The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institute of Health recognize Ayurveda as a whole medical system. In Sanskrit the word Ayur (life) and veda (science) combine for the meaning ‘science of life’.
Ayurveda originated in India over 3,000 years ago. It not only addresses the structural parts of the human body (the parts that can be seen) such as in western medicine but also includes energetics in the body. The functioning of the human body, mind, and soul are intertwined with ones environment and reflected in the state of health of each person. In Ayurveda, each person is approached as a unique individual and recommendations and prescriptions are specifically designed for that person. Visit the NCCAM website for further information.
In recent years ayurvedic herbs have been highlighted in the news about containing harmful heavy metals. In addition, there is concern that many of these herbs do not meet standards in the United States for safety. Visit NPR to read about a recent incident regarding ayurvedic herbs containing heavy metals.
For persons interested in taking care of their health through ayurveda, there are many companies in the United States who provide herbs that meet the standards of good manufacturing practices. Visit the FDA to learn more about what is involved in good manufacturing practices.
Any company you may choose to purchase herbs from should indicate their safety practices as is in the example provided in this link from Banyan Botanicals.
While it is always the best approach for one’s health to implement a wholesome diet, exercise, and lifestyle, sometimes various herbs may be prescribed. In my education at the Ayurvedic Institute, I was trained in the importance of being aware of where and how an herb was prepared in order to avoid potentially harmful preparations. I caution my clients to avoid purchasing herbs from unknown sources or sources that may not comply with good manufacturing practices. Thank you for your consideration in this regard.
"I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome a few years ago - my symptoms were making me miserable. My relationship with my husband was negatively effected because he hated when I talked about my digestive concerns so much that at times it created a barrier between us. Susan gave me some simple recommendations that I did not believe could help, but after trying them I started to feel so much better that I no longer needed to be on medications. I am so happy that I don't have to take a prescription to treat my symptoms". A. F., Age 46
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