Ayurveda is a system of medicine that originated in India several thousand years ago. The term Ayurveda is of Sanskrit origin made up of ayur, which means life, and veda, which means science of or knowledge. Basically, Ayurveda means "science of life."
While Ayurveda is a system of medicine, it differs from allopathic medicine in various ways, the main being it’s focus on integrating and balancing the holistic being of the body, mind and spirit. The second main difference, from my perspective, is the inherent belief in Ayurveda that it is the balance of one’s energies that brings health. Rather than focusing on ‘fixing’ it focuses on reestablishing a harmony and balance in the 'bodymind'.
While sometimes in the west we forget, medicine, in every form, is really made up of initial ideas that have been researched to create belief systems. Ayurveda is based on ideas from Hinduism at it’s core with various other ideas, including some from ancient Persia. These ideas became practices to be handed down through generations and ultimately, they were written down in the first texts on Ayurvedic Medicine, the Caraka Samhita and Susruta Samhita.
While new to many in the west, India has held Ayurveda as its main system of healing for generations. Like Ayurveda’s influence here, western medicine has begun infiltrating India’s health care systems as well. I believe an integration of the beliefs of Ayurveda with the knowledge of western medicine is a powerful combination.