What is Ayurveda?
Updated: Sep 6, 2019
Ayurveda “the science of life” was developed thousands of years ago in India and passed down through oral history until the Vedics wrote these truths down around 1500 BCE. The concepts derived from the oral traditions are much older and some estimates place the foundations as far back as 6000 BCE. This makes it the oldest organized medical tradition, and the most comprehensive system for healthy living on the planet.
Ayurveda is a complete manual for living to include how to feed oneself, maintain proper hygiene, meditate, plant and manage a garden, exercise, diagnose disease, and treatment options. There are many volumes that comprise the Vedic texts and there is still much wisdom to be gleaned from those documents.
So let's skip over the texts on yoga and organic farming and go straight to my passion, the herbalism of Ayurveda. Herbalism has been a topic of stories and health for as long as we have had language to describe it. Ayurveda took those oral accounts and documented for the first time what healers were passing down which gave the knowledge more structure than just stories around the campfire.
Now one part of Ayurveda that is difficult to understand and hard to recognise is the system of doshas, that is to say the three basic constitutions that define a person’s general tendencies and guide the healer in helping them achieve health. While this is a part of Ayurveda it is not a part that we work within, because our formulator uses the Rasayana formulation strategy. Rasayana is everything in the world that is not dosha specific and can help all constitutions, so by formulating this way, Dr. Phadke has created a simpler Ayurveda customized for the US.
This strategy allows physicians to use the herbal wisdom of Ayurveda without trying to develop a full understanding of how to recognise a subjective thing like someone’s constitution (which can change overtime or at different times in one's life), making it easier to access and less constrained for the Western practitioner, or TCM practitioners.
This is not to say that Rebel Herbs is not a traditional Ayurvedic company, because our formulator, Dr. S.G. Phadke is a 3rd generation Ayurvedic doctor, an educator for 30 years (at the oldest college for Ayurveda in India), and a formulator for over 40 years, not to mention he has won a very prodigious lifetime achievement award for his work in the field of Ayurveda. His understanding of the texts and the practice of Ayurveda is without question true to the historic views taught today. However, he chooses to use the technology of the day and make use of the current world’s observation and study on these ancient topics. Ayurveda continues to evolve even as lif on earth does.
You see Ayurveda is a science that continues to grow in understanding and continues to become new and better with each generation. No healing system can just maintain without becoming obsolete, think of how the health concerns of the world have changed and how lifestyles have changed, and how the populations have changed. If you want to stay relevant you have to continue to test truth and test what is the best to either validate the previous concepts or to put forward new ideas that track better with the current world we know.
Now in his late 70’s Dr. Phadke continues to create new wisdom and validate old world knowledge. He is practicing true Ayurveda, he is seeking to understand the full science of life. So, as you continue to study about Ayurveda remember it is not just ancient texts to be repeated throughout antiquity but it is a growing body of current and up to date science on everyday topics. Join the rebellion by joining Dr. Phadke on a lifelong journey of understanding.