Ayurveda, the Indian science of Healing

Ayurveda , also known as Ayurvedic medicine,  is a system of healing that originated in India thousands of years ago. There was written evidence on Ayurveda more than 6000 years back and some research suggests that it has been there longer than that.

Just as the animals and plants live in harmony with nature and utilize the Laws of Nature to create health and balance within their beings, we also as humans adhere to these very same principles.

Therefore, it is fair to say that Ayurveda is a system that helps maintain health in a person by using the inherent principles of nature to bring the individual back i nto equilibrium with their true self.

Ayurveda is made up of two Sanskrit words: Ayu which means life and Veda which means the knowledge of.

A person is a unique individual made up of five primary elements. According to Ayurveda, everything is composed of five elements: air, water, fire, earth, and space. These elements combine to form the three doshas, vata, kapha, and pitta, or metabolic types. In Ayurveda, doshas account for some of our individual differences. Just as in nature, we too have these five elements in us. When any of these elements are present in the environment, they will in turn have an influence on us. The foods we eat and the weather are just two examples of the presence of these elements. While we are a composite of these five primary elements, certain elements are seen to have an ability to combine and create various physiological functions. For instance,the vata dosha is a combination of space and air. It controls movement and is responsible for basic body processes such as breathing, cell division and circulation. Vata body areas are the large intestine, pelvis, bones, skin, ears, and thighs. People with vata as their main dosha are believed to be quick-thinking, thin, and fast, and are susceptible to anxiety, dry skin, and constipation.

The kapha dosha represents the elements of water and earth. Kapha is believed to be responsible for strength, immunity, and growth. Kapha body areas are the chest, lungs, and spinal fluid. People with kapha as their main dosha are thought to be calm, have a solid body frame, and are susceptible to diabetes, obesity, sinus congestion, and gallbladder problems.

The pitta dosha combines fire and water. It is thought to control hormones and the digestive system. Pitta body areas are the small intestines, stomach, sweat glands, skin, blood, and eyes. People with pitta as their primary dosha are thought to have a fiery personality, oily skin, and are susceptible to heart disease, stomach ulcers, inflammation, heartburn, and arthritis.

An imbalanced dosha is believed to interrupt the natural flow of prana, or vital energy. The disrupted energy flow is then thought to impair digestion and allow the build up of body waste, or ama, which further impairs energy and digestion.

These ratios of the doshas vary in each individual; and because of this, Ayurveda sees each person as a special mixture that accounts for our diversity.

What can be done as an Ayurveda plan?

There are variety of ways which can be used to follow an ayurvedic plan. On top comes:

1-   Yoga

2-      Mediatation

3-      Exercise ( depending on the state of the person)

4-      Certain massage types

5-      De toxification techniques – if needed ( either through diets, fasting)

Ayurevedic Types of Food:

VATA
Balancing Foods
Fruit – Apricots, Avocado, Bananas, Berries, Dates, Fresh Figs, Grapefruit, Grapes, Kiwi, Lemons, Mango, Melon, Oranges, Papaya, Peaches, Pineapple, Plums, Strawberries. Sweet fruits are balancing. No dried fruits.

Vegetables – Artichoke, Asparagus, Beets, Carrots, Cucumber, Green Beans, Leeks, Mustard Greens, Okra, Olives, Onion, Parsnip, Potato, Squash, Watercress, Zucchini. Cooked vegetables are most balancing so avoid raw vegetables.

Meat – Beef (occasionally), Chicken or Turkey (white meat), Duck, Eggs, Freshwater Fish, Seafood, Shrimp.

Dairy – Buttermilk, Cow’s Milk, Cheese, Goat’s Milk, Goat Cheese, Yogurt.

PITTA
Balancing Foods
Fruit – Apples, Avocado, Berries, Dates, Figs, Grapes, Mango, Melons, Pears, Pineapples, Plums, Pomegranate, Prunes, Raisins, Watermelon. Sweet fruits are balancing.

Vegetables – Artichoke, asparagus, bell pepper, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cucumber, celery, green beans, leafy greens, mushrooms, okra, parsley, potatoes, squash, sprouts, zucchini.

Grains – Barley, Cooked Oats, Basmati Rice, White Rice, Wheat, Wheat Bran

Meat – Chicken white meat, turkey white meat, egg white, freshwater fish, shrimp.

KAPHA
Balancing Foods
Fruit – Apples, Apricots, Berries, Cherries, Cranberries, Dried Figs, Mango, Peaches, Pears, Pomegranate, Prunes, Raisins. Sweet fruits such as bananas and dates are aggravating, as are sour fruits such as lemons, sour oranges and grapefruit.
Vegetables – Asparagus, Beets, Beet Greens, Bell Pepper, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Eggplant, Garlic, Green Beans, Horseradish, Leafy Greens, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Okra, Onions, Parsley, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, Spinach.

Meat – Chicken dark meat, Turkey dark meat, eggs .

It is recoemmend that you do a test prior to using any of the above in order to find out your type and follow the appropriate diet accordingly.

Nada Rashed

CAM Practitioner and Tutor

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