Efficacy of Traditional Medicine of Ancient India
Among all sciences, medicine was the most advanced considering the fact that the Atharva Veda, (about 1500 BC) one of the four ancient scriptures of India, mentions certain herbs with curative powers. Several ancient texts on physiology identified factors as those which determined good or ill health. The Traditional Medicine of India, Ayurveda, focused on longevity and prescribed several remedies for the same. Gold, Silver, Mercury, Garlic and Honey are described as having specific curative powers in the vast treasury of India’s pharmacopoeia. medical texts of ancient India. Some of these have subsequently been credited with the same curative powers by modern scientists.
Yoga stressed the holistic approach to health based on proper diet and physical exercise. Today, even modern scientists accept its efficacy as one of the most efficient ways to stress-free, healthy living.
Charaka, the great Ayurvedic physician of the 1st Century AD, had written Charaka Samhita, the first scientific medical text of Traditional Medicine of India. Charaka’s work consisted of eight chapters devoted to pharmacology, diet, treatment of major diseases like fever, diarrhoea, consumption, leprosy and tumour among others. He also wrote on such specialised subjects as pathology, embryology and anatomy.
In the fourth century, came Sushruta, who is considered the father of surgery. In his treatise Sushruta Samhita, he lists about 125 surgical instruments used by him in his surgeries, details methods of operations among other subjects. In his time he is believed to have performed Caesarean sections, done plastic surgeries and set compound fractures.
Veterinary Science as a system of Traditional Medicine was another field which had been developed well in ancient times, with hospitals for horses, elephants and cattle. A special branch of Indian medicine was devoted to the treatment of elephants and was called Hastyayurveda.