History and Origin Of Ayurveda in Kerala
Ayurveda is a part of one of the four Vedas called Atharva Veda. Ayurveda originated in India almost 5000 years ago when the Vedas introduced its concept. It is a holistic system of healing and is divided into 8 parts called the Ashtvaidyans. These are the limbs of Ayurveda and loosely correspond to the western medical system’s eight branches. The culture of Ashtavaidya blossomed in the period between the 13th and 17th Centuries when it enjoyed generous patronage from royal families. They nurtured and promoted scholarship and scientific researches in the field of medicine and areas related to them. There were once 18 families in Kerala who practiced Ashtvaidyans, but the number has now reduced considerably. Each Ashtvaidyans family had developed its own specialized procedures of treatment which they passed from one generation to another. Apart from this belief, there are other stories that try to trace the origins of the Ashtavaidya families of Kerala. One of the beliefs state that Lord Parashurama who brought Brahmins to Kerala, assigned eight branches of Ayurveda to eight different families and these families were later known as Ashtavaidyas which means the Eight Physicians. Another legend claim that the eight prominent disciples of Vaagbhata, a physician who followed the Ashtangahridayam methodology of treatment later came to be known as the original Ashtavaidyas. It’s also believed that Vaagbhata wrote the entire Ashtangahridayam while sitting on a rock near Thiruvizha temple.
• Ayurveda is also said to be the Upveda of Atharva Veda, which deals with treatment of ailments using natural herbs and processes.
• Ayurveda is undoubtedly the oldest system of healing in the world with a history as old as 5000 years.
• The treatments offered by Ayurveda are natural and carry no side effects
Classics of Ayurveda and the Importance of Kerala
Ayurveda was the most ancient life science originated in India about 5000 years ago and is practised all across the world to attain complete health in the four pursuits of human life, Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Moksha also called Salvation is said to be the ultimate goal of a human being as he or she is then liberated from the cycle of birth and death. Ayurveda, the science of life is all embracing the Nature. Kerala, owing to its favourable climate has been the source of a wide variety of plants and herbs with medicinal value. The reason behind it is abundant sunshine, fertile soil and rainfall. Consequently, Kerala has a rich history of natural medicine that was once practised by doctors and Vaidyas. Many legends suggest that Vagbhata, an Ayurvedic physician originally from Sind visited Kerala in quest of rare herbs and medicinal plants. People in Kerala adopted his work and came to be known as Ashtvaidyans because they practised Ashtvaidyas.
The eight branches of Ayurveda:
• Kaya Chikitsa – General Medicine.
• Bala Roga Chikitsa – Paediatrics.
• Graha Chikitsa – Treatment for evil spirits.
• Urdwanga tantra – E.N.T & Ophthalmology
• Shalya Chikitsa – Surgery
• Visha Chikitsa – Toxicology
• Rasayana Chikitsa – Rejuvenation Therapy
• Vajeekarana Chikitsa – Aphrodisiacs
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