It is not only a medical science,
but is concerned also with our social, ethical, intellectual,
and spiritual life. It combines the accuracy of science with the
sublimity of philosophy, metaphysics, poetry, and art. Its functional principles are undying and universal.
has been called metaphorically "The Mother of Healing".
Various aspects of Ayurveda are embodied in practically all systematic approaches to health maintenance and preventive medicine regardless of culture. Like Yoga it traces its origins to the ancient Vedic civilizations of India and has been practiced continuously ever since there and other countries of the orient. Whereas Yoga developed as a science of mind and spirituality, Ayurveda has become a healing science concerned with maintaining balance and well-being through proper diet, efficient digestion, personal hygiene, life style, and herbal supplementation for internal cleansing, rejuvenation, mental acuity, fertility, and immunity.
Ayurveda is essentially an interpretation
of the way nature works.
archetypal and elemental symbols, The Five Great Elements
and their qualities - the fundamental components of human
consciousness - in creating a paradigm of a balanced life.
Its coherent structure permits a choice of many different
self-care strategies in restoring and maintaining order in
In Ayurveda form is of less importance than proper function.
The body and its tissues are seen as metabolic pathways contributing to the function and nourishment of the whole. A balanced body is indicative of a balanced mind, and because it is balanced is immune to disease. The Ayurvedic approach is more humoral than mechanical, more subjective than objective, and relative as opposed to specific.
Ayurveda is a comprehensive system of health care and maintenance.
The Ayurvedic approach is not limited to any particular diet, herbal formulation, or treatment. An appropriate health regime is determined for each individual depending on one's inherent humoral balance, as well as age, mental capacity, digestive power, compatibility with food, elimination habits, and many other considerations. Treatment in Ayurveda may involve a change of diet, change of lifestyle and habits, herbal regime, internal cleansing, and elimination of
accumulated humoral waste. As a science of health maintenance Ayurveda is concerned most of all with perfecting bio-rhythm and metabolism - the whole process of breaking down and building up cellular structures - in the formation and maintenance of tissues. This process can be summarized in certain functions of the digestive tract: digestion, absorption, assimilation, and elimination. In Western physiology we divide metabolism into two categories: catabolism, the breaking down of molecular structures, and anabolism, the building up. In Ayurveda these stages correspond to
Vata (catabolism), Pitta (metabolism), and Kapha (anabolism). These represent the three humors, called