Ayurveda literally means the "Science of Life”. Etymologically, the word "Ayurveda" is derived from two words viz. Ayu-which means “Life” and Veda-which means “knowledge or science”. Hence Ayurveda indicates the science by which life in its totality is understood. It is a way of life that describes the diet medicine and behavior that are benefical or harmful for life. Ayurveda thus means "the science of life and longevity".
Coming to the definition "Ayurveda", it has been described by ancient and great physician CHARAK also known as father of Ay. Medicine as "The science that indicates the appropriate and the inappropriate, happy or sorrowful conditions of living, what is auspicious or inauspicious for longevity as well as the measure or the span of life itself is called as Ayurveda."
The history of ayurveda Starts with the evolution of human life. "According to astronomical records in ancient Vedic texts, the Vedic system, including Ayurveda, was in practice since antiquity. This time proven system of medicine has its origins in Himalayan Kingdom and is still being practiced today in many parts of the world with proven results. Ayurveda is the healing gift, which originated from the ancient enlightened Vedic culture, which goes back to 5000 B.C. Thus, it can be concluded that the tradition of Ayurveda extends back over more than 5000 years of continuous daily practice, from ancient times to the present day. According to philosopher, ayurveda was originated from BRAHMA, the creator of Universe. From Brahma the knowledge of ayurveda was transmitted to mankind thorough subsequent generation. The ancient ayurvedic persons are Charka, Shusrut, Dhanwantari, Bhardwaj, Kasayap etc, who have done lot on ayurveda for its development.
The aims and objectives of this science are to maintain the health of a healthy person and to cure the diseases of an unhealthy person. Unlike Modern system of medicine, it deals not only with the symptoms but also with the individual as a whole. As a science of self healing, Ayurveda encompasses diet and nutrition, lifestyle, meditation, breathing exercises, rest and relaxation, medicinal herbs, minerals along with cleansing and rejuvenation programs for healing body, mind and spirit. It can be concluded that it is the art of daily living in harmony with the laws of nature.
Along with the physical diseases, it also insists on the spiritual and ethical discipline for mental health and normal development of personality. It provides rational means for the treatment of many internal diseases, which are considered to be obstinate and incurable in other systems of medicine.
Ayurveda deals not only with human beings, but also in specialized subjects like Ashva-ayurveda (For the treatment of horses), Gaja-ayurveda (For the treatment of elephants), Go-ayurveda (For the treatment of cows) and Vriksha-ayurveda (For the treatment of diseases of plants).
Ayurveda has gone through several stages of development in its long run. Today, it, is in yet another stage of development, is undergoing readaptation to the Western world and modern conditions, Ayurveda is coming up with answers to many problems, which have eluded modern medicine. For making it easier to study, this vast ocean of knowledge has been divided into 8 principal branches.
Shalya tantra (Surgery) --- The word “Shalya” denotes something that causes discomfort to the body and/or mind. This branch deals with the removal of Shalya and includes the surgical procedures like incision, excision, suturing, rhinoplasty, treatment of the dislocation of the bones, etc.
In ayurveda, Shusurut describes surgery as the first and foremost specialty of system. He describes various surgical procedure including abdominal operation .bladder stone .He was the one who gives the concept of plastic surgery and the surgery of cataract. Ksharasutra chikitsa in ano rectal disease was his wonderful practice which is proved more advantageous and efficacious than modern surgical procedure.
Shalakya Tantra (E.N.T & Ophthalmology) --- This branch deals with the use of a rod (Shalaka) for the treatment of the diseases of the organs above the clavicle bone, hence the name Shalakya Tantra. In other words it deals with the diseases related to Ear, Nose, Throat and Eyes.
Kaya Chikitsa (General Medicine)---Here the word “Kaya” means “Agni” (Digestive power) and also “Body” & “Chikitsa” means “Treatment”. This branch includes the diagnosis and the treatment of the systemic disorders without surgical intervention. It also describes general introduction to health and medicine, longevity, general hygiene, preventive medicine and personal health, dietetics and instructions against the suppression of the natural urges. The popularly known PanchKarma is also described under this branch.
Kaumar Bhritya (Gynecology, obstetrics and Pediatrics)- This branch deals with the diagnosis and the treatment of the diseases related to mother before conception, during pregnancy, delivery, post-delivery and with the disease of children. Ayurveda describes method of conceiving of the desired sex, intelligence and constitution.
Bhootvidya (Psychiatry or Demonology) ---This branch deals with the mental diseases. These sorts of diseases can be correlated to as idiopathic disorders, in Allopathic system of medicine. According to Ayurveda, it has been assumed that these diseases are caused by affliction due to evil spirits.
Agad Tantra (Toxicology)---This branch deals with the forensic aspect. Diagnosis and the treatment of the diseases caused by various types of organic and inorganic poisons have been described under this heading.
Rasayan Tantra (Geriatrics)---The main objective of Ayurveda is to maintain health is carried out through this branch. It deals with various aspects of preventive health care. It includes details concerning rejuvenation and emphasizes a person to look younger.
Vajikarna (aphrodisiacs) ---This aphrodisiacs branch focuses on the sexual aspect of life. It deals with the disorders of reproduction and sexual life and includes administration of medicines which are aphrodisiacs and which not only help in spermatogenesis but also improves the quality of sperms.
What exactly is Ayurveda?
A distinguishing feature which sets Ayurveda apart from other alternative systems of medicine is the fact that Ayurvedic treatment treats patient as a "whole" i.e. a combination of the body, the mind and the soul (Ranade,S.1991) . This Vedic system of medicine repeatedly emphasizes the common origin of mankind and the universe. Our relationship with our environment is intrinsic. The elements which compose the universe also constitute the human body and therefore the laws which govern the universal elements also govern the human realm. These profound concepts based upon an astute understanding of the universal laws and practical observations about the world around give us the indication about the holistic approach of Ayurveda and its potential in alleviating many health related problems afflicting the whole of humanity. Health is essential for enjoyment of all the worldly pleasures in a righteous manner. Ayurveda goes much beyond the realms of ordinary medicine and gives practical measures on how to maintain and protect one's health and well -being and promote longevity of life. Ayurveda is thus not just a system of medicine; rather it's a way of life! According to Ayurveda illness is a condition of imbalance which originates from some fundamental deficiency and something more than symptomatic relief is needed for its cure.
Ayurvedic medicines are derived from the mineral, plant, and animal. A number of minerals and metals are used, but they are subject to various and complex process of purification and oxidation before becoming suitable for internal usage. Sankha ,praval (muga). Sipi,iron, gold, moti, tama, zinc, mercury etc are used to prepare ayurvedic medicine from minerals. Some examples are Sankha Bhasma ,Praval Bhasma,Swarna Bhasma, Rhumayog gold, Tribhuvan kirti ras etc. Some of the ayurvedic medicine is derived from animal origin like Kasturi (kastoori bhusan, mrigamadasab), mayor (mayurpuchha bhasma), elephant teeth (hasti danta masi), pitta of fish, etc. Some drug may need cow’s milk and urine for purification too.
Mostly plants are used to prepare medicine. Nepal is very rich in plant diversity. More than 3000 medicinal plants are available here. Due to the different altitude different type of flora are available. Yarchagumba, Panch aaule ,padamchal ,Kutki, lauthsalla ,sugandhawal. Jatamasi, Bikhma and number of other plant are having high medicinal value. These are abundant in our nation and are of high demand in international market.
Ayurvedic medicines predominantly being plant based are in close harmony with nature and hence easily assimilate by the human body. Ayurveda thus helps maintain the integrity of the unique elemental balance in each individual and treats the ailment at its root cause. Some ayurvedic drugs consisting plant ingredients are Trifala Churna, aabhipattikar churna , Sitopaladi churna.
It is unwise to say ayurvedic medicines are always safe. Usually medicine containing ingredients of toxic plant and minerals in high dose are not safe to take and are fatal too. Ayurvedic medicines are prescribed to take with cold water. Some with hot water some with honey, these are called Anupan and Sahapan and they said to be act as a catalyst. Anupan and sahapan should strictly being followed while taking medicine. Indication and contraindication of diet according to diseases is highly emphasized in Ayurveda. A Nurse working in Ayurveda Hospital should have prompt Knowledge regarding methods of administration of drugs and dosage.
Ayurvedic medicine are made from mixing number of medicinal plant, minerals etc in different amount to prepare. One to hundred of ingredient may contain in ayurvedic medicine. So it is hard to examine quality of the drug by laboratory examination, but some drug may constitute single medicinal plant too.
Form of medicine- Powder, tablet, capsule, syrup, ointment, oil, juice, paste, decoction, injection, granules, Ash etc.
There are two type of ayurvedic medicine available in market. Patent medicine and generic medicine.
Patent Medicine- Liv 52, Neo, newlivfit, cystone, Opthacare, Gastrx, Gasex, R. Pyrin, Neeri, calcury, Septillin, ojus, Himcocid, Livex, Ovarin, Eve care, M2 tone, Amycordial etc
Generic medicine- Chywan prash, Ashokarista ,Dashamularista, Trifala churna, Aabhipattikar churna.Sankha bhasma etc..
Ayurveda says medicinal plants of specific area are more appropriate for the patient of same area that means Ayurvedic drugs prepared from the Nepal are more suits to Nepalese Residence than the patient residing in Europe.
AYURVEDA : PROSPECTS IN NEPAL
Ayurveda is now becoming known and even respectable in the developed countries. Nepal is rich in Ayurvedic tradition. About 2/3 rd population is relying on ayurveda directly or indirectly. Ayurvedic medicines are natural, easy to find, cheap and safe to use. Peoples have lot of trust on ayurveda. Besides the living tradition its National Archives have many Ayurvedic manuscripts which are only available here and are yet to be published. Many western scholars and agencies are coming to Nepal to record this heritage of ours. Nowadays; Ayurvedists of Nepal are having more western patients or students and are also going to developed countries of the west or east. It is high time that this country should make a systematic effort to exploit this potential.AYURVEDA.
Existing situation There are number of government and non government organization working in ayurvedic field.
Nepal Ayurveda Medical Council NAMC functions on the registration of different ayurvedic manpower. Deals with the right of practitioners, controls quality in service and education. Altogether there are around 200 ayurvedic doctors registered in this council. Ayurveda Doctor only can do a practice after being registered in this council.
Ministry of Health-There is an ayurveda and alternative medicine unit in ministry of health. It contributes in policy making area.
Department of Ayurveda This is the apex body for Ayurveda in the country directly under the Ministry of Health HMG and is responsible for formulating implementation and overall supervision of other Units as following
1. Naradevi Ayurveda hospital of 100 beds -1
2. Regional hospital, Dang of 30 beds(50 running)-1
3. Zonal Ayurveda hospital-14
4. District Ayurveda health center -61
5. Ayurvedic Aushadhalaya (Primary dispensaries) -214
At now there is an ayurvedic Network in all 75 district by altogether 291 service providing center from different level of Manpower.
Regional Health Directorate there is an ayurvedic unit to monitor and supervisee the ayurvedic health center.
Singha Durbar Vaidyakhana .This is the manufacturing unit for the Ayurvedic drugs. Till recently this was under the general administrative control of Department of Ayurveda. Now it has been made an autonomous unit and the aim is to make it a self sustaining organization,
Naradevi Ayurveda CampusThis is constituent campus of the Institute of medicine under Tribubhan University and is responsible for the production Ayurvedic manpower. Till recently this institution was running graduate course (BAMS, Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery) is being conducted with 15 admission per year.
Practitioners with Institutional and Academic Training:
Those with academic training either had their education in the Ayurvedic colleges in foreign countries or in Nepal. Numbers of them are profound scholars of Ayurveda and clinicians of great repute. Furthermore with their long experience they have the knowledge of local herbs and their uses hence they should be regarded as valuable resources persons.
Traditional Ayurvedic Practitioners
There are significant numbers of Ayurvedic practitioners who have a family tradition of several generations. They may not have formal academic training but had sufficient theoretical and some are very erudite also. Moreover in these families there are records of the recipes they have been suing for generations as well as old manuscripts. Due to the pressure of modernization the children of these families are reluctant to follow the tradition and the manuscripts as well the recipes they have been suing are being lost. There is an urgent need of taking some steps to preserve them.
They are not Ayurvedic practitioners in the conventional sense however the tradition and even the herbs they use have Ayurvedic background. Mostly located in the remote villages they are the most often the first and only health personnel available to the community and the herbs they use in their have real medicinal value. Their large number have been brought in several studies and if mobilized could greatly contribute in the health care system of the country.
Nepal at present imports Ayurvedic drugs of more than 150 cores rupees and it is increasing 25% each year. About two hundred different brands of Ayurvedic drugs are produced in Nepal by more than 30 private companies. More than 150 Indian Ayurvedic drug companies are currently supplying Ayurvedic medicines to Nepal. There is no doubt that significant amount if not all raw materials of these Ayurvedic drugs have their origin in Nepal. There is thus immense potential for these herbs for the manufacture of Ayurvedic drugs not only for the domestic purposes but also for the export to India where most Ayurvedic companies claim to manufacture their medicines from "genuine" Himalayan herbs