Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Ayurveda (Devanagari: आयुर्वेद) or Ayurvedic medicine is an ancient system and philosophy of health care native to the Indian subcontinent, sometimes considered as a Hindu system of health care because of its origins among the oral advice on living in the Vedas. It is used by millions of people in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and increasingly in the west and is widely known as the oldest continously practiced system of medicine on the planet. The word "Ayurveda" is a tatpurusha compound of the word āyus meaning "life," "life principle," or "longevity" and the word veda, which refers to a system of "knowledge" or "wisdom." Thus "Ayurveda" roughly translates as the "wisdom for living" or "knowledge of a long life". According to Charaka Samhita, "life" itself is defined as the "combination of the body, sense organs, mind and soul, the factor responsible for preventing decay and death, which sustains the body over time, and guides the processes of rebirth." According to this perspective, Ayurveda is concerned with measures to protect "ayus", which includes healthy living along with therapeutic measures that relate to physical, mental, social and spiritual harmony. Ayurveda is also one among the few traditional systems of medicine to contain a sophisticated system of surgery (which is referred to as "salya-chikitsa"(chikitsa=examination)).

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