Ayurvedic Medicine, the traditional healing system of India, is arising in the West as a profound contribution to wholistic medicine. Basing its treatment modality on diet, herbs, psychology, physiotherapies, lifestyle, and other approaches, Ayurveda has the potential of paralleling Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) (acupuncture and Chinese herbs) which continues to grow as a recognized medical alternative in the West.
David Frawley brings many unique virtues to the integration of Eastern and Western healing practices. First, he has an O.M.D. in TCM; second, he is a self-taught Sanskrit scholar with books published in India as well as the West. Frawley has published a translation of the Rig Veda which is highly respected by Indian scholars. Finally, Frawley has an excellent command of the system of Ayurvedic medicine, having previously collaborated with Dr. Lad in The Yoga of Herbs (published by Lotus Press).
Ayurvedic Healing is important because it is the first book to present the actual practice of differential diagnosis according to the three humours, vata - air, pitta - fire, and kapha - water, which forms the cornerstone of Ayurvedic Medicine.
Thus, for instance, under "Diseases of the Respiratory System," one can find a specific treatment approach to the common cold according to these humours. Frawley states that colds are generally of a kapha (phlegm) disorder caused by "exposure to cold air, wind, cold, damp or mucus-forming food, and seasonal changes, as well as most kapha-increasing factors." He therefore recommends an "anti-kapha and anti-Ama (detoxifying) diet" which "should be light, warm, and simple: for example, whole grains and steamed vegetables in moderate quantities; avoid dairy products, especially cheese, yogurt, and milk; heavy, oily, and damp food, meat. nuts, breads, pastries, candies, and sweet fruit juices." Fasting is recommended only if the individual "is not too weak."
Herbal treatment utilizes "diaphoretic expectorant and anti-cough herbs such as ginger, cinnamon, long pepper, licorice, basil, cloves, and mint." Following his own translation of Hymn to the Plants from the Rig Veda, Frawley offers in Part Three a chapter of the major Classical Ayurvedic Formulas, including the recipe for the major anti-cold remedy of Ayurveda, called "sitopaladi powder" on page 275. This consists of rock candy, bamboo manna, long pepper, cardamom, and cinnamon.
Unlike other books published in English on Ayurvedic Medicine, Ayurvedic Healing provides a practical how-to-do-it approach rather than another theoretical treatise. Both the general lay public as well as professional practitioners will welcome this book as an important clinical reference book in their libraries.
Article copyright American Botanical Council.
By Michael Tierra