Thursday, February 7, 2013

Age Gracefully Through Ayurveda

Ayurveda is the traditional medical system of India. The word ayurveda comes from two Sanskrit words viz - AYU=life and VEDA= knowledge. So the literal meaning of ayurveda means 'knowledge about life' or in a broad sense, knowledge of perfect living. This concept of life that one is becoming free from all ailments and death sows the seeds for the development of geriatric science which evolved as one of the eight branches of ayurveda.

Ancient saints of India developed Ayurveda by aiming in two aspects. They are prevention of disease by enjoying optimum health and cure the disease by living harmonious with the nature. Geriatric treatment in Ayurveda revolves around the old age ailments with a view to delay and prevent aging process, prevent complications of existing diseases, reducing wear and tear of tissues. Chronology of aging in ayurveda is Childhood, Development, Complexion, Intellectual grasping power, Skin health, Visual acuity, Sexual excellence, Vigor, Intellect, Manual activities, Response to stimulus, Life. These factors are decaying in each decade. So death will occur at 120 years. On a comparison with today's life status it can be understood that we should adopt the ways of ayurvedic living for optimum health so that we can live up to 120 years gracefully without any diseases.

Irrespective of one's chronological age Ayurveda looks on the quality of these bodily factors. Accordingly his body age is calculated. If one looses visual acuity (presbyopia) at 40 years, Ayurveda calculates his age as 60 years irrespective of his chronological age. Ayurveda has three main domains of therapeutic regimens which are the powerful tools to address the issues of aging. They are known as rasayana therapy [RT] (Chiefly rejuvenative), vajeekarana therapy [VT] (chiefly Aphrodisiac) and yoga therapy (chiefly mediation techniques).

RT consists of use of some specific herbal medicine formulations which are being used in a unique way. These therapies were used by ancient scholars for Prevention of aging physiology by several means. RT enhances the health of brain, heart and blood vessels and bones. RT is highly neurotonic and these formulations are found to be richest source of free radical scavengers and fight against reactive oxygen species production in our body. Following drugs are the examples of the RT drugs. Emblica officinalis, Tinospora cordifolia, Tribulus terrestris, Asparagus racemosa etc.

VT is a branch of ayurveda is dealing with the sexual excellence of one individual. These are also consisting of good number of herbal formulations which are found to be effective in increasing testicular blood circulation, maintain testosterone level optimally in the blood, and prevent the wear and tear and senile atrophic changes of the genital organs. Withania somnifera, Ipomea batatus, Mucuna prurita are the examples of aphrodisiac drugs used in ayurveda. They are also found to be richest source of phyto estrogens and phyto testosterones.

These ayurvedic herbal drugs don't contain any heavy metals or any other toxic materials. So they can be used effectively even for a long time. But there is usage of several mineral drugs in ayurveda and they are not having above mentioned rejuvenative or aphrodisiac property mostly. They have to be used strictly with proper medical advice.

Yoga therapy is the concept of health in terms of physical, mental and spiritual well being date back to the origin of ayurveda. So sufficient emphasis had been given to the yoga techniques to maintain and restore physical, mental and spiritual health during old age too. So ancient saints of India writes as the mental well being is the most rejuvenative drug in the world. This yoga technique harmonizes the psycho neuro endocrinal functions, psycho neuro immunologal functions. Facing senescence through a combination of RT, VT and yoga techniques will be certainly graceful to attain physical, mental and spiritual well being of an individual. Indians consider this approach as a boon from their Ayurveda so as to age gracefully and to combat the problems of senescence.

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