“You Are the Medicine”
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.
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