Ayurveda The definition of ‘Ayurveda’ in simple terms means “The Science of Life”. Ayurveda represents a system of healing that has been perfected over more than five thousand years. It is famed as South Asia’s ancient health care system based […]
The definition of ‘Ayurveda’ in simple terms means “The Science of Life”. Ayurveda represents a system of healing that has been perfected over more than five thousand years. It is famed as South Asia’s ancient health care system based on herbs and diet. Ayurveda sees health and disease in holistic terms. It takes into account the relationship between energy and matter. This system of healing believes in treatment of not just the part affected by disease but the individual as a whole. It emphasizes on the harmony of mind, body and spirit to cure diseases.
What is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine developed in our part of the world, long before the “father of medicine”, Hippocrates, was even born. The name comes from two conjoined Sanskrit words “Ayuh” (life) and “Veda” (science or knowledge).Since ancient times, man has engaged in the pursuit of achieving and maintaining an optimum state of health. Way back in 600 BC, Ayurveda emerged in South Asia as the natural way of healing. Today, Ayyrveda has evolved into a scientific system of holistic healing that has gained recognition across the globe.
Ayurveda in Sri Lanka
“Ayurveda” is not only a form of medication. It is a way of life known to generations of Sri Lankans for many years. The earliest references to ayurweda in Srilanka is dates back to pre historic period for nearly about 5000 years. There was king in those days call king ravana. And there were four tribes in Srilanka, Yaksha, Raksha, Deva and Naga. Legends said the king Ravana was a great physician and he taught the medicine to these four tribes.
The health conscious today are searching for effective alternatives to the spiraling costs and side effects that result from the use of modern medicine. Sri Lankans, in the last couple of millennia has made use of the ”user friendly and traditional medicine “Ayurveda” which over 75% of the island’s population depend on because of its reliance on natural plants, herbs and oils.
Three Vital forces of Ayurveda
One of the fundamental beliefs of Ayurveda is the doctrine of ‘”Tri Dosha” or the Three Vital Forces. Vayu, Pita and Kapha.
Generally translated into Wind, Bile and Phlegm, a more accurate interpretation of
Vayu is the transmission of energy within the body; in modern medical terms, nerve impulses, muscle contractions and hormonal activity.
Pita may not be confined to bile but signifies the whole scope of metabolism and internal heat production
while Kapha means mucus, often described as “The Protective Fluid”
The modern concept of mucus as an antibody containing liquid which coats and protects internal linings of the body, seems to fit in with Ayurvedic thinking. When the three, “Doshas” are balanced, the body is in good health. When this equilibrium is disturbed and the balance of these complementary forces become unbalanced and upset, illness takes over. Ayurvedic practitioners study the patient as a whole with the object of restoring balance, getting to the root of the problem and treating it. Local folk have been known to say that while western medicine classifieds germs and attempts to destroy them, Ayurveda classifies human beings and attempts to save them.
Traditional medicine has been practiced in Sri Lanka for many years. At present, there are four systems of traditional medical systems in Sri Lanka viz. Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Deshiya Chikitsa (Sri Lankan traditional treatment). The most important among them is Ayurveda, which also forms part of the national health services provided by the government of Sri Lanka including separate Ministry for Indigenous Medicine. At present, Ayurveda serves a large proportion of the population with one Ayurvedic physician per 3,000 people in Sri Lanka. About 60 to 70% of the rural population relies on traditional and natural medicine for their primary health care. Therefore Herbal drugs are essential components of traditional medical system in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is identified as one of the most biologically diverse countries in Asia with about 20% of the area under forest. It has the highest species diversity per unit area in Asia and is one of the mega biodiversity hot spots. Therefore it is an urgent need to rationally utilize medicinal plants for curative purposes with proper maintenance of biodiversity. The government of Sri Lana has taken several initiatives to develop technology for the effective conservation and efficient utilization of medicinal plants, to coordinate research and developmental activities through the Department of Ayurveda, Bandaranayake Memorial Ayurvedic Research Institute and the Institute of Indigenous Medicine — University of Colombo. But lack of funding and some problems and constraints knowledge of herbal medical systems and its applications to cure illnesses has not been effectively explored fully by Sri Lanka. If this happens successfully, Sri Lanka could gain a very significant competitive edge in the global market, especially in the herbal medical drugs, beauty care and nutraceuticals. There is a lot of scope for Sri Lanka to achieve higher rank in global market through export of quality products from medicinal and aromatic plants. But Sri Lanka seems to be lagging behind using advanced technology and standardization procedures in herbal products and is ranked lower in the herbal medicine global market share, while China occupies nearly 30% of the global market with high tech issues. Therefore Sri Lanka need to be focused on the quality assurance with multidisciplinary researches with in the country and collaborative works with other high tech used countries. Further Good laboratory practices (GLP) and Good manufacturing practices (GMPs) are also needed to apply for produce good quality medicinal products in Sri Lanka. Without overcoming these entire measures current scenario is not sufficient to increase the global market share of a herbal drug industry and herbal medical practice for Sri Lanka. This presentation provides information on Sri Lanka herbal medicine, medicinal and aromatic plant resources, research and development activities including drug standardization, trade and marketing, problems and constraints, future developments and collaborative activities with other countries.
With the passage of the time our indigenous medicine developed in many aspects. The kings built many hospitals in the monastery complexes. For the dwelling monks and as well as for the lay people. Still we could find the remains of ancient hospitals Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa ancient capital cities. There is a remains of a hospital in Mihintale monastery which located 15 km from Anuradapura city, an inscription placed close to the site gives us a vivid description of the hospital and its functions. That hospital consist of reception, out patient department, wards, medicine preparation area, store, wards,medicinal trough which used for the snake bitten patients and for the rheumatic patients. and there were many doctors. Mandowwa- the orthopedic consultant, Puhunda Weda- the specialist using leeches to suck the spoiled blood. King Buddhadasa 1500 years ago created forest to plant medicinal herbs which a laymen not allowed to enter.
Differences between western medicine and eastern medicine or in our medicine.
1. The western medicine treats according to the symptoms. And treat the illness directly
But our medicine treat the root of the illness
2. in western medicine treat physiological treatment and physical treatment given separately
but in ours its holistic approach the mind and the body together.
3. The western medicines consist of natural and artificial raw materials
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