ancient India ayurveda, bhela samhita, nava nitaka, ashtanga, charaka samhita, susruta samhita, siddha yoga, rasaratnakara, sharangadhara samhita
Indian medicine has a long history. It is also one of the oldest organized systems of medicine. Its earliest concepts are set out in the sacred writings called the Vedas, especially in the metrical passages of the Atharvaveda. These writing possibly date as far back as the 2nd millennium BC.
According to a later writer, the system of medicine was received by Dhanvantari from Brahma. Dhanvantari was deified as the god of medicine. Subsequently, however, his status was gradually reduced until he was credited with having been an earthly king named Divodasa.
Ayurveda in Sanskrit language implies "the complete knowledge for long life". One of the early histories of Ayurveda asserted that it was around the 1500 BC that ayurveda's fundamental as well as applied principles got organized and enunciated. In this historical construction, Ayurveda traced its origins to the Vedas, particularly the Atharvaveda which was connected to the Hindu religion.
Atharvaveda contained 114 hymns. These hymns were dedicated especially for the treatment of diseases. Ayurveda originated in and developed from these hymns. Hence, in this sense, Ayurveda was considered by some scholars to have divine origin.
The Ayurvedic classics mentioned as many as eight branches of medicine. These were namely, kayachikitsa (internal medicine), Shalyachikitsa (surgery including anatomy), Shalakyachikitsa (eye, ear, nose, and throat diseases), Kaumaryabhrutya (pediatrics), Bhutavidya (spirit medicine), and Agada tantra (toxicology), Rasayana (science of rejuvenation), and Vajikarana (aphrodisiac, mainly for men).
Beyond this, the student of Ayurveda was also expected to know ten arts that were indispensable in the preparation and application of his medicines. These were distillation, operative skills, cooking, horticulture, metallurgy, sugar manufacture, pharmacy, analysis and separation of minerals, compounding of metals, and preparation of alkalis.
The teaching of various subjects was done during the instruction of relevant clinical subjects. For example, teaching of anatomy was a part of the teaching of surgery; embryology was a part of training in pediatrics and obstetrics. The knowledge of physiology and pathology was interwoven in the teaching of all the clinical disciplines.
The normal length of the student's training appears to have been seven years. But the physician was to continue to learn. Some of the sources which gave information pertaining to Indian medicine were as follows:
Atharvaveda, a sacred text of Hinduism dating from the Early Iron Age, is the first Indian text dealing with medicine. This was similar to the medicine of the Ancient Near East based on concepts of the exorcism of demons and magic. The Atharvaveda also contain prescriptions of herbs for various ailments. The use of herbs to treat ailments subsequently formed a large part of Ayurveda.