Kerala Ayurveda

Ayurveda to heal your body and mind! Kerala Ayurveda has a tradition of over a thousand years.

Ideal climate for Ayurvedic Treatment

Kerala has an equable climate. The maximum temperature hardly ever exceeds 35oC. Never is the minimum temperature below 15oC. For half the year, from June to November, Kerala receives copious rains. Traditional Texts bill Monsoon as the best season for Ayurvedic rejuvenating therapies. During Monsoon, the atmosphere is cool and dust free. Body will absorb the herbal oils and medications better during this season since body pores will be open.

Unmatched Herbal Wealth of Kerala

The tropical forests of Kerala abound in medicinal plants. Western Ghats, mountain ranges of the east are thickly wooded. Thanks to the tropical climate, the herbs of Kerala are said to be more potent than the same herbs found elsewhere. Hence the Ayurvedic medicines of Kerala are considered more effective. Even classic preparations of Kerala are superior in effect.Agastyakoodam (Agastya Malai), is a peak on the southern part of Kerala. The peak is over 1800 metres in height. The forest covering this peak is rich in biodiversity. The forest covers an area of around 1300 square km. Most of the 2000 medicinal plants used in Kerala Ayurveda are found here. As many as 35 species of plants found in Agasthyakoodam are categorized as threatened or endangered. These mountain ranges are not yet fully explored. Scientists have discovered more than 25 new varieties of plants in these forests.

The original inhabitants of these forests are a tribe called 'Kanis'. They know medicinal properties of several plants unknown even to Ayurvedic practitioners. For example, they use a plant known as Arogya Pacha (Tricopus zeylanicus) as a rejuvenating medicine. They use the wild tobacco plant (Lobelia nicotinaefolia) to heal wounds.

The political history of Kerala itself was shaped in part by its rich herbal wealth. The Dutch made Cochin, the capital of their political power here thanks to the vast herbal wealth Kerala offered. To show case the riches of Kerala to his superiors, the Dutch Governor of Kerala, Van Rheede produced a tome in 12 volumes called the Hortus Malabaricus (The Garden of Malabar). The book is a treatise on 780 rare plant species found in Kerala. Van Rheede could show that many valuable drugs used in European cities, were actually made from medicinal plants of Malabar.

Kerala Ayurveda - A Rich Tradition

Ayurveda is practiced all over India. But nowhere do you find the dedication of Kerala practitioners. Many temples of Kerala were centers in healing many ailments. Kerala Ayurveda is known for panchkarma practice. Panchakarma is a cleansing procedure of Ayurveda, using herbal oils and preparations liberally.

Original texts of Ayurveda are in Sanskrit, the ancient language of wisdom. Kerala has an unbroken tradition of Sanskrit learning. The Ayurvedic practitioners of Kerala are able to interpret the Ayurvedic system accurately, thanks to their knowledge of Sanskrit.

You may be surprised that the Namboothiri Brahmins even today perform the fire sacrifices or yajnas as they were done during the Vedic times. They are experts in Sanskrit and are able to chant the Vedic hymns the original way. Namboothiri Brahmins are among the foremost practitioners of Ayurveda in Kerala. Ashtavaidyas, the traditional physicians of Kerala, used to practice in all eight branches of the Ayurvedic system of medicine. According to legend they are disciples of Vagbhata acarya, who was one of the great three scholars of Ayurveda, the other two being Caraka and Sushruta. Some Ashtavaidya families practice Ayurveda even to this day. The dedication and long experience of these families in Ayurvedic medicines give Kerala primacy in this branch of knowledge.

The following are some of the major contributions of Kerala to Ayurveda:

Vishachikitsa ( toxicology)

Marmachikitsa (a treatment system based on vital points on the body)

Gajachikitsa (Treatment for elephants)

Dhara, Pizhichil, and Njavarakizhi are treatment methods introduced by Kerala practitioners.

Marcopolo, the great traveler, notes the physicians and astrologists of Kerala with great reverance.

Government Oversight

Kerala Ayurveda has benefited from the active role the Government is playing in promoting it. The tourism department of the Government evaluates and rates various Ayurveda centers meant for visitors to Kerala. The Governmental intervention ensures quality in Ayurveda services, discouraging fly-by-night operators. (They are still around- so we recommend you to stick to reputed centers covered on these pages).

Modern Scientific Education in Ayurveda

Kerala Ayurvedic practitioners are highly qualified professionals. They undergo similar education as physicians of modern medicine. Many Universities offer Graduate Program and Doctoral Program in Ayurveda. Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM), a statutory Central Government body ensures quality of Ayurvedic Medical Education. The Ayurvedic Medical Practitioners of Kerala have thorough knowledge of anatomy, and modern diagnostic methods in addition to Ayurvedic System of healing.

Various agencies are engaged in research in Ayurveda. The prominent among them is the Central Council for Research in Ayurveda & Siddha (CCRAS), an autonomous organization under Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of India.

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