By Jay Truth | The Healers Journal
Dating back to the early 2nd millenia BCE, Ayurveda is one of the oldest systems of healing and medicine on the planet. Contrary to modern western medicine based around the use of pharmaceutical drugs and invasive surgery, Ayurveda achieves healing through gentler yet sill incredibly effective methods. Modification and adjustment of lifestyle according to ones dosha (loosely translated as ‘personal constitution’ or body/mind type), in combination with herbal medicines when necessary, are the primary means through which Ayurveda achieves healing. When practiced properly, Ayurvedic medicine can lead to the rapid and profound healing of many illnesses and imbalances.
Like any healing modality, Ayurveda is most beneficial when practiced at the hands of an experienced professional. However, due to the fact that Ayurveda is based primarily on holistic dietary and herbal remedies, it can also be practiced safely by those wishing to attempt to heal themselves. As long as the measures taken by an individual are reasonable and within the guidelines of common sense, there is little risk of danger or irreversible damage. The caveat with this type of approach, however, is that without the guidance of a trained professional, it may take longer to achieve the desired healing/results. This is not to say that substantial improvement in many conditions and overall health may not be had relatively quickly. On the contrary, it simply means that due to the trial and error nature of ‘do-it-yourself healing’, it may take longer to figure out exactly what are the true causes of illness and find the appropriate remedies/lifestyle modifications.
The key to applying the wisdom of Ayurvedic medicine in your life is to understand your dosha, or personal constitution/body type. There are three primary doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, each with their own unique characteristics. Usually, an individual has one dominant dosha and one or two lesser doshas, but it is also common to have two doshas which are almost equal in dominance. Rarer still is someone who is evenly spread over all three doshas. Your primary dosha (again, some individuals may have two overlapping primary doshas) will define exactly which illnesses and diseases you are most prone to when living out of balance and exactly which herbal, dietary, and lifestyle remedies and habits will correct those imbalances.
When a dosha is out of balance it is said to be ‘aggravated’ and this tends to cause symptoms of discomfort or illness in ones life. One must ‘calm’ the ‘aggravated’ dosha by adopting certain lifestyle/dietary habits or taking herbs in order to regain balance. For instance, Vata types are prone to anxiety and nervousness when the Vata dosha is aggravated through lack of sleep or overconsumption of spicy foods. In order to counter these Vata tendencies, it is recommended that one adopt what is termed ‘Vata pacifying habits’. In this case that would mean eating foods that balance the Vata dosha such as avocado or ghee or taking herbs such as Ashwagandha or Shankpushpi.
By understanding your dominant dosha’s you can then take the necessary steps to correct imbalances through simple lifestyle modification and/or the taking of herbal remedies.
Nature’s Formulary, an ayurvedic herbs and oils retailer, offers a comprehensive dosha test in order to help you identify your constitution. The test takes about 5 minutes to complete and is invaluable tool in helping you to fundamentally understand your mental, physical, and emotional nature. Be sure to read the instructions preceding the test.
Based on the results of your test, you can then find a comprehensive description of the personality and physical characteristics of each dosha as well as recommendations for appropriate diet and lifestyle modification here:
The information, recipes, and recommendations listed on each of these sites serve as powerful tools to help you identify imbalances or causes of illness and offer practical, easy to implement ways for you to integrate this powerful ancient healing modality into your life. Often times just following one or two of the simple recommendations is enough to heal chronic problems and illnesses. By understanding the fundamental characteristics of your body type and exactly which illnesses you are prone to when living out of balance, it becomes quite easy to take the necessary steps to counter and eliminate these imbalances before they develop into larger problems (i.e. serious illness).
The following herbal formulas come with my highest recommendation and balancing for all doshas/body types.
If you have any type of digestive disorder or discomfort, this may be just the remedy for you. Gentle yet extremely powerful, Triphala is perhaps the most important herbal blend in Ayurveda. Radiant health begins with a well-tuned digestive tract and in that respect, Triphala is key. Triphala not only cleanses out accumulated wastes, but also tones and heals the intestines, which rejuvenates the entire body. Toxins in the body are the primary cause of nearly all disease and Triphala is a key remedy for initiating the detoxification process. Many find that as their digestive health improves, they notice other benefits such as increased energy, more restful sleep, clarity of mind, and feelings of calmness. Triphala also works on the circulatory, respiratory and genitourinary systems, living up to its reputation as a true adaptogen.
Himalaya Herbs makes an excellent, potent Triphala (100% Organic, binder, filler and excipient-free)
Order at iHerb.com and get $5.00 off your order when you follow this link to the product page: Himalaya Herbs Triphala @ iHerb.com
Paradise herbs also makes a fantastic Triphala blend (Wild-crafted, binder, filler and excipient-free)
Order at iHerb.com and get $5.00 off your order when you follow this link to the product page: Paradise Herbs Triphala @ iHerb.com
Anyone suffering from high levels of stress will likely benefit from Ashwagandha and especially those who are Vata or Kapha dominant. A true adaptogen, Ashwagandha works to bring all of the body’s systems into balance, with a particular emphasis on the nervous system. Those suffering from sleep disturbances, anxiety, stress, and sexual dysfunction often derive great benefit from herbs like Ashwagandha. Recent research has shown it to stimulate thyroid in higher dosages. I particularly enjoy using Ashwagandha to help me sleep as it leaves me with absolutely no tiredness or ‘sleep hangover’ the following day.
Himalaya Herbs Ashwagandha (100% Organic, binder, filler and excipient-free)
Order at iHerb.com and get $5.00 off your order when you follow this link to the product page: Himalaya Herbs Ashwagandha @ iHerb.com
Paradise Herbs Ashwagandha (Wild-crafted, binder, filler and excipient-free)
Order at iHerb.com and get $5.00 off your order when you follow this link to the product page: Paradise Herbs Ashwagandha @ iHerb.com
Justin Faerman has been studying nutrition, alternative healing modalities, yoga, meditation, and herbalism for over 5 years. He has worked for over 2 years as a nutritional specialist in conjunction with Whole Foods Market and continues to guide individuals in their personal healing journeys.