Ayurveda approaches the human body as an extension of the universal body through the lens of the five elements - Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether - which manifest as hormones, neurotransmitter, organs and chemicals in our physiology . Ayurveda treats the body by maintaining an equilibrium of these elements through a deep understanding of the elemental make up of each and every food, herb, spice, and environmental factor and their relationship to our unique constitution or doshas, Vata(air/ether), Pitta(fire/water) and Kapha(water/earth). Ayurveda teaches us to consume everything in moderation, in the right combinations and amounts at the right time to maintain balance.
Both pharmaceutical medicine and modern day holistic medicine ignore the influence of five elements, when prescribing remedies. Therefore, often we solve one problem and cause another in the process. Even modern day Ayurveda is at risk of falling into the drug disease model. For example, popular Ayurvedic herbs, supported by scientific research, such as Turmeric and Ashwagandha are being prescribed en masse without regard to their elemental qualities and their influence on doshic imbalance. This is why traditional Ayurveda, rarely recommends single herb remedies, and prefers balanced recipes of a compound of herbs, each balancing the elemental quality of the other.
Ayurveda can sometimes be hard for many of us in the west to grasp because we are not used to considering the energies of the elements in what we consume. Furthermore, we have gotten used to buying into the next hype and pseudo scientific study that promises radiant health by consuming the latest food, herb or lifestyle, regardless of how it effects each persons unique constitution. Ayurveda gives in depth knowledge of the elemental quality of each food and herb as well as their combinations, so that we can maintain an equilibrium of the five elements.