Ayurveda Myth Debunked : Myths 6 – 9

In this two-part series of articles “Ayurveda Myth Debunked”, Dr. Patwardhan will attempt to clear up some of the misconceptions about this fantastic science of ‘Ayurveda’.

Ayurveda Myth Debunked: Myths 1 – 5

Ayurveda Myth 6: Ayurveda has no Side Effects

This is again a very big myth about Ayurveda, and this actually results in giving Ayurveda a bad name being practiced by many so-called quacks who know nothing about Ayurvedic principles and concepts.

It is important to understand that just because Ayurveda mainly consists of Herbal remedies there is no chance of side effects. We have to realize that anything that is supposed to have an effect if administered to the wrong person, in a wrong dosage, administered at the wrong time is most likely to give side effects. So do not believe in this myth and do self-medication or just take ayurvedic medicines reading some health columns. Administration of Ayurveda remedies without proper understanding of the health conditions, imbalance, the body type of the person to whom it is to be administered, that person’s digestion, condition of toxicity in the body is more likely to give side effects or adverse effects rather than benefits.

e.g. Ginger, Black Pepper, Turmeric which are simple kitchen herbs if given in wrong dose, wrong time, and without consideration of body constitution are likely to produce side effects or adverse effects like burning sensation, reflux/ hyperacidity, and lowered blood sugar respectively.

Ayurveda Myth 7: Ayurveda can’t be used for New Age Diseases

Ayurveda has explained the diagnosis and treatment of various health conditions related to various Body systems. But it also says that it is not important to know diagnosis and treatment of these conditions only, one can diagnose and treat any new health condition arising which is not seen earlier if one knows the basic concepts of the Ayurveda and the diagnostic tools as suggested by Ayurveda. Similarly, one can also treat any health condition as long as the person treating these conditions knows how to diagnose and then has the knowledge and understanding of Ayurvedic Treatment principles. These diagnostic tools and treatment principles don’t change as per time and health condition and hence if applied properly can be used to diagnose and treat any new-age health condition.

A similar explanation is useful in clearing another myth – Ayurveda is mainly used to treat Chronic conditions and not acute conditions, which is also not true. You need a good practitioner who knows how to use Ayurvedic Treatment principles, Ayurvedic herbs and remedies in the correct dosage and correct time and then Ayurveda can also be used to deal with Acute conditions.

e.g. Lyme’s Disease or AIDS not explained in Ayurveda can be treated with Ayurveda and even an acute condition like High fever is being effectively treated by Ayurveda.

Ayurveda Myth 8: ‘Kerala Ayurveda’ is a Type of Ayurveda

This is nothing but excellent marketing by Kerala state who went on to promote the entire state using Ayurveda as their story. They promoted tourism in the state by making statements like ‘Land of Ayurveda’, ‘Kerala Ayurveda’ etc. So ‘Kerala Ayurveda’ was used to market the kind of Ayurveda being practiced in Kerala, but the marketing was so effective that it came to be known as a type of Ayurveda. I still get asked by many people from overseas, Do I practice Kerala Ayurveda? or Do I know Kerala Ayurveda, which makes me sad because there is nothing like this. Ayurveda is Ayurveda and there doesn’t exist anything like ‘Kerala Ayurveda’ or ‘Himalayan Ayurveda’. I would also like to give an example of Yoga where different schools of Ayurveda came into practice but those were based on the practitioners of Yoga and nothing to do with the Traditional Yoga as explained in the classics like ‘Yoga Sutra’ by Patanjali.

Ayurveda Myth 9: If you have Toxins, do Panchakarma

This is again a huge myth and a dangerous myth. Many people who believe in Ayurveda think that Panchakarma is the ideal treatment for Toxins in the body. This has resulted in Panchakarma being administered to people suffering from many chronic and fatal conditions worsening their conditions or even proving fatal.

Panchakarma is 5 cleansing processes used to remove excessively aggravated Doshas out of the body and it is strictly contraindicated in case of the presence of Toxins in the body. But many Ayurvedic practitioners fool people by using this myth and under the pretext of doing Panchakarma only do some basic treatments like Oil Massage, Shirodhara, Steam which are not even Panchakarma.

So, to reiterate, Panchakarma is contraindicated in the case of the presence of Toxins.


Dr. Manish Patwardhan

M.D  (Ayurveda)

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