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The Ancient Tradition of Ayurveda

Ayurveda is one of the world's oldest healing traditions, and it is famous for incorporating a number of herbal traditions. The term Ayurveda is derived from two Indian words: ayur, which means life, and veda means knowledge.

Thus the term Ayurveda translates as something like the 'knowledge of how to live well.' In Ayurvedic medicine, illness is often seen in terms of imbalance.

This leads to the use of herbs and dietary controls to restore equilibrium to the mind and body. The earliest Ayurvedic texts date all the way back to 2500 B.C. and new herbal traditions were successively added as new invaders made their way into India.

The Ayurvedic model of healing focuses on three primal forces: prana, or the breath of life, agni, the spirit of light or fire, and soma, or a manifestation of harmony, cohesiveness, and love.

The Ayurvedic tradition also focuses on five elements that comprise all matter. These are: earth, water, fire, air, and ether (ether is more or less defined as a nebulous nothingness that fills up space all around).

The five universal elements of Ayurvedic medicine are balanced by agni, which is the digestive fire, into three distinct humors. Each humor influences individual health and temperament in its own way.

The Ayurvedic philosophy states that digestion is imperfect, and if it were perfect there would be no humeral imbalance. But digestion is not perfect, so it follows that imbalance will occasionally occur. Air and ether yield what is known as vata (wind), fire makes the humor pitta (sometimes thought of as bile), and earth and water come together to form kapah (or phlegm).

The most dominant humor can be observed in an individual's character. Someone who has a vata-dominant personality is seen as a melancholic individual. Someone with a pitta-dominant personality is thought of as choleric. Someone with a kapha-dominant personality is thought of as phlegmatic.  


An Interesting Herb Fact

First Aid Remedies with the Yarrow Plant
The Yarrow plant, Latin name Achillea millefolium, is one of the most highly valued plants for treating the common cold and influenza. The plant's Latin name is derived from the famous Greek hero Achilles. It is believed that the plant was used during the Trojan wars, where it was used to treat war wounds. Yarrow also has a curious folk name: "nosebleed." This folk nickname is a testimony to its traditional use as a first aid herb. Yarrow has been used in the past as an emergency styptic to...

Herbal remedies are often thought of as a way to balance out a person's natural humors. This is often accomplished by using the Ayurveda chakra philosophy. Chakras are energy centers of the body, and they can often be balanced through herbal remedies. Different chakras of the body are associated with various areas of the body, such as important glands and organs.

For instance, the throat has a chakra, and when it is out of balance, Ayurveda medicine recommends taking herbs like cloves and vervain. To balance out the heart chakra, it is recommended that rose or saffron is taken. The solar plexus chakra is associated with the liver and adrenal glands, and it can be balanced by taking goldenseal and lemon balm. 


Taken in large doses, peppermint oil is well known for its cooling, calming and analgesic properties.

It is also thought to be a good herbal remedy for treating fevers, skin complaints, migraines and headaches.

Peppermint essential oil is also believed to be antibacterial, and it is often used to help combat minor infections.

The brow chakra is associated with the pituitary gland, and it can be supported by taking sandalwood and elecampane. The splenic chakra is associated with the ovaries and testes. It can be balanced by taking fennel and coriander herbal remedies. The root chakra is associated with the uterus and the prostate gland, and herbal remedies like haritaki and ashwagandha can support it.


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