“The secret of being healthy and happy at all times is to be a little hungry all the time ” – Swami Sivananda

Ayurveda FAQs

Q1. What is Ayurveda?
A: Ayurveda is one of the great gifts of the sages of ancient India to mankind. It is one of the oldest scientific medical systems in the world, with a long record of clinical experience. The word “Ayu” means all aspects of life from birth to death. The word “Veda” means knowledge or learning. Hence Ayurveda indicates the science by which life in its totality is understood. It is the science-based on experience rather than experiments. more details

Q2. Why Ayurveda is unique from other systems of medicine?
A: Ayurveda is not only a system of medicine in the conventional sense of curing a disease. It is also a way of life that teaches us how to maintain and protect health. It shows us both how to cure disease and how to promote longevity. Ayurveda treats man as a “whole” – which is a combination of body, mind and soul. Therefore, it is a truly holistic and integral medical system.

Q3. Which are the basic texts of Ayurveda?
A: The material scattered in the Vedas was collected, subjected to rigid tests of efficacy and systematically arranged. Such compilations were called “Samhitas.” The Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtanga Hridya Samhita, this great trio – the Brihatrayi as it called – has enjoyed much popularity and respect for the last two thousand years although these texts have undergone some modification by various authors in subsequent periods. They are all in the Sanskrit language.

Q4. How many & which are the specialization branches in Ayurveda?
A THE EIGHT BRANCHES OF AYURVEDA * Kaya Chikitsa (General medicine) * ShalyaTantra (Surgery) * ShalakyaTantra (Diseases of Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat) * Kaumarbhritya (Children diseases, obstetrics and Gynecology) * AgadaTantra (Toxicology) * BhutaVidya (Psychiatry) * Rasayana (Rejuvenation), and * Vajikarana (Aphrodisiac/sexology)

Q5. What is Panchmahabhuta (Five elements)?
A: Ancient Indian philosophy is of opinion that all materials, living or non-living are made of five fundamental elements called Panchamahabhutas, representing five fundamental categories of matter. These are: * Akasha (ether) * Vayu (air) * Teja (fire/energy) * Jala (water), and * Prithvi (earth) All material on this earth contains Panchamahabhutas in different proportion.

Q6. What are Tri-Doshas (biological humors)?
A Biological application of Panchamahabhutas reflects in the form of Tridosha. Here ‘Tri’ means three and Dosha’ represents to humor (bio-entity). Thus, the word ‘Tridosha’ denotes three humors i.e. Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. These are said ‘Dosha’ because these have a tendency to get vitiated and also to vitiate others. This bilateral tendency of Dosha is the cause of health and diseases. The state of balance of Dosha represents health while imbalance to the disease. Every Dosha has a definite place/location and functions in our body. All have their five subtypes respectively.

Q7. What are Dhatus (tissues)?
A: Our body is supported and sustained by seven Dhatus (basic tissues). Besides this, Dhatus have a property to vitiate. Dosha and Dhatus have relations with each other in health and disease. In the pathogenesis of the disease, these both play key role. The following are the seven Dhatus: i. Rasa (Plasma) ii. Rakta (Blood) iii.Mamsa (Muscle) iv. Meda (Adipose) v. Asthi (Bone) vi. Majja (Marrow) vii. Shukra (Reproductive tissues)

Q8. What is the meaning of Mala in Ayurveda?
A: The word ‘Mala’ means excretal products. Ayurveda has a unique concept of Malas. Sustenance of Mala in appropriate limits, sustain the life. To understand it in a better way, take the example of common excreta – urine. Excess urination may cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

Q9. What is the concept of Agni in Ayurveda?
A: Agni is considered a biological fire. In our body, the entire range of digestive and metabolic activities is performed by it. Ayurveda considers about thirteen types of ‘Agnis’. 1. Jatharagni – It performs digestion of food and considered to govern other ‘Agnis’. 2. Dhatvagni – Every Dhatu has a particular type of Agni, which is responsible for that particular tissue metabolism. These are seven in number. 3. Bhutagni – Each of the five Mahabhuta (elements) has a specific Agni, which is responsible for molecular metabolism.

Q10. What is Ama in Ayurveda?
Due to weakened Agni and unwholesome foods, the digestive system begins to accumulate undigested food particles, this is known as Ama.

Ama is classified as a morbid, toxic sticky substance that is undigested that circulates in the channels and cannot be used by the body to build, maintain or repair tissues or form waste products.
These toxic by-products, such as free radicals accumulate as a result of continuous metabolic processes. Whilst most of these toxins are eliminated naturally, some may get deposited in the various tissues of the body. These disease-causing toxins may also accumulate as a result of poor eating and lifestyle choices, environmental pollutants, emotional imbalances, and genetic predisposition. When Ama accumulates it becomes lodged in various systems in the body (usually the weaker areas of the individual) leading to disease.

Q11. What is Trigunas?
A: The word literally means three qualities or three properties. These are the three specific properties of the Mind. They are Satwa, Rajas, and Tamas.

Q12. What is Prakriti or Ayurvedic Body type?
A: The concept of Prakriti is unique and has an explanation for this. Every person is born with a definite genetic constitution, depending upon Doshas, there are three major types of Prakriti, and these reflect the predominance of that particular Dosha. Our body behaves according to the status of Dosha Prakriti.

Q13. How many types of Prakriti or body type are there?
A: There are seven possible Prakriti (constitution) types –
a) Vata Prakriti b) Pitta Prakriti c) Kapha Prakriti d) Vata – Pitta Prakriti e) Vata – Kapha Prakriti f) Pitta – Kapha Prakriti g) Tridosha Prakriti

Q14. How can I understand my prakriti and what is its importance?
A: Each individual is unique in physique [height and weight] skin color, tastes and moreover, moods, reaction to a given situation, etc. due to one’s unique Prakriti. The correct assessment and awareness of Prakriti help one to have a clear idea about the kind of diet, exercises, sleep, sex, etc. that one should follow which is conducive to health and well-being. The knowledge of Prakriti also helps to treat one’s diseases from their roots. One can assess one’s Prakriti by consulting a qualified Ayurvedic physician.

Q15. What is the cause of health & diseases according to Ayurveda?
A: The harmony and the balance of the Doshas, Dhatus, Malas, and Agni in the body is the primary condition of the health. The equilibrium is maintained through life in conformity with the laws of nature. A wrong lifestyle and food habit disturb the harmony and lead to diseases.

Q16. What are the treatment methods in Ayurveda?
A: The treatment in Ayurveda can be classified broadly into two methods-

1. Shamana Chikitsa (Alleviating Therapy)
2. Sodhana Chikitsa (Purification Therapy)

Q17. What is Shamana Chikitsa (Alleviating Therapy)?
A: Herbal products are used internally and externally to correct the derangement of functions of Doshas, Dhatus, Malas and Agni and also to increase the Immunity. The restoration of normality is brought about without any elimination.

Q18. What is Sodhana Chikitsa (Purification Therapy)?
A: The main aim of this treatment is to eliminate the internal causative factors of the disease. Large quantities of toxic bi-products are formed in the body as a result of continuous metabolic process. All though most of these toxins are eliminated naturally by the body’s excretory system, some may get deposited in the various tissues of the body, which ensures the vitiation of Doshas, Dhatus etc. and then the normal functioning of the system is impaired. Similarly, disease causing toxins accumulate in the body as a result of various factors like wrong life style, wrong food habits, incompatible combination of food items, suppression of the body urges, emotional imbalance etc. Panchakarma therapeutic procedures are used to facilitate the elimination of such harmful factors.

Q19. Do Ayurvedic drugs have side effects?
A: Ayurvedic drugs cause neither side effects nor physical or psychological dependence provided they are taken under the guidance of qualified & well trained Ayurvedic Physician.

Q20. What are the kinds of restrictions associated with Ayurveda treatment?
A: Pathya is the term to denote the diet regimen that forms and integral part of most Ayurvedic treatments. For the proper assimilation of drugs as well as food ,the patient is advised to follow a new daily routine while undergoing treatment. A diet that might cause the opposite effect of the drug taken is to be avoided and that which increases the potency of the drug is to be followed. Since the drug-diet interaction is considered a significant factor, the physician decides on a suitable diet regimen after considering various factors like the nature of the illness, the constitution of the patient, his tolerance to various regimens and so on.

Q21. Can Ayurveda really cure cancer?
A: It must be remembered that Ayurveda does not claim to ‘cure’ diseases, but to restore balance to the body, mind and soul. Cancer is another such condition, a Tridosha imbalance at the cellular level. So, Ayurveda can control the growth of cancer by maintaining the Tridosha balance with the help of herbal medicine, proper diet & lifestyle, Panchakarma (purification methods) and divine (mantra, gem, etc.) therapy in Cancer.

Q22. Can Ayurveda help me prevent acute and chronic diseases?
A: Ayurveda restores balance to the physiology of the body. When balance is restored, many diseases and disorders are often automatically prevented or health is restored. This is the beauty of the Ayurveda lifestyle and food choices.

Q23. Can I continue taking vitamin & mineral supplements along with Ayurvedic herbal supplements?
A: Unless otherwise directed by your physician or primary health care provider, it is not necessary to take additional vitamin and mineral supplements. Ayurveda recommends getting vitamins and minerals directly from the intake of nutritious foods and herbs.

Q24. Can I take allopathic medicines, including prescription drugs, and Ayurvedic herbal supplements at the same time?
A: Ayurveda can be used in conjunction with Western allopathic medicine. Drugs save lives, but because of their toxicity, sometimes they can also weaken or damage the body. Ayurveda can help protect and make the body stronger after or along with drugs or surgery.

Q25. How effective is Ayurveda?
A: Ayurveda is a very effective system of health that is being more and more recognized in the West. It is one of the primary systems of health care in India and has been used for thousands of years for all sorts of ailments and disorders. Today Ayurveda is popular all over the world. The word is out today– ‘Try Ayurveda, it works.’

Its full effectiveness will depend on various considerations, including the age and state of health of the individual, how much effort they are willing to put into making the necessary changes toward better health, and how compliant they are with taking their formulas and following the recommended guidelines. Since an Ayurvedic regimen is very individualized, its results will depend on individual factors as well, and on follow-up treatments, since adjustments and close supervision are absolutely necessary to obtain optimal results.

Q26. Do I have to be a vegetarian to follow an Ayurvedic lifestyle?
A: No, not at all. Ayurveda recommends foods that are ideal for your body and mind. While Ayurveda recommends of a healthy seasonal vegetarian diet; it similarly prescribes meats of several animals also. What you eat should depend on which food serves your health and energy the best and what can you digest? Your Ayurvedic practitioner will guide you with detail in this area.

Q27. Is it safe to use Ayurveda treatment in newborn babies, very small children, and aged people?
A: Under the guidance and supervision of a qualified Ayurveda physician, it is safe to use Ayurveda treatment in newborn babies, very small children, and aged people.

Q28. Is it true that good and effective Ayurveda treatment is very expensive?
A: Ayurveda treatments for common medical problems are not very expensive. However, like conventional medicine, specialized treatment required for certain ailments like coronary artery disease, malignancy, rejuvenation, aphrodisiacs, etc. are a little expensive. At “Gayatri Ayurveda”, we treat deserving patients at a concessional rate also.

Q29. Is it true that Ayurveda treatment is to be continued for a very long period of time?
A: The duration of treatment depends on various factors like the type of disease, duration of disease, age of the patient, type of medicines used, nutritional status of the patient, the strength of the patient, etc.

Q30. Can a patient take Ayurveda medicines (which are advertised in media), without consulting an Ayurveda specialist?
A: No, one should consult an Ayurvedic physician before taking any medicines.