Ayurveda & Ayurvedic Medicine – What Is It?
Ayurveda, or Ayurvedic medicine, is a traditional system of medicine with origins in India. Developed over thousands of years, Ayurveda is based upon holistic and personalized care and is generally thought to be gentler and safer than many modern treatments and medications.
Exactly what is Ayurvedic medicine? The Ayurvedic medicine definition has its roots in Sanskrit; ayu means “life”, and veda means “science” or “knowledge”, and so the definition of Ayurvedic medicine at its most basic level is simply “the science of life”.1 It can also be interpreted as “the wisdom of life” or “the science of longevity”.5
Ayurvedic treatment revolves around several basic concepts of wellbeing including:1
- The general promotion of health
- Elimination and prevention of disease
- Early diagnosis
- Personalized treatment
Ayurveda is practiced as a holistic lifestyle system with daily routines that consider practicalities such as a person’s diet, physical body, and periods of rest and work, aiming for a balanced mind, body, and soul. Each individual has a unique energy balance, or dosha that plays a role in body composition and potential health challenges. The three main doshas are vata, pitta dosha and kapha dosha. Herbal medicine plays a large role in Ayurvedic medicine and is used to balance the doshas. About 8,000 herbal remedies have been codified in Ayurveda.5
Does Ayurvedic Medicine Work?
As the epicenter of Ayurvedic medicine, India has about 400,000 registered practitioners of Ayurveda, with a formal structure to regulate aspects such as education and quality of practice.1
Today, there are several established scientific journals and large international communities dedicated to Ayurvedic medicine. However, there is still a lack of biomedical research proving the effectiveness of Ayurveda, a fact which many researchers, health authorities, and practitioners have pointed out.2
There are several characteristics of the Ayurvedic system that make it particularly difficult to study, regulate, and document within the modern medical system. For example, Ayurvedic formulations can run into the thousands. Given the individualized nature of Ayurvedic care, a given remedy will differ from patient to patient, making it difficult to conduct a study on a particular drug.2
Likewise, each person is treated as a separate, individual case. This means that the physician looks at a patient’s unique parikshana in order to establish the appropriate treatment. Since they treat each condition as unique instance on a wide spectrum, it becomes increasingly difficult to conduct studies on a finite and concrete basis.4 Still, Ayurveda is anecdotally very effective and is generally considered to be a safe and alternative form of medicine which can promote a healthy life.
Premature Ejaculation Ayurvedic Medicine
Premature ejaculation is treated by the practice of Vajikarana or Vrishya chikitsa, one of the eight major specialized areas of Ayurveda.7 The word vaji means “horse” in Sanskrit—a symbol of sexual power and performance. The modern interpretation of Vajikarana takes on the same general meaning as aphrodisiac.7
This area of Ayurveda is concerned with aspects such as virility and addressing common sexual dysfunctions like infertility, premature ejaculations, and erectile dysfunction.7
Some of the most common treatments for premature ejaculation include:7
- Body cleansing techniques
- Physical behavior practices to promote sexual health, such as modifications to daily routines of exercise and diet
- Individualized herbal treatments to increase physical and sexual potency
Because Ayurveda is individualized and holistic, the best Ayurvedic medicine for early ejaculation will depend on the individual’s unique constitution, body, and lifestyle. Common formulations include Vrihani Gutika, Vrishya Gutika, and Vajikaranam Ghritam—but these are just three out of hundreds of complex herbal remedies used to treat premature ejaculation.7
Ayurvedic Medicine for Weight Loss
Some people look to Ayurvedic medicine to reduce weight. From an Ayurvedic perspective, the condition of being overweight is linked closely to an excess of kapha, an element (referred to as a dosha) that is smooth, oily, heavy, slow, and stable.
An Ayurvedic plan for weight loss therefore attempts to bring the dosha kapha back into check through modifications to one’s diet, in addition to encouraging healthy routines like getting daily exercise, practicing yoga and mindfulness techniques, and eating nutritious meals.
In a pilot 2014 study, researchers examined the effects of a holistic approach to weight loss, which included Ayurvedic medicine and yoga. During the study, the Ayurvedic dietary guidelines placed an emphasis on raw or lightly cooked vegetables, fresh fruits, light protein (poultry, fish or legumes) and plenty of water. Subjects were asked to cook at least five meals at home per week that included traditional Ayurvedic spices such as, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, black pepper and fennel.8
As the study progressed, subjects were asked to avoid white flour, sugar, alcohol, dairy, rich or processed foods, and excessively sweet or salty foods.8 The diet plan reflects a similar program known as the Daniel Fast.
After three months, the whole-systems approach proved to be an effective strategy for weight loss in obese adults.8 As a pilot study, this helps set precedent for the effectiveness of Ayurvedic medicine in combination with other weight loss techniques.
Ayurvedic Medicine for Diabetes
Ayurvedic medicine has several remedies for treating chronic diseases like diabetes. In fact, Ayurvedic medicine uses the concept of shatkriyakaal to deal specifically with the progressive nature of chronic disease. This concept divides the stages of disease into six stages which are unique and may help detect unbalance before the onset of clinical symptoms.1
In India, the New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership (NMITLI) has fostered scientific exploration of Ayurvedic formulations to develop drugs for diabetes (in addition to other conditions like arthritis and psoriasis).3 In some scenarios, physicians use Ayurvedic medicine in conjunction with conventional diabetes treatments.2
List of Ayurvedic Medicine for Diabetes
A list of ayurvedic medicines for diabetes will often include these key therapeutic ingredients, which are to be prepared in specific ways at home:
- Bay leaf, turmeric & aloe vera
- Methi (fenugreek) seeds
- Bitter gourd or bitter melon juice (also called Karela)
- Amla fruit juice
- Ground cinnamon
- Jamun seeds, or chewing of Jamun leaves
There are also several packaged medicinal treatments that you can purchase online or at natural pharmacies. what’s the best Ayurvedic medicine for Type 2 diabetes, remember that this will depend on your personal history with the disease, in combination with your unique constitution and lifestyle.
As a rule of thumb, look for medicines that include key ingredients that help with diabetes management, such as jambhul, gatharan seed, gurmar and gurmar leaves, and triphala.
Where to Buy Ayurvedic Medicine in USA
As Western countries are experiencing a revival of natural and traditional medicine, it’s becoming easier to access Ayurvedic medicine in the U.S. and other countries outside of India. For those wondering where to buy Ayurvedic medicine in the USA, there are several options available.
For those looking for an in-depth evaluation, visiting an Ayurvedic practitioner may recommend a remedy or provide a personalized formulation. You can also often find a few Ayurvedic medicines for common ailments in the supplement section of natural grocery stores or pharmacies that carry naturopathic medicines. However, the greatest selection of Ayurvedic remedies can be found on reputable online retailers such as Amazon. With customer reviews, convenient shipping and thousands of different formulations to choose from, shopping online allows you to find a remedy that’s a perfect fit for you.
Scientific Research Referenced in this Article
- Patwardhan, B (2014). Bridging Ayurveda with evidence-based scientific approaches in medicine. EMPA Journal, 5(1) 19. doi: 1186/1878-5085-5-19
- Chandra, S. (2016) Ayurvedic research, wellness and consumer rights. J Ayurveda Integr Med, 7(1), 6-10. doi: 1016/j.jaim.2016.05.002
- Payyappallimana, U. & Venkatasubramanian, P. (2016). Exploring Ayurvedic Knowledge on Food and Health for Providing Innovative Solutions to Contemporary Healthcare. Front Public Health, 4, 57. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4815005/
- Pooja, D. & Mahesh, J. (2017). Psoriatic Arthritis and Vatarakta: A Comparative Literary Review. International Journal of Research in Ayurveda & Pharmacy, 8(4). DOI: 7897/2277-4343.084206
- Bulsara, H. and Yadav, N. (2017). An Exploratory Study of Consumer Behavior Towards Ayurvedic Medicine and Practices: A Review. International Journal of Research in Ayurveda & Pharmacy, 8(4). DOI: 7897/2277-4343.084209
- Ade, V. & Rajput, D. (2017). Management of Amavata (Rheumatoid Arthritis) by Application of Ayurvedic Principle. International Journal of Research in Ayurveda & Pharmacy, 8(4).DOI: 7897/2277-4343.084230
- Dalal, P., Tripathi, A. & Gupta S. (2013). Vajikarana: Treatment of sexual dysfunctions based on Indian concepts. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, Jan, S273–S276, 55. DOI: 4103/0019-5545.105550
- Rioux, J., Thomson, C., & Howerter, A. (2014). A Pilot Feasibility Study of Whole-systems Ayurvedic Medicine and Yoga therapy for Weight Loss. Global Advances in Health and Medicine,3(1), 28-35. https://doi.org/10.7453/gahmj.2013.084