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Ayurveda

Ayurveda means the science of life. In Sanskrit language, ‘Ayu’ stands for Life and ‘Veda’ is the Science/knowledge. It has been mentioned in 5000 years old Vedas. According to Ayurveda, "Life (Ayu) is the combination (Samyoga) of body, senses, mind and reincarnating soul. Ayurveda is considered the most sacred science of life, beneficial to humans both in this world and the world beyond."

Unique aspects to Ayurveda:

  • It recommends tailor- made treatments, it believes that each individual is a unique identity and we should offer unique food, lifestyle and treatment to them.
  •  Everything in Ayurveda is validated by observation, inquiry, direct examination and knowledge derived from the ancient texts.
  • Ayurveda believes in 5 element theory and considers all materialist things made up of these 5 elements.
  • It understands that there are energetic forces that influence nature and human beings. These forces are called the Tridoshas.
  • Because Ayurveda see a strong connection between the mind and the body, a huge amount of information is available regarding this relationship.

Aim of Ayurveda:

Ayurveda is a wholistic system of medicine from India that aims to provide guidance regarding food and lifestyle so that healthy people can stay healthy and folks with health challenges can improve their health.

So the two main objectives are:

  • Maintaining the health of Healthy ones: Preventive.
  • Managing the disease of diseased ones: Curative.

Eight Branches of Ayurveda:

Ayurveda enlists eight branches/divisions:

Kayachikitsa (Internal Medicine), Shalakya Tantra (Surgery and Treatment of Head and Neck, Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology), Shalya Tantra (Surgery), Agada Tantra (Toxicology), Bhuta Vidya (Psychiatry), Kaumarabhritya (Pediatrics), Rasayana (Science of rejuvenation or anti-aging), and Vajikarana (The science of Fertility)

i) Kayachikitsa (Internal Medicine): Here, the meaning of Kaya is Agni, that is the digestive fire and the treatment based on this Agni is called as Kayachikitsa. (Chikitsa = Treatment).                    

This is really the general treatment and it encompasses all other branches too.

Basically Agni is responsible for conversion of food into the body elements. Ayurveda considers agnimandy (deranged agni) as the cause of all diseases.  

The texts on kayachikitsa give elaborate description about various diseases such as jwara (Fever), pandu (Anemia), Atisara (Diarrhea) etc. The whole general medicine has been covered in this particular branch.

ii) Balaroga chikitsa/kaumarabhritya (Pediatrics): [Bala/kaumara= Child, Roga= disease].

This branch deals with diseases of children. It has been separated because; children need special type of treatment. The doses are low and the medicines should also be not strong.

This branch of Ayurveda emphasizes on breast milk for feeding the babies and advocates that if the breast milk is not proper in quality it may also produce diseases in baby and hence needs to be purified by certain herbs for treating the child.

iii) Graharoga chikitsa/ Bhuta Vidya (Psychiatry): There are mythological stories about the grahas i.e. demons. This particular branch deals with diseases caused by such demons.

The branch is not very much in practice today and would require research work further.

iv) Urdhvanga Roga chikitsa/shalakya tantra (surgery and treatment of head and neck, Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology):

Urdhvang is upper part of the body i.e. the Head and Neck region. This branch deals with diseases that are associated with the head and neck region.

The branch is also called “Shalakaya Tantra.” Because of the use of special kind of instrument called as “Shalaka”.

Ear, Nose, Throat diseases and diseases related with the eye and head are dealt with, in this particular branch.

v) Shalya tantra: [Shalya = Foreign body, tantra = science].

This branch deals with diseases that are caused by a foreign body like an arrow or sword etc. Actually this is a surgical branch where in diseases due to an external trauma are treated surgically.

Sushruta has been accepted as the father of “plastic surgery”. A different kind of surgery known as ‘Ksharsutra’ is most useful in ‘fistula in ano’.

vi) Agada tantra (Toxicology): This particular branch deals with the treatment of poisons.

Poisons may be animal oriented, plant oriented or derived from ores. Texts give elaborate description about various snake bites, scorpion bites etc. with their symptoms and treatment.

vii) Jara Chikitsa/Rasayana: [Jara = Old Age].

This branch is also known as Rasayana, i.e. rejuvenating activity.

This branch deals with the diseases associated with the ageing process. It actually provides ways to prohibit the aging process to some extent. Rejuvenation of body tissues is possible according to Ayurveda by using this branch.

This branch needs to be emphasized more for increasing longevity of and quality of life.

 

viii) Vajikaran: [Vaji = Horse].

This particular branch deals with virility and progeny.

Sex is one of the important aspects of life and this branch deals with the pleasure and satisfaction of sex.

There is a mention of variety of aphrodisiac medicines and even food material.

To produce best progeny is also an important aspect of life.

Infertility is a problem and this branch deals with such cases also.

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