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Debunking 13 Health Myths

5 months ago / by Sweta Vikram

Spending 30 seconds reading about Ayurveda doesn’t make you an expert on the subject

A collection of herbs
A diverse collection of herbs. Shutterstock

I was speaking with a friend and fellow Ayurvedic practitioner when she shared a frustration. Someone she knows was planning to make and sell Reiki-infused skincare products without any experience, education, or practice. This friend has a chemistry background and has spent years fine-tuning her aromatherapy knowledge. Nope, she isn’t jealous; recklessness hurts!

I understood her irritation deeply. In the Ayurveda world and in my doctorate classroom, this is a common frustration. People launch Ayurvedic skincare products, spice companies or candles after reading three articles on the subject. Or after maybe doing a three-month course or Googling blog posts. I once remember reading a social media post where a woman wrote, “All my clients’ vata is gone.” That sentence hurt my eyes grammatically. It also made no sense whatsoever! Vata isn’t some stomach ache; it’s a dosha, a constitution made up of ether and air elements. Your dosha cannot magically disappear because it’s unique, just like your DNA.

Ayurveda is the oldest healing and medical system. It’s more than 5,000 years old. Most of us legit practitioners spend anywhere between 3-6 years formally studying it. We get comfortable with the “Science of Life,” do clinical internships, experience the wisdom of different teachers, work with clients, write papers, take tests… The whole gamut. All my Ayurvedic teachers and doctors says that despite decades of practice, they still study Ayurveda every day. They refer to Brahattrayi (the three main treatises or classical texts in Ayurveda) and Laghutrayi (the lesser trio) on a regular basis.

Facile Solutions

How can people spend 30 seconds on Ayurveda and think about healing others?

I have been working with individuals as well as large corporations, entrepreneurial setups, schools, colleges, and mid-size companies for years. I write extensively about Ayurveda and coach people to thrive on their own terms. And almost every time I encounter someone who believes yogurt cools the body, mango lassi is the best summer drink. Or that popping Ayurvedic herbs will lower their stress and anxiety. That eating a big breakfast is a smart choice or snacking is good for their health. That Ayurvedic oil will magically sort their acne issues. Be discerning about who and where you get your knowledge from.

Stop being an obstacle in your own health and healing. Read below to learn simple Ayurvedic tips!

1. Yogurt is cooling.

Wrong!! Yoghurt is sour and has heating energetics. Sour taste aggravates pitta dosha. Watch out, fellow pittas!

2. Fruit smoothies (using yogurt or milk) and mango lassi are healthy alternatives.

Wrong!! Dairy and fruits shouldn’t be mixed. Fruits when combined with dairy products can lead to acidity and congestion in the digestive tract. Hello, ama!

3. Eat breakfast like a King.

NOPE! Ayurveda reminds us that lunch should be the biggest meal of the day. We are a miniature of nature and our agni, much like the rays of the sun, is strongest during lunch hour.

4. Iced drinks and water are good for you.

Wrong, again!! It’s one of the worst ways to mess with your digestive fire. Imagine pouring cold water over a fire pit.

5. Ashwagandha should be a go-to for anyone battling stress.

Wrong! It all depends on your prakriti and vikruti. Ayurvedic herbs are potent and may have side effects so stop treating them like candy that you pop on-the-go.

6. Gas, bloating, and heartburn after every meal are normal.

Wrong! The Indian uncle passing gas and burping at family gatherings might not realize this, but he isn’t healthy and may want to get himself checked out. According to Ayurveda, diseases don’t develop overnight, and we need to pay attention to signs and symptoms.

7. A jar of turmeric a day keeps the doctor away.

Wrong! There is a trend to take turmeric pills in superfluous amounts because people think It won’t hurt. If taken in excess, turmeric can aggravate both pitta and vata dosha.

8. Excess of bitter greens are great for all.

Wrong again! Ayurveda honors six tastes and each taste has a unique effect on the three doshas of vata, pitta, and kapha. Each dosha has specific gunas or qualities. For example, if you are a high vata individual or dealing with a vata imbalance, or have excess cold quality, or extreme dryness or roughness, bitter taste will further aggravate the condition.

9. Triphala should be a go-to for everyone.

Wrong! Even though it’s good for all the three doshas, in excess, triphala may lead to abdominal cramps, stomach upset, and diarrhea.

10. Ayurveda means being vegan 24/7!!

Wrong! Ayurveda is a customized system of healing. Diet is one of the three pillars of health in Ayurveda. Dietary recommendations depend on a multitude of factors. By the way, both ghee and cow’s milk are revered in Ayurveda.

11. Ayurvedic skincare products will make all skin problems go away.

NOPE!! Our skin reflects our digestive system, according to Ayurveda. We need to talk about your personal hygiene, agni, and ama first.

12. It’s perfectly “normal” to poop once a week.

Wrong again!! Think about it. If you are eating at least three meals a day, shouldn’t you be eliminating regularly, too?

13. Anyone can read a few articles on Ayurveda, take online quizzes, and start to offer Ayurvedic products and services?

NOPE! Most legit and authentic Ayurvedic professionals spend years studying and practicing with Ayurvedic doctors and practitioners before they start to offer any kind of healing. Would you go to med school, drop out after 3 months, and feel comfortable treating people? Why different standards for Ayurveda when it’s the oldest medical system and healing modality? Beware of the fraudsters out there!

Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional. If you are nursing, taking medications, or have a medical condition, please consult with your health care practitioner prior to the use of any of these herbs. If you are looking for advice from a trained yogi and Ayurvedic practitioner, contact Sweta Vikram here.