What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is an old health care tradition that has been practiced in India for at least five thousand years. This word comes from the Sanskrit terms ayur (life) and veda (knowledge).
The scientific research on Ayurveda
A number of researchers who study Ayurveda believe that understanding a patient’s doshas (bodily energies) and in turn his or her prakruti (specific constitution for everyone) can help determine that patient’s risk of developing certain diseases or health conditions. In a study that was made avalable in 2013 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, the principles of Ayurvedic medicine was used to find populations that may be at a greater risk of developing the Parkinson’s disease. This study found that the incidence of Parkinson’s disease was highest in those with a vata prakruti (those whose dominant dosha is vata which is energy that is connected to fire, and is believed to control both the digestive and endocrine systems).
Such studies can be useful not only in recognizing vulnerable populations for diseases but also in delaying the beginning of symptoms and slowing the progression of the disease, according to Manyam. For patients who have the Parkinson’s disease, individuals with a vata prakruti may change their diet or they may seek Ayurvedic treatments that will keep their doshas in balance.
Disruptions in any of the three major doshas are addressed by a range of Ayurvedic treatments, including herbal remedies, dietary restrictions, masage, yoga, meditation and breathing exercises called pranayama, this is according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
The successes of these therapies have not been extensively studied in clinical trials by practitioners of Western medicine. Therefore, some doctors and other health care specialists consider Ayurveda a risky adjunct to conventional medicine.
Benefits of Ayurveda
Many Ayurvedic treatments, including meditation and individualized diets, are directed at keeping a person healthy rather than curing them of the ailment.
Turmeric, a spice stemmed from the turmeric plant Curcuma longa, is typically prescribed by Ayurvedic practitioners. Turmeric contains beta-carotene, calcium, flavonoids, zinc, niacin, potassium, iron, and other nutrients. In addition to its possible effectiveness in treating peptic ulcers and some forms of cancer, turmeric also has proven anti-inflammatory properties. Many studies have suggested that it may help lower the signs of rheumatoid arthritis, as said by The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health.
A recent study found that an Ayurvedic herbal compound was just as efficient at curing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms as Trexall (methotrexate).
Another broadly used Ayurvedic treatment is frankincense, a dried resin resulting from the Boswellia tree. According to a recent study, osteoarthritis patients had considerable decrease in pain after using a frankincense medication.
A study printed in 2005 in the Journal Cardiology in Review advised that the Ayurvedic practice of yoga could help reduce anxiety and improve the quality of life, making it a helpful exercise for those suffering from heart disease and hypertension.
If you are considering an Ayurvedic treatment or any other substitute therapies, be sure to talk with your primary care physician or any other health care specialist. A few Ayurvedic treatments may be dangerous when combined with prescription or over-the-counter medicines.
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