Ayurveda is an ancient Indian medical science that dates back to the Vedic culture. The word AYURVEDA is composed of 2 words: Ayur ( meaning life) & Veda( knowledge). Before defining what exactly illness means in Ayurveda, it is significant to understand the elements of the human body and what role they do play in our body and in our lives.
According to AYURVEDA, our human body is composed of 5 elements: Ether( space ), Air, Fire, Water, Earth. Since, these elements are part and parcel of nature, therefore nature and it’s product have a direct influence on our life and our body. Any changes in the external that consists of any of these components affect our internal as well.
Now in our human body,these elements combine to give rise to three different types of energy or force known as dosha that is responsible for governing various physiological functions: Vata dosha: ether and air combine together to give rise to this dosha. It is the primary dosha that controls all other doshas. It governs the principle of movements such as nerve impulses, Circulation, respiration, and elimination. Pitta dosha : fire and water combine together to give rose to this dosha and it governs the principle of metabolism such as in splitting of food into nutrients, metabolism in the organs and tissue system as well as cellular metabolism Kapha dosha: water and earth combine together to form this dosha which governs growth, immune system etc.
Now, every individual has a unique proportion of these doshas where one is more dominant than the rest two. As long as these doshas are in balance, a person is considered to be in a sound health as in body, mind, and spirit. But if any of these doshas become excess or is in disharmony, a person is considered to have an illness and thus reducing the dosha which is in excess becomes essential for the well being of an individual.