The word Ayurveda literally means 'the science of life'. It is better known as Indian system of medicine. Ayurveda is an ancient medical system, which treats what is advantageous and what is harmful for the body and stresses on happy and unhappy states of life. In other words, Ayurvedic system of medicine gives importance to the involvement of the patient's well being.
Ayurveda was preached by great personalities including Charaka Atreya, Sushruta, Kashyapa and Madhva. These people played instrumental role in establishing fundamental aspects of Ayurveda and they are still valid today. Scholars like Vagabhatta, Chakrapani, Arundutta and Dalhana did excellent job in preserving the ancient wisdom. Ayurveda has witnessed many changes and today it is a globally accepted system of medicine. Ayurvedic system of medicine is expected to play important role in the futuristic healthcare system.
Ayurveda flourished in the Vedic era and it was primary healthcare system. However the golden era came to an end when India was invaded by foreigners. The invaders destroyed the Ayurvedic texts by burning the libraries. Apart from this the Buddhist era was real setback to Ayurvedic medicine particularly surgery as peace was prevailing in all parts of India. Then came the Mogul empire and Arabian medicine was introduced as primary healthcare system. During the British Empire the Ayurvedic practice was banned. Despite all the adversities, Ayurveda survived due to valiant efforts of practitioners of Indian system of medicine. After independence in 1947, it received recognition and is officially recognized system of medicine.
Ayurveda is considered to be the mother of all healing sciences. It is a holistic system of medicine utilizing herbs, minerals, yoga, and gems for healing purpose. In the past times, the validity of Ayurvedic sciences has been questioned. However modern scientific research has proven efficacy of formulations mentioned in Ayurvedic system of medicine. It has been found that Alternative systems of medicines often succeed when orthodox system of medicine is helpless.
Ayurveda is based on peculiar fundamental principles like Tridosha (three humors vata, pitta and kapha) theory, and Panchamahabhuta (five elements ether, air, fire, water and earth) theory. Imbalance of the three humours is considered to be the root cause of the disease.
- Vata is a combination of the ether and air.
- Pitta is combination of earth and fire.
- Kapha is a combination of ether and water.
When we talk about basics of Ayurvedic treatment, the concept of Samanaya and Vishesha has great impact. Increasing the decreased substance and decreasing the increased substance is the basic aim of Ayurvedic treatment.
Definition of Samanya
Samanya is one thing that occurs commonly in all objects and brings them into one group i.e., under a common name.
- Samanya is one that says about similarity (Tulyarthahi Samanyam).
- One which causes increase in substance or padartha (Sarvada sarva bhavanam samanyam vriddhi karanam).
- Substance or padartha having similar characteristics of a particular group (Jati samanya) Here Samanya is the cause for increase (Samanyam ekatwa karam).
- Samanya is a phenomenon that results in uniformity .
Types of Samanya
- Para samanya
- Apara samanya
- Parapara samanya
According to Charaka Samhita
- Dravya samanya
- Guna samanya
- Karma samanya
According to Bhattar harichandra
- Tyanta samanya (Dravya, guna and karma samanya)
- Madhya (any two out of Dravya, guna and karma samanya)
- Ekadesha (only one out of Dravya, guna and karma samanya)
- Ubhayavritti Samanya
- Ekavritti samanya
One of the basic principles of Ayurvedic medicine is the concept of samanya (similarity) and vishesh (contrast or dissimilarity). Substances or dravya are always increased or enhanced by consuming similar or same things. At any given phase of life or time, a thing that is alike or same to any of the constituent of the human-body or a substance similar in properties with any of the constituent or the actions that results changes in the body, which in turn have an impact on enhancing the constituent always enhances that very constituent in terms of effects, quantity, quality and vice versa.
For instance, in order to enhance or increase the Mamsa Dhatu (Muscle fibre or tissue), one should consume Mamsa (flesh/meat) or can consume food-items that has similar properties or attributes as Manma. A person should do activities which will enhance the Mamsa. For example resting for long hours or relaxing or sleeping for several hours. By doing so, an optimal enhancement in the Mamsa Dhatu can be achieved if Mamsa or substances similar to Mamsa are used the rational way. Although, it is difficult to consume human Mamsa to enhance the human flesh, but anything which has the characteristics of fleshiness Mansatwa (fleshiness) is taken as Samanya and it shall increase the Mansa Dhatu or flesh. The same rule is applicable to deplete the Mamsa dhatu.