I often wonder what would be the one common desire that has always eluded human kind across ages since its existence. As and more I observe around, I notice that it’s not just humans, but all living forms, that their quest to outlive each other exists. It’s the desire for longevity, a continuous endeavour to outlast death.
The earth existed billions of years before our arrival, which is estimated to be as recent as only 200, 000 years in the current form. As our planet ages, we grow in universal wisdom and learn the unspoken harmony existing among all life forms. Excerpted from the sacred texts of four Vedas, Ayurveda is often conferred as the 5th Veda for its holistic knowledge of natural healing practice, with an endeavour to achieve the goal of longevity.
However, written over 6,000 years ago, we have only a small portion available to us from that time.
The budding herbalist in me pushed me to find out the best kept secrets of Ayurveda that would lay the foundation for me to imbibe a healthier daily regime (Dincharya: Sanskrit) and a natural lifestyle that this science advocates of “Life supports Life”.
Green plants and herbs reestablish our connection with the natural world. Enhancing our relationship with the Earth through the green healing plants; is in itself a remarkable healing experience. In Ayurveda, herbalism and nutrition are a single science, and no healing can be truly successful that disregards one or the other. Herbs give subtle nutrition and stimulation to the deeper tissues and organs; foods deal with the grosser nutrition.
Secret 1- A treatment is not what cures the symptoms, but cures the illness
The significance of Ayurvedic Herbal practices is proven in part by its timelessness. Having survived numerous obstacles, it continues to be practiced as an unbroken tradition. The greatest contribution that this ancient healing system gives us is a method of teaching prevention. How do you treat an individual before there are any signs or symptoms? How does a person use herbs in a preventative way and not just treat the disease? The aim of Ayurvedic herb doctors is to balance a patient’s unique body/mind constitution. Ayurveda offers valuable practical guidelines for healthy living, applicable to every aspect of daily existence. It teaches simple ways to walk through life in accordance with the cycles of nature, and thus enhance the well-being, longevity and harmony of all who bring these practices into their life.
Secret 2 – Energy is the ultimate resource
Everything in the universe is composed of the five elements. These combine into the three doshas or bioenergetic forces govern our health and determine our physical constitution.
A particular dosha constitution indicates a heightened tendency to manifest imbalance or disease in a particular way as characterized by the dosha. Our constitutional balance influences how the body and mind will tend to react when experiencing a particular stimulus, such as food, herb, weather, or emotions. By recognizing and maintaining an individual’s constitution, Ayurveda can teach each person how to achieve his or her own state of health.
Secret 3- We are what we eat
In offering the most beneficial form of treatment, the Ayurvedic Herbal Practitioner, not only draws on the knowledge derived from the science of the Tridoshas, but must also include the unique science of Herbal Energetics. This simple system classifies the basic properties of herbs according to their energies, tastes, the organs and channels affected, as well as their therapeutic properties and biochemical properties. The tastes, attributes and the elements are all part of the language of nature, a language of life. By understanding and applying the wisdom of Herbal Energetics, plant remedies can connect us all with what has been called “the vital roots of existence”.
Secret 4 – Every individual is unique
Practitioners of herbal Ayurvedic medicine prescribe remedies on the basis of their attributes or energy/quality. These are determined according to the twenty attributes such as slow/sharp, oily/dry, cold/hot, slimy/rough, dense/liquid, soft/hard, static/mobile, subtle/gross, cloudy/clear, and heavy/light. The other aspects of classify herbs is according to six tastes: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. Taste is considered therapeutic for several reasons. Everyone needs some of each of the six tastes every day. From this we can create a line of herbal treatment protocols unique to the individual’s requirements. This personalizing aspect of Ayurveda can be integrated into any natural healing system.
Secret 5- Achieve the State of Equilibrium with Environment & with Oneself
Ayurveda believes that the temperament of a human being is genetic in origin. Prakriti, or constitution, is determined at the moment of conception and relates to genetically inherited physical and emotional qualities. Prakriti specifically relates to those qualities, characteristics and tendencies that are stable. Different individuals have different combinations of doshas and gunas and hence each individual will have an unique prakrti, just like each of us has a unique finger print. Once formed, prakrti remains constant for every individual for his or her lifetime.
Every individual is subjected to a constant interaction with his or her environment, which will affect the person’s constitution at any time. The body will try to maintain a dynamic equilibrium or balance with the environment. Although it reflects our ability to adjust to life’s influences and is always changing, it should match our Prakrti or inborn constitution, as closely as possible.
Secret 6- Side-effects are a sign of ineffective treatment
Ayurvedic specialists believe that a treatment should not have side-effects. If the remedy causes problems, then it cannot be regarded as healing.
Secret 7- Balance is the solution to all problems
In addition to the balance of the tridoshas, it is also important that there is a balance between these and all the energies of the universe. A consistent flow of energy of throughout the universe is highly essential.
Ayurveda goes into great detail to describe the medicinal attributes of many herbs and their correct usage to compliment and hasten the healing process, and to strengthen the body’s organs and systems. All the knowledge of Ayurveda is based on the above philosophies, and understanding these will help you apply it better, and live longer, happier, and healthier!