Ayurveda is a traditional and holistic system of medicine that originated in India thousands of years ago. The word ‘Ayurveda’ is formed from two Sanskrit words ‘Ayu’ which means ‘life’ and ‘Veda’ which means ‘knowledge of’. ‘Ayu’ is described as a combination of mind, body, senses, and soul. ‘
Charaka Samhita’ is considered the main textbook of Ayurveda. This book traces the legendary history of Ayurveda and provides detailed descriptions of treatments and medicines.
According to Ayurveda a person is made of five elements - ether (space), air, fire, water, and earth. Combined form of ether and air is known as Vata dosha which governs the principle of movement.
Pitta dosha, formed by the combination of fire and water, is responsible for metabolism.
Kapha dosha, formed by the combination of water and earth elements, is responsible for growth.
These three doshas are collectively known as ‘
Tridoshas’. Tridoshas are responsible for creating all necessary dhatus, movements, transformations, sensory functions and for removing toxic wastes from body.
Knowledge about Ayurvedic type of medicine is divided into eight branches. The branches are 1. Kaya chikilsa (general medicine), 2. Shalya (surgery), 3. Shalakya (ENT and Ophthalmology), 4. Graha (Psychotherapy), 5. Damshitra (toxicology), 6. Bala (Pediatrics and Gynecology), 7. Jara (rejuvenation) and 8. Vrishya (Aphrodisiacs).
Ayurveda is the knowledge of the body and its needs, and gives complete guidelines on diet, daily routines, lifestyle, and the kind of activities to be undertaken for a comfortable life. Along with the physical well-being of the body, Ayurveda also touches upon the psychological and spiritual dimensions of human existence. This branch of medicine is increasingly popular in all parts of the world.