Pharmacology in Ayurveda
According to Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine, illnesses are caused by an imbalance of the Doshas (humours). A complete cure will be possible only by restoring the equilibrium. Medicines derived from rare herbs are used to achieve this.
Ayurvedic pharmacology is termed Dravya Vijnan (wisdom about the substance). Ayurveda believes in the classification of Dravya into five- Parthiva (Earth), Apya (water), Thaijasa (fire), Vayavya (Air) and Nabhasa (Ether).
Based on this, the material medica of Ayurveda is also been classified into five: Taste (Rasa), Potency (virya), Action (karma), Healing property (guna) and taste of the digestion product (vipaka).
The Guna or quality of a substance in expressed through the Rasa or taste. There are six rasas — sweet (madhura), sour (amla), salty (lavana), sharp (tikta), bitter (katu) and astringent (kasaya). Each taste is composed of two of the five elements.
The properties (guna), are grouped in ten pairs, each one complementary to the other: heavy and light, cold and hot, fat and dry, slow and sharp, stable and labile, soft and hard, clear and slimy, smooth and raw, fine and massive and viscous and liquid.
The potency (virya) of a drug is defined as its capability to express its property. Sometimes, potency is grouped in the same way as the property, but for practical reasons, it is usually expressed in terms of hot (ushna) and cold (shita).
The specific property (prabhava) distinguishes two drugs that have the same taste, taste after digestion and potency. This might be due to the composition of the drug or the location in the body where the drug acts.
Finally the action (karman) of a drug on the body is expressed in terms of the three doshas. A drug can increase or decrease the vata dosha, the pitta dosha and the kapha dosha.
The drugs used in Ayurveda are made by several processes from vegetable and mineral raw materials. Mostly plant alkaloids are the active ingredients. Obviously barring some chemical changes it is mostly natural deviates.