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Kerala Ayurveda




kerala ayurveda

          Ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional medicine native to the Indian subcontinent and a form of alternative medicine. Ayurveda is a discipline of the upaveda or "auxiliary knowledge". It is treated as a supplement or appendix of the Vedas themselves, usually either the Rigveda or the Atharvaveda. The samhita of the Atharvaveda itself contains 114 hymns or incantations for the magical cure of diseases.


         There are various legendary accounts of the "origin of ayurveda", e.g. that the science was received by Dhanvantari (or Divodasa) from Brahma Tradition also holds that a lost text written by the sage Agnivesh, a student of the sage Bharadwaja, influenced the writings of ayurveda. There are three principal early texts on Ayurveda, all dating to the early centuries of the Common Era. These are the Charaka Samhita, the Sushruta Samhita and the medical portions of the Bower Manuscript (a.k.a.. the Bheda Samhita). The relative chronology of these texts is not entirely clear. The Charaka Samhita is often cited as primary; although it survives in a recension of about the 4th or 5th century, it may be based on an original written between 100 BCE and 100 CE, which would have predated the other two texts.




         The Sushruta Samhita was written in the 3rd or 4th century. The Bower Manuscript is of particular interest because in this case the manuscript itself is ancient, dated to the early 6th century.The earliest surviving mention of the name Sushruta is from the Bower Manuscript.The medical portions of the Bower Manuscript constitutes a collection of recipes which are connected to numerous ancient authorities, and may be based on an older medical tradition practiced during the Maurya period, antedating both the Charaka and the Sushruta Samhitas. The Bower Manuscript is also of special interest to historians due to the presence of Indian medicine and its concepts in Central Asian Buddhism. A. F. R. Hoernle in his 1897 edition identified the scribe of the medical portions of the manuscript as a native of India, using a northern variant of the Gupta script, who had migrated and become a Buddhist monk in a monastery in Kucha. The Chinese pilgrim Fa Hsien (ca. 337–422 AD) wrote about the health care system of the Gupta empire (320–550) and described the institutional approach of Indian medicine, also visible in the works of Charaka, who mentions a clinic and how it should be equipped.


         As a traditional medicine, many ayurveda products have not been tested in rigorous scientific studies and clinical trials. In India, research in ayurveda is undertaken by the statutory body of the Central Government, the Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha (CCRAS), through a national network of research institutes. A systematic review of ayurveda treatments for rheumatoid arthritis concluded that there was insufficient evidence, as most of the trials were not done properly, and the one high-quality trial showed no benefits.A review of ayurveda and cardiovascular disease concluded that the evidence for ayurveda was not convincing, though some herbs seemed promising. Two varieties of Salvia have been tested in small trials; one trial provided evidence that Salvia lavandulifolia (Spanish sage) may improve word recall in young adults,and another provided evidence that Salvia officinalis (Common sage) may improve symptoms in Alzheimer's patients.Many plants used as rasayana (rejuvenation) medications are potent antioxidants.Neem appears to have beneficial pharmacological properties.Turmeric and curcumin have shown effectiveness in preventing cancer in vitro, however according to Cancer Research UK, "there is no evidence that Ayurvedic herbal medicines can prevent, treat or cure cancer in humans"


      Treatments in Ayurveda


kerala ayurveda

1. Thalapothichil :

         A paste made of embilica officionalis and other herbs with buttermilk is applied all over the head.This treatment is indicated for insomnia ,stress relief and certain mental ailments




2. Tarpanam :

         Medicated decoction and ghee are retained around the eyes within a border made of medicated herbal dough.This is a treatment that strengthens the optical nerves, prevents cataract and gives a cooling effect to the eyes. Duration: 20 to 30 minutes. Snehapanam In this treatment, medicated ghee or oil is given internally in gradually increasing quantities for a period of 8 to 12 days.It is indicated for osteo-arthritis, leukaemia, psoriasis etc


3. Vasthi :

         This is a herbal enema in which a decoction of oils and medicines is administered through the rectum for evacuation of the bowels. This is a purgative treatment that is done for a period of 25 days for patients suffering from arthritis, paralysis, hemiplegia, gastric problems and chronic constipation.


4. Pizhichil :

         Warm medicated oil is poured continuously on the person’s body for 45 to 60 minutes.This Dhara is usually done in four to five postures Indication. Effective for rejuvenation, improving blood circulation, reducing pain and inflammation. Advised in Paralysis, low back ache, neck pain and arthritis.


5. Abhyangam:

         REJUVENATING MASSAGE Abhyangam means massage. Warm Medicated oil is gently applied all over the body. Then gentle to moderate pressure with hands and fingers are used for an effective massage. Massage is done in four to five standard positions. Indication. Advised for pain and stiffness.Boosts energy levels,rejuvenate and relaxes the muscles. Enhance skin tone,and induces sleep.


6. Karaskara Ksheera Dhara:

         Karaskara ksheeram - is a herbal decoction prepared in milk.Warm Karaskara ksheeram is poured in a continuous stream all over the body. Dhara is usually done in four to five postures. Indication. Effective treatment to improve peripheral blood circulation, reducing pain, numbness, burning sensation and inflammation. This line of treatment combined with specific externally used oils has an added effect for Rheumatoid arthritis, diabetic neuropathy, eczema and psoriasis.


7. Dhanyamla Dhara:

         Dhara is a process of pouring warm medicated oil or a herbal decoction over the body. Dhanyamlam - is an infusion (decoction)prepared with some cereals (dhanyam) and acidic fruits like citrus fruits. Njavara rice, horse gram, millet, sliced citrus fruits, dried ginger etc. The above prepared decoction (Dhanyamlam) is poured in a continuous stream over the body. Indication. For rejuvenation, improving blood circulation and in reducing pain and inflammation


8. Udvarthanam:

         Udwarthanam is a focus massage with medicated oil or herbal powder using upward strokes. Indication- To reduce cellulite, rejuvenate the muscles, to improve the circulation and for fat reduction.


9. Kadee vasthi:

         A circular receptacle made out of black gram dough is fixed on the lower back .Lukewarm medicated oil is slowly poured in to it. The oil in the receptacle is kept warm by transfering the oil gently heated in a water bath through out the procedure. Indication- For pain, stiffness, degenerative changes (osteoarthritis), Sciatica,Disc prolapse and lumbar spine injuries


10. Thakra Dhara:

         In thakradhara, medicated butter milk is poured continuously on the forehead as a continuous stream in between the temples. Indication -For skin diseases like psoriasis, insomnia, and stress.Helps to improve concentration.


11. Njavara Kizhi:

         involves fomentation of the body with boluses of specially cooked rice.A particular kind of rice known for its medicinal and nourishment value is cooked in milk along with suitable herbal decoction). These boluses are tied up in linen bags as kizhis. Indication. Very effective for rejuvenation, nourishment.Reduces pain and inflammation. Advised in paralysis, low back ache, neck pain and arthritis.


12. Shirodhara:

         In shirodhara, medicated oil is poured gently on the forehead as a continuous stream in between the temples. Indication -Insomnia, migraine, fascial palsy, parkinsonism, poor memory,hearing impairment, tinnitus, vertigo, Ménière's disease and stress. Helps to improve concentration.


13. Nasyam:

         Therapeutic administration of medicated oils or herbal juices (prepared in the form of nasal drops) through nostrils is termed as Nasyam.This is one of the Pancha karma procedure for detoxification. Nasyam is advised either in the morning on an empty stomach or in the evening. During the sessions of Nasyam, shower (bathing of head), exposure to sunlight and dust should be avoided. Indication - facial paralysis, sinusitis,migraine, Cervical spondylosis and arthritis. Duration-15 to 20 minutes to complete the procedure.


14. janu vasti:

         A circular receptacle made out of black gram dough is fixed on or behind the knee joint.Lukewarm medicated oil is slowly poured in to it. The oil in the receptacle is kept warm by transfering the oil gently heated in a water bath through out the procedure. Indication – For pain, stiffness, degenerative changes (osteoarthritis), tendon tear, and injury in the knee joint.


15. Siro Vasthi:

         Lukewarm herbal oil is poured into an open cap fitted on the head for 15 to 60 minutes per day. Indication-This procedure is advised for facial palsy, migraine, dryness of mouth, throat and nostrils, insomnia, cervical spondylosis, Parkinson's disease etc. Duration. 7 to 9 days


16. Ela Kizhi:

         Minced herbal leaves, coconut gratings and lemon,are warmed in medicated oil and bundled into boluses in cotton cloth.These bundles are steamed and the fomentation is patted rhythmically all over the body for sudation. Indication-Advised in hemiplegia,pain in,neck,back and joints. 45 to 60 minutes session.


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