Sunday, April 1, 2018

Ayurveda: the first, last or not an option?

When I fall ill, the choice of treatment also becomes an issue that I have to wrestle with, besides the sickness. Should I go to the nearby family physician, or go to the ayurveda doctor?

(For non-Indian readers of this blog, who might not be familiar with ayurveda, it's an ancient Indian system of medicine that bases its treatment method on the nature of the person, and derives its medicines from naturally available substances rather than chemicals. Read more about it here and here.)

When I think of taking the first option, images of strong antibiotics and severe side-effects they produce come to my mind. I wonder should I subject my body to such an onslaught of chemicals?

When I think of taking the second option, images of multiple tablets and kashayams (a bitter and pungent medicine in liquid form) come to my mind. There are so many diet restrictions. Some of the tablets might have to be dissolved in warm water. That's not an easy thing to do, given my crazy daily schedule. 

The clear divide

People who believe only in either of the two have no problem.

There are plenty of people who swear only by ayurveda. They don't go to an allopathic doctor, or take allopathic medicines. Even if they have unbearable pain or fever or an upset tummy, they resort to natural home remedies, rather than reach out for the easily available across-counter tablets.

Maybe the complete cure takes a few days. But they are very patient; and that in combination with their unshakeable faith in this system of medicine, brings them huge amounts of physical as well as psychological comfort, for sure. Their biggest relief is that their body system hasn't been polluted by chemicals during the process of healing.

There are also people who think ayurveda is all unscientific and unproven. They say doctors go by sheer intuition and prescribe medicines that no one is sure will work or not. And if the illness is not cured, another set of medicines are prescribed. They also say that doctors, if they know that the illness is grave, prescribe chemicals-based medicines that are camouflaged as ayurvedic medicines, so that the situation does not aggravate. Once the symptoms have disappeared, the trial and error of ayurveda begins.

Interestingly, many people who go to allopathic doctors, don't trust the doctor or medicines. If you ask them, why do they still go, their reply will be that there is no alternative. On the contrary, people who go to ayurvedic doctors, are never sceptical. They have full faith in both the doctor and the medicines.

Here is what I do

I go by the disease. If it is something that looks quite grave and demands immediate intervention, I go to an allopathic doctor. For example, a major cut or infection or tummy trouble. If needed, I will get a few tests done to get the diagnosis right. If the issue with some muscle or ligament or bone, or to do with the body system in general, then I go to an ayurvedic doctor.

A couple of years back, I was down with fever and body ache. Paracetamol tablets kept the temperature in check. Since the fever didn't go even after a few days, I got a blood test done for dengue and chikungunya. Both turned out to be negative. The fever totally disappeared after about a week. But the pain in the joints didn't go. There was also swelling on feet, more so on the right foot, which didn't subside.

The allopathic doctor told me to take pain killers and apply muscle relaxants, since all the tests indicated that there was no infection or any other serious issue. Then, I decided to head to an ayurvedic doctor. The progress was very very slow. She told me it's arthritic fever. It will take time. I limped around, kept feet at a raised level, so that the swelling will be less. It took as long as three months for me to get back to normal.

I know a person, who when diagnosed with a form of blood cancer, tried out ayurveda and then later had to undergo bone marrow transplant. It's been many many years, and he is hale and hearty. But, I have heard that people have got themselves cured of life-threatening infections, like cancer, with alternative medicines like ayurveda and homoeopathy.

It is all about your health and life. Choose what suits you! Medical treatment is also a lot about your faith in it. So, be it ayurveda or allopathy, believe in what you choose.

(This blog entry is a part of the "Blogging from A to Z Challenge April 2018")


  1. I was about to say there is a third option. Homeopathy. But you mentioned that at the end. As you said, we have to go by the illness or situation. If someone pushed a bullet into my body, I have to go to an allopathic emergency to remove the bullet.

    If you know any alternative medicine doctor who can cure kidney failure, please let me know. I have a friend who is in need of such a doctor desperately.

    1. There is a friend of mine who got cured completely of allergic cough.

      Unfortunately, I don't know any homoeopathy doctor personally. Dr Batra's Homoeopathy clinic is quite well known. You can do a web search for it. There is an ayurveda doctor nearby to whom we go. Maybe I can email you her contact details.

  2. I use mostly naturopathics, unless it's like a broken bone. Works great for me and my family. But I'm glad you found what works for you.


    1. Thank you, Dena, fro dropping by, and sharing your thoughts.

  3. Ayurvedic remedies seem to work fine with my son often. The rest of us go by instincts at home. More often quick one is allopathy. Science is a part of our daily life. Read my next B for -

    1. Thanks, Sudha for dropping by.

      When my son, when he was around 10 years old, developed rashes on his face. Allopathic doctor prescribed steroids. We were not comfortable with that, and went for ayurvedic medicines. He was free of it in two weeks. It worked, without any problems.

      Like you indicated, it's a personal choice.

  4. How I wish American medicine was more open minded! Illness is all about profit in the USA.

    1. Thanks, Alexandra, for dropping by and for your comments. I have heard of how corporatized healthcare has now become. I can understand that hospitals and doctors do need money. But beyond a point, it is pure greed.

  5. How interesting, while I do have to attend the all doctor, I do love the idea of a more whole type of treatment. Not all people are the same, not all ailments are either, each has a baseline I feel but after that, it depends on the person and the spirit.