For those of you who believe Ayurveda is legit, and can easily replace conventional medicine, I have something to tell you.
You were clickbaited.
Because I won’t be speaking highly of Ayurveda, in fact, I will be demolishing it.
- Table of Contents
Clickbaiting the wrong people is what I do best on this blog of mine, but I never stray away from its founding principles.
I started it with the intent to grow, and to grow, one must discover the truth, wherever or whatever form it may be. Truth is painful to face, and always a bitter pill to swallow, so I coat it in layers of humour, to disguise the revelation and make it look benign. It is like trying to draw attention to the naked emperor’s nakedness. I dress him up with some clothes, to draw people’s attention to what constitutes clothes, during which I carefully strip those portions off his body to get people to notice that he is indeed, naked, without the emperor realizing a thing.
That’s the thing about humour, it defuses the fight or flight response, and cuts through the tension built up over these issues. People are more open to ideas when they can laugh about them.
But since my comedy is sub-par, I could end up starting a war or two. Maybe the emperor will realize what I’ve done, and order my execution.
It is my desire that you share this journey with me, to discover whether the bitter medicine that cures us of our physical ailments come from Ayurveda, or from allopathy.
But Before we get started, it would only make sense to look into the topic of,
What Ayurveda Is
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian practice based on the idea of maintaining the right balance of prakti, or body constituents by adopting the right diet, sleep and exercise. This prakti is divided into three doshas.
Imbalances in these doshas is what results in diseases.
The three doshas are called Vata, Kapha, and Pitta.
It is composed of air and space and is responsible for movement of thoughts, blood flow and waste. If you have too much Vata, it will lead to troublesome thoughts, high blood pressure, and constipation.
It is composed of fire and water and controls heat and basic metabolism such as digesting food. Also, its thanks to Pitta that we are able to make use of our senses and tell the difference between what is right and wrong.
Too much Pitta, and it will thin your hair, result in ulcers and you will develop a short temper.
Kapha consists of earth and water. It lubricates the joints and increases virility. Too much Kapha and you will be assaulted by a variety of emotions that will bring ruin to your life. Greed, envy, attachment, will always be pricking you with their influence, and force you into submission. Kapha also makes you fat and provides you a plethora of allergies to deal with as a bonus.
Don’t eat too much Kapha.
Now, all of this is fine and well, but there is one serious problem with it.
If you haven’t noticed anything odd, let me point it out for you.
The groundwork of Ayurveda is a set of axioms that aren’t really axioms but treated as such.
In other words, you aren’t allowed to ask which ass they pulled it out from, only that it has been around for centuries, and that fact alone can attest to its reliability.
No medical procedure bases its solutions on the idea of imbalances, but on the evidence of microbial action. Whatever ideas our doctors depend on have been tested and verified, whereas Ayurveda simply assumes the body is divided into a certain number of constituents, describes how they are related, and make no attempt to garner evidence for their theory, which of course isn’t treated as a “theory” but as a string of legitimate facts.
There is a reason its called folk remedy, folks.
And their arguments for authenticity boils down to these three “facts”
- It worked for Santhosh, so it is effective.
- It lasted for centuries, so it is proof of its reliability.
- It uses natural products like herbs, so it is safe.
Their main line of defense is built on anecdotal evidence.
Another reason people defer to it is because it is relatively cheaper. Doctors charge large sums of cash for their services, and at best patch things up. The science of medicine still has a long way to go, so people defer to alternatives in the hopes that its natural and organic treatments will cure them of their afflictions.
And what do they tell you? Go in for a traditional treatment, and the doctors will scare you with the result of the tests they have performed on you, and scare whatever else is remaining in you with their medical fee.
Go to an Ayurveda practitioner, and he will calmly tell you “There is nothing to worry about my friend, all you have to do is stop eating spicy food and it will balance out your pitta. Here, take this natural and organic medicine made from herbs and within a few days, it will subside.”
There are a lot of things people are still unaware of, like the fact that,
Lead, Mercury and Arsenic Are Your Friends (According to Ayurveda)
Ayurveda medicines contain heavy metals. Not the ones that are essential, like Iron or Magnesium, but those responsible for death. I don’t remember the last time someone recommended a jar of lead for my back pain, or a pinch of arsenic for my headache, unless they were actively trying to kill me.
And there is this bizarre concept that baffles me even to this day, something even medical practitioners are dimly aware of, called the placebo effect.
The Magical Properties of Placebo
“Placebo” is Latin for “shall I please”. That will be enough Latin for today. In tomorrow’s class, we will combine what we learned in this class with another Latin term “manducare stercore”. It will be your homework to decipher the meaning of this conjunction.
Placebo is a pill or a shot that has no medicinal properties but provides relief and elevates mood. It isn’t quite understood, but it has something to do with the relation between endorphins and dopamine with a person’s emotional state, self-awareness and mood.
Basically, if you believe something will benefit you, it does. That belief will take away your pain, but not the ailment plaguing you, and it has something to do with the relationship mentioned above.
New drugs are tested for their effectiveness by comparing them with placebos. The people present in the control group will be divided into two or more groups and administered either the drug or the placebo. The person administering the medicine doesn’t know whether he is handling the real medicine or the placebo, and this is done on purpose just to screw around with them.
But seriously, its done that way to eliminate any psychological suggestions from taking place. Its called the double blind test, where the patients, and the one administering the medicine are unaware of what they are handling, or being handed.
This way, the drug can be tested for its effectiveness and check for side effects if any.
And many researchers say Ayurveda does prescribe herbs that are beneficial, but an element of the placebo effect is present. Imagine you are suffering from something serious, the doctor will have you take a body scan and point out all the anomalies present inside, draining you of your will and your bank account, whereas the Ayurveda practitioner will simply take a pulse, decipher the balance of your doshas and provide you with a diet to follow and maybe a few inexpensive medicines all shrouded under the pretext of “natural”.
It’s a house of cards, elaborately put on display. But despite it all, we just can’t seem to wean ourselves off its effect. Many questions will pop up, and it would make sense to address them in detail.
Lets review some commonly asked questions:
You’re an Indian, and you are criticizing our culture. Shame on you!
Being an Indian and being someone who endorses alternate medicine are two different things. Suppose we assume that logic is justified, it was a practice for Hindu widows to jump into their husbands burning pyre, but we decided to bring that practice to a halt. Shouldn’t we still be doing that? It’s a tradition of ours, why not honour it? What do you mean its based on superstitious beliefs? How dare you criticise my culture!
Just because something has been around long enough, doesn’t mean we should continue to endorse it. Women were treated like chattel in the past, does that mean we ought to continue doing so? What do you mean we shouldn’t? How dare you criticize my culture!
If Ayurveda is so bad, then why is Deepak Chopra promoting it? He is a graduate from AIIMS, worked as a doctor for few years, then as a professor abroad and left it behind for Ayurveda. You think you know better than a man specializing in medicine for decades, and worth over fifty million dollars? That’s rich.
But not as rich as Deepak Chopra. Double pun most definitely intended.
For those of you scratching your heads, “That’s rich” – Preposterous; also Deepak Chopra is worth over 50 million dollars. That’s rich.
I’m not saying Deepak Chopra promotes cutting edge pseudoscience, which he does.
I’m not saying Deepak Chopra charges exorbitant amounts for his snakeoil laced with enough woo-woo venom to send physicists into a coma, but that his books such as Quantum Healing and podcasts are choke full of concepts that quantum physicists have yet to discover.
This man deserves a Nobel Prize, for bridging the gap between medicine and quantum mechanics in a way most scientists wouldn’t dare to. A doctor that reverses aging with quantum healing deserves a much bigger audience than the one big pharma is ripping off.
Like I mentioned earlier, it worked for Santhosh!
Alright, it worked for your friend Santhosh, so it must be legit right?
No. Just because it worked, doesn’t mean it is reliable. For a treatment to be reliable, it must be plausible, and for it to be plausible, it must endure a series of tests that show whether its effects are repeatably demonstrable or not.
If Santhosh’s stomach-ache subsided, or had his cholesterol lowered after eating his Ayurveda medicine, that doesn’t mean a cancer patient should undergo Ayurvedic treatment. In fact, most Ayurveda practitioners will advise you to take both the traditional treatment, as well as their treatment.
You don’t get it, traditional medicine and Ayurveda complement each other.
Sugar and spice make everything nice.
Mercury poisoning and chelation therapy make everything nice, since they neutralize each other.
And when the cancer patient recovers, where does the credit go? “Golly, am I glad I decided to undergo that Ayurveda treatment! I’m sure it invigorated that chemotherapy fluids enough to fight off the cancer! Ayurveda saved my life!”
Ayurveda takes the lion’s share. It is marketed as a natural alternative which is why many drift towards it. They use a variety of herbs and offer advices on diet and exercise, which to most people seem like a better alternative than gulping down a sack load of pills.
But they fail to realize that those advices are unfounded. It isn’t based on anything concrete that can be verified.
Its natural, organic and safe.
Just because some marketer included the words, “Natural” or “Organic” in their advertisements, doesn’t make it safe. McDonalds wants you to believe their burgers are fresh and healthy, and spend ridiculous amounts to advertise it to make it look that way.
But have you seen their chickens? Do they even look like chickens? Must be a mythically natural version.
But say it is natural, so what?
Vomit is just as natural, so would you gulp down a whole bottle of it to cure indigestion?
Snake venom is natural, so would you inject it into your body as a substitute for insulin?
Manure is natural, so would you add portions of it to your afternoon salad to reduce cramps?
But Ayurveda derives its medicines from herbs, so it is safe, right?
Not all herbs are therapeutic, and many have side effects. Guggal is a Ayurveda herb used to cut down cholesterol. Whatever research has been performed so far, shows that it does not deliver on what it promises. Also, it comes with a batch of side effects that include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and headaches.
All of which are of course, naturally induced.
You aren’t a practitioner of Ayurveda, let alone a doctor, why should I listen to you!
All I have is a B.Tech, I’m clearly not qualified to make the assertions I’ve made so far.
What was I thinking.
I’m no doctor, and certainly no woo-woo practitioner. Its not like I have the ability to read and make inferences from studies conducted by actual researchers. In the same way, I can’t really condemn the Nazis for what they’ve done, because I’m no Nazi. Its not like I have the ability to read and study history or look at the evidence to condemn Hitler and the Nazis for what they have done.
What was I thinking.
Why would the government pitch in and open up many Ayurveda colleges if the whole thing is a sham?
Ayurveda colleges are not as costly as medical collages are to build and maintain. Ayurveda doesn’t ask for complex medical machineries, or incredibly skilled and highly qualified professors. It is cheap, and when you look at the level of competition present in the medicine field, there is a influx of students into ayurvedic and homeopathic collages. Long story short, its less of a headache for the government. The rules and regulations required to run a medical institute are strict and always under constant monitor. With alternate medical practices, they can get away with a lot, including killing people.
But it helped me with my headache and diabetes!
I hope you’ve been following my line of logic, because if you have then this will answer your question.
Ayu Still There?
If you’ve made it this far, then I have to say its been a fun ride, and I hope you will visit me on my next rant. But seriously, It’s quite understandable why people are willing to adopt Ayurveda. It gives people hope, that the ailments their loved ones are facing can be cured by a mere change in diet or sleeping pattern.
Combining that with the “it’s perfectly natural” argument, no wonder people fall prey to it.
For You Ayurveda Lovers Out There
Last but not the least, I run a blog.
Whatever I’ve written is based on what I’ve read online and by comparing it with what I’ve seen being put into practice, but even then I could be wrong about it all.
Maybe Ayurveda isn’t a Placebo.
It could be our future, once the decide to blend their work in with traditional medicine and test it for effectiveness; redefining their theory and make it plausible and verifiable.
Or at the very least, it would do us a favour if they finally developed the sense to wipe out heavy metals from their medicines, and turn their recipe for disaster, into a recipe for vibrant health.