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          Monday, November 20, 2006


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The origin of Ayurveda:
By  Sanjay Parva

One of the forms of alternative medicine used in the world, and extensively in the Indian subcontinent is none other than the art of ayurveda. Ayurveda is a form of alternative medicine that uses different parts of herbs, plants and parts of animals to cure diseases and ailments. The word ayurveda comes from two Sanskrit words, ‘ayus’ meaning life and ‘veda’ meaning knowledge. So it can be said that the Sanskrit word ayurveda, when translated means the ‘science of life’. So ayurveda is considered to be the Science wherein life is controlled and saved, many a time.

It is through ayurveda that it is possible to deal with the measures of healthy living with the help of therapeutic measures. There are basically no use of injections in ayurveda; it is only therapeutic uses that is famous in ayurveda. These therapeutic measures bring about not only physical improvement in the patient, but also mental, spiritual and social harmony. It may be surprising to learn that ayurveda is one of the more traditional systems of medicine that also involves surgery for curing some ailments.

Ayurveda was first written on perishable materials and later written on stone and copper sheets. However, Hindus basically consider the genesis of ayurveda occurred not in one way, but via several theories. It is said that the knowledge of ayurveda has been passed on from person to person through realization by divine sages over the centuries. It is considered that it was only after this that ayurveda was considered to have entered the human sphere through mnemonics. Different writers of ayurveda basically show some variance in its recordings of the different ayurveda traditions. This has been attributed to oral traditions being transcribed from numerous sources.

Ayurveda was first propagated orally through the Gurukul system before being written in text form. It was only when Agnivesha who first described ayurveda in his book, Agnivesh tantra that ayurveda was propagated in textual form. This book was to be later revised by Charaka and renamed as Charaka Samhita. There are also other early texts of ayurveda which served as textual material in the old universities of Takshashila and Nalanda of India. As these books were written around the Common Era, it is thus proven that ayurveda has been around to help us heal from diseases for quite some time. As it is thought that the origin of ayurveda was a divine revelation from Lord Brahma, ayurveda is very popular in India.

Archaeology has proven that ayurveda has existed in India from as early as the Harappan period of India. Archeology has revealed traces of men of that age, who had had their teeth drilled for health reasons. This itself is enough proof that shows the presence and following of ayurveda since the Harappan period. However, try as may; archaeologists have not been able to come across any documented references of ayurveda anywhere. Without any documented references available anywhere, Ayurveda has been proven only with the correlation of physical evidence and circumstantial evidence.

It was in the Buddha period that ayurveda was first practiced and in this period, all those practitioners following ayurveda used mercuric-sulphur combinations in their different combination of medicines. This is was because in the period of Buddha, sulphur, mercury and other metals were used in abundance with herbs to prepare various types of medications to help cure many ailments and diseases. Nagarjuna was one of the most important ayurveda practitioners of the Buddha period and was very famous for the invention of new drugs that could be used for the treatment of different ailments. Many practitioners followed Nagarjuna in the Buddha period, thereby bringing about great progress in the world of ayurveda in this period. This is why the Buddha period is often referred to as the Golden Period of Ayurveda.

It was after the victory of the Kalinga War that emperor Ashoka banned bloodshed in his kingdom. This lead to many ayurveda practitioners leaving surgery and adopt new medicinal treatments in ayurveda where there was no shedding of blood of any kind. It was then that ayurveda flourished more with the invention of new drugs, new innovations and new methodology to cure medical conditions that otherwise needed surgery. It remained so till the invasion of the Mughals, Alexander and the English on India. With the invasion of the English, people of India had preserved ayurveda as a traditional ‘science of life’ for its people and the world despite the increasing adoption of European medical techniques to cure diseases,.

Ayurveda was and is a science that operates on the fact that some of the different materials of animal, vegetable and mineral origin all have some medicinal value which can be used to cure and prevent diseases. In ayurveda, the medicinal properties of all these materials have been documented by ayurveda practitioners for the past centuries. And it is these properties that have been used to cure illness and help the patient maintain good health.

Ayurveda medicaments are basically made from herbs or a mixture of herbs which are used either alone or combined with minerals, metals or any other ingredient of animal origin. It all depends on the case to be treated, and the herb and minerals. If these minerals or ingredients are to be used in ayurveda, they are all purified by individual processes to make the ayurveda medicine safe to consume. There has been lots of hype that ayurveda employs unhygienic methods to cure ailments. However this is not true as all the components of ayurveda are treated by individual processes to make them safe for consumption.

Ayurveda literature describes the different qualities and characteristics of different minerals and different parts of herbs. They also have the medicinal uses of different animal parts, metals, cooked food, natural foods, fruits, minerals and chemicals included in them. So it can be seen that ayurveda is an age old form of alternative medicine that is very much safe, effective and useful in treating various types of diseases and health conditions.


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The world of ayurveda:
For some people, ayurveda may seem to be a new form of medication. However, in reality, it is actually the oldest system of medicine that is found in the word. The roots of ayurvedic medicine lies in ancient India, where the word ‘ayurveda’ itself is derived from Sanskrit words where ayur means life and veda signifies knowledge. This is why ayurveda is called ‘The science of life’.
Ayurveda offers many health benefits. It offers holistic, psychological, physical and spiritual benefits. And all these benefits are attained with ayurvedic medicine that is derived from nature. With ayurvedic medicine, you not only rid yourself of physical diseases but you also maintain complete health with it. This is because ayurveda emphasizes on the fact that the mind and body don’t influence each other as they are one.
Ayurvedic medicine works on the principle that to attain physical health, you first need to have mental health.In ayurveda, there are three energies or doshas found in the universe that are fundamental in life. They are called vata, kapha and pitta and in ayurvedic medicine, these doshas are responsible for the metabolism in a person as they adjust to changes in nature with changes in themselves.
Today, you find noninvasive ayurvedic treatment that is used for treating patients of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart ailments. Ayurvedic medicine is administered while taking the patient’s diet, pulse, lip, eye, face, nail, tongue and perspiration into consideration.
Detoxification is also possible in ayurvedic medicine through methods like panchakarma wherein the body becomes more responsive to ayurvedic medicine and treatment. not only does ayurveda emphasize on taking ayurvedic medicine to cure a condition, it also has many yogasanas that should be done to prevent the occurrence and accumulation of diseases. In ayurveda, it is possible to strengthen body parts while keeping blood circulation and psychological conditions rather strong. And of course, with ayurvedic medicine, it is important to follow a diet that fits your dosha type while leading a well regulated life. With this, and ayurveda, your natural immune system is strengthened.

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