The treatment of different diseases or health conditions offered with ayurvedic medicine is known as ayurvedic treatment. It is mainly classified into two major categories – detoxification treatment and alleviating treatment. We will discuss these types in detail in this article. It also includes the use of single herbs, ayurvedic herbal blends and ayurvedic classical medicines. Ayurvedic treatment is an effective and safer option in many diseases including acid reflux, peptic ulcer, anxiety, depression, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, infertility, etc. The list of diseases that can be cured, managed or treated with ayurvedic treatment is very long, which is out of the scope of this article. These are just a few examples in which ayurvedic treatment has been proved very effective.
Initial Requirement for Ayurvedic Treatment
As a modern medicine, the ayurvedic practitioner also requires diagnosing the disease, but in views of ayurvedic science. He further requires to confirm the aggravated, reduced and increased state of different dosha. These doshas are called Tridosha in ayurveda, which literally means three body humors. These humors are a manifestation of five elements, which are characterized according to their qualities and effects on the mind and body.
The first most requirement for starting ayurvedic treatment is ‘Ayurvedic Consultation’. Patients must get an ayurvedic consultation before trying any ayurvedic therapy or treatment. Because ayurveda treatment depends on several factors and Tridosha theory. So, the medicine which is effective for one person for a disease, it does not mean it will also be effective for other individuals suffering from the same disease. Dosha and underlying causes can be different, which also require to address in ayurvedic treatment for getting its maximum benefits. Ayurvedic consultation provides interpretation of body and mind type and different states of dosha – increased, decreased or vitiated. Accordingly, the ayurvedic doctor will recommend the most appropriate treatment and dietary and lifestyle modifications.
Ayurvedic Treatment Classification
Ayurvedic Treatment is classified into two major groups:
- Detoxification Treatment (Sodhana Chikitsa)
- Alleviating Treatment (Shamana Chikitsa)
Ayurvedic detoxification or Sodhana Chikitsa is a unique form of ayurvedic treatment, which helps to remove diseases causing factors or substances from the body.
Ayurveda believes in the development of disease-causing factors from the undigested food in the gut. It is called AMA in terms of ayurveda. It is the result of the low digestive power of the digestive system. However, it only causes the diseases of the digestive system. It leads to loss of appetite and malabsorption.
When these food particles are further processed in the gut, it produces toxins, which is called AAMVISH in terms of ayurveda. Nowadays, this is also known as the accumulation of toxins. These toxins can flow into the lymph and bloodstream, which incorporates with three doshas and results in various diseases depending on their accumulation in any organ in the body.
For removing these toxins, ayurveda has designed various detoxification procedures, which comes under the head of Sodhana Chikitsa. This type of treatment helps in the elimination of all these toxins and removal of disease-causing factors from the body. It further helps in reducing the severity of disease and improves overall health and general well-being.
Every procedure has a wide range of indications and contraindications. Therefore, the first requirement is complete health assessment and understanding of health condition and then taking a decision for the appropriate procedure. For this purpose, Ayurvedic Consultation is an initial recommendation.
In details, the Ayurvedic Therapies and detoxification procedures are discussed in the following article:
- Ayurvedic Therapies
- Panchakarma Detox
In ayurveda, detoxification is the first line of treatment. After detoxification, alleviating treatment is introduced. It includes the administration of internal medicine or application of topical medicine, which vary according to disease and symptoms.
The purpose of alleviating ayurvedic treatment is correcting dosha imbalance and restoring the natural functions of Dhatus (tissues), Agni (digestive fire) and improving excretion. It also improves the body’s immunity to fight off the disease.
Alleviating treatment is also introduced to people who are not fit for detoxification or panchakarma. Generally, these people include pregnant women, children and older people.
The difference between detoxification treatment and alleviating treatment is that detoxification treatment eliminates the toxins and vitiated dosha. Whereas alleviating treatment tries to bring three doshas in balance and pacifies the aggravated dosha. Therefore, sometimes, alleviating treatment is not much effect as detoxification treatment.
Alleviating treatment helps to:
- Improve appetite: It increases digestive fire. The primary purpose of alleviating treatment is to correct appetite and improve digestion. It is necessary because it does not only improve appetite and strength, but it also improves the digestion of medicine used for treating the disease.
- Balance three dosha: It includes subsidence of aggravated dosha, increases in decreased dosha and decrease in increased dosha. So that, the balance of the three doshas can be restored.
- Digest Ama: As discussed above, Ama (undigested food particles) in the gut is a major factor responsible for causing different diseases. So, it also needs to be addressed. Alleviating treatment also helps to digest it and prevents its conversion into AMAVISHA (toxins).
- Treat Disease: There are several ayurvedic medicines that help to treat disease. Each ayurvedic medicine has its own indications and uses. According to disease and symptoms, medicines are prescribed, which helps to treat the disease and restoring the health. This will be discussed further in detail below.
For treating disease, alleviating treatment also includes the recommendation for the following things:
Ayurvedic diet is a part of ayurvedic treatment. Food also acts as a medicine, according to ayurveda. So, it is also essential thing along with other things in ayurveda treatment. Corrections in dietary habits are very important because it also contributes to a successful ayurvedic treatment of a specific disease. Diet should be according to ayurvedic body type, season and health condition. It also assists the ayurvedic medicine to rebalance the vitiated dosha and to stop the progress of the disease.
Furthermore, ayurvedic diet boosts metabolism and improves digestion. It also aids in the management of obesity and other lifestyle disorders.
Lifestyle disorders are becoming a common issue. Diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, colon diseases, atherosclerosis, obesity and heart diseases are very common examples of lifestyle diseases.
How you live also contributes to dosha imbalance. For example, if you are doing excessive vigorous physical work, it can increase Vata Dosha. The second example, if you are living a sedentary lifestyle or sitting and lying for the most of time of the day, it is likely to increase in Kapha dosha.
Therefore, the ayurvedic doctor also asks different questions about your lifestyle. He may recommend different modifications to improve your health. He may also advise to do specific yoga exercises. He may also ask to change the way of living for restoring the health.
The ancient texts of ayurveda have described a wide range of herbal plants used in the management and treatment of diseases. These are commonly known as ayurvedic herbs.
Depending on circumstances, the single herb can be recommended to patients. Single herb therapy helps to target specific dosha condition and improving functions of a specific tissue or organ.
In most instance, ayurvedic herbal blends are more popular. These are prepared according to the special needs of the patient. Choosing herbs depends on imbalance state of three doshas, body type and health condition. It also depends on the patient’s tolerance, appetite and digestive capacity.
Some ayurvedic doctors have prepared special herbal formulations for each dosha, according to their experience and expertise. There are thousands of herbal blends are mentioned in ayurvedic texts including Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita, Ashtanga Sangraha and Ashtanga Hridaya. The blends mentioned in these texts and other ayurvedic texts are known as ayurvedic classical medicine. Let’s learn what are classical ayurvedic medicines.
Ayurvedic Classical Medicines
Ayurvedic classical medicines are a blend of herbs, minerals and other biological products. The formulations of these medicines are given in ayurvedic ancient texts. So, these medicines are known as ayurvedic classical medicines. There are thousands of ayurvedic formulations under this category. Not all these medicines are now available in the market, but the ayurvedic doctor can prepare it whenever required. Each ayurvedic doctor uses them according to his expertise.
Ayurvedic treatment consists of two major type of therapies – detoxification therapies and alleviating treatment. The detoxification treatment aids in the elimination of disease-causing factors including accumulated toxins. The alleviating treatment helps to bring balance in three doshas, restores Agni (digestion) and strengthens the Dhatus (tissues). Ayurvedic treatment varies according to the patient’s strength, tolerance, Tridosha imbalance and health condition. Each patient may require an individualized approach for a proper treatment. Therefore, you should consult an ayurvedic practitioner for more details for ayurvedic treatment that may require in your case.
Information is taken from different chapters of the following ayurvedic ancient texts:
- Charaka Samhita
- Sushruta Samhita
- Ashtanga Sangraha
- Ashtanga Hridaya
- Conboy, L. A., Edshteyn, I., & Garivaltis, H. (2009). Ayurveda and Panchakarma: Measuring the Effects of a Holistic Health Intervention. The Scientific World Journal, 9, 272–280. http://doi.org/10.1100/tsw.2009.35
- Patwardhan, B. (2016). The integrity of Ayurveda. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 7(4), 189–190. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaim.2016.11.004