Ayurveda is a traditional, oriental art of healing diseases mainly used in India and Sri Lanka from time immemorial. According to historical evidence, ayurvedic treatment which is based on very old prescriptions, advanced techniques and kem systems, has performed wonders from using a minute mustard seed, big branch of a tree to a lump of ox waste and a pinch gold.
Ayurveda which existed a long time before the advent of the Modern western medicine was practiced not only by the physicians but by certain kings in Sri Lanka.According to folklore, King Buddhadasa is said to have performed an operation on a cobra to remove a cyst in its stomach. He also had authored a book called “Sarartha Sangrahaya” on different techniques used in this form of medicine, going by the Buddhist teaching His first Damma sermon Dammachakkapawaththana Sutta that health is the foremost comfort.
The ruins of ancient hospital and the various surgical instruments unearthed at Alahana Pirivena at Polonnaruwa provide ample evidence of the type of advanced medicine our ancestors used in the olden days. The medicinal “bath’, mortars used to pond medicine and clay pots used to pack medicines discovered at Mihintalaya and the beds and stone pots found at Abhayagiriya and Jethawanarama sites in Anuradhapura are ample proof of the development of the Ayurvedic medicine then.
Ayurveda was practiced in the past by mainly by village doctors calld “veda mahattaya’ who performed their service either free or for a very nominal fee given by the patient on his own. Hence, Ayurvedic doctors were held in high esteem in the society then.they were able to produce a medicinal oil called “Henaraja Thailaya “ which was able to enhance one’s memory and medicinal ointments to sustain the beauty of the skin. They had even used baths of mother’s milk and water obtained from boiling Margosa leaves to treat certain patients.
Due to foreign invations in the 16th to 19th Century,many valuable ola books containing the age old and unique Ayurvedic system have ben either lost or taken by the invaders ,thus depriving very valuable repertoire of ayurvedic knowledge hitherto used by the indigenous people.
But,Sri Lanka can still be proud of its practice of the Ayurvedic medicine found to date ,due to the availability of old prescriptions preserved by some patriotic citizens.