THE EIGHT LIMBS OF AYURVEDA – (ASHTANGA AYURVEDA)
Ayurveda is the science which literally means ‘the science of life’. It is also known Indian system of medicine. Ayurveda is an old healthcare system which promotes the body and offers a lot of benefits that brings happiness to life, and treats what is harmful for the body like disease, stress and unhappy states of life. In other words, Ayurvedic system of medicine creates an important environment and gives value to the well-being of a patient.
Ayurveda was derived from Artharva Veda and Vedic era is considered to be the time when Ayueveda flourished as a science. It is estimated that around 1000 B.C., two major texts Samhita of Ayurveda, Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita were composed. Charaka Samhita deals with medicine and Sushruta Samhita deals with surgery. Distinguished scholars were attracted to the science of Ayurveda and visited India for acquiring scientific language. Hippocrates, the father of modern science of medicine was an intensive learner of Ayurveda.
Ashtanga Ayurveda refers to the eight limbs of Ayurveda. Ayurveda was originally known as Ashtanga Ayurveda, and was divided by great Indian seers into destine eight branches.
- Shalya Tantra
- Shalakya Tantra
- Kaumara Bhriyta
- Agad Tantra
This division represents internal medicine. Kaya stands for agni, the digestive fire within the human body. Proper functioning of agni is essential to carry out metabolic and physiological activities inside the body. Malfunctioning of agni results in array of diseases. Kayachikitsa basically deals with the treatment of minor ailments directly or indirectly by treating agni.
- SHALYA TANTRA
Shalya tantra stands for surgery and deals with the extraction of foreign bodies (shalya), diseases/disorders that require surgical/para surgical management. It remains reserved for those classes of diseases which may not be cured with medicines. Sushruta is known as father of modern surgery and majority of the surgical procedures done in modern medicine are modifications of ancient procedures.
- SHALAKYA TANTRA
The term Shalakya stands for probe. This branch deals with the diseases of the ear, nose and throat. Shalakya tantra is futher classified into Nethrachikitsa (Ophthalmology), Karnachikitsa (otology), Mukharogachikita (oral hygiene, dentistry and laryngology), and Shirorogachikitda (diseases of the cranium). Acharaya Nimi is considered as father of Shalakya Tantra.
- KAUMARA BHRITYA
This branch is also known Balachikitsa and in modern language, it is known as paediatrics. It deals with “bharana of kumara”, which also deals with nourishment, support and maintenance of children.
- AGADA TANTRA
The practice of Agada tantra is very ancient. Agada tantra originated from the college of toxicology, which was established by Kashyapa. Agada Tantra deals with natural and artificial toxic substances and poisons in detail along with antidotes, the signs and symptoms and also the management of poisoning resulting from bites of animals like snakes, insects, spiders and rodents. Now-a-days, Vyavharayurveda (jurisprudence) is integral part of Agada Tantra.
Bhutavidya represents Ayurvedic Psychology and with treatment of psychosomatic diseases like insanity, epilepsy and disease caused by evil spirits and ghost. Manas roga in modern age are known as psychiatric diseases and treatment with Ayurvedic principles which is known as Ayurvedic psychotherapy or Ancient psychiatry.
Rasayana drugs are known as tonics or science of rejuvenation, which directly or indirectly have antioxidant, anti-ageing and anti-stress effect. Normally, rasayana is a substance used for promoting rasa and allied tissues (saptdhatu of Ayurveda). The Rasayana discipline is integral part of ashtand Ayurveda.
According to Vegbhatta, the agents, which induces euphoria in sexual and male partner performs like a horse in known as vajikarana. Some medicinal agents’ seminal count (spermopiotics), some helps in excretion of the semen, some ignites the sex desire (sex-stimulants or aphrodisiac) and some have astringent action on the seminal fluid.