Ayurveda is the science of life. It is an ancient Indian medicinal science, which is both holistic and field-oriented in its approach towards its twin objective of maintaining the health of a healthy person and restoring the health of a diseased person. The basic principles of Ayurveda are based upon nature. Ayurveda believes that all things that are present in nature are also present in a smaller form within the human body and therefore all the laws of nature are applicable to the human body also.
Ayurveda is made up of two words namely “ayu” and “veda”. “Ayu” means “life” in Sanskrit. In ayurvedic terms the union of body (sharir), body senses (indriya), mind (satva) and spirit (atma) is termed as “ayu”. Therefore it is clear that the ayu in ayurveda does not limit only to the physical aspects but includes the mental aspects as well. “Veda” means “study of ” or “science of ” in Sanskrit. Hence ayurveda means the science of life.
However ayurveda is not merely a medicinal science as well. It is the culmination of the traditional knowledge that has been accumulated down the centuries by civilizations regarding eating habits, behavioral science and the use of nature for curative and preventive aspects of medicine.
There are many aspects to the science of ayurveda. You can practically apply the principles of this science to any field to obtain a new perspective of the same. Similarly ayurveda has always absorbed ideas from other fields to enrich its own understanding. An understanding of ayurveda does not comprise of only knowing how to use certain herbs whenever one is ill but also to apply certain principles so that one does not fall ill at all. It is this preventive aspect of ayurveda which is needed to be understood by the common person who is interested in ayurveda.