About Ayurveda

AyurvedaThe word ayurveda has been coined by the conjunction of two Sanskrit words, “ayur” meaning life and “Veda” meaning knowledge. The word together means the knowledge of life. In ayurveda the process of ayur (life) is considered as a combined state of body (sharira), senses (indriya), psyche (mana) and soul (atma). Ayurveda not only consists of natural scientific methodology of medication but also provides the way of life.

During the course of time Ayurveda, became the science of life, which has its root in ancient Vedic literature and encompasses our entire self .

In other words ayurveda helps us to understand the things which should be followed in accordance to prolong one”s life & to promote healthy living as well as it also warns us against the hazardous effects of the different dravyas, their gunas & karmas that may lead to unhealthy  living & that may decrease the life span of an individual.

Now we should  move towards the aim of ayurveda—

“PRAYOJANAM CHASYA –  SWASTHASYA SWASTHA RAKSHANAM

                                              AATURASYA VIKARPRASHAMANAM CHA” (CH.SM.SU. 30/26)

According  to charak samhita (an ancient ayurveda text) ayurveda has two main objectives

1st  is ‘swasthasya swasthya rakshanam”   i.e. to help the healthy person to protect & maintain his swasthya ( wellness).

2nd is “aaturasya vikar prashamanam”  i.e. to help a diseased person to become healthy & to stay healthy forever.

Therapeutics is not strictly related to dravya chikitsa i.e. treatment with medicines but also to the form of bhava chikitsa i.e. treatment without medicines and in the form of achar rasayan (good conducts both personal as well as social).

Ayurveda has not restricted itself as the path, which treats diseases but being the science of life has covered all the aspects necessary to maintain health and to restore it when inflicted with a disease.

Charak has specified  that ignorance is no excuse and we have to take pains to learn and to follow various rules and regulations to remain healthy.

These rules and regulations are nothing but guidelines to remain fit, refrain from diseases and lead a healthy life. These guidelines have been mentioned under the topic of swasthavrutta.

Despite of all the preventive measures if we suffer from a disease we should be able to known the probable causes of that disease and the probable fallacies on our part in following the rules and regulations put before us in the form of the first objective.

Ignorance will  lead to disease and it is here that the second objective of aaturasya vikara prashaman comes into picture.

 

ASHTANG AYURVEDA

Ayurveda was written in eight parts popularly known as the ashtang ayurveda.

“TASYA AYURVEDASYA ANGANYAASHTO- TADYTHA KAYACHITIKSA, SHALAKYAM, SHALYAAPHRITKAM, VISHGARVAIRODHI PRASHAMANAM, BHOOTVIDYA, KAUMARBHRITYAKAM, RASAYANAM, VAJIKARNAMITI.”(CH.SM.SU. 30/28)

“SHALYA, SHALAKYAM, KAYACHIKIYSA, BHOOTVIDYA, KAUMARBHRITYAM, AGADTANTRAM, RASAYANTANTRAM, VAJIKARNATANTRAM ITI (SU.SM.SU.1/7)”

The writings that relate to Ashtang Ayurveda provide an introductory information of the eight branches of Ayurveda, namely: Surgery (Shalya), ENT with Ophthalmology (Shalakya), Medicine (Kaya), Bhoota, Gynac, Obstretics, Paediatrics (Kaumara), Medical jurisprudence and toxicology (Agada), Gerontology(Rasayan) and ScienceofAphrodiasic(Vajikarana)..

1)Shalya-  the word shalya refers to the things that cause discomfort to the body and the mind. Shalya is of two types, namely: shaarir (within the body) and agantuj (outisde thebody).

The shalya present inside the body is considered as the Shaarir Shalya.. Example: Unhealthy teeth, Hair, Nails, imbalanced doshas, dhatus and mala, abscess, tumor, fetus etc. Whereas agantuj are the shalya present outside the body. Example: Thorns, Stonepieces, ironpieces, dustparticles, worry etc.

It deals with the means such as Yantra (Tools), Shastra (Instruments), Kshara (Alkalies) and Agni (Fire) to remove the shalya in the body by different methods.

2)Shalakya- It deals with the diseases related to Nose, Ear, Throat and Eyes. In other words it deals with the disease of Urdhva Jatru region i.e diseases in the organs above the Clavicle(Jatru) &their treatment.

3)KayaChikitsa(Medicine/Therapeutics)-
it is the branch of Ayurved that deals with internal medicine. The treatment involved is called “Kayachikitsa”, where Kaya means “Agni “and Chikitsa means “treatment”.

It is noteable that the entire Ayurvedic therapeutics is based on this concept of Agni. The concept of Kaya (Agni) is unique and is responsible for bio-transformation.

As it is known that energy can neither be created nor it can be destroyed. In human body Kaya provides the necessary energy for all bodily activities. As energy can be changed from one form to another the living body derive energy from the food eaten and breathing air. Biological Kaya transforms this energy to the energy, which is utilized by our cells.

In simple words, the vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats etc. eaten are bio transformed by this Kaya to the bodily substances. As long as Kaya is proper all the activities in body are carried out smoothly. Any disturbance in Kaya causes imbalance in the homeostasis (equilibrium) and disturbs physiology which is nothing but the disease. In ayurveda therapeutics devotes to correction and maintenance of biological Kaya through the means of Mantra, Mani and Aushadhi.

Keeping in mind all the benefits of ayurveda it must be kept in mind that anything and everything that is herbal can not naturally become Ayurvedic medicine, but only the therapy which considers the above mentioned concepts of Ayurved qualifies to be called as Ayurvedic medicine.

4)Bhoota(Graha)- it is the branch of Ayurveda that deals with diseases acquired or inherited from apparently unknown causes. In modern terminology it can be considered as idiopathic diseases in which the exact cause of disease is unknown

According to Ayurveda, diseases are caused by affliction due to Deva, Asura, Gandharva, Yaksha, Rakshasa, Pitara, Pishacha, Naga and other bad demons or evils. The exact patho- physiology of these disorders is to be extensively researched.

5)Bala(Kaumara)- it is the branch of ayurveda that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases related to preconception, childbearing (Pregnancy), childbirth (delivery) and diseases of the children (Pediatrics).

6)Medical jurisprudence and toxicology (Agadatantra)- This branch  deals with the toxicological as well as medicolegal aspects of the treatment . It includes the treatment part of a disease that involves any poisonous substance or lethal chemicals. This branch is mainly related to toxins & their antivenoms.

7)Rasayanatantra-It is the branch of ayurveda that deals with various aspects of preventive health care. Without rasayana it is possible to gain neither oratory nor the desirable aura. It includes longevity, improved memory, health, youthfulness, glow, complexion, generosity, and strength of body and senses. Rasayana improves the metabolic activities and results in best possible bio- transformation leading to health.

8)Vajikaranatantra- it is the branch of ayurveda that deals with the sexual aspects. It includes medications for diseases related with reproduction namely spermatogenesis, aphrodisiacs etc.