Ayurveda is a traditional Hindu system of medicine, considered an “alternative” method of healthcare in the west. Based on the idea of creating balance in the body, Ayurvedic practitioners use exercise, personal and social hygiene, herbal preparations and medicines, external preparations, yoga, physiotherapy, and diet as both preventive and curative methods.[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5198827/[2]https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Ayurvedic[3]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29876598/

For diagnosis, practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine use the five senses, examining a patient’s pulse, urine, stool, tongue, speech, touch, vision, and appearance. Although some of the treatments involve surgery, Ayurvedic practitioners believe more in building a healthy lifestyle and metabolism through a healthy diet and lifestyle practices.[4]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5198827/[5]https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Ayurvedic[6]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29876598/

Although Ayurveda is a trusted healthcare system widely used across India and East Asian countries, the diagnostic and treatment methods aren’t widely accepted throughout much of the western world. 

Components of Ayurveda 

Like modern medicine, Ayurveda is divided into different components to address different issues:[7]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5198827/[8]https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Ayurvedic[9]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29876598/

  • Kayachikitsa: General medicine
  • KaumarBhritya: Associated with modern-day pediatrics
  • Shalya: Surgery and removal of alien objects in the body
  • Shalakya: ENT (ear, nose, and throat treatments
  • Bhoot vidya: Mental health
  • Agada Tantra: Toxicology for the study and treatment of food poisoning, toxin poisoning, snake bites, insect bites, and other animal bites.
  • Rasayana: Rejuvenation of older patients through the use of tonics for increasing lifespan, strength, and intellect
  • Vajikarana: Treatment of sexual dysfunctions

Products used in Ayurveda 

  • Plant-based products derived from fruits, bark, seeds, roots, and leaves 
  • Animal products such as milk, bones, and fats  
  • Minerals like gold, sulfur, copper sulfate, arsenic, and lead
  • Madya, a fermented, alcoholic beverage, sometimes with vinegar and tonic, is used as a strong laxative to aid digestion, and also in loosening joints and creating dryness