Ayurvedic Medicine is also called Ayurveda. It is a system of medicine that originated in India several thousand years ago. The term Ayurveda combines two Sanskrit words: ayur, which means life, and veda, which means science or knowledge. Ayurveda means “the science of life.”
Ayurveda is a whole medical system which integrates and balances the body, mind, and spirit (thus, it is considered “holistic”). This balance is necessary for contentment and good health. Ayurveda also proposes treatments for specific health problems. A primary aim of Ayurvedic medicine is to cleanse the body of substances that can cause disease. This helps re-establish the harmony and balance necessary for optimal health.
Ayurveda has long been the main system of health care in India. About 70 percent of India’s population lives in rural areas; about two-thirds of rural people use Ayurveda and medicinal plants to meet their primary health care needs. In addition, most major cities have an Ayurvedic college and hospital. There are 587,536 registered traditional medical practitioners, 2,860 hospitals providing Ayurvedic treatment, and 22,100 dispensaries for traditional medicine in India. This allows over 500 million people in India to rely solely on Ayurveda today.
Ayurveda and variations of it have also been practiced for centuries in Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Tibet. The professional practice of Ayurveda in the United States began to grow and became more visible in the late 20th century.