The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 1033: How to Stay Healthy with Principles of Ayurvedic Medicine (Archive)

The principles of Ayurvedic medicine are still relevant today. Find out how one neurologist has integrated them into her practice and how you can benefit.
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How to Stay Healthy with Principles of Ayurvedic Medicine (Archive)

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Most Americans are not familiar with the principles of Ayurvedic medicine. Despite its thousands of years of tradition, it seems exotic and possibly irrelevant for today.

How Ayurvedic Medicine Principles Can Be Integrated into Neurology:

Learn how a neurologist re-discovered the importance of Ayurvedic approaches when she found that her own migraines did not respond to the medications she prescribed for her patients. This experience convinced her to start incorporating principles from Ayurvedic medicine into treating her own patients.

She was pleased that this integration worked so well that she treated patients with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and migraine headaches with a combination of dietary adjustment, behavioral change and stress management along with medication. Learn how she found a way to combine this ancient tradition with the modern concept of personalized treatment. In the process, you’ll discover why the Ayurvedic proverb, “What you eat becomes your mind,” should be taken seriously by 21st century Americans.

The Prime tea Dr. Chaudhary describes is made of cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. Tasty! Could it be your first step to spontaneous weight loss?

This Week’s Guest:

Kulreet Chaudhary, MD, is an integrative neurologist, with combined expertise in modern neurology and ancient Ayurveda. She is the former director of Wellspring Health at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, CA, and the co-founder of Habit Change. She is currently chief medical officer for New Practices, Inc.

Dr. Chaudhary has been an investigator in more than 20 clinical research studies of conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson’s disease and diabetic peripheral neuropathy.

Her book is The Prime: Prepare and Repair Your Body for Spontaneous Weight Loss. Her website is

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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A year ago, I commented that in both India and China there were ongoing studies of the medical values of traditional medicine in both countries’ cultures. Has Dr. Chaudhary consulted those studies? Important medical research is going on in many countries, including those two, Indonesia and Iran.

It would have been nice if Dr. Chaudhary had included some practical examples of how we can incorporate some of the principles of Ayurvedic diet that we could incorporate in our own lives, or is she just wanting us to buy her book.

Buyer beware of spiritual practises attached to Ayurvedic medicine? Spirituality and healing have gone hand in hand for centuries but there are no spiritual practises ‘attached’ to taking Ayurvedic herbs, such as triphala, as it is the same as any herb. You need to ingest it mindfully. Ayurvedic diagnosis and prescription does, however, take into account an individuals dosha type, as some herbs may match certain dosha types better than others. This appears to be a more specific and personalized approach to prescribing treatment than the western approach, which only prescribes based on matching to a symptom. Triphala can have side effects if taken without care or advice, like many herbs, especially if taken in high quantities or if a cleansing reaction is observed. Fortunately your body will tell you this, so you can adjust dosages.

Ayurvedic medicine has been referred to as the sister of yoga, which originated from several spiritual practises, but as seen today, can be practised without any spiritual component, regardless of the original intent. Both Ayurvedic medicine and yogic practises understand the body from similar templates of nerve pathways, and one may be useful for complementing the other. For example, certain types of yoga can be matched with specific dosha types ( Ayurvedic term for constitutional and physical/ emotional types). It is a complimentary optional matching, which is different from an attachment which implies an automatic presence.

It is interesting to know there was research performed on possible benefits of TMeditation in public schools in the 70s. Progress can be slow when a change in thinking is required and unknowns are automatically perceived as threats. Much research has come forth showing the many benefits of meditation in this decade, so it has become increasingly acceptable in some Western countries to provide these programs in their public schools and we will be seeing this more so in the near future.

Truth seeking and medicine/ healing is best observed when an individual pursues a path of healing and discovers for him/ herself what holds true for them through their own experience.

My 11yo daughter has bad headaches, which required me picking her up early from school almost one time per week in the last 2 months. Twice, I took her to the Dr, but they never seem to find a reason. I’m having her take a baby aspirin 81mg each day, and it seems to help, but if she forgets for 2 days, she will have another headache. She is a picky eater, short for her age, and is only 70#, but she is in the middle of her growth spurt, and she has achy joints sometimes. She is also a Jr black belt in Karate, but I don’t think her practice would be worse for her headaches or joint pains. I will try the Ayurvedic approach with her and try to convince her that her headaches may be caused by her diet.

You got the tea right as stated in the article.
Triphala is a different digestive aid. I and many I know have taken it off and on (as needed) for years without any of the symptoms you describe. It is mild, non-irritating, non-habit forming, and effective.
The Ayurvedic approach to health may be used successfully without adopting any spiritual practices or beliefs.

Sally, sounds like your daughter has Lyme or one of its coinfectuons.

Looks like I botched the name and ingredients of the tea Dr Chaudary recommended. It’s triphala tea, I believe, and consists of three Indian berries, not the ingredients I listed. And it’s side effects include diarrhea, dehydration and stomach cramps.

But my main point stands: Ayurvedic medicine comes with a spiritual teaching and spiritual practices attached. If you are a truth seeker, you must use your rational intellect to discern whether these teachings are true and whether the practices are spiritually beneficial. In the 1970s I did investigative reporting on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s deceptive presentation of Transcendental Meditation in order to get it into public schools (“Christianity Today, ” December 21, 1973; March 26, April 9, 1976).

So whatever the physical benefits of Aurvedic herbs, let the buyer beware of the spiritual attachments. Physical benefits in themselves do not establish the truth claims of Advaita (non-dual) Hinduism, such as pantheism and reincarnation.

More than 20 years ago I read in Asia Week (TIME-like magazine for Asian readers) that there were studies ongoing in both India and China to see what was going on in the science of traditional medicine in both countries. Has Dr. Chaudhary checked into these studies? It is rewarding to know that modern medical research is learning about the gut-brain connection, but perhaps there are studies out there that we aren’t aware of because it hasn’t been “made in America” or by western countries. Kudos to Dr. Chaudhary for bringing her culture into her practice. This is what makes America great– the fertilization from many cultures for best practices from all.

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