Ayurveda literally means science of life and longevity and is considered to be the traditional system of medicine of India. It is one of the oldest health care system (like ‘Siddha’) in the world.
Ayurveda adopted the physics of the “five elements”— that compose the universe, including the human body.
- Pṛthvī (earth)
- Jala (water)
- Agni (fire)
- Vāyu (air)
- Ākāśa (Sky)
The seven primary constituent elements – saptadhātu of the body.
- rasa dhātu (Chyle or plasma)
- rakta dhātu (blood )
- māṃsa dhātu (flesh)
- medha dhātu (fat)
- asthi dhātu(bone)
- majja dhātu (marrow )
- śukra dhātu (semen or female reproductive tissue)
Ayurvedic literature deals elaborately with measures of healthful living during the entire span of life and its various phases.
Ayurveda stresses a balance of three elemental energies or humors:
- Vāyu vāta (air & space – “wind”)
- pitta (fire & water – “bile”)
- kapha (water & earth – “phlegm”).
An incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is worshipped in many parts of South India as the God of healing and medicine and is considered as the divine physician. He is believed to be the promulgator of Ayurveda, the traditional system of health-care in India. Dhanvantari has thus been worshipped by Ayurvedic doctors down the ages and this custom continues to the present day in many parts of India.
Many of the ancient Sanskrit texts, especially the Puranas (pu-ra-naas), elaborate the story of the incarnation of Vishnu as Dhanvantari. According to this legend, when the Gods and the demons were engaged in the process of churning the ocean of milk to obtain the divine nectar or amrita (am-ri-ta), Dhanvantari, attired in golden robes arose, holding the pot of nectar in his hand.
This deity is usually represented in ancient sculptures and paintings in a standing posture with four arms (see picture). The leech, which he holds in his left hand, was often used in the past by doctors to draw out impure blood from the patient’s body. Two of the oldest shrines for Dhanvantari are found in the vast enclosures of two Vishnu temples, one in Srirangam, TamilNadu and the other in Kanchipuram, TamilNadu.
ASTANGA (Eight Branches of Ayurveda)
Ayurveda, from ancient times, had been divided into eight branches (ASTANGA) of medical knowledge.
- Salyatantra – Surgery; its types and the knowledge necessary for surgical treatment.
- Salakyatantra – treatment of diseases of the eyes, ears, nose, throat, and teeth.
- Kayacikitsa – therapeutics.
- Bhtavidya – psychiatry and psychotherapy.
- Kaumarabhrtya– paediatrics.
- Agadatantra – toxicology and treatment of poisoning.
- Rasayanatantra – treatment of longevity and rejuvenation.
- Vajikaranatantra – treatment for increasing virility.
Rakta Mokshana (Blood letting)
Ayurvedic Treatment for Infections and Purification of Blood.
Rakta Mokshana is one of the pancha karmas. Rakta Mokshana is an unique contribution by Ayurveda. A number of diseases which are otherwise incurable can easily be cured through Rakta Mokshana (Blood letting). Rakta, the blood being the vehicle to carry & transport absorbed nutrients, Oxygen, metabolites etc. from place to place with in the human body. Correction of any abnormality in the blood by taking it out, Solves a number of problems.
Methodology – Leech Craft
A non-poisonous leech is applied on the skin to suck the vitiated blood from the body. The patient is asked to sit or lie down comfortably. The place of the leech application is rubbed with dry powder and then the leech is applied. If the leech does not catch the place one or two drops of honey, ghee or blood are poured or a small incision is made. When it starts sucking blood it should be covered with a soft cloth soaked in cold water. If pain and itching is present at the site of the leech application then it indicates that the leech is sucking pure blood and it should be removed. If the leech won´t leave easily then turmeric powder has to be sprinkled.
- Movie: Ayurveda – Art.of.Being (2001)