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The next important authority in Ayurveda after Charaka and Sushruta is Vagbhatta of Sindh, who flourished about the seventh century AD. His treatise called Ashtanga Hridya.
THE EIGHT BRANCHES OF AYURVEDA * Kaya Chikitsa (General medicine) * Shalya Tantra (Surgery) * Shalakya Tantra (Diseases of Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat) * Kaumarbhritya (Children diseases, obstetrics and Gynecology) * Agada Tantra (Toxicology) * Bhuta Vidya (Psychiatry) * Rasayana (Rejuvenation), and * Vajikarana (Aphrodisiac/sexology)
Ayurveda is the science of positive health and fulfillment in life. The aim of Ayurveda is threefold: * To achieve positive health for the individual * Protection of the masses * Ultimate liberation The last goal can be achieved by following regulations of daily conduct and by following strict seasonal regimens, so that one can be constantly healthy. Being continuously healthy is comparable to achieving ultimate liberation, as it involves the eradication of the factors that bring about suffering.
Ancient Indian philosophy is of opinion that all materials, living or non-living are made of five fundamental elements called Panchamahabhutas, representing five fundamental categories of matter. These are: * Akasha (ether) * Vayu (air) * Teja (fire/energy) * Jala (water), and * Prithvi (earth) All material on this earth contains Panchamahabhutas in different proportion.
Biological application of Panchamahabhutas reflects in the form of Tridosha. Here ‘Tri’ means three and Dosha’ represents to humor (bio-entity). Thus the word ‘Tridosha’ denotes to three humors i.e. Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These are said ‘Dosha’ because these have tendency to get vitiated and also to vitiate others. This bilateral tendency of Dosha is cause of health and diseases. State of balance of Dosha represents health while imbalance to the disease. Every Dosha has definite place/location and functions in our body. All have their five types respectively.
Our body is supported and sustained by seven Dhatus (basic tissues). Beside this, Dhatus have property to vitiate. Dosha and Dhatus have relation with each other in health and disease. In pathogenesis of disease these both play key role. Following are the seven Dhatus: i. Rasa (Plasma) ii. Rakta (Blood) iii. Mamsa (Muscle) iv. Meda (Adipose) v. Asthi (Bone) vi. Majja (Marrow) vii.Shukra (Reproductive tissues).
The word 'Mala' means excretal products. Ayurveda has a unique concept of Malas. Sustenance of Mala in appropriate limits, sustain the life. To understand it in a better way, take the example of common excreta - urine. Excess urination may cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
Agni is considered as biological fire. In our body entire range of digestive and metabolic activities are performed by it. Ayurveda considers about thirteen types of 'Agnis'. 1. Jatharagni - It performs digestion of food and considered to govern other 'Agnis'. 2. Dhatvagni - Every Dhatu has a particular type of Agni, which is responsible for that for that particular tissue metabolism. These are seven in number. 3. Bhutagni - Each of the five Mahabhuta (elements) has a specific Agni, which is responsible for molecular metabolism.
The word literally means three qualities or three properties. These are the three specific properties of the Mind. They are Satwa, Rajas and Tamas.
The concept of Prakriti is unique and has explanation for this. Every person is born with a definite genetic constitution, depending upon Doshas, there are three major types of Prakriti, and these reflect predominance of that particular Dosha. Our body behaves according to the status of Dosha Prakriti.
There are seven possible Prakriti (constitution) types – a) Vata Prakriti b) Pitta Prakriti c) Kapha Prakriti d) Vata – Pitta Prakriti e) Vata – Kapha Prakriti f) Pitta – Kapha Prakriti g) Tridosha Prakriti
These persons are either short or long but are most often with a thin body frame. Mostly towards lower side of weight range, sometimes under weight. Skin is dark, dry with cracks. Nails are hard and brittle, Appetite is variable, mostly suffer from constipation. Sleep is light but varies from night to night. They remember easily and forget easily. Find great difficulty in developing a routine, but are very active.
They are of medium body frame. Skin is usually delicate, light in color and more prone to sunburn. Sweating is excessive. Nails are soft, strong and well formed. Endowed with good appetite and rarely constipated. Have capacity to perform vigorous exercise. Go to sleep easily but is light. These persons are more practical in life. Memory is good. More organized in work.
Body frame is mostly medium to broad. Weight gain is varying easy. Skin of these people is smooth, thick and slightly oily. Sweating is moderate. Nails are strong, large and symmetrical. Appetite is moderate and bowel habit is regular. They enjoy sleep, which is usually heavy. Appear calm and quiet. They are of stable nature. From them it takes time to memorize but once happen, it is forever. Most of the time they are relaxed.
The harmony and the balance of the Doshas, Dhatus, Malas and Agni in the body is the primary condition of the health. The equilibrium is maintained through a life in conformity with the laws of nature. A wrong behavior and food habit disturbs the harmony and lead to diseases.
There are three main methods mentioned in Ayurveda for diagnosing the Dosha imbalance and disease process in a person. They are – 1. Darsana Pareeksha – By observing the patient’s physical signs and symptoms, Example – colour of skin, hair, eyes, behavior, body condition etc. 2. Prasna Preeksha – By asking minute questions regarding the imbalance of each Doshas. 3. Sparsana Pareeksha – By touching the patient. The pulse diagnosis, palpation, percussion and auscultation are included in this method.
Nadi Pareeksha (Pulse diagnosis) is a very important tool for diagnosis. The physician feels the radial artery pulsations on the wrist of the patient and through his experience he can get a clear picture of the milieu interior.