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About Ayurveda

The word Ayurveda is made up of two Sanskrit words ayur and veda meaning 'life' and 'knowledge' respectively. Taken together they mean the 'science of life'; in a more limited sense, the term is used to imply the science of medicine. Traditional systems of medicine like Ayurveda have become popular in recent years. This is part of the renewed ethnic cultures the world over, in their lifestyles and religious beliefs. Medicine may be seen as a living component of an unbroken tradition stretching back to several centuries. In India and her neighbours like Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan, such systems have long being in existence and studies scientifically and codified, with written texts that have been preserved through the ages. Passed on from one generation to another, they have stood the test of time. Of the many systems Ayurveda is perhaps the best known most widely prevalent.

Good health thus becomes a whole way of life, which may be achieved by adopting certain general principles of behaviour and following certain regimens. Diseases may not only be cured but in fact may be prevented by observing these rules

Ayurveda also draws upon other traditional systems of medicines like naturopathy, Tibetan Buddhist medicine and Unani tibb (Graeco-Arabic medicine) since in theory and practice there is a high degree of commonality among them. Practitioners of one system freely use the medicinal products of the other, as they are all products of nature

The origins of Ayurveda are shrouded in antiquity. Legend say that Brahma the Creator, a part of the holy trinity of gods, first perceived it and taught it to his son, Daksha Prajapati. Subsequently, Lord Dhanwantari, the god of healing and the teacher of the medical sciences passed it on to the prominent Hindu sages Atreya, Bharadvaja, Kashyapa, Sushruta, Parashara, and KYSMa. Sage Atreya's disciple Agnivesha is said to have written the original Agnivesha Sambita around 1000 BC which has come down to us in the form of KYSMa Sambita. This text is considered an authoritative pronouncement of Ayurvedic doctrine. Its present form goes back to the seventh century BC. Sage KYSMa defines Ayurveda as 'the science through which one can obtain the knowledge about the useful and harmful types of life (bita and abita ayus), happy and miserable types of life, things which are useful and harmful for such types of life, the span of life as well as the very nature of life'.

Health, according to Ayurveda, is not merely freedom from disease. It is essential that body, mind and soul are in a excellent state so that the individual can perform his functions and fulfil his role in life which in Vedic philosophy is called dharma; and ultimately work towards the final goal of salvation or moksha with the help of wealth, economic means which artha satisfying his legitimate desires of love and sex which is kama. The roots of Indian Culture can be traced back to the Vedic period, from c. 5000 BC or perhaps even earlier. All the four Vedas - Rig, Yajur, Sama, Atharva - contain several references to the digestive system, metabolism, anatomy and descriptions of diseases along with the bacteria that cause them and more importantly, the concept of tridosha or the three doshas. The doshas, according to the Vedas, are subtle elements in the human body responsible for all its functions. According to the dictates of Ayurveda, illnesses occur due to an imbalance in the equilibrium between the three doshas - vayu, pitta, kapha. Roughly translated, vayu (also known as vata) is wind, pitta can be represented by bile and kapha by phlegm.

In India a large section of the vast population depends on the indigenous Ayurvedic tradition, which has deep cultural roots because of its easy availability, accessibility and reliability. The carries of this tradition are the millions of housewives brought up in this culture, the hundreds of birth-attendance, bone-setters, village herbalists, those skilled in eye-care, dental care are in the specialized treatment of mental diseases. Ayurveda is a body of knowledge, which is extremely coherent and logical within itself yet not restricted by any fixed dogma. Like life itself, it is universal and dynamic. The word 'Ayurveda' comes from the word 'ayur' meaning 'life' and the word 'veda' meaning 'to know'. Ayurveda means 'the science of life', and is a medical system practiced in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Ayurveda's mythological origins, though, are attributed to the Indo-European Nasatya or Aswins, twin physicians of the gods of the ancient Indo-European pantheon. Four thousand year old references to the Nasatya are found in the now extinct, Hurrian and Hittite languages in Turkey, and in the Sanskrit language in India. Ayurveda is considered the upaveda or accessory Veda to the Atharva Veda. The four Vedas are the world's oldest literary documents in an Indo-European language.A classic ayurvedic text, that parallels the time frame of the Atharva Veda, is the Charaka Samhita. Written in the Indus Valley area around 1000 B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) in Sanskrit, it is a treatise on general medicine. strongly suggests the probability that ayurveda, though of pan Indo-European origins earlier, had begun to evolve into a distinct entity within the subcontinent by the first millennium B.C.E. Ayurveda's lasting influence in the non Indo-European sphere began after the rise and spread of Buddhism in the 6th century B.C.E. Buddhist monks introduced Ayurveda to China, Tibet, Korea, Mongolia and Sri Lanka, leaving a lasting legacy in their medical systems. More recently, the German translation of an ayurvedic text that dates back to less than 1000 B.C.E., the Susruta Samhita, contributed to modern medicine the discipline of plastic surgery. Susruta mentions eight branches in ayurveda - General medicine, Surgery, ENT and Eye diseases, Toxicology, Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Gynecology, Sexology and Virility.