Eight Limbs of Ayurveda

The Eight Limbs of Ayurvedic System

The people of the globalized world have begun to show interest in the eastern medical system Ayurveda. This ancient system has eight branches called “Ashtanga Ayurveda”. They are the different types of Ayurvedic treatment. This post deals with the eight branches of the system.

Ayurveda, the ancient science of India, is gaining popularity in the modern world. People are turning to the eastern medical systems to find cure for their health problems. Ayurveda has eight branches of treatment called “Ashtanga Ayurveda”. “Ashtanga” literally means “eight parts or limbs of the body”. They have been developed to treat the particular needs of the medical world.

Although the system has eight branches of treatment, the basic mode of all these eight disciplines is the same. They are used in two ways. They are preventive and curative. Ayurveda gives more importance to the preventive aspect of medicine. It insists more on the more on the positive side of regular practices (Dinacharya) to prevent diseases than treating the negative side of health, the diseases.

The eight branches of Ayurvedic treatment

The eight branches of Ayurvedic treatment are: 1) Kayachikitsa (Internal medicine), 2) Shalya Tantra (surgery), 3) Shalakya tantra (treatment of the eyes), 4) Kaumarabhritya (Gynecology and Pediatrics), 5) Agada tantra (Toxicology), 6) Bhuta Vidya (Psychiatry), 7) Rasayana (Rejuvenation and anti-aging) and 8) Vajikarana (Reproductive and enhancing sexual power)

1) Kayachikitsa (Internal medicine)

This first branch of Ayurvedic medicine is the part of general medicines given to treat the total health. The name of this first branch means treatment of the body. It is the holistic treatment given to the whole person – correcting his lifestyle, which also includes change in food, dress and place of living.

2) Shalya Tantra (surgery)

Surgical methods of Ayurveda existed long before they were invented in the west. Ancient texts of Ayurveda describe many details on surgery.

3) Shalakya tantra (treatment of the eyes, ear and throat)

This specific treatment and prevention not only treats the diseases occurring to the eyes, but also nose, ear, mouth and head.
4) Kaumarabhritya (Gynecology and Pediatrics)

Literally it means nurturing a child from pregnancy to adolescence. The modern branches Obstetrics, Gynecology and Pediatrics come under this branch.

5) Agada tantra (Toxicology)

This branch deals mainly with toxic conditions and treats poisons and toxins. It is the science of treating poisons that occur due to bites and stings and deal with the management of antipoisons.

6) Bhuta Vidya (Psychiatry)

Bhuta means a supernatural being and this part of Ayurveda treats mental conditions that make a person behave abnormal. Sushruta Samhita has prescribed many rituals and other methods to treat these kinds of problems.

7) Rasayana (Rejuvenation and anti-aging)

Rasayana Tantra deals with methods and treatments that deal with aging. It suggests measures to check aging and to increase lifespan and brain health.

8) Vajikarana (Reproductive and enhancing sexual power)

To put it in a nutshell, this branch deals with Sexology and Andrology.

The details about the branches of Ayurveda describe how they can be more helpful to the modern globalized world.
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