The Sushruta Samhita
The Sushruta Samhita is an ancient Sanskrit Ayurveda textbook on surgery and medicine. Sushruta, the author of the book lived in the 7th or 6th century BCE and is known as the ‘father of surgery’.
Sushruta explains that health is not only a state of physical but also mental well-being. It is brought about and preserved by the maintenance of balanced humor, good nutrition, proper elimination of wastes, and a pleasant contented state of body and mind.
The Sushruta Samhita has 186 chapters elaborately describing surgical techniques, listing over 300 surgical procedures and 120 surgical instruments, bandages, and sutures. Also dealt with in depth are 1120 diseases, injuries, conditions, and treatments, and over 700 medicinal herbs and their application, taste, and efficacy.
Sushruta also gives an in-depth account and description of the treatment and preservation of the dead body, and the dissection of the cadaver for the understanding of anatomy and physiology. Twelve varieties of fracture and six types of dislocation are described along with their management: principles of traction, manipulation, apposition, stabilization, and post-operative physiotherapy.
The book includes plastic surgery reconstruction of the nose and cheek, hernia surgery, Caesarian section birth, removal of the prostate, tooth extraction, cataract removal, treatment of wounds and internal bleeding, and many other techniques.
Aparna K. BAMS, MD, PhD
Aparna is one of the few specialists worldwide with a PhD in Ayurveda. Born into an Ayurvedic family which operates a traditional Ayurvedic Panchakarma hospital in Kerala, India, she grew up observing her father, the renowned Dr Padmanabhan.