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Ayurveda is a holistic approach to living - a sort of lifestyle choice, putting much emphasis on leading a healthy life rather than just curing diseases. There are a variety of natural therapies and treatments all based on medicinal herbs, plants and minerals.  The ancient sages and wise men of India widened the scope of Ayurveda by learning about the secret medicinal powers of a wide assortment of plants and minerals found in the terrain. Besides the herbal remedies, Ayurvedic physicians of ancient times were able to perform surgeries with meticulous precision.

The ancient healing system of Ayurveda originated in India during the Vedic times. The word Ayurveda means ‘the science of life’. Rig Veda and Atharva Veda written in 5000 B.C are the earliest written works on Ayurveda. These texts mention about health and diseases. Comprehensive works on Ayurveda - Charaka Samhita and Susrutha Samhita were penned down somewhere close to 1000 B.C. These works elaborate on various types of diseases, therapeutic preventive and curative measures, and injury treatments besides suggestions for a healthy living.

Kerala boasts of an unbroken legacy of fine tuning and perfecting the art of Ayurveda. Kerala’s unique geography and its remote location down south flanked by the towering Western Ghats made it possible for Ayurveda to evolve into a more sophisticated and refined science here. The bio-diversity of Western Ghats with plethora of rare medicinal herbs and plants also made it possible for Ayurveda to evolve into greater perfection. The state of Kerala is now synonymous with wellness – widely acclaimed as “The land of Ayurveda”.

Today Ayurveda is taught as a university subject in Ayurveda colleges across Kerala. Ayurveda is taught and practiced under 8 major disciplines:

  1. Kaya Chikitsa – General Medicine
  2. Shalya Chikitsa – Surgery
  3. Shalakya Chikitsa – ENT and Ophthalmology
  4. Graha Chikitsa – Psychiatry
  5. Visha/ Damstra Chikitsa – Toxicology
  6. Bala Chikitsa – Pediatrics and Gynecology
  7. Rasayana/ Jara Chikitsa – Rejuvenation
  8. Vajikarana/ Vrishya Chikitsa - Aphrodisiacs

Ayurveda classifies all problems in the human body to the ‘tridoshas’ meaning - 3 combinations of the 5 basic physical energies viz; Air, Space, Fire, Water and Earth. These 3 dosha’s are:

  1. Vatha – A combination of Air and Space
  2. Pitha – A combination of Fire and Water
  3. Kapha – A combination of Water and Earth

Ayurveda stipulates that when each of these three doshas is in equilibrium, we remain healthy and balanced. These doshas with their distinct qualities are in a constant state of variation in the human body, which is essentially related to an individual’s lifestyle, environment, time and seasonal factors. This forms the crux of all Ayurvedic treatments, which focuses on eliminating bodily problems by balancing these three doshas.

Rejuvenation and purifying therapies have risen in popularity among tourists and natives. Kerala today offers a variety of holistic packages to rejuvenate body and soul. It is strongly advised that before venturing into any sort of therapy, a certified Ayurvedic physician be consulted. Some of the treatments are not recommended for persons suffering from diabetes, cardiac, liver, hepatic and renal conditions.