It was stopped during the years of foreign occupation, but luckyly it is now becoming very well known in India as well as in the rest of the world, people from all walks of life are enjoying the benefits of Ayurveda.
Other oriental natural medicines like the Chinese Medicine or the Tibetean Medicine have their roots in Ayurveda.
Ayurveda is a science of life (Ayur=life, Veda=science or knowledge).
This ancient system of natural medicine, is not simply a way of treating illnesses, Ayurveda also brings to the body the innate vitality and life, as well as providing the best advice for daily and seasonal routines, diet, behaviour and the use of our sense.
Ayurveda describes three fundamental energies (doshas) that govern our internal and external environments: movement, transformation and structure. In Sanskrit these are called Vata (wind), Pitta (fire) and Khapha (earth).
As these are responsible for our unique individual characteristics of mind and body, our own individual nature is made up of a specific proportion of these fundamental energies.
When one has Vata as our dominant dosha, one will have the tendency to be thin, light, enthusiastic, changeable and energetic. If Pitta is dominant in ones nature, the tendency wil be to be intense, intelligent and goal orienteted. Most people have one or two predominant doshas.
Each of this doshas have a balanced and an imbalance expression.
When Vata dosha is balanced one is lively and creative but when it is out of balance there is too much movement in the system, one might experience anxiety, insomnia, dryness, difficulty in focusing and constipations.
When Pitta is not balanced one will tend to be compulsive and irritable and perhaps suffer from indigestion or an inflammatory condition.
When Khapha is balanced one will be stable, sweet, caring, loving and supportive, but when out of balance then one will become sluggishness, weight gain and will have sinus congestion.
One of the most important goals of a Vaydia (Ayurvedic Doctor) is to determine if one is out of balance, and what is the best course of action to follow using panchakarma treatment, herbs, diet, etc to bring the person back to balance.
Panchakarma is an exceptional ayurvedic treatment that detoxifies the body and themind, strengthens the immune system and brings balance and wellbeing.
Panchakarma is an ancient treatment developed thousands of years ago in India.
It is recommended to have panchakarma at the change of every season or when one feels out of balance or experiences illness.
According to Ayurveda, to have good health depends on the capability of assimilate that which nourishes and eliminate the rest. This relates to all aspects of life.
When we can’t digest our food, our emotions, our experiences, then toxins accumulate in our body and this puts our body out of balance thus bringing disease to our lifes.
Panchakarma is process that releases the stored toxins and restores the body’s ability to heal itself.
When our digestion is strong, we create healthy tissues, eliminate waste products efficiently, and produce ojas, which it is though to be the innermost sap of our psychophysiology, ojas is the basis for clarity of perception, physical strength, and immunity.
If on the contrary our digestion is weak and incomplete, it will create toxins that are stored in the body. This toxic waste is known as ama.
Some of the many benefits of panchakarma are, reduced cholesterol as it lowers the levels of toxic lipid peroxide, reduces heavy metals, pesticides and other dangerous chemicals in the body, lowers blood pressure, decreases anxiety and aging, lowers free radicals, etc
The Basis for Wellbeing and Health
The free flow of energy, nourishment and information gets blocked by the accumulated ama (toxins) in the body.
This toxin's build up is, according to Ayurveda, the underlying cause of all diseases.
As the accumulated saturated fat that the body can not metabolize leads over time to the blocking of blood vessels and arteries, and then a heart attack.
In general, everybody understands the relationship of food and toxins, but we must not forgetthat as well as the food, we are constantly digestion information and energy.
In the same way, we have an emotional agni (digestion fire) which is responsible for digesting our experiences and feelings, anything in the negative or positive spectrum of emotions.
Restoring the Body's Natural Balance
When we are capable of digesting emotions well, we extract what is nourishing and eliminate what is not.
When we cant metabolize our negative emotions, toxins are produced in the same way as when we cant digest food.
For lots of people negative emotions and feelings, the toxic residues produce by these are more debilitating than digestion problems in the physique.
In order to maintain perfect health we must maintain a strong digestive fire as well as eliminate the toxins accumulated in our body. Panchakarma is the perfect therapy to do this as it detoxifies and restores our body's balance and vitality.
Principles of Ayurveda
Five basic elements make up our body:
The ether element or Akaha, the air element or Vayu, the fire element or Agni, the water element or Aapa, and the earth element or Prithvi.
Illness comes when the balance between these elements is disturbed.
The principle of tridosha or Siddhanta
The physiology is governed by the three doshas of Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and their balance is responsible for the proper functioning of the body. When they go out of balance disease appears in our bodies.
Body constitution or Prakriti
Every person has a different body constitution which is determined by the three Doshas, this occurs at the time when the embryo is formed.
The seven constituents
The constitution of every person has its own balance of Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Vata Pitta Kapha
Harmful Foods & Substances
According to principles found in the Vedic Texts, the following foods and substances are harmful to health.
Even if you feel no apparent negative results when you take them, the safest thing is to trust the vaidyas and take steps to reduce them. This knowledge from ayurveda is ancient, and in the Raju family generations of pulse diagnosis and treatment experience confirm these cautions to be true. "Diseases mostly come from the food. If we are eating the healthy, proper food it is increasing and reminding of the health. If you are eating opposite to what you need, you are increasing the disease. Balanced doshas are the health. Very healthy food, even, can increase [imbalance] the doshas and bring diseases if overeating." Dr. J.R. Raju
When we make good changes for our lives, it is important not to focus on mistakes we have made in the past. The past is past, and worrying about it holds us back. The mind has a significant influence on the body, and whatever we think becomes more likely to happen. It is our present and future health habits that will make the real difference for our lives, and we are fortunate to have a direct link to authentic ayurveda through the Raju family, with powerful remedies for reversing mistakes and helping any negative situation.
FOODS AND DIETS TO AVOID
Old foods, canned or frozen foods, twice-cooked foods, deep fried foods, red meat (especially beef), and heavy, large meals at night: These foods and habits put too big a load on the body for proper (complete) digestion, and so lead to ama (blockages) in the physiology.
Raw food diet: Too many raw foods in the diet strain digestion and impair absorption, leading to increase of ama (undigested food) and acid buildup in the body. If the food is not properly cooked, then the stomach has to cook it and that puts a heavy load on the body.
Very cold or frozen foods: These foods put the agni out (like pouring water on a fire) which harms digestion and ultimately good health, if taken regularly. Good digestion depends on strong agni (inner fire) to transform the food into rasa (plasma) which penetrates throughout the body and gets metabolized into all the other dhatu (tissue) layers. Without digestive fire, none of this can happen properly. Drinking or eating very cold things also disturbs the body's internal temperature which is set to maintain itself at very precise levels for good tissue health. If you are very hot, it is better to rinse your body with cool or lukewarm water to bring the skin temperature down quickly, while at the same time hydrating gradually with sips of room temperature or slightly cool water (nothing cold). When you are not over-heated, even on warm days, small sips of hot water will penetrate the tissues and melt ama...very good to continue in all seasons for better health.
Microwaved food: The Raju vaidyas strongly caution against microwave use because they "confuse" the molecules in the food by shaking them so violently it's like a "roller-coaster." This mixes up the intelligence in the food and the body takes on that confusion when we eat it, leading to disease.
Bananas combined with dairy: Bananas have a heavier structure than other fruits (more kapha value) so they are harder to digest properly and should always be taken alone, not with other foods. Bananas combined with dairy, which is also very kapha, are much too heavy (very blocking) and should never be eaten in combination (causes skin problems, among other things).
Heated honey: honey becomes toxic when heated and is harmful to the body and very difficult to remove from the system. It is important to avoid heated honey in any form or quantity, even if small, and never ever cook with honey. One should never take hot food or drink immediately after eating honor, eat honey in the presence of a high fever, or risk mixing honey into even warm water (just in case it is too warm—that's how important it is to avoid heating honey!). "Heated honey is bad, if you happen to consume some take shodana vati right away. Honey that is heated by the natural environment up to 100 degrees is ok, though, but good to store in a dark cool place." Dr. J.R. Raju
Yeast, white sugar, and sodium bicarbonate: all cause harmful bacteria to grow in the gut. Fermented foods are not to be taken every day. Sourdough is fine, but not too much (not daily).
"Yeast is REALLY not good for us. Doctors used to think that nothing could grow in the stomach because of the powerful acids there. But they found that bacteria does grow in the stomach, from yeast, white sugar, and sodium bicarbonate. Sodium bicarbonate is not supposed to be taken even one time…even one time will get one into the habit, which destroys many things. Carbonated is also not good. When you stop something bad, like yeast, you realize it is nothing but craving. It is yeast...doesn’t even taste good.” Dr. J. R. Raju
Carbonation: "Carbonation is not so good...it is vata inducing. OK to take sometimes, but not on a regular basis" Dr. J.R. Raju
Be very careful with sugar, in general: “Sugar also we have to be really, really careful of. It may be better to give up. Don’t mix jaggery with milk because it may contain salt, and can also create parasites. Jaggery has the tendency of growing the parasites (best diet for parasites). Sucanat is also not good with milk because it is like jaggery. Good to make the habit of PLAIN milk, unsweetened. Natural rock sugar, on strings or powdered, is ok with milk [in moderation]. Stevia is ok with milk. Chai can be sweetened, but the natural rock sugar is better. Tea and coffee mixing with the milk is not really a good idea, but tea is better…mixed with the milk they create a heavy load on the liver." Dr. J.R. Raju
Butter: Because of the milk solids in butter, it is too heavy (blocking), so better to avoid it. Use clarified butter (ghee) instead, where the heavy milk solids have been removed.
Vinegar: "Vinegar is not good. If it is just one spoon, it is ok, but not daily. Vinegar is very sour, and sour will increase the pitta and aggravate vata. That is why sour should be very little, not more, for anyone's diet. Instead of vinegar, take amla juice. Amla juice is a very good rasayana and it is sour in the taste but it's not completely sour. After the digestion it becomes sweet, so it will not make the body rough like vinegar does." Dr. Krishna Raju
White potatoes and non-pitta root vegetables: Vegetables that grow under the ground must have strong pitta qualities to be digestible (bright red or orange color, or spicy, sharp flavor). Without these qualities in their nature, root vegetables like potatoes are too heavy; they don't have enough innate heat or energy from sun exposure to be fully digestible, and so lead to ama (blockages) building up in the body.
White Sprouts: When sprouts are still pale and white, they contain toxins that are not healthy to eat. Only green sprouts, like alfalfa sprouts, are ok (though not to take raw in much quantity—better to cook them, or they will strain digestion).
Mushrooms: Because mushrooms are a fungus, they are not good to eat because the fungus will propagate (spread) in the system and harm the natural tissue balance and health.
High alkaline diet: "This kind of diet is better not...becoming addicted to it is not good. In Charaka [Vedic Text] it is mentioned one should not get addicted to alkaline things. It is said that it can destroy the individual, the family, the street, the neighbors, village, country, whole world....that much strongly it is mentioned. You have to trust that your body can balance things itself with normal food. [A high alkaline diet prevents the body from fixing problems, in the same way hearing aids prevent the body from trying to hear better.] It's always better to reduce alkaline foods very very, slowly....not even noticeably, because it is recommended to be reduced very carefully and slowly. When you are off the alkaline diet, the herbs will be more effective and you will notice more improvement." Dr. J.R. Raju
Soy beans: Soy beans and soy-based foods are not so good. They are very hard to digest and increase ama (bring bloating, gas, indigestion and blockages in the system). If you come from a culture where soy is a traditionally common food, then your physiology will be more accustomed to soy and can digest it better. Or if you are used to eating soy products and like them a lot, try cutting down and see if you feel better with less. If digestive problems are there then you should definitely try to eliminate soy from your diet. The improvements will be obvious in time.
CAUTIONS FOR HARMFUL SUBSTANCES AND PROCEDURES
EMF and radiation exposure: Take steps to reduce and avoid radiation exposure as much as possible. Never take microwaved food and protect yourself from cell phone and computer radiation, etc. "It is very difficult in the world today with so many electromagnetic waves and microwaves and so much radiation. Everyone should start taking smriti and nasika and shodhana [Raju family herbal rasayanas] for protection. It is not all in our hands [because of the world today]...still we have to be very careful with radiation. It's better not to think of any negativity and we should plan for positive, but take care of it with very strong steps, like that." Dr. J.R. Raju
Alcohol: Alcohol is a toxin that puts a heavy load on the body's purification organs and systems. It is also a strong diuretic and causes excessive dehydration, which aggravates vata and weakens the dhatus (tissues). Alcohol is detrimental to brain and neural health and is bad for the mind and memory over time, because it trains the body through repeated exposure to "forget" its faculties (not a good habit to develop at any time of life, but becomes even more important as we age). "Alcohol weakens agni because it brings ama (blockages) to the stomach and the head [a lot]. Because wine is made with grapes, a little wine is not as bad as other forms of alcohol." Dr. Krishna Raju Hard liquor is really not good for our health, and beer is the worst for agni, because it contains yeast. Sucking on shodhana frequently (Raju rasayana tablet for removing toxins) will help with the addictive influence of alcohol. If too much alcohol is taken at one time, having Kanji (boiled rice soup) the whole next day, or taking liquids and pureed foods only the next day, will help a lot to quickly clear the physiology, and prevent ama from building up in the body (very important to clear like this).
Drugs: Prescription drugs and medications, recommended by a trusted health-care provider, may be a necessary choice at times to protect our health and avoid more serious problems. But it is always good to pursue natural, holistic healing methods at the same time, to solve the underlying causes so that the need for drug treatment can be removed.
Long term use of any medication or drug (including "recreational" drugs) as well as regular alcohol use are real factors, according to Dr. Raju, for deteriorating mental clarity, not to mention other negative side-effects for health. Whatever we can do to avoid these things through ayurveda in the long run, including taking steps to protect ourselves when medications are a necessity, is very important for our longterm health.
Fortunately, ayurveda has powerful remedies to offer in this regard and the Raju vaidyas are leaders in their field.They are also very well versed in western medical treatment modalities, and will often recommend clinical testing, and sometimes treatment, in conjunction with various approaches from ayurveda. Note that they emphasize the importance of reducing long-term medications very gradually and only under the close supervision of a trusted medical practitioner.
Tobacco: Smoking brings toxins directly into the lungs, spoiling both the lung capacity and "prana" (life-force) value of the physiology. There are very effective procedures from ayurveda (particularly with panchakarma) to remove the memory of addiction from the physiology and cleanse the influence of smoking from the body.
Birth Control Pills (an elective drug treatment): Long term use of birth control pills or patches is really not good for health, especially reproductive health. The hormones in these medications force the body to follow a prescribed schedule that does not take into account the subtle qualities and fluctuations of the body's myriad hormonal cycles. Over time, the body loses proper "memory" of balancing the hormones, and health problems may result. If we take these things to avoid pregnancy and then suddenly stop them, wishing to conceive, it may take some time to reestablish normal cycles and good fertility. Letting the body govern itself is always best choice...."Natural is best"....whenever possible.
Excessive use of man-made vitamins: "These kind of things (vitamins) not to take too much. Herbal preparations are OK, but vitamin kinds of things not...better to get it from plants and food than a lab. OK to do [vitamins] if you feel you need them, but not for too long...some short period, then give a gap and then try again (20 or 40 days then stop for one or two months, but only if you feel you need it). Later you can reduce the dose: ask the doctor what is a safer dose, if you continue.
"Sometimes it can be that there is too much calcium metabolism or formation of the stones [with vitamins]. It's better to be safe (can be that the body creates stones, so better not to risk that). It is always good to ask the expert. With herbs, it's OK to decide on your own, but even with herbs the expert opinion is good. Herbs don't do harm, they are like mother. But chemicals...need to be careful with them." Dr. J.R. Raju
A word about biopsies: Surgical biopsies should be avoided whenever possible. Biopsies can damage the marmas (subtle vital points in the physiology that control our health). And if any diseased cells are there, an incision will release the "memory" of that disease into the entire body. It is much better to remove the whole tumor or problem area than do a biopsy.
For those that enjoy a good read, specially about health and well being and Ayurveda