Ayurveda recommends foods rich in antioxidants such as turmeric, gooseberry, and sesame seeds Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: On the occasion of Ayurveda Day (October 23), doctors in the UAE said the ancient Indian medical system should be practiced as a way of life to reap its full benefits.

Dr Mamta Suresh Radder, medical director and chief consultant at Sri Tattva Panchakarma Ayurvedic Centre in Dubai, said: “Ayurveda is one of the most ancient and well-documented systems of medicine equally relevant in modern times. It is not just a medical system, but a manifestation of our symbiotic relationship with nature.”

She added that the main purpose of Ayurveda is to maintain the balance of life.

Dr Mamta Suresh Radder

“It advocates every aspect of our living which brings us close to achieving that. Our diet, profession, activities, thought process, and almost every aspect of our lifestyle can be shaped by the principles of Ayurveda. When people think about Ayurveda as traditional medicine, what we would like to add is, it is a way of life. Ayurveda teaches us how to maintain health as it should be. After all, health is nothing but a dynamic expression of life.”

Ayurveda in UAE

Even though Ayurveda is considered to be a medical science of Indian origin, it was greatly influenced by Arabian medicine too. The herbs and spices brought by Arab traders from around the world found a place in the pharmacies of Indian apothecaries for centuries, said Dr Radder.

“The UAE has always supported effective medical systems from around the world... Right from 2002, the nation started licensing TCAM [Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine] practitioners,” she pointed out.

Currently, there are more than 200 Ayurveda doctors recognised by the Ministry of Health and Prevention and practising in the UAE.

“The practitioners and the clinics work under government regulatory authorities, which make sure that the Ayurveda healthcare delivery sticks to the gold standard. This is in fact carried out in a very strict and disciplined manner with routine inspections and suggestions of the authorities.”

Looking at the service delivery, she said the Dubai government has included Ayurveda even in basic insurance plans, enabling people to have access to Ayurveda medicine and therapies.

Awareness drive

She highlighted that Ayurveda can be utilised in prevention of diseases and preserving good health. “We look forward to bringing Ayurveda into the daily lives of people of the UAE thereby bringing health to the family and society.”

The Emirates Ayurveda Graduate Association (EAGA), a group of practising Ayurveda doctors in the UAE, are planning to reach out to the public with awareness programmes and campaigns so that more people can utilise the benefits of this science,” said Dr Radder, who is also a founder member and former president of EAGA.

Ayurveda Day

Dr Suresh Viswakumar, general practitioner in Ayurveda at NMC Medical Centre, Al Majaz in Sharjah, explained the significance of Ayurveda Day.

Dr Suresh Viswakumar

“Ayurveda is considered a gift of India to the world. Every year, the government of India through the Ministry of AYUSH celebrates Ayurveda Day, which is the birthday of Lord Dhanvantari, the Hindu god of medicine. It happens to be on the 13th lunar day in Ashwin month of Hindu calendar and that falls on October 23 this year,” he said.

The theme this year is ‘HarDin HarGhar Ayurveda’ which translates as ‘Every Day Every Household Ayurveda’. “The aim this year is to spread this message of holistic health all around the world in collaboration with governments of other countries.”

With a vast repository of medicines in curing diseases, he said, Ayurveda gives more emphasis to social and preventive medicine.

Dr Viswakumar said Ayurveda comprehensively advises and weaves intricately, the fabric of good health, with the elaboration on Dinacharya (daily regimen), Ritucharya (seasonal regimen) and Swasthavritta (prevention of diseases through holistic approach).

“Health is all about habits and routines. The key to good health is to practice the mantra of being in harmony and peace with yourself and the serene world around you. Healthy food habits, regular and moderate exercise and sound sleep is the basic mantra of having an excellent metabolism and that translates as well-being,” he said.

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Food and Ayurveda

Dr Shareefa Thesni, president of EAGA for 2022-23, who works with Ayurvedic Alternative Medical Centre in Ajman, took the opportunity to provide some Ayurvedic tips for healthy diet.

Dr Shareefa Thesni

“The food we eat effects in body nourishment and overall well-being. Ayurveda recommends a Sattvic Diet. It makes a person energetic and vital and emphasises eating whole foods, grains, lentils, vegetables, lean meats, healthy fats, diary and spices,” she added.

Healthy drinks

Replace tea and caffeinated drinks with herbal tea with tulsi (holy basil), cinnamon, black pepper and dry ginger, with raisins, lemon juice or jaggery (traditional dark-brown unrefined sugar), Dr Thesni said.

She also recommends 'golden milk', prepared by boiling half teaspoon of turmeric powder with 150ml of milk. A compound in turmeric named ‘curcumin’ has been found to fight inflammation in the body, she added.

Moreover, she suggested garlic milk, made by boiling 10gms of crushed garlic pods with 40ml of milk and 40ml of water until it boils down to half and then strained. “This milk will help to reduce fat accumulation and relieve flatulence. Spices like fennel, cumin, caraway [ajwain] seeds, and fenugreek add rich flavours and are packed with nutritional benefits. As supplements, aloe vera, mint, Amla [Indian gooseberry] can also be added,” said Dr Thesni.