'AYURVEDA' is the 'science of life'.
Since life is synonymous with health, Ayurveda is deemed to be the 'science of human health'. Ayurveda's approach towards healing is holistic. It doesn't deal with individual organs in isolation, but treats the body as a whole. More important, it doesn't give temporary relief, but fights the disease and help get rid from them.
According to Ayurveda, man is a composite structure of body, mind and spirit. An Ayurvedic physician, therefore, makes a psychosomatic study of the patient, and tries to restore the harmony. He does this by locating the seat of disease, determining the 'type' of the patient and treating the human body as a whole with carefully chosen medicines.
A thorough examination, coupled with 'nadi pariksha' (i.e. feeling the pulse), tells the physician whether the disorder belongs to vata, kapha or pitta type. After knowing this, a suitable ayurvedic formulation is used to set right the disorder. The therapy either purges the system of disease-causing elements, or introduces new elements in the system to fortify body's own defense-mechanism. Then there are medicines to maintain the general level of well-being.
Ayurvedic medicines are taken orally, applied locally, inhaled or fermented with. This system of treatment also undertakes surgery and process of purification, called 'Panchakarma'.
Source of Medicines
Ayurveda derives medicine from Nature. Plant Kingdom and minerals mostly contribute to its treasure of Medicines. After a thorough study, experimentation and documentation of hundreds of plants over a period of more than a thousand years, India's ancient sages have come to accurate conclusions about the efficacy of different plants, herbs and minerals. Specific medicines have been extracted from various plant-parts like root, bark, flower, fruit, leaf, stem, etc.
On the whole, most of the Ayurvedic preparations are free from side-effects or reactions, unless, of course, indiscriminately used.
Indian mythology is replete with references of miraculous plants and wisemen of health-sciences. The earliest mention is that of Ashwini Kumar, who was the physician of Gods.
The well-known churning of the Ocean (known as 'Samudra-Manthan') brought up many 'gems' hidden in the womb of nature. One of these was Lord Dhanwantari who brought with him the 'nectar of knowledge pertaining to human health'. Later day physicians on ancient Indian soil were Charak and Sushruta who, along with others, chronicled the results of Ayurvedic researches, thus providing a solid pedestal to Ayurveda as a perfect science.
In contemporary India, dozens of institutions are currently engaged in promoting Ayurveda as a viable alternative to the chemicals-based system of medicines. VICCO is one of them.