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What is Ayurvedic Medicine?

Ayurvedic, also referred to as Ayurveda medicine originated in India and is one of the oldest medical systems on the planet. “Ayurveda” combines the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge). As interest in health and wellness has increased in the Western world, Ayurvedic medicine has become something of a trend. Ayurvedic medical practices include treatments using herbal compounds, special diets, massage and other techniques that are meant to prevent and treat various ailments.

Although Ayurvedic medicine is widely studied, practiced and accepted in the East, in the West it remains something of a side note. For many people in the West, they have begun to study and practice Ayurvedic medicine on their own, with and without traditional practitioners.

Generally speaking, Ayurvedic is safe, especially when under the guidance of skilled practioners. It is important to note that while Ayurvedic medicine relies on herbs and natural ingredients, some of them may interact and interfere with Western medications so it is important that you let your doctors know about all therapies and supplements that you are using. Supplements and herbs and lotions that are considered Ayurvedic fall under different guidelines Western medications and aren’t subject to FDA regulation. This means that some treatments may contain higher levels of lead, mercury, and other contaminants than are allowed into medications and foods. Although India and other countries approve of Ayurvedic medicine and studies, Ayurvedic medicine typically doesn’t have enough well-controlled clinical trials and systematic research reviews to be considered valid in Western medical practices.

Because the West doesn’t officially recognize Ayurvedic medicine, there are no officially licensed practitioners. Many Ayurvedic medicine practioners may be licensed in other fields, such as massage therapy, which are considered complimentary medicine and overlap both Eastern and Western medical practices.

Many people that don’t get relief from Western medicine will explore Ayurvedic medicine as an alternative or may integrated Ayurvedic treatments into their lifestyle regimen.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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