Ayurverda

Ayurveda (Āyurveda, “life-knowledge”; English pronunciation), or Ayurveda medicine, is a system of medicine with historical roots in the Indian subcontinent.Globalized and modernized practices derived from Ayurveda traditions are a type of complementary or alternative medicine. In the Western world, Ayurveda therapies and practices (which are manifold) have been integrated in general wellness applications and as well in some cases in medical use.

The main classical Ayurveda texts begin with accounts of the transmission of medical knowledge from the Gods to sages, and then to human physicians.  In Sushrut Samhita ([Sushruta’s Compendium]), Sushruta wrote that Dhanvantari, Hindu god of Ayurveda, incarnated himself as a king of Varanasi and taught medicine to a group of physicians, including Sushruta. Ayurveda therapies have varied and evolved over more than two millennia.Therapies are typically based on complex herbal compounds, minerals and metal substances (perhaps under the influence of early Indian alchemy or rasa shastra). Ancient Ayurveda texts also taught surgical techniques, including rhinoplsty, kidney stoneestractions, sutures and the extraction of foreign objects.

Although laboratory experiments suggest it is possible that some substances used in Ayurveda might be developed into effective treatments, there is no evidence that any are effective as currently practiced. Ayurveda medicine is consideredpseudoscientific. Other researchers consider it a protoscience, or trans-science system instead. Close to 21% of Ayurveda U.S. and Indian-manufactured patent medicines sold through the Internet were found to contain toxic levels ofheavy metals, specifically lead, mercury, and arsenic. The public health implications of such metallic contaminants in India are unknown.

Some scholars assert that Ayurveda originated in prehistoric times, and that some of the concepts of Ayurveda have existed from the time of the indus Valley Civilization or even earlier. Ayurveda developed significantly during the Vedic period and later some of the non-Vedic systems such as Buddhism and Jainism also developed medical concepts and practices that appear in the classical Ayurveda texts. Humoral balance is emphasized, and suppressing natural urges is considered unhealthy and claimed to lead to illness.  Ayurveda names three elemental substances, the doshas (called Vata, Pitta and Kapha), and states that a balance of the doshas results in health, while imbalance results in disease. Ayurveda has eight canonical components, which are derived from classical Sanskrit literature. Ayurveda practitioners had developed various medicinal preparations and surgical procedures by the medieval period.