A Descriptive Glossary of Diseases in Ayurveda

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Item Code: NAE412
Author: Dr.S.R Sudarshan
Publisher: Sri Satguru Publications
Edition: 2002
ISBN: 8170307406
Pages: 196
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 10.0 inch X 7.5 inch
Weight 500 gm
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Book Description
About the book

Ayurveda which is a complete medical system gives an elaborate and comprehensive description of diseases. These descriptive or nosological terms have been collated from various classical texts of Ayurveda such as the Charaka Samhita, Susruta Samhita , Astanaga-hrdaya, Madhava-nidana, Kasyapa Samhita etc.

About the Auhtor

Dr. S.R. Sudarshan (b.-1961 ) is a graduate in Ayurveda from the Government College of Indian Medicine, Bangalore. While practising as an Ayurvedic Physician, he also obtained a diploma in homeopathy from the British Institute of Homeopathy. He is also deeply involved in academic Ayurveda especially in its clinical aspects.

He has collaborate in the preparation of the first three volumes of the Encyclopaedia of Indian Medicine and has authored the remaining three volumes of the series. He has revised and enlarged the Indian Materia Medica by K.M. Nadkarni. He has also authored three books Rasa dhatu Kosa ( Metalic and Mineral drugs in Ayurveda ; Asthama,and Diabetics for the Kalpatharu Research Academy, Bangalore. He is the co-author of the two volumes on Oshadi Kosha and Ahara tattva. He has also written a book on Homeopathic Treatment of Fevers.


The term nosology refers to the science of description or classification of disease. In this book there has been an attempt to analyse the concept of disease, and also provide a glossary of all disease categories.

The Ayurvedic term for disease is roga. It has also been called vyadhi, atanka, vikara, gada and dukha. Every living being has three aspects, the body, mind and soul. Of these three, only the body and mind are the abodes of disease (CS, siitra, I, 43).

Classification of disease :There are many ways of classifying diseases.
I. Disease is only one, as pain or discomfort is common to all diseases.

II. Diseases are of two' types, depending on the prognosis, i.e. sadhya or curable and asadhya or incurable. Curable diseases are again of two types, easily curable and curable with difficulty. Incurable diseases are also of two types, those that can be palliated and those which are incurable.

III. Diseases are of three types, namely---nija, i.e. those ailments that are caused by the aggravated doshas; agantuja, i.e. those diseases that are brought about by drugs, poisons, injury and such other extraneous causes; and manasa, i.e. those ailments that are caused by obtaining what is not wanted and failure to get what is desired.No nija disease can occur without the vitiation of the three doshas, whereas in agantuja ailments the aggravation of doshas is not of much importance. But often, the nija disease is followed by the agantuja and vice-versa.

IV. Diseases can be of three types, namely agantu or exogenous and those caused by the aggravation of the vata, pitta and kapha.

V. Diseases are of two types, nija and agantuja. They are also of two types depending on the location, i.e. sarita or physical and man as a or mental.

VI. Diseases are of four varieties, namely agantuja or exogenous; sarira or those caused by the vitiated doshas; manasa or emotions such as anger, greed, excessive joy, misery, etc; and svabhavika or natural such as hunger, thirst, old age and death. Disease is that which causes distress.

VII. Diseases can be classified into two namely sastrasadhya or those that require surgery and snehadikriya-sadhya or those that can be treated H:;ough massages, fomentation and the pancha karmas. The latter measures can be employed in the first category of disease, but surgery is strictly forbidden in diseases that can be cured by other measures.

VIII. Diseases are of seven types:
a) Adibala-pravrtta: those that are caused by defects in the semen or ovum, such as skin diseases and haemorrhoids.
b) Janmabala-pravrtta: those that are caused by the improper conduct of the mother during her pregnancy, such as blindness, dumbness, deafness and dwarfism.
c) Doshabala-pravrtta: ailments brought about by the vitiated doshas, vata, pitta, kapha, rajas and tamas.
d) Sanghatabala-pravrtta: diseases cuused by exogenous factors such as through wrestling with a stronger person.
e) Kalabala-pravrtta: aliments caused by exposure to the vagaries of the weather.
f) Daivabala-pravrtta: diseases caused by curses, divine wrath and other supernatural factors, and
g) Svabhavabala-pravrtta: natural distress such as hunger, thirst, old age and death.
But according to both CS and SS, the name of the disease is unimportant. As SS says- 'there can be no disease without the variation of the doshas. Any disease can be treated after due consideration of the symptoms of the aggravated doshas. The names of diseases are not of much importance.CS makes the same point, - 'a physician need not be ashamed if he is unable to name a particular disease. It is not possible to always assign a name to a disease with certainty. An aggravated dosha may cause different ailments depending on the causative factors and the location of the disease. A physician should therefore know three things, the nature of disease, the location of the disease and the causative factor.'

The physician desirous of grasping the nature of the ,disease should be thoroughly familiar with the nidana panchaka, which comprises of the following:

1. Nidana: the causative factors, which are of two types, the immediate cause being the aggravation of the doshas and the remote cause being other factors, like errors of judgement (prajnaparada), vagaries of the weather (parinama) and improper contact of the sense organs with the sense objects (asatrnya-indriyartha-sarnyoga).
2. Purvariipa: the premonitory or prodromal symptoms. Knowledge of these is useful as the physician can attempt to abort the coming disease.
3. Rupa: the symptoms of the disease. These provide the only means of identifying the aggravation of the doshas.
4. Upasaya: the modalities or the aggravating and ameliorating factors. Knowledge of these is useful in cases where it is not easy to correctly identify the vitiated doshas. For instance, vata is aggravated by dry cold, and pitta by heat.
5. Samprapti: the pathogenesis, beginning from the aetiology to the full onset of the disease.

The Doshas According to the theory that is basic to Ayurveda, there are three factors that govern the body and sustain it when they are functioning harmoniously. These three doshas are vata, pitta and kapha. They are known as doshas because they are the main cause for disease when they are imbalanced. A person can be healthy only if the three doshas are balanced. They are thus the three pillars of positive health. Ayurveda believes that the body is an epitome of the universe, and the forces that are at work in the universe are also active within the body. Thus vata is compared to air (that is responsible for all movement), pitta to the sun (the heating principle) and kapha to the moon (the cooling principle, responsible for health and strength).

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