Showing posts with label Dictionary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dictionary. Show all posts

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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