Friday, July 20, 2012
by: Dr. Jessica Vellela
[NaturalNews] “Everything in the universe is medicinal – it just depends on how it’s used.” This quote sounds like something out of a modern, scientific research journal, but it’s not. 5,000 years ago, an Ayurvedic doctor named Charaka already understood this, and documented it in his medical text, the Charaka Samhita.
Current research shows that plants have effective medicinal properties covering a variety of diseases and conditions. Thousands of years ago, this knowledge flourished and was widely applied to handle all varieties of ailments, from acute to chronic and emergency conditions. The difference between then and now is the approach to understanding how it works.
With the reductionist methodology of modern science, attempts are made to break down each component into individual pieces for study. In extremely simple cases this may work, but understanding the complexity of life may not be feasible this way. The myriad of combinations and permutations of individual chemicals, their proportions and interactions, results in something other than just the simple sum of their parts.
Ayurveda takes a radically different approach. Instead of breaking things down, it focuses on the final effect, using a specific set of 12 variables to predict the outcome. These include the person’s imbalance (Dosha), medicine/herb to use (Bheshaja), geographical region (Desha), season (Kala), strength (Bala), physical structure (Sharira), condition of bodily tissues (Sara), diet (Ahara), general habits (Satmya), mental temperament (Sattva), natural constitution (Prakriti) and age (Vayas). The interactions between these 12 factors depend on the proportions of their common underlying components, The Five Elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether).
Understanding the medicinal effects of herbs is based on how they influence one or more of the Doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha), which are present in each person. When one of the Doshas goes out of its normal range, an herb can be used to reduce or increase it, by affecting its 20 specific qualities (hot, cold, heavy, light, etc.) This approach helps us fine tune our usage of herbs to maximize the beneficial effects and more importantly, avoid any unwanted side effects.