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Front Public Health. 2016 Mar 31;4:57. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2016.00057. eCollection 2016.

Exploring Ayurvedic Knowledge on Food and Health for Providing Innovative Solutions to Contemporary Healthcare.

Author information

1
Education for Sustainable Development, Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, United Nations University, Tokyo, Japan; International Institute of Global Health, United Nations University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
2
The Institute of Transdisciplinary Health Sciences and Technology, School of Life Sciences , Bangalore , India.

Abstract

Ayurveda, a traditional system of medicine that originated over three millennia ago in the South Asian region, offers extensive insights about food and health based on certain unique conceptual as well as theoretical positions. Health is defined as a state of equilibrium with one's self (svasthya) but which is inextricably linked to the environment. Ayurvedic principles, such as the tridosa (three humors) theory, provide the relationship between the microcosm and the macrocosm that can be applied in day-to-day practice. Classical Ayurveda texts cover an array of themes on food ranging from diversity of natural sources, their properties in relation to seasons and places and to their specific function both in physiological and pathological states. The epistemic perspective on health and nutrition in Ayurveda is very different from that of biomedicine and modern nutrition. However, contemporary knowledge is reinventing and advancing several of these concepts in an era of systems biology, personalized medicine, and the broader context of a more holistic transition in sciences in general. Trans-disciplinary research could be important not only for pushing the boundaries of food and health sciences but also for providing practical solutions for contemporary health conditions. This article briefly reviews the parallels in Ayurveda and biomedicine and draws attention to the need for a deeper engagement with traditional knowledge systems, such as Ayurveda. It points out that recreation of the methodologies that enabled the holistic view point about health in Ayurveda may unravel some of the complex connections with Nature.

KEYWORDS:

Ayurveda; ayurbiology; food and health; system biology; trans-disciplinary research

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