Eight Wings of Ayurveda : Ashtanga Ayurveda

Ayurveda Hitopadesha, Upaveda of Atharvaveda was in form of rhymes and contained one million Shlokas (rhymes) in one thousand chapters. Due to the decline in intellectual level and life span of human being, in the later period the Ayurveda was re-written in eight sections popularly known as Ashtanga Ayurveda: Internal Medicine, Treatment of Head and Neck, Opthalmology and Otorinolaryngology, Surgery, Toxicology, Psychiatry, Paediatrics, Gerontology or Science of Rejuvenation and the Science of Fertility. Herbs, food, aroma, gems, colours and the practice of yoga, mantras and surgery were classified for the treatment and evaluation based on their therapeutic action from the ancient time itself. Thus, Ayurveda from its prime itself is scientifically organised discipline.
Ashtanga Ayurveda (8 Branches)

1. Kaya Chikitsa – Internal medicine & therapeutics (Healing and detoxifying     measures)
2. Shalya Chikitsa – Surgery (Extraction of foreign bodies/ things that cause discomfort to the body and the mind)
3. Shalakya (Urdhvanga) Chikitsa – ENT, Opthalmology (Treatment of eyes, ears, nose, throat and head)
4. Bala (Kaumar-Bhritya) Chikitsa – Paediatrics, Gynaecology-Obsterics (pregnant ladies & babies)
5. Rasayana (Jara) Chikitsa – Gerontology (Care of the elderly and Rejuvenation therapy)
6. Vajikarana (Vrishya Chikitsa) – Sexology (acquiring virile strength) (Aphrodisiacs)
7. Bhoot Vidya (Graha Chikitsa) – Spiritual therapy, Psychiatry (Psychiatry Medicine)
8. Visha Chikitsa (Agad tantra) – Toxicology (antidotes to poisons)
KAYACHIKITSA (Internal Medicine & Therapeutics)

Kaya means the living human body, which includes body and mind both. In Kayachikitsa that is medicinal branch includes all the diseases situated in the body like fever, etc. Kayachikitsa means the branch of Ayurveda, which deals with internal medicine and treatment, where Kaya means Agni and Chikitsa means treatment. Entire Ayurvedic therapeutics is based on this concept of Agni (unique to Ayurveda) responsible for biotransformation. This Kaya provides the energy necessary for all bodily activities. We derive energy from the food we eat and air we breathe. Biological Kaya transforms this energy to the energy, which can be utilized by our cells. The vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, etc. we eat, are biotransformed by this Kaya to the bodily substances. As long as this Kaya is proper all the activities in body are carried out smoothly. Any disturbance in this Kaya causes imbalance in the homeostasis (balance) and disturbs physiology, which is nothing but the disease. Ayurvedic therapeutics devotes to correction and maintenance of biological Kaya through the way of Mantra, Mani & Aushadhi. Only the therapy which considers the above mentioned concepts of Ayurved qualifies to be called as Ayurvedic medicine.
SHALAKYA (SHLOKA) (The Science of Special Organ Diseases Eye, Ear, Nose, Throat etc.)

It deals with the disease of Urdhvanga region i.e. diseases in the organs situated above the neck and their treatment. In other words it deals with the diseases related to Nose, Ear, Throat and Eyes. 

It deals with a way such as Yantra (Tools), Shastra (Instruments), Kshara (Alkalies) and Agni (Fire) to remove the Shalya (things that cause discomfort to the body and the mind) in the body by different methods. Shalya is of two types, namely: shaarir (within the body – Unhealthy teeth, Hair, Nails, imbalanced doshas, dhatus and mala, abscess, tumor, fetus etc) and agantuj (outside the body – thorns, stone pieces, iron pieces, dust particles, worry etc). Shalya Chikitsa is the branch of ancient Indian surgery that describes in detail about the pre-operative procedures, general procedures, post-operative procedures, marma’s (vital points) and also about anesthesia. The description of the types of bandages, Shastra (sharp instruments), Yantras (blunt instruments), and Sutures (stitches) has been described in this surgery 

Visha Chikitsa, toxicology or Agad tantra is the branch including the science of poisons material to body.

This branch of Ayurveda deals with diseases obtains or inherited from apparently unknown reasons. It mainly deals to manage psychological disorders of human beings. In modern terminology it can be considered as idiopathic disease in which the exact cause of disease is unknown. 
BALA (KAUMAR-BHRITYA) (Pediatrics, Gynaecology & Obstetrics)

This branch of Ayurveda deals with diagnosis and treatment of diseases associated with Preconception (Obstetrics), Childbearing (Pregnancy), Child-birth (Delivery) and diseases related to children (Pediatrics).

Jara Chikitsa, Rasayana or the rejuvenating therapy is the therapy, which, promotes rejuvenation in a healthy person and cures the disease of a diseased person.

Jara (wrinkles on skin) Chikitsa is also called Rasayana Chikitsa or rejuvenation therapy, because it aims at revitalizing the body tissues for a youthful being. Rasayana Chikitsa, however is not only for people of old age, but also used as a preventive method against diseases and unhealthy body changes. Rasayana Chikitsa enhances immune system, arrests aging, maintain good mental condition including sound memory and physical strength, gives luster, glow and complexion to the skin, gives youthful energy, nourish blood and body tissues and brings in several benefits.

VAJIKARAN (Sexology)

This branch deals with sexual aspect which includes medications for diseases related with reproduction/fertility namely spermatogenesis, aphrodisiacs, etc. They serve as good aphrodisiacs and induce an immediate sense of pleasant excitement, along with increased fertile seminal secretions even in an ageing person. These drugs also increase the strength and stamina of the person.

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