Ayurveda

Ayurveda “the complete knowledge for long life”. Ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional medicine native to India.In Sanskrit, words ayus, meaning “longevity”, and veda, meaning “related to knowledge” or “science”. Evolving throughout its history, of medicine in South Asia. The earliest literature on Indian medical practice appeared during the Vedic period in India. The Susruta Sa?hitaand the Charaka Sa?hita were influential works on traditional medicine during this era.Over the following centuries, ayurvedic practitioners developed a number of medicinal preparations and surgical procedures for the treatment of various ailments .

Overview
Ayurveda is grounded in the physics of the “five elements” Prithvi- (earth),Jala(water), Agni (fire), Vaayu (air) and Akasha (ether)) — all of which compose the Universe, including the human body. Chyle or plasma (called rasa dhatu), blood (rakta dhatu), flesh (mamsa dhatu), fat (medha dhatu), bone (asthi dhatu), marrow (majja dhatu), and semen or female reproductive tissue (shukra dhatu) are held to be the seven primary constituent elements –saptadhatu of the body. Ayurveda deals elaborately with measures of healthful living during the entire span of life and its various phases. Ayurveda stresses a balance of three elemental energies or humors: vata (air & space – “wind”), pittha (fire & water – “bile”) and kapha (water & earth – “phlegm”). According to ayurveda, these three regulatory principles— doshas —are important for health, because when they are in a more balanced state, the body will function to its fullest, and when imbalanced, the body will be affected negatively in certain ways. Ayurveda holds that each human possesses a unique combination of doshas. In ayurveda, the human body perceives attributes of experiences as 20 Guna,( meaning qualities). Surgery and surgical instruments are employed.It is believed that building a healthy metabolic system, attaining good digestion, and proper excretion leads to vitality.Ayurveda also focuses on exercise, yoga, meditation, and massage. Thus, body, mind, and spirit/consciousness need to be addressed both individually and in unison for health to ensue. The practice of Panchakarma is believed to eliminate toxic elements from the body. By the process of five karma i.e Vamana, Virechana, Basti, Nasya, Raktha mokshana.

Eight disciplines of ayurveda treatment, called ashtangas , are given below:
* Internal medicine (Kaaya-chikitsa)
* Paediatrics (Kaumarabhrtyam)
*Surgery (Shalya-chikitsa)
* Eye and ENT (Shalakya tantra)
*Demonic possession (Bhuta vidya): Bhuta vidya has been called psychiatry.
* Toxicology (Agadatantram)
* Prevention diseases and improving immunity and rejuvenation (rasayana)
* Aphrodisiacs and improving health of progeny (Vajikaranam).
In Hindu mythology, the origin of ayurvedic medicine is attributed to the physician of the gods,Dhanvantari.

Diagnosis
The Charaka Samhita recommends a ten fold examination of the patient.The qualities to be judged are:
* Constitution
*Abnormality
* Essence
* Stability
* Body measurements
* Diet suitability
* Psychic strength
* Digestive capacity
* Physical fitness
*Age
In addition, identifies five influential criteria for diagnosis:
* Origin of the disease
*Prodrominal (precursory) symptoms
* Typical symptoms of the fully developed disease
* Observing the effect of therapeutic procedures
* The pathological process

Ayurvedic practitioners approach diagnosis by using all five senses.Hearing is used to observe the condition of breathing and speech.The study of the vital pressure points or marma is of special importance. Ayurvedic doctors regard physical and mental existence together with personality as a unit, each element having the capacity to influence the others. One of the fundamental aspects of ayurvedic medicine is to take this into account during diagnosis and therapy.

Hygiene
Hygiene is an Indian cultural value and a central practice of ayurvedic medicine. Hygienic living involves regular bathing, cleansing of teeth, skin care, and eye washing. Occasional anointing of the body with oil is also prescribed.

Treatments
Ayurveda stresses the use of plant-based medicines and treatments.Hundreds of plant-based medicines are employed, including cardamom and cinnamon. Some animal products may also be used, for example milk,bones, urine. In addition, fats are used both for consumption and for external use. Minerals, including sulfur, arsenic, lead, copper sulfate and gold are also consumed as prescribed.This practice of adding minerals to herbal medicine is known as rasa shastra.

In some cases, alcohol is used as a narcotic for the patient undergoing an operation.The advent of Islam introduced opium as a narcotic.Both oil and tar are used to stop bleeding.Traumatic bleeding is said to be stopped by four different methods ligation of the blood vessel; cauterisation by heat; using different herbal or animal preparations locally which facilitate clotting; and different medical preparations which constrict the bleeding or oozing vessels. Different oils may be used in a number of ways including regular consumption as a part of food, anointing, smearing, head massage, and prescribed application to infected areas.

History
One view of the early history of ayurveda asserts that around 1500 BC, ayurveda’s fundamental and applied principles got organised and enunciated. In this historical construction, Ayurveda traces its origins to the Vedas, Atharvaveda in particular, and is connected to Hindu religion.Atharvaveda (one of the four most ancient books of Indian knowledge, wisdom and culture) contains 114 hymns or formulations for the treatment of diseases. Ayurveda originated in and developed from these hymns. In this sense, ayurveda is considered by some to have divine origin. Indian medicine has a long history, and is one of the oldest organised systems of medicine. Its earliest concepts are set out in the sacred writings called the Vedas, especially in the metrical passages of the Atharvaveda, which may possibly date as far back as the 2nd millennium BC. According to a later writer, the system of medicine was received by Dhanvantari from Brahma, and Dhanvantari was deified as the god of medicine. In later times his status was gradually reduced, until he was credited with having been an earthly king named Divodasa.

The Charaka Samhitatext is arguably the principal classic reference. It gives emphasis to the triune nature of each person: body care, mental regulation, and spiritual/consciousness refinement.

Other early works of ayurveda include the Charaka Samhita, attributed to Charaka. The earliest surviving excavated written material which contains references to the works of Sushruta is theBower Manuscript, dated to the 6th century AD. The Bower manuscript is of special interest to historians due to the presence of Indian medicine and its concepts in Central Asia. Vagbhata, the son of a senior doctor by the name of Simhagupta, also compiled his works on traditional medicine. Early ayurveda had a school of physicians and a school of surgeons.Tradition holds that the text Agnivesh tantra, written by the sage Agnivesh, a student of the sage Bharadwaja, influenced the writings of ayurveda.

The Chinese pilgrim Fa Hsien (ca. 337–422 AD) wrote about the health care system of the Gupta empire (320–550) and described the institutional approach of Indian medicine, also visible in the works of Charaka, who mentions a clinic and how it should be equipped.Madhava (fl. 700), Sarngadhara (fl. 1300), and Bhavamisra (fl. 1500) compiled works on Indian medicine.The medical works of both Sushruta and Charaka were translated into the Arabic languageduring the Abbasid Caliphate (ca. 750).These Arabic works made their way into Europe via intermediaries.In Italy, the Branca family ofSicily and Gaspare Tagliacozzi (Bologna) became familiar with the techniques of Sushruta.

British physicians traveled to India to see rhinoplasty being performed by native methods. Reports on Indian rhinoplasty were published in the Gentleman’s Magazine in 1794. Joseph Constantine Carpue spent 20 years in India studying local plastic surgery methods.Carpue was able to perform the first major surgery in the western world in 1815. Instruments described in the Sushruta Samhita were further modified in the Western World.