Ayurveda is a Sanskrit term, made up of the words "ayus" and "veda." "Ayus" means life and "Veda" means knowledge or science, thus means 'the knowledge of life'. Ayurveda is the science of life. It is a system, which uses the inherent principles of nature, to help maintain health in a person by keeping the individual's body, mind and spirit in perfect equilibrium with nature.
Regarded world over as the oldest form of healthcare in the world, Ayurveda is an intricate medical system that originated in India thousands of years ago. The fundamentals of Ayurveda can be found in Hindu scriptures called the Vedas - the ancient Indian books of wisdom. The Rig Veda, which was written over 6,000 years ago, contains a series of prescriptions that can help humans overcome various ailments.
Ayurveda is based on the premise that the universe is made up of five elements: air, fire, water, earth and ether. These elements are represented in humans by three "doshas", or energies: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. When any of the doshas accumulate in the body beyond the desirable limit, the body loses its balance. Every individual has a distinct balance, and our health and well-being depend on getting a right balance of the three doshas ("tridoshas"). Ayurveda suggests specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines to help individuals reduce the excess dosha.
A healthy person, as defined in Sushrut Samhita, one of the primary works on Ayurveda, is "he whose doshas are in balance, appetite is good, all tissues of the body and all natural urges are functioning properly, and whose mind, body and spirit are cheerful..."
If toxins in the body are abundant, then a cleansing process known as panchakarma is recommended to purge these unwanted toxins. This fivefold purification therapy is a classical form of treatment in Ayurveda.