Eat, drink and be moderate: Charaka advised the good life, not an assortment of pills
‘Charaka Samhita’ frowned neither on eating the meats of all animals, nor on drinking wine or even smoking of herbs, so long as they were done right.
A Doctrine of health
Although it’s not possible to talk or perhaps summarise the diagnostic paradigms and extensive and one of a kind pharmacopoeia of Ayurveda in one article, what’s definitely intriguing and available for all students of medicine — really, to laypersons — is a overview of the doctrine of Ayurveda, that stays cogent and applicable to our life now. What’s this? It’s likely because Ayurveda, unlike Western medicine, addresses the practical issue of how to lead a wholesome lifestyle — some thing (strangely, and studiously) prevented by this system of medication. At the beginning (vol 1, pages 6-7) Charaka proclaims:”Ayurveda is what deals with all the good, bad, happy and miserable life, its promoters and non-promoters, quantify and character…thoughts, body and self — those three create a tripod on the dwelling world stands” The basis for a healthy lifestyle, we’re educated, isn’t asceticism and avoidance, however, instead, pleasure and admiration of all of those great things of life — suitably, and in moderation.
Behavioral and biomedical principles The very first principle in the care of a wholesome lifestyle is dietary plan — something that’s educated in Western medical instruction in the 2nd or 3rd year, which typically introduces the notion of a typical diet during the analysis of deficiency diseases. Charaka, on the other hand, says (vol 1 page 33) that”meals, taken in appropriate quantity, provides elasticity, strength and a joyful life to someone without bothering normalcy…that a individual shouldn’t consume significant preparations of rice, pasta…dried veggies, milk products, pork, beef, fish” etc (you can find long lists of meals through the treatise, also if and how to cook and consume them, that is discussed in due course).
When the British-era Authorities of Bengal decided to set up the first medical college in Asia at Calcutta in the 1830s, there was intense debate among the Indian educated course about what the curriculum to be taught to the future pupils should be. Should it be the Indian systems of medicine then present — Ayurveda or Unani — or if the students have been taught that the Western medical education program? The power of Pandit Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar — a scholar of Ayurveda if not an actual practitioner — was powerful in determining that Western medicine was the way ahead and the instruction of Western medication succeeded. All of the subsequent medical schools in the Madras and Bombay Presidencies followed suit.Ayurveda, however, and its own teaching never went off. Almost 200 decades later there remains substantial interest in Ayurveda and its own philosophy of medication, although no MBBS program medical school teaches it in detail. Fortunately, we now possess the life’s labour of Dr Priyavrat Sharma, former Director of the Postgraduate Institute of Indian Medicine, BHU that has brought out a revised, crucial, annotated version of the Sanskrit text with a fluent English translation, several decades in prep, now easily accessible online stores, and as a free download on many websites.