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There is not much agreement about what makes an idea innovative, and what makes an innovative idea valuable. For example, discussions on whether the internet is a better invention than the wheel are more likely to reveal personal preferences than logical argumentation. Likewise, experts disagree on the type and level of innovation that is most beneficial for organizations. Somestudiessuggest that radical innovation (which does sound sexy) confers sustainable competitive advantages, butothersshow that “mild” innovation – think iPhone 5 rather than the original iPhone – is generally more effective, not least because it reduces market uncertainty. There is also inconclusive evidence on whether we should pay attention to consumers’ views, with somestudiesshowing that a customer focus is detrimental for innovation because it equates to playing catch-up, butothersarguing for it. Even Henry Ford’s famous quote on the subject – “if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said fast…



      Ayurveda originated in India and is one of the oldest medical systems in the world. The word Ayurveda means science of life. It is the combination of two words Ayu (Life) & Veda (Knowledge). It is said to have been taught by the creator, Brahma, to Daksha Prajapati, who taught it in turn to the divine twins called the Ashwinikumars. Ashwinikumars were the heavenly healers who taught this science to Indra. The personages mentioned were deities of early Vedic times. When mankind started suffering from various diseases, the wise men like Bharadwaja learnt from Indra the knowledge of medicine.
References of illness, cures and other health-related issues are found in vedas, the oldest recorded compendium of wisdom on the earth (6000 B.C.). The main source of knowledge of Ayurveda today is two sets of texts each consisting of three books viz.
1.       Brihattrayi   i.e., the three major classics

·         Caraka Samhita (1500-1000 B.C.)
·         Susruta Samhita (1500-1000 B.C.)
·         Vagbhata (600 A.D.)

2.       Laghuttrayi  i.e., the three minor classics
·         Madhava Nidana (700 A.D.)
·         Sarangdhara Samhita (1300 A.D)
·         Bhava Prakasha (1600 A.D).

Besides these classics, there are many more books, both ancient and contemporary, which carry the information on this Indian medical system.

Basic Principles

      The objectives of Ayurveda are preservation and promotion of the health of a healthy person and restoration of health in the diseased. Good health is the fundamental pre-requisite to acquire materialistic, social and spiritual upliftment of human being.

The Universe, according to Ayurveda is composed of five basic elements Pancha Mahabhootas viz. Earth (Prithvi),Water (Jala), Fire (Agni), Air (Vayu), andSpace (Akash).  As the human body is similarly constituted, there is a fundamental similarity between universe and man. A healthy balance between the microcosm (human being) and the macrocosm (universe) is the basis of health.

Ayurveda is based on the theory of three humours (Tridosha) i.e. Vata, Pitta and Kapha, seven body tissues (Saptadhatu) i.e., fluid components of the body (Rasa), Blood (Rakta), muscle tissue (Mamsa), adipose tissue(Medas), bone tissue(Asthi), bone marrow (Majja) and reproductive elements (Sukra) and three bio-wastes (Trimalas) i.e. Urine (Mootra), Faeces (Pureesha) and Sweat (Sweda). The essence of saptadhatu called Ojas is responsible for immunity and strength.

Therapies and Regimen

     In Ayurveda the process of learning, research and clinical practice are experiential and scientific. Like other systems of ancient Indian learning, Ayurveda is discovered through most recognized schools of acquiring knowledge and producing evidence (Pramanas) viz. (1) Direct perception through sense organs (Pratyaksa), (2) Inference (Anumana) (3) Verbal texts from many of the trustworthy persons, who knows truth and communicate correctly (Aptopadesha) and (4) Logical/rational interpretation (Yukti), etc.

Every individual has a peculiar body-mind constitution which is responsible for the health or disease pattern of an individual. Ayurvedic concept of examination of constitution (Prakriti pareeksha) is to know body, mind constitution while selecting diet, medicine or treatment regimen. The human mind has three components i.e. SattvaRaja andTama, which interact with the biological components Vata, Pitta & Kapha and decides the psychosomatic constitution of an individual (Prakriti).

The diagnosis in Ayurveda is based on a two-fold approach to diagnostics viz. (1) Examination of the patient i.e.,Rogi-pareeksha; and (2) Examination of the disease i.e., Roga-pareeksha. Therefore, Rogi- pareeksha is essentially concerned with ascertaining the constitution of the individual and status of his health and vitality.

This is achieved through ten fold examination of patients (Dasavidha pareeksha) comprising of 

(1) Constitution(Prakriti)
(2) Disease susceptibility (Vikriti),
(3) Essence (Sara),
(4) Compactness (Samhanana),
(5) Anthropometry(Pramana),
(6) Compatibility (Satmya),
(7) Mind (Sattwa),
(8) Digestion capacity of food (Aharasakti),
(9) Physical strength (Vyayamasakti) and 
(10) Age (Vaya).

The general examination is made through popular eight types of examination of patient (Ashtasthana pareeksha)comprising examination of pulse (Nadi), urine (Mootra), faeces (Mala), tongue (Jihva), voice (Sabda), touch(Sparsha), eye/vision (Drik) and stature (Akriti) and also considering the state of pathways of internal transport systems (Srotas) and digestive faculty (Agni).

Ayurveda conceives life as a four dimensional entity. Ayu, the living entity is the sum total of physical body, senses, the psyche and the soul. The health is defined as balance of the three doshas, the agni, seven dhatus and the three malas, as well as the sensorial, mental and emotional and spiritual well being (prasanna). Ayurveda, the Science of Life lays great emphasis on preservation and promotion of health, thereby preventing diseases. Elaborate descriptions are available on personal hygiene, which includes diet and regimen during day (Dinacharya), during night (Ratricharya), seasonal routine (Ritucharya) and behavioural and ethical practices (Sadvritta). Observance of certain rules regarding suppressible and non-suppressible natural urges also paves the way towards positive health.

Ideal treatment according to Ayurveda is one, which cures the disease without causing adverse effect. Three classical therapeutic streams advocated by Ayurveda are

(1) Therapies with inexplicable mode of action (Daivavyapasraya chikitsa),
(2) Rationale treatment (Yukti vyapasraya chikitsa) and
(3) Preventive and remedial measures to Psychic disorders (Satwavajaya chikitsa).

The rational Ayurveda treatment is carried out in four parts. They are

(1) Dosha pacifying therapy (Samsamana), and
(2) Bio-cleansing therapy (Samsodhana or Panchakarma)
(3) Avoiding causative factors (Nidana Parivarjana) and
(4) Dietetics (Pathya Vyavastha).

Ayurvedic treatments rely heavily on plant materials. Sometimes, botanicals are mixed with metals, minerals or other naturally occurring substances and the formulae are prepared according to specific Ayurvedic text procedures; such preparations involve several precise treatment to detoxify and potenciate the medicines.

Specific diet (Pathya) is prescribed along with the drugs and treatment. The diet regimen is as important as remedies since the former helps to restore the balance as much as the latter.

Special Procedure

     Ayurveda emphasizes preventative and healing therapies along with various methods of bio-cleansing and rejuvenation. Some procedures are aimed at the management of the disease. Scientific studies have validated the efficacy and acceptability of these procedures.

Panchakarma - Panchakarma means the "five therapies"/five therapeutic means of eliminating toxins from the body are Vaman (emesis), Virechan (purgation), Nasya (nasal insufflation), Basti (enema) and Raktamoskshana (blood-letting by using leech and different instruments). This series of five therapies help remove deep-rooted stress and illness causing toxins from the body while balancing the doshas (energies that govern all biological functions).

Kshara Sautra- A procedure using medicated thread is a unique minimally invasive para-surgical measure being successfully practiced  as a promising therapy for ano-rectal disorders   since time immortal   by Indian surgeons, widely cited in ancient medical literatures for its safety and efficacy.  This technique was practiced by Sushruta (1000-600 B.C.), the famed ancient Indian surgeon. This technique was revived, developed and standardized in the early seventies  by eminent scientists like Prof.P.J.Deshpande, Dr.P.S.Shankaran (Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi ).

Rasayana- Literally, rasayana means the augmentation of rasa, the vital fluid produced by the digestion of food. It is the rasa flowing in the body that sustains life. Rasayana in ayurveda is the method of treatment through which the rasais maintained in the body. This is a specialized branch of clinical medicine meant for preventing the effect of ageing and to improve memory, intelligence, complexion, sensory and motor functions. Numerous rasayana medicines are reported to possess diversified actions like immuno-enhancement, free radical scavenging, adaptogenic or anti-stress and nutritive effects.
Home Remedies

      Home remedies are medicines made at home by using natural ingredients such as spices, pulses, fruits, vegetables, seeds and commonly available herbs. This is a traditional practice and is closely linked to Ayurveda. Generally, homemade remedies are harmless and rarely cause reactions or side effects.
They work out less expensive when compared to other forms of medicines. Since ages, home made medicines have been used by our ancestors to cure common ailments like cold and cough, digestive problems etc. The link provides simple, easily preparable recipes for common ailments.


Charaka Samhita is a huge treatise on ancient Indian medicine. It contains eight divisions (ashtanga sthanas) viz., sutra, nidana, vimana, sharia, indriya, chikitsa, kalpa and siddha. Each division is further divided into numerous chapters; it describes not only the existing knowledge about medicinal aspects but also the philosophy and logic behind the medical systems. The present manuscript of Charaka Samhita has a long history behind it. As stated earlier, it was originally composed by Agnivesa one of the six students of Atreya, and it embodied the teachings of the latter. Agnivesha's treatise appears to have been available till the eleventh century, as Chakrapanidatta, its commentator, quotes from it.
With the passage of time, as new knowledge accumulated, it looks; it was felt necessary that Agnivesha tantra should be revised. This was done by Charaka and the revised edition of Agnivesha tantra came to be called Charaka Samhita. During the ninth century, Charaka Samhita was again edited and reconstructed by a Kashmiri Pandit named Dridhabala, son of Kapilabala, a resident of Panchanadapura, now known as Panjor situated seven miles north of Srinagar . The present form which Charaka Samhita has was given to it by Dridhabala. He not only added the missing chapters but also edited the whole samhita.

Charaka Samhita deals elaborately with subjects such as foetal generation and development, anatomy of the human body, function and malfunction of the body depending upon the equilibrium or otherwise of the three humours of the body, viz., of vayu, pitta and kapha. It describes etiology, classification, pathology, diagnosis treatment of various diseases and the science of rejuvenation of the body. It discusses elaborately the etiology of diseases on the basis of the tridosa theory. It gives a detailed description of the various diseases including those of the eyes, the female genital organs, normal and abnormal deliveries and diseases of the children. Charaka's materia medica consists chiefly of vegetable products though animal and earthy products are also included in it. All these drugs are classified into 50 groups on the basis of their action on the body. 

This vast treatise also gives an idea of the various categories of the practitioners of the healing art, specialization in different medical subjects, physicians and their fees, nursing care, centers of medical learning, schools of philosophy such as Nyaya and Vaiseshika which formed the fundamental basis of medical theories, medical botany and classification of the animal kingdom, particularly in regard to properties of their flesh etc. It also describes various customs, tradition, legends, routine of daily life, habits of smoking and drinking, dress and clothing of the people of that epoch.
Commentary on Charaka Samhita by Chakrapanidatta, called ‘Charaka Tatparya-Tika’ or ‘Ayurveda Dipika’, done in the 11th century (1066 A.D.), is very famous. 

Charaka Samhita was translated from Sanskrit into Arabic in the beginning of the 8th century and its name ‘Sharaka Indianus’ occurs in the Latin translation of Avicenna, Razes, and Serapion, a translation of the Karka from Sanskrit into Persian and from Persian into Arabic is mentioned in the Fihrst (finished in A.D. 987). It is likewise mentioned by Alberuni. Charaka Samhita was first translated into English by A.C. Kaviratnain 1897. 

The life and times of Charaka are not known with certainty. Some Indian scholars have stated that Charaka of Charaka Samhita existed before Panini, the grammarian, who is said to have lived before the sixth century B. C. Another school argues that Patanjali wrote a commentary on the medical work of Charaka, which is corroborated by his commentator, Chakrapanidatta. They say that if Patanjali lived around 175 B.C., Charaka must have lived some time before him. Another source about the identity of Charaka and his times is provided by the French orientalist Sylvan Levi. He discovered in the Chinese translation of the Buddhist Tripitaka, a person named Charaka who was a court physician to the Indo-Scythian king Kanishka, who in all probability reigned in the second century A.D. From the above discussion, it would seem that Charaka may have lived between the second century B.C. to the second century A.D. Till such time as further and more conclusive evidence is available, to narrow down this period would not be justifiable.


This treatise is the main source of knowledge about surgery in ancient India . Sushruta Samhita, as we know it now, is not in the original form which he gave it and which he called. It was first called Shalya Tantra consisted of only five divisions, viz., ‘Sutra’, ‘Nidana’, ‘Sharira’, ‘Chikitsa’, and ‘Kalpa’. Shalya Tantra was later revised and supplemented. Later addition of ‘Uttara-tantra' consisting of three divisions called ‘Shalakya’, ‘Bhuta-Vidya’ and ‘Kalamara-Bhrtya’, makes eight divisions in the present Sushruta Samhita. Of the commentaries on Sushruta Samhita, the most renowned is that of ‘Dalhana’ called ‘Nibandha Samgraha’ written in the 12th century AD. Another commentary is by ‘Chakrapanidatta’ written in the eleventh century. It is called ‘Bhanumati’ and only a portion of it is available now.
Sushruta Samhita was translated into Arabic before the end of the eighth century A.D. It was called ‘Kitabshaw-shoon-a Hindi’ or ‘Kitabi-i-Susrud. Rhazes’, the famous Arab physician, often quoted from it and mentioned Sarad as an authority on surgery. It was translated in Latin by Hassler and in German by Ullers. 

It was translated into English, in part only, by U.C. Datta (1883), A. Chattopadhyaya (1891) and Hoernle (1897). K.L. Bhisagaratna translated it in full between the years 1908 and 1917 and it is this translation which is available now. 

Who was Sushruta, the composer of Shalya Tantra and when did he live, is not known with any certainty, but for a hint here and there. In connection with the bones of the human body, Sushruta in Sushruta Samhita introduces his own exposition with a remark pointing to the difference between the Atreya system and his own in respect of the total number of bones. This proves that Sushruta could not have lived before Atreya. Another hint is provided by ‘Shatapatha Brahmana’, which seems to be acquainted with Sushruta's enumeration of bones. The exact data of Shatapatha Brahmana is not known, but it is said to belong to the sixth century B.C. If that is so, Sushruta may have lived around the time when Agnivesha composed his Tantra under the direction of Atreya.  Sushruta of Shalya Tantra was a great surgeon, teacher of repute and an admirable author. He made great improvements in the general techniques of surgery and performed many new and major operations. He also described a variety of surgical instruments. He taught his students the surgical techniques first on the dummies and later on the dead bodies. His techniques of dissection of the human body are unique, practical and revealing of the structure of the body. His operations of making a new nose or ear-lobe, of lithotomy, of taking out the dead foetus, and abdominal operations, are classical marvels.  Before Sushruta's time, knowledge and practice of surgery in India was more or less of the same standard as in other contemporary civilizations like Egypt , Mesopotamia and Greece . In India , the profession of healing was practiced by surgeons (ahalya vaidas), physicians (bhesajas) priest doctors (bhisaj atharvana], poison-curers (vishaharas) and demon doctors (krtyaharas). To practise their art, these professionals had to go out into the open streets, calling out for patients. They lived in houses surrounded by gardens of medicinal herbs. Surgery was not considered a respectable profession before Sushruta's time. 

Bhela was one of the six students of Atreya. He is said to have composed a treatise called Bhela Samhita. This was not traceable for many centuries, but in the year 1880, a palm leaf manuscript of it, composed in Sanskrit but written in the Telugu script, was found in the Palace Library at Tanjore. This manuscript, written in about 1650 BC, abounds in mistakes and some of it has been disfigured beyond recognition. But whatever has survived gives evidence of the same ancient tradition as Charaka Samhita does. It has also eight divisions like the Charaka Samhita and each section end with the words: “Thus spake Atreya” as it is in Charaka Samhita. Bhela Samhita essentially corroborates what Charaka Samhita says. Occasionally, it differs from it in some details.


The practice of Ayurvedic medicine entered a new phase when instead of the ‘samhitas’ on medicine and surgery, compendia of prescriptions for various diseases began to appear. The first of such treatises which we have with us now is Nava Nitaka. This manuscript was discovered by a man of Kuchar, an oasis of Eastern Turkistan in Central Asia on the caravan route to China . This route was used by the Buddhist monks of India for traveling to far off places. This man dug in the hope of getting some treasure in an area supposed to contain an underground city. He did not find any wealth but discovered a manuscript which was bought for a small sum by L.H. Bower, who had gone there on a private mission from the Government of India. This manuscript was forwarded to J. Waterhouse, the then President of the Asiatic Society. It was deciphered and published by A.F. Hoernle, who spent 21 years on its study. Afterwards, the manuscript was sold to the Bodlein Library in Oxford . 

Nava Nitaka manuscript by its name or by its contents has been mentioned by different authors between the tenth and the sixteenth century. After that, this manuscript has not been mentioned by anyone until it was re-discovered. The present manuscript is composed of very defective Sanskrit mixed with Prakrit. It was written in the ‘Gupta’ script of the 4th or 5th century. The material on which it is written is birch bark, cut into longish folios like the palm leaves of southern and western India . The contents suggest Buddhist influence in its composition. 

According to Hoernle, the whole manuscript consists of not less five distinct parts. The author quotes from Charaka and Sushruta and Bhela Samhita. The title 'Nava-Nitaka', which means butter, is indicative of the manner of its composition; just as a small amount of butter is extracted out milk, so does this work contain the essential formulae extracted from other larger works. According to one scholar, the author of Nava-Nitaka was Navanita

Nava-Nitaka for the first time gives details about the use of garlic various diseases such as consumption (rajya yakshma) and scrofulous glands in the neck. Tied with a thread, it was also hung on the door; this was supposed to check the spread of infectious diseases like small-pox. Garlic was recommended to be used in winter and spring.
havamisra quoted these treatises repeatedly in their works.


This book is still studied all over India , more so in the south. It is composed in a combination of verse and prose form. It was written byVagbhatta around the 7th century AD. It is predominantly based on the teachings of Charaka and Sushruta Samhita as though it also gives its own views on different topics. Commentaries on Ashtanga Sangraha were written by Arunadatta about 1220 A.D. and by Hemadri a few decades later. 

Ashtanga Hridaya Samhita is divided into six divisions – ‘Sutra Sthana’, ‘Nidana Sthana’, ‘Sharira Sthana’, ‘Chikitsa Sthana’, ‘KalpaSthana’, and ‘Uttara Sthana’ and it is also written by Vagbhatta. It contains 120 chapters and the author quotes Charaka, Sushruta, Bhela, Nimi, Kashyapa, Dhanvantari and other earlier authors and their works; the chief source, however, is Ashtanga Sangraha. It is a complete but concise description of Ayurvedic medicine. 

Particular stress is laid upon surgery. It does not mention the user of opium in the treatment of diseases and feeling of the pulse for diagnosis. Use of 'killed' (oxidized) metals is also not given in it. ‘Sutra-sthana’ of Ashtanga Hridaya is especially popular. A popular later couplet says: "The best authorities in medicine are Madhava for nidana (diagnosis), Vagbhatta for sutra sthana (theoretical basis or general principles), Sushruta for sharira (structure of the body) and Charaka for chikitsa (treatment)."
Ashtanga Hridaya has all along been a very popular treatise. Commentaries on it have been written from time to time by as many as 35 important Ayurvedic physicians, each one interpreting it to the best of his knowledge and experience. 

Ashtanga Hridaya was translated from Sanskrit into Persian in 1473 A.D. by Hakim Ali Mohammed Bin Ali Ismaili Asavali Aseeli, and dedicated to Mahmood Shah I, the ruler of Gujarat .
Ashtanga Sangraha and Ashtanga Hridaya, particularly the latter, indicate advancement in knowledge over the two samhitas of Charaka and Sushruta. This is particularly noticeable in the new drugs and some of the new surgical procedures that have been introduced. These treatises of Vagbhatta were extensively used and, in fact, they overshadowed the earlier samhitas to the extent that some portions of them were lost never to be recovered. Later writers like Sharangadhara, Chakrapanidatta and B


Rug Vinishchaya, Madhavakara's famous treatise, is written in simple language and style. It is easily understandable by ordinary physicians and became very popular and came to be known as Madhava nidana or simply Nidana. It specializes in the diagnosis of the diseases. The order in which it describes the causes, symptoms and complications of the important diseases sets an example for the future authors such as Vrinda, Vangasena and Chakrapanidatta. Its description of diseases shows a significant advancement compared with that of Charaka and Sushruta Samhita. A special chapter is devoted to small-pox, which previously was described only in a minor way. It, however, literally quotes, many a time, Charaka and Sushruta, which shows the borrowing it made from these sources.
In later times, numerous commentaries were written on Madhava's Nidana, which indicate the fame and popularity of this work. The most famous of these commentaries was ‘Madhukosh’ by Vijayaraksita and his pupil Srikanthadatta in the 14th century. The other commentary ‘Antak-darpan’ by Vachaspati also belongs to the later half of the 14th century. 

The time of Madhavakara, son of Indrakara, cannot be stated with certainty. Vagbhatta mentions Charaka and Sushruta but not Madhava. Madhava, on the other hand, does not mention anything about Dridhabala's edition of Charaka Samhita. So Madhava came after Vagbhatta but before Dridhabala. Furthermore, Vrinda knew about Madhava. These indirect sources indicate that Madhava may have existed in the 9th or 10th century A.D.


Vrinda composed Siddha Yoga probably around 1000 A.D. This treatise is a medico-chemical work which incorporates some of the material from Charaka, Sushruta, Vagbhatta, Madhavakara and Nagarjuna. This became very popular. A commentary called ‘Kusumavali’ was written on it by Sri Kanthadatta around fourteenth century A.D. The commentator states that Siddha Yoga makes particular mention of the diseases prevalent in western India ; may be Vrinda belonged to that region. Siddha Yoga is in the nature of a sangraha and follows the methods of Vagbhatta and others and gives a survey of the classical method of treatment. This is the first large treatise dealing with the prescriptions; in it Vrinda prescribes mercury for internal use. Siddha Yoga of Vrinda was considered to be very important treatise. It was among the books translated into Arabic.


Rasaratnakara deals with the preparation and use of metallic compounds, more particularly of mercury (rasa). It describes certain recipes in which vegetable or animal products are used to transform other metals into compounds which look like gold and could be passed off as gold. These compounds, particularly of mercury, were prepared and used in order to make the body undecayable and strong.
Rasaratnakara was written by Nagarjuna. From the internal evidence of this book, it appears, it is a work composed after the time of Vagbhatta i.e., in the 8th century. Alberuni mentions of a Nagarjuna resident of the fort Daibhak near Somnath, who composed a book ‘Rasayana’. According to him, this Nagarjuna lived about a hundred years before his times. It appears, Nagarjuna lived sometimes between the 8th and 9th century A.D. Nagarjuna composed some other works also, which include ‘Kakshaputa Tanim’ and ‘Arogya Manjari’. According to Dalhana, a commentator of Sushruta, Nagarjuna reconstructed Sushruta Samhita and added Uttara Tantra to it. Nagarjuna was quoted as an authority on ‘rasayana’ by later authors such as Vrinda and Chakrapani. Until the seventh and eighth centuries, Ayurvedic drugs consisted mainly of vegetable products. Metals, such as iron, silver, tin and lead, were very sparingly used for medical purposes. Use of metallic compounds particularly began with Nagarjuna and it increased progressively.


The earliest Indian medical treatise to mention of nadi-pariksha (pulse examinations) is of the 12th century. Written in the 13th century, Sharangadhara Samhita describes different types of pulse in different disease conditions. Sharangadhara Samhita is not a ‘tantric’ treatise though the author devotes the "Madhya khanda" to a detailed description of metals and their purification, mercury and the methods of 'swooning', 'killing' and fixing of mercury. It follows the orthodox system of therapeutics of the ancient classical authorities, but admits into the Indian pharmocopoeia, important drugs like mercury and opium, and utilizes them in therapy. It also marks certain important advances in the physiology of respiration, in medical diagnosis and therapeutics. Sharangadhara Samhita was translated into Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali and Marathi languages; this shows that it was very popular. Two commentaries on Sharangadhara Samhita were written: one by Adhamalla called ‘Dipika’ in the 13th century, the second by Kashiram called ‘Gurartha dipika’ in the 16th century.


To the middle of the sixteenth century belongs Bhava Misra whose treatise Bhavaprakasha is an important medical work. Bhava Misra is the last of the great men of Indian Medicine. He was the son of Lataka Misra and lived at Varanasi in the year 1550 A.D. He was considered as "a jewel among the physicians" and the best of the scholars of his time. He is said to have taught and trained at least 400 students in medicine. In his important and voluminous treatise called Bhavaprakasha he describes the best of the available material of the previous authors and sets forth his own views and experiences. It is also divided into three khandas (parts): ‘purva’, ‘madhya’ and ‘uttara’. In it the author systematically deals with the origin of Indian medicine, cosmology, human anatomy, embryology, physiology, pathology, medicine, diseases of the children, surgery, Materia Medica, therapeutics, dietetics, rejuvenants and elixirs to prolong life. His clear style and excellent arrangement of the subject matter has thrown a flood of light on many obscure and disputed views of the ancient writers. He describes nadi-pariksha (examination of the pulse) and also the use of mercury and opium.
By the time of Bhava Misra, foreigners from European countries, particularly Portuguese, had started pouring into India to enrich themselves by commercial pursuits. Many of them, however, were suffering from syphilis and so passed on the .disease to the Indian population also. Indian physicians were quite unfamiliar with this scourge and all their previous medical treatises were silent on this subject, even though they did describe other diseases of the genital organs. A new name was needed for this malady and as this disease was brought into the country by the Portuguese, it was called Phiranga roga. Mercury in the form of calomel, catechu, Spilanthese oleracea and honey in certain proportions are the recommended medicines. Certain other recipes are also mentioned. Bhava Misra's Bhavaprakasha is still popular and is consulted by Ayurvedic physicians in India . He composed another small pharmacological work called ‘Gunaratnamala’. It mentions China root called Tobchini in the vernacular, as a remedy of "phiranga roga." He was the first to mention certain drugs of foreign countries as badhkashani naspasi, khorabani and parasika vacha (Acorus calamus), sulemani kharjura (date fruit of Suleman) and opium. Surgery is mentioned only in brief. 

A copy of Bhavaprakasha dated 1558, according to Jolly, was available in Tubingen .


Various Ayurvedic medicines were classified into several groups by different authors of Ayurvedic books. These are as follows:-


1.    Promoting Life. (Jeevaneeyam.)

2.    Promoting Growth (Brimhaneeyam) .

3.    Reducing Growth (Lekhaniyam)

4.    Promoting Evacuation (Bhedaneeyam.)

5.    Promoting Union (Sandhaaneeyam.)

6.    Promoting Appetite (Deepaneeyam.)

7.    Promoting Strength (Balyam.)

8.    Promoting Complexion (Varnyam.)

9.    Promoting Voice (Kantyam.)

10. Promoting Happy Feeling (Hridyam.)

11. Destroying Satisfaction (Triptighnam.)

12. Destroying Piles (Arsoghnam.)

13. Destroying Skin Diseases (Kustaghnam.)

14. Destroying Itching (Kandughnam.)

15. Destroying Parasites (Krimighnam.)

16. Destroying Poison (Vishaghnam.)

17. Producing Milk (Sthanyajananam.)

18. Purifying Milk (Sthanysodhanam.)

19. Producing Sperm (Sukrajananam.)

20. Purifying Sperm (Sukrasodhanam.)

21. Promoting Lubrication (Snehopagam.)

22. Promoting Sweat (Swedopagam.)

23. Promoting Vomiting (Vamanopagam.)

24. Promoting Purgaiton (Virechanopagam.)

25. Useful for Non-oily Enemata (Aasthaapanopagam.)

26. Useful for Oily Enemata (Anuvaasanopagam.)

27. Purging Doshas in the Head. (Sirovirechaniyam.)

28. Controlling Vomitting. (Chardinigrahanam.)

29. Controlling Thirst. (Trishnaanigrahanam.)

30. Checking Hiccough (Hiccanigrahanam.)

31. Reducing Faecal Matter. (Purisha Sangrahaneeyam.)

32. Purifying Faecal Matter. (Purisha Virajaneeyam.)

33. Reducing Urine (Mutra Sangrahaneeyam.)

34. Purifying Urine (Mutra Virajaneeyam.)

35. Increasing Urine (Mutra virechaneeyam.)

36. Relieving Cough (Kaasa Hara.)

37. Relieving Dyspepsia (Swasahara.)

38. Relieving Swelling (Swayathuhara.)

39. Relieving Fever (Jwaraharam.)

40. Relieving Exhaustion (Sramaharam.) .

41. Relieving Burning Sensation (Daahaprasamanam.)

42. Relieving Cold (Seethaprasamanam.)

43. Relieving Rashes (Udardaprasamanam.)

44. Relieving bodily Pains (Angamardaprasamanam.)

45. Relieving Colic (Sulaprasamanam.)

46. Restoring Blood (Sonitaasthaapanam.)

47. Relieving Suffering (vedanaasthaapana.)

48. Restoring Consciousness (Prajaasthaapana.)

49. Fixing Pregnancy (Prajaasthaapana.)

50. Fixing Youthfulness (Vayasthapana.)


1.    Vidaarigandhaadi Gana
The Vidaarigandhaadigana counteracts Vaata and Pitta; it is useful in Sosha (emaciation), Gulma (tumour), Angamarda (bodily soreness), Oordhwaswaasa (a kind of Swaasa) and Kaasa (cough). 

2.    Aaragwadhaadi Gana
The Aaragwadhaadigana checks Kapha and Poison; it is also useful in Prameha, Kushta, Jwara, Vami (vomiting), Kandu (itching) and it purifies Vrana (Dushta).

3.      Varunaadi Gana
This Varunaadigana checks Kapha and Medas; it is also useful in headache, Gulma, and Aabhyantara vidradhi (internal abscess). 

4.      Saalasaaraadi gana
This gana is very helpful in Kushta. It also acts as a curative in Prameha, Paandu (anaemia) and lessens Kapha and Medas. 

5.      Rodhraadi Gana
The Rodhraadigana lessens Medas and Kapha; it is curative of Yoni Dosha (disorders of Yoni); it is astringent (Stambhee), develops complexion (Varnya), and mitigates the poisons (Vishavinaasana). 

6.      Arkaadi Gana
The Arkaadigana checks Kapha, Medas and Visha; it is helpful also in Krimi, Kushta and is chiefly a purificator of Vranas (Viseshaat Vrana Sodhanah).

7.       Surasaadi Gana
Suraasadigana checks Kapha and destroys Krimees (Parasites); it is also useful in cold, loss of appetite, hard breathing and cough; it purifies (Dushta) Vrana. 

8.      Mushkakaadi Gana
Mushkakaadigana reduces Medas and is useful in Sukradosha (impurity of Semen); it also acts as a curative in Prameha, Arsas, Paanduroga and Sarkara. 

9.      Pippalyaadi Gana
Pippalyaadigana reduces Kapha Dosha, cold (Pratisyaaya), Vaata, anorexia, Gulma and pain (Soola); it creates appetite (deepana) and digests (resolves) AamaDosha (Aama Paachana). 

10.  Elaadi Gana
Elaadigana checks Vasta and Kapha and Visha (Poison); it creates luster of the skin (
 Varna prasaada); it destroys itching (Kandoo), Pidakaa (Disease with elevated skin on account fo an abcess etc) and Kotha (eruption on skin). 

11.  Vachaadi Gana 

12.  Haridraadi Gana
Both Vachaadigana and Haridraadigana purify the breast-milk, act as amelioratives (Samana) in Aamaateesaara; they are especially digestive of the Doshaas (Viseshaat Doshapaachanou). 

13.  Syaamaadi Gana
Syaamaadigana checks Gulma and Visha (poison), Aanaaha (distension of abdomen), Udara, and Udaavarta; it causes free evacuation of the bowels.

14.  Brihatyaadi Gana
Brihatyaadigana is a digestive (Paachaneeya); it checks Vaata and Pitta. It is also beneficial in Arochaka (Anorexia) due to Kapha, Hridroga, Mootrakrichra (Dysuria) and a kind of pain during urination.

15. Patolaadi Gana
Patolaadigana cures Pitta, Kapha and Arochaka (anorexia); it allays Jwara; it is beneficial in Vranas, and cures vomiting, itching and Visha (poison).

16.     Kaakolyaadi Gana
Kaakolyaadigana cures Pittasonita (Rakta vitiated by Pitta; or Pitta and Sonita) and Vaayu. It is Jeevana (increases vitality), Brimhana (promotes bodily growth), Vrishya (increases semen), and increases breast-milk and Kapha.

17.     Ooshakaadi Gana
Ooshakaadigana allays Kapha and diminishes Medas; it acts as curative in Asmaree (stone), Sarkaraa (sand in urine), Mootrakrichchra and Gulma.

18.     Saaribaadi Gana
Saaribaadigana allays thirst and Raktapitta. It is beneficial in Pittajwara and cures Daaha (burning sensation) especially.

19.     Anjanaadi Gana
This Gana cures Raktapitta; it is beneficial in Visha (poisoning), and it allays internal burning sensation.

20.     Parooshakaadi Gana
Parooshakaadigana cures Vaata and disordered urine; it is pleasant to take (Hridya); it allays thirst and creates appetite.

21.     Priyangwaadi Gana

22.    Ambashtaadi Gana
Both Priyangwaadi Gana and Ambashtaadi Gana are useful in Pakwaateesara. They cause Sandhaana (union of bones etc), are beneficial in Pitta and heal the ulcers (Vranaanaam chaapi Ropanou).

23.     Nyagrodhaadi Gana
Nyagrodhaadigana is beneficial in the treatment of Vranas (Vranyah); it is astringent (Sangraahee); it is useful in fractures (Bhagna Saadhaka). Further, it allays Raktapitta (Haemorrhage) and Daaha (burning sensation); it reduces Medas (obesity) and it is useful in Yonidosha (Yonivvaapat).

24.     Gudoochyaadi Gana
Gudoochyaadi gana checks all Jwaras (fevers and it increases appetite (Deepana). It allays’ Hrillaasa (nausea accompanied with hawking of mucous etc. from the mouth), Arochaka (Anorexia), Vami (Vomiting), thirst and burning sensation.

25.     Utpalaadi Gana
Utpalaadigana allays Daaha (burning sensation), Pitta and Rakta, thirst, Visha (poisoning), Hridroga, Chardi (Vomiting) and Moorchaa (Syncope).

26.     Mustaadi Gana
Mustakadi Gana reduces Kapha; it also cures Yonidosha and purifies breast-milk; it is digestive (Paachana).

27.     Triphala
It includes Hareetakee, Aamalaka and Vibheetaka. Thriphala reduces Kapha and Pitta; it is useful in Prameha, Kushta; it is beneficial to eyes; it creates appetite and is useful in Vishamajwara.

28.     Trikatukam
This is also called Tryooshanam and Vyosha. It reduces Kapha and Medas and is useful in Pramea, Kushta, Twagaamaya (Skin diseases); it creates appetite; it is useful in Gulma, Peenasa and Agnyalpataa (Poor digestion).

29.  Aamalakyaadi Gana
This Aamalakyaadigana is useful in all jwaras (fevers) is beneficial to eyes, is an aphrodisiac and cures Kaphaarochaka (Anorexia due to Kapha).

30.     Trapwaadi Gana
Trapwaadigana is useful in gara (poisoning usually through food), worms (Krimi), thirst, Visha, Hridroga Paandu and Prameha.

31.     Laakshaadi Gana
Laakshaadi Gana is Kashaaya (astringent), bitter and sweet in taste; reduces ailments due to Kapha and Pitta; it is useful in Kushta and Krimi (worms); it also purifies Dushta vranas.

32.  Kaneeya Panchamoola (or Hraswa Panchamoolam of Laghupanchamoola)
It includes Trikantaka (Gokshura), Brihatee, Kantakaari Prithakparnee and Vidaarigandhaa (Saalaparni).
Kaneeya Panchamoola is Kashaaya, Tikta and Madhura in Rasa (taste); it reduces Vaata and ameliorates Pitta; it is Brimhana (tissue building) and increases strength (Balavardhanah).

33.     Mahaa Panchamoolam is bitter (tikta), checks Kapha and Vaata; it is Laghu in Paaka It promotes appetite and it is slightly sweet in Rasa (Taste).

34.     Dashamoola
 It includes Kaneeya Panchamoola and Mahaa Panchamoola. Both the Panchamoolas when mixed are called Dashamoola.
Dashamoola (Gana) reduces Swaasa (hard breathing), it checks Kapha, Pitta and Vaayu; it digests Aama-Dosha and it is curative of all Jwaras (fevers).

35.     Vallee Panchmoola

36.  Kantakapanchamoola
It includes Vallee Panchamoola and Kantaka Panchamoola. Both the ganas are beneficial in Raktapitta and are useful in three kinds of Sopha (Aama, Pachyamaana and Pakwa), Prameha and purify Sukra.
Laghupanchamoola and Mahaapanchamoola usually reduce Vaata; Trinapanchamoola reduces Pitta; the other two, namely, Valleepahchamoola and Kantaka Panchamoola, reduce Kapha.

It should be understood that the substances in the groups (Ganas) may be altered, or individually used and variously combined according to the Doshas or Dooshyas etc. existing individually or in various combinations in a person.


1.    Vamanaoushadhagana (Emetics)

2.      Virechanaoushdhagana (Purgatives)

3.      Niroohana Dravyagana

4.        Seershavirechaneeyagana

5.        Vaataharaganas
Check Vaayu.

6.        Pittaharaganas (Ameliorate pitta).

7.        Kaphaharaganas
Ameliorate Kapha Dosha.

8.        Jeevaneeyaadi Gana

9.        Vidaaryaadi Gana
The Vidaaryaadi gana is hridya (pleasing), Brimhana (tissue-builder), and it ameliorates Vaata and Pitta besides checking Sosha (wasting), Gulma (tumour), Angamarda (bodily soreness), Oordhwaswaasa (a kind of hard-breathing), and Kaasa (cough).

10.     Saaribaadi Gana
Ameliorate Daaha (burning sensation), Pitta, Rakta (disorders of), thirst and Jwara (fever.)

11.     Padmaakadi Gana
The ingredients of Padmakaadi gana increase the breast-milk, ameliorate the vitiated Pitta, cause satisfaction (Preenana), promote life (Jeevana) and build tissues (Brimhana); they are aphrodisiacs (Vrishya).

12.  Parooshakaadi Gana
Ameliorates thirst, diseases pertaining to urine (Mootraamaya) and Vaata.

13.     Anjanaadi Gana
Ameliorates Visha (poison), Antardaaha (internal burning sensation), and Pitta.

14.     Patolaadi Gana
Checks Kapha, Pitta, Kushta, Jwara, Visha, Vami (Vomiting), Arochaka and Kaamalaa (Jaundice).

15.     Gudoochyaadi Gana
Ameliorates Pitta, Kapha, Jwara, Vomiting, burning sensation, and thirst; it promotes appetite.
Checks vomiting. Kushta, Visha, Jwara, Kapha, itching and Prameha; it purifies Dushta Vrana.

16.     Asanaadi Gana
Ameliorates Switra (leucoderma), Kushta, Kapha, Krimi (worms), Paanduroga, Prameha and reduces Medodosha (obesity).

17.     Varanaadi Gana
Checks Kapha, Medas (fat), Poor digestion (Mandaagni), Vaata (vitiated downwards), headache, Gulma, Baahyavidradhi and Antarvidradhi).

18.     Ooshakaadi Gana
Checks Mootrakrichra, Asma (calculus), Gulma, Medas (fat) and Kapha.

19.     Veerataraadi Gana
Ameliorates diseases caused by vitiated Vaata; it is, further, beneficial in Asmaree (Caleulus), Sarkaraa (Sand in urine), Mootrakrichra (Dysuria), Mootraghaate (Dribbling of urine etc., and pain in urinary organs.

20.    Rodhraadi Gana
Reduces fat, Kapha, Yonidosha (disorders of Yoni), and which is astringent, complexion giving and antipoisonous.

21.     Arkaadi Gana
Reduces Kapha, Medas (fat) and poison; it ameliorates Krimi, and Kushta; it purifies Vranas (ulcers) especially.

22.     Surasaadi Gana
Checks Kapha, Medas, Krimi, Pratisyaaya, Aruchi, (Anorexia), Swaasa (hard breathing), and Kaasa (cough) and which purifies the Vraas.

23.     Mushkaakadi Gana
Checks Gulma, Prameha, Asmaree, Paanduroga, Medas, Arsas (Piles), Kapha and Sukradosha.

24.     Vatsakaadi Gana
Checks Vasta, Kapha and Medas, Peenasa, Gulma, Jwara, Sools and Durnaama.

25.  Vachaadi Gana
Both Vachaadigana and Haridraadigana check Aamaateesaara. They are also useful in Medas, excessive Kapha, Vaayu and impurities of breastmilk.

26.  Privangwaadi Gana

27.  Ambashtaadi Gana
Both Priyangwaadigana and Ambashtaadigana check Pakwaateesara; they are Sandhaaneeya (cause union of fractures etc.); they are beneficial in Pitta and cause healing of ulcers.

28.  Mustaadi Gana
Curative of disorders of Vulva (Yoniroga) and breastmilk and are digestive of Malaas.

29.  Nyagrodhaadi Gana
Helps to heal the Vranas, is astringent and useful in fractures (Bhagnasaadhanah); it also checks Medas, Pitta, Rakta, thirst, Daaha (burning sensation) and Yoniroga.

30.  Elaadi Gana
Elaadigana reduces Vaata, Kapha and Visha (Poison); it develops complexion of the body; it also cures itching. Pitikaa (elevated swellings like abscesses etc.) and Kothas (red eruptions on skin).

31.  Syaamnadi Gana
Checks Gulma, Visha (Poison), Aruchi (Anorexia), Kapha, Hridriga and Mootrakrichra (Dysuria).