Controversial identities of medicinal plants in classical literature of Ayurveda

Publication date: Available online 16 February 2020Source: Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative MedicineAuthor(s): Varghese Thomas, S.N.Venugopalan Nair, D.K. Ved, Darshan ShankarAbstractIndia's medical heritage across its two streams of experiential knowledge viz. the classical (codified) and folk (oral) reveals an incredible range and depth of knowledge of medicinal plants. In the classical stream of Ayurveda, across the period from 1500 BCE to 1900 CE, there is information of more than 12,000 distinct Sanskrit plant names with overlaps across texts. This information is captured in more than 200 texts viz. 6 samhitas, 57 nighantus and 140 vyakhyas. The information about plants has three major dimensions in codified literature viz. morphological description (rupa gnana), pharmacology (dravya guna shastra) and pharmacy (bhaishajya kalpana). The morphological information is however sketchy and wholly inadequate for establishing botanical identity. Thus despite the huge corpus of plant names backed by sophisticated understanding of pharmacology and pharmacy there is the fact of controversial identities of medicinal plants. Why is this the case? The author believes that the gap in morphological detailing is due to the ‘experiential’ pedagogy of India's health tradition. While knowledge transmission of plants included theoretical propositions and sophisticated logic related to pharmacology, it also assumed an oral, practical and experiential system of learning about th...
Source: Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine - Category: Complementary Medicine Source Type: research

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