Many people think of wellness treatments such as the well-known forehead shower that many hotels use to advertise their spa area when they think of Ayurveda. In fact, however, Ayurveda is the traditional medicine with probably the most empirical knowledge worldwide, since it has been handed down for more than 2,000 years without gaps and thus has an extremely comprehensive treatment knowledge. Neither TCM, which only revived under political control in the 20th century, nor European medicine - with the exception of the writings of Hildegard von Bingen - can look back on such a tradition.
Ayurveda means "science of life" (ayus = "life" and veda = "knowledge") and has its roots in the sacred Indian scriptures, the so-called Vedas, which, like traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), treat physical, emotional , connect mental and spiritual aspects of healing. Thus, Ayurveda can be seen as a perfect example of a holistic healing system.
It is primarily about five areas:
- Healthy, type-appropriate nutrition
- Movement through yoga for physical well-being
- Discharge procedures, especially via the intestines (“Vasti”) and nose (“Nasri”), but also external discharges, e.g. through sweat chambers (“Svedana”) and oil massages
- Herbal Medicine
- Conscious breathing and meditation to recharge your batteries and find peace
Nutrition is of particular importance in Ayurveda - both in the prevention and in the treatment of diseases. Spices and herbs are used specifically as remedies. In Ayurveda, spices are comparable to the herbal teas of western naturopathy. We have put together the most important herbs and spices in this category for you.
The control forces
Like TCM, everything in Ayurveda is based on the five elements fire, water, earth, air and ether (in TCM, wood and metal stand for air and ether), from which everything is composed. The three so-called "Doshas" are assigned to these five elements - these are the regulating forces Vata (ether, air), Pitta (fire, water) and Kapha (earth, water).
Vata is the principle of movement in the human body and is closely linked to the nervous system. Its main seat is below the belly button in the colon area. Everything that moves in us is determined by Vata: breath, digestion, metabolism and thoughts.
Characteristics: cold, dry, rough, fast, hard and cracked. If Vata dominates, then the skin is dry, hands and feet are often cold, the metabolism and speech are fast, and the hair is fine.
On the mental level, Vata dominance is characterized by volatility, thirst for knowledge, enthusiasm and the proverbial juggling with several balls at the same time. The Vata type starts many things enthusiastically, but often does not finish them or quickly loses sight of the goal. He finds cool and windy weather uncomfortable.
- Positive: Lightness, cheerfulness and joie de vivre, alertness, clarity, creativity
- Negative: restlessness, pain, thin skin, sadness, depression
Helpful with too much Vata: routines, warm meals (ideally sweet, sour and salty), little raw food, massages and baths
Pitta is responsible for digestion, metabolism, intellect, hormone balance and the body's heat production. It is located in the stomach, duodenum and small intestine.
Characteristics: Hot, Pungent, Runny, Wet, Sour, Bitter, and Onset.If the Pitta is too high, one is constantly hungry and very impatient, angry and irritable if something eatable is not immediately available. Blemished skin, stomach pain, heartburn, diarrhea and inflammation are common Pitta problems.
On the mental level, pita dominance can be seen above all in ambition and perfectionism; they are very critical of themselves and others. Pitta types never lose sight of their goal. Pitta gives a strong charisma, intelligence and great will.
Leadership personalities are therefore often Pita types. Too much leads to aggression and the compulsion to always and everywhere want to be the best.
- Positive: lots of energy, charisma, charisma, glowing eyes, focused energy, enthusiastic.
- Negative: feeling hot, inflammation, aggression, envy, jealousy
Helpful with too much Pitta: regular relaxation phases (no competitive sports, prefer quiet walks), meditation, yoga, sufficient sleep, all cooling foods and spices such as melon, potatoes, fennel, cardamom, mint and coriander. Spicy and acidic foods such as meat, white flour products, alcohol, coffee and sugar should be avoided.
Kapha stands for strength, structure, stability, potency and is something like the framework of the body. It is located in the upper part of the stomach and in the chest. In addition to the body structure, i.e. above all the skeleton, it is responsible for our immune system and the fluid balance. Too much is expressed, among other things, in obesity, lethargy, diabetes or high blood lipid levels.
Characteristics: sweet, heavy, persistent, soft, cold, oily, greasy, sluggish. If kapha is too dominant, it is easy to become inflexible. Cravings, especially for sweet and fatty foods, from pleasure and boredom easily lead to excess fat in the tissue.
On the mental level, Kapha stands for courage and emotional stability. Kapha types are somewhat sluggish, but very enduring and strong. They act in a considered manner, consider decisions very carefully, and prefer a calm, steady lifestyle. They don't like spontaneous decisions and hectic pace. Kapha types often have the desire to be alone, to be lazy and prefer to meet conflicts by "sitting out".
- Positive: calm steadfast personality, patience, compassion, tenderness, steadfastness
- Negative: lack of drive, lethargy, ignorance, inertia. He is mentally stuck and immobile
Helpful with too much Kapha: a lot of physical activity (even with exertion), active holidays, hot and bitter foods to stimulate metabolism and digestive power, such as chicory, spinach, chard, artichokes, seasoned with cumin (cumin), pepper , chilli, horseradish, turmeric, ginger and mustard seeds.
According to Ayurveda, if Vata, Pitta and Kapha are in harmony, the person is healthy - then the organism is self-renewing and self-correcting.
Ayurveda understands "health" to mean more than just the absence of illness. The Ayurvedic expression for a healthy state is "svastha", which means something like "staying within yourself".
If the balance of the doshas is disturbed, illnesses arise. They always begin when our natural state of health (“prakriti”) is confronted with a disease-causing factor such as (emotional) stress, unhealthy nutrition, environmental toxins, etc.
Conventional medicine is based on a so-called molecular biological body model and analyzes enzymes, hormones, genes, pathogens, etc. and tries to modify or switch off individual biological substances at the micro level.Ayurveda, on the other hand, thinks in terms of properties: "Movement", the main characteristic of Vata, favors, for example, an environment that produces stress symptoms, tension, constipation and concentration problems. "Sour" (pitta) leads to inflammation in the long term and "sweet" (kapha) leads to obesity and the risk of diabetes.
In contrast to our Western understanding, there are no "healthy" or "unhealthy" foods in Ayurveda, but only "suitable" or "unsuitable" for the respective dosha constitution. For example, we would classify an orange as a fundamentally healthy food because of its high vitamin C content; for a Pitta type, however, Ayurveda would classify the orange as extremely unsuitable and therefore as "unhealthy".
Ayurveda was recognized by the WHO as a medical science and is state-recognized in India and many neighboring South Asian countries and is on an equal footing with modern conventional medicine. The latter is mainly used for acute problems such as broken bones, whereas chronic diseases are primarily treated with Ayurveda.
On the website http://dharaonline.org , established by the Indian government, you will find a good overview of articles focusing on "Ayurveda" that have been published in scientific publications worldwide. Thanks to a good keyword search, you will quickly find everything relevant to your specific question.
Legal consumer information
German and European case law wants to protect the consumer from allegedly misleading claims. The statements made here refer to the original Ayurvedic and TCM texts. This knowledge, which has been handed down for thousands of years, is based on experiences that are passed on from generation to generation. It should not be claimed that the products described here have any effect in the sense of western medicine. All products are dietary supplements; they are not medicines and have no medicinal effect. If you are ill and need medical care, please contact your doctor or pharmacist.