Ayurvedic information is only intended as
educational.  Any self diagnosis and use of
ayurveda is done so at your own risk.  There
are many considerations necessary before
starting an ayurvedic regiment and it is
recommended that anyone seeking
alternative methods of therapy should first
consult with their primary health care
provider and also a qualified CAM practitioner.
Ayurveda is the science of life and it has a very basic, simple kind of approach, which is that we are part of the
universe and the universe is intelligent and the human body is part of the cosmic body, and the human mind is
part of the cosmic mind, and the atom and the universe are exactly the same thing but with different form, and
the more we are in touch with this deeper reality, from where everything comes, the more we will be able to heal
ourselves and at the same time heal our planet.
--Deepak Chopra

Ayurvedic medicine is an "alternative" medical practice that it is the traditional medicine of India. Ayurveda is
based on two Sanskrit terms: ayu meaning life and veda meaning knowledge or science. Since the practice is
said to be some 5,000 years old, what it considers to be knowledge or science may not coincide with the most
updated information available to Western medicine. In any case, most of the ancient treatments are not
recorded and what is called traditional Indian medicine is, for the most part, something developed in the 1980s
by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (Barrett) who brought Transcendental Meditation to the western world. The St.
Paul of this movement is Deepak Chopra, who has done more than anyone else to spread the good word about
the wonders of Ayurveda.

Ayurvedic treatments are primarily dietary and herbal. Patients are classified by body types, or prakriti, which
are determined by proportions of the three doshas. The doshas allegedly regulate mind-body harmony. Illness
and disease are considered to be a matter of imbalance in the doshas. Treatment is aimed at restoring harmony
or balance to the mind-body system. Vata, composed of air and space, allegedly governs all movement in the
mind and body and must be kept in good balance. Too much vata leads to "worries, insomnia, cramps and
constipation....Vata controls blood flow, elimination of wastes, breathing and the movement of thoughts across
the mind." Vata also controls the other two principles, Pitta and Kapha. Pitta is said to be composed of fire and
water; it allegedly governs "all heat, metabolism and transformation in the mind and body. It controls how we
digest food, how we metabolize our sensory perceptions, and how we discriminate between right and wrong."
Pitta must be kept in balance, too. "Too much [Pitta] can lead to anger, criticism, ulcers, rashes and thinning
hair." Kapha consists of earth and water. "Kapha cements the elements in the body, providing the material for
physical structure. This dosha maintains body resistance....Kapha lubricates the joints; provides moisture to the
skin; helps to heal wounds; fills the spaces in the body; gives biological strength, vigor and stability; supports
memory retention; gives energy to the heart and lungs and maintains immunity...Kapha is responsible for
emotions of attachment, greed and long-standing envy; it is also expressed in tendencies toward calmness,
forgiveness and love." Too much Kapha leads to lethargy and weight gain, as well as congestion and allergies.

On the basis of the above metaphysical physiology, Ayurveda recommends such things as: to pacify Kapha eat
spicy foods and avoid sweet foods, except for honey but don't heat the honey. Avoid tomatoes and nuts. Turkey
is fine but avoid rabbit and pheasant.  If you've got too much Pitta then try this: eat sweet foods and avoid the
spicy. Eat nuts. To reduce Vata: eat sweet, sour and salty foods; avoid spicy foods. Nuts are good and so are
dairy products.
Complementary and Alternative
Medicine of Williamsburg
Some additional references for continued research and education:

Ayurvedic Medicine, the gentle strength of Indian Healing by Birgit Heyn,  Harper Collins 1987
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