Ayurveda is an ancient system of health care. It is used by millions of people in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and increasingly in the West. The word 'Ayurveda' means 'knowledge of a long life'. Ayurveda is also one among the few Traditional Systems of Medicine to contain a sophisticated system of surgery (which is referred to as 'Shalyachikitsa").

Ayurveda & Puran : In the Mahabharata it is stated that Lord Krishna had a son named Samb. He was suffering from leprosy. In order to treat him, Krishna invited special Brahmins from Shakdvipa (believed as present-day Iran). They were sun worshipers and famous astronomers. They treated Samb and cured him of leprosy.Ayurveda

Historical Evidence: A concept that has been passing down verbally from generation to generation in India about the origin of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is said to have been first compiled as a text by Agnivesha, in his book Agnivesh Tantra, which was written during Vedic times. The book was later revised by Charak, and renamed to Charak Samhita (encyclopedia of the physician Charak). Other early texts of Ayurveda include the Charak Samhita and the Sushruta Samhita. This system was orally transferred via the Gurukul system until a script came into existence. The earliest scripts were written on perishable materials such as Taalpatra and Bhojpatra, which could not be readily preserved. The script was later written on stone and copper sheets. Verses dealing with Ayurveda are included in the Atharva Veda, which implies that some of Ayurveda is as old as the Vedas.

Ayurveda was mainly formulated in ancient times, but there were a number of additions made during the middle Ages. Alongside the ancient physician Sushruta and Charak, the medieval physician Vagbhata, who lived in the 7th century, is considered one of the three classic writers of Ayurveda. In the 8th century, Madhav wrote the Nidana, a 79-chapter book which lists diseases along with their causes, symptoms, and complications. He also included a special chapter on smallpox (masurika) and described the method of inoculation to protect against smallpox.

The history of indigenous Indian medicine is probably as old as the Indus Valley Civilization dating back to 3000 BC. The meticulously planned cities of Harappa and Mohenjodaro are pointers not only to India's rich cultural heritage but also to its advanced systems of hygiene and health care. The remains of deer antler and bitumen found in Harappa testify to the existence of a medical practice. It was between 1200 and 700 BC, that the four sacred Vedas were composed. References to diseases, herbs and herbal cures can be seen in all the four Vedas especially in the Rig Veda.

The Atharva Veda has many eulogizing herbs. Many plants were worshipped as deities and invoked by incantations. There were also many mantras (invocations) to combat jaundice and, other hereditary diseases. The Atharvan hymns chanted for the cure of diseases were known as Bhaishjyams and those for attaining longevity and prosperity were called Ayushyams. These hymns, especially the Ayushyams are considered to be the foundation for advances in later medicines.

ayurAccording to tradition, Ayurveda was first described in text form by Agnivesha, in his book the Agnivesh Tantra. The Book was later redacted by Charak, and became known as the Charak Samhita. Another early text of Ayurveda is the Sushruta Samhita, which was compiled by Sushruta, the primary pupil of Dhanvantari, sometime around 1000 BC.

Sushruta is known as the Father of surgery, and in the Sushruta Samhita, the teachings and surgical techniques of Dhanvantari are compiled and complemented with additional findings and observations of Sushruta regarding topics ranging from Obstetrics and Orthopaedics to Ophthalmology.

Sushrut Samhita together with Charak Samhita, served as the text are material within the ancient Universities of Takshashila and Nalanda. These texts are believed to have been written around the beginning of the Common Era, and are based on a holistic approach rooted in the philosophy of the Vedas and Vedic culture. Holism is central to Ayurvedic philosophy and elements of holism are found in several aspects of Ayurveda.

Tastes and effects : Ayurveda believes that the tastes of foods or herbs have specific physiological effects. Those tastes that transform after digestion (Vipaka) are more powerful.