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Ayurveda – The science of longevity

Ayurveda is the oldest known systems of medicines in the world. As the name suggests has its root in the vedas and means the science of longevity.

It is a completely herbal based medicinal system. Has zero side effects.

More importantly it does not cure any disease independently of the body’s natural immune system. Instead it helps the body’s immune system become stronger and fight the disease on its own. It aims at curing the cause of the disease instead of the disease itself. The herbal intake provides the necessary raw material required by the body to heal the ailment and to fight the disease.

Which is why you wont find any pain killers in ayurveda. Modern chemical based pain killers like Ibuprofen, Aspirin etc function by blocking the body system which transmits the signals of pain to your brain. It does not actually kill the pain, it only blocks the pain signal transmitting system temporarily. The pain actually still exists, only you dont realise it and the body continues to suffer!

Ayurveda never suggests this temporary pain killing mechanism. Pain is a required mechanism for body to heal and cure things naturally. Pain tells our brain that something is wrong in that part. Remember brain is the main organ that controls our whole body and pain is a mechanism to tell brain that which part needs to be given more attention and cured. Pain killers break off this very fundamental mechanism of body’s self healing natural process. Which is why people get addicted to pain killers as their body weakens more and more. Also other side effects of pain killers long time usage like temporary infertility, liver failure, stomach upset, allergy, drowsiness etc are well known facts.

The herbs used in Ayurveda do not operate against the body’s metabolism, their effect is registered gradually and hence have no side-effects. The constituents of Ayurvedic medicines is largely based on organic matter. The absence of fast registering inorganic compounds which are at times corrosive, contributes to the absence of side-effects in the Ayurvedic medicines.

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Gurudev is the developer of Gurunudi AI Platform. This is his official website where he pens his thoughts on a wide range of topics, answers queries, shares resources and tools developed by him.

12 COMMENTS

  1. There is mosquito problem in Kochi. The local municipality used toxic chemical based fogs as mosquito repellent earlier. Also many people like me are allergic to commercially available repellents and skin appliers that repel mosquito. Then a local ayurvedic expert created a herbal based ayurvedic repellent solution which works magic. This repellent is heated and fumed out of coconut shells. Guess what? It instantly kills mosquitoes in all that area where it spreads. Being based on herbal mixture it has no toxicity, and poses no breathing difficulty when it is spreading. Elders and people allergic to toxic fumes earlier had stopped doing morning walks because of the chemical based mosquito repellent used by the municipality. Now we have neither this toxic gas issue, nor are mosquitoes such a huge menace anymore. All, Thanks to Ayurveda.

  2. Everyday we keep finding that almost every drug being used in western medication so far has some or other adverse affect causing more injury to the body than the ailment it was supposed to cure.  Such is the pathetic state of western medication. My family has been using Ayurvedic herbal mixtures since ages in our daily use and as medicine and we never faced any major health issues.

    This news report is only a tiny fraction of what dangerous drugs doctors are dumping on our body in India.

    http://ibnlive.in.com/news/drugs-banned-in-developed-world-sold-in-india/256354-17.html

  3. Sorry for the long delay in my reply. I suppose it must have been more than a month before you checked your inbox, hence you did not see my comment. My bad; and I apologize for the accusation. The comment that i had posted, if I remember correctly, was worded a lot more civilly than my last burst of exasperation.

    However, the point still remains that your post is an ill-informed trashing of modern medicine and an exaggerated testimonial to the efficacy of Ayurveda.

    Let me make my position on Ayurveda clear at the very outset, in order to avoid a misunderstanding. I believe that Ayurveda was a marvelous approach to medicine at a time when scientific knowledge was limited. It was one of the first steps towards achieving a systematic and comprehensive understanding of the human body, disease and its treatment. However, the limitations of what can be known about the body and drugs with the limited amount of technology available at the time is very evident in Ayurveda’s approach to explaining the cause of diseases and their treatment. Ayurveda, as such, is no longer very relevant TODAY in terms of its accuracy and efficacy, just as an abacus is not relevant when you are about to launch a space shuttle.

    Let me introduce you to the REAL practice of modern medicine vs what you BELIEVE (falsely) to be the practice of modern medicine:
    Considering my experience with dealing with patients, I can understand where you get the idea that modern medicine is all about relieving symptoms and not about curing the disease. This arises from the short explanation that we doctors give to the patient when explaining the prescribed medications. Unfortunately, the various classes of drugs and their functioning are a little complicated and often require a minimum base of knowledge of medical subjects to grasp their functioning. Thus we give the simplest explanation instead of going into irrelevant (to the patient) details.

    Let us take the topic of pain, which you have brought up.

    Physiologically, pain IS NOT a part of the healing process. Pain is a sensation which informs the body about an ON-GOING tissue damage. In fact, the amount of pain is proportional to the amount of tissue which is being damaged regardless of how much has already been damaged or how much is healing.

    If the tissue damage is because of an inflammatory lesion (note: we ARE interested in the cause of the pain) we generally prescribe aspirin or ibuprofen which belong to a diverse class of drugs called NSAIDs (non-steroidal ANTI-INFLAMMATORY drugs) note – since it is inflammation which is causing the pain, we decrease the inflammation which stops the pain. Inflammation is body’s defence mechanism against invading pathogens. However, the body is not perfect, and this inflammation (which is a violent process) can also harm the body, if in excess. By administering NSAIDs, we DECREASE (not eliminate) the inflammatory process which serves the dual purpose of reducing the harmful effects of inflammation and relieving the patient’s discomfort. At the same time, we administer anti-biotics (which are the PRIME example of NON-SYMPTOMATIC treatment – they kill the invading organisms which cause disease. They do not relieve any symptom directly) and in case of an open wound, dress it to prevent infection.

    Note: by protocol, for bearable pain without much inflammation, we do not prescribe NSAIDs in order not to pointlessly interfere with the body’s own mechanisms. If you have encountered doctors who do, then I believe you have been unlucky.

    In case pain is colicky e.g. due to a stone in the ureters (the pipes which carry urine from the kidneys to the urinary bladder) NSAIDs are not very helpful. This is because this pain is not due to inflammation (surprise! surprise! yet AGAIN, we are very interested in the cause of the problem). The pain is due to intense spasms of the ureter walls which are attempting to remove the stone by squeezing it out. However, this squeezing will only cause pain if the stone is too big to be removed by squeezing. There is no point in letting the patient suffer for an unsuccessful attempt by the body. Also, the intense pain can set off certain reactions in the autonomic nervous system of the body which can lead to shock and put the patient’s life in jeopardy. In such cases, we prescribe calcium channel blockers (drugs which block the molecular mechanism by which the ureteric smooth muscles contract – this level of “knowing the cause and dealing with it” approach does not even remotely exist in Ayurveda). Or, we prescribe mild opiates, which block the smooth muscle contraction via another molecular mechanism which is involved in the contraction of the smooth muscles. Eventually the stone is removed by dissolving it. If unsuccessful, we either break it into smaller pieces by shock wave lithotripsy or physically remove it by various surgical approaches.

    If the pain is due to decreased blood supply (hmmm, again we are interested in the cause of the problem) then we take care of it by administering drugs which prevent contraction of the blood vessels – calcium channel blockers, potassium channel openers or nitrates. E.g. anginal pain.

    If the pain is due to nerve damage caused by vitamin deficiency (damn! Again we are interested in the cause) then the pain is taken care of agents which block nerve conduction of pain (many anti epileptic drugs) while the cause of the pain is taken care of by vitamin supplementation and the recurrence is prevented by advice on healthy diet.

    If the pain is due to increased blood flow e.g. migraine (oh no! again, the cause) we relieve it by agents which decrease the pathologically high blood flow in the area. NSAIDs have also shown promise here and are also used, though the mechanism of this action for this action is still under research. With this, we enter the grey area of medicine where we are not yet sure of the root cause, just the immediate cause. However, we are still on the quest for the root cause of migraine and future revisions in therapy protocols of migraine will be based on our findings on the root cause of migraine.

    Cancer pain is caused by infiltration of cancer into the nerves. Though we know the root cause here, we have no effective means of eradicating it, as of now, so we have to settle for using opioids (e.g. Morphine) to symptomatically treat the patient in order to make his/her last days as comfortable as possible.

    Out of ALL the drugs mentioned above, ONLY anti epileptic (only in this application) and assorted agents block the pain sensation while opioids modify the pain sensation. the rest ALL (including ibuprofen) act by tackling the relevant CAUSE of the pain.

    I would also like to point out a few things from the last two examples:-

    1. Note, science based medicine is honest enough to admit what it does not know. I have NEVER heard a vaid or proponents of ayurveda say that their treatment has limitations.
    2. Just because we don’t know, we don’t make up some nonsense or settle for it. We are still investigating it and trying to arrive at an answer. I’ve never heard of Ayurveda researching about the cause of something. Why would they when they have the arrogance to believe that they have all the answers?
    3. Notice I mention “future revisions in protocol”. Science based medicine continuously reviews itself and its practices in order to ascertain if a practice is effective or not. Is it more effective than another practice or not. If not, what is the reason for that? Can the reason be taken care of to improve outcomes? Based on the findings, treatment protocols are modified to make the treatment more effective and with as few side effects as possible.
    When was the last time a revision was made in the treatment protocols in Ayurveda?
    4. Symptomatic treatment IS followed, however, the aim there is to only make the patient comfortable WHILE we tackle the real problem from its root.

    Now to tackle some general absurdities:
    You strike me as a person who has a science background. I dunno, but I believe that you have an engineering background. If I am correct about you, then I am absolutely flabbergasted as to why you subscribe to a world view that there is something magical about a naturally sourced substance vs a synthesized (almost evil by your implications) substance? You do realize that the “vital force” theory has been debunked more than a hundred years ago. Ayurvedic/herbal drugs exert their effect by mechanisms which have been well established by modern medical science or can be established if researched into. There is nothing magical about them. It’s just that Ayurveda’s explanations for why they work are magically oriented (aka rubbish) and the claims for many of the drugs are over exaggerated at best and false at worst.

    Ayurveda uses “organic” drugs while modern medicine uses “inorganic” drugs?! Really? And you know this from your extensive back ground in medicine or pharmacology?
    Here’s a list of drugs used by modern medicine which are derived from plants/herbal sources:

    1. At the TOP of the list we have ASPIRIN (yes, your vile aspirin which you believe is a “chemical” aka evil drug. Here’s news for you: even ayurvedic drugs are chemicals. ALL MATTER IS CHEMICALS.) It was extracted from the bark of the willow tree. Willow tree bark extract has been used for centuries as a pain killer. Aspirin was isolated from it and was found to be responsible for that property of the willow bark. It is NOT addictive.
    2. Morphine (yes, that evil painkiller which makes people addicted to it). It has been used for millenia as a painkiller in its crude form as OPIUM (GASP! opium is a “natural” substance!). It is extracted from the capsule of the poppy plant.
    3. Digitalis from the foxglove plant.
    4. Quinine from the bark of the cinchona tree.
    5. Artemisinin from a chinese plant – Artemisia annua.
    6. Vinca alkaloids – cancer chemotherapy drugs which also have a plant source (Apocynaceae genus).
    7. Pilocarpine – first extracted from plants of the genus pilocarpus.
    8. Paclitaxel – cancer chemotherapy drugs from the pacific yew tree.
    9. Physostigmine from the Calaba bean.
    10. Ephedrine from plants of the genus Ephedra.
    11. Theophylline – from the tea plant Camellia sinensis.
    12. Caffeine – from the coffee plant Coffea arabica.

    These are to name a few. Other drugs from natural sources including fungal, bacterial and animal sources:
    1. Insulin – initially of pig or cow was the source, but now produced by recombinant DNA technology to produce human insulin from yeast or E. coli. Given to those whose body has stopped producing it because of the destruction of the islet cells of the pancreas or among those requiring higher doses than what their body can produce. Also in dangerously high hyperkalaemia.
    2. Erythropoietin – a hormone naturally occuring in our body. Now produced by recombinant DNA technology for use in renal failure patients in whom the kidney stops producing it.
    3. FSH – collected from the urine of post menopausal women.
    4. IV Immunoglobulins – produced from pooled donor plasma.
    5. Tetanus toxoid – produced from the bacterium clostridium tetany.
    6. Botox – it is the toxin of the bacterium clostridium botulinum
    7. Anti venom – produced from horse serum.
    8. Penicillins – from the fungus penicillin notatum.
    9. Cephalosporins – from the fungus of the genus Acremonium.
    10. Cyclosporins – immunosuppressants from the fungus Tolypocladium.
    11. Hirudin – originally extracted from leech saliva.

    The list of naturally occuring substances used in modern medicine is endless, and as you very well can see, natural substances also have side effects. We tell you about those side effects, Vaids deny them and cloud the side effects into mumbo jumbo about disbalance in the vatta-kappha-pitta. Vatta-kappha-pitta is nothing but a rehash of the four humours theory of Allopathy. It is a long disproven theory and has been discarded in favor of science based approaches.

    True, herbs are a vast, unexplored source of medicines, but Ayurveda is NOT the right tool to explore it. It is like performing a delicate vascular surgery with a sword. Modern pharmacognosy is already on the job.

    And please get your facts straight before posting them so blatantly. Aspirin the chemical addictive drug which blocks pain sensation! Yeah right!

    • Everyday we keep finding that almost every drug being used in western medication so far has some or other adverse affect causing more injury to the body than the ailment it was supposed to cure.  Such is the pathetic state of western medication. My family has been using Ayurvedic herbal mixtures since ages in our daily use and as medicine and we never faced any major health issues.

      The list you have given is a tiny fraction of herbal use in western medicine. And moreover, there is loads of difference between using herbal extracts directly like they do in Ayurveda, to extracting only specific chemicals from herbs like they do in western medicines. Its like the difference between drinking milk to get calcium, compared to extracting calcium from milk and eating only chunks of calcium powder. Our body always welcomes the former natural diet, not the latter one. 

      http://ibnlive.in.com/news/drugs-banned-in-developed-world-sold-in-india/256354-17.html

      • “Everyday we keep finding that almost every drug being used in western medication so far has some or other adverse affect causing more injury to the body than the ailment it was supposed to cure.”
        Guess what? Who do you think brings these discoveries about which drug causes what injuries? Ah yes! The good folks from “western medicine” (actually, it is science based medicine. “Westerners” just happened to embrace it before most of the rest did).

        That is not the pathetic state of science based medicine (sbm), rather it is the inherent honesty of the scientific method which requires sbm to research side effects, report them and bear them in mind while devising an effective treatment strategy. Other systems of “medicine” do not look into the adverse effects of drugs that closely and often fail to declare that such an ill effect exists.

        Quite clearly you are ignorant of the subtle ways in which reality works. To your, “My family has been using Ayurvedic herbal mixtures since ages in our daily use and as medicine and we never faced any major health issues.” anecdote, I counter, that my family has also been on science based treatments for all ailments for years and we have no major health problems (except for the inheritable nuisances).

        As many of my friends on the interwebs put it, “The plural of anecdote is not data”.

        An anecdote (especially one that is so lacking in relevant information) does not constitute conclusive proof of anything.

        “Its like the difference between drinking milk to get calcium, compared to extracting calcium from milk and eating only chunks of calcium powder. Our body always welcomes the former natural diet, not the latter one.”
        a) So, would you recommend milk as a source of calcium to a person who is lactose intolerant?
        b) Would you recommend milk as a source of calcium to a person who is allergic to casein?
        c) Would you recommend milk as a source of calcium to a patient who has a definite calcium deficiency and the amount of milk required to make up for the deficiency and provide continuing replenishment of calcium can cause milk alkali syndrome?
        d) Would you recommend milk as a source of calcium to a person with renal failure for whom the high amount of phosphorous contained in milk is essentially poisonous?

        Also, what data or plausible mechanism do you have to support your statement that, “Our body always welcomes the former natural diet, not the latter one.” The above scenarios presented by me are ones where the body DOES NOT ‘welcome’ the former but does ‘welcome’ the latter.

        While dietary sources are sufficient to provide adequate quality nutrition to a person in a normal physiological state, in a pathological state of the body, normal dietary sources maybe inadequate or even detrimental to health.

        You see, in the practice of medicine, you come across people who do not have a normal physiology (hence they need medical attention in the first place) and thus the usual dietary sources are either not adequate or frankly detrimental to their health. In that case, we have to use the appropriate substance for treatment, WITHOUT having to administer unnecessary adjuvants.

        Similarly, the additional compounds present in the whole plant extract may interact adversely with the active ingredient in the extract or the active ingredient in other extracts. In that case it definitely makes more sense to administer the drug which is the active ingredient without the unnecessary extra fluff.

        Also, extracting the active ingredient allows you to better caliberate the dose. For example, digitalis extracted from the foxglove plant is dosed in micro grams and any small fluctuations in the dose can prove to be fatal. Would you rely on munching the leaves of the foxglove plant and hoping that this particular batch of leaves does not have a fatally high concentration of digitalis or would you rather take the purified drug at the exact dose required?

        Contrary to what the lay public believes (and knows) the practice of medicine is not that simple and that the human body, is far more complex than what most people realize or what Ayurveda proposes.

        “The list you have given is a tiny fraction of herbal use in western medicine.”
        True… There are many more drugs of herbal origin used in SBM. I merely omitted them for the sake of brevity.

        “And moreover, there is loads of difference between using herbal extracts directly ”
        True. For instance, take the example of digitalis, given above. Munch foxglove leaves with crossed fingers that this batch of the plant not be potent enough to kill. I’d stick to formulations with extracted digitalis such that I can administer the correct dose.

        • “rather it is the inherent honesty of the scientific method which requires sbm to research side effects, report them and bear them in mind while devising an effective treatment strategy”.

          Really? And what is the reason for same drug companies sell the same product banned in one country, in other countries. I can list hundreds of drugs banned in Europe and US which are being sold and prescribed rampantly in India. So much so for the “honesty” and “devising an effective treatment strategy”.

          Do not generalize it too much when I say “Our body always welcomes the former natural diet”.  My statement didnt mean, “Eat chilli, and just because it is natural you wont feel the burn”.  All it meant was, Eating naturally cooked food is always healthy than eating packaged food, and eating fruits and vegetables is always healthy than eating home made food.   One doesnt have to be a phd to know this. If you over read my statement, I cannot help it.
           So if one can bear milk, then milk is the best source of calcium, else there are other food alternatives, one doesnt have to start taking calcium pills just because one is intolerant to milk. So the alternate to lactose intolerance is not taking raw calcium tablets. Milk is NOT the only source of calcium in our common diet. Nature is not a pharmaceutical company. Only those people who want to make money to sell what is freely available in nature recommend calcium pills.

          Naturally available cure is so costly today. Water comes in bottles and one has to pay money to drink what is available naturally for free. Air is polluted and soon will be the days when oxygen masks will be sold no the streets. So much so for the “advanced” science and technology where most people in cities are getting more and more unhealthy with lung diseases and so on, thanks to advanced way of life.Coming back to restricted food, even Ayurveda “NEVER” says eat ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that is natural and your health will be fine.  There are many natural foods in Ayurveda which are restricted depending on various certain health conditions.Depending on the type of doshas (which are the basic identifiers of the health issue a person has), Ayurveda has dietary recommendations of what that person should or should not eat. When MBBS doctors today suggest to a patient (apart from the tablets and tonics) what to eat and what not to eat in their general diet, has its roots in Ayurveda. So Ayurveda never suggests a person with lactose intolerance drink milk to get calcium, that is your assumption. There is a combination of vegetable based diet which provides all nutrients that milk provides and (obviously) has no lactose in it. This is managed under the kapha dosha. The other thing is Ayurveda ONLY recommends organic pure cow milk, not the one processed with hormones and chemicals under greed which most people consume these days. So please do not “assume” that Ayurveda recommends natural food even when a person is intolerant to it or when his health has specific issues with specific diet. Using the principles of regaining the balance in Tridosha, there are certain diet which a person should take and certain diets which a person should not. This is called Pathya. 

          “extracting the active ingredient allows you to better caliberate the dose. “. Really? Do we check the dose of Vitamins and Calcium and Iron and other minerals when we eat our normal daily food? Dosage checking may be required in really extreme cases. But suggesting calcium pills to pregnant ladies and others, instead of suggesting natural calcium rich food, that’s the heights of applying metrics to food. And for God’s sake let us not forget how many doctors today PRESCRIBE “brand” medication after receiving all those GIFTS from pharmaceutical companies. Doctors today even prescribe “harmless” tonics which has nothing to do with the related ailment many a times. In Ayurveda there is no such “Branded” tulsi or “Branded” amla. When an ayurvedic physician recommends neem oil, it can be from any company or from any manufacturer who prepares neem oil.I today see people almost living on medication more than on food. That shows the levels to which health has degraded in our times. And what is the reason?  Good readers of current affairs are well aware of the kind of mafia that exists in the name of pharmaceutical industry which thrives on making people eat more and more tablets and only tablets. Do one really have to eat calcium pills to get calcium?

        • Missed this out

          “I counter, that my family has also been on science based treatments for all ailments for years and we have no major health problems ”

          Well, so atleast the agreement is that families can live healthily on both ayurveda based lifestlye as well as modern drug medication based lifestyle. The plus point for my family is, ayurveda is based on herbs which are available for free in my backyard, are natural – while for the drugs you need to pay for them, many a times which can rarely be afforded by the poor and needy, and god knows when some new “honest” research will reveal its side effects.Also please dont talk as if ayurveda is NOT a science based treatment. In India there are Ayurvedic medical colleges and those who pass out there are also called Doctors. Science is nobody’s monopoly. People do go to ayurvedic practitioners and also do get treated of their illness.

        • Missed this out

          “I counter, that my family has also been on science based treatments for all ailments for years and we have no major health problems ”

          So at least we agree that families can live healthily on both ayurveda based lifestlye as well as modern drug medication based lifestyle.

          The plus point for my family is, ayurveda is based on herbs which are available for free in my backyard, are natural – while for the chemical drugs you need to pay for them, many a times this can rarely be afforded by the poor and needy, and god knows when some new “honest” research will reveal its side effects.

          Also please do not talk as if ayurveda is NOT a science based treatment. In India there are Ayurvedic medical colleges and those who pass out there are also called Doctors. Science is nobody’s monopoly. People do go to ayurvedic practitioners and also do get treated of their illness.

  4. Interesting how you spin uninformed tales on your blog while proclaiming to reveal some divine “truth”; and when someone calls you out for your ridiculous post, the comment doesn’t ever seem to come out of moderation. Ha ha… You have shown yourself for who you are.

    • Well, eventually truth comes out and false statements wont stand the test of time irrespective of who spins it. As for your comment, I cant see anything in the queue, and unfortunately disqus (the commenting system used) doesnt show me comments older than a month. So either your comment was probably marked as spam or wasnt submitted. You can post it again if you have it and I will approve it. There is nothing to be feared about here. I am not promoting any product which I invented for my own material benefit, nor have I disabled comments in the blog. As for who I am, well I dont need any certification from anybody else other than myself about that. Lets just stick to the topic in question.

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