Although Ayurveda has been around for thousands of years in the Indian subcontinent, the world is only now waking up to its benefits. Classified by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor as one the finest ‘soft powers’ that India has to offer to the world, Ayurveda, or the ‘science of life’, presents us with ancient wisdom that is increasingly relevant in the modern world.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a system of traditional medicine followed in India that originated in the Vedic times. Today, it is considered a form of alternative therapy that emphasizes on achieving a balance between the three ‘doshas’ or elemental substances – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
When does Ayurveda Work Best?
Qualified ayurvedic doctors generally use eight methods to diagnose illnesses, including the Nadi (pulse), Mutra (urine), Mala (stool), Jihva (tongue), Shabda (speech), Sparsha (touch), Druk (vision), and Aakruti (appearance). Once the diagnosis is made, the treatment may be plant-based, with an emphasis on attaining vitality through a healthy metabolic system and good digestion.
“People should realise that if they want to take alternative medicine, they must go only to those who are authorised to prescribe them,” Dr. Vishal Rao of the Institute of Public Health told Deccan Chronicle. “Sadly, all these shops give no bill or prescription.” It is important to understand that Ayurveda isn’t magic – it only works when the illness is diagnosed and the right kind of medicines are prescribed.
While it is true that Ayurvedic preparations should only be taken on prescription, the discipline also offers a number of ‘home remedies’ for laypeople. These remedies are often simple, involving plants and herbs that are usually found in Indian kitchen. Through the wisdom of the ages, ayurveda teaches us how everyday ingredients are veritable storehouses of healing power. It advocates the incorporation of highly effective herbs into our daily diet.
Top Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Common Ailments
Allergic Rhinitis: Tulsi, or Holy Basil, is highly recommended to treat allergic rhinitis. It is known for its strong aroma and high anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger, amla (indian gooseberry), and turmeric are also recommended for relieving congestion and boosting immunity.
Tip: Boil half-a-teaspoon of freshly grated ginger in a cup of milk. Add a pinch of turmeric to this concoction and consume one or two times a day for relief from allergic rhinitis.
Hyper-acidity: Ayurveda suggests using tender coconut water to heal heartburn, and other plant-based ingredients such as cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. Chewing on spices such as cardamom and cloves is also recommended
Tip: Mix 25 grams each of roasted and powdered cumin and coriander seeds with 50 grams of sugar. Consume half-a-teaspoon three times a day for relief from hyper-acidity.
Headache: While chronic headaches need to be diagnosed and treated professionally, immediate relief from discomfort in and around the head is possible.
Tip: Make a fine paste of cinnamon powder and water, and apply it to the forehead and temples. This should help provide temporary relief from headaches. A paste of ground clay or sandalwood powder mixed with rose water can also achieve the desired effect.
Burns: Superficial first degree burns can be treated effectively using ayurvedic home remedies.
Tip: Applying Aloe vera gel on the affected area for at least 30 minutes should help reduce the burning sensation. Adding a teaspoon of turmeric powder to the gel can make it more effective in treating burns. The affected area can also be washed with rose water.
Tired Eyes: Increased screen time and lack of sleep can result in tired, itchy, burning, and watery eyes. The condition may require medical attention if irritation persists, but for minor stress, Ayurvedic remedies can work wonders.
Tip: Apply a cold compress of milk to the eyes for five to ten minutes to relieve them of stress. You could also try applying a few drops of rosewater to the eyelids. Rose water has a cooling effect that reduces tiredness in the eyes.
Back Pain: The most effective Ayurvedic treatments for low back pain involve massages using medicated oils. Consuming cumin and ginger tea once or twice a day also provides relief.
Tip: Heat mustard or sesame oil until warm. To this, add a few pods of crushed garlic and roasted garlic. Massage the oil into the affected area, followed by a warm compress.
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