Medical Reviewer: Dr Surabhi Rawat
Ayurveda is the ancient system of medicine which originated in the Indian subcontinent. However, on keen observation one realizes that Ayurveda is not just a system of medicine but a way of life. Ayurveda doesn’t only hold remedies for a number of diseases and disorders but it explains how and what to eat when to exercise, when to sleep and how the overall routine of a person must be for a happy and healthy living. The origin of Ayurveda is not exactly known and is debatable. Some scholars believe that it originated in prehistoric times while others believe the point of origin to be the Indus Valley civilization. However, there is no denying that with the coming of the Vedic age, Ayurveda had become strong and significant. Ever since it has been considered as an important system of medicine and has even been adopted by the west as an alternative system of medicine. There is no single person to who we can give credit for providing us with this vast knowledge, but there are a number of treatises which provide different details regarding Ayurveda. Here are seven great books of Ayurveda ever written.
#1. Charaka Samhita
Written By: The book is said to be taught by Atreya rishi. It was later codified by Agnivesa and revised by Charaka. However, it was Dridhbala who re-wrote one-third of the book as that part had been lost. It is also believed that Charaka does not signify one person but a number of people. Charaka, however, is known as the Father of medicine in India.
Era: 400-200 BCE. However, the source of the text that is present today is said to be one written down in 6 AD.
About The Book
Charaka Samhita consists of a total of eight books with a hundred and twenty chapters. The eight books include:
- Sutra Sthana – the general principles about healthy living
- Nidana Sthana – on causes of different diseases
- Vimana Sthana – on medicines, diet, training of a physician
- Sarira Sthana – anatomy of the human body
- Indriya Sthana – on diagnosis based on the patient’s senses
- Cikitsa Sthana – on the treatment of diseases
- Kalpa Sthana – preparation of medicines
- Siddhi Sthana – describes signs of cure and how to follow proper hygiene
Written in Sanskrit, Charaka Samhita follows a poetic and melodious style of writing which was considered as useful in easy remembering. It is one of the major Ayurvedic treatises which deal with Kayachikitsa or Internal medicine. The Samhita credits the Gods as the ultimate source of all knowledge and calls poor health an obstacle in the spiritual journey of a person. Thereby it suggests the proper diet pattern to follow for a healthy and spiritual living. It classifies medicines and foods according to their properties, explaining in detail their procedure and time of usage.
Charaka Samhita also talks about the famous Ayurvedic Panchakarma therapy which is about the removal of internal toxins of the body.