What is Ayurveda?
As with other traditional therapies, Ayurveda, the ancient form of herbal healing, is currently seeing a renaissance around the world, a renewed interest as more holistic approaches to health and wellness are sought. Ayurveda – meaning ‘science of long life’ in Sanskrit – is considered the world’s oldest surviving complete medical system, referenced in 5,000-year-old texts in India. In the 1970s, the World Health Organisation (WHO) formally recognised the role of alternative systems of medicine in different countries, including Ayurveda.
Balance is at the heart of Ayurveda. It focuses on establishing and sustaining balance between mind, body, spirit and environment to promote active long-term wellbeing. Therefore, rather than focusing on individual symptoms of illness or one-dimensional solutions, Ayurveda concentrates on establishing and sustaining the balance of life energies for the long term. Overall, it is a gentler, holistic system of healthcare and wellness. While diet and nutrition play a major role, Ayurveda also encompasses internal medicines and external rituals such as oil and steam treatments, herbal pastes, physical activity and mindful therapies. Plant-based treatments in Ayurveda can be derived from roots, leaves, fruits, bark or seeds.
Similar to the classical Greek concept, Ayurveda theory espouses the existence of five great elements or building blocks of nature – space, air, fire, water and earth. Based on these five elements, Ayurveda identifies the existence of life energies or functional principles that are present in everyone, known as ‘doshas’, and there are three types – ‘vata’, ‘pitta’ and ‘kapha’. Each individual is born with a unique ratio of the three life energies and they interplay as we go through life. Ayurveda theory states that maintaining equilibrium in these elements and life forces as well as being conscious of one’s sensory impressions (the five senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch) contribute to good health and wellbeing.
Ayurveda & modern medicine
Although there are numerous anecdotes of successful treatments using Ayurveda, evidence-based research, pharmacological studies and clinical trials have not been common. Over the centuries, various natural ingredients and traditional therapies have made fruitful contributions to modern medicine such as the Turmeric root and its extracts. Recent studies have been conducted into the interface between Ayurveda and conventional medicine; how the two fields can potentially complement each other. There is, for instance, research into the combined therapeutic approach of Ayurveda with modern medicine to treat difficult disorders like arthritis.
In November 2020, the World Health Organisation announced that it will set up a Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in India. The WHO Director General said, “Traditional systems of medicine such as Ayurveda can play an important role in integrated people-centric health services and healthcare, but they have not received enough attention.”
In Sri Lanka
Many people encounter Ayurveda during a holiday retreat in Asia and visit to the spa, but in reality, it is much more than a massage; it is a way of life – highlighting the importance of maintaining physical, emotional and spiritual health. Ayurveda has long been practised in Sri Lanka with its formal introduction from India being around the 3rd century BC. The island also has its own form of indigenous medicine called ‘Hela Vedakama’ based on the local environment and knowledge passed down by elders. ‘Hela Vedakama’ highlights not only the herbal medicine, but the different rituals too, including when growing and harvesting each ingredient and the way it is consumed or applied.
At BOTANISTRY, we pay respect to the ancient Ayurvedic wisdom and traditions, and have drawn inspiration from these concepts to create our Blends. In addition, we work closely with experienced Ayurvedic practitioners and medical doctors in Sri Lanka as well as food technologists in New Zealand to develop the formulations and protocols for our dietary supplements. Packed with wholesome goodness, BOTANISTRY Blends are to be enjoyed in the spirit of maintaining a balanced, mindful lifestyle – to be an active, conscious participant in your own journey of wellness.
To note: BOTANISTRY Blends are not intended to be prescriptions or treatments. Ayurveda is not typically utilised to treat acute infections or emergency situations. Any potential Ayurvedic treatments should be discussed with a healthcare professional, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, on medication or considering such remedies to treat children.