Ayurveda, the traditional system of Indian medicine, the compound of āyus "long life" and veda "knowledge", would roughly translate as the "Science of a long Life”, is attributed to Dhanvantari, the physician to the gods in Hindu mythology, who received it from Brahma.
The important Ayurveda texts Charaka Samhita analyse the human body in terms of the 5 elements -Pancha mahabhootha – earth, water, fire, air & ether, & also the 3 bodily humours –Vata (wind,) Pita ( bile) & Kapha(phlegm). Ayurveda aims at maintaining the health of the healthy and cures the ailments of the sick. To prevent illness, Ayurveda emphasizes on hygiene, exercise, herbal preparations & yoga. To cure ailments, it relies on herbal medicines, massages & diet. Ayurveda medicine is a popular form of health care in India. Ayurveda has also gained popularity in the West as a form of alternative medicine. Ayurveda is also one among the few traditional systems of medicine involving surgery.
Although documented references to the precise time of the origin of Ayurveda are not available, its age has been established based on correlating the evidence with other disciplines. The system was orally transferred through the Gurukula system until a script came into existence. The earliest scripts would have been written on perishable materials- Tali Ola. Ayurveda has always been preserved by the people of India as a traditional “life saver’, despite increasing adoption of European medical techniques during the time of British rule.
Hinduism attributes the genesis of Ayurveda to several theories in which the knowledge is believed to have been passed on from being to being, initially, through its realization by the divine sages, and gradually into the human sphere by a complex system of mnemonics. Details of Ayurvedic traditions vary between writers, as is expected when oral traditions are transcribed from multiple sources. The earliest authors of Ayurvedic manuscripts recorded divergent forms of the tradition
Following Emperor Ashoka’s banning of any bloodshed in his kingdom, many Ayurveda practitioners, who were practicing surgery along with medicine, left the surgical intervention and adopted totally new medicinal treatments. During the regime of Chandragupta Maurya , Ayurveda was part of mainstream Indian medical techniques, and continued to be so until the invasion of the English.
The scholar Vagbhata, lived in the beginning of the 7th century A.D., wrote a synthesis of earlier Ayurvedic materials in a collection of verses called the Ashtanga Hridayam.Madhava Nidanam (widely considered the best Ayurvedic book for the diagnosis), Bhaishajya Ratnavally as pharmacopia and Bhavaprakasha Nigandu as Materia medica of Ayurveda. After a fall in the practice of Ayurveda during the British regime; a gradual recognition of value of Ayurveda returned during the democrat rule . Today Ayurvedic hospitals and practitioners are flourishing throughout all of India,especially in Kerala State.Despite the predominance of European medical techniques, people of India have always preserved Ayurveda as a traditional "science of life". The production and marketing of Ayurvedic herbal medicines has dramatically increased over the years, and today, Ayurvedic medicines are available throughout the world.
Ayurveda operates on the precept that various materials of vegetable and animal have medicinal value. The medicinal properties of these materials have been documented by the practitioners and have been used for centuries to cure illness and/or help maintain good health. Ayurvedic medicaments are made from herbs or mixtures of herbs, either alone or in combination with other ingredients of animal origin.