Ayurveda, the mother of all medical systems, proves the saying ‘old is gold’. It is 5000 years old and helps in some great cures. It does not emphasize on fighting specific diseases as such but focuses on the well-being of the whole system, and helps to develop total good health. In medical science too, despite the many branches, it is said that there is one ultimate medical system from which every other system arises. This ultimate medicine system is Ayurveda. While biology and modern medical science deal with knowledge and remedies of specific diseases, Ayurveda deals with every aspect of life – dharma (essential duties as per status or position), artha (wealth or goals), karma (actions and obligations) and moksh (liberation from every bondage).
Western Herbal medicine is very limited in its approaches to chronic pain conditions and instant reliefs. Traditional Chinese Medicine offers various techniques and different formulas for treating the sick after good amount of time is spent on diagnosis while on the other hand Ayurveda looks into the holistic well-being of individuals and global societies. Ayurveda considers eating mushrooms as tamasic in contrast to Chinese medicine which claims eating mushrooms in good for mind and ability to meditate.
Ayurveda is thus both classical and progressive in the sense that its eternal character helps to solve contemporary problems. Knowledge of the human body has always been of fundamental importance to mankind for its survival and attainment of physical, mental and spiritual development. Based on the writings of the disciples of Atreya (one of the great Indian sages), Ayurveda covers eight disciplines, also called Ashtanga Ayurveda. Ayurveda came about as a science at a time when spiritualism and yogic technologies failed to stop the spread of ill health and diseases and epidemics were widespread. Causes of diseases, signs and symptoms, and drugs to restrict their spread were thus learnt through a scientific methodology. This resulted in the holistic and integrated approach of Ayurveda.
Preventive medicine is one of the most important parts of Ayurveda. It is believed that a long life is not enough. It should also be a good, healthy life. While stressing on a high quality of life at every stage, Ayurveda especially stresses on a high quality of life during the last stage. In the Middle Ages, mechanised power increased tremendously. In fact, we can say that gunpowder killed sophisticated and enlightened thoughts. It was a victory of brute force over refined ideas. The present civilisation of physical science and technology was established through trade and commerce. The conquerors became rich nations and exploited their colonies. After the end of the colonial era and with the advent of freedom, democracy and liberty, the entire movement took a new turn. Ancient sciences like Ayurveda are once again being revived and utilised. Mushrooms are widely used in healing techniques in Ayurveda. Some of them are highly toxic while some of them are used as pain relievers.
Basics of Ayurveda – According to Ayurveda, lifespan is related to a balanced union of the body, organs, mind and soul. The individual is a microtome of the universe, and is made up of nine basic substances that include air, water, ether, fire, earth, soul, mind, time and direction.
There are two types of diseases in Ayurveda – psychic diseases (of the mind) and somatic diseases(of the body). The primary method of combating diseases in Ayurveda is the use of drugs, diet and practices that are contrary to the cause of the disease or the disease itself.The second method is to prescribe drugs, diet and behavior that are similar to the cause of the disease or the disease itself. The importance of localized and alternative systems of medicine has now been realized.
The factors that work in favor of Ayurveda are: Cultivation, trading and practices of indigenous herbs for use in these systems and other herbal systems not only develop the economy of a country, but also generate employment for people. Indigenous systems of medicine have cultural links with the masses. Faith and trust play a very significant role in treatment of a disease. This approach is based on years of study and uses and develops the immune system of individuals.It is a holistic system of medicine because of its rational, scientific, systematic, comprehensive and eternal basic principles. Diseases are diagnosed differently but conclusions are similar to that of modern medicine.