Health has been a continuing concern of man and
the world is now recognizing the holistic principles of traditional medical systems.
Ayurveda encompasses the entire corpus of Indian medical wisdom. Ayurveda is
the science and art of good living. It is as much a worldview as practical
discipline. The Encyclopaedia of Indian Medicine presents details from core texts
in Sanskrit, Hindi, Kannada, Telgu and Tamil culled from forgotten and little known
manuscript and journals. It thus includes traditional details the spirit and outlook of
original texts other authors would miss. The six volumes thus present a
comprehensive and factual knowledge of Indian medicine for the modern
The books have been edited by two of the most distinguished scholars
of Ayurvedic medicine. Volume one to three by Prof. S. K. Ramachandra Rao
and volumes three to six by S. R. Sudrashan. The entries are arranged
alphabetically. They are descriptive and analytical in nature and present a
comprehensive view of all aspects of Ayurveda. The six-volume project initiated
by the eminent cardiologist V. Parameshvara is published by Popular
About the Editor:
Prof. S. K. Ramachandra is the editor of
the first three volumes of Encyclopaedia of Indian Medicine was trained in the
Indian Institute of Science. He has been the Head of Department of Clinical
Psychology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences Banglore;
Professor of Indian Studies Callison college Study Centre for the University of the
Pacific; Director of the Project fro the Study of Consciousness SAVS Scientific
Research Academy; Chairman of a section of the Kannada Encyclopaedia
project of the Mysore University and Visiting Professor National Institute of
Advanced Studies Banglore.
Dr. S. R. Sudarshan the editor of the
last three volumes of the Encyclopaedia of Indian Medicine is a practicing
Ayurvedic physician and author of several books on Ayurveda. Oshadhi-Kosha,
svastha-vratta, Javara in Ayurveda, asthma, Descriptive Glossary of Diseases in
Ayurveda are some of his important books.
From the Back of the Book:
Diseases and Their Cures
last volume deals with alphabetical entries of different diseases according to
Ayurveda while including their western classification, pathogenesis and
symptoms. Different treatments prescribed according to leading authorities are
recorded. Causative factors, constituents affected and classical prescriptions
make the information comprehensive.
Indian religions are well known in the world. The philosophical systems that emerged on the Indian soil have also engaged the attention of scholars all over the world. India’s achievements in the field of science and technology have also been recognized. However, the fact that India developed a system of medicine, thousands of years ago, has not received wide coverage in the world. And that the system thus developed is still prevalent among the masses of India is likewise not generally known, even to historians of medicine.
There are manifold reasons for this general ignorance of Indian medicine among historians of medicine, medical practitioners outside the country and intelligentsia interested in the problems of health and disease. One is absence of authoritative and well documented publications in English by Indians, dealing with this branch of medicine. The European indologists who have taken an interest in Indian medicine and have written on the subject do not seem to carry much credibility, because they are alien to the traditional details which are indispensable to the understanding of the spirit, outlook and value of Indian medicine. The literature available on this topic written in the traditional style of Indian languages have proved to be enigmatic to the modern reader. A great need is, therefore, felt for an authentic publication which communicates to the modern mind the traditional wisdom of India concerning medical practice.
The Encyclopaedia of Indian Medicine has been planned in six volumes to fulfill this need. The first three volumes have come out already (1985 and 1987), and the next three volumes are now being released. The first volume provided the historical perspective as well as an acquaintance with the classical medical literature in India. The second volume dealt with the basic ideas in Ayurvedic theory and practice. The third volume gave detailed account of clinical examination and diagnostic methods in Ayurveda. These volumes were prepared by Vidyalankara, Sastra-chudamani, Vachaspati Prof. S.K. Ramachandra Rao who hails from a family of traditional physicians and has been conversant with Ayurvedic texts from his boyhood. He was the president of the Ayurvedic Academy, Bangalore. He has also been a scientist, having headed the Department of Clinical Psychology in the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, where he was instrumental in opening a department in Ayurveda. He was also a visiting Professor at the centre of theoretical Studies, Indian Institute of science and is a senior fellow of national institute of advanced studies Bangalore.
The three subsequent volumes which are now seeing the light of day were prepared by his son Dr. S. R. Sudarshan who is an alumnus of the government college of Indian Medicine Bangalore and who has been a successful and popular Ayurvedic physician and consultant in Bangalore. He has also been an author of several volumes dealing with Ayurvedic theory and practice. The three volumes material medica of herbal and mineral drugs used in Ayurveda and to the diseases and the therapeutic practices and Ayurveda.
It is hoped that the comprehensive and factual knowledge of Ayurveda enshrined in these volume of Encyclopaedia of India Medicine will now be available to the world for the more efficient health care programmes that are a foot. We are grateful to Prof. S.K. Ramachandra Rao and Dr. S.R. Sudarshan for having spared their time and energy to complete the volumes we undertook. We also acknowledge the help of messers popular Prakashan Mumbai in bringing out these volumes. We regret that due to several factors beyond out control the publications of the three later volumes which were ready for publications more than fifteen years ago was delayed beyond out expectation.
The first three volumes of the Encylopaedia of Indian Medicine edited by Prof. S. K. Ramachandra Rao and published in 1985 deal with the historical perspective the basic concepts and clinical examination and diagnostic methods respectively.
Of the subsequent volumes the fourth one deals with the herbal drugs that have been described in the texts of Ayurveda. The information regarding the rasa, guna, virya, vipaka and the medicinal action has been taken from various nighantus and the samhitas however the main text that has been referred to is the Saligrama nighantu. All the herbs have been given the botanical names excepting those plants that have not been accurately identified such as meda mahameda and other plants that that from the ashta varga. I have tired to adopt a clinical approach by giving the therapeutic applications of numerous herbs that have been gleaned from the ancient classical texts like Charaka Samhita and Susruta Samhita.
The names of diseases have been given in English so as to make tit more accessible but they are only approximate. Thus dyspnoea asthama are used as synonyms for the disease svasa while toxicosis refers to visha and drugs useful in toxicosis are those which are vishahara or vishaghna.
The fifth volume consists of the description and analysis of the metallic and mineral drugs that are used in Ayurveda as well as the an account of the animal products that have been mentioned in the Ayurvedic texts. The sixth volume contains a detailed account of the a etiology pathogenesis, prodromal, symptoms, symptomatalogy, and treatment of all diseases that find a mention in the texts.
I am grateful to Dr. V. Parameshvara for having sponsored this work. I thank Mr. Prasad for the neat line drawings of the plants.
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