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History of Medicine in Ancient India. Assist.Prof.Dr. Mehmet KARATAŞ Department of History of Medicine and Ethics. Ancient Indian Civilisation.

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History of Medicine in Ancient India


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    1. History of Medicine in Ancient India Assist.Prof.Dr. Mehmet KARATAŞ Department of History of Medicine and Ethics

    2. Ancient Indian Civilisation • In 1920’s, the excavations in Indus valley showed two large cities Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, which displayed a high level of civilisation. The cities had excellent wells, drains bathrooms and toilets. Indus civilisation is said to have existed between 2400 - 1700 BC. • Around 1500 BC,the Aryan invasion occurred in the Indian subcontinent. Much can be learned from Rig Veda, the oldest literary and religious document of ancient India.

    3. Ancient Indian Civilisation • The Indus civilisation relied on agriculture. The majority of the people lived in villages. Farmers cultivated wheat, barley, vegetables and fruits. Population in Indus valley subscribed to a variety of beliefs. Mother goddess was believed to exist and as a universal mother, she bestowed fertility on plants animals and men. • Mother Goddess may be the primitive symbol of Hindu beliefs. Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism are the important religions from this subcontinent.

    4. Medicine in Ancient India Vedas • Veda’s are ancient hymns, prayers and teachings which based mostly on religious and moral codes. Those are also the supernaturalistic sources of the ancient Indian medicine. • Rig-Veda describes healings performed by various Gods and is a religious text. • Atharva-Veda is a text related with magic but also includes references to disease, injuries, fertility, sanity and health. • Ayur-veda also includes medical information.

    5. Medicine in AncientIndiaCharakaSamhita / SushrutaSamhita Thesetwoarethemainsources of IndianNaturalisticMedicine. Thedates of thetextsare not clear, but CharakaSamhita it is expectedto be datingfrom 1st century AD, whileSushruta is saidtodatefrom 4th century AD. But theknowledge in thosetextsshouldhavecomefromearliercenturies.

    6. Medicine in Ancient India • CharakaSamhita (Charaka: Wanderingphysicians) (Samhita: Collection, compendium) • SushrutaSamhita(Sushrutawas a famoussurgeon, sometimescalled “TheFather of Surgery”)

    7. Medicine in Ancient India Because of Buddhism, it wasforbiddentodissecthumanbeingsandanimals. Duetothelack of dissection, theinformation on anatomy is quiteprimitive in SushrutaSamhitatexts.

    8. Medicine in Ancient India Importance of Surgery It is known that ancient Indian physicians performed surgical operations such as cataractandrhinoplasty. Besides those, some other surgical operations to abdomen and bladder (removal of stones) and even dental surgery performed. Indian physicians knew how blood vessels should be sealed after cutting and performed cauterisation. All those show us that indian surgical treatment was excellent in those centuries.

    9. Medicine in Ancient India Public health and hygiene • Depending on written records, epidemics and illnesses must have been frequent throughout the subcontinent. There is evidence for malaria, dysenteriea, cholera, plague, leprosy tuberculosis etc. • The first establishment of the hospitals are not clear, but there exist inscriptions that hospitals for humans and even for animals existed since the 3rd century BC.

    10. Medicine in Ancient India Oath Hippocratic Oath is well known in Western medicine. But an oath of initiation of medical students also exists in Charaka Samhita. According to this oath,physicians swear to speak only the truth, not to cause another person’s death, speak words that are gentle, eat no meat, not to carry arms etc.

    11. Medicine in Ancient India Oath The spirit of the oath is religious and apparently administered in a ritualistic manner. Physicians are required to have high moral values and there is no doubt patients welfare comes above any personal consideration of the physician.

    12. Things to remember from Ancient Indian Medicine • Writtentexts • Vedas • CharakaandSushrutaSamhita • Infectiousdiseases-epidemics, andhospitals • Surgerywasdeveloped– rhinoplastyandcataractsurgery • Buddhismdid not allowdissection in humansoranimals, anatomicalknowledgewas not developed • Theoath

    13. Konuyla İlgili SORU/CEVAP Soru 1: Antik Hindistan tıbbının yazılı tıbbi eserleri nelerdir? Cevap 1: Veda, Susruta Samita, Şaraka Samita Soru 2: Antik Hindistan tıbbının ileri olduğu tıbbi uygulamalar nelerdi? Cevap 2: Cerrahi, rinoplasti, katarakt

    14. References A. Selim ATAY, İnönü Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi, translation Tolga GÜVEN, Marmara Üniversitesi Tıp Tarihi ve Etik AD ders notları Ali Haydar BAYAT, Tıp Tarihi Emine ATABEK, Şefik GÖRKEY, Başlangıcından Rönesansa Kadar Tıp Tarihi Çağlar Boyu Tıp, Roche Yayınları http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page