From a literal sense, the word Ayurveda comes from the Sanskrit compound of ‘ayus + veda‘ and translates to ‘knowledge of life’ or ‘science of life’.
In practice, Ayurveda is a system of medicine utilizing a variety of herbal remedies and procedures practiced in India for over 5000 years. This ancient science provides both curative and preventive measures towards optimal physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Ayurveda is founded on the principle that health is the result of living in harmony and balance. A lifestyle compatible with your prakrit, or ‘original nature’, brings harmony while absence of it brings vikrati, or ‘disharmony’. This disharmony manifests itself as disease. Using this understanding, a cure is often compared to a journey from an imbalanced state to a balanced state.
While an Ayurvedic practitioner may prescribe herbs to bring balance to the body, a lot of emphasis is placed on the idea that “you are what you eat”. Ayurveda is grounded in the concept that proper intake of food brings health whereas improper food choices may cause disease. As a result, an Ayurvedic diagnosis will typically include recommendations for proper eating habits, food combinations and seasonal adjustments.