(Last Updated on : 23/05/2013)
took a concrete shape in the later Vedic period
. Knowledge about medicines was acquired from the Vedas
and Sutra literature. The sages and scholars worked dedicatedly to compose several medical texts in all the eight branches of Ayurveda
Apart from these ayurveda also deals with general surgery, internal medicine, paediatrics, toxicology, geriatrics and aphrodisiac. During this period ayurveda also developed for the treatment of diseases of animals and even plants. Texts on ayurveda such as Hastyayurveda and Gavayurveda relate to the treatment of horses, elephant
s, cattle and trees. Ayurveda not only developed for curing of diseases but also to prevent them. It is believed that it gained importance before the time period of the Sanskrit
. It also finds mention in Mahabharata
Texts of Ayurveda
The Charaka School of ayurveda was known as the 'school of medicine' and Sushruta School as the 'school of surgery'. A classical text of the ancient ayurvedic literature known as Charaka Samhita
deals with the compilation of ancient Indian medical art. It states about the discourse of Atreya Punarvasu on diseases, method of diagnosis based on some careful observations of the clinical symptoms, the pathology as well as the personal nature of the patient and his constitution. The text is in the form of dialogue between a teacher and a student. Charaka Samhita is chiefly a treatise on ayurvedic therapeutics.
Another important classical text of ayurveda is Sushruta Samhita. It deals with essential information regarding the objective and scientific approach of the ancient physicians, pharmacological, the knowledge of the diseases and surgical therapies. Sushruta Samhita also mentions about many instruments that are similar to some of the modern instruments that are used today. The modern acupuncture system owes its origin to the Sushruta Samhita
. It also deals with types of therapy in connection with Marmas i.e. 'vital points'. It is for this point that the sensitive parts or the 'vital points' are known as 'marmasthanas'. According to ayurveda the marma points are linked through bio energy channels known as Nadis. It is through these underlying channels that the bio energy known as prana
is passed from one point of the body to other another. These 'marmasthanas' become sensitive when pressed or touched by needles, finger tips etc and gives some sort of relief. In the old tradition of Sushruta the marma treatment was used for therapeutic purpose. Sushruta was also translated into Arabic language and deals elaborately and systematically with the surgical operations of ancient India. It describes ways of removing stones from uterus, methods to undertake a plastic surgery of the nose, cataract couching, cauterization, application of leaches in high blood pressure, treatment of Alkali etc.
Another important ayurvedic text Astangahrdaya, written by Vagbhata was studied by the Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang. The book was translated into Arabic and Persian language in the court of the Persian emperor Harun-AI-Rashid in the 8th century. It has been composed in both prose and poetry. One more ayurvedic book Astangahrdaya is largely known in foreign countries and has been translated in several languages.