Whether you have been a believer in Ayurveda or even if you are a novice, as COVID-19 struck India everyone went back to their roots and resorted to natural herbs and plant alternatives to help immunity against the virus. In the past year, with COVID-19 becoming a part of life, Ayurveda gained importance in leaps and bounds. Where medicines and pills and drugs had become a usual phenomenon, natural herbs replaced these. Kalmegh, ashwagandha, tulsi were made part of daily routines once more as people reverted to their roots of natural immunity.
One of the oldest traditional systems of medicine that is even accepted overseas, Ayurveda has been synonymous with Indian culture. Our very roots are said to be in this traditional approach to medicine. Recently, yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali claimed to have a WHO-approved COVID-19 medicine and this stirred up a controversy about whether this was actually possible. Allopathic doctors the world over questioned if the possibility of an Ayurvedic cure was an option and this brings us to the bigger question of whether Ayurveda in India is gaining precedence in the medical field.
Ayurveda was in existence even before COVID-19
Developed more than 3000 years ago in ancient India, this holistic healing system believed that nature can cure ailments and treat the root cause instead of the mere symptoms. Rather than focusing on popping pills when a disease strikes, the essence according to Ayurveda is maintaining a delicate balance between the mind and the body.
The principle upon the basis on which Ayurveda operates is harmony. A connection between the mind, the body, and the spirit. Harmony with the Universe. It is when this balance is affected, that disease occurs. The disturbance may be caused by external factors, bacteria, viruses, climate change, or any other factor.
Ayurvedic practitioners believe that the body is made up of five elements. These are air, fire, water, earth, and space. These combine in pairs to form the life forces or the doshas. These life forces are Vata dosha (space and air); Pitta dosha (fire and water); and Kapha dosha (water and earth) and a person’s health and well-being is dictated by the balance of the doshas.
Why did Ayurveda in India gain attention during COVID19?
When COVID-19 struck, people who had placed staunch faith in allopathy and deviated completely towards modern medicine found themselves swaying back towards their roots. Age-old kitchen remedies were reinvented and incorporated into daily life in order to boost immunity.
Ayurveda recommends that people should follow simple ways to keep safe in spite of exposure to various germs during everyday life.
- A good mind-body connection
- Eating food that is light and does not lead to toxins in your bloodstream
- A concoction of herbs that can help your body fight common colds and cough, thus not leaving you susceptible to infection
What are Ayurvedic platforms the need of the hour?
Dr Arti Bakori Patel & Dr Anal Ravalia, Founders of Durva Ayurveda, aim to unveil the secrets of the ancient healing science of India and make it open to all who want to experience the authenticity of Ayurveda.
They say that the meaning of ‘Durva’ is 'purity' and completely resonates with their products. “All the ingredients in our products are sourced in a pure, fresh, natural, seasonal, and authentic form. We wanted to create an Ayurveda brand that is based on our classical texts and a brand that could be blindly trusted upon”
They speak about how Ayurveda is a science of life, and cannot be limited only to medicinal and curative aspects. “Ayurveda teaches a way of healthy lifestyle following rituals which if implemented can lead to physical, mental, emotional and spiritually healthy life. Presently, when we are suffering from a lifestyle change, climate change, pandemics, depression, disaster, etc. it is very important to implement Ayurveda principles in our routine life.”
The duo highlight how effective Ayurveda has been in the COVID-19 situation and why it is essential to create awareness of original Ayurveda principles amongst children and youth in their lifestyle. “A strong platform for research in Ayurveda is need of the hour, to broaden its horizon even globally. We as a brand have started taking action in that direction. The acceptance and adoption of Ayurveda principles have increased tremendously in the last few years and we believe it to be presented as ancient wisdom with strong roots of authenticity and effectiveness.”
How does Ayurveda work?
When looking out for superior health and beauty products, many people fall victim to the shiny and glossy marketing campaigns, thinking that if they see a product promoted on television or in their beloved magazine, its quality must be good. Vidisha Agrawal, Founder of Arotatvika, says what many people don’t comprehend about health and beauty products is that many of the best-selling, most-advertised products contain potentially harmful chemicals and are treated brutally.
“Rather than assessing outcomes based on their image or price tag, it would be beneficial to look for products made with natural ingredients, without harmful chemicals. When you’re accustomed to doing things the way you always have, you may not see why you would want to switch up your routine. But once you compare the benefits of natural health and skincare products to the way things used to be, you’ll see why you would want to adopt a new, natural lifestyle with health and beauty products that can help you look and feel great.”
Vidisha points out the fact that the skin absorbs up to 60% of what it comes in contact with, allowing harmful chemicals to move more freely past the outside layer. “Our products are plant-based and are also food grade because we believe that what does not belong inside your body has no place on it as well.”
We ask her how Ayurveda works with the healing aspect. “Ayurveda represents a healing approach by revealing the deeper causes of health conditions. The Ayurvedic practices help to discover the primary cause of the disease, which arises from diet, heredity, psychological state, or lifestyle. Thus, the traditional healthcare system aims to restore the natural state of harmony by a deeper level of correction. Successful Ayurvedic practices appeal to a healthy lifestyle and conscious prevention to tackle health problems in the early stages.”
Does Ayurveda go beyond prescriptural knowledge?
“I was working as a pharmacist for years in my father's pharmacy when I realized there were so many gaps in our healthcare system that could only be answered through a more spiritual and holistic view on health,” says Naina Bajaria - Founder of Ayurvedic Pharmacy. “The aim is to deliver the sciences of yoga and Ayurveda with knowledge so that people know how to use these sciences properly. Just like a conventional pharmacy, we need to know how to take the medicine in order for it to work properly and the same goes for Ayurveda and yoga.”
Naina says that Ayurveda goes beyond just the surface. “I think people are definitely starting to take their health more seriously, and I think there are many great platforms out there delivering knowledge. What is wonderful is that alongside that they are also questioning bigger aspects of life - am I happy? Am I pursuing a path that is true to me?” These kinds of questions, she says are the real path to becoming healthy and understanding Ayurveda in the deepest way - not simply as prescriptural knowledge but as a transformation in lifestyle, taking them further towards truth.
“I strongly feel that India is sitting on gold with the knowledge of these sciences, and the people should lead as an example in living it. For many years there has been an influence to copy the West, but I feel it is time to step into the power and leadership in being born from these sciences.”