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Misconceptions about Ayurveda
I was recently visited by a patient at my clinic for weight loss. She was expecting assurance in terms of how many kgs will she could lose in how long? She mentioned that, she had already tried medicines from all the pathies (Allopathy, Ayurveda, Homeopathy etc.). When she said, “I have taken Ayurvedic medicines too; but it didn’t work”, I enquired in detail. Only then I come to know that, she had watched some advertisement and followed their course. I was alarmed! I really don’t know how to explain such people and feel helpless for them. Don’t they think of risks involved in experimenting on self? There are so many misconceptions about Ayurveda and Ayurvedic drugs; perhaps nobody knows what’s the truth.
One of the commonest perception is that Ayurvedic medicines have no side – effects, they are harmless. When a medicine given to a patient, causes another problem while correcting the original one then it is called as side – effect (side= along with the main effect). There is no question of side – effect in Ayurveda; because Ayurveda says “treatment (Chikitsa)” means to treat the illness without leading to any other harm to patient’s body. Ayurveda has a variety of medicines. An Ayurvedic doctor chooses the correct medicine considering the attributes of disease and patient like patient’s age, habits, digestive power, constitution, environmental conditions etc. If anything goes wrong in this selection, it will definitely give a bad impact! But this is a fault and not side – effect. Ayurvedic medicines have no side – effects unless the choice of drug goes wrong. If Ayurvedic drugs are used without understanding the science behind them, then they can harm too. People use purgative medicines like Triphala choorna or castor oil to clear their bowels for years. No wonder their intestines suffer from extreme dryness after certain time! In this marketing era, medication is taken by watching some advertisement, by reading somewhere, on chemist’s advice or sometimes simply on any close one’s advice presupposing that, “Ayurvedic medicine means no side – effects!”. We call it as Ayurvedic treatment and when it doesn’t work; we say ‘Ayurveda didn’t cure my problem’. There is no point in declaring such statements!
One more thing we frequently come across is that, Ayurveda is for chronic problems as Ayurvedic treatment takes time to cure but eradicates from the root. It contains a little fact but largely mistaken! When someone becomes ill, he goes to the doctor and asks the doctor to get out of it as early as possible. The nature of an illness is considered while curing it. Few health issues start as serious, some become chronic over a period, while some diseases arise as a complication of another. How will patients manage to get the necessary rest (which is the medicine) in fever if they prefer a crocin tablet instead of avoiding daily scheduled work? By the time a patient with acidity comes to Ayurveda, it has turned chronic because of having antacids on and off. It’s difficult to remove a piece of unripe mango once the pickle is well formed as compared to the stage when it is just made. Similarly, sicknesses when turn chronic takes time to recover. Therefore, one should take the treatment of root causes rather than symptoms troubling; that too from the very first day. The body strength of a patient is another important factor in treating the ailment. Simple cough in an old aged person doesn’t subside easily. Temporary medications help those working in night shifts and having acidity trouble or others having spine problems yet riding bikes for long durations, until their bodies fight against it. Once the strength of the body deceases, they start suffering again even though on the same medication. Health hazards cure quickly when they are just developed, in young aged community, due to least causative factors. On the contrary, when diseases are chronic, in weak patients they trouble for longer or never get fully cured and are instead kept under control with medication.
In today’s world who has the time to cure completely? Patients think – “Why follow the diet restrictions once the symptom has reduced? Why pay for medicines?” They stop taking medicines on their own after feeling better. We rarely find people taking medicines till their disease absolutely cures and their body regains its original strength. Patient often deny to take medicinal forms like decoction, powder or don’t manage the time for Panchakarma procedures. Sometimes patients are unable to afford the treatment cost or don’t have any care-taker. The treatment gets limited in such situations. Even though the doctor is very capable, fast relief is not possible as quality of treatment is hampered. Illness is eradicated if body systems are normalized by medicinal support along with total elimination of the causative factor. This is what an Ayurvedic physician does. In addition, physician restores the strength of the person so that he/she may not suffer again with such illness. Hence, Ayurvedic treatment covers illness from its root.
The intention behind this article is to upgrade the knowledge of people surrounding me. They should not try Ayurvedic medicines in wrong way or should not get betrayed by tricky advertisements. Misconceptions are too many. Let’s talk about the remaining in next article.
Dr. Sonal Darekar- Sahane