History of Ayurveda

The most important and massive ancient compilation of the School of Medicine is known as Charka Samhita. It contains several chapters dealing at length with therapeutic or internal medicine. About 600 drugs of plant, animal and mineral origin are described in it. Besides, this compendium also deals with other branches of Ayurveda like anatomy, physiology, aetiology, prognosis, pathology, treatment and medicine etc.

An equally exhaustive ancient compilation, Sushruta Samhita exists relating to school of surgery. It deals primarily with various fundamental principles and theory of surgery. More than 100 kinds of surgical instruments including scalpels, scissors, forceps, specula etc. are described along with their use in this valuable document. Dissection and operative procedures are explained making use of vegetables and dead animals. Descriptions of how to go about doing incision, excision, extraction and bandaging etc. are detailed in this compendium. In addition, this document also mentions of such other topics as anatomy, embryology, toxicology and therapeutics. It also has a mention of about 650 drugs.

In course of time Ayurveda, which started as a magico-religious practice, matured into a fully developed medical science with eight branches which have parallels in the modern western system of medicine. The growth of these eight specialties gave Ayurveda another name of Astanga Ayurveda. In the last 50 years of development in the teaching and training, it has developed into following sixteen specialties .
1. Ayurveda Siddhanta (Fundamental Principals of Ayurveda).
2. Ayurveda Samhita.
3. Rachna Sharira (Anatomy).
4. Kriya Sharira (Physiology).
5. Dravya Guna Vigian (Materia Medica & Pharmacology).
6. Ras-shastra.
7. Bhaishajya Kalpana (Pharmaceuticals).
8. Kaumar Bharitya (Peduatrics).
9. Prasuti Tantra (Obstetrics & Gynaecology).
10.Swasth-Vritla (Social & Preventive Medicine).
11.Kayachikitsa (Internal Medicine).
12.Rog Nidan (Pathology).
13.Shalya Tantra (Surgery).
14.Shalkya Tantra (Eye & ENT).
15.Mano-Roga (Psychiatry)

Source: Dpt. Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy

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