Roots of Ayurveda

Ayurveda's development was the result of natural progression from the Atharvaveda which preceded it by more than a millenia. It kept the textual knowledge of medicinal plants, bodily functions, structure of the body while also incorporating certain foreign inlfuences. Charaka is credited for developing the systemized character of Ayurveda and also making it free from some of the ritualistic practices of Atharvaveda

Instructor: NPTEL

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Suggested Time

3 days







Unit 1: Introduction

History of Medicine 14 min

Charaka who is called the Father of Medicine had maintained that Ayurveda is ageless as it remained the same due to the inherent properties that was the part of an individual. There was also the belief that creatures had an innate quality to find a cure for themselves in nature. John Hunter was the father of surgery in western medicine who inculcated a experimental culture which is still prevalent. The Indus Valley had the first drainage system in the world, lining up in a perfectly designed manner.
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Atharvaveda 12 min

The Atharveda started the written tradition of developing a repository of medical knowledge. The use of amulets and charms from that period are still present, millenia after its origins. The vedic periodization is still unclear as it may have formed much before the commonly agreed time of 1500 BC.
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Unit 2: Transition & Knowledge

Mantras & Treatment of Jaundice 9 min

Various mantras were recited, as was common in the Vedic period for the treatment for diseases. Rituals such as the use of amulets were  common place in the Atharvaveda. Jaundice was one of the dreaded diseases from that time and involved an elaborate process of healing.
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Human Body & its functions 10 min

The human anatomy was written about in great detail with all the organs and bones described. The bodily functions of the various parts were mentioned to help understand the driving force which was prana.
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Vedic Attitude 7 min

The vedic people were of a generally happy disposition and had no feeling of illwill to their fellow man. They wanted to live a long life, happy life, healthy life with no particular focus on the other wordly.
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Unit 3: Sushruta & other contributions

Suśruta 15 min

Suśruta was an ancient Indian physician who is believed to be the first to carry out plastic surgery. His renowned work is the treatise called the  The Compendium of Suśruta which describes surgical training, instruments and procedures. He predated Charaka and is set o have written his works in 600 BC.
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