Ayurvedic medicine, the oldest healing system in the World in continuous practice, is at least 3000 years old; with roots going back 5000 years. Ayurveda has its origins in the purification and rejuvenation of the body so that the mind can attain enlightenment. It is an integrated system, primarily botanical, with selected use of materials, designed to correct imbalance before it results in disease and to maintain that balance - in essence, to help an individual to get healthy and stay healthy. Conventional allopathic medicine, by contrast is designed to treat an individual at a much later stage, when overt symptoms of disease are already manifested. Thus, more than being a system of treatment ayurveda's thrust is the prevention of disease, through a harmony in body composition.
Ayurveda literally means "science" or "knowledge"(Veda) of "life"(ayur). A more appropriate translation is "the science of longevity". In ayurvedic theory, both the environment and the individuals are composed of the five basic elements: air, fire, water, earth and space. When used to interpret the human body and mind, these classifications can be considered as metaphors for Physiological functions. Earth relates to all the minerals that take up the bone and muscles. Fire stands for metabolism, wherein foods are broken down and transformed into nutrients. Water represents body fluids, including blood. Air is associated with the nervous system. Space is everything that holds the body together.
The predominance of these elements affects the three metabolic characteristics of individuals. These characteristics are referred to as doshas: vata, pittha and kapha. These are called the tridoshas. Each dosha is located in a certain organ of the body and is a combination of the five natural elements. Depending on the predominance of a particular dosha, an individual falls into a particular character type and is prone to particular types of diseases. For example, people of the pittha type said to be hot tempered and competitive. They are considered to be more prone to ulcers and rashes. Depending on the analysis of the patient type, Ayurveda advises a particular diet, treatment and care.
There are different types of treatment in Ayurveda. Accordingly, ayurvedic formulations can: Promote healing from disease, Maintain health, Protect the body against toxins, Stimulate detoxification processes, Boost immunity, Improve digestion, Clear and concentrate the mind, Calm the mind while preserving mental clarity.