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As the science of life and longevity, Ayurveda aims to improve quality of life and self-dependency rather than just extend the years of life.

Elderly health: An Ayurvedic perspective

Understanding elderly health

Ayurveda doesn’t view aging as a disease process but as a natural, inevitable progression where the mind and body can remain healthy (2). As the science of life and longevity, Ayurveda aims to improve quality of life and self-dependency rather than just extend the years of life (1). The aim of Ayurveda is to achieve total overall good health on all levels. Jara Chikitsa or Rasayana Chikitsa is one of the eight specialised branches of Ayurveda and is dedicated to elderly/geriatrics and rejuvenation therapy. This is one of Ayurveda’s key strengths (3).

How does elderly health work in Ayurveda ?

Jara, also called Vardhakya (aging), is defined as which has become old by the act of wearing out (2).

It is our daily choices and actions that are largely responsible for rapid aging and degeneration of the body and mind, and nobody wants to grow old or suffer from degenerative disease. Modern medicine often can’t offer much apart from managing diseases once they arise. Ayurveda however can help with prevention of diseases and support the process of healthy aging with several lifestyle and dietary measures (1).

In Ayurveda there are three stages of life known as Vaya. Balavastha up to age 16, Madhyavastha 16-60 and Vriddhavastha or Jirnavastha after 60 which is the elder years (1).

In our elder years the vata dosha dominates so there are more catabolic activities taking place in the body which can lead to many chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, hypertension and stroke. The sense organs, speech, memory and cognition can also degenerate (1).

Agni (digestive fire) weakens with age leading to diminution of the dhatus (tissues), therefore leading to a decrease in ojas, the prime essence responsible for vitality and immunity (14).

Unhealthy changes in the body and mind occur due to imbalances within the doshas, dhatu (tissues), agni (digestive fire) and malas (metabolic wastes) which are all influenced by lifestyle, diet as well as the rhythms and cycles of nature (1).

Many herbs are suitable for self-care. However if a health condition does not resolve with home remedies we recommend using the information in Herbal Reality along with your health advisors, especially herbal practitioners from the professional associations listed in our Resources page (‘If you want to find a herbalist”). When buying any herbal products, you should choose responsible manufacturers with independently assured quality standards and sustainability practices. Check the label carefully for the appropriate safety and sustainability information.

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