Ayurveda, derived from Sanskrit words, ‘ayur’ (life) and ‘veda (science or knowledge), is one of the world’s oldest accepted traditional medicine systems. As an alternative medicine system, it was looked upon with scepticism by the West, but with more studies proving the benefits being released, minds are starting to change.
Focusing more so on healthy living than on fighting diseases, this traditional medicine system involves many techniques including:
Practitioners of this system believe that it is effective at lengthening life, improving all-round vitality, and providing a better quality of living by balancing a clear mind and clean body.
Let’s discover the parts that make up this life-changing traditional medicine system, and have a look at the benefits we can derive from it in this modern day and age!
From what we know, the use of spices in cooking and medicine started in the Indus River Valley Civilisation (ancient India) which was one of the earliest urban cultures and the oldest uban civilisation to occupy India. The civilisation was responsible for the world’s first known urban sanitation system, advanced cooking techniques, and other inventions such as standardised weights, rulers, well-structured living areas, and metallurgy. Rising alongside the Egyptian and Mesopatanian civilisations, they reigned over the area from modern day northeast Afghanistan to northeast India between 3300-1300 BCE.
Turmeric and ginger residue has been found in ancient pottery dating back over 4500 years ago from ancient cities located within the area. Throughout the ages, these spices that were native to the land were used for medicine and in cooking. Starting in 1500 BCE, the Vedic (meaning sacred spiritual knowledge) culture and period arose in India, forming the basis of modern day Hinduism and also introducing the oldest holistic medicinal system in the world, Ayurveda.
The earliest known texts of this practice were called ‘The Vedas’, detailing the transfer of knowledge from gods to sages to doctors. These texts, containing a vast array of knowledge regarding preventative care, treatments, and even surgical procedures, featured the use of over 700 Ayurvedic spices and herbs. With the adoption of Ayurvedic practices also came the focus on healthy living through a mixture of food, exercise, meditation, and philosophy to create balance of the mind and spirit. Today, around 80% of the population of India and Nepal reports to implement Ayurveda into their daily lives, despite the reduction in practice during the English occupation in the 20th Century.
The philosophy behind Ayurvedic culture is important, with the understanding of these systems (both in the body and the mind) being necessary to promote balance and good health. The diet itself though, is one of the most important aspects of Ayurveda.
The preventative and curative medicine systems involved in Ayurveda lie mostly within the health benefits contained inside the active components of spices and herbs. From anti-inflammatory benefits that help prevent/treat Arthritis, to improved cardiovascular function to help prevent heart attacks, there are many ways to stay healthy just by adjusting diet. This is why Indian food contains so many different spices.
Just a few of the spices that are most notable for their Ayurvedic benefits include:
Visit our other blog to discover some uses for these spices and enter the world of Ayurvedic medicine. Otherwise, for more blogs on spices, travel, and food, check out the Lord and Lion blog page for more!
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