Ayurveda is an Indian science of medicine. In samhita of Ayurveda mentioned that:
Ayuhu vedayati iti ayurvedaha.
The meaning is “The science that tells us about Ayu is known as Ayurveda.”
What is ayu? Ayu is life. In samhita of Ayurveda said that Ayu is the combination of body, sense organs, mind and soul.
The synonym of Ayu are Dhari, Jivitam, Nityagam and Anubandha.
Ayurveda as Upaveda
Ayurveda is the upaveda of either Rigveda or Atharvaveda. Upaveda mean applied or secondary knowledge. Veda is known as the holy book of Hinduism. Rigveda as well as Atharvaveda is one among the four main holy books in Hinduism. The four holy books are: Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda, and Atharvaveda.
Even though Ayurveda as the upaveda of either Rigveda or Atharvaveda, the knowledge of Ayurveda also mentioned in the remaining three vedas but not as detail as in Atharvaveda. So Ayurveda is considered as upaveda of Atharvaveda. Each veda has its own speciality.
Rigveda mainly contains various hymns for praying to vedic Gods such as Agni, Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Surya, etc. (Wikipedia)
Samaveda mainly contains melodies and chants. Samaveda has the root of music and dance tradition of this planet. (Wikipedia)
Yajurveda mainly contains primarily prose mantras for worship rituals. The Yajurveda is broadly grouped into two – Krishna Yajurveda (black) and Shukla Yajurveda (white). (Wikipedia)
Atharvavedacontains formula for magic and also the daily rituals for initiations into learning, marriage and funerals. Further, royal rituals and the duties of the court priests are also included in Atharvaveda. (Wikipedia)
The Branches of Ayurveda
There are 8 branches of Ayurveda. As mentioned in Aṣṭāñga Hṛdayathe branches of Ayurveda are:
- Kāyacikitsa – The branch of Ayurveda which is deal with the treatment of diseases arising from disorders of digestive activity (Inner Medicine).
- Bālacikitsa – The branch of Ayurveda which is deal with the treatment of diseases of children (Paediatrics).
- Grahacikitsa – The branch of Ayurveda which is deal with treatment of diseases arises from possession by evil spirits, pathogenic micro-organism etc. and deal with mainly with mental diseases (Psychiatry).
- Ūrdhvañgacikitsa – The branch of Ayurveda which is deal with treatment of diseases of the head inclusive of the eyes (ophthalmology), ears (otology), nose (rhinology), throat (laryngology), and teeth (dentistry).
- Śalyacikitsa – The branch of Ayurveda which is deal with treatment of diseases of requiring the use of knife or surgery. Also known as śastra cikitsa.
- Damṣṭrācikitsa – The branch of Ayurveda which is deal with treatment of diseases due to poisoning (toxicology).
- Jarācikitsa – The branch of Ayurveda which is deal with treatment of diseases of old age (geriatrics). It is also known as Rasayana cikitsa. and
- Vṛsacikitsa – The branch of Ayurveda which is deal with treatment of diseases like impotency, sterility etc. and making man sexually strong (aphrodisiac).