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Ancient India's

Contribution to
MEDICAL SCIENCE

Shushruta Charaka
SHUSHRUTA
-FOUNDER OF THE ART OF SURGER
SHASTRAKARMA-THE ART OF SURGERY
The practice of surgery has been recorded in
India around 800 B.C.This need not come as a
surprise because surgery (Shastrakarma) is one
of the eight
branches of Ayurveda the ancient Indian system
of medicine.
The oldest treatise dealing with surgery is th
Shushruta-Samahita (Shushruta's compendium).
Shusruta who lived in Kasi was one of the many
Indian medical practitioners who included
Atraya and Charaka.
Shushruta was one of the first to study the
Human anatomy. In the Shushruta Samah
he
has described in detail the study of
anatomy
with the aid of a dead body.
Shushruta's forte was rhinoplasty(restorati
multilated nose
Plastic surgery) and
ophthalmology (ejection of cataracts).
Shushruta has described surgery under eight
heads Chedya (excision),Lekhya
(scarification ),
Vedhya (puncturing), Esya (exploration),
Ahrya(extraction), Vsraya (evacuati
and
OPHTHALMIC SURGERY:
Shushruta specialised in ophthalmi
(extraction of Cataracts) a typica
per formed by Shushruta for remo
is desired below.
"It was a bright morning. The surg
bench which was as high as h
The patient sat opposite on the
that the doctor was at a comf
for doing the operation on t
After having taken bath and food
had been tied so that he could
the operation."
Does this not sound like the detailed
procedure
and steps of a cataract operation an
ophthalmic surgeon?
But this operation was performed around
the 8th Century B.C. by Shushruta.
ANATOMY :

Shushruta was not only one


of the earliest pioneers in
surgery in the world but also
one of the earliest ones to
study the human anatomy.
In his Samahita, he described
in detail the study of anatomy
with the use of a dead body.
Char aka
Charaka (300 BC) is one

of the founders of
Ayurveda.
According to Charaka, health
and disease are not
predetermined and life may
be prolonged by human effort.
Some 20 centuries ago in his famous
Ayurvedic treatise Charaka Samahita.
The treatise contains many more such
remarks which are held in reverence
even today. Some of them are in
the fields of physiology, etiology
and embryology.
Charaka was the first physician to
present the concept of digestion.
metabolism and immunity.
AYURVEDA
-THE SCIENCE OF LONGEVITY
This is the indigenous system of medicine in India.
Ayurveda literally means 'the science of living‘
(longevity). Ayu means life and Veda means
knowledge. The origins of this system of medicine
are lost in the hoary past, and the body of knowledge
that comes under the heading Ayurveda constitutes
ideas about diseases, diagnosis and cure,
which have been accumulated over the age past.
The feature that distinguishes this
system of medicines from other
systems like Allopathy and
Homeopathy is that it is solely based
on herbs and herbal compounds.
YOGA - HEALTH OF THE BODY AND MIND
Yoga is a system of exercises for physical and mental nourishment.
The tradition of Yoga is a hoary one and has been kept alive by ascetics
and hermits.The therapeutic qualities of yoga had special relevance for
hermits who roamed from place to place, meditating. We normally see an
ascetic (Sadhu) meditating in a Yogic pose. Indian classical dance styles
also display many Yogic postures. Apart from being a system of exercise,
an important aspect of Yoga is that of self-discipline.

An artist's impression
of a Yogi outside a
hermitage. The Yogi below is
depicted doing the Paschim-ottana-asana
The term Yoga is itself derived from the Sanskrit
word "yoktra“ meaning a yoke.The etymological
closeness of the Sanskrit and English words is
striking.
They have exactly the same meaning.
The self-discipline aspect of Yoga is evident in the
qualities of holding the breath (in Pranayama),
absolute stiIless (in Shavasana),celibacy
(Bramhacharya).
There are innumerable asanas (poses) in Yoga.
It was as early as the 2nd century B.C. i.e. 2100 years ago
that the fundamentals of Yoga were systematically
presented.
The person who is credited with having done this is Patanjali
and his treatise is known as Yogasutra i.e. Yoga Aphorisms.
According to Patanjali, within the human body there are
channels called Nadi and centres called Chakra.
If these are tapped, the energy hidden in the body can be
released.
This energy is called Kundalini. The release of Kundalini
enables the body to acquire many powers which are
normally beyond its capability.
THE END