Ayurveda, with its rich history, attracts people from all around the world. It is not just a health system but rather a lifestyle, as well as a tradition. And the long tradition and ancient nature makes Ayurveda misunderstood quite a lot of times. This makes people hesitant when approaching Ayurveda.
Though I was using Ayurvedic medicines from my childhood, the knowledge and interaction with this tradition came during my BAMS studies. Now that I am a practitioner and educator of Ayurveda in United States, I come across a lot of myths about this ancient wisdom. Here,I would like to elaborate on a handful of myths and misconceptions about Ayurveda. The main reason behind many of these misconceptions will be the public’s lack of proper awareness about this science.
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Myth No. 1: Ayurvedic medicine is less effective and takes longer to cure.
Fact: This aspect of slow cure is because Ayurveda does not just pacify the symptoms, but uproots the cause and causative factors. Another important thing is that people tend to approach Ayurveda medicine after they have tried other medical systems, this face also delays the effect of the medicines. If approached at the initial stage of the disease the results can be seen soon. Also, the amount of time taken to cure each person depends on how soon the issue was found, the severity, the receptiveness of the body to the remedy, and the dedication with which the patient follows the routine.
Myth No. 2: Ayurveda is purely vegan.
Fact: Though people became deep rooted in this belief, if one sees the classics in Ayurveda the detailed description of most of the meat, egg, milk, and milk products have been dealt in this science. For example, the use of meat soup (Mamsa rasa) is strongly advised as a treatment for emaciation. Only when the people are spiritually inclined do we recommend pure vegetarianism or veganism.
Myth No. 3: Ayurveda prescribes strict dietary restrictions, or Pathya.
Fact: Certain dietary restrictions are necessary and this fact has been recognized even by modern medicine. For example, salt restriction in edema, sugar restriction in diabetes, milk and milk product restriction in prostate cancer, and so on. A pathya diet need not always be sugar-, salt-, or condiment-free. It can be palatable, acceptable, and nourishing to the patient while simultaneously serving the genuine purpose of a dietary regimen.
Myth No. 4: Ayurveda has no side effects.
Fact: Even the food we eat in improper ways ends up in various diseases, so how can medicine be free from side effects? If consumed without proper instructions and knowledge, Ayurveda medicines can cause a lot of side effects like acidity, aches, muscular spasms, and skin diseases. Improper timing and dosage, as well as expiry of herbs can cause side effects even in Ayurveda. All herbal products are not Ayurvedic. Though it may contain herbs and natural products, medicines have other ingredients like metals, ghee, rock salt, honey, and some synthetic products in some cases. So never get a medicine over-the-counter thinking Ayurveda is without any side effects.
Myth No. 5: Ayurveda medicines lack clinical testing; it is simply home remedies.
Fact: Ayurveda is time-tested and is regulated through Drug and Cosmetic Act 1940 under which pharmacopoeia standards, including Standard Operating Procedures and Good Manufacturing Practices, are mandatory. Make sure you get medicine from a registered Ayurvedic practitioner and be aware of quacks.
The list is never ending, but I have addressed the major concerns about Ayurveda here with the top five. People have framed their own opinion, developed wrong notions, and totally misconceived Ayurveda and hence have lost confidence in the effectiveness of Ayurvedic treatment.
The tradition and legacy of Ayurveda is going to stay forever and continue to help mankind uproot the diseases and prevent the cause. Make sure to have personal interaction with qualified Ayurveda doctors and practitioners for health concerns. Spreading awareness about this science is the only way to clear myths about Ayurveda and its tradition.
All information and resources provided are based on the opinions and experiences of the author, unless otherwise noted. Information is intended to encourage readers to do their own research and come to their own conclusions, and should never substitute or replace the recommendations of a qualified healthcare provider. Always consult your physician before making changes to your diet, exercise, or general wellness plan, even when using holistic methods.