History of Ayurveda

History of Ayurveda

Ayurveda is the longest practiced medicinal system in the world and is the basis of all medical systems of this world.  It was originally practiced by the Vedic culture and spread through Tibet, China, Persia, Greece, Egypt, Rome and Indonesia.  Its name is derived from the Sanskrit words “Ayus” meaning life and “Veda” meaning “knowledge.  Therefore, a loosely translated meaning of Ayurveda is “The Science of Life” or ” “The Knowledge of Life”.

Ayurveda is believed to be born since the beginning of existence; As there was life, there was also disease.  Sages and Seers gained the knowledge of ayurveda through meditation and It was originally orally passed down through them.  Some where between 600 – 1000B.C, Sage Charaka compiled a text  known as the Charaka Sumhita.  The original text is written in ten million verses in one thousand chapters.  The beauty of ayurveda is that it was using almost all methods of healing like lifestyle regiment, jyotish (astrology), decoctions, yoga, oleations, surgery, meditation, amulets, herbs, diet.  In fact the system is divided into 8 branches, thus ayurveda is sometimes referred to as Ashtanga Ayruveda; Asht (8)  Anga (limbs).

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Ayurveda, the science of life, the origin of most forms of natural and alternative medicine—has its mention in one of the oldest (about 6,000 years) philosophical texts of the world, the Rig Veda. The Sutrasthana of Charaka Samhita, a much referred ayurvedic text, says; “The three—body, mind and “The “The three—body, mind and soul—are like a tripod, the world stand by their combination; in them everything abides. It is the subject matter of ayurveda for which the teachings of ayurveda have been revealed.” (1.46-47)

They are as follows : Pediatrics, Toxicology, Internal Medicine, Surgery, Aphrodisiacs, Psychiatry, Gerentology and ENT&Head.  This system of medicine places the doctor in a supportive role to the patient, its main focus is on prevention and management of chronic illnesses with the recognition of lifestyle and mind/body connection.

The art of diagnosis in Ayurveda can be divided into two parts: The inspection of the individual and their constitution and the examination of the progression of the disorder.  A very important aspect is the determination of the constitution, which is described as ones ultimate state of health and indicates hereditary tendencies to particular ailments. The constitution is diagnosed by determining the individual’s inherited blueprint and proportion of the elements at the time of birth.  No one individual is alike and thus each persons constitution makeup will be unique to them.  The examination and interview process is one of the most important aspects towards healing.  Once done, a prescription is made that will almost always involve a change in lifestyle.

Modern medicine had wooed the new age with its swiftness in treating structural trauma and defects as well as treating life threatening illnesses that require medical or surgical intervention, leaving Ayurveda to be practiced by the poor.  This phenomena is quickly breaking down as we can see today that the mind also plays a big part in the function of disease, an aspect that modern science tends to ignore.  Many are returning towards a more wholesome and realistic practices.

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