History of Ayurveda

Though one cannot put an exact date to the its origin, it is undisputable that Ayurveda is the most ancient, systematic and scientifically documented branch of medicine that retains its relevance to the present day.

Ayurveda is believed to have originated during the Vedic period (3000 to 1500 BC) as the Upa Veda, or related Veda of the fourth of the Veda-quadruplet, the Atharva Veda. True to Vedic tradition, Ayurveda was being taught in the form of sruthi which implies that the Guru orally expounds the science while the disciple imbibes by listening. This was the norm for several centuries until 500 to 800 AD after which hand-scribed documentation of this science on palm leaves.

An interesting mythological note: According to Indian mythology, Ayurveda is anadi, ie, does not have a beginning. The earliest verse in Astanga Hridaya begins as follows... Brahma smritva ayusho vedam... Even Brahma, the creator himself, only recollected the already existing knowledge of Ayushoveda and passed it on thereafter.