Common Misconceptions of Ayurveda

Common Misconceptions of Ayurveda

Ayurveda is one of the ancient schools of thought and science in the world that has had its origin in India - the cradle of one of the oldest civilizations in the world. One of the branches of Ayurveda is medicine, which offers treatment for a host of ailments - from the simplest to the most complex. Ayurveda is the traditional Hindu system of medicine as incorporated in the Atharva Veda, which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing.

The aim of Ayurveda is to provide guidance on lifestyle, including food, so that people can stay healthy and people with any health issues can cure and improve their health. But, there are misconceptions amongst the people about the whole system of Ayurveda, and its efficacy. There are a lot of myths and about the ancient Indian healing and wellness science of Ayurveda.

All these misconceptions have to be cleared if Ayurveda has to retain its place amongst the other school of medicines.

Here are some of the common misconceptions of Ayurveda, and the explanations given by the experts in the field.


1. Ayurveda Takes a Long Time to Work

The first misconception is that Ayurveda takes a long time to work.

The explanation given is that the time required to treat any disease depends on various factors such as -

  • Duration of the disease
  • Severity of the disease

Acute illnesses like fever, cough, and cold can be better controlled and managed in its initial stages. Ayurveda shows results quickly and effectively and it reinforces the general condition of the body. Most of the common maladies are generally controlled within 24 hours in those people who follow all aspects of treatment.

For long-standing or chronic illnesses, complete management may require weeks or months using a strict combination of Ayurvedic diet, lifestyle, medication, and treatment.


2. Ayurveda Has No Side Effects

Medicines in any system of medicine can have side effects, and Ayurveda is no exception. For example, the side effects of Panchakarma (the method of Purification & Detoxification) may be severe and even life-threatening. But when it is practiced carefully under proper guidance, these side effects can be minimized or avoided altogether, or can be managed effectively. Sometimes, side effects can occur if the potency of the medicine contradicts with the patient's constitution.


3. Belief that Ayurveda Should be Tried if Allopathy is Ineffective

It has been found that after many years of typical, symptomatic Allopathic treatment, many diseases reach a chronic level. The effect of long-term medications like steroids totally covers up the underlying symptoms of the disease, modifies the body's metabolism, and totally changes the body's natural protective reactions to the disease.

But, when Ayurveda is used as the first line of treatment, the results are excellent as the medicines eradicate the disease from its root and also enhance the body's level of health and immunity. Lifestyle adjustments need to be made which helps in the removal of toxins from the body.


4. Home-Made Medicines and Not Clinically Tested

Many people believe that Ayurvedic medicines are 'home-made' and the medicines are not clinically tested. This is absolutely not correct. Each Ayurvedic medicine that is offered to the public, just like allopathic medicines, has to undergo careful laboratory tests and certification process. Ayurveda, is a scientifically proved and backed medical stream and in tune with modern science.


5. Ayurveda is All About Herbs

This is not at all true, though most of the medicines are made from the extracts of trees. The use of products like milk, ghee, butter, honey, molasses, rock salts, minerals, ashes and self-fermented alcohol are very common in Ayurveda - these are essential ingredients of several medicinal preparations.


6. Ayurveda is a Vegetarian Therapy

Many people have the misconception that Ayurveda is a purely vegetarian therapy, but the use of ghee, fish oil, and mutton extract is common in this system of medicine. While Ayurveda has never made a claim to be a vegetarian stream of medicine, people have come to believe this.


7. Ayurveda is Just Body Massage

In spite of the fact that a number of people opt for Ayurveda treatments, there are still people who believe that Ayurveda treatment means body massages of different kinds. It should be explained to such people that massage has nowhere been explained as a method of treatment in the Ayurveda scriptures. Only a very few ailments could be cured with proper massages.


8. Ayurveda is only Meant for People with Chronic Ailments

It is mostly seen that people do not use Ayurveda in the initial stages of their ailment as they believe it is only meant for people in the chronic stage of disease. Although, Ayurveda has been proven effective in treating chronic disorders, it is also effective for people suffering from common ailments like indigestion, headache, and fever.


9. Ayurveda is Primitive and Not a Scientific System of Medicine.

Ayurveda is a traditional form of medicine that has been in the country for more than 5000 years. It is a common belief that Ayurveda is a primitive and not a scientific system of medicine. The human anatomy has been understood and the knowledge about human body was obtained by dissection of cadavers. Researches and clinical trials were undertaken to increase the horizon of knowledge. Diagnosis of each and every disease, description and use of each herb, mineral and facts about food were found systematically documented. Even surgery was known to the ancient people and Sushurta is considered as the as the Father of Surgery. All these facts show that Ayurveda is not a primitive, but a scientific system of medicine.


10. Ayurvedic Drugs Contain Heavy Metals that Affect the Liver and Kidney

A myth that most people believe is that the Ayurvedic medicines contain heavy metals that affect the liver and kidneys. Ayurvedic experts maintain that normally no heavy metals are used in the medicines. But, even if they have to use heavy metals, they ensure that the heavy metals are totally purified and refined so that they lose their toxins.


11. Ayurvedic Medicine Contains Steroids

This is a misconception that is widely prevalent, and so Ayurveda goes ahead to clarify the point that there no steroids in Ayurvedic medicines. The medicines in the Ayurvedic system are either herb-based or the formulations that are prepared from natural resources or metals that have been thoroughly prepared in accordance with the pharmaceutical industry norms.


12. Ayurvedic Medicines do Not Come with an Expiry Date

The common belief that Ayurvedic medicines do not have any expiry date is not correct. Herbs have chemical constituents in them and these change over time due to environmental conditions. The expiry date of Ayurvedic herbal medicines depends on the quality of herbs and ingredients used in the medicine. You should always remember to follow the expiry date on the label of the medicine bottle.