History of Ayurveda
… a heritage of healing
The Origins –The word ‘veda’ means knowledge.The evolution of the Indian art of healing and living ahealthy life comes from the four Vedas namely : Rig veda , Sama veda , Yajur veda andAtharva veda .Ayurveda attained a state of reverence and is classified as one of the Upa-Vedas - a subsection - attached to the Atharva Veda. The Atharva Veda contains not only themagic spells and the occult sciences but also the Ayurveda that deals with the diseases,injuries, fertility, sanity and health.Ayurveda incorporates all forms of lifestyle in therapy. Thus yoga, aroma, meditation, gems,amulets, herbs, diet, astrology, color and surgery etc. are used in a comprehensive manner intreating patients. Treating important and sensitive spots on the body called Marmas isdescribed in Ayurveda . Massages, exercises and yoga are recommended.
The knowledge we have now is by three surviving texts of
Charaka, Sushruta and Vaghbata
.Charaka (1st century A.D.) wrote
(samhita- meaning collection of verseswritten in Sanskrit). Sushruta (4th century A.D.) wrote his Samhita i.e
.Vaghbata (5th century A.D.) compiled the third set of major texts called
Ashtanga Hridaya and Ashtanga Sangraha
. Charaka’s School of Physicians and Sushruta’s School of Surgeonsbecame the basis of Ayurveda and helped organize and systematically classify into branchesof medicine and surgery.Sixteen major supplements (Nighantus) were written in the ensuing years – DhanvantariBahavaprakasha, Raja and Shaligrama to name a few – that helped refine the practice of Ayurveda. New drugs were added and ineffective ones were discarded. Expansion of application, identification of new illnesses and finding substitute treatments seemed to havebeen an evolving process. Close to 2000 plants that were used in healing diseases andabating symptoms were identified in these supplements.Dridhabala in the 4th century revised the Charaka Samhita. The texts of Sushruta Samhitawere revised and supplemented by Nagarjuna in the 6th century.There developed eight branches/divisions of Ayurveda:1.
Kaya-chikitsa (Internal Medicine)