Diagnostic procedures in Ayurveda are two 
 pronged; one is aimed to establish the state and
 type of pathology and second to decide the mode of
 treatment to be applied. The former implies
 examination of the patient and make different
 investigations to diagnose the disease entity.
 Inspection, palpation, percussion and interrogation
 are the main modes of physical examination. The

second type of examination is to assess the strength and physical status of the individual so that accordingly the type of management required could be planned.
For this examination of Prakriti (Body constitution), Saar (Tissue quality), Samhnan (physique), Satva (Mental strength), Satamya (specific adaptability), Aaharshakti (diet intake capacity), Vyayaam shakti (exercise capacity) and Vaya (age) is done. On the basis of this examination the individual is decided to be having Pravar bal (excellent strength), Madhyam Bal (moderate strength) or Heen Bal (low strength).

There exist eight divisions of Ayurvedic therapeutics, namely Kayachikitsa (Internal medicine), Shalya (General Surgery), Shalkya (Otorhinolaryngology and Opthalmology), Kaumr Bhritya (Paediatrics, Gynaecology and Obstetrics) Agad tantra (Toxicology), Rasayana (Gerentorology or Science of Rejuvenation), Vajikaran (Aphrodisiacs or Study & development of sexual power & fertility) and Bhoot Vidya (Psychiatry).

The principles of treatment are Shodhan (purificatory), Shaman (palliative and conservative), Nidan Parivarjan (avoidance of causative and prescipitating factors of disease) and Pathya Vyavastha (do’s and don’ts regarding diets lifestyle). 

Shodhan therapy includes Vamana (medically induced emesis), Virechana (medically induced laxation), Vasti (medicated enema), Shirovirechana (administration of medicines through nose) and Raktmokshan (Blood letting). These therapeutic procedures are collectively known as Panchkarma. Before executing Panch karma treatment Snehan(oleation) and Swedan(getting perspiration) are to employed first.

Ayurveda & its Medicines
Drugs are classified into three types in Ayurvedic literature 

1)    Drugs from Herbal source

2)    Drugs from Mineral/ metallic source

3)    Drugs from animal source.

Science that deals with Herbal ingredients is called DRAVYAGUNA and science that deals with metals/minerals/and animal sources is RASA SHASTRA.

BHAISHAJYA KALPANA is the science, which mentions formulating drugs from various sources into suitable dosage forms and formulations


CATEGORIES of Ayurvedic Medicines 

(1) AVALEHA AND PAK: Avaleha or leha is prepared by repeatedly boiling the decoction or extract of a drug and condensing it with sugar. This preparation, which can be taken by licking, is called Avaleha. 

(2) VATI: Those drugs, which are derived from plants, are pulverized initially and added to honey or any other liquid substances to make pills and tablets.  After mixing, these preparations are either dried directly under the sun or by indirect heat while keeping them in open air, in a shade to retain the efficacy of these drugs. 

(3) BHASMA : Powder of a substance obtained by calcination is called Bhasma.  The process of oxidation of the raw material by heat is regulated scientifically.  The raw materials for manufacturing Bhasmas are subjected to test and analysis before processing.  The 18 processes in Indian Chemistry namely Shodhan, Maran, Jaran, Tiryakptan, Urdhwapatan, Adhahpatan, Niyaman, Bodhan, etc. are strictly followed while manufacturing different preparations under modern conditions. 

(4) CHURNA: Churna is a coarse powder made by certain drugs or a combination of drugs.  Ayurvedic medicines derived from plants, are prepared either in form of powders or decoctions. Before these plants are subjected to processing they are thoroughly examined by specialists and proper identification is made.  Each of the ingredients is pulverized separately as the different ingredients when pulverized together do not pass through the sieve equally, which affects the composition.

(5) MEDICATED GHRITA : These are the preparations in which ghee is boiled with prescribed drugs according to the formula.  The medicated Ghritas are more effective than ordinary Ghritas. In order to prepare Ghrita in accordance with Ayurvedic system, Ghrita of a particular animal is subjected to several processes. After which Kwath, milk, etc. are added in proper proportions and slowly heated under controlled temperature.

(6) GUGGULU: Guggulu denotes exudates obtained from the plant Commiphora mukul. Preparations having exudates as the main effective ingredient are known as Guggulu.  In order to purify & obtain the best quality of Guggulu, it is necessary to pulverize it using at least 1-lakh strokes.  The mixed ingredients of Guggulu are efficacious in various diseases.

(7) KUPIPAKWA RASAYAN : Kupipakwa Ras is prepared in combination with Shuddha Parad, Gandhak and other prescribed drugs according to the Ayurvedic system.  Those Kupipakwa Rasas, which get deposited at the neck of the phila, are called ‘Urdhwa Laghna’, and those at the bottom are called ‘Talastha’ Kupipakwa Ras.  Kupipakwa Ras is incorporated with the main ingredient and remains in a micro-molecular form. When matured with time it possesses immense potential and is a valuable remedy for chronic and almost incurable ailments.

(8) LAUH–MANDOOR: These are preparations containing purified mandoor along with the other drugs.  Their efficacy is enhanced when used separately or mixed with another preparations thereby promoting sustained action in the system.

(9) PARPATI: It is prepared by mixing purified Mercury with Sulphur i.e. Kajjali or with other drugs mentioned in the formula and subjecting it to heat according to Ayurvedic principles.  During processing the whole mass takes the shape of a cocktail, which is indicative of perfection.  Due to the presence of Mercury and Sulphur in combination, the drug has the efficacy to kill bacteria.

(10) PISHTI: Ingredients prescribed in the texts are ground into fine particles in a pestle and mortar made of Muguni stone and titrating it with rose water for 8,14 or 21 days and drying them at night under the moon or during day time under the sun.  It is therefore, either called ‘ Chandraputit’ or ‘Suryaputit’ accordingly.  These adjuncts are used exactly in the same way as Bhasmas.

(11) RAS-RASAYAN : Preparations containing mineral drugs as main ingredients are called Ras Yogas.  Mercury, Sulphur, Vatsanabha, Hingul, Tankan, Alum, Kuchila, Opium, Dhatura, Sdidhi and Jaypal are fully tested and purified and a method of manufacture of complete Ras (Tablets ) is established to give more effect in smaller doses.  Upon processing the tablets in finer forms, the ingredients attain special effectiveness in the treatment of diseases.

(12) MEDICATED OIL: Oils are boiled along with the certain drugs as prescribed in the formula.  These oils have properties and efficacy almost same as of the medicines.  It is used generally for injunction and massage.  The process of preparing medicated oils includes addition of Kwath, Swaras and Kalka subjecting the mixture in a regulated temperature.

(13) PRAVAHI KWATH : Certain drugs or combination of drugs are made into coarse powder (JAVKUT) and kept for preparation of Kasaya.  Such powders are called Kwath. Drugs are cleaned and dried and coarsely powdered, weighed as per formula and mixed well before packing.

(14) ARK : Ark is a liquid preparation obtained by distillation of certain liquids or drugs soaked in water using the Arkayantra or any convenient modern distillation apparatus.

(15) SHODHIT DRAVYA AND SATVA: Satva is the water extractable, solid substance collected from a drug.  The drug is cut into small pieces, macerated in water and kept over night then strained through a cloth and solid matter is allowed to settle.  The supernatant liquid is decanted and Satva washed by repeating the process of adding water and decanting.  The Satva so sedimented is dried and powdered.

(16) ASAVA AND ARISHTA : Either decoction or water extract is made from the crude drug to which molasses, honey, sugar and certain astringents such as Dhatakipushp, Babbul etc. are mixed for a certain period.  In this condition fermentation takes place and these original drugs undergo chemical changes and develop into one drug. Such a preparation is called Arishta.  Asava-Arishta of higher potency is clear liquid with pleasant odor.  It is said that the more these Asava-Arishtas become old the more effective they are in their action.

treatmentS available in Ayurveda
Ayurveda has effective treatment   for diseases of all systems of the body, of persons of all age groups. There are special treatment for the diseases of elderly, women and children.

Disorders of nervous system, respiratory system, digestive system, circulatory system, diseases of urinary tract, water metabolism, disorders of reproductive system, fibril and infectious diseases, mental disorders and 

many more illnesses are successfully treated with herb and plant based Ayurvedic procedures.

But authentic Ayurvedic treatment, medicine and facilities are only available in India. The Southern most state of India Kerala is known as the 'Heart Land of Ayurveda'. "Panchakrama" detoxification, and rejuvenation therapy was perfected in Kerala, the mountains of which, are rich in medicinal herbs. Ayurvedic medical system is being upgraded all over India now to meet the needs of present day. Research Institutions and Ayurvedic Medical Colleges in India are engaged in research and development, which has resulted in bringing to light the efficacy of many age-old formulations. New drugs that can cure killer diseases in a natural way are being formulated.

Well-documented studies in many parts of India confirm the breakthroughs in this field, through scientific research studies; Ayurvedic doctors have unequivocally proved their claims of having cured cancer. Effective herbal remedies to control diabetes are also formulated. Ayurveda successfully treats many diseases for which, modern medicine has no effective cure. Treatment of arthritis has been perfected by Ayurvedic system, which is sought by many from all over the world.

importance of Ayurvedic Procedures
These are basically therapeutic measures taken either to prevent diseases or cure them. Thus Ayurvedic procedures are done either to detoxify the body or as a prelude to strengthening the immune system. ‘Panchakarma’ –or 'five procedures', is the most sought after anti aging, detoxification therapy.

Panchakarma IN AYURVEDA
Basic objective of "Panchakarma" (Five internal detoxification procedures) is to remove the excessive accumulated toxin, which causes the vitiation of ‘dosha’ (fault). If any ‘dosha’ is upset due either to environment or dietary factors it is often difficult to be normalized with diet and drugs alone. In many cases, diet regulation and drug regime may take too long.

Actual ‘Panchakarma’ procedures are always preceded and succeeded with specialized procedures. The pre procedures are called ‘Poorva Karma’ and consist of digestion (Pachana), oleation (senehan), fomentation (swedan). Thus ‘digestion’ relies on the use of drugs to digest any ‘ama’ (undigested or unripe substance) that present in digestive system. ‘Sneham’ consists of administration of ghee, oil, or bone marrow over a period of days. Usually the vitiated ‘toxins’ tends to accumulate in the gut. This then gets absorbed with food and blocks the channels of tissues. The ghee eaten in measured quantities during oleation eranters it and helps to open the channels. Swedan is giving hot fomentation, which gives a feeling of well-being. Hot fomentation opens up the channels to tissues, which already has been worked on by oleation.
Then follows the ‘clean up’ (Shodhan) procedures, which are of five types known as ‘Panchakarma’. If used as therapeutic measure they can be done at any time of the year, i.e., at the time of disease occurs. If one uses it as a preventive measure, it should be used at the appropriate time for each ‘dosha’.
There are five procedures in ‘Panchakarma’ therapy. These are 1) Forced vomiting (Vaman) 2) Purging (Virechan) 3) Medical enema (Vasti) 4) Nasal administration of substances (Nasya) and 5) Blood letting (Raktomokshana).

PROCESS IN Panchakarma Therapy
 Vomiting (Vaman) is intended to the removal of
 ‘Kapha Dosha’. It is not to be adopted for ‘kapha’
 only but necessarily in case of "Kapha’s"
 conjunction with one or both ‘doshas’. Vaman is
 essential in the case of food poisoning or other type
 of poisoning. Vaman employs certain emetic drugs
 that induce a severe spell of vomiting to clean the
 upper gut. Bronchial Asthma is prevented by
 periodically inducing ‘Vaman’.

Purging is a purifactory treatment as important as emesis or vomiting. ‘Verachan’ concentrates on the lower part of the gut and uses purgatives to clean the bowel. This procedure helps get rid of all three doshas, though Pitta and Kapha benefit the most.

To cure piles, boils, discoloration of face, jaundice, chronic fever, spleen enlargement cataract, intestinal disorders, ailments of the womb, arthritis, hemorrhoids, constipation, diabetes, skin diseases, tumors, asthma cough, ailments in the head and many other diseases in the Ayurvedic way, purging is essential.

The classical Text ‘Ashtanga Hridaya’ says, "A purge properly carried out leads to clarity of intellect, power to the organs, elemental stability and glow to digestive fire and it delays aging".

Medical enema ‘Vasti’ predominates in the five course of treatment (Panchakarma). This is prescribed for ‘Vata’ dominated patients and helps to overcome all diseases, revives vital force, and rejuvenates body. The rectal lining is very permeable and the drug reaches the circulation directly without passing through liver. Ayurveda offers ‘Vasti’ as a therapy for several indications. These are digestive, evacuative, rejuvenative and health primitive ‘Vastis’. In general ‘Vastis’ tackle ‘Vata dosha’ the best way. The fluid for ‘Vasti’ is either medicinal decoction or herbal oil to suit the ailment. ‘Vasti’ for the head gives extraordinary relief for all ailments connected with ‘vata’ in the head, ear ache, humming in the ear, deafness, numbness of the head and all ailments based on the cranial nerves. This procedure is usually done for 7 days.

‘Nasya’ (Nasal administration of substances) is essential for almost all the ailments above the neck. This is effective for many diseases like facial paralysis. ‘

'Nasya’ is of three types, purgative, nourishing and palliative. For each ailment a substance that gives desirable result, is to be selected. By this procedure shoulders, neck and face will become firm, the skin soft. All organs become firm and hair will not gray.

Blood letting (Raktamochana) is a therapy advised by Ayurveda to treat heart conditions and varicose veins. Ayurveda advocates the use of Leeches applied ever-alternate day to reduce venomous congestion.

The digestive fire is low after the ‘Panchakarma’. So the diet first should be liquid followed by solids.

 AyurvedA & Skin and Hair Care
 Ayurveda emphasis the all-important value of good diet as it creates good quality nourishment. (Rasa) which in turn 
 will nourish blood (Rakta) and subsequently influence the

 Ayurveda says that skin diseases occur primarily due to
 sluggish liver function, which leads to ‘Pitta’ and ‘Kapha’
 dosha dysfunction. Another vital factor that contributes to
 healthy appearance is the clean bowel. Hence there is a
 need for regular and complete bowel evacuation.
The hair is the metabolic end product of bone and marrow. Thus if the diet falls short of nourishing bones, the quantity of hair is affected. Similarly stress and worry leads to unhealthy hair. Wholesome diet is necessary for good skin and hair. Ayurvedic skin and hair care products are formulated with this fact in view.

Rasayana (Immuno-modular) of Ayurveda

Ayurveda mentions rasayana for every organ in the body like –

(a)   Chakshushya Rasayana (Rejuvenator for Eyes): Take this safe medicine daily, avoid premature vision disturbance , delay wearing lenses

(b)   Twak Rasayana ( Rejuvenator for Skin) : Take this daily, avoid wrinkles, dry skin, pimples etc.,

(c)   Medhya Rasayana (Rejuvenator for Brain) : Take this daily ,delay or prevent  memory disturbances

Since health consciousness is increasing every individual intends to keep fit for longer duration, many more Rasayanas are mentioned in ayurvedic texts. Ashavgandha (Withania somnifera), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Amla (Emblica officinalis), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Shilajeet (Black bitumen or Mineral pitch), Suvarna Bhasma (incinerated Gold with herbal excipients) are very potent Rasayana medicines, prescribed judiciously in somatic degenerative disease conditions for immuno-modulation and and adaptogenic effects.

Mandookparni (Bacopa Monieri), Mulethi (Glycirrhiza glabra), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) and Shankhapushpi (Convolvulus Plenricaulis) are the main Psycho modular Rasayanas used extensively in mental disorders and for improving higher mental functions like concentration, retention and memory, Vijaysara (Pterocaspus marsupium) for Diabetes Mellitus, Katuka (Picrosshiza kurco) for liver disorders Vidang (Abies Webiana) for Hoelminthic induced Gasto intestinal problem, Bakuchi (Psorylia Corylifolia) for Leucoderma, Bhallatak (Semecarpur anacardium) for piles and autoimmune disorders, Shirees (Albizzia Lebek) for allergic conditions, Vacha (Acorus clamus) for speech disorders, haldi (Curcuma Longa) for urinary, allergic and septic problems, Neem (Melia Azadiracta) and Khadir (Acacia Catechu) for skin problems and Chirayata (swertia chirayata) for febrile disorders are some of the other Rasayanas for therapeutic use.

Apart from the above-mentioned medicines there is an elaborate code of conduct described in the classical text for achieving rejuvenation and maintaining youthfulness.

[These information sources are primary and secondary data from CCRAS, CCIM, ICMR, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare-India and various research and pharmaceuticals organizations]

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