Ayurveda is the oldest complete medicine system known to man. Its foundations were established by the ancient and sophisticated Vedic civilisation that promoted living by certain principles to ensure a balance of mind, body and spirit. There are still a few original Ayurvedic textbooks in existence, such as the Charaka Samhita, written by the Ayurvedic sage, Charaka. The book fully explains the causes, signs, symptoms and treatment of many diseases such as Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes! It is amazing just how much they knew about causes of disease thousands of years ago! The Charaka Samhita is an essential text for students of Ayurveda.
According to Ayurveda, the universe is an interaction of the energies of 5 elements- space, air, fire, water and earth, which in turn are grouped into three simple functional principles that are present in everyone and everything in varying degrees. These principles, called doshas , are vata – (movement and change), pitta (transformation and metabolism) and kapha (structure and fluidity). They work together to maintain the body’s functions and the health of the tissues. We are all born with a unique combination and proportion of doshas of the body (dosha prakruti) which determine our physical constitution, and similarly we are all born with a combination of doshas of the mind (manas prakruti). These determine our mental constitution and are known as sattva (clarity, love, and compassion), rajas (selfishness, restlessness) and tamas (inertia, sadness, depression).
As long as the doshas as normal in quality and quantity, they maintain harmony of the body and mind, but the moment they go out of balance, they impair the tissues (dhatus), inviting potential disease.