Ayurvedic Medicine is a type of healing medicine that has ancient roots that date back thousands of years in the Indian subcontinent. In Sanskrit, Ayurveda translates to “the knowledge of life,” as it is a lifestyle focused on health maintenance of the body, mind, and spirit.
Ayurvedic medicine works alongside energetic forces in nature called doshas, different aspects of the life cycle, and the changing of seasons in order to achieve optimal health. It incorporates diet, stress management, sleep, herbs and supplements, and movement to support and improve the body’s natural functioning.
Today, Ayurvedic medicine is considered a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), much like homeopathy, massage, yoga, aromatherapy, and meditation.
An Ayurvedic practitioner will do a full assessment on you before coming up with a treatment plan. Your physical makeup, emotional composition, and primary life force will be checked and taken into account, and you will then be given a plan that includes diet, movement, and meditation recommendations.
This holistic approach to disease prevention and healing has many reported benefits. It can help to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression; lower inflammation; reduce the risk of cancer and chronic disease; improve digestion; boost metabolism; balance hormones; support liver detoxification; aid in weight loss; and more.
These are just some of the many reported benefits of Ayurvedic medicine.
1. Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Relief
Ayurvedic medicine believes that certain types of foods bring out specific emotional tendencies. For example, if someone is feeling anxious, nervous, or unable to sleep, an Ayurvedic practitioner may recommend grounding foods, like complex carbs and healthy fats.
Also, processed, refined, and artificial foods will all be removed from a person’s diet. These foods tend to bring people’s moods down, zapping them of energy and life.
In addition, meditation and yoga are major components of Ayurvedic Medicine, and research shows that they are incredible stress and anxiety busters. (1)(2)
2. Prevents Cancer and Chronic Disease
Ayurvedic Medicine encourages eating organic, nutrient-dense foods that are high in antioxidants and discourages eating foods that cause oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.
The focus is to eat foods that lower inflammation, improve circulation, and promote healthy digestion. Herbal remedies and alternative medicines like turmeric, garlic, and ashwagandha are just a few among more than 5,000 natural remedies used to maintain health and treat disease.
We already know that oxidative stress and inflammation are direct causes of chronic disease—such as allergies, asthma, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and neurodegenerative diseases—and cancer, while foods and natural remedies that prevent and reduce inflammation are the answer to disease and cancer prevention in many cases. (3)(4)
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3. Promotes Healthy Digestion
Most of the foods promoted by an Ayurvedic diet include foods that are easy to digest and full of nutrients, prebiotics, and probiotics.
Ayurvedic practices include fermenting foods, which makes them full of probiotics—healthy gut bacteria—and much easier to digest.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that an Ayurvedic diet can help people overcome many different gastrointestinal issues, including hyperacidity, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, heartburn, and more.
Aside from promoting foods that increase gut health and digestion, Ayurvedic medicine discourages eating foods that are hard on the stomach and compromise the healthy balance of gut flora, such as processed, artificial, and refined foods.
4. Improves Heart Health
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. About 630,000 Americans die from heart disease each year. (5)
It’s pretty clear that poor diet and lack of exercise are the reasons that most people in the Western world need to look out for high blood pressure (hypertension) and high cholesterol levels—two major risk factors for heart disease.
Ayurvedic medicine uses many different herbs and spices that are known to lower blood pressure. The Ayurvedic diet of light and nutritious foods keeps heart disease risk factors, such as obesity, hypertension, and high cholesterol levels, down.
5. Promotes Healthy Hormonal Balance
For thousands of years, people have been using Ayurvedic medicine successfully for natural hormonal balance. Some of the alternative remedies used in Ayurveda are able to correct problems with infertility and can even aid a woman in bringing on a menstrual cycle, in conceiving, and in carrying out a healthy pregnancy.
Conditions like anovulation, irregular periods, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), insulin resistance, and thyroid problems can all be addressed and treated through the thousands of alternative remedies available in Ayurvedic medicine.
Research shows that many of the lifestyle choices promoted by Ayurveda, such as yoga, meditation, healthy eating, and exercise can significantly reduce symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in menstruating women. Symptoms such as fatigue, bloating, mood changes, food cravings, and acne can be addressed by following Ayurvedic guidelines on diet and lifestyle for your body type. (6)
6. Aids in Weight Loss
Although weight loss isn’t usually the goal when adopting an Ayurvedic lifestyle, it is definitely one of the many benefits enjoyed.
Since Ayurveda promotes eating only healthy, natural foods, it’s only logical that a person should start to shed extra pounds that the body doesn’t need.
Ayurvedic medicine plays off your individual body type, so you’ll be eating foods that make your body work more efficiently. People often find that an Ayurvedic diet boosts metabolism, increases energy, and leads to natural weight loss and maintenance.
7. Speeds Recovery from Injury and Illness
Ayurvedic medicine helps to speed up the natural healing process of the body by boosting immune system function and lowering inflammation.
Essential oils used in Ayurvedic medicine are antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory. They help the skin to fight off bacteria and to heal more quickly from a cut, bruise, bite, or laceration.
Many of the herbs and spices, taken internally, are also antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, and they help to body to fight off viruses such as the flu, colds, and bacterial and fungal infections. (7)
8. Improves the Body’s Natural Detoxing Process
Ayurveda recommends periodic detoxing and cleansing of the body, which helps to improve liver function and rejuvenate the body. With guidance from an Ayurvedic practitioner, detoxing can be a totally safe and effective method for resetting the body and ultimately improving the functions of every system.
Aside from the occasional detox, people are recommended to eat foods, herbs, and spices all year round that promote better detoxing of the liver, preventing conditions like the fatty liver disease.
Ayurvedic medicine is a holistic alternative medicine that doesn’t just focus on treatment of the body, rather on health maintenance of the body, mind, and spirit. Ayurveda promotes healthy eating, stress relief, exercise, and an all-around healthy lifestyle.
There is a lot of knowledge and wisdom to be gained from Ayurvedic practices, not to mention the many benefits, some of which are listed above. If you’re looking for a way to stay energized, happy, and healthy, Ayurvedic medicine may be for you.