health and wealth to dwell in your residence.

Reference Links:

  1. Shatkarma by Wikipedia
  2. Ayurveda and Yoga, Sister Sciences by Blue Lotus Ayurveda
  3. Panchakarma by The Ayurvedic Institute
  4. Ayurveda and Yoga, the sister sciences. A holistic approach to healing by YOGA Chicago