AYURVEDA is a Sanskrit word meaning LIFE KNOWLEDGE.  It is a system of Hindu traditional medicine, native to the Indian sub-continent, and a form of ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE.
The oldest known Ayurvedic texts are the SUSRATHA SAMITHA and the CHARAKA SAMITHA.  These Classical Sanskrit Texts, are among the foundational and formally compiled works of Ayurveda.  By the Medieval Period. Ayurveda practitioners, developed a number of medicinal preparations and surgical procedures, for the treatment of various ailments.  Practices, from Ayurvedic medicine, are regarded as part of complementary and alternative medicine, and, along with, SIDDHA MEDICINE & TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE, forms the basis for SYSTEMS MEDICINE.
Ayurveda is, at present, well-integrated into the Indian National Health Care System, with state hospitals for Ayurveda established across the country.  In the United States, the practice of Ayurveda is licensed in complimentary health care.  In the Classical Sanskrit literature, Ayurveda was called “the science of 8 components”.  The word in Sanskrit is ‘ASTANGA’.
The 8 components are :
(1) (General Medicine) —KAYA CHIKITSA : —Cure of diseases affecting the body.
(2) (Pediatrics) —KAUMARA-BHRTYA : —Treatment of children.  (3) (Surgery) —SHALYA-CHIKITSA : —Removal of any substance which has entered the body.
(4) (Opthalmology / ENT / Dentistry) —SALAKYA-TANTRA : –Cure of diseases of the teeth, eye, nose or ear by sharp instruments.
(5) (Demonology / Exorcism / Psychiatry) —BHOOT-VIDYA : —Treatment of mental diseases.
(6) (Toxicology) —AGADA-TANTRA : ‘GADA’ means poison. : —Doctrine of antidotes.
(7) (Anti-ageing) —RASAYANA-TANTRA : —Doctrine of Rasayana.  (8) (Aphrodisiacs) —VAJIKARANA-TANTRA : — In Sanskrit –PANCHABHUTA.
According to Ayurveda, there are 5 classical elements – earth, water, fire, air, ether.It also names 7 basic tissues (dhatu) —-plasma (rasa), blood (rakta), muscle (mamsa), fat (meda), bone (asthi), marrow (majja) and semen (shukra).  Ayurveda, further, states that a balance of 3 elemental substances —-DOSHAS —-vatta, pitta and kapha, equals health, while imbalance equals disease.  Emphasis is placed on moderation of food intake, sleep and sexual intercourse.
Ayurveda has 8 ways of DIGNOSIS : nadi (pulse), mootra (urine), mala (stool), jinvha (tongue), shabda (speech), sparsha (touch), druk (vision), aakruti (appearance).  Ayurveda stresses the use of plant-based medicine, derived fro roots, leaves, fruits barks and seeds such as cardamom and cinnamon.  In the last few decades, Ayurveda has spread around the world.

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