The history of medicine is as old as humanity itself as the civilizations advanced various health systems developed in different parts of globe like Egypt, Babylonian and India. While the exact origin time period is not known being considered as fifth Veda, Ayurveda seems to be originated way back at 5000 BC. The literal meaning of Ayurveda is ‘Ayu’, meaning life and ‘Veda’, meaning science or knowledge. Ayurveda is more than mere a system of treating illness it is a way of living life.
The purpose of Ayurveda is beautifully described by Charak Samihta
- To protect health and prolong life ("Swasthyas swasthya rakshanam")
- To eliminate diseases and dysfunctions of the body ("Aturasya vikar prashamanamcha")
The five elements of nature air, fire, water, earth and ether are represented in living being as three energies or DOSHAS: VATA, PITTA and Kapha.
Health and Disease
The definition of Health given by World Health Organization is
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Thousand years back the Ayurvedic seers gave following definition of being healthy
“Health is combination of equilibrium of Doshas (functional principles); normal state of Dhatus (body tissues), Malas (excreta) and Agni (principles responsible for digestion and metabolism); normalcy of Indriyas (sensory and motor faculties); clarity and pleasure of mind; and pleasure of soul (a state of absolute pleasure unaffected by a loss or a gain)”.
While the modern medicine included the social, mental and physical wellbeing of person, Ayurveda went a step ahead to include spiritual and balance in metabolic state of body as complete health.
sama dosha sama agnishcha samadhatu mala kriyaaha|
Prasanna atma mana indriyaha swastha iti abhidheeyate ||
samamāṃsapramāṇastu samasaṃhanano naraḥ|
dṛḍhendriyo vikārāṇāṃ na balenābhibhūyate||18||
samapaktā samajaraḥ samamāṃsacayo mataḥ||19||
Charak Samhita Sutra 21/18
The principles of Prakruti, Panchkarma, Pathya/Apathay, Dincharya and Ritucharya guides one to attain complete health according to Ayurveda.