The word "Ayurveda" is a Sanskrit word that literally means Ayur "life", Veda "knowledge". Ayurveda defines life "Ayur" as the combination of body, senses, mind and soul. Ayurveda is the traditional medicine of India. It has been practiced for more than 5000 years by millions of people to help the body on the journey back to optimal health, it is a holistic science that has a global vision of the human being. Ayurveda has three purposes that are: Maintain and preserve health, promote health and cure disease.
The three great texts of Ayurveda.
The principles of Ayurveda have been transmitted through the centuries in its purest form, thanks to its three great surviving texts: the Charaka Samhita, written in the first century BC by Charaka, a legendary doctor, the Sushruta Samhita written in the century IV DC by the great surgeon Sushruta, and the Ashtanga Hridaya, which is the eighth-century work of Vaghbata, another great philosopher-doctor. These works became the basis on which the two schools of Ayurveda, the medical school of Charaka and the school of surgeons of Sushruta were developed. In the following years, sixteen major supplements were added. They were known as the Nighantus, and helped refine existing Ayurvedic practices. New drugs were discovered, new diseases were defined and new treatments emerged. More than 2000 plants and herbs with healing properties were identified in these supplements. The original texts were also revised: the Charaka Samhita of Dridhabala in the 4th century and the Sushruta Samhita of Nagarjuna in the 8th Century. Ayurveda grew over time and now consists of eight specialized branches, very much in line with modern western medicine. These eight specialized branches are:
• Kaya cikitsa: general medicine; Research of symptoms and methods of healing.
• Bala cikitsa: pediatrics and obstetrics.
•Graha cikitsa: psychiatry, treatment of psychological disorders..
• Urdhvannga cikitsa: otolaryngology and ophthalmology.
• Salya cikitsa: surgery, treatment of pathological changes..
• Damstra cikitsa: toxicology and poisoning.
• Jara cikitsa: geriatrics, treatment of aging and rejuvenation.
• Vrsa cikitsa: sexology, treatment of impotence.
Ayurveda in India is taught at universities. There are distinguished undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral studies as in allopathic medicine.
The theory of Panchabuthas.To understand Ayurveda we have to know its basic principles: In Ayurveda, the five elements are philosophical concepts rather than elements in the scientific sense of the word. They are the basic principles of the universe and, as such, the primary components of all living beings. The 5 elements in Ayurveda are:
• Earth, the principle of inertia..
• Water, the principle of cohesion.
• Fire, the principle of radiance.
• The wind, the principle of vibration.
• Ether, the principle of omnipresence.
These elements can be assigned to different regions of the body and connected to one of the five senses. Every two of them manifests in a Dosha.