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The origin of the Indian system of medicine goes back to several centuries of BCE. With Aryan invasion of India about 1500 BCE, the Vedic period of the Indian system of medicine may have begun. Religious and other teachings and the philosophy of life by the ancestors of the Indian subcontinent are contained in the sacred books of unknown antiquity called Vedas. The Vedas are 4 in number Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, Atharva Veda. Th were handed They h d d down d b teachers by t h to t the th pupils il through th h word d of f mouth th throughout th h t the ages. Atharva Veda for the most part consists of various charms and spells designed to ward off the effects of diseases and the incursions of enemies. Atharva Veda is the earliest document in India, in which allusions to medical sciences are found. They are of some what primitive character and largely permeated by magic and sorcery. sorcery Over the centuries the Hindus greatly improved and supplemented the primitive beliefs about medicine in the Atharva Veda and started to apply to the art of healing. The body of literature that gradually grew up on the subject of medicine was called Ayur Veda.


In Sanskrit Ayus means Longevity and Veda means Related knowledge or Science. Ayurvedic literature deals elaborately with measures of healthful living during the entire span of life. Ayurveda looks upon health in totality and defines the physical , emotional, and intellectual well being of a person as Harmonious state. Serious health issues negatively impacts all the realms. Ayurveidic theory asserts that building a healthy metabolic system, attaining good digestion and proper excretion leads to Vitality. It also focuses on exercise, yoga and meditation.

It is a system of traditional medicine, native to India and a form of alternative medicine. The earliest literature on Indian medical practice appeared during the Vedic p period, in the second millennium BCE. The Susruta Samhita (Sushruta Samhita), and Charaka Samhita (Caraka Samhita) are encyclopedias of medicine compiled from various sources from the mid first millennium BCE to almost 500 CE Early Ayurveda had a school of physicians and school of surgeons. Hygienic living (regular bathing, cleaning of teeth and eyes, skin care, oil massage etc) is a central practice in Ayurvedic medicine.

InHinduMythology,theoriginofAyurvedic medicineisattributedtothephysician oftheGodDhanvatari.

Hinduism and Buddhism had influence on development of many central ideas of Ayurveda.

Nagarjuna, (the Philosopher)

Balance is emphasized: Suppressing natural urges is considered unhealthy leading to illness. However emphasis is placed on moderation (eg: food intake, sleep, sexual activities etc). Balance is known in Buddhism as Madhyamaka.


Chaaraka Samhita or Compendium of Charaka is one of the oldest and most important writings in Ayurveda. It could have been written by a single person Charaka or by a group of scholars or followers of Charaka. The language of Charaka is Sanskrit and its style is poetry. It contains 8400 verses, which are most often memorized by students of Ayurveda. Ayurveda It presents most of the edifice of Ayurveda and concentrates on Kaya Chikitsa (internal medicine). Sushruta Samhita (Collection of Sushruta) presents the field of Ayurvedic surgery. It is considered to be a redaction of oral material passed on from generation to generation. The style is both prose and poetry, the latter being the greater portion, and this written in Sanskrit. Though primarily dedicated to surgery, the compendium p also includes medicine, p pathology, gy anatomy, y midwifery y etc. Also deals with medical ethics. The exact periods of these compendiums are not known but believed to be several centuries BCE. BCE

Charakas Charaka s Principles

Charaka introducedthefiveelements(Panchabhutas)whileseekingthe answerstoahostofphilosophicalquestionsontheMind MindSelfBody Body complexanditsrelationshipwithNatureasthestuffofexistence.Thefive elementsare:Earth(Prithvi),Water(Jala),Fire(Agni),Air(Vayu),Sky ( (Akash) ) Charaka statesthatanindividualisaunionoffiveelementsand consciousnessissynonimus withself. Charaka heldthatanunderstandingofthecompositionoftheindividual isessentialtocomprehendphenomenasuchasknowledge and ignorance,pleasureandpain,lifeanddeath,andselfawareness.This knowledge g isequally q ynecessary ytounderstandthep phenomenarelating gto diseasesandtheirmanagement. Everythingisderivedfromthefiveelementsinthefinalanalysis.

VAGBHATA: ASHTANGAHRIDAYAM andASHTANGASANGRAHA(Around400CE) HRIDAYAMiswritteninproseandSANGRAHAisprimarilypoetrywithprose.

Lesserclassics: 1. SHARNGADHARASAMHITA(15th centuryAD) (AdigestedversionofAyurvedaknowledgeandispricedforitsenumerationand descriptionofpharmacologicalformulations). 2.BHAVAPRAKSHA(16th CenturyAD) (Acompactrepresentationofearlierclassicscomprisingof10,268verses, generally ll d dealing l with hKaya Chikitsa). hk ) 3.MADHAVANIDHANAM(700AD) ClassificationofdiseasesinAyurvedamostlydealingwithsignsandsymptomsof diseasesbutnotmuchontreatment.

Vagbhata:Ashtanga Hridayam
TheantiquityandauthorityofCharakas s teachingsareclearlyacknowledged byASandAH.ThecomplexideasinCharaka aresimplifiedandexpressed inpoeticlanguageinAH. ThecoreofAyurvedic doctrines,profilesofdiseasesandprocedures remainedunchangedovercenturieswhereaschanges,whichdidoccur, weremoreorlessconfinedtothemedicinalformulations formulations M.S.Valiathan,onanalysisofAshtangahridayam . AHis i amedically di ll oriented i t dwork kwith ithprincipal i i lemphasis h i onmedicine di i (Kayachikitsa)andonlybriefreferencestosurgical,obstetricandsimilar topics.

AHoweditsgreatappealoverearliertextstothebeautyofitsverses,its masterlystyleofcondensation,logicalarrangementoftopics,clarityof descriptionsandothermerits. merits IthasbeentranslatedintoArabic, Arabic Persian, Persian TibetanmanycenturiesagoandmorerecentlyintoEuropeanlanguages. Ethicsand Ethi dCodes C d of fconduct d t(covering ( i noseand dmouth thduring d i sneezing), i ) eating(seasonalfoodandinmoderation),honesty(talkingtruth),respect foralllivingcreaturesetcarecoveredinVagbhata classics.Inaddition, PhysiologyandMedicinethatcoversentirelifecycle cycle,maturity maturity,conception conception, foetal developmentandchildbirtharealsodescribed. Unacceptable U t bl conducts d t arealso l d defined. fi d Adh Adherencet togood dconduct d t confersontheindividuallonglife,goodhealth,prosperityandhighrepute.

Morethan70chaptersarededicatedtodifferenttypesofdiseases rangingfromglandularswellings,ulcers,tumors,piles, hemmorhoids,eyediseases,visiondefects,fracturesand dislocations,andfromhiccupstoheartdiseasesetc. Besides,infectiousdiseaseslikeleprosy,venerealdiseases,urinary infections,diarrhoea,aswellasinsanity,seizure,epilepsyetcare alsodescribed. Theidentity yandp periodofVagbhata g arecontroversialbutmajority j y ofthescholarlycommunitybelievesthathewasanativeofSindh wholivedin6th century.Hisclassicsfranklyacknowledgesthe Charaka andSushruta Samhitas.

Ayurvedaadoptedthephysicsof5elements. Prithivi (earth),Jala (water),Agni(fire),Vayu (air),andAkasa (sky). Ayurveda y stressedbalanceofthreeelements, ,energies g orhumors. Vayu Vata (airandspace:Wind).Relatestobreathing,movementsof organs,passageoffecesandurine,andsensingobjectsbysenseorgans. Pitta (fireandwater:Bile).Relatestodigestionoffood,bodyheat, vision hunger vision, hunger,thirst, thirst apetite, apetite intellect, intellect valour, valour courageetc Kabha (waterandearth:Phlegm).Providesstability,lubricity,firmness of fj joints, i t endurance d and dother th qualities. liti AccordingtoAyurvedic medicaltheorythesethreesubstances,whentheyexist inequalquantities,thebodyishealthy.Whenthebalanceisupset,thebody willbeunhealthy.


AyurvedawascalledThescienceof8components (Astanga): Internalmedicine(Kaya cikitsa) Pediatrics Surgery EyeandE&T Psychiatry(Bhuta Vidya) Toxicology gy Preventionofdiseasesandrejuvenation(Rasaganas) Aphrodisiacs(Improvehealthofprogeny)

Ayurvedic medicines are given as powders, decoctions and pills depending on the constitution, body type and other factors. N system No t t prescribe to ib a specific ifi medicine di i to t a specific ifi disease, di even as a single i l medicine has a wide range of applicability in various disease conditions. Prescriptions are made individually y and medicines are safe if authentically yp prepared. p Both internal and external therapies are advocated. The aim is to restore the total health of the patient and immunity. Ayurveda believes that the human body is akin to nature and the treatment lies in altering a diseased body to match the natures rhythm . PANCHAKARMA forms a central part of the therapy. It is a detoxification or internal cleansing process. Body toxins are eliminated through external orifices mouth, nostrils anus and skin. nostrils, skin Post Panchakarma, Panchakarma the course includes therapies, therapies meditation, meditation diet, routines and regimens.


Rasa Shastra the practice of adding metals, minerals or gems to herbs is a source of toxic heavy metals. According to a 1990 study on Ayurvedic medicines in India, 41% of the products tested contained Arsenic and 64% Lead and Mercury. Safety concerns have been raised about Ayurveda in two US studies because 20% of Ayurvedic treatments contained toxic levels of heavy metals such as Lead, Mercury and Arsenic. A 2004 study t d found f d toxic t i levels l l of f heavy h metals t l in i 20% Ayurvedic A di preparations ti made d in south Asia and sold in Boston area. A 2008 study of more than 230 products found approx pp 20% supplies pp from Indians contained Mercury, y, Arsenic or Lead. Due to these concerns the GOI has ruled that Ayurvedic products must specify their metallic content on the product labels. Besides, the herbs could be toxic and reliable information on herbal toxicity is scanty.


SUSHRUTAS name stands out in p particular amongst g the distinguished g names. He is titled as the Father of Surgery

Fashioning g of an artificial ear lobe. The famed surgeon in the home of a noble, to begin on an Otoplastic operation. The patient drugged with wine, is steadied by relatives and friends. He will use a section of flesh to be cut from patients cheek, to be attached to the stump of the mutilated organ. Details of the procedure and surgical instruments are found in Sushruta Samhita. Why plastic surgery attained importance?

Alcohol was used as narcotic for patients undergoing operations. The advent of Islam introduced Opium as narcotic. Bleeding was stopped by ligation of blood vessels, cauterization by heat, application of different herbal medicines locally, that facilitate clotting. Cataract surgery was known to Sushruta in the early centuries of f the first f millennium. The medical works of Sushruta and Charaka were translated into Arabic during Abbasid Caliphate. These Arabic works made their way in to Europe. Joseph Constantine Carpue, who spent 20 years in India studying local plastic surgery methods performed the first major surgery in the western world in 1815.

SurgicalInstrumentsusedbySushruta (Yanthras andShastras)