Medicine is primarily in the Atreya tradition, and the sage Charaka is famous for propagating this tradition with his Charaka Samhita, said to be the first and main book of Ayurveda.
Treatments like surgery are in the Dhanvantari tradition, from which the famous surgeon Sushruta propagated this tradition with his Sushruta Samhita. It is considered that in 600 BCE, Sushruta recorded complicated surgeries like cesareans, cataract, artificial limbs, fractures, hernia, intestinal surgery, bladder stone removal, rhinoplasty or plastic surgery of the nose, and brain surgery, plus suturing, the knowledge of the instruments needed for particular operations, types of forceps, surgical probes, needles, and cutting instruments.
Over 125 surgical instruments were described and used, including lancets, forceps, catheters, etc., many of which are the same or similar as those we still have today. Deep knowledge of anatomy, physiology, etiology, embryology, digestion, metabolism, genetics, and immunity is also found in these texts. The Sushruta Samhita is over a thousand pages of descriptions of various diseases, their causes, likelihood of getting them, and treatments. Therein many topics are clarified further with dialogues between Dhanvantari and his disciples. The Sushruta Samhita has 192 chapters, the first nine of which are about 125 different surgical instruments, what they are, what material they are made of, and which type of surgical procedure for which they are used. This also describes ways of stitching wounds and different dressings for various wounds.
Though he mentions many different kinds of surgical instruments, he emphasized so much on the cleanliness of the atmosphere and sterilization of the instruments before or after the surgery, and the ways to do it, that even modern surgeons are amazed. He also wrote about how to make the patients senseless, or the first mention of the use of anaesthetics to help in operations or surgery.The Sushruta Samhita also mentions the surgical removal of harmful tissues or elements born out of what would be cancer in such organs as the intestines.
The Charaka Samhita was the book by the sage Charaka some 2500 years ago. This is the main treatise of the system of Ayurvedic medicine. It consists of 120 chapters in eight sections on surgery, eye and head treatment, therapeutics, toxicology, pediatrics, pharmacology, and medicine preparation, mental diseases, and treatment of reproductive systems. Charaka is the first to point out the effects of diet and activity on the mind and body. He also understood the fundamentals of genetics, and how to determine the sex of a child being carried in the mother. He also established how birth defects was not necessarily due to any defect in the mother or father, but to the ovum or sperm of the parents. He also counted 360 bones in the body, including teeth.
The sage Charaka also explained that nature provides all the natural medicines in the area a person lives. The Rig Veda also names over 1000 herbs and plants used for medical purposes. Thus, a person must investigate the plants and vegetables around oneself and use them. The Charaka Samhita talks about 341 plant-generated medicines, another 177 from animals, and 64 from minerals. The Sushruta Samhita also discusses 385 plant-generated, 57 animal-generated and 64 mineral-generated medicines and how to use them.
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