Indian Medicine in Post Vedic Period

The Buddhist monks, besides being great social reformers were also accomplished physicians coupled with the zeal and ardour to attend to the masses and render a supporting hand to the sick and ailing members of the society. Lord Buddha was himself a great physician, possessing in-depth knowledge about medicine. The Buddhist monks when suffered from seasonal diseases were prescribed to take four types of medicines, Kalika, Yamika, Saptahika and Yavajjivika. In the Buddhist pharmacopoeia, the kalikas were the pulp of boiled rice or any other grain known as Manda, porridge or boiled rice called Oddna, sour gruel or kulmasa, meat or mamsa and cakes prepared from flour or opupa.

The Yamikas were 8 types of drinks, such as Cocapanam, prepared from cinnamon bark; Mocapdnam amde of plantain trees, i.e. Musa sapientum; Kolapanam a drink prepared from Jujube tree; Asvatthapanam a drink prepared from the fig tree; Udumburapanam, made from berries; Mrdvikapdnam, prepared from grapes and Kharjurapdnam, prepared from dates. The Saptdhikas used by the Buddhists were: taila or oil; sarpi or ghee; phanita, juice of sugarcane; madhu or honey; sarkara or dry sugar. The Yavajjivika were mulabhaisajya or root medicine; ganda bhaisyajya or tubers; patrabhaisajya or leaf medicine; puspabhaisajya or flower medicine; 5 jatus or lac like silajatu; 5 ksaras like alkalis; 5 lavanas or salts and 5 kasdyas or astringents like haritaki. Among the Mulabhaisajyas there are Vaca-Acorus Calamus; Musta-Cyperus Rotundus; Haridrd-Curcuma longs; Attvisa-Aconitum heterophyllum; Arka-Calotropis gigantea.

The Gandabhaisajyas used by the Buddhist monks were: Chandana, Chavika-Piper retro-fractum; Padmaka-Prunus Cerasoides; Devaddru-Cedrus Deodar; Guduci-Tinospora Cordifolia and Ddruharidra-Berberis Aristata.

The monks also used Patrabhaisajyas as their medicines for curing diseases. These were the leaves of Patola-Trichosanthes dioca; Vdsikd-Genddrussa vulgaris; Nimba-Azddirachta indicd; Kosataki-Luffa acutangula; and Saptaparna-alstonia scholaris.  To know more read:

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Properties of Material Objects and its Effect on Human Body

Material objects, according to Sanskrit literature, have 6 sorts of tastes, 20 sorts of qualities, and 2 sorts of forces in them.

·  The 6 tastes are sweet, acid, salt, bitter, acrid and astringent.

·  The 20 qualities of objects are as follows: Heavy, light, soft, dull, oily, consistent, watery, hot, fixed, sharp, tremulous, delicate, demulcent, smooth, harsh, transparent, hard, pungent, coarse and cold.

·  The two forces are heating and cooling.

All substances are supposed, after digestion, to assume one or other of three sorts of properties: thus sweets and salts are supposed to be turned after digestion into sweets; acids, into acids; and bitters, acrids and astringents, into aacrids.

 

 Effect of Material Objects on the Human Body

The various notions of medicines on the human system are described in considerable detail. All diseases being supposed to be caused by derangement of the humours, namely, wind, bile, phlegm, blood, etc., all medicines are likewise supposed to have some influence upon one or other of these humours.

Sushruta divides medicines into two classes, with reference to their action on the Humours, namely, Sansamana and Sansodhana.

  • Sansamanaare medicines which rectify the deranged state of the humours and calm their excited action, without promoting the excretions.
  • Sansodhanaare medicines which remove collections of bad humours and discharge them by the excretions. The first is subdivided into 3 orders, namely, medicines influencing wind, bile, and phlegm, respectively. The second includes emetics, purgatives, errhines and other depuratories.

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Treatment in Naturopathy

 

The methods of treatment in naturopathy largely depend on nature and on the process of curing naturally. In India naturopathy treatment is typically a practice of treating diseases by prescribing natural medicines and is completely holistic in nature. Nature can heal all ailments and therefore body can heal naturally -this very concept forms the cornerstone of naturopathy. Thus naturopathy treatment is a form of treatment which emphasizes the tendency of the body to retain a sense of balance and cure itself. Treatments in naturopathy are non toxic and supports in stimulating healing and cleansing responses in a patient.

Treatment in naturopathy involves diagnosis and prescription of modalities and methods of nature. Naturopathic medicines mainly include water, earth, air, light, heat and diet therapy.

 

Water Therapy:

The largest constituent of human body is water. About 60 to 70 per cent of the total body weight consists of water. Naturopathy recognizes the importance of water and the role it plays in human body. Water therapy is therefore an important part in the methods of treatment in naturopathy. Versatility is the most important property of water. According to naturopathy therefore both inside and outside the body water can be effectively used. Liquid, solid or steam any three forms of water can be used according to the need. It can be used hot, cold or lukewarm, for the smooth functioning of all the body processes.

 

Aromatherapy:

Aromatherapy is the alternative branch of medicine that heals and improves the mind and the body, by using natural plant extracts. These plant extract are called essential oils, and are known to convey the “Life Force of Plant”. Essential oils can be extracted from the herbs, plants, flowers, fruits, bark, roots or the resin of some trees. These magical extracts from plants can amazingly affect our physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual being. Whether it’s beautifying the skin, reducing weight, prevention and cure of diseases, inducing sexual attraction, relieving tension and anxiety, to sedate or refresh individuals, the essential oils come in handy. To know more read:

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Diet Therapy, Naturopathy

Diet Therapy is a practical application of nutrition as a preventative or corrective treatment of disease. This usually involves the modification of an existing dietary lifestyle to promote optimum health. However, in some cases, an alternative dietary lifestyle plan may be developed for the purpose of eliminating certain foods.

Purpose of Diet Therapy
Diet is a very important part of living and a nutritious diet helps keeping new diseases from affecting the body. Treatments involve including foods that improve specific health conditions, while avoiding foods that may make the condition worse. Practitioners of medicine even claim that a healthy diet plan can help curing diseases and also assist in prevention of the disease. This is the main function of a diet therapy.

Be it with a well-structured diet plan for healthy living, or be it with a plan of diet for different diseases, diet therapy has carved a niche for itself as a noteworthy alternative therapy.

Diet Therapy in Ayurveda
Ayurveda suggests that only a balanced diet is not sufficient for good health. It recommends that specific bodily conditions require specific diets. It looks at diet as an alternative therapy and treats the body as a combination of 3 different factors called Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These factors represent air, fire and water respectively. A healthy boy is one in which the 3 elements are perfectly balanced which can be achieved through diet. When any one of the elements is disturbed the body becomes prone to diseases, correcting the diet can cure it. To know more read:

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Importance of Minerals in Naturopathy

Minerals are of immense importance in Naturopathy. Like vitamins and amino acids minerals are crucial for regulating and building the trillions of living cells which make up the body. Body cells receive the vital food elements through the blood stream. They must, therefore, be appropriately nourished with an adequate supply of all the essential minerals for the well organised functioning of the body. Minerals help maintain the volume of water necessary to life processes in the body. They help draw chemical substances into and out of the cells and they keep the blood and tissue fluid from becoming either too acidic or too alkaline. The mineral elements which are needed by the body in substantial amounts are sulphur, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, iron, sodium, potassium and chlorine. In addition the body needs minute amounts of iodine, manganese, zinc, copper, cobalt, selenium, silicon, fluorine and some others.

Calcium 
The human body needs calcium more than any other mineral. Calcium performs many essential functions. Without this mineral, the contractions of the heart would be defective, the muscles would not contract correctly to make the limbs move and blood would not clot. Calcium stimulates enzymes in the digestive process and coordinates the functions of all other minerals in the body. Calcium is found in milk and milk products, whole wheat, leafy vegetables such as carrots, lemons, lettuce, watercress, oranges, spinach, and cabbage, almonds, figs and walnuts. Deficit may cause porous and fragile bones, insomnia, tooth decay, muscle cramps, heart palpitations, and irritability. Liberal quantity of calcium is also required when excessive calcium has been lost from the body as in hyperparathyroidism or chronic renal disease. To know more read:

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Impact of Yoga Asanas on Respiratory System

The practice of Yoga exhibits a powerful and profound effect on the respiratory system, perhaps more than any other system of the body. The greatest respiratory benefit may come from the regular practice of Pranayama, which works directly on the respiratory system; certain series of Asanas are also beneficial by exhibiting direct or indirect effects on the respiratory organs like lungs, diaphragm and other organs.

The  human respiratory system’s function is to allow gas exchange. The space between the alveoli and the capillaries, the anatomy or structure of the exchange system, and the precise physiological uses of the exchanged gases vary depending on the organism. In humans and other mammals, for example, the anatomical features of the respiratory system include airways, lungs, and the respiratory muscles. Molecules of oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged passively, by diffusion, between the gaseous external environment and the blood. This exchange process occurs in the alveolar region of the lungs. The two lungs, the right and the left, are held in an airtight cage called the chest. The sides of this cage comprise the flexible ribs and its bottom is made up of a very stout muscle called the diaphragm. The ribs are moved up and down by means of the intercostals. Because of the action of the diaphragm and the intercostals, the chest expands and contracts, several times in a minute. When the chest contracts the lungs inside are pressed and the air contained in them is forced out, just as the air from the elastic rubber ball referred to in the last but one paragraph, is forced out under pressure. This going out of the air from the lungs is called exhalation. This process is rhythmic and repetitive, facilitating respiration. To know more read:

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