Self-Treatment in Ayurveda
In the thirty-years I have worked as an Ayurvedic health care professional I have seen more damage done by self-treatment than health. This is especially true when using herbs for self-treatment.
I have been teaching Ayurveda since 1995 and have often had to help students learn how to correct the disorders that arrive from self-treatments. In this field the best teachers I have had have been my patients, who brought a large variety of strange problems due to the latest fad in health care that was making the rounds. Many of the diets that become popular for short periods (e.g., a few years) are really damaging. It can take a year or longer to repair people who have follow fad diets. Some diets do premiant damage to people, which is sad. Fortunately, the really dangerous herbs have been removed from the market place, so less people are damaged by taking herbs today than by following fad diets. The main problem I have seen in professional practice regarding herbs is just taking too many at too high of doses. Taking a lot of different herbs symptomatically will generally make more problems than they solve.
The main reason why I developed the concept of Ayur-Vidya™ was to help the general public to self-treat in a safe and intelligent manner. Obviously, health care insurance in the United-States is beyond the means of half the families that live there. Thus, we need to put more importance on prevention and using diet and lifestyle to cure problems when they do arrive. And when this is not enough we need to use herbs in a way that will not cause another set of problems or disorders.
Ayurveda has a long history of use and is more or less safe if we follow the whole system and do not try to use the herbal medicines symptomatically. As explained in the webpage “About Using Herbs” there are right and wrong ways to use plants. If we answer the questions in the exams honestly the answers give a very good indication of what diet, lifestyle and herbs could work for us. However, if we are insincere, or too fast, when answering questions in the exams the results may be too general to help us.
The main problem with self-treatment is that we all lack the objectivity to see what is happening with our bodies. There was an ancient Greek doctor that said, “A man is a fool to treat his family and an idiot to treat himself”. This illustrates that even with our own family we lack full objectivity, not to mention ourselves!
This is why using a system like Ayurveda is helpful to guide us in the right direction. The advice is best as prevention and may be less useful to treat chronic disorders. Remember that diet and herbs are generally not aggressive and need time to function correctly. If we are patient and use low doses of herbs they give better results and we avoid secondary effects.