The oldest medicinal system as known to mankind today is Ayurveda. This holistic system from the Vedic civilization in India is built around five elements of nature, called Panchamabhoothas i.e. ether(Akash), air(Vayu), water(Jal), fire(Agni) and earth(Prithvi). Just as nature cannot function without all the five elements being in harmony, Ayurveda believes that human body cannot function without total balance of these five elements within the body.
Ayurveda originates from the Sanskrit words “Ayu” meaning life, and Veda that means science, or knowledge. So Ayurveda means Science of Life. Treatment of each individual with Ayurveda is personalized taking into account an individual’s psychological, physical, and emotional conditions. Ayurveda believes that when the five elements of nature within the body are not in balance, disease prevails.
According to Ayurveda, human bodies are made up of a combination of three types of Doshas, (energetic index) and the Doshas are comprised of the five elements in nature.
Vatha = air + ether: Vatha governs the principle of movement within the body. A good balance of Doshas with the perfect Vatha index regulates nerve impulses, healthy respiration and lung function, heart beats, muscular contraction and relaxation, circulation of blood and fluids throughout the body, relaying sensory input from the sense organs to the brain and regular elimination of waste (feces, urine, semen, fetus and sweat).
Pittha = fire + water: Pittha governs metabolism as it comprises of the fire element. It is mainly responsible for metabolism at the organ, tissue and cellular levels. It manifests in a healthy appetite, a good digestion, maintaining body temperature, facilitates good comprehension of matters and situation, using the right knowledge towards proper reasoning and good judgement.
Kapha = Earth + water: Kapha which basically means mucus, is responsible for protection. The mucous lining in the stomach and spinal fluid in the brain are the two main characteristics of the Kapha Dosha. Kapha also determines lubrication of the joints, preventing friction, provides bodily structure, heps produce healthy children and as it is governed by the element earth, it is responsible for the grounding of energy during meditation.
A perfect balance in Vatha, Pittha and Kapha renders a person perfectly healthy. A healthy balanced diet, a good regimen of exercise every day, relaxation, recreation and stress reduction, good digestion, elimination of wastes and regular detoxing throughout the life span keeps the Doshas balanced. One can lead a wonderful Ayurvedic lifestyle by following these Ayurvedic principles and cooking Ayurvedic recipes.