Contributed by: (http://www.india-herbs.com):
The goal of Ayurvedic medicine is to prevent diseases before they occur. Studies have suggested that Ayurveda may be particularly effective at reducing the risk of heart disease. For example, a recent study found that this traditional Indian medicine helped reduce plaque and reverse the thickening of artery walls known as atherosclerosis in both healthy adults as well as adults at high risk for heart disease. (Atherosclerosis is a slow, complex disease in which fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium, and other substances build up in the inner lining of an artery. This build-up, also known as plaque, can lead to heart attack and stroke.)
Combining yoga with an Ayurvedic herbal remedy containing Winter cherry (Withania somnifera), Boswellia (Boswellia serrata), and Turmeric (Curcuma longa) can reduce pain and disability if you have arthritis.
What should I expect from an Ayurvedic treatment?
Ayurvedic treatment focuses on rebalancing the doshas. On your first visit, the practitioner will take a detailed medical history, check your pulse, palpate your abdomen, examine your tongue, eyes, nails, and skin, and listen to the tone of your voice. He or she will also ask you questions about your general state of health with special focus on your lifestyle, diet, habits, and environmental surroundings. Based on this assessment, he or she will then make recommendations on how to restore your natural dosha balance, which almost always includes changes in lifestyle, particular diet. Practitioners draw from more than 20 types of treatment, but the most commonly prescribed include:
• Pranayama — breathing exercises. Practicing pranayama generates feelings of calmness.
• Abhyanga — rubbing the skin with herbalized oil (usually sesame oil is the base) to increase blood circulation and draw toxins out of the body through the skin.
• Rasayana — using mantras (repeated words or phrases) during meditation combined with specific herbs to rejuvenate a person.
• Yoga — combining pranayama, movement, and meditation. Has been shown to improve circulation and digestion, and to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels, anxiety, and chronic pain.
• Pancha karma — cleansing the body of toxins to purify the body and reduce cholesterol. Practitioners use methods to induce sweat, bowel movements, and even vomit in an effort to cleanse the body of toxins.
• Herbal medicines — prescribing herbs to restore dosha balance.
Physiotherapy accompanied by herbal medication can alleviate the symptoms of a paralytic stroke. The vitalizing body massages prevent the inactive muscles from atrophying and medication helps to improve the circulatory system. Regular Panchakarma prevents stroke by maintaining normal blood pressure and keeping the arteries healthy. The endothelium of the arteries gets damaged due to accumulation of toxins and subsequent formation of thrombus. These thrombi, when dislodged, can cause stroke. Regular Panchakarma and Ayurveda lifestyle prevents this catastrophe.
A number of Ayurvedic herbal remedes have been evaluated for their beneficial effects. For example, Guggulipid (Commiphora mukul), a traditional Ayurvedic medication used to treat high cholesterol, is widely used in India. It appears to effectively lower cholesterol by blocking the production of cholesterol in the liver. Similarly, fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum) seeds can decrease LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and increase HDL cholesterol levels. These effects seem to be due to reduced intestinal absorption of cholesterol, and may be related to the high fiber content of the seed. Fenugreek seeds may also help control your blood sugars if you have diabetes, again because of the high fiber content.
Other Ayurvedic herbs are being studied as treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, asthma, dementia, dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), herpes, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, perimenopausal problems, and premenstrual syndrome, amongst many other conditions. Ayurvedic herbs combined with conventional medications may also be helpful for acne, chronic constipation, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, and uterine fibroids.
Be sure to consult your doctor before trying Ayurveda, especially if you take medicines or have certain dietary restrictions such as with diabetes.
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