Ayurveda, a Sanskrit term meaning ‘ science of life', is the most ancient system of medicine in widespread practice today. In fact, the archeological findings of some Manuscripts support the notion that Ayurveda has been in continuous practice for more than 5000 years. Founded by God “ Dhanvatari ” a long era ago for the healthy living of people. Ayurveda is the most primitive treatment system of medicine.
Ayurveda traces its etymology to Ayush, meaning ‘life’, and veda, which originates from vid or knowledge.The practice of Ayurveda finds its roots in a body of knowledge and principles that were systematized in the Charaka Samhita , a treatise written more than two thousand years ago. Ayurveda, an ancient healing system and a medical science, first seeks to restore, and then maintain Svastha of the body and mind. Svastha, meaning health in English, has a definition in Ayurveda that, when fully understood, sheds much light on the objective of this system of medicine. Health is defined “as physical and mental well-being; freedom from disease, pain, or defect; normalcy of physical and mental functions; soundness.”
Ayurveda, defines Svastha in Sanskrit as:
“sama dosah samagnis ca sama dhatu mala kriyah prasannatmendriya manah svastha ityabhihiyate”- Sushruta Samhita
One who is established in Self, who has balanced doshas, balanced agni, properly formed dhatus, proper elimination of malas, well functioning bodily processes, and whose mind, soul, and senses are full of bliss, is called a healthy person .”
In this Ayurvedic definition of health, not only is the western concept of health encompassed, but there are other layers, that of the doshas, agni, dhatus, and malas. Hence, Ayurveda views health as a balance of the doshas which are vata, pitta, kapha (in consideration of one's prakruti), properly formed/functioningdhatus (seven tissues of the body), and proper elimination of malas (waste products). Thus, when Ayurveda looks at a disease such as leucoderma, invariably, these aforementioned factors are taken into account and discussed. Unique to Ayurveda, is its understanding and articulation of disease.
In western medicine when a disease or a group of symptoms is examined, analyzed, then given a name, the disease has been ‘diagnosed'. In contrast, the Ayurvedic approach to disease diagnosis seeks first to define its' root, or its' roganam mulakaranani; it is considered as important to define the root of a disease as it is to name a disease.
In Ayurvedic medicine, the process by which a disease is understood and diagnosed is called sarvaroga nidanam and is composed of five parts: nidanam(causative factors or etiology), purvarupa (earliest signs/symptoms), rupa (clinical signs/symptoms), samprapti (pathogenesis of the condition), and upasaya(diagnostic tests). Traditionally, when a disease is being discussed, the five parts of the sarvaroga nidanam will be presented.
Its holistic approach to a patient makes Ayurveda unique and highly effective in the treatment of most diseases, which are not cured by other system of medicines.
Unlike modern medicine, Ayurveda treats the individual and not merely the disease. It takes a holistic view of health, emphasizing a balanced diet; physical fitness, healthy lifestyle, hygiene and body care for disease free, long and healthy life. Basically herbs in form of powder, juices, pastes, and decoction are used as medicines but now Doctor’s of Ayurveda also frequently uses herbal extracts for prompt and fast healing. The name and fame of Ayurveda is fast spreading to many countries across globe because of its neutrality, permanency in results, no side effects and uniqueness to deal with many diseases, which are not being treated by other system of medicines.