I was so critical about Ayurveda. I viewed Ayurveda as just another culture’s tradition, and its healing is ancient- and so traditional. What also concerns me was the use of mercury in their medicines. Not until two weeks ago, witnessing Pinoy Ayurveda Fiesta at Sandhi Ayurveda Clinic, Mandaluyong City, and the 5th International Ayurveda Yoga & Wellness Convention & Expo held at the Alberione Auditorium, Daughters of St. Paul in FB Harrison, Pasay became a turning point – and a sensible understanding with Ayurveda is the key to it.
Now, let’s take a quick view of Ayurveda.
What is Ayurveda?
Prior to the convention, Fr. Jacob Gnalian, a Catholic priest and an Ayurvedic doctor, and the Founder of Sandhi Ayurveda Clinic and Research Center, discussed about Ayurveda during the Pinoy Ayurveda Fiesta gathering. From there, I’ve learned that Ayurveda is a science of life as Sanskrit words “ayu” means life and “veda” means science and Ayurveda started in India some 3,000 years B.C.
Ayurveda deals not only about the body, but the mind and the spirit of man- a holistic approach. Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old comprehensive health care system that prevents and cures illnesses that western medicine cannot; just as that western medicine treats symptoms, but Ayurveda treats the root cause of the illnesses that causes the symptoms.
Healing is also an individualized approach which means your panchakarma therapy and/or medicine is not always the same with others who may have the same ailment as yours.
In Ayurveda, Ayurvedic diet, and Ayurvedic drug preparations consists of natural or organic ingredients. Unlike the synthetic medicines that has some contraindications, Ayurveda medicines don’t have such and don’t cause any contraindications and other health complications.
Ayurvedic medicines, ayurvedic diet, panchakarma, yoga exercises, and the healthy practice of ones faith with the Divine are all integrated in the holistic approach of Ayurvedic healing.
Panchakarma, according to Dr. Asish Rafael, is a bio-cleanse regimen comprising of five procedures and it has two kinds of medicines:for beautification and for detoxification.
The way I understand it, Panchakarma has the spa-like therapies with a difference, in terms of medications, its healing processes, and procedures which had been said highly effective. Special medicated oil and other organic herbs/ingredients are used for treatment. Massage is also essential to this in removing toxins out of the body, in rejuvenating, and healing several ailments along with the Ayurveda medicines and a Panchakarma diet as a recommendation for complete healing and recovery.
Mercury on Ayurvedic Medicine Preparation?
I sought the opinion of Fr. Jacob regarding the mercury on medicines and he said that, its partly true but not on the mercury’s raw form. According to him, mercury is a very effective cure to cancer, and that it undergoes a long tedious process that the western medicine cannot understand. Fr. Jacob also said that only a few family of Ayurvedic doctors do the preparations and not all Ayurvedic doctors can have access to it.
During an interview with Dr. Henry Prasad BAMS (Ayurveda MD), he went on explaining about the process.
“We process this mercury in several ways so that it will get powdered, so that the toxic properties is completely be eliminated. It will take.. it’s like one month or one year to process this thing, so it will take long time. But in Kerala, we are not using this mercury preparation. In Kerala, we are using only herbs- the plants only.”
He explained further that mercury undergo a process of purification. The mercury is in liquid form but with the aid of sulfur and the juice of the medicinal herbs, the mercury is being purified and turned into powder. That’s the time that a very small quantity in powdered form-usually in milligrams, is added to drug preparations. The medicines are also used to cure chronic illnesses like arthritis, respiratory ailments etc.
Dr. Prasad however said that these drugs take so long to process that is why they don’t use it in Kerala, India- the place of origin of Ayurveda, and Fr. Jacob don’t administered it to his patients here in the Philippines.
Well, that made it clear that I need not be critical with Ayurveda, need not fear with their medicine prescriptions, and need not worry about health and life conditions as Dr Jacob would always tell his patients: “Don’t worry, be happy.”
On International Ayurveda Convention
It was a two-day event and I am personally grateful about the convention as it was an eye-opener about the role of Ayurveda to global wellness aspirations that his excellency L.D. Ralte, Ambassador of India to the Philippines expressed in his speech that he came for the convention not to simply address the gathering but because of his own beliefs on Ayurveda.
” I am convinced of the effectiveness of holistic healing as the old adage goes, “Treat the patient, not the disease.” This convention comes an opportune time because globally, there is a quest to identify alternative system of medicine that are effective and most importantly, sustainable.”
On his message, Ambassador L.D. Ralte also stressed out the global health issues, its impact to the nation’s economy, and the possible solutions to the recent challenges that the world is facing now.
“According to a WHO Report, NCDs or Non-communicable Diseases kill 36 million people each year and pose a threat to global development, economic growth and poverty alleviation. This burden is only likely to increase in the coming decades. It is in this context that Ayurveda and Yoga can play a pivotal role in providing sustainable alternatives to meet these rising global wellness aspirations as they lay emphasis on lifestyles.”
His excellency Bishop Teodoro C. Bacani, Jr., D.D. Auxillary Bishop of Manila, also encouraged the audience to read the Ayurveda magazine of Sandhi Clinic entitled “Health and Faith” saying, “We hope, that this should be messages that would help people live healthy lives, happy lives, better lives. With healthy lives, you can have a healthy nation, and a healthy nation can be a progressive nation.”
Dr. Jaime Z. Galvez Tan MD, MPH, who exposed himself in both western and Asian medicine of Japan, Korea and China including Ayurveda of India and Philippines’ traditional indigenous healing system made it known to the crowd about one good thing about the Philippines.
He said, “According to World Biodiversity Council, the Philippines is the 3rd most bio-diverse country in the world- first is Brazil, second is Indonesia, the third is the Philippines.”
And according to him, there are 1,500 herbal plants that needs to be documented and initially, Dr. Tan had covered only a portion of it in his book of 100 Philippine Herbs which most Filipinos are not yet familiar with all its medicinal benefits.
Ayurvedic Food and Yoga
Fr. Jacob Gnalian also discussed about the many benefits of Ayurveda to health showing presentations of patients whom he cured including May Paner A.K.A. Juana Change on weight loss.
Towards the end of the convention, the audience witnessed a food demo that audience would want a copy of recipes from Fr, Jacob.
Yoga was also demonstrated by Fr. Jacob himself, who already on his 70’s, still has that amazing flexibility that most people his age would already have lost it.
The event raised awareness on Ayurveda principles and methods – its Panchakarma Therapy, Ayurvedic medicines and diet, and Yoga’s helpful benefits to heal and attain balance inside and out of ones self- all addressed by the Ayurveda doctors namely Dr. Asish Rafael BAMS (Ayurveda MD), Dr. Henry Prasad BAMS (Ayurveda MD) and Fr. Jacob himself with the help of Ms. Roma Mukhi, the ever-willing interpreter who helped the audience better grasp the speakers’ Indian accents during the convention.