Ayurveda, or Ayurvedic Medicine is a classical traditional medical system originated in India.
The origin of Ayurveda can be attributed to the ancient sages of India who, by observation and reflection of the laws of nature around them, laid down some fundamental rules of longevity and happy life.
Ayurveda belongs to the ancient Indian tradition of the Vedas meaning – knowledge or scientia in Latin. The Vedas are comprised of four major books that deal with various aspects of life namely, Rig Veda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharveda. Notwithstanding, there are references of more than 60 recipes described in the Rig Veda, the oldest of the four Vedas, written about 6000 years ago, almost all scholars agree that Ayurveda is an Upa-Veda -subsidiary – of the Atharva Veda – the latest of the four Vedas. written about the 1200-900 BCE.
Ayurveda was first described by Agnivesha, in his book Agnivesh Tantra, which was later refined by Rishi Charaka in Charaka Samhita, the form in which it is handed down to us today, and subsequently by Sushruta (Sushruta Samhita) and Bagbhata (Ashtanga Hridayam).
Etymology of Ayurveda is the Sandhi (combination) of Ayuh (life or life Span) + Veda (scientia or science, knowledge, understanding). It may be worth noting that prior to 17th century scientia or science was closely associated with philosophy and was used interchangeably.
In understanding Ayurveda (life-science) its philosophical aspect cannot be ignored.