Ayurveda is a simple, practical science of life, the principles and practices of which evolved through many centuries. Ayurvedic science is based on eternal wisdom of people who acquired the knowledge from experience and meditation. Ayurvedic system is applicable universally to all those seeking harmony and peace. The entire universe, as well as the body is made up of five basic elements. These elements are Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space.
The word Ayurveda is composed of two sanskrit terms - Ayu meaning life and Veda meaning knowledge. Therefore Ayurveda means the knowledge of life or science of life. It is defined as the science, through which one can obtain knowledge about the useful and harmful ways of life, happy and miserable types of life, conditions that lead to the above types of life, as well as, the very nature of life.
According to Ayurvedic medicine, human body consists of three primary life forces or biological humors, which are Vatha, Pitha and Kapha. These three doshas are called the tridoshas. A balance among these life forces is essential for proper health. Any imbalance among the tridoshas causes a state of unhealthiness or disease.
Ayurvedic system says that this imbalance is the effect of the constant reaction of the internal environment of body to the changes in external environment. It is only required that we bring back normalcy to the balance of these doshas, to bring back the state of healthiness.
Ayurvedic treatments can be classified under two groups - tonification and reduction. Reduction therapies decrease excesses in the body while tonification methods nurture insufficiency in the body. Reduction therapy has two parts called pacification and purification. Pacification is done with herbs, fasting, exercise, sunbathing and exposure to wind. Purification is a special form of therapy for elimination of the disease causing humors. The power of Ayurvedic elimination therapy is its system for guiding the toxins to their sites for elimination. It consist of five parts - The pancha karmas - cleaning enemas, nasal medication, Purgation, Emesis and blood letting. All these require preliminary Ayurvedic practises of oleation and sweating. Kerala a southern state of India, has developed its own
Ayurvedic treatment modalities like Dhara, pizhichil, Navarakizhi, Elakizhi, Sirovasthi, Thalapothichil etc. which are highly effective in a number of diseases which include Motor neuron diseases, Arthritis of various kinds, skin diseases, heart diseases, peptic ulcer, Asthama, Peripheral vascular diseases and Gynecological disorders.
Ayurvedic pharmacology is based upon the concepts of rasa, veerya and vipaka. A vast variety of plants, metals, minerals, animals, birds and even mud and sand are used as medicines in Ayurveda.