Samadosha samaagnishcha samadhatu malakriya |
Prasannatmendrya Manaha ‘Swastha’ ityabhidiyate || [Sushrut Samhita ]
Ayurvedic Medicine is the world’s oldest comprehensive health care system and is indigenous to India where it is widely practiced. “This ancient art of healing asserts that the science, philosophy and spirituality are all necessary aspects of healthy living.” Thus Ayurveda is not only a comprehensive medical system but also a way of living and the concept of “mind, body and spirit” originates from Ayurveda.
The basic principles of Ayurveda are Tridosha, Pancha Maha-bhuta , Saptha dathu , Agni, concept of Srothos. In Ayurveda we view a person as a unique individual made up of five primary elements (Pancha mahabhuta). The elements are ether (space), air, fire, water, and earth. Just as in nature, we too have these five elements in us. The foods we eat and the weather are just two examples of the presence of these elements. While we are a composite of these five primary elements, certain elements are seen to have an ability to combine to create various physiological functions. Ether and air combine to form what is known in Ayurveda as the Vata dosha. This energy is generally seen as the force, which directs nerve impulses, circulation, respiration, and elimination.. Fire and water are the elements that combine to form the Pitta dosha. The Pitta dosha is the process of transformation or metabolism. The transformation of foods into nutrients that our bodies can assimilate is an example of a pitta function. Pitta is also responsible for metabolism in the organ and tissue systems as well as cellular metabolism. Finally, it is predominantly the water and earth elements which combine to form the Kapha dosa.
Kapha is what is responsible for growth, adding structure unit by unit. Another function of the Kapha dosha is to offer protection. Cerebrospinal fluid protects the brain and spinal column and is a type of Kapha found in the body. Also, the mucosal lining of the stomach is another example of the Kapha dosha protecting the tissues. We are all made up of unique proportions of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These ratios of the doshas vary in each individual; and because of this, Ayurveda sees each person as a special mixture that accounts for our diversity.
Ayurveda gives us a model to look at each individual as a unique makeup of the three doshas and to thereby design treatment protocols that specifically address a persons health challenges. When any of the doshas ( Vata, Pitta or Kapha ) become accumulated, Ayurveda will suggest specific lifestyle and nutritional guidelines to assist the individual in reducing the dosha that has become excessive. We may also suggest certain herbal supplements to hasten the healing process. If toxins in the body are abundant, then a cleansing process known as Pancha karma is recommended to eliminate these unwanted toxins.
Eight Branches In Ayurveda:
The Branches of Ayurveda are derived from classical Sanskrit literature, in which Ayurveda was called “the science of eight branches” (Sanskritaṣṭāṅga अष्टांग). The components are:
1. Kayachikitsa (general medicine): “cure of diseases affecting the body”.
2. Kaumāra-bhṛtya and Bala Roga: deals with the treatment of children.
3. Shalya tantra deals with surgical techniques.
4. Śālākya-tantra deals with diseases of the teeth, eye, nose, ear etc.
5. Bhuta-vidya deals with the causes, which are not directly visible and not directly explained by tridosha ,pertaining to micro-organisms or spirits.
6. Agada-tantra deals with antidotes to poison.
7. Rasayana-tantra (Geriatrics)/(Anti Agings) : deals with rejuvenation.
8. Vajikarana tantra (aphrodisiacs) deals with healthy and desired progeny.
Ayurveda Texts, scriptures & oral traditions ascribe their authorship to Charka, Dhanvantari, Sushruta, Kashyap, Vagbhata, Sarangadhara Samhita & others.
- Charak Samhita, which dates back to approximately 800 BC, is a major compendium of Ayurvedic medical theory and practice that Charaka, an internist at the University of Taxila, compiled in Sanskrit.
Presented as poetry, Samhita contains more than 8,400 verses in its 120 chapters. Actual content in the Charaka samhita wrote by Acharya Agnivesha. But Acharya Charaka modified it. Some missing chapters are added by Acharya ‘ Dridabala’.
- Sushruta Samhita, consists of 6 large sections which deal mostly with
surgery, treatment of wounds, diagnosis and extraction of splinters, pathology, anatomy, ophthalmology, dentistry and child care.
- Vagbhata Samhita is considered to be the compendia of Charka and Sushruta Samhitas presented in a well organized and thematically structured composition.
- The ancient Ayurveda science also deals with Alchemy and its medicinal uses, plastic surgery, gynecology, cosmetics, medicinal plants, their uses and manufacturing processes of herbal formulations.