The Ancient Indians of the Vedic times were well advanced in Medical Sciences.
There were Physicians, Surgeons.
Suhusrutha was a leading practitioner of Medicine and was also a Medical scientist.
The sick were treated by the following methods.
There are references to a sort of Crystal which was used to cure the sick.
Mantras or the Mystical Letter/s, words were also a part of treatment.
Even to day there are practitioners of this form of Medicine, who cure hepatitis by having a copper bowl filled with water in between the patient and
the Practitioner, he keeps a needle in this water, chants some Mantras silently, the color of water changes,indicating the level of infection and once the water becomes clear, the patient becomes fully cured.
There are people who treat Snake and Scorpion bites with this type of treatment.
Aushadham means Divine Medicine.
The first Medicine this system recommends in Food.
Regulation of food and special foods cure one of illnesses.
Then comes herbs,wild and common.
Lakshmana was cured when he fell unconscious by the use of Sanjeevini, a rare herb
The early Hindus were also adept at Surgery.
They performed regular Surgery, Cancer Surgery and even Plastic surgery.
““Surgery is the first and the highest division of the healing art, pure in itself, perpetual in its applicability, a working product of heaven and sure of fame on earth” – Sushruta (400 B.C.)”
According to Hindu mythology, the creator of the Universe, Lord Brahma, was the first teacher to make a compilation of Ayurvedic texts which he later abridged into eight parts , with medicine (Kayachiktsaya) and surgery (Shalya tantra) as the main subjects.
It is believed that Brahma propagated this knowledge through Daksha Prajapati who in turn taught this science to the Aswini Kumars ( the twin sons of the Sun God ).
The Aswinis imparted the science to Indra. Upto this time, the knowledge of Ayurveda was known only to celestial personalities.
It is believed that it was Lord Indra who passed on this knowledge of Ayurveda, the “science of life”, to sages and rishis ( mortals ) , the first pupil being Bharadwaja. He, in turn, taught this subject to others including Atreya.
He, it is believed, lived in the period 700 – 600 B.C. and became a renowned teacher at Taxila.
Lord Vishnu is also believed to have been associated with ancient medicine.
It is said that several sages approached the Lord and begged of Him to help them save humanity from diseases and suffering. In response to their plight and prayers, he ordered the churning of the ocean of milk with the aid of ” vasukis ” and ” asuras “.
Dhanvantari then came out of the ocean with the pot of ” amrita ” in his hands.
Sushruta, one of his disciples attained great proficiency in surgery, lived some time in 400 B.C. His famous writings known as “Sushruta Samhita” are devoted essentially to surgery.
But that was not all: he also wrote on medicine, pathology, anatomy, midwifery, ophthalmology, biology and hygiene.
From the available records, it is evident that major abdominal operations were also carried out. Vesical calculi, even those days, were common and hence the operation for the removal of vesical calculi was well described in Sushruta Samhita. Surgical procedures for anal fistula, fractures, extraction of foetus in abnormal presentation, amputation, excision of tumours, repair of hernia and couching of cataract were also known.
Rhinoplasty was commonly performed for restoration of severed or cut noses as punishment for certain offences such as adultery.
He carried out plastic surgery, giving his patients a new nose or a new ear by the process of skin grafting. Dr.Hirschberg of Berlin pays his tribute to ancient Indian surgery by writing “The whole plastic surgery in Europe took a new flight when these cunning devices of Indian workmen became known to us”.
Sushruta described many sharp surgical instruments emphasizing the need to get them made of “pure, strong and sharp iron”.
Several types of knives and needles have been described depending upon their use and tissues concerned.
He taught his pupils how to make incisions on the abdomen by using a pumpkin for demonstration purposes. It is believed that the following ingenious method for suturing the severed ends of intestine was employed.
The cut ends of the intestine were apposed to each other and big black ants, collected specifically for this purpose were made to bite the apposed ends and their heads severed when their pincers had closed. T
hus the pincers remained ‘in situ’ due to rigor mortis retaining the cut ends of the intestine in apposition for some time.
The heads and the pincers of the ants being organic matter got digested in due course of time, not unlike the catgut of the present day surgery.
His works were translated into Arabic by the 8th century A.D. and called ” Kitab-i- Susrud “.
There is adequate evidence that in ancient India, anatomical study of the human body was carried out.
To quote the appropriate translation, “Any one, who wishes to acquire a thorough knowledge of anatomy, must prepare a dead body and carefully observe and examine all its parts”.
The method of study was to submerge the body in water and allow it to decompose: an examination of the decomposing body was carried out at intervals to study structures, layer by layer, as they got exposed following decomposition.
Scientists at the Anthropological Survey of India claim to have found evidence of an ancient brain surgical practice on a Bronze Age Harappan skull.
The skull, believed to be around 4,300 years old, bears an incision that indicates an “unequivocal case” of a surgical practice known as trepanation, says a research paper published in the latest edition of Current Science.
Trepanation, a common means of surgery practised in prehistoric societies starting with the Stone Age, involved drilling or cutting through the skull vault, often to treat head injury or to remove bone splinters or blood clots caused by a blow to the head.
(blunt instrument) and Shastras
(sharp instruments) are
the main tools of surgeon and the Sushruta had the knowledge of
101 Yantras and 2
0 Shastras. Even though he was agree with the fact
that if the more instruments are required then it can be developed as
. The shape of the Yantras and Shastras are further
modernized to compete with the surgery in modern era but the basic
nd functions are remained same as before. The classification
of instruments in to the Yantras
(blunt instruments) and Shastras
(sharp instruments) is the basic concepts of Sushruta. No any such
type of classification of instrument is found in the modern su
text books. As per Sushruta the hand is the main and important
instrument amongst all which hold the key position till date.
Exhaustive details at .