Showing posts with label Ayurveda Studies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ayurveda Studies. Show all posts

Ayurveda - The Therapeutic Use Of Ayurvedic Plants And Herbs

Table Of Contents


In Ayurveda, a vast variety of herbs are utilized to preserve balance and harmony so that excellent health may be achieved. 

  • Plants were often mixed to enhance bioavailability, decrease toxicity, and produce synergy. 
  • Although a significant variety of single medicines were utilized, multiplant formulations were and still are favored. 
  • However, few studies have been conducted to offer scientific evidence for these pairings, not least because to the difficulties in developing a proper technique to do so. 


When either the traditional three-spice or pungent mixture known as trikatu (tri: “three”; katu: “pungent”), consisting of Piper longum (long pepper), Piper nigrum (pepper), and Zingiber officinale (ginger), or the major alkaloid piperine of P. longum and P. nigrum, is added to for- mulations, it has been possible to show an increase in bioavailability. 

  • This idea has also been used to lowering the necessary dose of anti-TB medicines like rifampicin and other antibiotics like ciprofloxacin. 
  • Controlled studies have also shown that by adding small amounts of piperine to nutraceuticals like -carotene and curcumin, absorption of nutraceuticals like -carotene and curcumin can be increased severalfold in healthy volunteers—by 60 percent in the case of -carotene and 2000 percent in the case of 20 mg piperine to 2 g curcumin. 


Combining medications has been proven to be helpful in a few clinical trials. 

  • In osteoarthritis, frozen shoulder, and sciatica, combination treatment with Semecarpus anacardium (bhallatak), Dalbergia lanceolaria (gourakh), and Commiphora mukul (guggul) produced greater benefits than the individual medicines alone. 
  • Other examples include adding Bacopa monnieri to the combination of Inula racemosa and Commiphora mukul for heart disease treatment (“Cardiovascular drugs”), the combination of Gymnema sylvestre and Eugenia jambolana for diabetes (“Antidiabetic agents”), and the combination of Zingiber officinale and Commiphora mukul for arthritis treatment ( “Antirheumatic agents”). 

Any scientific research of Ayurvedic herbs would benefit tremendously from a review of early Ayurvedic writings' ideas, conceptions, and pronouncements on plant collecting, processing, combination, selection, and usage to determine how they align with modern scientific knowledge. 

  • Even a cursory glance into the history of Ayurveda and medication creation in ancient India, as well as some of the ideas employed in drug formulation, reveals that the ancient writings may teach us a lot. 

You may also want to read more about Ayurveda and Holistic Healing here.


Table Of Contents
Ayurveda's Use Of Medicinal Plants
Harvesting Ayurvedic Herbs
Processing Of Ayurvedic Herbs

Ayurveda's Use Of Medicinal Plants

The Ayurvedic formulary relies heavily on medicinal plants and herbs. 

Ayurveda describes the usage of over 1,700 different plants. 

  • It's worth reviewing the history of plant use—drug collection, selection, and evaluation—at this point. 
  • In ancient times, great care was taken to ensure the purity, safety, and effectiveness of the plants utilized. 

Plant chemical composition varies depending on soil, location, season, time of day, year, harvesting method, and subsequent processing. 

  • It's amazing how these elements were criminalized hundreds of years ago. 

  • The steps to be followed before a plant can be used as medicine are enumerated in the Kasyapa Samhita: 

    • plants must be cultivated on suitable soil in the appropriate season; 
    • they must be collected at the appropriate time, 
    • ensuring the absence of damage from heat, water, insects, stools, urine, and time; 
    • and they must be collected or grown in areas away from roadsides, cemeteries, and other such places where pollution and contamination may occur. 

Harvesting Ayurvedic Herbs 

The Caraka Samhita specifies that leaves should be gathered in the spring (March-April) and the rainy season (June-August) (July-September). 

This is supported by scientific data. Coughs, colds, asthma, and bronchitis are all treated by Adhatoda vasica leaves. 

  • The content of the major alkaloid, active principle, and bronchodilator vasicine was analyzed throughout the year and plotted, yielding a curve with two major peaks in March-April and July-September, corresponding to periods when the vasicine content was highest, demonstrating good correlation with Caraka's guidelines. 
  • Scholars debated the effectiveness of herbs and their actions often, with different viewpoints settled via observations on humans. 
  • Unfortunately, we no longer have access to the exact experimental procedures that were used. 

Processing Of Ayurvedic Herbs

The names of the plants to be utilized in different circumstances and the treatment to be followed have been set down as the final findings of debate and testing. 

Any concerns were addressed by testing on domestic animals due to the high respect for the safety of the medicines employed and the way in which they were to be handled. 

  • Processing was thought to be necessary to decrease or eliminate toxicity while simultaneously increasing bioavailability. 
  • Many hazardous or poisonous herbs are used in Ayurveda after they have been purified, or shodana. 
  • Aconitum tubers, for example, are often utilized in Ayurveda despite containing the poisonous alkaloid aconitine. 

Because the medication is treated or de-toxified before usage, this is feasible. 

  • When you boil Aconitum tubers in water, the poisonous aconitine is converted to aconine, which is less dangerous. 
  • Commiphora mukul gum resin is extensively used in Ayurveda for the treatment of arthritis, and it is typically prepared by boiling the resin in water or a triphala (or "three fruits") decoction before use (a mixture of Terminalia chebula, T. belerica, and Emblica officinalis). 
  • The crude material caused mild adverse effects such as skin rashes, diarrhea, and irregular menstruation during the development of Commiphora mukul as a hypolipidemic drug. 
  • The substance no longer produced skin rashes when it was cleansed in the conventional way by boiling and skimming.

You may also want to read more about Ayurveda and Holistic Healing here.

Ayurveda - What Are AYURVEDA'S ORIGINS?

Table Of Contents
Plants As Medicine
Ayurvedic System Of Medicine
Ayurveda Is An Upveda
Selection Of Ayurvedic Medicine

Plants As Medicine 

Plants have been utilized as medicines all throughout the globe since the dawn of humanity, and plant-based remedies have long been the basis of traditional cultures in dealing with health issues. 

A increasing discontent with current medications' inadequacies in some disease areas, particularly chronic diseases like arthritis and asthma, as well as their unpleasant iatrogenic consequences, has prompted a worldwide quest for alternative health-care methods. 

  • This dissatisfaction is coupled with a desire to reconnect to nature and adopt a more natural way of relating to the world. 
  • The quest has sparked global interest in the scientific confirmation of traditional plant-based therapies' therapeutic effectiveness. 

Ayurvedic System Of Medicine

Ayurveda, one of the most comprehensive and complete systems of medicine, originated in India approximately 3,000 years ago. 

Its holistic approach goes beyond the simple prescription of medicines. 

  • The goal of Ayurveda is twofold: to live a healthy, vigorous life and, in the case of illness, to recover. 
  • Disease is seen to be the lack of harmony, and Ayurveda is concerned with restoring harmony and therefore health. 
  • This is accomplished via a three-pronged strategy of lifestyle, food, and medication that is tailored to an individual's constitution and season. 

Health is a condition of complete physical, mental, spiritual, and social well-being, not only the absence of illness. 

Drugs are utilized in Ayurveda as part of the therapeutic method, and they may be of plant, mineral, or animal origin. 

Herbs, on the other hand, make up about 70% of the Ayurvedic materia medica. 

Ayurveda means "science or knowledge of life," with "life" meaning "Ayur" and "knowledge" or "science" meaning "knowledge" or "science." The Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharva Veda are the first four Vedas. 

Ayurveda Is An Upveda

Ayurveda is regarded an auxiliary Veda (upveda) or a fifth Veda at times. 

The Vedas are a corpus of information that is said to have originated from a nonhuman (divine) source. 

  • Early sages and wise men, alarmed by the rising prevalence of illness, prayed to the almighty creator for assistance in reducing human suffering. 
  • The divine creator transmitted the science of Ayurveda to Indra through various intermediaries in the Caraka Samhita, and from Indra to sages such as Bharadwaja, Atri, and others, who then taught Ayurveda to their disciples; however, Dhanvantri received the science from Indra in the Sushruta Samhita. 

The earliest documented book of Ayurveda, known as the Caraka Samhita, which is generally dated to 700 BC, contains a description of the first convocation on preventative health and therapeutic methods to cure illness. 

  • The Sushruta Samhita, which deals with surgery, and Vagbhata's Astanga Hrdayam were the next important books. 
  • The so-called Greater Triad, or Brihattrayi, is made up of three physicians: Caraka, Sushruta, and Vagbhata. 

Selection Of Ayurvedic Medicine 

Ayurvedic medicines were selected via a process that included observation, experimentation, intuition, and scholarly debate. 

The intuitive aspect aided in the selection of the best plants, which were tested on domestic animals including cats, dogs, and cows. 

  • Discussion among academics improved their usage, and disagreements among scholars were settled via frequent meetings. 
  • The Caraka Samhita mentions similar gatherings in the Himalayan foothills. 
  • In each instance, the controversy was also addressed via human experimentation. 
  • A significant number of herbs with established therapeutic value developed from this lengthy period of trial and research on humans. 
  • The fruits of this exploration are currently accessible in the form of sutras, which are very short written texts.

You may also want to read more about Ayurveda and Holistic Healing here.

What Is The Concept Of Disease In Ayurveda? 5 Causes Of Disease In Ayurveda




    According to Ayurveda, health is described as the balance of the doshas, dhatus, and malas. 

    When this balance is disrupted, the consequence is vikara, or illness. 

    Vikara has a number of synonyms, each of which describes a distinct feature of illness, such as: 

    1. Vyadhi: ‘pain,' which literally refers to a pricking pain but may also relate to the feeling of suffering. 

     2. Papa: ‘evil' or ‘sin,' refers to the ahamkara (‘ego'), which maintains the illusion of identity, of being distinct from the Whole, via its wants and ignorance. 

     This kind of attitude leads to a downward cycle of disintegration and illness. 

     3. Ama: ‘undigested food,' alluding to poisons and waste materials that interfere with metabolic functions. 

     4. Badha: 'trouble,' alluding to disease's impediment and difficulties to spiritual development. 

     5. Dukha: ‘sorrow' or ‘work,' alluding to the grief and additional labor brought on by illness. 


    The origin of the modern English term "illness" implies that the "ease" with which people go about their daily lives is hampered or impeded in some manner. 

    •  While illness may be inconvenient, it frequently strikes at the heart of our being, questioning fundamental beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. 
    • As a result, disease has deep lessons to teach, offering chances for a greater understanding of life and death. 

    Disease and death are great instructors, and they should be respected, welcomed, and understood, and given our full attention and care in this regard. 

    •  Others may claim that some illness is a meaningless, random occurrence, despite the fact that Ayurvedic medicine views the nature of vikara to be deep and significant. 
    •  In many instances, it seems as though a sickness is unconnected to causes outside one's control, such as influenza or the plague, which appear to strike anybody at any time. 


    According to Ayurvedic medicine, no illness is a random occurrence: 

    • It is firmly constructed on the foundation of past acts, some of which may be beyond our comprehension, particularly if we insist on identifying a single causal cause. 
    •  Rather of blaming an outbreak on a viral or bacterial infection, Ayurvedic medicine examines co-factors including food, lifestyle, and the environment. 

    In the event of epidemic illness, an Ayurvedic physician would look at individual variables like agni and ojas, as well as the time of year and the health of the environment. 

    • Treatments would be provided to manage the illness in a symptomatic manner, but the ultimate goal is to enhance agni and feed ojas, as well as make any required changes to the surroundings.

    The distinction of illness states is emphasized heavily in the Western medical paradigm, and also in later Ayurvedic teachings. 

    •  While this is a realistic method, it is a process that will eventually result in knowledge fragmentation. 
    •  Ayurvedic medicine has completed this process to some degree since, as a traditional discipline, the number of fundamental illnesses has not been increased for millennia. 

     In contrast, despite a relatively restricted materia medica, the number of illnesses reported in contemporary medicine continues to rise. 

    •  As a result, modern medicine has grown more specialized, to the point where finding a medical practitioner who is skilled in a range of specialities, such as gastrointestinal, obstetrics, and infectious disease, is becoming increasingly uncommon. 

     Ayurvedic doctors, on the other hand, have historically treated all types of illnesses in both men and women, as well as domesticated animals like horses and cows. 

    •  Ayurvedic doctors claim to practice the "knowledge" (veda) of "life" (ayus), specializing in the manifestation of this life principle and the individual living bodies that result from it. 
    •  According to Ayurveda, there are almost as many illnesses as there are individuals who suffer from them, since each ailment is caused by a unique combination of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual elements. 
      • These variables are then evaluated using relativistic theories like tridosha and agnisomiya (agni and ojas). 

    Ayurveda has an advantage over the fragmented science of pathology in that illness may be viewed as a manifestation of relatively basic principles when looking at the body as a whole and trying to comprehend the flux exhibited in the doshas. 

    •  ‘The physician who knows not the name of the illness, but recognizes and understands the effect of the doshas, should never feel ashamed,' says the Astanga Hrdaya. 


    All illness is shown by the rise and vitiation of the doshas, according to Ayurveda. 

    In general, there are five main variables that influence the dos, such as: 

    1.  Asatmyendriyartha: a misalignment of sense objects (stimuli) and jnana indriyas (‘sense organs'). 

    2.  Prajnaparadha: treasonous acts against knowledge 

    3.  Seasonal, climatic, biological, and geological variables affecting kala and desa 

    4. Karma: the cause-and-effect connection between ideas and deeds arising from the endless cycles of birth, life, and death. 

     5. Ama: endogenously or exogenously produced poisons and waste materials. 

    1. Asatmyendriyartha: SENSE AND SENSE OBJECTS IN DISEASE 

    Asatmyendriyartha is split into three categories related to the use of one's senses as the initial causes of illness. 

    (a) Atiyoga. 

    The first abuse of the senses is atiyoga, which involves overusing or overstimulating one or more of the five senses (nose, tongue, eye, skin, or ear): 

    • Smell: to overexpose oneself to scents and aromas that are extremely strong, harsh, or unpleasant. 
    • Taste: to consume too much of a specific food item or to overindulge when eating. 
    • Sight: Excessive staring at a specific item or at bright objects.
    • Touch: to repeatedly expose oneself to high temperatures or to participate in excessive and indulgent kinds of tactile stimulation. 
    • Hearing: to listen to loud or exciting noises. 

    (b) Hnayoga. 

    Hnayoga refers to the under-utilization of the senses, which is maybe not all that frequent in our over-stimulated world.  

    • A kind of asceticism that deprives some types of sensory experience or persistently emphasizes one type of sensory experience over another is an excellent example. 
    • We have been given all five senses to utilize for spiritual progress, and ignoring any of them will prevent us from experiencing genuine spiritual growth. 

    Each of the pancabhutas manifests in the tanmatras, and each of them promotes a different jnana indriya. 


    • We can only acquire genuine insight into the essence of reality by comprehending the delicate nature of sensation. 


    The following are some examples of under-use: Smell: the avoidance of smells or perfumes that are otherwise pleasant. 

    • Excessive fasting or a monotonous diet are unpleasant to the palate. 
    • Sight: not moving one's eyes, changing one's focus, or remaining in the dark for extended periods of time. 
    • Touch: to stay away from personal love and contact. 
    • To ignore the sound of conversations or music, use your hearing

    (c) Mithyayoga. 

    Mithyayoga is the distorted or abnormal use of one's senses, whether via overuse or underuse, with the purpose of harming oneself or another creature. 

    •  In many ways, the Western world's insatiable need for particular goods deprives those who create them of the opportunity to live full and entire lives. 
    •  Our need for sugar, for example, has resulted in huge swaths of monocultured sugar cane, grown with herbicides and pesticides to replace indigenous crops in poor nations. 

    The social consequences of such aspirations alter social and cultural patterns in many nations, where traditional sustainable values are sacrificed in the sake of industrialization fragmentation. 


    Mithyayoga also refers to the pleasure derived from injuring or tormenting another person, as well as the pleasure derived from witnessing such actions (even in the form of a so-called "horror movie"). 

     The following are some examples of skewed usage: 

    • Smell: to be exposed to poisonous, putrid, or other unpleasant smells. 
    • Taste: failing to follow proper dietary standards, as well as consuming spoiled, unpleasant, or poisonous meals. 
    • Sight: putting strain on the eyes by concentrating on small or distant things, as well as seeing obscene, frightening, or violent actions. 
    • Touch: to inflict bodily discomfort by touching damaged and uneven surfaces or filthy items. 
    • Hearing: listening to someone scream or groan in agony, exposing oneself to loud and frightening noises. 

    2. Prajnaparadha - CRIMES AGAINST WISDOM.

    According to Ayurveda, the second cause of illness is prajnaparadha (lit. "crimes against knowledge"). 

    These are actions carried out by a person with a body, mind, or speech that is impaired in some way in terms of understanding, intellect, purpose, or memory. 

     There are 12 factors to consider: 

    1.  Natural impulses are forced out or suppressed. 

     Such activities disrupt the passage of vata in the body, causing it to become vitiated. 

     According to Ayurveda, there are 13 physiological desires that should not be repressed, as well as the consequences of suppressing them: 

    (a) Insomnia, fatigue, headaches, and ojas depletion 

    (b) Crying causes eye and throat problems, as well as disrupting breathing. 

    (c) Sneezing may cause headaches, trigeminal neuralgia, and respiratory problems. 

    (d) Breathing: dyspnoea, cough, ojas depletion 

    (e) Belching: cough, hiccough, dyspnoea, palpitations 

    (f) Yawning: tremors, numbness, convulsions, pran disruption 

    (g) Nausea, oedema, fever, and skin disorders are all symptoms of vomiting. 

    (h)Drinking: thirst, dehydration, constipation, tiredness, urinary problems 

    (i) Eating: poor appetite, malabsorption, hypoglycemia, mental/emotional irritation 

    (j) Urination: urinary tract infections, lower back pain, and headaches 

    (k) Prostatic hypertrophy, incontinence, sleeplessness, and mental/emotional irritation are all symptoms of ejaculation. 

     (l) Constipation, stomach discomfort, bloating, dysuria, low appetite, autotoxicity, spasms are all symptoms of defecation. 

     (m) Constipation, stomach discomfort, bloating, dysuria, and joint pain are all symptoms of flatulence. 

     2.  Excessive use of violence. 

     This includes both overt and covert physical violence, as well as any damage intended upon another person or acts that hurt another being in any way. 

    •  We create unwholesome karma and prolong the cycle of violence when we take out our wrath, fury, or frustration on another person. 
    •  Instead, we should consider why we are feeling this way and find suitable outlets for them, as well as seeking peaceful solutions to situations when violence or aggressiveness seems to be the only option. 

     3.  An excessive amount of sexual activity. 

    This argument particularly applies to males, who are thought to have a limited sexual capacity that varies with age and seasonal factors .  

    • However, it may also allude to overly indulgent sexual behavior that interferes with dharma (‘duties and responsibilities') and artha (‘generation of riches and plenty'). 

    Sexuality was never seen as fundamentally ‘bad' or ‘dirty' or taboo in ancient India, as it was in the West, but rather as a natural, necessary, sacred, and valued form of human expression. 

    • Some Ayurvedic writings, such as the Astanga Hrudaya, include ‘steamy' sections about sexuality, while subsequent works, such as the Bhavaprakasa, take a more strict and patriarchal perspective. 

    Despite the fact that kama (‘pleasure') is an essentially positive and worthy pursuit, sensuality and sexuality, like all indulgent acts, are thought to contain illusory elements that can blind us to deeper insights and thus confuse our actions to the point where sexuality becomes an end in and of itself. 

     4.  Delay in the healing of an illness. 

     Ayurveda believes every illness to be a clarion call from our higher self to attention to the preservation of health and balance. 

    • Illness and disease deteriorate when people refuse to acknowledge them or take the necessary steps to treat them, leading to an increasingly dismal prognosis. 

     5.  Treatments that aren't suitable. 

    According to Ayurveda, we should seek the most suitable therapy for any imbalance or illness, one that focuses on resolving the root cause rather than masking the symptoms. 

    • Many contemporary medical therapies are aimed at symptom management rather than prevention and cure, and are therefore considered a prajnaparadha ('crime against knowledge'). 

     6.  Lack of respect for modesty and traditions. 

     In particular social settings, this point relates to acceptable and inappropriate behaviors. 

    • Ayurveda advises us to accept majority views and practices in order to build confidence and faith in our activities. 
    •  Being aware of social norms integrates us into the social dynamic and eliminates constraints on how others see us, enabling us to fulfill our dharma with the least amount of difficulty. 
    • It also enables people to feel free to be themselves, even if you are advocating for change or reform. 

     7.  Disrespect for the elderly and venerable. 

    Ayurveda advises us to treat people in positions of (spiritual) authority with the greatest respect and politeness, and to appreciate and honor our elders and seniors for their life experience and practical knowledge. 

    • This does not imply that one must compromise one's integrity; rather, one must establish an environment that is open-minded, non-judgmental, and respectful for the venerable. 
    • Most traditional cultures revolve around their elders' decisions, experience, and insights, whereas in our increasingly puerile society, elders and seniors have become obsolete, relegated to senior centers and resorts far from the children and adolescents who could benefit most from their grace, compassion, and wisdom. 

     8.  Traveling at inopportune times and locations. 

    Ayurveda has long recognized that some seasons of the year are unsuitable for travel, particularly when the weather is severe. 

    • Even the traveling sannyasin (‘religious ascetic') would temporarily take up residence in a hamlet or a monastery until the weather improved during the fall (varsa).  
    • Vata is already stated to be in an elevated condition during varsha(rainy season), thus excessive motions like traveling would exacerbate the impacts of this seasonal propensity and enhance vata vitiation. 
    •  At particular times, such as under a full moon or in the middle of the night, certain sites, such as burial grounds and cemeteries, were historically deemed deadly. 

     9.  Friendship with those who defy knowledge. 

     According to Ayurveda, keeping connections with those who have little or no moral integrity exposes us to harmful effects that may lead to prajnaparadha. 

    •  According to Ayurveda, these individuals do not need to be condemned, despised, or rejected, but we should keep a certain distance from them to avoid being influenced directly. 

    10. Abandoning excellent habits is number ten. 

     Indulgent attitudes, such as "just this time," may seem innocuous on their own, but they set a precedent for future incidents. 

    •  Although the effects of these behaviors are frequently concealed until after the act has been done, the cumulative impact of these habits starts to build and create mental and physical imbalance. 
    •  The only method to handle such behaviors is via mental and physical discipline, as well as compassion for one's frailty. 
    •  Despite the inconvenience, the pleasure of maintaining this level of purity provides for a continual flow of spiritual energy. 

     11.  Negative feelings and ideas. 

     Although it is impossible to completely eliminate negative ideas, Ayurveda recommends that we actively generate emotions of love, compassion, and charity to counteract them, and focus these good feelings towards ourselves and all other living creatures. 

    •  We may be tempted to believe that our lives are tough and unjust, but if we can identify even one thing to be grateful for, we will have planted the seed for change. 
    •  We realize that genuine fulfillment comes from turning within and, at the very least, feeling the tremendous force that supports and loves each of us, and being anchored in this. 
    •  We stop comparing ourselves to others and start creating externalized pleasure criteria: we love ourselves so much that it becomes a wonderful romance, a deep love. 

    This is the sattvic force of aham kara, which the Buddha recognized in the Anguttara nikaya, when he discovered that ‘in whatever region of heaven I sought, none could I find whom I loved as deeply as myself' on his path to enlightenment. 

    •  Because it is beneficial and leads to happiness, this big love affair is recognized as an aspect of all living creatures and is therefore acknowledged, appreciated, and shared. 
    •  We become a well-spring of our own divine beauty when our hearts expand. 
    •  However, even good ideas may confuse the intellect, and this is eventually recognized as a kind of subtle self-deception. 
    •  Only the serenity and freedom of buddhi (‘pure consciousness') can reveal true knowledge. 

     12.  Excessive, insufficient, or distorted use of the body, intellect, and speech.

    According to Ayurveda, all thoughts, words, and deeds create karma, which will come back to haunt us at some time in the future. 

    •  If we're fortunate, these negative things happen shortly after the act, and we may identify a cause and effect connection as well as an instant chance to remove an impediment. 
    •  If we're unfortunate, this ripening may occur at some time in the future, maybe even in another life, when a cause-and-effect connection is difficult to see and may prompt a hasty reaction. 


    The third cause of illness, known as parinama, is associated with periods (kala) of seasonal and climatic fluctuation and distortion. 

    These elements, like asatmyendriyartha, may be divided into three categories: 

    1. atiyoga (‘excess'), 
    2. hnayoga (‘deficiency'), 
    3. and mithyayoga (‘distorted'). 

    Excessively hot temperatures or prolonged periods of rain, which may influence both pitta and vata, are referred to as atiyoga kala. 

    • Extremely cold or dry weather, which affects kapha and vata, is referred to as hanayoga. 

    Unseasonable weather, especially during the transitional times between seasons (rtusandhi), is referred to as mithyayoga, and it may exacerbate any of the three doshas. 

    • However, Parinama also suggests an ecological view of illness, implying that excesses, deficits, and distortions in the natural environment cause sickness in people and other living things. 

    This implies that humanity's connection with the natural world should be preserved and nurtured with respect. 



    The blossoming of unwholesome karmic fruits, which only emerge when the circumstances are appropriate, is the fourth cause of illness. 

    • It's an obscure topic in some ways, yet it's one that can't be ignored, particularly when dealing with illness. 
    • If illness is a manifestation of karmic forces in whole or in part, the potential to see disease and death as a therapeutic path cannot be overstated. 

    Specific karmic effects may be observed in an astrological chart by the positions of Sani ('Saturn,' Rahu ('lunar north node,' and Ketu ('lunar south node,' according to jyotis, or Vedic astrology). 

    Specific practices such as mantra recitation, doing good deeds (karma yoga), praying to a deity for help (bhakti yoga), wearing certain colors, precious metals and gem stones, and avoiding negative thoughts can all help to mitigate the effects of unwholesome karma, but nothing can completely eliminate them. 


    Ama, a metabolic and psychological residue that affects the function of the body, mind, and senses, is the fifth and ultimate cause of illness. 

    • Ama increases the vitiation of vata, the dosha most linked with illness, by obstructing the flow of energy in the body. 
    • Lethargy, tiredness, a lack of excitement, mucoid congestion, poor digestion, constipation, abdominal distension, orbital oedema, rectal itching, and a thick coating on the tongue are all kaphaja symptoms. 
    •  Ama may be associated with any dosha, but it is particularly common in vattika circumstances, when the patient becomes weak and thin while still displaying kaphaja signs. 

    You may also want to read more about Ayurveda and Holistic Healing here.

    Ayurveda Dictionary - A Repository of Common Terms and Meanings used in Ayurveda


    • AGNI . The biological re that provides energy for the body to function. Agni regulates body heat and aids digestion, absorption, and assimilation of food. It transforms food into energy or consciousness.
    • AHAMKARA. Literally, the “I-former”; the ego; sense of separate self; the feeling of “I am.”
    • AMA. A toxic, morbid substance (both systemic and cellular) produced by undigested food which is the root cause of many diseases.
    • ANUPANA. Substance (such as milk, water, ghee, etc.) that serves as a medium for taking herbs.
    • ARTAVA DHATU. The female reproductive tissue, one of the seven dhatus or bodily tissues.
    • ASTHI DHATU. One of the seven dhatus or bodily tissues; specifically, the bone tissue that supports the body, giving protection, shape, and longevity.
    • AYURVEDA. The science of life; derived from the Sanskrit words ayur meaning life, and veda, knowledge or science. The Vedas are the authentic, ancient, spiritual scriptures of India.
    • BASMATI RICE. A long-grained scented rice originating in the foothills of the Himalayas in India. Easily digestible and nutritious.
    • BASTI. One of the five important cleansing measures of panchakarma, it eliminates excess vata dosha from the system via medicated herbal tea or oil enemas. Helps greatly to heal all vata disorders. The word basti literally means bladder. In ancient times, the apparatus used for the procedure was made out of leather.
    • BHASMA. A specialized Ayurvedic compound prepared and purified by being burned into ash; bhasmas have a high potency and release prana into the system.
    • BHASTRIKA. A breathing practice (pranayama) in which air is passively drawn in and forcibly pushed out, as in a bellows. Increases heat and improves circulation.
    • BHRAMARI. A type of breathing practice (pranayama) in which a soft humming sound, like a bee, is made during exhalation and/or inhalation. Calms the mind and cools pitta.
    • CARDAMOM. Pungent spice from a tropical plant.
    • CHAI. General word for tea; often refers to a spiced black tea made with milk and sugar.
    • CHAKRAS. The energy centers in the body, related to nerve plexus centers, which govern bodily functions. Each chakra is a reservoir of consciousness.
    • CHICKPEA FLOUR. A finely ground yellow flour. Also called gram.
    • CILANTRO. Fresh coriander leaf. This herb is used extensively in Indian cooking and valued for its zesty and cooling taste. Balances spicy dishes.
    • COCONUT MILK. Made from grating the white flesh of the coconut and mixing with a cup of water.
    • COCONUT WATER. The natural juice inside the coconut.
    • DAL. Any type of dried bean, pea, or lentil is called dal. Most dal is husked and split for quick cooking and greater ease of digestion.
    • DHATU. The structural, building, elemental tissue of the body. There are seven dhatus defined in Ayurveda: rasa (plasma); rakta (blood tissue); mamsa (muscle tissue); meda (adipose tissue); asthi (bone marrow); majja (bone and nerves); shukra and artava (male and female reproductive tissue).
    • DOSHA. The three main psycho-physiological functional principles of the body (vata, pitta, and kapha). They determine everyone’s constitution and maintain the integrity of the human body. The doshas govern the individual’s response to changes. When disturbed, they can initiate the disease process.
    • GHEE. Clarified butter; made from unsalted butter that has been gently cooked and the milk solids removed.
    • GUGGULU. Main ingredient in several herbal preparations (yogaraj guggulu, kaishore guggulu, etc.). A resin from a small tree, it has many useful medical actions, including bene ts for the nervous system, tonification, and anti-in amatory action on muscle tissues. Helps increase white blood count (good for the immune system) and is a nervine, rejuvenating tonic.
    • GUNAS. Three qualities influencing all creation: sattva, rajas, and tamas. Sattvic qualities imply essence, reality, consciousness, purity, and clarity of perception. All movement and activity are due to rajas. Tamas brings darkness, inertia, heaviness, and materialistic attitudes. There is a constant interplay among these three gunas in all creation. Also refers to the qualities (hard/soft, hot/cold, etc.) of the three doshas, seven dhatus, and three malas.
    • JAGGERY. An unrefined sugar made from the juice of crushed sugarcane stalks.
    • KAPHA. One of the three doshas, combining the water and earth elements. Kapha is the energy that forms the body’s structure— bones, muscles, tendons—and provides the “glue” that holds the cells together. It supplies the water for all bodily parts and systems, lubricates joints, moisturizes the skin, and maintains immunity. In balance, kapha is expressed as love, calmness, and forgiveness. Out of balance, it leads to attachment, greed, and envy.
    • KHAVAIGUNYA. A weak or defective space within an organ or tissue of the body where a pathological condition is likely to begin.
    • KITCHARI. A cooked mixture of rice and dal and spices that is easy to digest and high in protein. Often used as a nourishing food for a mono-fast.
    • LASSI. A refreshing drink made from yogurt, water, and spices and often served at the end of a meal as a digestive. Can be sweet or salty.
    • MAHAT (or MAHAD). The “great principle,” intelligence, the cosmic aspect of intellect; also contains the individual intellect, called Buddhi.
    • MAJJA DHATU. One of the seven dhatus or bodily tissues; the bone marrow and nerve tissue. It is unctuous and soft. Its main function is to oleate the body, to fill up the bone, and to nourish the shukra dhatu. It plays an important role in communication.
    • MAMSA DHATU . One of the seven dhatus or bodily tissues; the muscle tissue. Produced by rasa and rakta, its main functions are to provide physical strength, coordination, movement, covering, form, and protection.
    • MANTRA. A sacred word or phrase of spiritual significance and power that transcends the mind and yields bliss.
    • MARMA. An energy point on the skin that has a door receptor and is connected to the inner pathways of healing.
    • MUNG DAL. A small bean that has been husked and split. Usually a medium yellow color. Easy to digest.
    • NASYA. Method of administering medication through the nose; one of the ve measures of panchakarma.
    • NIGHTSHADE. Common name for a family of plants including tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, tobacco, petunias, and belladonna, which have strong medicinal properties. Frequent use may disturb the doshic equilibrium.
    • OJAS. The pure essence of all the bodily tissues (dhatus); the super ne essence of kapha; maintains immunity, strength, and vitality. Ojas creates bliss and awareness in the mental faculties and governs the body’s immune function. If it is depleted, it can lead to death.
    • PANCHAKARMA. Five measures for elimination of excess dosha and/or ama from the body. Used for the purpose of internal puri cation. They are: vomiting (vamana); purgation (virechana); medicated oil or decoction enema (basti); bloodletting (rakta moksha); and nasal administration of specific medication (nasya).
    • PIPPALI. Piper longum; a close relative of black pepper, which has many medicinal applications, especially for digestion and respiration. A rejuvenative tonic (rasayana) for the lungs and liver.
    • PITTA. One of the three doshas; it corresponds to the elements of re and water. Sometimes referred to as the re or bile principle, pitta governs digestion, absorption, assimilation, metabolism, and body temperature. In balance, pitta promotes understanding and intelligence; out of balance pitta arouses anger, hatred, jealousy.
    • PRAKRUTI . Prakruti (spelled with a capital P) is the Cosmic Creativity, the primordial matter.
    • PRAKRUTI. The inherent nature or psychosomatic, biological constitution of the individual, prakruti is the xed constitution of a person, which reflects the proportion of the three doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha) established at conception.
    • PRANA. The vital life energy. Without it, life cannot exist. The ow of cellular intelligence from one cell to another. Equivalent to the Oriental Ch’i or Ki.
    • PRANAYAMA. The control of life energy by various techniques which regulate and restrain breath, through which one can control the mind and improve one’s quality of awareness and perception. Helpful with all types of meditation.
    • PURUSHA. Choiceless, passive awareness; the pure Cosmic Being.
    • RAJAS. One of the three universal qualities (gunas) of Prakruti, Cosmic Creativity. Rajas is active, mobile, dynamic.
    • RAKTA DHATU. The second of the seven tissues (dhatus), rakta mainly contains red blood cells, which carry life energy (prana) to all bodily tissues. This oxygenates, or provides the life function, for all the tissues.
    • RASA DHATU. The rest of the seven dhatus, rasa (plasma) is nourished from digested food, and after absorption, it circulates in the entire body via specific channels. Its main function is to provide nutrition to each cell of the body.
    • RASAYANA. Rejuvenation therapy which brings about renewal, regeneration, and restoration of bodily cells, tissues, and organs, giving longevity to the cells and enhancing immunity and stamina. 
    • RISHI. A seer, a Vedic sage. The ancient rishis perceived and/or recorded the Vedic hymns. These enlightened sages shared their knowledge, medicine, philosophy, and spiritual teachings.
    • RUDRAKSHA. The “tears of Shiva”; the dried seeds from the fruit of the rudraksha tree. Said to be good for the heart both physically and spiritually, helpful for meditation and for “opening the heart chakra.”
    • SAFFRON . A golden yellow spice that comes from the stigma of a particular crocus. The best quality saffron is grown in Spain and Kashmir.
    • AMPRAPTI. The pathogenesis of disease; the entire disease process from its cause through its various stages to the complete manifestation of the disease.
    • SANKHYA. One of the schools of Indian philosophy, Sankhya denotes both “discriminative knowledge” and “enumeration.” It gives a systematic account of cosmic evolution from Purusha (Cosmic Spirit) and Prakruti (Primordial Matter) through the stages of creation: Mahad (Cosmic Intelligence); Ahamkara (individuating principle); Mana (mind); Indriyas (the inner doors of perception); Tanmatras (the objects of perception); and Mahat Bhutas ( ve great elements). Sat means truth and khya means to realize; thus Sankhya means to realize the theory of the creation of the universe in order to realize the ultimate truth of human life. Sankhya reveals the journey of consciousness into matter.
    • SATTVA. One of the three gunas of Prakruti, sattva denotes light, clarity, purity of perception; it is the essence of pure awareness.
    • SHITALI. A practice of pranayama (breath control) that cools the system. Inhalation is through the curled tongue; exhalation is slow, steady, and complete.
    • SHUKRA DHATU. The seventh tissue (dhatu); the male reproductive tissue.
    • SROTAS. Bodily channels.
    • SUCANAT. A granulated natural sugar made from pure sugarcane juice.
    • SURYA NAMASKAR. The Sun Salutation, a series of yoga postures done in a owing sequence with coordinated breathing.
    • TAMAS. One of the three gunas of Prakruti or Nature; its characteristics are darkness, inertia, and ignorance; it is responsible for sleep, drowsiness, dullness, unconsciousness.
    • TEJAS. The pure essence of the re element; the super ne essence of pitta dosha, which governs the transformation of matter into energy and of food, water, and air into consciousness.
    • TIKTA GHRITA . “Bitter ghee,” a specific Ayurvedic compound made of clarified butter with various bitter herbs; used for medicinal purposes.
    • TRIDOSHA. The three organizations or codes of intelligence within the body, mind, and consciousness; the three bodily humors: air (vata), re/bile (pitta), and water (kapha).
    • TRIKATU. An Ayurvedic compound of ginger, black pepper, and pippali (piper longum) that burns ama, detoxi es the body, and improves digestion, absorption, and assimilation.
    • TRIPHALA. An important Ayurvedic compound consisting of three herbs: amalaki, bibhitaki, and haritaki. It is the best laxative and bowel tonic and a balanced rasayana that is good for vata, pitta, and kapha.
    • TULSI. Indian holy basil. The sacred plant of Krishna, this herb is said to open the heart and mind, bestowing the energy of love and devotion.
    • TURBINADO. A granulated sugar made from pure sugarcane.
    • TURMERIC ROOT. An underground rhizome from a perennial plant native to southern India and Asia. Comes in a red and yellow form, but only the yellow is eaten. One of the most important herbs for both internal and external use, it is also essential in most Indian cooking.
    • VATA. One of the three doshas, combining the space and air elements; it is the subtle energy associated with bodily movement and governs breathing, blinking, muscle and tissue movement, pulsation of the heart, and all movements in the cytoplasm and cell membranes. In balance, vata promotes creativity and exibility; out of balance, vata produces fear and anxiety.
    • VIKRUTI. The current state of the individual, as opposed to the original constitution (prakruti) at conception. It may also denote disorder.
    • YOGA. In its deeper sense, Yoga is union of the lower self with the higher self, of the inner with the outer, mortality with immortality. Yoga postures (asanas) promote health, exibility, and purity toward achieving the state of Yoga.

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