One of the main reasons, people want to know more about Ayurveda is the dangerous side effects they experience daily, of today's modern medicines. Indiscriminate use of these drugs has started showing its hazards. Many among us have started realizing that drugs like Antibiotics are like double-edged sword. Use of these Antibiotics, though cure the disease, will certainly cause number of other unwanted dangerous side effects.
Many a times we hear that Ayurveda cures the disease permanently and safely without any unwanted side effects.
Are there any 'Antibiotics' in 'Ayurveda'? is a very commonly asked question.
It is quite natural that Ayurveda, the oldest health care system in the world (about 5000 years old), will not have the word 'Antibiotics'. But a curious search in its literature will definitely yield number of references stating that certain diseases are produced due to micro-organisms and one has to destroy them to preserve the health. Various types of these organisms are also described in Veda and Ayurveda. Ex. – Arati, Arjun, Alinsh, kravyad etc.
One interesting thing can be noted in these references. Ayurveda has not only advised on destroying these disease producing organisms but has also stressed that one should also increase the resisting power-immunity against these organisms to prevent the relapses of the disease. Almost all the herbs and medicines suggested by Ayurveda for killing these germs also have the property of increasing the immunity. This is called 'Rasayana' in Ayurveda.
'Sushruta', the father of Surgery, has written in detail about various surgical procedures and has also described number of techniques to prevent the infection of these surgical wounds. He has described various means for doing post operative surgical dressings. He has advised to use things like Sesame paste, Honey, Cow's Ghee , Skin from the stem of many antiseptic herbs etc. He has also advised to fumigate the wound with fumes of vacha (acorus calamus), Kushtha (saussurea lappa), Neem (azadirachta indica) etc. It is also stated that the sun rays during sunrise and sunset has got germicidal effect.
" Homa" is a collective term for the various Vedic techniques used in the purification of the atmosphere: (yainas, yvharutis and agnihotra.) The main idea here is: "Heal the atmosphere and it will heal you". This 'Homa' is a process of purification of the atmosphere with the agency of cosmic element -fire, it creates pure medicinal atmosphere and prevents growth of pathogenic bacteria and can prevent infectious diseases on mass scale.
Thus ideas similar to today's Antibiotics do exist in Ayurveda. Further there is no fear of developing resistance against them after some time. This can be a ray of hope in today's ever-changing world of modern Antibiotics.
In next part we will see the disease specific recommendations of Ayurveda for some of the common infectious diseases.