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Acharya Charak (600 BCE)


He was the father of Medicine. His renowned work 'Charak Samhita' which is considered the encyclopedia of Ayurveda today goes in depth about his principals, diagnoses and cures that still retain their potency and truth even after a couple of millennia. His research led to the facts of the Human anatomy, embryology, pharmacology, blood circulation and diseases like diabetes , tuberculosis, heart disease, etc. Charak Samhita describes medicinal qualities and functions of 100,000 herbal plants that todays science is still doing research on.
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Mythology and Emergence Ayurveda includes the word Veda, which is derived from the basic form 'Vid' or knowledge. All the four Vedas are known as 'Apaurusheya', meaning that they are not evolved from human mind but conceived by the divine mind. Therefore, even Ayurveda, popularly known as the fifth Veda, is originated in the divine mind and descended from the divine sources to the ancient physicians.
 
Ancient scripturesThis theory of emergence, though legendary in most of the aspects, still offers the explanation for the miraculous curative power of simple herbs described in Ayurvedic texts, experienced in its entirety even today. The brief history of emergence of Ayurveda tells us that this science was originated in the Divine Mind or Lord Brahma, the creator, who conveyed it to the Daksha Prajapati. From him the entire knowledge was passed on to the Ashwinikumaras who were the physicians of gods. Ashwinikumaras offered Ayurveda to Lord Indra, the king of gods. Indra had three great physicians as his disciples, viz., Aacharya Bharadwaj, Aacharya Kashyapa and Aacharya Divodas Dhanvantari.
 
Aacharya Agnivesha was the most intelligent disciple of Aacharya Bharadwaj, and he formed the main Ayurvedic text of internal medicine, which was revised by his student, Aacharya Charak, available to us today as Charak Samhita.
 
Aacharya Kashyapa formed a treatise of pediatrics, which is available in partial form known as Kashyapa Samhita. Aacharya Sushrut, a renounced pupil of Aacharya Divodas Dhanvantari wrote the most important text on surgery, ENT and ophthalmology available today as Sushrut Samhita. These three ancient scriptures i.e., Charak Samhita, Sushrut Samhita and Ashtanga Hridaya written by Vagbhatta are known as Brihattrayi and they form the most important database of Ayurvedic medicine at present. Similarly, the important information about diagnosis of various diseases; different herbs; and that of minerals and various formulations such as decoctions, powders, tablets, Aasavas, Arishtas etc. is stored in three texts viz., Madhava Nidana, Bhava Prakash Nighantu and Sharangdhar Samhita respectively. Together they are known as Laghutrayi.