7 Ayurvedic Medicine Benefits
Ayurvedic medicine is a traditional, holistic approach to medicine. It has been around for thousands of years in India, and about 70% of the rural population in India still depends on the traditions of Ayurveda for medical care.1
But today, Ayurveda is becoming more and more popular worldwide—with about 240,000 American adults using Ayurvedic medicine to improve their health.2 This ancient healing practice offers a complete system of care to rid the body of disease, bring things back in balance, and promote harmony in mind, body, and spirit.
In this article, we will cover what Ayurvedic medicine is, the top Ayurvedic medicine benefits, and how to give Ayurvedic medicine a try for yourself.
What is Ayurvedic medicine?
Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient system of medicine developed between 2500 and 500 BC in India.3 The word Ayurveda means “science of life.” The philosophy involves the union of the body, mind, and spirit. Ayurvedic medicine practitioners believe that health problems occur when our body, mind, and spirit are out of balance.3 4
The practice of Ayurveda centers around 3 constitutions, or energy types, known as doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. The doshas each have specific characteristics, and when they are in balance they allow your body to work in harmony. Ayurvedic practitioners work to bring all 3 of the doshas into balance for the individual they are treating.3
Some of the goals of treatment with Ayurveda are to eliminate impurities in the body, reduce symptoms, increase resistance to disease, reduce worry and stress, and increase harmony in life.5 There is a strong focus on health promotion, disease prevention, early diagnosis, and personalized treatment.4
An Ayurvedic treatment plan typically involves an initial internal purification of the body followed by a combination of treatments that may include:
- Herbal plant medicinals
- Diet and nutrition (increasing health-promoting foods or nutraceuticals and decreasing disease-promoting foods and junk foods)
- Massage therapy
- Other lifestyle modifications2 5
Ayurveda is considered a holistic, experiential, intuitive, and highly individualized form of medical treatment.4
The benefits of Ayurvedic medicine
Because it encompasses a whole-body approach to health that is unique to each individual, the potential benefits of Ayurveda are substantial. Techniques like choosing nourishing foods, reducing stress, using massage and meditation, practicing yoga, and taking herbal supplements can support a wide range of health concerns and diseases.
Some of the top Ayurvedic medicine benefits include:
1. Reducing inflammation
Ayurvedic medicine relies heavily on the use of herbal treatments prepared from medicinal plants. Many of these plants have strong anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, Ayurveda is considered a “goldmine for novel anti-inflammatory agents.”6 These anti-inflammatory plant remedies have been used for thousands of years to treat chronic diseases.
For example, turmeric is an Ayurvedic herb that has been shown to help with the inflammatory bowel disease ulcerative colitis.2 Boswellia is another herb commonly used in Ayurveda that has strong anti-inflammatory qualities and can help with things like joint pain and other inflammatory conditions.7
2. Improving energy, sleep, stress, and well-being
By bringing harmony and balance to the body, Ayurvedic practitioners aim to increase energy, decrease stress, boost well-being, and support quality sleep in their patients.3 This is done through numerous approaches. For example, massage therapy, meditation, and yoga can all help to reduce stress and improve sleep.
Certain Ayurvedic herbs like ashwagandha also support stress and sleep. A recent study found that treatment with ashwagandha root extract for 10 weeks improved insomnia and anxiety, for example.8
3. Supporting healthy blood pressure
Through dietary changes, lifestyle habits, and herbal remedies, Ayurvedic practitioners can support their patients in bringing blood pressure back down to healthy levels. Many of these approaches are well-studied by research; for example exercise, yoga, meditation, and diet can all help to support healthy blood pressure.11
4. Relieving constipation
Ayurveda helps to promote healthy flow in the body and remove toxic impurities. According to Ayurveda, constipation is due to a dominant vata dosha, and it can be supported by correcting bad dietary habits and using medicinal plants.12
This approach helps to get to the root of constipation as a symptom and to restore balance so that the digestive system can run smoothly again.
5. Promoting anti-aging and longevity
Ayurveda is sometimes referred to as the “science of longevity,” because it supports the body from all angles and can promote a long, healthy life.1 One of the hallmarks of Ayurveda philosophy is focusing on the constant flow of degeneration and regeneration of tissues in the body. This balance of “out with the old, in with the new” is supported by the doshas, which are considered to regulate metabolic processes in the body.13
Supporting the body through healthy diet and nutrition can help to rejuvenate the body for a long life ahead.1 And traditional Ayurvedic remedies (made from specific combinations of plants, herbs, and spices) protect against degeneration, have anti-aging effects, and may even benefit stem cell activity.13
6. Improving arthritis
Ayurvedic treatments have been shown in numerous studies to help people with arthritis reduce pain and increase function. For example, Ayurvedic treatments have been just as effective as conventional medications (like methotrexate or celecoxib) in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.14
The anti-inflammatory effects of certain herbs are a major Ayurvedic medicine benefit for arthritis. Other treatment modalities like yoga, a healthy diet, and more can also help support people with arthritis to improve their condition.
7. Supporting diabetes
The holistic approach of Ayurveda to create a healthy, balanced life offers many potential benefits to people with diabetes. Certain herbal supplements used in Ayurvedic medicine may have positive benefit when it comes to regulating blood sugars. The use of those supplements in combination with healthy dietary advice, exercise, weight management, and other lifestyle modifications has been found to support patients with type 2 diabetes.2 16 17
How to find an Ayurvedic doctor
Ayurvedic medicine is not well regulated in the US, so it may take a little research to find the best qualified Ayurvedic practitioners in your area. There are some organizations, such as the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, that have search directories of practitioners like this one to help you find providers in your area.
When looking for an Ayurvedic doctor, make sure to ask potential providers about their training, experience, and background—because not all practitioners have the same level of expertise and authentic training in Ayurvedic medicine. And don’t forget to consult with your primary care physician before beginning any new treatment.
What to expect during a visit
During your first visit with an Ayurvedic doctor, expect a full medical history and exam to occur. This exam will likely include some things you might not recognize from a conventional doctor’s visit such as examinations of your tongue, lips, nails, eyes, mouth, and more. The provider might also ask you about your relationships, emotions, and stressors.3
From there, you will receive detailed, personal guidance on what to eat, how to nourish your body, what herbal remedies to use, what physical activities to try, etc.4 In creating a treatment plan, your Ayurvedic practitioner will recommend a combination of treatments that are unique to you and your environment—even taking into account factors like the seasons.3
An Ayurvedic practitioner may use a variety of tests and tools to further individualize and support your wellness. A ZYTO galvanic skin response scan, for example, can help you and your practitioner determine which wellness options the body is most biologically coherent with to assist in bringing things back into balance.
It is important to understand that Ayurveda isn’t a magic bullet, quick fix, or cure-all approach. Making the most of the Ayurvedic medicine benefits requires full participation and commitment by you as the patient.1
As with any supplements or remedies, make sure to be careful and choose your products wisely. Always opt for products from high-quality, trusted sources and read ingredient lists to reduce the chances of unknowingly consuming harmful things like heavy metals (which have been reported in some Ayurvedic preparations).2
A holistic approach
Ayurvedic medicine offers a holistic, highly individualized approach to health. Whether you are looking to sleep better, manage a condition like arthritis or hypertension, or just promote greater well-being in your life, Ayurvedic medicine benefits are worth looking into.
The Ayurvedic philosophy can help you learn how to make healthy, intentional choices in your life that are great for your body in the long term. A core element of care is to encourage responsibility for one’s own health and self-empowerment.1 So if you want to set yourself up for a lifetime of habits that will bring you into greater balance and harmony, make an appointment with an Ayurvedic practitioner today!
About Chelsea Clark
Chelsea Clark is a writer and certified health and wellness coach who is passionate about supporting others along their own health journeys. She enjoys helping people make positive, lasting changes so that they can live the happiest, healthiest life possible.
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