Ayurveda is a holistic medicine practice that promotes overall mental and physical well-being. It is done in order to treat most modern diseases. Ayurveda was educated through generations till one wrote it in the Vedas. Many of these ancient texts have been lost to time. But many still exist. It is a pseudoscience that has many principles to diagnose people. Most modern treatments and surgeries have some sort of basis in Ayurveda. The prime example of this is plastic surgery. The first plastic surgery was done in India by Sushruta.
One of the best Ayurvedic hospitals in Bhopal is the Sri Sai Institute of Ayurvedic Research and Institute. The institute is an Ayurvedic college that offers a full-time Bachelor of Ayurveda Medicine and Surgery degree. It is a five-and-a-half-year-long programme that also includes an internship. The programme covers all the traditional methods and practices of Ayurveda. The syllabus also covers the history and culture of India, the birthplace of Ayurveda.
Described below is a description of the Ayurveda in India.
History of Ayurveda
Ayurveda, in India, dates back to the Vedic age. Specifically, most information about diseases and general health can be traced to the Atharva Veda. Experts however are of the opinion that Rig Veda was the period when information on diseases and medicines was noted down. Atharva Veda has 114 hymns, each of which has descriptions of cures for different diseases.
The oldest known document on Ayurveda is the Charaka Samhita. Another such ancient document recording Ayurveda is the Sushruta Samhita. While the former deals with internal medicine, Sushruta Samhita is more about surgical procedures. Both of these are the foundations for all other documents in the subjects. Experts estimate that these documents were written sometime in the mid of the first millennium BCE.
The Bower Manuscript is dated to the Gupta Era between the 4th and 6th centuries CE. Similarly, the Agnivesha Samhita written by Agnivesha is dated 1500 BCE. On the other hand, the Kasyapa Samhita has its roots in the 6th century BCE.
Also Read: The Untapped Potential: Research in Ayurveda
All texts on Ayurveda are based on certain principles. All treatment and diagnosis are done in accordance with the principles. All bodily elements and substances are divided into five environmental elements are Air, Water, Fire, Earth, and the Ether. In addition, there are gunas or human characteristics amounting to 20. Ayurveda considers the human body to be made up of tissues (dhatus), waste (malas), and also biomaterials (doshas). There are seven tissues, blood, muscles, fat, bone, marrow and semen. The three doshas and five elements together define a human being’s mental composition, how they conduct themselves, and also their personalities.
Ancient Medicine in India
Ayurvedic way of practicing medicine was to consider the doshas and the pithas of the patient. Meaning the physical, mental, and personality of the patient was central to finding out a cure as each of them influenced each other. This is what makes Ayurvedic treatment holistic. There is another aspect of Ayurveda that includes channels through which fluids are transferred. These tend to become blocked and need to be massaged regularly with oil to dislodge the blocks.
- Diagnosis: Ayurveda has eight ways to provide diagnoses. They are Nadi, Mootra, Mala, Jihva, Shabda, Sparsha, Druk, and Aakruti. Doctors will use the five senses to detect diseases and give diagnoses.
- Treatment and prevention: Ayurveda does have surgery for two out of the eight branches. Mostly, Ayurveda is about meditation, exercise, and leading a healthy life. It recommends people to follow a Sattvic diet and makes recommendations for regular bathing, oil pulling, tongue scraping, etc.
- Medicines: Ayurveda prescribes plants and flowers with medicinal properties. Specifically, the roots, seeds, bark, and fruits are consumed. Animal products like milk, bones, and even gallstones find use. A certain amount of fat is recommended for daily use too. Minerals such as gold, copper sulfate, lead, etc are necessary for healthy daily lives.
- Waste elimination: Finally, we have Panchakarma. Panchakarma is the way of eliminating waste from our bodies on a daily basis. Doing so is necessary to not invite in unwanted diseases and keep our systems running in perfect condition.
Ayurveda and Modern Medicine in India Today
Today, Ayurvedic medicine is still practiced and used by Indian people. The Indian Government sought to recognize and officialize Ayurvedic medicine for general public use. Since then, together with modern western medicine and treatments too. Universities and institutes have cropped up to provide quality education in Ayurveda. These students are taught the traditional methods of treatments and surgeries and even about all major issues such as cancer, bone disorders, arthritis, etc.
Along with this, clinics and hospitals have cropped up in all corners of the country. Ayurvedic medicine is comparatively cheaper and just as effective as modern medicine; making it the treatment choice for over 80% of the population.
Indian authorities have also taken strict measures to legalize and legitimize Ayurveda. Due to this, many international countries are adopting Ayurvedic practices. For instance, Yoga and Meditation are two prime examples of traditional Ayurvedic practices that many people do on a daily basis in the entire world.
Ayurveda in International Setting
As mentioned above, Ayurveda is also widely used within the Indian subcontinent and outside it too. Within the Indian subcontinent, Nepal uses Ayurveda practices quite a lot. In the same view, Sri Lanka also follows. Internationally, however, Ayurveda has international medicine laws, rules, and regulations that are yet to be overcome. For instance, there are no licenses for Ayurveda in the United States.
It is nothing short of amazing to see how advanced ancient medicine practices were. So much of modern medicine has been inspired by Ayurveda. India saw the first plastic surgery done by Sushruta, the father of plastic surgery. There is a rich culture and years of knowledge backing the practice of Ayurveda. This is perfectly displayed in the fact that modern medicine and traditional medicine exist perfectly well in harmony in modern India.
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