Traditional system of Indian medicine. It is attributed to Dhanvantari, the physician to the gods in Hindu mythology, who received it from Brahma. Its earliest concepts were set out in the portion of the Vedas known as the Atharvaveda (c. 2nd millennium BC). The most important Ayurvedic texts are the Caraka samhita and Susruta samhita (1st–4th century AD). These texts analyze the human body in terms of earth, water, fire, air, and ether as well as the three bodily humours (wind, bile, and phlegm). To prevent illness, Ayurvedic medicine emphasizes hygiene, exercise, herbal preparations, and yoga. To cure ailments, it relies on herbal medicines, physiotherapy, and diet. Ayurvedic medicine is still a popular form of health care in India, where it is taught in roughly 100 colleges, and it has gained currency in the West as a form of alternative medicine.

Variants of AYURVEDA

Ayurveda or Ayurvedic medicine

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on Ayurveda, visit Britannica.com.

Seen & Heard

What made you look up Ayurveda? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.