Ayurveda considers the whole person, and emphasizes prevention rather than the cure of symptoms. Translated from Sanskrit as "the science of life," it is the ancient Indian art and science of health and rejuvenation through the use of natural herbs, roots and minerals, to supplement a healthy lifestyle.
The Ayurvedic approach is a holistic one, and is able to effectively resolve many conditions which are considered to be obstinate and incurable in other systems. Simultaneously, it lays a great deal of emphasis upon the maintenance of positive health of an individual, taking into consideration the full scope of human nature and spiritual well-being.
Ancient Medical Wisdom
It is said that over 3000 years ago, Nature revealed the particular properties of each tree, plant, herb, root and flower to a great sage, Dhanwantari, as he sat in deep meditation in the midst of a forest. Ancient Rishis and sages continued to learn of the beneficial link between the vegetable, mineral and human worlds, and discovered that bodily health comes from cultivating a harmonious balance of Nature's three subtle energies, or doshas: vata, pitta and kapha, which are present in all life and matter. The doshas have certain qualities or attributes which characterize their effects on the human body. The individual remains naturally healthy as long as these elements are in a state of equilibrium. But if this equilibrium is disturbed beyond a point, the body becomes susceptible to premature aging, disease and decay.
To find out which dosha is most prominent in you, take this simple quiz: Dosha Quiz (courtesy of joyfulbelly.com)
Spiritual Principles of Ayurveda
"Around 1500 B.C. the book Charaka Samhita discussed these spiritual principles. It said that even if Ayurvedic doctors had a complete knowledge of Ayurveda but could not reach the inner Self or soul of the patient, they would not be effective healers. Furthermore, if the practitioner were more concerned with fame and fortune, and not with spiritual development (Self-Realization), they would not be effective healers. To understand the spiritual nature of Ayurveda, one must know something about the Vedic roots of philosophy, spirituality, and universal religion. According to the ancient Vedic scriptures of India there is a goal to life. We are not simply born, to live, and then to die without some meaning or purpose. Albert Einstein reflected this idea when he said God does not play dice with the universe. Order and reason exist in life. According to Vedic philosophy life is Divine, and the goal of life is to realize our inner Divine nature. Ayurvedically speaking the more a person realizes their Divine nature the healthier they are. Thus it is the responsibility of the Ayurvedic doctor to inspire or help awaken the patient to their own inner Divine nature. Positive thinking or love is the best medicine. ..."
The Ayurvedic Encyclopedia by Swami Sada Shiva Tirtha