In India & surrounding regions, Ayurvedic medicine is the dominant herbal tradition. It is the oldest system of healing in the world, predating even chinese medicines. Today it is actively promoted by the Government as an alternative to the conventional western medicine.
The name Ayurveda derives from two Indian words Ayur-means life& Veda – knowledge or science.
Ayurvedic medicine more than a system of healing it is a way of life it aims to bring about a union of physical, emotional & spiritual health, known as swasthya. This state enables the individual to enter into a harmonious relationship with cosmec consciousness. Ayurveda evolved over five thousands years ago in the far reaches of the Himalayas from the deep wisdom of spritually enlightened prophats, or rishis. Their wisdom was transmitted orally from teachers to disciple, eentually set down in Sanskrit poetry known as the Vedas. The most important of these texts are the Rig Veda & Athar Veda. In about 800 BC, the first Ayurvedic Medical School was founded by Punarvasu Atreya. He & his pupils recorded medical knowledge in treatises that wood in turn influence Charaka, Scholar who lived & taught around 700 BC. His writings, the Charaka Samhita , describe 1500 plants, identifying 350 as valuable medicines. This major reference text is still consulted by Ayurvedic practitioners. The second major work was the Susreta Samhita, written a Century later which forms the basis of modern surgery & is still consulted today. Other systems of midicine such as the Chinese, Tibtan & Unani Tibb traditions have their roots in Ayurveda i.e. The Budh was a follower of Ayurveda, the spread of Buddhism into Tibet during the following centuries was accompanied by increased practice of Ayurveda. The ancient civilization were linked to one another by trade routs, campaigns & wars. Arab traders spread knowledge of Indian plants & Ayurvedic medicine was studied by Arab physicians, who included, Indian plants in their materia medica. This knowledge was passed on to the ancient Greeks & Romans, who parctice were eventually to form the basis of European medicine.