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in Ayurvedic tradition, the basic entities (earth, air, fire, water, and space) whose interaction gives rise to material existence.
Five ElementsAyurvedic medicine
The basic elements of nature in the ayurvedic construct of the universe—earth, fire, water, air and ether. These elements are not separate material entities, but rather manifestations of the Cosmic Consciousness; earth is manifest by ice, water’s solid state, which with fire melts to become water and steam (the air principle), which then disappears into the ether. In Avurveda, this fusing of matter and energy is intertwined with restoring and maintaining the harmony that corresponds to a state of health.
The basic consitituents of nature according to the traditional Chinese construct—fire, earth, metal, water and wood. These elements are not static, but have dynamic qualities that undergo cyclical transformations from one to another: wood creates fire, which creates earth, which creates metal, which creates water, which creates wood, etc. Health is achieved if the life energy flows in an uninterrupted manner.
n.pl fire, water, earth, wood, and metal; in Chinese medicine, each of these five components is used to organize phenomena for use in clinical applications. Each of the elements corresponds to a specific function (i.e., metal means a decline in function; wood indicates growth; earth is equated with neutrality and balance; water relates to rest and imminent change in direction; and fire is associated with reaching a peak and imminent decline).