नमामि धन्वन्तरिमादिदेवं सुरासुरैर्वन्दितपादपन्भम्।
लोके जरारुम्भयमृतयुनाशं, दातरमीशं विविधौषधीनाम्।।
1. Ayurveda is such a science which offers its self explanatory concepts about the homeostasis of human. The diagnosis, pathology, special functions, study of matter i.e. dravya, and the medicinal aspect; means the bacteriostatic managements and bacteriocidal management; and the concepts about the diagnosis of diseases are independent and unique
2. The tradition of Ayurveda in India is everlasting. Various references from Veda and Ayurveda indicate that it is Upaveda of Atharvaveda. Some existing scholars assume Ayurveda to be a fifth Veda.
3. It is not needed to mention in history of medicine that India was at such a level in medicinal treatment that it could not be competed by any other country.
4. The sprouting seeds possess nutriments for the future offspring; the human infant is provided with breast milk of mother; the human in similar fashion is provided with every kind of medicine before his birth
Brahma who created entire universe was responsible to compose science of Ayurveda before He created the living beings. In Ayurveda various medicines required for living beings are described. Human was a very crude being in the prime days; was sustained eating various vegetables and parts of plant. He had not developed ‘taste’ of food then. However with advent of life he got indulged in ‘taste’. It was then that a human started cooking food in various ways and styles. He also started adding various sweet or sour items to food while cooking. Raw plant food when was turned into cooked food was actually responsible to introduce various kinds of pathological deviations in human physiology.
Veda compendia described origin of universe and also described medicinal plants simultaneously. When somatmaka yandya i.e. water cycling was introduced, creation of various medicinal plants and vegetables, and various matters was described in compendia. The prime animal which took birth of earth was unicellular amoeba, followed by animals with spinal cord, then fish, lizards and snakes, wild terrestrials and ultimately the mammalians including humans.
Sushruta-Samhia mentions in very beginning that commencing of sprouting medicinal plant took place far before
Atharvaveda describes approximately 288 medicinal plants, 8 minerals, and 10 animal oriented medicines. Charaka-Samhita describes about 1800 medicines, Sushruta-Samhita offers about 573 medicines along with synonyms counted as 1779 medicines and their therapeutic uses. Ashtanga-Hrudaya describes about 902 medicines. The nighantus (Indian Materia Medica) thereafter present 2671 plants, 58 minerals, and 130 biological products.
Presently accepted Ayurvedic compendia are Charaka-Samhita, Sushruta- Samhita, Ashtanga-Hrudaya etc
Definition of Ayurveda
हिताहितं सुख दुःखमायुस्तस्य हिताहितम्।
मानं च तच्च यत्रोक्तमायुर्वेदः सः उच्यते॥
च. सू. 1.41
Characteristics of healthy, unhealthy, happy, unhappy life and the guidance to lead healthy and happy life is described in compendia that is called Ayurveda.
In Rugveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda the path towards heaven is described but Ayurveda – upaveda of Atharvaveda or fifth Veda, shows ways to live long
Aims and Objectives of Ayurveda
स्वस्थस्य स्वास्थ्यरक्षणं आतुरसय विकारप्रशमनं च।
The primary aim of Ayurveda is to sustain the homeostatic condition of a human being. This is followed by the diagnosis of the diseases.
This proves that the science is not a medical management; it is an art of living of human. It provides all details of prophylactic as well as curative measures required for human diseases.
Ayurveda science is part and parcel of Veda literature. It is for this reason that the scientist today does accept Veda references without any doubt. This is the reason to re-establish Ayurveda as perfect art of living for human or to accept it as authentic science. Ayurvedic definitions are short and condense and compared to emphatic and elaborative knowledge of today’s differentiated medical knowledge; Ayurveda proves to be far superior in fundamental principles.
Definition of ‘swastha’
समदोषः समाग्निश्च समधातुमलक्रियः।
प्रसन्नात्मेन्दियमनः स्वस्थ इत्यभिधीयते॥
As long as the three dosha in body are in balance with each other, the health is maintained. It is needed for the health that agni, mala and dhatu metabolism be within physiological limits.
Last few years modern medical science defines health in parallel words. However Ayurveda realised it some few thousand years ago that only physical health is not sufficient parameter of health but psychological health, alert functioning organs and sense organs play significant role in sustaining health.
WHO accepted this some years back. This is a matter of pride for Ayurveda.
Definition of appropriate treatment or chikitsa in view point of Ayurveda
Sage Shri Punarvasu Atreya states in Charaka-Samhita
याभिः क्रियाभिर्जायन्ते शरीर धातवः समः।
सा चिकित्सा विकाराणां कर्म तदा भिषजां स्मृतम्॥
The procedure by which the dhatu or tissue, dosha and mala get restored in homeostatic condition after pacifying the pathological effect is called ‘chikitsa’ and this is performed by Ayurvedic physician
General management of physical and psychological diseases
प्रशाम्यत्यौषधेः पूर्वो दैक्युक्तिष्यपाश्रयेः|
मानसो ज्ञान विज्ञान धैर्य स्मृति समाधिभिः॥
च. सू. 1.58
The physical diseases are taken care by the belief in fate and belief in the technique of management of diseases; the psychological diseases are taken care of by knowledge, special learning, patience, increment of memory and meditation
When treatment is given in accordance to the desha, kala, vaya, prakruti, satmya, matra and various forms of drugs are used like bhasma, rasa, churna, vati, along with appropriate diet; it is called ‘yuktivyapashraya chikitsa’
Three types of diseases are described in Ayurveda:
Due to unhealthy diet the doshaja diseases get precipitated.
Due to diseases induced in spite of observing regimes of day, night, and season are karmaja
The diseases with less etiological factors are doshakarmaja
औषधं अनभिज्ञातं नामरुपगुणैस्त्रिभिः।
विज्ञातं चापि दुर्युक्तमनर्थायोपपघते॥
Unknown or non indicative treatment is harmful to the patient
यथा विषं शस्त्र यथाग्निरशनिर्यथा।
ततौषधं विज्ञातं विज्ञानममृतयथा॥
Unknown medicine is so harmful that it is compared to poison, weapon, fire or instrument of Indra. Opposite one i.e. known medicine may act as nectar, which is a life saver.
तदैव युक्तं भैषजां सदारोग्याय कल्पते।
स चैव भिषजां श्रेष्ठो रोगभ्यो य प्रमोचयेत्॥
Health fetching medicine is always superior in drugs; and the human who cures the patient is always superior
Basic principles of physiological and psychological reflexes:
Dharaniya reflexes are those, which should be controlled and Adharaniya reflexes are those, which should not be controlled.
During the life and beyond life also one should control his mind, speech, adventure, from untoward happenings.
लौभशोक भयक्रोध मनोवेगान् विचारयेत्।
च. सू. 7.17
If the mental reactions are controlled, the individual is saved of any psychological disorders.
The reflexes which should not be controlled are 13 as per Charaka statement. These are physical in nature and if controlled generated some kind of pathological changes in body.
वेगान्नधारयेद् वातविण्मूत्रक्षवतृट् क्षुधाम।
निद्राकासश्रम श्वास जृम्भाश्रुछर्दिरेतसाम्॥
अ.हृ. सू 5
For better Ayurvedic diagnosis and treatment physical examination is suggested in Ayurvedic compendia.
The statement of the sages is referred as below:
दूषयं देशं बलं कालमनलं प्रकृति वयः।
सत्वं सात्म्यं तथाहारमवस्थाश्च पृथग्विधा॥
सूक्ष्मामिसूक्ष्माः समीक्ष्येषां दोषौषध निरुपणे।यो
वर्तते चिकित्सायां न स स्वखलितजातुचित्॥
For successful treatment the physical examination should be thorough and methodical.
Three pillars of life (ahara-nidra-brahmacharya i.e. diet-sleep-abstinence)
If the individual is careful to manage these three things within physiological limits, he remains stable, healthy and powerful body. The house has two kinds of pillars namely chief pillars and supportive pillars. Similarly physical body is like house for soul and vata pitta kapha are chief pillars and ahara-nidra- brahmacharya are supportive pillars
Diet or ahara
In supporting pillars of life Ayurved takes ahara i.e. food, as one of the principle pillar. Life cannot be sustained without food, which is responsible for producing dhatus of the body, dosha of the body and creating rasa.
प्राणाः प्राणभूतानामन्नमन्नम् लोकोमिधावति।
वर्णः प्रसाद सौस्वर्थ जीवितं प्रतिमा सुखम्॥
तुष्टि: पुष्टि: बलं मेधा सर्वमन्ने प्रतिष्ठितम्॥
च. सू. 27
Sleep or nidra
The sages suggest that a living being is needed to be restored his energy after heavy work and this happens in sleep. If the living being is regular in his sleep and other physiological functions, mostly fifty percent diseases stay away.
निद्रायत्तं सुखं दु:खं पुष्टि:काशर्य बलाबलम्।
अ.हृ. सू 7
Abstinence or brahmacharya
It is to control sexual indulgence. Ultimate conversion of diet or ahara is shukra and to retain this form in body one has to obstinate. The sexual indulgence is mainly for the progeny only.
Following diseases are precipitated due to over indulgence in sexual activities.
शूलकास ज्वरश्वास काशर्य पाण्डवामथस क्षया: ॥
सु. चि. 24
Concept about diet or ahara
तच्च नित्यं प्रयुंजीत स्वास्थयं येन अनुवर्तते।
अजातानां विकभूणानुत्पति करं च यत्॥
The diet should possess such qualities as to sustain the health and prevent the diseases. The diet should be balanced and modern medical science also accepts it. Modern dietician holds special degree and his place in clinical work.
If these natural reflexes are controlled or suppressed, it is not good for the homeostatic condition of human. In spite of maintaining the healthy diet the health will not be maintained in such cases.
Charak-Samhita has guided a few rules about the ‘virudha’ diet as follows:
i. Desha virudha – diet should be taken in accordance to geographical conditions
ii. Kala virudha – diet should be taken in accordance to seasonal changes – like cool food items should be avoided in winter and hot ones in summer
iii. Agni virudha – diet should taken in accordance to digestive power
iv. Matra virudha – any two particular items, for example honey and ghee should not be taken in equal proportion
v. Satmya virudha – diet should be taken in accordance to the body constitution
vi. Dosha virudha – diet should be taken in accordance to the predominance of dosha constitution vii. Sanskara virudha – various processes used before and during cooking food should be observed for benefit of the health – like keeping sour items in copper vessel is not good for health
viii. Koshtha virudha – eating food without thinking of fundamental principles or digestion of food
ix. Avastha virudha – individual possessing kapha dominant prakruti is generally lazy. If he eats diet to increase kapha he becomes more lazy
x. Karma virudha – individual not following rules to sustain digestive power – like eating food even when one is not hungry
xi. Parihara virudha – eating what one is prohibited to
xii. Upachara virudha – eating diet to increase that dosha which is being pacified by treatment
xiii. Paka virudha – eating diet which is not properly digested by the patient
xiv. Sanyoga virudha – food items which give opposite effect on body should not be mixed up; like milk is sweet and lemon is sour – these two items should not be mixed and eaten
xv. Hrudaya virudha – food relished by individual is not eaten – is called hrudaya virudha diet
xvi. Sampad virudha – food should be eaten as per the season demands of environment
xvii. Vidhi virudha – certain rules and regulations are laid by Ayurveda for eating food. One should follow them. Not to follow them is vidhi-virudha
Diseases due to virudha diet
Present era is in favour of fast food which attracts the young ones and children. Fast food is tasty hence is eaten more than required and is not capable of fulfilling the demands of body for nourishment. Pizza, burger, pastries, pattice, sandwich etc prove to be unhealthy for this reason and are not digested very well. Such items may bring obesity to body. Fast food therefore can be included in the category of ‘virudha diet’. Such virudha food leads to induce sterility in human, deafness, distended abdomen, insanity, allergic manifestations, leucoderma, acidity, edema, etc. It lessens the lustre and also the memory of human.
In view point of Ayurvedic dignitaries the individual remaining on healthy diet lives for 36000 nights / days or 100 years.
षटत्रिंशत् सहस्राणि रात्रीणां हित भोजन: ।
जीवन्त्यनातुरो जन्तु जितात्मा संमत: मतम्॥
नगरी नगरस्यैव रथस्यैव यथा।
स्वशरीरस्य मेधावी कृत्येष्वहितो भवम्॥
च. सू. 6.103
For observation of daily physical functions, this is an alert for regularity. The head looks after his subordinates and the driver is alert about the driving vehicle; similarly the wise person is alert about sustaining the health.
व्याधिक्षमत्वं व्याधिबलं विरोधत्वं।
व्याध्युत्पाद प्रतिबंधकत्वमिति यावत्।
This power is body defence against the epidemics and other diseases.
Increment in this power reduces ability of the diseases to encroach body. Due to balanced body functions the health gets retained. Therefore it is also called ‘sukhasaudnyaka’. The sages state:
विकारो धातुवैषम्यं साम्यं प्रकृतिरुच्यते।
सिखसंज्ञकमारोग्यं विकारो दु:खमेव च॥
An individual can protect himself only with the power to fight the diseases. It is still to be decided what the exact defence of body is. It is unknown how some people escape heavy epidemics and some get submitted to sever manifestations and even face death. Some people never observe any regime and yet keep healthy whereas some people observe every rule and regulation of health maintenance and yet become victims of diseases.
Fundamental principles of treatment in purview of Ayurveda
1. Ideal physician 2. Ideal drug 3. Ideal nursing staff 4. Ideal patient
Four attributes of each of the abovementioned categories are described; out of which those of ideal physician and drug are as follows:
- He should be genuine in his knowledge
- Should have physically witnessed practical and clinical medicine
- Should be decisive in any emergency Should be holy in nature and humble Ideal drug
- Should be available
- Should be efficient in curing the diseases
- Should be available in various forms like – powder, jell, extracts, pills, decoction, oil, capsule etc
- Should possess all chief attributes required for a proper drug – in Ayuvedic technical terms – rasa, veerya, vipaka, etc. and should not be plucked from cemeteries, road, temple or dirty places.