The Vedas (the 4 most sacred books of Hindus, seen as the knowledge that has been "proved" to the seven Rishis) were the first orders to be transcribed in writing in the world. According to sources, the first - the Rig-veda - have been transcribed between 1800 and 1500 BC, others say it dates from 3000 BC, others say since "time immemorial" ...

Then there are four Vedas :

  • Rig-Veda or Veda of verses,
  • Sama-Veda or Veda of melodies, reproduced hymns of Rigveda,
  • Yajur-Veda oor Vedic formulas repeated in a voice whispered,
  • Atharva-Veda or Veda of magic and conspiratorial formulas

The Vedas contain hymns, prayers, spells, rituals, incantations, etc.. but also data of a more scientific, they are the foundation that enabled ancient India to be so successful in mathematics, astronomy, medicine ...


Among these four Vedas, Atharva is considered the mother of Ayurveda. Similarly, Ayurveda it is considered the upaveda o the Atharva (secondary veda). The Atharva Veda refers to various medicinal plants, to places where they are found, their therapeutic value but also how it actually cures. Moreover, we find in this veda, sections on art, literature, martial arts, the rules of life, music ...

These messages thus indicate that Ayurveda is the earliest form of medical science of humanity, here more than 5000 years (? For the accuracy of dates, let's fancy it for true...).


Our Western medicine have much in common with Ayurveda.

Hippocrates himself, considered the pioneer of Western medicine has studied the theory of Ayurveda and developed it through his own system.

Many terms used in our modern medicine are derived from Ayurvedic nomenclature, such as the heart which comes from the Sanskrit Hrit, the brain of  Siro Brahma, the cerebellum has Veloma Siro. It is well recognized as specialties such as anatomy, pharmacy and surgery come from Iran, Mesopotamia and Assyria, but in fact these countries have themselves learned it in India.

 

At the time of Alexander the Great invaded India, the cities of Thakshasila, Kasi Ujjayani and Vidarbha were very famous for their schools. In effect, these cities had already developed very hospitals with medical schools, which receive many foreign students, including from Greece. Alexander took with him many doctors who studied in India antidotes against snake bites and a host of other remedies. On the other hand, a number of Indian doctors were enlisted in his army.

It is between the sixth century BC and fourth century AD that the knows its Ayurveda's golden age, periods of many scholars and authors of medical books. Not only humans but also animals such as elephants and horses, and also the plants were treated by different branches of Ayurveda.

The Palakapya Samhitha and Shalihothra Samhitha, for example, explain respectively how to best care for elephants and horses.


Charaka, Susrutha and Vagbhata are among the most famous authors who wrote about Ayurveda. They are also called the Triad of Ancients.

Charaka is considered the creator of general medicine and Susrutha as the father of surgery and as an initiator of cosmetic surgery. Vagbhata wrote Ashtanga Samgraha, where he explains the importance of these two areas and lists various theories to enrich the text with the eight specialties of Ayurveda. These three writers lived at different times.

 

1. Susrutha
It is assumed that Susrutha lived in Benares in India between 700 and 350 BC. In his book, Susrutha-Samithi, it treats all aspects of treatment, including precise information on medicinal plants and preparations within the composition of medicines. Susrutha is also known for its high surgical skills and anatomy. He gave a detailed dissection of the human body and how to preserve bodies. In this treaty, Susrutha explains in detail the special surgical tools. Currently, modern surgery is still following the procedures described by Susrutha

2. Charaka
The proponent of modern medicine has lived in the 1st century AD and studied general medicine at the Institute Athereya. He is the author of the classic Ayurveda Charaka Samhitha, rewrite Agnivesa Tantra, but also includes comments specific to Charaka. This is very well known for his contributions to medicine but also for his profound philosophy

3. Vagbhata
Vagbhata should have lived in the 4th century AD. He is a disciple of the Buddha Chakyamuni and wrote two books, Ashtanga Samgraha and Ashtanga Hridaya. Vagbhata has traveled throughout India and in Kerala it shortly before his death, he wrote the Ashtanga Hridaya. There are eight families, known as the Ashatavaidyas, inheritors of this knowledge and tried to develop Ayurveda in Kerala.

Of course there were many other authors who have written books on Ayurveda, or articles or comments on the Acharyas just been cited. They rely for most of them on their own experiences. Here are a few :

Madhavakara,
better known by his nickname Madhavanidana, he lived in the 7th century AD and wrote the Rugvinichaya focused on medical diagnostics. The author describes the causes, symptoms and prognosis of diseases. This book is considered a benchmark for Nidana (diagnosis).

Sarngadhara
The scientist of the 13th century AD is the author of Sarngadhara Samhitha, an authentic text on pharmacology. It deals with methods of preparation, dosage of drugs but also Nadi Pariksha, that is to say, the diagnosis of disease by measuring the pulse of patients. In this book, it is also about the use of opium as well as the description of the respiratory system.

Bhavamishra
He wrote a dictionary called Bhavaprakash, which lists the virtues and effects of medicinal plants. Thus we find in this book remedies against syphilis, which occurred in India with the Portuguese merchants. At the time of the Buddha, the surgery is much criticized because it ran counter to the principle of non-violence (ahimsa). Thus, at this period, Ayurveda is growing thanks to drug discovery based mineral assets.

The many invasions of India before its independence eventually affected the dominance of Ayurveda in surgery.

Indeed, at that time, modern medicine made its appearance in India and there built many hospitals and universities to teach and practice at the expense of Ayurveda.

But this science or knowledge of life survives despite everything, thanks to his inner strength and some results alopathique that medicine can not solve. According to ancient writings, Ayurveda is destined to endure through the ages and centuries.

Now that the universal communication became easier, thanks to internet and telecoms, there is no doubt that Ayurveda will take place in our ways of preventing disease as well as alternative healing, all for the benefit of magnified harmony between man and his environment.

 

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