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Ayurvedic Medicine. by Eileen Ethier. Description. Broad system of medical doctrine and practices Preventative and Curative Aspects Advice on aspects of daily life Cleaning teeth Diet Exercise and regimen. Definition.

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ayurvedic medicine

Ayurvedic Medicine


Eileen Ethier

  • Broad system of medical doctrine and practices
  • Preventative and Curative Aspects
  • Advice on aspects of daily life
    • Cleaning teeth
    • Diet
    • Exercise and regimen
  • Ayurveda can be translated from Sanskrit as the “knowledge or science of life.”
  • It is called ‘ayurveda’ because it tells us (vedayati) which substances,qualities, and actions are life enhancing and (aursuya) which are not.
  • Ayurvedic medicine focuses on achieving optimal health through the integration of mind and body with nature
  • Designed for the needs of each individual and include:
  • yoga, meditation & breathing exercises
  • diet
  • internal cleansings
  • herbal preparations
  • aromatherapy
  • massage
  • Practitioners are also familiar with:
  • Climatolgy
  • Psychology
  • Astrology
  • Gem therapy
  • Sound therapy
  • Color therapy
  • Ayurveda is possibly the oldest medical system in the world
  • It originated in the Indus River Valley approximately 5,000 years ago
indus age
Indus Age
  • Population was nature-oriented
  • Agriculture provided a stable economy
  • Trade flourished
  • Merchant class ruled
  • Urbanized & sophisticated culture
  • City-states shared a pictographic script & system of weights and measures
indus age1
Indus Age
  • Well developed sewage system and bathing facilities led to sanitary conditions and literature of the time reveals a strong emphasis on hygiene
  • During this time the wise sages gathered in the foothills of the Himalayas and directed their attention to disease and its consequences for humanity
indus age2
Indus Age
  • They left civilization to gain the peace and serenity they needed for their group meditation and to attain the knowledge they sought
  • This is where Ayurveda began
vedic age
Vedic Age
  • Early Aryans were semi-nomadic
  • Kept large herds of cattle
  • Engaged in agriculture
  • Religion was nature based
  • No temples, prayers consisted of mantras
  • No awareness of caste
vedic age1
Vedic Age
  • People rather than land were considered the society’s strength
  • Warriors ruled society and priests performed rituals for protection
  • The first of the four Vedas, the Rig Veda was believed to have been composed during this time
the vedas
The Vedas
  • Described the origin of the universe
  • Described the natural world
  • Described the human race
  • Described the social order
rig veda
Rig Veda
  • Collection of more than 1,000 poetic hymns
  • Provides the basic concepts for all the other Vedas
  • Contains most aspects of Vedic science
    • Yoga
    • Meditation
    • Mantra
    • Ayurveda
other vedas
Other Vedas
  • Sama Veda - puts musical chant to the Rig Veda hymns
  • Yazur Veda - deals with yoga rituals and sacrifices for purifying the mind and awakening consciousness
  • Atharva Veda - literature containing chants and incantations to ward off evil, misfortune, and disease
all vedas have two parts
All Vedas Have Two Parts
  • The mantra - consists of prayer and praise to the Absolute
  • The brahmana - a set of detailed directions to follow in the ceremonies at which the mantras were used
other components of vedas
Other Components of Vedas
  • Anranyakas - secret & mystical explanations of the rituals
  • The Upanishads - the basic philosophical tenets of Ayurveda
earliest texts
Earliest Texts
  • Caraka Samhita
    • English translation is over 1,000 pages
  • Susruta Samhita
    • English translation is over 1,700 pages
  • Bhela Samhita
    • Not yet translated
  • The Sanskrit word samhita means ’compendium’
basic tenets of chraka
Basic Tenets of Chraka
  • Chraka contains classifications of diseases
  • Sections related to:
    • herbs
    • nutrition
    • embryology & anatomy
basic tenets of susruta
Basic Tenets of Susruta
  • Susruta contain descriptive surgical techniques:
    • eye surgery
    • removal of foreign bodies
    • plastic surgery on the face
eight specialties in the samhitas
Eight Specialties in the Samhitas
  • Internal medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychological medicine
  • Ophthalmology
  • General & Specialized Surgery
  • Toxicology
  • Geriatrics
  • Eugenics and Aphrodisiacs
indicators of good health
Indicators of Good Health
  • All 3 doshas are in balance
  • All bodily tissues are functioning properly
  • All 5 senses are functioning normally
  • Normal elimination of waste products
  • The channels of the body are unimpeded
  • Perfect harmony of min, body and consciousnes, individual is happy
  • Chraka - Associated with Northwest India
  • Susruta - Composed in Benares
  • Exact date of compositions not known
  • May date back to the time of Buddha (4th century BC)
  • Sanskrit texts available today represent work of the latter Ist millennium AD
  • Chraka & Susruta considered cornerstone texts of Ayurveda
  • The texts explicitly state that they have been edited, supplemented,and partially rewritten by later authors
  • Chraka popular in Northern India
  • Susruta popular in Southern India
  • Reasons - geographical distribution of surviving manuscripts, and by the location of surviving living traditions of orally transmitted medical literature
medicines found in samhitas
Medicines found in Samhitas
  • An array of animal vegetable, and mineral substances
    • Animal - the urine, milk, flesh, fat, and blood of several animals such as horses, goats, elephants, camels, cows, and sheep
    • Plants - the seeds, flowers, fruit, tree bark, and leaves
    • Mineral - various gems, silver, copper, salt, clay, tin , lead, gold, and sulphur
chraka oath of initiation
Chraka Oath of Initiation
  • Comparable to Hippocratic Oath
  • Rite of Initiation
    • live a celibate life
    • speak the truth
    • eat a vegetarian diet
    • total confidentiality of privileged information
    • work night & day for relief of his patients
    • Be free of envy and never carry firearms
chraka oath of initiation1
Chraka Oath of Initiation
  • Rite of Initiation
    • complete subjugation to his teacher, except where this would be in conflict with higher ethical values
    • never desert or take sexual advantage of patients
    • with hold treatment from enemies of the king, generally wicked people & women unattended by husbands or guardians
    • visited patients’ homes with an acquaintance
theoretical foundation
Theoretical Foundation
  • Based on a doctrine of 3 bodily humors
    • wind
    • bile
    • phlegm
  • Theory is comparable to Hippocrates and Galen
  • Medicines are mainly herbal
emphasis on moderation
Emphasis on Moderation
  • Intake of food
  • Sleep
  • Exercise
  • Sex
  • Dosage of Medicines
  • It is important to stay within the limits of reasonable measure and balance
in practice
In Practice
  • Diagnostic & practical aspects depended on through knowledge of Sanskrit texts
  • Memorization of large amounts of material and verse associated with the 3 humors
  • Examining patient and their symptoms recalled verses that encapsulated the condition confronting him
in practice1
In Practice
  • These triggered further recollection of verses and presented a prognosis and treatment
  • A wide range of substances,qualities, and actions offered the Ayurvedic physician an excellent combination of freedom to act and structure within which to exercise choice
in practice2
In Practice
  • To be good at Ayurveda required years of training
  • Required native intelligence and sensitivity
  • Physicians were judged by reputation alone
  • Sanskrit literature contains satrical passage about ill-qualified practioners
susruta samhita surgery
Susruta Samhita & Surgery
  • Extensive chapters on surgery
  • Describes how surgeons should be trained
  • Tells exactly how to perform operations
  • Claims surgery is most effective of 8 branches of medical knowledge
  • Little evidence of these practices persisted beyond the time of the text
decline of surgery
Decline of Surgery
  • Some may have existed as caste skills, separated from mainstream Ayurvedic practice
  • Surgical instruments did not survive
  • Later literature shows no evidence of procedures performed by Susruta
  • Caste taboos forbidding physical contact
decline of surgery1
Decline of Surgery
  • Examination of pulse and urine gained popularity
  • Massage therapies gained popularity
  • Evidence seems to indicate that early surgical practices were an isolated phenomenon
the practice of ayurveda
The Practice of Ayurveda
  • A good physician tries to first discover a patient’s strengths before looking for weakness, hoping to use the former to counteract the later
  • All physicians must constantly radiated curative energy toward their patients
  • Faith & hope must be continually reinforced by physician
  • Ayurvedic medicine takes into consideration the different mind/body types based on the three doshas within the body
  • Vatta - principle of movement
  • Pitta -heat & metabolism
  • Kapha - structure & solidity
ayurvedic assessment
Ayurvedic Assessment
  • Assessment of patient
  • Assessment of disease
  • Areas examined
    • pulse
    • site of disease
    • digestion
    • general metabolism
    • eyes & tongue
    • tactile response
other considerations
Other Considerations
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Dietary habits
  • The season
ayuvedic practices forbidden
Ayuvedic Practices Forbidden
  • Ruling Medieval class forbid Ayurvedic medical practices
  • Alternate systems replaced Ayurveda
  • Further declined when Moslems invaded
  • Censored by British rulers
  • Revitalization when British left
  • Maharishi Mahesh Yogi promoted global renewal
contemporary ayurveda
Contemporary Ayurveda
  • There are 5 leading journals in India
  • There are 120 teaching institutes
  • There are 246,800 registered Ayurvedic practitioners
  • There are 4,769 licensed pharmacies manufacturing Ayurvedic medicines
  • On the surface the future seems bright, BUT
critical appraisal
Critical Appraisal
  • A true revival of Ayurveda is impeded by Western scientific paradigms which forces Asian societies to accept modern science and technology as the universal, well established system. Therefore they must legitimate their practice in terms of Western standards.