Pharmacology Of Ayurveda

Ayurveda, recognized as alternative medicine represents the science of life and longevity originating in the Vedic traditions of India. This traditional holistic health care system   has been practiced in India for over 5000 years. It has a vast body of knowledge of mind, body and spirit. Any imbalance in this constitution results in physical ailments.  

Pharmacology is the study of drugs, their properties, structure and interaction with the living system. Ayurveda’s approach to pharmacology makes sophisticated use of thousands of herbs and other plants. The combination of plant chemicals in the herbs enhances their effectiveness and prevents toxic side effects.  
 
Pharmacology in Ayurveda
 
Ayurvedic pharmacology differs from modern pharmacology as it describes the holistic effects of drugs in accordance with the basic principles of Ayurveda.  But some similarities cannot be ruled out. Ayurvedic drugs are prepared through several processes using both mineral and vegetable raw materials.  Plant alkaloids are used as ingredients in a majority of the medications. These are mostly natural derivatives except a few that cause chemical changes.  
 
The Ayurvedic medicines are composed of the five basic elements and their derivatives. They are taste namely rasa, potency namely virya, the digestion product namely vipaka, the properties of the substance namely guna, specific properties or effects namely prabhava and their action namely karma.
 
Taste: Known as rasa in Ayurveda, comprises of six different varieties. They are sweet namely madhur, astringent namely kasaya, salty namely jyana, bitter, namely katu, and sharp namely tikta. They contain two of the five elements of nature. The taste of the digested food known as vipaka is of sweet, sharp or sour nature. Grapes known as Draksha, milk and ghee are sweet and work on vata and pitta disturbances. Honey is effective in reducing kapha. Pippili is also effective in reducing kapha. Black pepper is a powerful substance that suppresses the aggravated kapha.
 
Guna: The properties of substances are known as gunas in Ayurveda. They are made into ten pairs that are complimentary to each other. They are cold and hot, heavy and light, fat and dry, stable and labile, slow and sharp, fine & massive and viscous & liquid and hard and soft.   Gunas are of four types namely, Aadhyaatkik guna, Gurvadi guna, Paradi guna and Visishta guna.
 
Virya:  This is the potency of the drug which is grouped like property for practical reasons. It is expressed in terms of hot (ushna) or cold (shita).
 
Prabhava: The specific property of a drug helps in distinguishing between two drugs with the same state and taste after digestion and similar potency.   The reason for this may be traced to the place where it is located in the body and also where the drug’s action is found.
 
Karma: The karma of the drug denotes the several processes used in preparing the drugs. They are made into drugs from the vegetable and mineral raw materials consisting mostly of plant alkaloids.
 
The study of Pharmacology of Ayurveda consists of various topics that include Administration of mercury, Bhasmas, Classification of Maharasa, Rasa and Uparasa, Shilajtu, Home remedies for diseases, diet suggestions for disorders, exercise advice and much more.



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