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Āyurveda 101

Common Āyurvedic words and their meanings

The basic literature of Ayurveda (Samhitas) is written in the Sanskrit language, the language of ancient India. These texts are an integral part of Ayurveda education. Therefore, knowledge of the Sanskrit language is helpful in learning Ayurveda.

Ayurveda

A natural system of medicine, that originated in India more than 3,000 years ago. "Ayurveda" is derived from the Sanskrit words Ayur (life) and Veda (science or knowledge). Thus, Ayurveda translates to the science of life.

Vaidya

Vaidya is a Sanskrit word meaning “physician.” Specifically, it refers to a practitioner of Ayurvedic medicine, an ancient form of healing with roots in India. 

Pancha Mahabhuta

The word PanchaMahabhuta is made up of three words: ‘pancha’, ‘maha’, and ‘bhuta’. ‘Pancha’ means five, ‘maha’ means great and ‘bhuta’ means that which exists. Ayurvedic philosophy believes that everything in this universe is made up of five basic elements. These five elements are ether or space (Akasha), air (Vayu), fire (Agni or Tejas), water (Jala),  and earth (Prithvi),  collectively they are termed as Panchmahabhuta.

Dosha

The three energies which circulate in the body and govern a person's body and mind - a central term in Ayurveda originating from Sanskrit, which can be translated as "that which can cause problems" (literally meaning "fault" or "defect"). The three doshas are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

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