Ayurvedic medicine, a term that comes from a combination of the Sanskrit words “Ayur,” meaning life, and “Veda,” meaning science or knowledge, is one of the oldest forms of alternative medicine. Many believe its roots originated in India, connecting it to the Vedas and Hindu religion. The basic philosophy behind Ayurveda is that the body, spirit and mind are connected, and when there is any type of imbalance between the spirit and the mind, the body becomes ill. It looks to seek and heal the root of the health issue, rather than focusing only on the physical symptoms. There are many Ayurvedic remedies that can be done at home for a number of common ailments such as acne, headaches, insomnia and allergies.
Typically, the Ayurvedic belief is that acne is caused by an improper diet and other internal factors, such as stress. Once the diet is assessed, the Ayurvedic practitioner usually will suggest that the patient avoid cold, oily, spicy and sugary foods and typically will suggest that the patient consume more green leafy vegetables and fresh fruits. There are many homemade, natural Ayurvedic remedies that can be applied directly to the skin, including cumin seeds, orange peels, squash and papaya masks, washing the face with buttermilk and many others.
Headaches affect many people, and there are several types of Ayurvedic remedies that are believed to provide relief without over-the-counter or prescription medicine. The Ayurvedic perspective looks at where exactly on the head the headache stems from to try to identify other potential health problems. For example, some think that headaches that stem in the temple area are a sign of forming cataracts. Some home remedies for many headaches include rubbing sandalwood on the forehead, doing a handstand to increase blood flow to the head and drinking warm water with an added teaspoon of honey.
People who suffer from insomnia or other sleep disorders can benefit from several Ayurvedic remedies, such as meditation, yoga and breathing exercised to quiet the restless mind that might be prohibiting them from sleeping. Other remedies include rinsing the eyes with rosewater, combing the hair before bed, receiving massages and having sex. Some believe that eating dinner before sunset and taking a bath in lukewarm water two hours later will assist with a better night’s sleep.
There are many Ayurvedic remedies for allergy sufferers as well. The Ayurvedic belief behind seasonal allergies is that the problems are connected to the earth, and congestion is a side effect of the person retaining more water than usual. Typically, practitioners will suggest avoiding dairy, meat and nuts, as well as heavy meals late in the evening. When a person is congested, some other remedies include drinking a glass of warm water with half a teaspoon of licorice after every meal and consuming a teaspoon of honey on an empty stomach three times a day.