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Ayurveda is a traditional system of medicine, practiced for thousands of years in India, and widely accepted there to this day. Ayurveda means "the science of Life" (ayur = life, veda = science).[1] The U.K. defines it as a Group 3a "Long-established and traditional systems of healthcare", originating in India, based upon the principle of mind-spirit-body interaction and employing natural herbs, usually mixtures, in treatment.[2] From the concept that disease is due to an imbalance or stress in a person's consciousness, Ayurveda encourages certain lifestyle interventions and natural therapies to regain a balance between the body, mind, spirit, and the environment. From the perspective of Western medicine, it is an unproven healing treatment.

Basic principles

One basic concept of Ayurveda is that every human being has certain physical and mental characteristics that can be described by the influences of three basic tendencies, vata, kapha, and pitta. These three basic types are called doshas, and one or more may predominate in an individual. Before the ayurvedic practitioner begins therapy for a particular ailment, the practitioner will assess the basic constitution of the person in this regard. The treatment will be tailored to the individual.

Doshas are considered to shape the physical body according to a natural constitution established at birth, determined by the constitutions of the parents, as well as the time of conception and other factors. The particular ratio of the doshas in a person's natural constitution is associated with determining their mind-body type, including various characteristics such as physical appearance and personality. These are the natural tendencies of the individual, not absolute mandates, and the practitioner will wisely work with these individual tendencies.


  1. Medical Subject Headings,National Library of Medicine
  2. Select Committee appointed to consider Science and Technology, U.K. Parliament (21 November 2000), Chapter 2: Disciplines examined, Definitions of the Various CAM Therapies, Complementary and Alternative Medicine