Thursday, April 30, 2009


Ayurveda (Devanāgarī. आयुर्वॆद, the 'science of life') is a system of traditional medicine native to India, and practiced in other parts of the world as a form of alternative medicine. In Sanskrit, the word Ayurveda comprises the words āyus, meaning 'life' and veda, meaning 'science'. Evolving throughout its history, Ayurveda remains an influential system of medicine in South Asia. The earliest literature of Ayurveda appeared during the Vedic period in India. The Sushruta Samhita and the Charaka Samhita were influential works on traditional medicine during this era. Ayurvedic practitioners also claim to have identified a number of medicinal preparations and surgical procedures for curing various ailments and diseases.

Ayurveda is considered to be a form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) within the western world, where several of its methods—such as herbs, massage, and Yoga as exercise or alternative medicine—are applied on their own as a form of CAM treatment.




Ayurveda believes in 'five great elements' (Devanāgarī: पंचतत्व‌; earth, water, fire, air and space) forming the universe, including the human body. Chyle, Blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow, and semen are believed to be the seven primary constituent elements (Devanāgarī: सप्तधातु) of the body. Ayurveda stresses a balance of three substances: wind/spirit/air, phlegm, and bile, each representing divine forces.According to Ayurvedic beliefs, the doctrine of these three Doshas (Devanāgarī: त्रिदॊश्)—vata (wind/spirit/air), pitta (bile) and kapha (phlegm)—is important.Traditional beliefs hold that humans possess a unique constellation of Doshas. In Ayurveda, the human body has 20 Guna (Devanāgarī: गुन, meaning quality). Surgery and surgical instruments are employed. It is believed that building a healthy metabolic system, attaining good digestion, and proper excretion leads to vitality. Ayurveda also focuses on exercise, yoga, meditation, and massage.

The concept of Panchakarma (Devanāgarī: पंचकर्म‌) is believed to eliminate toxic elements from the body. Eight disciplines of Ayurveda treatment, called Ashtanga (Devanāgarī: अष्टांग), are given below:

Surgery (Shalya-chikitsa).

Treatment of diseases above the clavicle (Salakyam).

Internal medicine (Kaaya-chikitsa).

Demonic possession (Bhuta vidya): Ayurveda believes in demonic intervention and—as a form of traditional medicine—identifies a number of ways to counter the supposed effect of these interferences. Bhuta vidya has been called psychiatry.

Paediatrics (Kaumarabhrtyam).

Toxicology (Agadatantram).

Prevention and building immunity (rasayanam).

Aphrodisiacs (Vajikaranam).