Ayurveda has been India's own, indigenous, centuries-old system of treating diseases. Literally translated, ayur means longevity and veda means scientific treatise.
Ayurveda is based on the theory that a person is comparable to the cosmos. Therefore, each one of us is made up of the five forms of matter: earth, fire, water, air and ether. These basic elements combine in the body as three elements, namely, vata (wind), pitta (bile) and kapah (phlegm). Vata combines air and ether, pitta is a combination of fire and earth and kappa is an amalgam of water and ether. Ayurveda believes that the agitation of any of these three result in imbalances of the body.
The physician mainly uses touch, the patient's existing case history and pulse for treatment. It is also essential that the physician obtain from the patient, his or her living environment, the type of land - arid, marshy or ordinary, the patient's age group - childhood, middle age or old age and gauge their temperament before reaching any conclusion on the disease and the treatment required for it. The medicine is made from roots, herbs and plants unique to India. It is administered while simultaneously following a strict diet.
Unlike conventional medicine (allopathy), Ayurveda believes that any disturbance, mental or physical, must "manifest itself in the somatic as well as the psychic spheres through the vitiation of the doshas (humors)." The treatment of mental disorders therefore follows the same line as the treatment of bodily disorders. This is a radical different from the methods used by change from conventional medicine.