What is the meaning of word "Ayurveda"?

Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term, made up of the words "Ayus" and "Veda". "Ayus" means life and "Veda" means knowledge or science. The term "Ayurveda" thus means 'the knowledge of life' or 'the science of life'. 

Plants are the mainstay of medicine and credited almost supernatural powers of healing. Herbs are used in many different ways. The ultimate objective of their use is that they should interact directly with our body chemistry.

What is the basic premise and the belief system of Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is based on the premise that the universe is made up of five elements: Air, Fire, Water, Earth and Ether. Earth (Prithvi) represents the solid heavy state; Water( Jal) represents the free flowing liquid state. Fire (Agni) represents a substance's ability to undergo change, Wind (Vayu) represents the gaseous state, Ether (Aakash) is space, which encompassed the matter.

Since body is also an object, it is also made up of five elements. The health is preserved only when these five elements comprising our body are in homogeneous state and equilibrium. Our food and life style has impact on this delicate balance of five elements. However these foodstuffs and lifestyles have three types of effects on the body.

- It can act as food and nourish the body.

- It can act as medicine and bring about balance in the elements.

- or it can act as poison and disturb on the body functions.

What are Tridosha's and what is their importance?

Three (meaning 'Tri') dosha activates all five elements in the human body. Five elements in the cosmic universe have their counterparts encompassed in tridoshas in the body. 

The word dosha is derived from the Sanskrit root 'dosh' meaning to corrupt. This dosha corrupts the tissue and the waste products in the body, which leads to diseases. However disease occurs only when there is an imbalance in those three doshas, where as in equilibrium they help to bring about all physical activities and chemical changes taking place in the body via digestion, assimilation, circulation, metabolism etc. These three dosha are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. 

When any of the doshas accumulate in the body beyond the desirable limit, the body loses its balance. Every individual has a distinct balance, and our health and well-being depend on getting a right balance of the three doshas ("tridoshas"). Ayurveda suggests specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines to help individuals reduce the excess dosha.

A healthy person, is defined as "he whose doshas are in balance, appetite is good, all tissues of the body and all natural urges are functioning properly, and whose mind, body and spirit are cheerful..."

What are the general myths about Ayurveda?

Time to cure: A very common concern people have is “it takes considerable time to cure”. In general, people come to Ayurveda with disease developed over years. It is a law of nature that anything which is developed over months will take months to subside. But there are very quick results to common problems like Fever, Cough & Cold, Indigestion, Constipation, Back-ache, Migraine, Obesity etc

Food Restriction (Pathya): Another concern people have is “while you are taking treatment, you may not eat lot of things”. As explained above, anything you eat can act as medicine or poison. Man's body has not changed very much in the past several thousand years... however man's diet has certainly changed a lot. All the refined sugar, white flour, hormone/antibiotics-filled meats we constantly ingest constitute an assault on our bodies. So, Ayurveda always promotes healthy things to eat like vegetables, fruits. This holds true not during treatment and for rest of your life.