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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Myths and Facts about Ayurveda...



                                                            


Ayurveda has been widely recognized as a system of natural healthcare congenial to the health needs of the modern world. However, despite its increasing popularity across the globe, many people are often hesitant in approaching Ayurveda. The main reasons could be that ayurveda is associated with handful of myths and misconceptions.Though the treatment therapies of ayurveda are widely sought around the world, people tend to have more delusions than proper awareness about this ancient treatment.

Myth-Ayurveda is slow.
Fact -This is a general fallacy about Ayurveda. It is this myth that keep people away from seeking the help of Ayurveda therapies most of the times. There are fast curing medicines in Ayurveda too. The aspect of slow cure is because of the curing Principle of Ayurveda is different from modern medicines. Modern medicines usually treat the symptoms not the disease. Ayurveda diagnosis the root causes of the disease and tries to uproot them perpetually.
I would once again contradict this statement. The irony lies with the delay from the patient’s side. Most of the patients visiting holistic practitioners take their time in trying the other systems of medicine so as to derive a faster result. This not only delays the effect of the medicine, it also hampers with the working of the drug. This is because the patient has either tried much more complicated and powerful combinations of drugs, the effect of which needs to be neutralized first. Or in the mean time his malady has substantially become deep rooted and taken chronic form.Unfortunately, in such cases, many people don’t have the patience to allow Ayurvedic medicines to show their effect. When they see no immediate improvement, they quickly switch to other alternatives. It is important to realize that Ayurveda can be highly effective if the patient approaches it in early stages and gives it time to heal their body.
Patient will always be inclined towards a person, who can reassure him and promise a fast cure. There are many Ayurveda physicians who generally tend to ignore this fact. They often say patient; “treatment will be very long and you have to take medicines for a long period to get relief.” Such statements of physician will indeed harm the patient. It will increase his fear and the effect of medicines may also be delayed.
Thus, it’s physician knowledge and skills, which can lead to a successful and fast treatment leading to a healthy individual

Myth-Ayurveda is only home remedies.
Fact-Ayurveda is not just a form of treatment, it is a way of life. Yes, it is a lot about herbs and home remedies, but  that’s not all to it. If adapted in their entirety, ayurvedic principles can be extremely beneficial in making your life more balanced, healthy and productive. Ayurvedic treatment taken under the supervision of a qualified physician is based on many parameters of patient as well as the disease. So, it should not be compared to Home-remedies. Better way is that you should ask your physician about a particular remedy to be used or not.

Myth-Ayurveda is only meant for people with chronic ailments.
Fact- Most people do not approach Ayurveda in the initial stages of their problem as they believe it is only meant  for chronic stage of disease. Although, it has been proven effective in treating chronic disorders especially diabetes, arthritis, asthma, obesity, skin diseases, etc.  It is also beneficial for people suffering from common ailments like indigestion, headache, cold & cough, fever, etc. Herbal medicines, Panchakarma therapies and customized diet and lifestyle plan are recommended to each patient in ayurveda, irrespective of the severity of disease.

Myth-Ayurveda Medicine is only another Alternative Therapy.
Fact -I believe that Ayurveda system of medicine is incorrectly quoted as an alternative therapy as this has always been the most ancient and complete system of medicine. It has been in existence since times immemorial, long back before the emerging of all other therapies. Moreover in India we deem that Ayurveda origins straight from the Gods more than five thousand years ago! The word Ayurveda itself is derived from ‘Ayush’ which means life, and ‘Veda’ which means science. Therefore, Ayurveda is the complete ‘Science of Life’. The importance of Ayurveda can be acknowledged by the mere fact that a whole Veda has been dedicated to it. We need to understand that Ayurveda is an ancient heritage. It is a treasure to be valued and acknowledged so as to provide the humanity with a life full of health,vigor and vitality.

Ayurveda has been considered by a majority of society as a treatment method similar to allopathic or homeopathic. But, in fact, Ayurveda scripts clearly construe that it is purely a lifestyle. I would want to say here that although Ayurveda therapy generally calls for more patience and endurance both on the part of the patient as well as the doctor, yet its efficacy cannot be undermined. The effectiveness of this natural therapy may be cited by this example. Whenever there is a rip in a cloth or a crack in a pitcher, we intend to rectify it using the similar material that it is made of (cloth and mud respectively). Similarly any fault in the human body also demands to be corrected by use of natural resources, as much as possible. Our body absorbs and responds much better to nature and Ayurveda is all natural!

Myth-Ayurveda is all about herbs.
Fact-Though being proclaimed as the herbal treatment practice, Ayurveda deviates many a times from the title of an herbal therapy. The use of  products like milk, ghee, butter, honey, molasses, rock salts, minerals, ashes and self-fermented alcohol are common in Ayurveda; also these are essential ingredients of several medicinal preparations. Ayurveda cannot be called an herbal therapy in whole, though majority of the medicines use natural ingredients.

Myth-Ayurveda  is a vegetarian therapy.
Fact-It is a wonder that people understand Ayurveda as a vegetarian treatment when the use of ghee, fish oil & meat extract is common in Ayurveda. It is a fact that Ayurveda never claimed to be vegetarian stream, but somehow made people deep-rooted in this belief.

Myth-Ayurveda is primitive and not a scientific system of Medicine.
Fact-Ayurveda is the science of life. It is the traditional form of medicine for more than 5000 years. It was very well documented when civilization had not even started in the western countries. The human anatomy was well known and the knowledge about human body was obtained by dissection of dead bodies. There were researches and clinical trials that kept on increasing the knowledge gained. Diagnosis of each and every disease, description and use of each herb, mineral and facts about food were recovered and systematically documented. “Charaka Samhita” and “Sushruta Samhita” are the two ancient treatises on Ayurveda that have stood the test of time. Even surgery was known to the Ancient People and Sushurta is considered the as Father of Surgery. Research in traditional medicines has confirmed the efficacy of most of the natural substances used by Ayurveda doctors. The beauty of Ayurveda is that it can, not only treat persons who are ill but also gives utmost importance to maintain health in healthy people,so that everyone can enjoy heath.

Myth-Ayurvedic  medicines does not have side effects.
Fact-When the food we eat daily, if not taken in proper way, can lead to undesirable side-effects; how can any medicine be free from side-effects. For example, milk has been given a status of ‘Amrit’ in texts, can sometimes lead to abdominal pain, distension, loose motion etc.
There is no base to believe that Ayurveda medicines are side effect free and can be consumed in any dose and in any health condition. Ayurveda medicines can cause disturbing side effects like acidity, aches, faintness,diarrhea, muscular spasms etc. if consumed without a prescription and without proper diagnosis. These medicines are to be consumed in the proper dose only to achieve desired effects. There are some side effects associated with Ayurvedic therapy though these may be minimal and rare. In other words, side effects are negligible when compared with conventional modern therapy. Ayurvedic drugs should be taken under supervision of a qualified Ayurvedic doctor only.

Myth-Ayurvedic drugs contain heavy metals that cause toxic effects on the liver and kidney.
Fact-According to my belief the only reason for this, if any, could be of taking the drugs that are not prepared under accurate drug standardization and surveillance.It should be of prime concern to purchase the medicines which have been prepared strictly under standardized stipulations. It is true that heavy metals like mercury, lead etc are added to certain ayurvedic preparations. If the medicines are correctly prepared as stated in the classical texts, these metals will not cause any harm.
Ancient ayurvedic scholars were aware of the toxic effects of heavy metals.But certain life-saving drugs need addition of these metals.In these preparations,the toxicity of the metals is removed by the procedure “shodhan”(detoxification) and these metals are converted to their colloidal state by the process “Maran”(purification), thus avoiding the metals being deposited in the body. These two processes are very well described in Ayurvedic texts and practised by good  pharma companies manufacturing these drugs.

Myth-Ayurveda Do Not Perform Clinical Trials & there is no standardization in Medicine.
Fact-I would not agree to this false belief because our inherent system of Ayurveda is age-old and time tested. Since times immemorial this system of medicine has been in use and has proved to be result oriented and justified. It would be of good concern to ponder over the fact that the same herbal drugs and formulations that had been used hundreds of years ago are still in use. There have been little or no replacements whatsoever.
Ayurvedic preparations also undergo trials regulated through Drugs & Cosmetic act, 1940, under which pharmacopoeia standards including Standard Operating Procedures and Good Manufacturing Practices(GMP) are mandatory to be followed.

Myth-Ayurvedic medicine is offensive in taste and odor.
Fact-There is no denying of the fact that some medicines like the blood purifiers tend to be bitter. The bitter or pungent taste is required for the body so as to perform the cleansing act effectively. Even then if the patient is unable to take a particular product, the doctor would definitely suggest a combination medium like honey or mishri. Most of the classical drugs are available in the form of powders, tablets, syrups and decoctions etc.Yet, these days a majority of pharmaceutical companies have come out with effective patent drugs in easy tablets and capsules form. These are quite effective as these mostly contain extract form of the medicine/herbs.

Myth-Ayurveda medicine is too expensive.
Fact-Yes and no both are true. Yes in the sense that only some preparations like those containing Gold, Diamond etc. are costly. However, most Ayurvedic medicines are not so expensive to become out of reach of common man. There are many people, who are actually cheating and looting people and earning money in the name of Ayurveda. Such people are doing only business and they have to do nothing regarding the original purpose of Ayurveda.
Here, the role of Ayurveda physicians becomes very important. They can provide economical therapy to the people, based on their knowledge and skills.

Myth-Ayurvedic medicine contains steroids.
Fact-This sort of misconceptions is also prevalent nowadays, especially among the more cognizant class. Yet, let me avail this chance to absolutely contradict this doubt. The medicines in the ayurvedic system is either herb based or there are formulations prepared from natural resources or metals that have been thoroughly prepared in accordance with the pharmaceutical and pharmacological evidence available in the ayurvedic texts.You could escape these doubts when visiting a registered and qualified Ayurvedic practitioner.There is tendency among some people to patronize quacks which gives the science and the profession a bad name.  

Myth-Ayurvedic Medicine is only for Elderly Patients.
Fact-There is no any known limitation in this form of treatment. Ayurvedic medicines are actually supportive for any age group from infants to geriatrics! It is equally suited to all age groups. I would also state here that Ayurveda could be considered as a boon for the children when their body system is yet tender and in the process of immunity building. The natural products do not interfere with their body resistance and at the same time tend to be more safe and comforting.Ayurveda also gives guidance for planning good progeny even before conception.

Myth-Ayurvedic Medicines are not Assorted.
Fact-I would not agree to this misconception,this is because on the contrary, Ayurvedic therapies and medications are greatly wide ranging. There are medicines to provide relief and cure from an ailment, and there are Ayurveda formulations that shield you from diseases.Ayurveda science imbibes many other natural healing therapies like Panchkarma, Yoga, Meditation,Massage therapy etc.
In Ayurveda there are many different types of preparations based on individual patient’s need and palatability. Some people can easily take ‘churna’ (medicine powder), some can take tablets or capsules, some may like ‘Avlehas’ (paste like chyawanpraash) and still some may need ‘kwath’ (decoction of herbs), syrup and/or ‘Asavas’ and ‘Aristas’ (Fermented decoction). Each kind of preparation has its own indication and importance. There is a extensive diversity of Ayurveda medicinal formulations.

Myth-Principles of Ayurveda are not as genuine as that of modern medicine.
Fact-Ayurveda has been documented by our ancestors as being health promotive, preventive, curative and nutritive. The principle of Ayurveda views the body as constituted of three elements and diseases according to the vitiation of ‘tri-doshas’ namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These are responsible for various functions in the body. Each person has a unique blend of these three doshas and hence Ayurvedic treatment is always based on individual constitution.
Ayurveda views disease as a state of imbalance in one or more doshas of a person. An Ayurvedic physician aims at adjusting and balancing these doshas using a variety of therapies.The principles of Ayurveda may not be similar to modern medicine, but they are genuine and based on a scientific approach towards disease.

Myth-Anybody can practice Ayurveda.
Fact-Ayurvedic practitioners have formal degree in Ayurveda medicine and then only they can officially practice. B.A.M.S degree of ayurveda is 4 and1/2 years of intense, disciplined studies in the eight different branches of Ayurveda.
Surgery(Shalya-chikitsa)
Diseases above the Shoulder(Shalakya)
Internalmedicine(Kaayachikitsa)
Psychiatry(Bhutavidya)
Pediatrics(Kaumarabhrutyam)
Toxicology(Agadatantram)
Rejuvenation(Rasayanam)
Aphrodisiacs(Vajikaranam)
are eight branches in Ayurveda.On successful completion of the course, there is one year of compulsory internship which should be completed. The students undertake Post graduation courses to become specialist in each branch if they  are interested.

Myth-Ayurvedic medicines do not come with an expiry date.
Fact-It is not at all true.Herbs have chemical constituents in them and these change over time due to environmental conditions. The expiry date of Ayurvedic herbal medicines largely depend on the quality of herbs and ingredients used in Ayurvedic medicine .Nature of the herb used in a particular formulation, wet or dry. You should always follow the expiry date on the label of medicine bottle.

Myth-Pulse (Naadi) is the only way to diagnose diseases in Ayurveda.
Fact-Pulse is one of the several methods of diagnosis in Ayurveda. Importance of pulse has been well accepted in almost all the systems of medicines.In Ayurveda many other methods are also used like specially The ‘Astavidha rogi pareeksha’ (Eight methods to examine a patient) which includes; Naadi (Pulse), Mutra (Urine), Mala (stool), Shabda (voice),Jivha(tongue) Sparsha (skin), Drik (Eyes) and Aakriti (body build).
Besides these, many other methods to diagnose have been explained in the Ayurvedic texts. Proficiency in pulse diagnosis is gained by long practice, alertness and guidance from the preceptor.Physician also uses laboratory investigations and modern investigations like x-ray, ultrasonography etc. to confirm the diagnosis.


15 comments:

Mohanish Timble said...

Hi Vaishali,

Nice article .. clears myths about ayurveda

Vaishali Kamat said...

Thanks a lot...

Poonam Shete said...

Really good article vaishali
Also include the myth that lot of pathyas have to follow in ayurveda

Vaishali Kamat said...

Thank u so much....

Harshal Trivedi said...

its a good article. thanks vaishali

Vaishali Kamat said...

Thanks for the compliment!

Riami Yess said...

Hi Vaishali
Try some inputs for this page. It says that they will provide some interesting modern scientific research reports in Ayurveda:-

https://www.facebook.com/Scientific.Research.in.Ayurveda

shrinidh nair said...

Very nicely jotted down.. Interesting read.. good work.. looking fr more works like this

Vaishali Kamat said...

Thanks!!

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Dr.MrsVaishali Gautam Kamat said...

Thanks

Dr.MrsVaishali Gautam Kamat said...

Thanks a lot...

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