History of Ayurveda
Ayurveda is the natural healing system of India. In Sanskrit, the word «Ayurveda» means ‘science of life’. «Ayu» means life or daily living, and «Veda» means knowing.
Ayurveda was first recorded in the Vedas, one of the the world’s oldest literature. The Vedic system, including Ayurveda was in practice before 4500 B.C. Vedic science also includes Yoga, meditation and astrology as its branches for dealing with the physical body.
Ayurveda helps a healthy person to maintain health, and a diseased person to regain health. It is both a medical and metaphysical healing science. It includes herbal medicines, dietetics, bodywork, surgery, psychology and spirituality. In Ayurveda the creative force ‘Dhanvantari’ the divine healer, symbolizes Brahma.
All Ayurvedic principles are based on the Sankhya philosophy of creation describing mainly the Five Elements of this Universe. The ancient Rishis, or realized beings, discovered the Truth by means of religious practices, discipline and intensive meditations.
Rishis and sages like Sushrutacharya, Charakacharya, Vagbhata, Sharangdhara, etc created great commentaries, contributing their efforts and insights to make it available to all of us.
Ayurveda is concerned with eight principal branches of medicine, collectively called ‘Ashtanga Ayurveda’. These are pediatrics, gynecology, obstetrics, ophthalmology, geriatrics, otolaryngology, general medicine and surgery. All these medical specialties are addressed according to the theories of the five elements (Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth), the Tridoshas or bodily humors (Vata, Pitta, Kapha), the seven Dhatus or bodily tissues, the three Malas or waste (urine, stool and sweat), and spiritual growth. Any imbalance between the body, mind and environment begins the process of disease. The treatment not only works on the disease but also emphasizes on achieving better health, longevity and awareness.
Ayurveda prescribes various treatments and daily routines including Meditation, Pranayama, Yoga, cleansing process, rejuvenation therapies, balanced diet according to body constitution, preventive and curative medicines.