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Ayurveda

By

Denise Millstine

, MD, Mayo Clinic

Reviewed/Revised Dec 2023
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Ayurveda is the traditional medical system of India, originating more than 4,000 years ago. It is based on the theory that illness results from the imbalance of the body’s life force or prana. The balancing of this life force is determined by the equilibrium of the three bodily qualities called doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. Most people have a dominant dosha, and the specific balance among the three doshas is unique to each person. (See also Overview of Integrative, Complementary, and Alternative Medicine Overview of Integrative, Complementary, and Alternative Medicine Integrative medicine and health (IMH) and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) include a variety of healing approaches and therapies that historically have not been included in conventional... read more .)

Practitioners evaluate people by

  • Questioning them about symptoms, behavior, and lifestyle

  • Observing their overall appearance, including the eyes, tongue, and skin

  • Taking their pulse and checking their urine and stool

Medicinal Uses of Ayurveda

Ayurveda has been studied, including in allergic rhinitis, mental health disorders, neurologic conditions, pain, arthritis, and diabetes. As with other studies of whole medical systems, high-quality research is difficult to conduct.

Possible Side Effects of Ayurveda

Some of the botanical combinations used in Ayurveda are contaminated with heavy metals (mainly lead, mercury, and arsenic) that can cause heavy metal poisoning.

More Information

The following English-language resource may be useful. Please note that THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of this resource.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: VIEW PROFESSIONAL VERSION
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