Differences Between Homeopathy and Ayurveda?

Thursday, 21 Oct 2010 04:46 PM

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There is a growing acceptance of herbal remedies all over the world. While both Homeopathic medicine and Ayurveda belong to complementary and alternative medicine systems, they are from very different schools of thought.

Difference between Ayurveda and Homeopathic medicine
Ayurveda originated in India more than 3,500 years ago. According to Hindu mythology, Ayurvedic medicine originated from Lord Dhanwantari. On the other hand, the Homeopathic system of medicine was founded by Samuel Christian Hahnemann 200 years ago in Germany. Thus, region and time of origin is the most obvious difference between Ayurveda and Homeopathic medical systems.

Ayurveda
: Derived from two words – Ayur meaning “life” and Veda meaning “knowledge” – Ayurveda means “knowledge of life.” It is a holistic system with its own fundamental tenets. Ayurveda emphasizes the balance between body, mind, and soul for healthy living. Maintaining optimal health and mitigating disease by using Ayurvedic medicine is the goal of Ayurveda.

Ayurvedic medicine
: Charak Samhita, the classical text of Ayurvedic medicine, recommends incorporating common kitchen herbs such as haridra (Curcuma longa) and Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) in various Ayurvedic medicines. Chyawanprash is an excellent immunity-enhancing Ayurvedic medicine derived from the Indian gooseberry. Another commonly used Ayurvedic medicine for digestive disorders is Trikatu (made of black pepper, long pepper, and ginger). Research on Ayurvedic medicine holds promise, since almost every Ayurvedic medicine prescribed in traditional texts is proving to be efficacious in clinical trials.

Homeopathy
: The word homeopathy conjoins two words – homeo meaning “similar” and pathy meaning “science.” Homeopathic medicine is a system that stimulates our immune system to fight disease. “Principle of similar” and “principle of dilution” are the two basic principles used in Homeopathic treatments. While homeopathic practitioners rely on symptoms for diagnosis, Ayurvedic physicians make use of “pulse diagnosis” as well as symptoms.

Homeopathic remedies
: In Homeopathic remedies, highly diluted substances are prescribed. Homeopathic Bach flower remedies use flowers steeped in sunlit water. Homeopathic remedies are prepared according to the guidelines given in the Homeopathic pharmacopoeia. In preparing Homeopathic medicine, the ingredients are diluted with distilled water or alcohol (Homeopathic dilution) and shaken vigorously. Therefore, Homeopathic remedies have very few active ingredients. This means Homeopathic remedies don’t have to undergo rigorous safety and efficacy testing. Arnica, stinging nettle plant, and Calcarea phosphorica are some common Homeopathic remedies. These herbal remedies are used for curing many conditions, though scientific data supporting the cures remains unavailable. Further homeopathic research is required since Homeopathic medicines claim to be free of side effects.

Safety and popularity
: Ayurveda, unlike Homeopathy, makes use of some surgical procedures like “Kshar sutra” and purification techniques like “Panchkarma” for managing diseases. This is another major difference between Ayurveda and Homeopathic medicine.

Research status:
The first Homeopathic doctor to practice Homeopathic medicine in New York City was Dr. John Franklin Gray. The FDA advocates that Homeopathic remedies meet the legal standards for purity, strength, and safety. As per NCCAM, research on Homeopathic remedies remains a controversial subject as its principles are not consistent with the laws of physics and chemistry. The Cochrane Library doesn’t provide any convincing results for the efficacy of Homeopathic remedies either, yet both Ayurvedic medicines and Homeopathic remedies are bringing relief to users worldwide.

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