Ayurveda is an ancient health care tradition that has been practiced in India for at least 5,000 years. The word comes from the Sanskrit terms ayur (life) and veda (knowledge).
Though Ayurveda, or Ayurvedic medicine, was documented in the sacred historical texts known as the Vedas many centuries ago, Ayurveda has evolved over the years and is now integrated with other traditional practices, including yoga.
Some researchers who study Ayurveda believe that understanding a patient’s doshas — and in turn his or her prakruti — can help determine that patient’s risk of developing certain diseases or health conditions. In a study published in 2013 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Manyam used the principles of Ayurvedic medicine to identify populations that may be at higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. The study found that the incidence of Parkinson’s disease was highest in those with a vata prakruti (those whose dominant dosha is vata).
Such studies can be helpful not only in identifying vulnerable populations for diseases but also in delaying the onset of symptoms and slowing the progression of the disease, according to Manyam. In the case of patients with Parkinson’s disease, individuals with a vata prakruti may alter their diet or seek Ayurvedic treatments that will keep their doshas in balance