Ayurveda is the science of the life. Every science is divided into several disciplines or branches for the ease of categorization and organization. Ayurveda is divided into 8 major branches, known as Ashtang Ayurveda.
What is Ashtang Ayurveda?
Ayurveda has eight major disciplines (branches). These eight major branches are collectively known as Ashtang Ayurveda in ayurvedic terminology. Ashtang Ayurveda is also called Eight Branches of Ayurveda and Eight Components of Ayurveda in English.
Eight Branches of Ayurveda (Eight Components of Ayurveda)
The major eight disciples of Ayurveda are:
- Kaya Chikitsa
- Kaumar Bhritya
- Graha Chikitsa (Bhoot Vidya)
- Shalakya Tantra
- Shalya Tantra
- Agad Tantra
- Vajikarana (Vrishya Chikitsa)
Kaya Chikitsa refers to internal medicine or general medicine in Ayurveda. It is a major branch of ayurvedic medicine deals with prognosis, diagnosis, and treatment.
Sanskrit word Kaya denotes to the body or metabolism in the body and Chikitsa words indicates towards the diagnosis and treatment. It is a main discipline of Ayurveda. It includes diagnosis techniques, bio-cleansing or detoxification (Panchakarma), herbs and ayurvedic medicines, so it is a complete health science.
Kaumar Bhritya deals with health and diseases of children and obstetrics diseases. It can be divided into two parts as per modern sciences. One is Pediatrics, and another is Obstetrics. In ancient times, Ayurveda had put these two branches of medical science in a single discipline because both concerned with children.
According to Ayurveda, Kaumar means child of age 0 to 16 and Bhritya refers to care and hygiene. Kaumarbhritya is the science that provides preventive and curative measures from the fertilization of eggs to the development and growth of children up to the age of 16. It is the backbone of Ayurveda and human sciences. Ayurvedic scholars believe that care during this period is the backbone of the whole life of an individual.
Graha Chikitsa (Bhoot Vidya)
Graha Chikitsa (Bhoot Vidya) is the science of mental life, mind and its characteristics. It is the branch of ayurvedic sciences dealing with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders. The methods used in Bhoot Vidya are related to correcting emotions, mental beliefs, eradicating illusions and providing calmness to the mind through herbal smokes.
In modern, it can be correlated with:
Shalakya Tantra deals with the ear, nose, throat, and eye. Therefore, it belongs to Otorhinolaryngology (ENT) and Ophthalmology (Eye), as per modern medical science.
Shalya tantra is the branch of ayurvedic science that treats and manages injuries and diseases by operative procedures. It is correlated with modern surgery.
Agad Tantra is the branch of ayurvedic pharmacology that deals with the effects and nature and treatment of poisons. It also deals with the laws and principles of medical practice and laws of medical sciences that lead courts to make appropriate decisions. It also includes forensic techniques and scientific tests used in the investigation of crimes.
In modern sciences, Agad tantra relates to the Toxicology, medical jurisprudence and forensic sciences.
Rasayana is the branch of ayurvedic sciences deals with the rejuvenation of the body, prevention of the diseases, and ways for long and healthy life. It includes ayurvedic nutrition, ayurvedic supplements, ayurvedic medicines used in old age for prevention from diseases, detoxification and immunology.
In modern, it can be correlated with dietetics, immunology, geriatrics and preventive and social medicine.
Vajikarana (Vrishya Chikitsa)
Vajikarana (Vrishya Chikitsa) is the science of aphrodisiacs. It includes aphrodisiacs herbal and ayurvedic medicines for improving physical strength.