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Glossary of Ayurvedic Terms

Aap: Water element.

Abhyanga: oil masssage.

Acne: An inflammatory eruption occurring usually on the face and neck.

Agni: digestive fire, synonymous with properly balanced cell metabolism in Western medicine.

Ajna chakra: Centre of command,the" third eye".

Akasha: Ether or space.

Alambusha nadi: Yogic nadi, channel.

Alochaka pitta: Form of pitta governing vision.

Ama: residual impurities deposited in the cells as the result of improper digestion. Also mental ama, impure or negative thoughts and moods.

Anaemia: A below-normal level in the number of red blood cells.

Analgesic: A substance that relieves pain.


Annamaya kosha: Physical or gross body.

Apana vayu: Downward moving vayu.

Arishta: Symptom suggestive of death.

Aromatic: Taste which stimulates the gastrointestinal tract.

Artava: Menstrual Blood.

Artavaha srotas : Menstrual channels.

Arthritis: An inflammatory condition of the joints.

Asana: Posture, third stage of yoga.

Ascites: An excessive accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity.

Ashvini mudra: Yogic practise of contracting anal sphinctor muscles.

Asthi: Bone.

Asthidhara kala: Special membrane for bone.

Asthma: A respiratory disorder in which there is breathlessness wheezing and cough (dry or with mucus expectoration).

Atrophy: A wasting or diminution of size or physiological activity of a part of the body.

Attributes: The inherent qualities or properties of a substance.

Avalambaka Kapha: Form of Kapha in chest.

Avasthapaka: Primary phase of digestion.

Basti : enema

Betel leaf: A leaf eaten after a meal to assist digestion

Bhajani: A mixture of roasted cereals

Bhajiyas: Fried items of onion and other vegetables

Bharta: A mashed preparation (of aubergines)

Bhasma: Residue after incineration

Bhutagni : digestive fire governing element.

Bile: A bitter fluid secreted by the liver which flows into the small intestine, which is stored in the gallbladder. It helps to metabolize fat

Chandan: Sandalwood (Santalum album)

Chapati: A type of Indian bread

Charak: Great Ayurvedic profounder who has written one of the classic Ayurvedic text Charak Samhita.

Charaka samhita: One of the oldest Ayurvedic text

Cholesterol: A fatty substance in crystalized form found in all animal fats, oils, milk, egg yolks, bile, blood, brain tissue, liver, kidney and adrenal glands.

Churna: Powder of medicine

Chyavanprash: A formualtion based on honey, amla and other 45 ingredients.

Colitis: A chronic disease characterized by the inflamation of colon

Compress: A pad of folded linen applied so as to create pressure upon exterior parts of the body

Conjunctivitis: A painful and infectious illness in the eyes which makes them red and makes the eyelids swollen and sticky

Cosmic energy: The all-pervading energy in the universe

Dermatitis: An inflammatory condition of the skin. characterized by redness. pain and itching

Dhatu: one of the body's seven basic constituents

Diabetes: A clinical condition characterized by the excessive secretion of urine and increased blood-sugar level

Dinacharya: daily routine

Diuretic: A substance that increases the secretion of urine

Dosha: three basic metabolic principles connecting the mind and body and biological humour.

Dosha vaishmya: pathological condition of dosha

Drava: type of attribute liquid

Eczema: Acute or chronic skin inflammation

Emetic: Medicine that produces vomiting

Expectorant: A substance that promotes the ejection of mucus.

Flora: Healthful bacteria which are present in various parts of the body, list of plants of a particular place

Fomentation: Treatment by warm and moist application to skin

Gati : quality of the pulse

Gonorrhoea: A common venereal disease most often affecting the genitourinary tract

Gout: Metabolic disease marked by acute arthritis and inflammation of the joints

Grahani : Chronic diarrhoea, malabsorption syndrome in the small intestine

Gulma : Any tumor, lump or diverticulosis

Guna: fundamental natural quality (e.g., dry, moist, hot, cold, etc.). Also applied to sattva, rajas, and tamas, the "three gunas"

Guru: type of attribute, heavy, spiritual teacher, Grishma, Summer, Teacher

Halasana : Plough posture

Hath Yoga : Yoga of physical postures

Hemant: Early winter

Hemoptysis: Coughing up of blood from the respiratory tract

Hemostatic: A substance that checks the flow of blood

Hima : Type of attribute, cold

Hing: Asafoetida

Hrid roga : Heart disease

Hives: Eruptions of very itchy skin caused by an allergic substance

Jala neti : Yogic cleansing of nasal passages by water

Japa : Repetation of mantras

Jatharagni : Digestive fire, responsible for the digestion and transformation of food material

Jaundice : A condition characterized by yellowness of the skin and elevated level of bilirubin

Kapalabhati: Kriya and pranayama that cleanses respiratory tract

Kapha:the dosha responsible for bodily structure

Kathina: Type of attribute, hard

Katu: Pungent or spicy

Khara: Type of attribute, rough to touch

Kleda: Subtle waste product

Kledaka kapha: form of kapha governing digestion

Kuhu: Nadi in yoga

Kundalini: Potential energy lying dormant at the base of the spine.

Kurma: Type of vata in yoga

Laghu: type of attribute, light

Langhana: fasting, reducing therapy

Leucoderma: Localized loss of skin pigment

Leucorrhea: A condition that causes a whitish, viscid discharge from the vagina and uterine cavity

Lohita: second layer of skin

Lymphadenitis: Inflammatory condition of the lymph nodes

Macrocosm: The universe itself; a system regarded as an entity containing subsystems

Madhyama marga: Middle pathway, (deep tissue)

Mahabhuta: Basic five elements (space, air, fire, water and earth)

Mahamarma: One of the three major marma

Majja: Nerve tissue and bone marrow

Mala: Metabolic end-products

Malabsorption syndrome: A condition in which there is no proper digestion, absorption and assimilation of food in the gastro intestinal tract

Mamsadhatu: Muscle tissue

Manda: Type of attribute, slow pachaka pitta, form of pitt chakra

Mandagni: Diminished digestive capacity

Manomaya kosha: Mental sheath

Mantra: Sacred sounds

Manusmriti: Compendia, Marga -pathway or tract

Marga: Path or tract

Marma: A junction point between consciousness and matter or weak Vital points.

Matsyendrasana: Yoga posture with spinal twist

Mayurasana: Yoga posture like peacock

Meda: Fat tissue

Microcosm: A diminutive representative world; a system more or less analogous to a much larger system

Moong: A type of pulse

Mridu: Type of attribute, soft

Muladhara chakra: First chakra

Mutra: Urine

Mutravaha srotas: Urinary system

Nadi pariksha: Pulse examination

Nadi vigyana: Pulse diagnosis

Nag: Type of vata in yoga

Nasya: Nasal administration of therapy

Nauli: Action like pitching of boat in stormy sea

Nauli chalana: A process in which the abdominal muscles are made to move vertically and laterally in surging motion

Nidana: Etiological factor or diagnosis of disease

Nidana panchaka: Five ways to diagnose a disease

Nirama: Without ama or toxic substance

Ojas: The purest expression of metabolism; the final end product of correct digestion and assimilation of food

Om : Seed mantra

Palpation: The act of feeling with the hand; the application of the fingers with light pressure to the surface of the body for the purpose of determining the consistancy of the parts beneath

Panchakrama: The five cleansing (purification) methods to get rid of excess Doshas.

Paneer: Cheese

Papad: Made from dried lentils; eaten fried or roasted

Parkinsonism: A neurologic disorder characterized by tremors, muscle rigidity and slow movements

Parpati: medicinal preperation of sulphur and mercury

Paschimotanasana: head to knee yoga posture

Pavanamuktasana: knee to chest yoga posture

Percussion: The act of striking a bodily part with short, sharp blows as a diagnostic aid that reveals the condition of that area of the body

Peristalsis: Rhythmic contraction of smooth muscle that forces food through the digestive tract

Pharyngitis: Inflammation of the throat

Physiognomy: The study of facial features

Pichila: type of attribute, slimy

Pingala: carries solar energy, right nostril

Pippali: herb / Piper longum

Pitta: the dosha responsible for metabolism (closely identified with agni, the body's vital heat)

Poorvakarma: Procedures done prior

Poultice: A soft moist substance applied hot to the surface of the body for the purpose of supplying heat and moisture

Pradhana: main, prominent

Pragya aparadh: the "mistake of the intellect" (i.e., identifying with the part and losing the whole)

Prajny aparadh: volitional transgression

Prakriti: primal nature, natural state, constitution

Prakriti-nature: referring either to one's individual nature (body type) or to Nature as a whole

Prana: It is vital energy (life-energy) which activates the body and mind. Prana is responsible for the higher cerebral functions, the motor and sensory activities. The prana located in the head is the vital prana, while prana which is present in the cosmic air is nutrient prana. There is a constant exchange of energy between vital prana and nutrient prana through respiration. During inspiration, the nutrient prana enters the system and nourishes the vital prana. During expiration, subtle waste products are expelled.

Pranavaha srotas: respiratory system

Pranayama : respiratory exercise, also called "balanced breathing"

Prapaka: primary stage of digestion

Prashama: alliviation of dosha

Prithvi: element earth

Psoriasis: A disease in which areas of skin turn red and are covered with small dry pieces of skin

Psychosomatic: Pertaining to the mind-body relationship: an illness caused by anxiety and worry

Ptosis: An abnormal condition of one or both upper eyelids in which the eyelid droops.

Purisha: stool, faeces

Purvarupa: predormal symptoms

Rajas: the intermediate principle of energy among the three qualities of nature

Rajasic: having the nature of Rajas (Kings)

Raktadhatu: blood

Raktamokshana: blood-letting (type of panchakarma)

Raktavaha srotas: circulatory system

Ranjaka pitta: form of pitta colouring the blood

Rasa: plasma, taste

Rasayana: Traditional Ayurvedic herbal or mineral preparation for longivity and rejuvenation

Rheumatism: Any of a large number of inflammatory conditions of the joints, ligaments or muscles, characterised by pain or limitation of movement

Rhinitis: Inflammation of the mucus membrane of the nose

Rigveda: type of veda

Ritucharya: seasonal behaviour

Roga: disease

Roopa: symptom

Ruksha: type of attribute, dry

Sadhaka pitta: type of pitta governing the brain

Sama: with ama or toxins

Samadhi: A state of equilibrium; supreme joy and bliss

Samana vata: equalising form of five vata types

Sammurchana: amalgamation between viliated dosha and dushya

Samprapti: pathogenes

Samsarga: duel vitiation of dosha.

Sandra: type of attribute, dense

Sattva: the higher principle of harmony of three qualities of nature or trigunas

Scabies: A contagious skin disease characterized by itching and peeling of the skin

Sciatica: Inflammation of the sciatic nerve characterized by lower back pain which radiates down the leg

Shakha: four limbs

Shakha marga: external disease tract

Shishir: winter

Shita: type of attribute, cold

Shlakshna: type of attribute, smooth

Shleshaka: form of kapha

Shleshaka: form of kapha lubricating joints

Shodhana: purification, detoxification

Shukra: reproductive tissue

Shukradhara kala: special membrane for reproductive system

Sira: blood vessel

Snehan: fomentation

Snehana: oleation therapy

Soma: bliss of pleasure, principle at work behind the mind and senses

Spondylosis: A condition of the spine characterized by fixation or stiffness of a vertebral joint

Sthana saushraya: localisation, stage of pathogenesis

Sthira: type of attribute, stable

Sthoola: type of attribute, gross

Sukshma: type of attribute, subtle

Surya Namaskara: the "sun salute,"

Sushruta: author of Sushruta Samhita, ancient Ayurvedic surgeon

Sweda: sweat

Swedavaha srotas: system for sweat

Syphilis: A venereal infection transmitted through sexual contact

Tamaka shwasa: bronchial asthma

Tamas: the lower principle of inertia of omni substances

Tamasic: having the nature of tamas

Tapas: self discipline

Tarpaka: form of kapha governing brain and nerves

Teja: premordial element, fire

Tejas: mental fire

Tikta: bitter

Tikshna: form of attribute, penetrating

Trataka: steady gazing

Tridosha: The three bodily organizations -Vata (air). pitta (fire) and Kapha (water) -which govern the psychosomatic activity of daily living

Udakavaha srotas: -system of water metabolism

Udanavata: upward moving type of vata

Udara: abdomen

Upadhatu: offshoots of tissues

Upadrava: complication

Upashama: symptoms getting relieved after treatment

Undhiya: A mixed vegetable preparation favourite among the Gujaratis

Urticaria: A blood reaction of the skin. marked by the transient appearance of smooth. slightly-elevated patches which are redder or paler than the surrounding skin. This condition often is attended by severe itching.

Ushma: Hot

Vamana: medicated emesis

Varsha: monsoon

Vasa: fact of the muscles

Vasant: Spring

Vata: the dosha responsible for all movement in the body, biological air humor.

Vata vyadhi: diseases due to aggravation of vatas

Vataj: due to vata

Vayu: another name for vat

Vedas: ancient books of knowledge presenting the spiritual signs of awareness

Vijnyana: intelligence

Vipaka: metabolised part of drug, the after taste of food in the body

Virechan: Purgation

Vishesh: Special

Yakrit : Liver

Yashasvati : Type of nadi in Yoga

Yoga: psycho physical practices aimed at self knowledge


Glossary of Ayurvedic Terms| Ayurveda Medical Glossary| Dictionary of Ayurvedic Terms