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Ayurveda. Carli Hill. Objectives. Introduction to Ayurveda Tridosha theory Reported benefits Reasons for caution Current Research Conclusions. Introduction to Ayurveda.

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Carli Hill

  • Introduction to Ayurveda
  • Tridosha theory
  • Reported benefits
  • Reasons for caution
  • Current Research
  • Conclusions
introduction to ayurveda
Introduction to Ayurveda
  • Comprehensive system that places equal emphasis on the body, mind and spirit, and it strives to restore the innate harmony of the individual
  • Ayurveda is the combination of two Sanskrit words
    • “ayu” meaning long life
    • “ved” meaning knowledge
    • “Knowledge or science of life”
Practiced in India for over 5000 years
  • Covers all medical fields
  • Diagnosis done by observation, touch, and questioning
  • Four components to

disease management

    • Physician, Drug, Patient,

Attendant (such as

a nurse)

Clinical exam includes
    • Pulse diagnosis
    • Urine examination
    • Stool examination
    • Tongue examination
    • Examination of body


    • Eye examination
    • Skin examination
    • Assessment of total body appearance
Treatment has four main parts
    • Shodan – cleansing
    • Shaman – palliation
    • Rasayan – rejuvenation
    • Satwajaya – mental nurturing and spiritual healing
tridosha theory
Tridosha Theory
  • Three energies/doshas
    • Pitta – digestion, metabolism, emotions
    • Kapha – lubrication, structure, synthesis
    • Vata – movement, physical and mental function, degeneration
  • Individualized combination/ratio of the three doshas
reported benefits
Reported Benefits
  • Slowing the aging process
  • Promoting health of all the organs of the body
  • Reducing fatigue and stress
  • Nurturing the body with proper diet
  • Healing disorders of the nervous system
  • Herbal/metal/mineral Ayurvedic treatments
    • Safety dependent on following a complex procedure
    • Many include heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and arsenic
    • 1 in 5 herbal products produced in South Asia have toxic levels
    • Reports of lead poisoning
A biostatistical approach to Ayurveda: quantifying the Tridosha. Joshi R. J Altern Comp Med. 2004;10;5;879-889.
  • Objective – create an equation to quantify the three doshas
  • Methods
    • 280 subjects
    • Add worth-coefficients to dosha characteristics
    • Individual doshas predicted using equation
    • Predictions compared to qualitative diagnosis
  • Results – equation predicted correct dosha over 90%

Hypothalamic digoxin, hemispheric chemical dominance, and the tridosha theory. Kurup R, Kurup P. Intern J Neuroscience. 2003;113:657-681.

  • Objectives
    • Show that the three doshas represent different states of hemispheric dominance
    • Show how hemispheric dominance relates to certain disease and psychological states
  • Methods
    • 90 individuals aged 20-30 years divided into six groups
      • Right hemispheric dominance, left hemispheric dominance, and bihemispheric dominance
      • The three doshas – vata, pitta, kapha
Six factors were assessed in the individuals in each group
    • The isoprenoid pathway – HMG CoA reductase, serum digoxin, dolichol and ubiquinone
    • RBC Na+-K+ ATPase activity and serum magnesium
    • Neurotransmitter patterns – tryptophan, serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline, tyrosine, quinolinic acid, strychnine, nicotine, and morphine
Factors continued
    • Serum lysosomal enzymes, total glycos-aminoglycans (GAG) and different GAG fractions, glycolipids, and carbohydrate residues of glycoproteins
    • Free radicals and scavenging enzymes
    • RBC membrane composition
  • Serum digoxin and RBC Na+-K+ ATPase activity assessed in several disease states and psychiatric conditions (15 cases or individuals per condition) to find a correlation between tridosha and disease
    • Correlation between tridosha and hemispheric chemical dominance
    • Link between doshas and predisposition to diseases and psychological states

Classification of human population based on Ayurvedic concept of Prakriti. Patwardhan B, Joshi K, Chopra A. J Altern Comp Med. 2005;11:349-353.

  • Objective – assess relationship between prakriti and phenotype in a healthy population
  • Methods
    • 76 subjects
    • DNA extracted and genes typed
    • Prakriti assessed
  • Results – frequency of certain alleles associated with vata and kapha, but pitta had no significant association with any alleles
  • Conclusion – correlation found, but need larger sample size
  • Evidence supporting/validating the tridosha theory of Ayurveda looks promising
  • More research needs to be done to gather a larger body of evidence
  • Additional research needs to be conducted in the area of Ayurvedic herbs
    • Biochemical, pharmacological, and toxological especially
online resources
Online Resources
  • Seattle’s Ayurvedic acadamy and clinic: http://www.ayurvedaonline.com/
  • Ayurvedic Institute: http://www.ayurveda.com