Friday, January 28, 2022

Ayurveda: India’s age-old ramban for a healthy mind and body

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 78th Mann Ki Baat mentioned Giloy, a plant found in the Indian subcontinent, popular for its health and medicinal benefits. Giloy is an important plant used in several Ayurvedic treatments. The AYUSH Ministry had also mentioned the inclusion of the plant and several other ayurvedic practices in one’s day-to-day habits to boost immunity and protect oneself from coronavirus.

Ayurveda, an ancient medicinal practice in India is regulated by the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy).

Ayurveda is the combination of “Ayu” meaning life and “Veda” meaning science or knowledge. Thus, Ayurveda is the science of life. According to Ayurveda, the human body is a conglomeration of three humors (Vata, Pitta, Kapha), seven basic tissues (Rasa, Rakta, Mansa, Meda, Asthi, Majja, Shukra), and the waste products of the body (mala, mutra and sweda). Further, every object in the universe, including the human body is composed of five basic elements- earth, water, fire, air, and vacuum (ether), also known as panchamahabhutas.

An imbalance in any of the elements or its constituents can result in sickness. This imbalance may be caused due to external or internal factors such as improper diet, undesirable habits, improper or no exercise, or seasonal abnormalities, among several other factors.

However, a balanced state will lead to a healthy body and mind. Further, the treatment under Ayurvedic practices consists of restoring the balance of disturbed body-mind matrix by following a proper diet, correcting life-routine and behavior, administration of drugs, and resorting to preventive Panchkarma and Rasayana therapy.

Benefits of Ayurveda

Ayurveda offers various health benefits that address problems like lifestyle disorders, degenerative conditions, neuromuscular disorders, allergies and more. Further, the inclusion of Ayurveda suggested diet also boosts the immunity of a person, helping to prevent various infections and diseases. Ayurveda is also recommended for healing the mind and the body.

Benefits to the physical body

The AYUSH Ministry recommended the inclusion of several Ayurvedic immunity promoting measures such as drinking herbal tea, kadha, golden milk, and practices like nasal application, oil pulling etc. This would strengthen the immunity, especially when a strong immunity is the requirement of the present time.

According to National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health, studies suggest that Ayurvedic preparations may reduce pain and increase function in people with osteoarthritis. Further, it also helps in managing symptoms in people with type 2 diabetes.

Ayurveda also recommends dietary considerations according to one’s dosha or imbalance, which in turn helps in reversing the impact. For eg, a person with kapha dosha should avoid dairy products, oily food, and fats.

Beneficial for mental health

Mental health imbalances are also the result of external and internal factors. Ayurvedic practices can help in raising awareness through practices like meditation that helps in improving lifestyle-related issues, one of the major cause of mental health issues.

In Ayurveda, an imbalance in Vata, Pitta and Kapha may cause mental health issues such as anxiety, stress, anger issues, disturbed sleep, and more. Ayurveda recommends balancing the three for a healthy mind.

Yoga, meditation, abhyanga, abdominal breathing, spiritual therapy, psycho-behavioral therapy, biological therapies with palliation, cleansing practices, can be beneficial in mental health issues.

Further, Harvard Medical School has also recommended yoga to deal with Covid-19 anxiety and depression.

Ayurveda, the science of life, helps in creating a balance in life by promoting physical and mental health benefits and moving the person towards a happier and healthier life.

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