in Intro to Ayurveda

The history of Ayurveda

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The Future has an Ancient heart.”  Archaeologists made the discovery that the people of the Indus Valley Civilization had knowledge of medicine and dentistry dating as far back as 9000 BCE.  Ayurveda the science of life, was recorded in this region, more than 5000 years ago in Sanskrit in the four ancient texts called the Vedas. Prior to written texts, because of the evidence above, this knowledge was shared in an oral tradition dating back to 9000 BCE.  Ayurveda holds on to the fundamental view that all of manifest existence is intrinsically connected and that all areas of life impacts ones health, so it follows that the Vedas cover a wide variety of topics including health and healthcare techniques, astrology, spirituality, government and politics, the arts, and human behaviour.

By the 8th century BCE, ayurvedic medical books were made available and provided not only procedural instructions but also a definitive understanding of the elements, plant medicine, the human anatomy, the nature, food and food combinations, times of day and seasons. 

The knowledge of Ayurveda today is based primarily on “the great triad” of texts call Brhat Travi which consists of:

  • Charak Samhita (600 – 900 BC)
  • Sushruta Samitha (600 – 800 BC)
  • Ashtanga Hridaya (500 AD)

Sushruta is considered as the “founding father of surgery.”  One of the earliest known mention of the name is from the Bower Manuscript where Sushruta is listed as one of the ten sages residing in the Himalayas.  He was an early innovator of plastic surgery who taught and practiced surgery on the banks of the Ganges in the area that corresponds to the present-day city of Varanasi in Northern India. Much of what is known about Sushruta is in Sanskrit contained in a series of volumes he authored, which are collectively known as the Sushruta Samhita. It is one of the oldest known surgical texts and it describes in detail the examination, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of numerous ailments, as well as procedures on performing various forms of cosmetic surgery, plastic surgery and rhinoplasty.

In order to qualify as an Ayurvedic doctor today, about 7 to 8 years of commitment is required.  The degree for an Ayurvedic doctor is called a Bachelor in Ayurvedic Medical Science.  There are 8 branches in Ayurveda:

  • Kaya Chikitsa – general practitioner
  • Shalya Chikitsa – Surgery
  • Shalakya Chikitsa – Ophthalmology & ENT
  • Kaumara Chikitsa – Paediatrics
  • Agada Chikitsa – Toxicology
  • Grihar Chikitsa – Psychiatry
  • Gera Chikitsa – Rejuvenation therapy
  • Vrishi Chikitsa – Aphrodisiacs

Ayurveda has two main goals:

  • To preserve and extend the life of a human being for as long as necessary to attain self-actualisation (realisation)
  • To treat one that has become sick

I hope this was helpful.  We will continue as the weeks progress with the next aspect of our series:  Ayurveda and Health.

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Vishalin

7 Comments

  1. Svarna

    That is very interesting! Where does one go to study Aureyvedic medicine?

    25 . Jan . 2020
    • Vishalin

      Hi Svarna.

      Great to hear from you. You can either go the route of studying to become an Ayurvedic Doctor (BAMS) or an Ayurvedic therapist. Do contact me personally via whatsapp and we can discuss your options.

      19 . Jul . 2020
  2. Phindy

    This is very exciting

    26 . Jan . 2020
  3. Kishline Fagyas

    I find all the information very informative and exciting. Thank You

    26 . Jan . 2020
  4. Kishline Fagyas

    Your advise on my diet would be sincerely appreciated. I have Porphyria, highly allergic to most Western medication as well as a lot of foods including most fruits. Can you suggest a healthy diet without fruit please. I would also like your advise on an intermittent diet – is it bad to eat only 1 or 2 meals in 24 hours? Thank You!

    28 . Jan . 2020
    • Vishalin

      Hi Kishline

      Great to hear from you. Do contact me personally and we can see how we can get you started on an Ayurvedic diet or alternatively get you in touch with an Ayurvedic doctor in our network.

      19 . Jul . 2020
  5. Gabriela

    not only interesting but is enlightening to know that a lot of the old knowledge has been retained in the Vedic texts. Thank you for sharing – will definitely research more on the history of Ayurveda
    .

    28 . Jan . 2020

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