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Ayurveda

Ayurveda (Devanagari) or Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient Hindu system of health care that is native to the Indian subcontinent. It is used by millions of people in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and increasingly in the west. The word "Ayurveda" is a tatpurusha compound of the word āyus meaning "life," "life principle," or "long life" and the word veda, which refers to a system of "knowledge." Thus "Ayurveda" roughly translates as the "knowledge of life" or "knowledge of a long life". According to Charaka Samhita, "life" itself is defined as the "combination of the body, sense organs, mind and soul, the factor responsible for preventing decay and death, which sustains the body over time, and guides the processes of rebirth."[1][2] According to this perspective, Ayurveda is concerned with measures to protect "ayus", which includes healthy living along with therapeutic measures that relate to physical, mental, social and spiritual harmony. Ayurveda is also one among the few traditional systems of medicine to contain a sophisticated system of surgery (which is referred to as "salya-chikitsa").

Tastes and effects

Ayurveda holds that the tastes of foods or herbs have specific physiological effects. Those tastes that transform after digestion (Vipaka) are more powerful.

    * Sweet (Madhura) - Sweet foods nourish, cool, moisten, oil, and increase weight
    * Sour (Amla) - Sour foods warm, oil, and increase weight
    * Salty (Lavana) - Salty foods warm, dissolve, stimulate, soften, oil, and increase weight
    * Bitter (Katu) - Bitter foods cool, dry, purify and decrease weight
    * Pungent (Tikta) - Pungent foods warm, dry, stimulate, and decrease weight
    * Astringent (Kashaya) - Astringent foods cool, dry, reduce stickiness.
    * Hot (Jhala)

Medications

Ayurveda operates on the precept that various materials of vegetable, animal, and mineral origin have some medicinal value. The medicinal properties of these materials have been documented by the practitioners and have been used for centuries to cure illness and/or help maintain good health. Ayurvedic medicaments are made from herbs or mixtures of herbs, either alone or in combination with minerals, metals and other ingredients of animal origin. The metals, animals and minerals are purified by individual processes before being used for medicinal purposes.

(Definition excerpted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayurveda_medicine

Practitioners who work in this modality

 

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