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Traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda) is a good examples of how ancient science can still prove invaluable in modern world. Ayurveda have become popular through out the world, as more and more people are turning towards holistic medicine. Ayurveda deals not only with the physical well being of a person but also with spiritual, mental and social health of individuals - a concept now established and accepted even by modern medicine. Ayurvedic medicine is a popular form of health care in India, where it is taught in about 100 colleges and many other traditional teachers teach Ayurveda in more traditional manner. It has gained currency in the West as a form of alternative medicine.

Word Ayurveda, is formed by "ayu" meaning life and "Veda" meaning knowledge and can be traced back to the evolution of civilization. Thousands of years ago the Indian sages formulated the fundamentals of Ayurveda . It is regarded as the Upaveda or sub-scripture of the Yajurveda. Origin of Ayurveda is attributed to Dhanvantari, the physician to the gods in Hindu mythology, who received it from Brahma. It is believed from the astronomical records in ancient Vedic texts, that  Ayurveda, was in practice even before 4000 BC. Hence it is evident that ayurveda was very mature and predominant in India thousands of years ago. The most important Ayurvedic texts are the Caraka Samhita and Susruta samhita (1st–4th century AD). These texts analyze the human body in terms of earth, water, fire, air, and ether as well as the three energy channels ( Tridosha : Kaf, Pitta, Vat- roughly translated as - phlegm, bile and wind). To prevent illness, Ayurvedic medicine emphasizes hygiene, exercise, herbal preparations, and yoga. To cure ailments, it relies on herbal medicines, physiotherapy, and diet. Main objectives of ayurveda have been divided into two aspects namely: 

  • Swasthasya Swathya Rakshanam (Preventive and Social medicine) 

  • Aturasya Vikar Prashamanam (Therapeutics) 

These two aspects reflect the unique approach of ayurveda. Therapeutics is not strictly related to treatment with medicines but also to the form of treatment without medicines and in the form of good conducts both personal as well as social. Many people consider Ayurveda as just ordinary herbal medicine but even a cursory study of Ayurveda will show that it is an art and science of healthy life. The sages of ayurveda emphasized on the importance of preventive medicine by developing individual's own immune system to fight against all possible infections.Ayurveda is the branch of Vedic science, which deals with physical body besides yoga, meditation, astrology, etc. There are eight major branches of Ayurveda included under Ashtanga Ayurveda

  • Surgery (Shalya), 

  • ENT with Ophthalmology (Shalakya), 

  • Medicine (Kaya), 

  • Psychiatry (Bhoota ) 

  • Gynecology, Obstetrics and Pediatrics (Kaumara), 

  • Medical jurisprudence and toxicology (Agada), 

  • Gerontology (Rasayan) and 

  • Science of Aphrodisiac (Vajikarana).

According to Charaka entire Ayurveda is explained in three strings (Trisutra), namely Hetusutra, Lingasutra and Aushadhisutra, which are extremely helpful in maintaining health and treating diseases. 

  • Hetusutra: It is the causative factor of disease. 

  • Lingasutra: These are the sign and symptoms developed due to the disease.

  • Aushadhisutra: It is the means of treatment

Ayurveda traditionally involves a holistic treatment of the entire human being and its full cosmic nature. According to the Upanishads, study and treatment of disease is the highest form of asceticism (tapas), whereby the truth of life and the truth of one's own self can be revealed. Ayurveda stresses, self-examination and introspection is the first step and fundamental basis of understanding and resolving any disease. Ayurveda has been found to be useful in treatment of all types of diseases, especially the chronic diseases like arthritis, skin diseases, diabetes and certain types of cancers.
Useful Ayurveda links