9 Things You Need to Know About Ayurvedic Medicine
Your unique energy type—or dosha—plays a huge role in your overall health
Each person has a different combination of the three doshas or energy types: vata, the air and space sign, which is associated with movement; pitta, the fire and water energy, which controls digestion and metabolism; and kapha, the earth energy type, which controls growth and maintenance. If your three energy types are out of balance, you may experience a health issue, according to Ayurvedic practitioners. "The term combines the Sanskrit words ayur—life—and veda—knowledge and science," says Miriam Amselem, an Ayurvedic practitioner and holistic nutritionist. "The main goal of Ayurvedic healing is to help people live long, healthy and balanced lives without the need for medication, surgeries or painful conditions." Grow these medicinal herbs to get you started toward a healthier future.
You are what you eat
Your diet plays a big role in Ayurvedic treatment. Rather than medicine, your Ayurvedic practitioner might "prescribe" certain herbs or types of food to bring your body into balance. "Treatment in Ayurvedic medicine is patient-specific," says Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics. Your practitioner will consider your genetics, lifestyle, behavior, and many other conditions that could be affecting your physical, mental, and spiritual state. A change in diet and lifestyle may be in order; as the saying goes, "let thy food be thy medicine." For instance, certain spices and herbs, such as turmeric, might be used to decrease inflammation. Consider incorporating these 10 healing herbs and spices into your diet.
Your lifestyle is key to balance and improving your health
In addition to your diet, Ayurvedic philosophy requires that you work to improve your whole life, often through meditation and yoga. "One who strives to live a more Ayurvedic life facilitates a state of balance between body, mind, and spirit," says Backe. "This may sound like a cliché, but in essence, these are the major benefits of this life. Follow the diet, meditate, treat others with love and respect, and your awareness levels will grow significantly." Read about the benefits of yoga.
Ayurvedic medicine can treat more than just weight gain
Keeping your diet in balance can help you lose weight—and many use Ayurvedic medicine for just that. But Ayurvedic medicine goes way beyond maintaining weight. "According to a 2015 report by University of Maryland Medical Center, the conditions that can be best treated are digestive, inflammation, hormonal and autoimmune," Amselem says. "Ayurveda can also help treat conditions such as IBS, asthma, high blood pressure, PMS, high cholesterol, anxiety, and depression." Try these 31 tips to reduce high blood pressure.
Ayurvedic medicine is as effective as traditional treatments for rheumatoid arthritis
A 2011 study found that herbal medicines from Ayurveda were just as effective as more traditional pain relief for people with rheumatoid arthritis. See what you should eat to ease your rheumatoid arthritis.
Ayurvedic medicine can help you reduce stress
Feeling less stressed can really boost your health—and much of Ayurvedic practice is dedicated to reducing stress in your life. "Since stress is related to almost every aspect of health, Ayurvedic medicine takes that into account because stress may lead to many diseases and illnesses," Amselem says. "There are several benefits a person can expect when following Ayurvedic principles: lower anxiety and stress, lower inflammation resulting in a healthier, illness-free body, hormonal balance, better sleep, and higher energy levels and helps promote faster recovery from illness." Learn proven strategies that will help you beat stress fast.
Ayurvedic medicine can work side by side with Western medicine
"Aryuveda practices are excellent for helping you live a healthy life," says Barry Rose, MD, a surgeon and the author of The Cutting Edge of Compassion. "It prescribes natural remedies for care, it is founded in general wellness, and should be considered complementary to the treatment of any illness. It should accentuate Western medicine and hopefully helps to prevent disease." See how another Eastern medical practice—acupuncture—can help you.
You'll want to find a trained Ayurvedic practitioner
Ayurvedic practice isn't well regulated in the U.S., so make sure you do your research before you settle on someone to help you. "When looking for a practitioner, find one that is highly recommended and with many years of experience," Amselem says. "If you already have a disease, let your healthcare provider know that you are considering Ayurveda since some herbs may interact with medications you are already using."
You may find that your Western-style doctor doesn't understand Ayurveda
"Many western doctors don't understand how eastern philosophy can help," Dr. Rose says. "They weren't trained in those traditions and have a hard time recognizing care that may not have a clear scientific statistical significance."