What is Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine

The origin of Herbal Medicine lies in Ayurveda – the Vedic Science of Medicine. The herbal cure has been an integral part of ethno –therapies. As Ayurvedic Herbal or Plant Medicines are found naturally compatible, risk-free, and effective, the real benefits, the whole herb, and groups of such herbs in natural forms, as prescribed and practiced in Ayurveda should be used. These offer excellent remedies because of preserving the natural properties of the plant medicines and their synergetic effects.

Ayurveda, also called Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional system of Indian medicine. Ayurvedic medicine is an example of a well-organized system of traditional health care, both preventive and curative, that is widely practiced in parts of Asia. Ayurveda has a long tradition behind it, having originated in India perhaps as much as 3,000 years ago.

Herbal Medicine

The world today is in dire need of system healthcare that would rescue it from growing agonies of ailments. When we look around we find that most of the so-called ‘progressive and advanced’ people are suffering the painful consequences of an artificial lifestyle. The chemical intake by humans in various forms often put us in trouble – even risking our life due to almost lethal side reactions.

The reductionist approach of modern medical science, to great extent, has failed to ally or cure varieties of psychosomatic disorders and diseases and abnormalities pertaining to problems endocrine glands or hormones, while these happen to be alarmingly rising complaints in the urban sections of the society.

The scenario is threatening for the weaker or poorer sections of the society. Ignorance, lack of hygiene, malnutrition and uncontrolled population growth, etc. add to their pathetic health conditions. The ever-increasing cost of drug discovery, testing, and manufacture has hindered the in-toto reach of modern medicine among the masses.

The problems of drug-resistance and hazards of side-effects, etc. have remained an unabated challenge. The lack of solutions for endocrine disorders and psychosomatic diseases has enforced consideration of alternative and complementary approaches.

Several efforts are initiated worldwide in this regard, which includes alternative systems of medicine based on ancient sciences. The preventive and holistic approach to healthcare, thorough consideration of the mind-body system, and synergist use of multiple herbs, natural plant products with respect to patient’s physiological and psychological characteristics are among the unique features of Ayurveda.

Ayurveda represents one of the outstanding examples of science and technology development in ancient India. Interpretations of the scriptures imply that Ayurvedic mode of healing was derived from the rich field of sublime knowledge and high quality, comprehensive science of medicine. It is said that this Vedic knowledge descended with the advent of the life of Earth. It is said to have been propounded by Lord Brahma – Supreme Creator – Himself and is therefore regarded as originating from eternal knowledge.

Its earliest concepts were set out in the portion of the Vedas known as the Atharvaveda (c. 2nd millennium BCE). The period of Vedic medicine lasted until about 800 BCE. The Vedas are rich in magical practices for the treatment of diseases and in charms for the expulsion of the demons traditionally supposed to cause diseases.

Maharshi Shushrut and Maharshi  Charak are revered as the great rishis (Vedic sadhus) who founded Ayurvedic Therapy.  They studied, experimented, and brought their original knowledge into healing practice for the integrated well-being of the world.

He defined it as –

Hitahitam Sukham Duhkhamayustasya Hitahitam | Manancha Tachcha Yatroktam Ayurvedah Sa Uchyate

Meaning: Ayurveda is the name of the Shastra, which deals with the understanding of the happiness and sorrows, auspicious and unsuspicious aspects of the life, and which also deciphers and analyzes, in detail, the causes, symptoms, and remedies of what is good, suitable and supportive for healing and health.

There are several modes of preparation and therapeutic regimen of medicinal drugs prescribed by Ayurveda. Accordingly, the Ayurvedic medicines are classified as – powder, tablets, syrups, and decoction category. The decoction is found to be the best in terms of effectiveness, minimal risk of side effects, fast remedy, and flexibility in composition as per the suitability to the patient. It is prepared from fresh herbs/ medicinal plants and administered orally soon after the preparation so there is no risk of adulteration, stalement, or degradation and untoward reactions.

Several institutions in the world have been engaged in reviving the ancient system of Ayurveda for the past two decades. Most of these research efforts are focused on the phytochemical analysis of herbal medicines and extraction of drug-chemicals from medicinal plants; only some institutions/ labs are reinvestigating the diagnostic aspects and the bhasama, rasayana based medicine and dry herbal powders.

Pratima

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