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What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is an ancient, yet living health tradition with it's roots in the Indian subcontinent over 5000 years ago.   "Ayur" meaning life and "Veda" meaning knowledge or wisdom, Ayurveda is the science of life.  Thousands of years before modern medicine provided scientific evidence for the mind-body connection, the sages of India developed Ayurveda, which continues to be one of the world’s most sophisticated and powerful mind-body health systems.

Ayurveda looks at the whole person and understands the importance of the interconnectedness of the health of one's body, mind and spirit.  Unlike conventional medicine which is a disease based approach and which looks to cure the symptoms, Ayurveda looks at the whole person and looks to address the root cause of the symptoms, restoring balance, harmony and perfect health naturally.

According to Ayurveda, illness is caused by an imbalance in the Doshas (the word Dosha literally translates as ‘fault’). The three doshas are called Vata, Pitta and Kapha – they are made up of five elements that are found in all living things: ether, air, fire, water, and earth— the building blocks of all life.

With cases of chronic conditions such as IBS, eczema, diabetes, obesity, menopause symptoms, anxiety and depression  at an all time high, Ayurveda offers natural, gentle and effective solutions.


Ayurveda is based on the 5 elements and denotes that our bodies are made up of these 5 elements. Air, Ether, Water, Fire, Earth. We are all a combination of all 5 elements but we have varying amounts individually. Ayurveda takes these 5 elements and puts them into 3 doshas or humors called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

Vata Dosha

Vata is Air + Ether

Vata is the subtle energy that governs the physiology of movement in the body.

Vata qualities are dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile, clear

Vata is predominant in Autumn

Vata is predominant from around age 50-60 years & onwards

Vata is predominant from 2 to 6 am & pm

Pitta Dosha

Pitta is Fire + Water

Pitta is the subtle energy that governs the physiology of metabolism in the body

Pitta qualities are oily, sharp, pungent, hot, light, spreading, liquid

Pitta is predominant in Summer

Pitta is predominant from age 20 to 50/60 years

Pitta is predominant in the middle of the day (10-2pm) and during the middle of the night (10-2am)

Kapha Dosha

Kapha is Earth + Water

Kapha is the subtle energy that governs the physiology of structure in the body

Kapha qualities are heavy, sticky, stable, cold, oily, soft, firm, dull

Kapha is predominant in Winter and Spring

Kapha is predominant in childhood from birth up to 18-20 years

Kapha is predominant from the hours of 6 and 10 am & pm.


There are 7 types of constitutions or "Dosha".  They are:








Each individual has a unique constitution or Dosha (akin to the Western scientific term of DNA).  This is determined at conception.  At the time of fertilisation, in the moment of the union of the single male sperm unites with the single female ovum, the permutations and combinations of bodily air, fire and water that manifests in the parents' bodies determine the constitution of the individual.  You may be 50% Kapha, 30% Pitta and 20% Vata for example.  This is one of the reasons Ayurveda is so unique in its approach.  The treatment given is specific to the individual - this means that what could be a healing diet and lifestyle for one individual could create illness for someone else.  While it's useful to understand your Dosha and how to live and eat correctly to keep it in balance, if you are already experiencing symptoms it means that one or more of these Doshas has become disturbed and this is when an Ayurvedic Practitioner can help.


According to Ayurveda, all disease is caused by impaired Agni. Agni comes from the Sanskrit word for fire, and so you can think of this as your ‘digestive fire. Your Agni or digestive fire can be too high, too low or up and down all over the place! When our digestion is not working optimally this creates toxins, known as “Ama” which circulate around the body and lead to illness. Toxins can be both from incorrect food and lifestyle choices as well as emotional toxins from unresolved issues or trauma.

​The first stage of Ayurvedic treatment involves enhancing the bodies' own system for dispelling toxins, by strengthening Agni.  During Ayurvedic treatment herbs are taken to balance one’s digestive fire, and help to dislodge the ama in the body while also supporting the ‘detox’ or elimination process. A diet of easy to digest foods that also address the Dosha imbalance are prescribed for the patient together with lifestyle changes which could relate to a person’s exercise, work and stress management.

​Over time, if the patient is able to follow the dietary and lifestyle advice along with their herbs, balance is restored to the Agni, toxins are reduced and eliminated – and the body comes back to into balance. 


Ayurveda identifies 6 tastes or "Rasa".  They are Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Bitter + Astringent.  As digestion begins in the mouth, these 6 tastes play an important role in nourishing the body and maintaining a balanced state of the tri dosha.  

Each dosha is pacified or aggravated by a certain taste.  Therefore consuming those tastes in excess will lead to an aggravation in that particular dosha.  

Vata Dosha

Pacified by Sweet, Sour and Salty

Aggravated by Pungent, Astringent and Bitter

Pitta Dosha

Pacified by Sweet, Bitter and Astringent

Aggravated by Salty, Pungent and Sour

Kapha Dosha

Pacified by Bitter, Astringent and Pungent

Aggravated by Sweet, Salty and Sour

So, to balance our bodies we may need to eat more of the tastes we don't naturally have a lot of (e.g. For a Pitta dominant person or someone suffering with Pitta symptoms we would increase Sweet, Bitter and Astringent tastes and reduce Sour, Salty and Pungent).

Here are some examples:

Sweet:  Honey, potatoes, rice, dates, wheat, pumpkins, cinnamon and licorice root

Sour:  Lime, lemon, tomato, yoghurt, vinegars, pickles and fermented foods

Salty:  Himalayan pink salt, tamari, sea vegetables, sea salt, rock salt and black olives

Astringent:  Pomegranate, green grapes, alfalfa sprouts, okra, cranberries, green beans

Pungent:  Garlic, hot peppers, ginger, onions, mustard and hot spices

Bitter:  Raw cacao, dandelion leaves, many leafy vegetables, fenugreek and turmeric 

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