Does Science Support Ayurveda?

Ayurvedic medicine was practiced for thousands of years before anyone invented the placebo controlled experiment. How has this ancient system held up to modern scientific scrutiny?

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
4-minute read
Episode #402

Babies and Bathwater

Any system built on thousands of years of careful observation is bound to have figured out a lot.

I’m not saying that Ayurvedic medicine or nutrition isn't valid. Any system built on thousands of years of careful observation is bound to have figured out a lot. Herbal medicine is the direct precursor to modern pharmacology. I’m just saying that there may also be a lot of folklore, myth, and false notions in the mix as well. You might be getting good results, but you also might be spending time, money, or effort on things that aren’t actually contributing much to your results. You might be throwing away an inch of your pot roast for no good reason.

Finally, when our explanations for why things work are based more on myth and lore instead of biological understandings, it limits our ability to expand those understandings. And that may be why Ayurvedic medicine has not evolved as dramatically as modern medicine has over the last 100 years. For better or worse, it’s practiced today much the same way as it was when we believed that the sun was being dragged across the sky in a chariot.

Best of Both Worlds

Of course, modern medicine has its weaknesses and blind spots as well. The challenge—and opportunity—we have in the 21st century is to enjoy benefits and wisdom of our ancient philosophies, as well as the insights and advances that modern science has brought us.

What are thoughts on Ayurveda? Post them below or on the Nutrition Diva Facebook page.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.


About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show. 

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