Many people these days are embracing natural and holistic lifestyles and approaches, however, the field of Ayurveda is generally shrouded in myths and misconceptions among the public. Sadly, most people shun Ayurvedic treatments and remedies due to commonly-held doubts and false perceptions about this powerful and all-natural healing system. Read on to discover 7 myths about Ayurveda that we debunk in this article.
Myth #1. Ayurveda is an outdated and obsolete system
Unfortunately, this tends to be the thinking among the younger generation. Ayurveda has existed for over 5,000 years and is still practiced today because of its efficacy; had it not been proven effective, the system would have never lasted till today. Ayurveda is a well-recorded form of medicine. In ancient India, researches and clinical trials were widely conducted using Ayurvedic remedies. The diagnosis of diseases, as well as detailed facts about foods, herbs and minerals were systematically well-documented. In fact, surgery was practiced during this time. In 600 BCE, Sushruta, the ancient Indian physician, was well-known as one of the earliest surgeons in the world.
As the popularity of modern medicine increased, the practice of Ayurveda began to decline during the medieval period around 1200 CE-1800 CE due to the invasion of Afghans and subsequently, the British. In recent decades due to the rise of spirituality, holistic lifestyles and healthy eating, Ayurveda has seen a resurgence in popularity across the world.
Myth #2. All Ayurvedic remedies and treatments are harmless
Ayurvedic medicines, when taken in the prescribed and correct dosages, are harmless. When the treatments are taken in the wrong dosage or incorrect combination are consumed, problems can occur as a result. For example, the medications using guggulu (commiphora mukul) can trigger acidity, especially if taken on an empty stomach. Therefore, it is advised to consume such treatments only after a meal with milk. As with any medicine, Ayurvedic treatments and drugs should be taken only under the supervision of a qualified Ayurvedic doctor.
Myth #3. Ayurveda is not a legitimate science
Ayurveda is a medical science based on herbal preparations and natural remedies. Ayurveda believes that the elements of nature constitute our physical bodies, and when any element in the body increases or decreases, it will lead to the manifestation of various ailments. One’s health is restored by restoring balance to the elements in the body.
Myth #4. Ayurvedic doctors are unqualified
Ayurvedic practitioners have formal degrees in Ayurvedic Medicine before they can begin to officially practice. The Ayurveda BAMS degree is a 4.5 year-long intense and disciplined training in the eight branches of Ayurveda as follows:
- Internal Medicine (Kayachikitsa)
- Diseases above the shoulder (Shalakya)
- Surgery (Shalyachikitsa)
- Psychiatry (Bhutavidya)
- Toxicology (Agadatantram)
- Rejuvenation (Rasayanam)
- Pediatrics (Kaumarabhrutyam)
- Aphrodisiacs (Vajikaranam)
Upon successfully completing the studies, aspiring practitioners must complete a one-year compulsory internship. The aspirants can go on to undertake their post-graduation courses to specialize in each branch if they desire to do so.
Myth #5. Ayurveda uses only herbs
Ayurveda incorporates herbs along with items such as milk, honey, ghee (clarified butter), butter, salt and minerals in many remedies. Not all herbal products or remedies are Ayurvedic. In addition, Ayurveda prescribes massage (abhyanga) and yoga exercises in conjunction with medicinal treatments.
Myth #6. Ayurvedic treatments are not effective
While some Ayurvedic treatments can be fast-acting, other Ayurvedic treatments and medicines act in a slow and steady way, because this ensures that the body organs and tissues are not damaged in the process of alleviating or destroying disease. These treatments also act slowly as they release the root cause of disease from the body entirely, as opposed to many Western pathological treatments which tend to treat symptoms instead of the root. This is a major health myth which usually arises when treatments used take longer than a person expects.
Myth #7: Ayurveda cannot be used for all types of ailments
As with all medicinal systems, the earlier it is detected the faster and easier the treatment tends to be. Ayurveda can treat certain types of serious diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson’s alongside a common cold. Most patients turn to Ayurvedic treatment after trying conventional medicinal systems, usually allopathy. Therefore, when the disease has reached an advanced stage or developed complications, it will naturally take a longer duration for Ayurvedic treatment to cure it.