Tamlyn Govender is a leading Ayurveda practitioner and founder of Natura’s Health & Wellness. Natura’s Health & Wellness is a health and wellness organization that focuses on healing the body, mind and spirit. It aims to improve and promote awareness of Ayurveda(” the science of life”) leading people to make changes in their daily routines and adapt to healthier and happier lifestyles.
Curejoy interviewed Tamlyn recently on what how Ayurveda views disease and its approach towards prevention, cure and healing the body. Here are excerpts from the interview:
Q: What is Ayurveda’s view of “disease”?
Ayurveda treats disease as a weakness in our system due to an imbalance in dosha, dhatu and mala. This tripod of factors should be in a balanced state i.e a health state. It is also stated in our classical Ayurvedic texts, that the cause of disease of the body and mind is a result of improper utilization of time, mental abilities and the senses.
Individuals are usually prone to illnesses when they do not follow a proper diet as per the designated season, or receive adequate rest and over exert themselves. Collectively, Ayurveda assesses these factors in an individual to correct the weakness in our bodies and return it to normalcy.
Q: Can Ayurveda be used as a preventive alternative? Does it emphasize on foods or medicines as part of daily routine?
This is the fantastic thing about Ayurveda, because it is such a versatile branch of medicine. It can be regarded as a preventative alternative in some cases but Ayurveda is also a curative alternative. However, this depends on a number of factors such as the strength of the patient, the stage of the disease in shatkriya kala (6 stages of disease) as well as the chronicity of the disease.
In the developed stages of disease herbal and herbo-mineral medicines are prescribed. Ayurveda emphasizes on food as part of the daily routine since the science regards “Agni” (digestive power) as the root cause of disease. If we correct this by establishing healthy diet regimens in our daily routine then ultimately we will be healthier. However, we should not forget about the necessity of exercise this is where Yoga can be utilized as a complementary science with Ayurveda.
Q: As a preventative medicine can we self -prescribe Ayurvedic medicines?
It is not recommended that people purchase Ayurvedic medicines OTC since in some formulations there are traces of herbo-minerals. In some countries this branch of medicine is not regulated yet it is allowed to be purchased OTC but, this is not the safe option. It can lead to complications if it is not taken properly in the recommended dose as stated by a qualified Ayurvedic physician.
Apart from this every one of us has a specific bodily constitution (prakruti) and in some cases certain medicines may not be compatible with our constitution and may further aggravate any ailments in our body. Consumption of Chywanaprash for example is great for overall health and boosting the immunity but it is best to consult a physician to avoid unnecessary health problems in the future.
Q: Does Ayurveda balance the system and prepare the body to take care of itself or we need to keep the medicines going for life?
This is the specialty of Ayurveda because it removes the root cause of the disease and brings the body back to its healthy state so there is need to keep taking medications in the long term.
Q: How effective is Ayurveda is healing “irreversible” ailments like diabetes? Can it permanently keep patients off medication?
Yes, ayurveda aims to remove the root cause of disease. Patients do not have to be sworn to a lifetime of medications. It is however necessary that a healthy diet and regimen be maintained after you have stopped with the medicines.
Q: What other medical sciences work best with Ayurveda?
Branches like Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Yoga, Siddha, Unani, Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Acupressure etc. are all considered to be complementary medical sciences that work wonderfully with Ayurveda.
Q: Is the seasonal cleansing (panchakarma) recommended by Ayurveda applicable for all or should it be based on your health condition or ailment?
Panchakarma is a very drastic set of procedures which purge the body of aggravated doshas it is not suggested for everyone. Since, not all of us possess the will power and determination to undergo these procedures. In cases where panchakarma cannot be done then palliative or samsamana cikitsa will also work well but it may not be as effective. In chronic cases of diseases panchakarma procedures are very successful because it has a number of curative benefits.
Q: Herbal supplements or remedies have had their run-ins with FDA. What is your view on the safety of herbal ingredients and what should people look out for?
This is a growing issue at the moment but people should be aware of the quality of the product. In some cases extracts of herbal ingredients are used and this is not very effective. It is best to opt for the actual herbal drug which acts faster than the extract. Also be aware of the methods of purification in some herbo-mineral products. Improper purification of these products can lead to severe complications. Some companies are more reliable than others it is best to consult your nearest Ayurvedic physician so that they can advise you.