Ayurveda in India
Ayurveda in India—the science of life, the origin of most forms of natural and alternative medicine—has its mention in one of the oldest (about 6,000 years) philosophical texts of the world, the Rig Veda. The Sutrasthana of Charaka Samhita, a much referred ayurvedic text, says; "The three—body, mind and soul—are like a tripod, the world stand by their combination; in them everything abides. It is the subject matter of ayurveda for which the teachings of ayurveda have been revealed." (1.46-47)
In its broader scope, ayurveda in India has always sought to prepare mankind for the realization of the full potential of its self through a psychosomatic integration. A comprehensive health care is what this natural and alternative medicine prescribes for the ultimate self-realization.
"Life (ayu) is the combination (samyoga) of body, senses, mind and reincarnating soul. Ayurveda is the most sacred science of life, beneficial to humans both in this world and the world beyond." —Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana, 1.42-43.
The verses of Rig Veda, the earliest source of ayurveda, refer to panchamahabhut (five basic elements of the entire creation), and the three doshas or primary forces of prana or vata (air), agni or pitta (fire) and soma or kapha (water and earth) as comprising the basic principles of ayurveda. One branch of Indian philosophy—Sankhya states that there are 24 elements, all of which constitute the foundation of the gross world: earth, water, fire, air and ether. These five elements in different combinations constitute the three body types/doshas—vata dosha (air and ether), pitta dosha (fire) and kapha dosha (earth and water). The panchamahabhut and the dosha theories are the guiding factors of ayurveda as a therapeutic science. The Rig Veda also mentions organ transplants and herbal remedies called soma with properties of elixir.