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Branches of Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a science of health and healthy living. It is a very scientifically designed pathy
that is meant for relieving people from there misery. It is more than 5000 years old science
but even then it had separate specialized branches according to the need of the patient. It is
divided into eight parts. These are:-

» Kaya chikitsa (general medicine)

» Bal roga or kumar bhritya [pediatrics(science of diseases of children) ]

» Grah or bhoot vidya (psychotherapy)
» Shalakya tantra (eye, ear, nose and throat related science)
» Shalya [surgery( art of treating diseases with instrument) ]
» Agad tantra [toxicology( the science of poisons]
» Rasayan [science of rejuvenation(make young again)]
» Bajikaran [science of aphrodisiac(sex stimulating) ]
Kaya chikitsa (General Medicine)
It is the main branch of ayurveda and deals with the general medicine. Kaya in literal terms
means body. Hence it is related to the methods by which body is relived by miseries. But is
the myth that it only deals with the physical body. It also helps in combating (fight) with the
subtle(micro organism) body also. Hence it is more of a psycho-somatic way of treatment.
When the tridosha (vata, pitta and kapha) of the body gets vitiated(injure) , it interferes with
the sapt dhatus (seven tissues) of the body to disrupt the normal bodily function. Kaya
chikitsa is s holistic way of curing a disease by reaching the root cause the problem and then
rectifying it with the medicines and food supplements. Various methods have been devised to
examine the patient so as the cause of his misery and ailments are detected.

Accordingly he is supplied with the remedy. There has been inclusion of various methods of
performing treatments. One of the most common and the effective way of treating a disease
is panchkarma. This is the series of five procedures or operations through which body is
purified and cleansed from the vitiated dosha to achieve the state of homogenizes and
happiness. In lay man term we can define panchkarma as the method by which there is the
reversal of the pathway of the entry of the disease by detoxifying the body.

Charak samhita is the most appreciated book for practicing Kaya chikitsa. Charak samhita
contains eight sthana which have a specific knowledge regarding subjects like anatomy,
pathology medicine etc.
Bal Roga or Kumar Bhritya (Pediatrics)
This branch of ayurveda deals with the care and remedies related to children. It tells us every
thing about parental care right from the birth of the child to the teens. Every aspect is covered
in this subject regarding the stages of growth. Many methods have been discussed for
improving the immunity and maintaing the proper growth of the child. All the sequence of
the pattern and stages growth of the child to judge weather his growth is normal or not.

Kumar bhritya stare that the mental and physical condition of mother has a great impact on
the health of the child. It also has recommended aahar (food) and vihar (life style) so as the
mother could deliver healthy baby. It also deals with the treatment of various disorders like
diarrhoea, constipation, fever, measles etc. other topic that are included in it are how to
conceive, choosing gender of the child, improving intelligence of the child and midwifery.
The major references of bal roga are found in kashyap samhita.

Grah or bhoot vidya or psychotherapy

It is another very important branch of ayurveda that deals with the mental disorders. In
addition to the medicinal therapy to improve the condition, certain therapy like yoga and
meditation are also included to cure a patient. This branch of ayurveda has some
controversies attached to it as some of the experts believe that this branch deals with the
supernatural forces that occupy the mind and the body. The other groups of experts believe it
as a bacterial and viral infection in the body and give the explanation by defining the term
bhoot that is synonyms to ghost , the invisible force that cause trouble to mankind. Bhoot
vidya lays stress on the use of plants for disinfectant purposes so as to get rid of invisible bad
forces (bacteria and virus) to infect the body and make the environment pure and disease
free. These are mentioned under the name “graham vidya dravya”. Along with this other
remedies like diet and various yoga procedures are also mentioned.

Shalakya Tantra (eye, ear, nose and throat related science)

It deals with the cause, diagnosis, prognosis, prevention and remedies related to eyes, ears,
nose and throat disorders.. As mentioned by sushurut there are about seventy two disease that
is related to eyes. The name also signifies Shalakya tantra as “shallaka” in Sanskrit means a
probe and all the procedures and examination regarding ENT and ophthalmology disorders
are done via help of probe. Sushurut samhita has given even minute details of the Shalakya
tantra which are very similar to that of the modern day detailing. Even the structure of eyes is
defined in such a way that it is more minutely detailed as the modem sciences. There has also
been mentioning of surgeries like hinoplasty and auraplasty for cosmetic reasons. Various
other methods regarding the general care of the eye and ENT structures has been mentioned
in the text like charak samhita, sushurut samhita and ashtang samghrah.

Shalya tantra (General Surgery)

Ayurveda has mentioned surgery which is more advanced than that of the present era.
Surgery belongs to the Dhanwantry School. Sushurut samhita is considered as the pioneer in
giving procedures in surgeries. Sushurut the composer of sushurut samhita has very nice
described every thing regarding surgery. It is a fact that for performing surgeries we must
have a greater knowledge of anatomy. If compare anatomy as mentioned in sushurut, you
will find it more superior and more descriptive the modern day anatomy. Knowledge of
muscle, bones and tendons and ligaments was very much known to the ancient ayurvedic
physician and surgeons. Sushurut has mentioned complete and step by step details of various
procedures that are related to the disorders like tumors, hemorrhages, injuries, fractures and
deliveries. Good references of complicated procedures like intestinal obstructions and renal
calculus have also been found. Cosmetic surgery was very advanced in that era. His surgery
of trichiasis (eye related disorder) can be related to the techniques followed in modern day
surgeries. Sushurut samhita also carries full description of the instruments used in
performing surgeries. These instruments were made from stones, wood, metals and animal
bones etc. a proper care like sterilization of those instruments were also taken into
consideration. Usage of jaloka (leech) in skin related disorders and other ailments was also in
use which modern science has now started practicing. Usage of kshar sutra (medicated
thread) was used in excising the part which was to be operated which was the best technique
to avoid any king of infection and recovery was very fast.

Agad tantra (toxicology)

It basically deals with the toxins. It mentions the way of getting rid of positioning in the
body. There is mentioning of wide range of poisons which are either of animal or plant
origin. There is also the mentioning of poisons derived from minerals like arsenic etc and
artificial poisoning substances. Charak samhita, sushurut samhita and ashtang samghrah also
mentions about the importance of Agad tantra in our lifestyle. It has also mentioned about the
combination of the food stuffs that is to be avoided as they can become poison after coming
in contact with each other. It also mentions about the antidotes of the poisons.

Rasayan (science of rejuvenation)

This branch of ayurveda deals with the promotion of longitivity and maintaining the health of
the people. With the aid of rasayan we can increase the ojo (life force) of the body and also
increase the immune system of an individual. In a lay man term rasayan can be said as the
procedure or a substance by which aging process is retarded.This method of beating our age
has been time tested and was very much in practice in ancient India. Rishi by practicing
therapy was able to attain youth for very long time. When taken as the literal meaning of the
term rasayan, it means enhancing the effect of rasa (a vital fluid responsible for creating
energy in our body.). You can yourself think of the importance of rasayan as it is mentioned
in first chapter of chikitsa sthana of charak samhita. There are several rasayan mentioned in
ayurveda. Major one are: amlaki (Indian goose berry), shilajit, ashwagandha, bhringraj,
triphala etc.There are two methods of application of rasayans. These are kutipraveshika
rasayan and vatatpika rasayan.Kutipraveshika is a set up in which there is the construction of
a structure where a person willing of having rasayan is kept for prescribed amount of time. In
vatatpika there is consumption of various types of herbs that serves the purpose of rasayan.

Bajikaran (science of aphrodisiac)

This branch of ayurveda deals with the two application. One is to cover the infertility aspect
and other is to cover the enhancement of sexual powers. Ayurveda has always stressed on
producing a healthy progeny so as our society can develop. Hence to fulfill these criteria
good qualities of sperms are to be produced. Bajikaran coves this aspect. It also helps in
resolving the sexual related problems like infertility, impotence, decreased sperm count etc.