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Eating DrugsPsychopharmaceutical Pluralism in India$
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Stefan Ecks

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814724767

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814724767.001.0001

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Ayurveda

Ayurveda

“You Are the Medicine”

Chapter:
(p.69) 2 Ayurveda
Source:
Eating Drugs
Author(s):

Stefan Ecks

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814724767.003.0003

This chapter analyzes Ayurvedic practices in Calcutta and shows how, in traditional Indian medicine, food is medicine and medicine is food. Ayurvedic knowledge used to be passed down from one generation to the next, though nowadays Ayurvedic remedies are mass-marketed—via schools, etc.—and this is reflective of a continuing shift toward capitalist commodification through pharmaceuticalization. To diagnose illness, classic Ayurveda draws evidence from different sources: direct perception of the patient with all bodily senses (sight, touch, smell, hearing, taste), logical inference, analogical reasoning, and recourse to authoritative texts. Ayurveda has undergone many transformations over the years, but the centrality of food and digestion remains a constant. Questions about digestion are a routine part of the diagnostic process, and recommendations about diet and the maintenance of daily routines are part of the therapy.

Keywords:   Ayurveda, Ayurvedic practices, Calcutta, pharmaceuticalization, digestion, diet, traditional Indian medicine

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