Today we will talk about an ancient scripture or text of India, namely the Sushruta Samhita. Contrary to popular belief, ancient texts are not only a source of great spiritual knowledge and things like meditation and developing aura, but also they tell us to take care of the body in the best possible manner.
Ayurveda is the ancient medical science of India. There are some foundation texts that describe Ayurveda. One of it is the Sushruta Samhita. This is a text that was written by the famous physician Sushruta.
The book basically describes the treatments of various diseases. The book also explains how basic surgeries are done. We will discuss the same in more detail in this article. The ancient text of Sushruta Samhita has about one hundred and eighty four chapters.
The ancient text of Sushruta Samhita describes one thousand and one twenty illnesses. The Sushruta Samhita mentions about seven hundred medical plants that can be used to cure diseases. There are some sixty four preparations mentioned in the Sushruta Samhita: that can be made from mineral extracts. Similarly the Sushruta Samhita mentions fifty seven preparations based on animal sources. The Sushruta Samhita also mentions how these preparations can be used to cure various diseases.
Basis of Modern Surgery
It is interesting that an ancient text could give so much information on medical science. The book Sushruta Samhita was written in the 6th century B.C. In spite of that the knowledge it contains is tremendous. It was written by a physician named Sushruta. There is a detailed description of making incisions, extracting foreign bodies, and tooth extraction, removal of prostate gland, vesiculolithotomy and even C section finds a mention in these ancient texts. It is unbelievable that the Sushruta Samhita contains such complex surgeries. This knowledge was used to learn about surgery in the ancient times, though it has equal relevance to this date.
You name a surgery and you will find the detailed procedure of doing it in these texts. The chapter on fracture management is equally interesting. This is because the chapter mentions all the types of fractures that can occur and how these fractures must be dealt with. There is a detailed discussion on twelve types of fractures.
The Sushruta Samhita also mentions how each of these fractures can be fixed. A variety of dislocations are also described in the Sushruta Samhita. These are very interesting to read and understand. The descriptions are very vivid. It is strange that even at that time the physicians used to use anesthesia and they could even stitch human body successfully.
The Sushruta Samhita mentions in detail how anesthesia must be given. How much anaesthesia is required during each operation? What are the factors that must be considered before anaesthesia is given to the person. There is mention of surgeries on children and babies in Sushruta Samhita.
There is a special section on eye and the surgeries of the eye. There is also mention of operating a cataract in the Sushruta Samhita. The Sushruta Samhita was also translated into Arabic considering its immense medical knowledge. If you read the Sushruta Samhita carefully you will realise that the modern method of surgery is more or less similar to all that is mentioned in this ancient text. There have been slight changes that have happened due to the advancement of technology.
If you go deeper into this ancient text you will find that the Sushruta Samhita is divided into two parts. One is called the purva tantra and the second one is called the uttara tantra. Both the sections describe almost all the aspects of modern medical science. Apart from the subjects mentioned above. They also mention a detailed analysis of psychiatric treatments. These don’t form a part of surgery yet it finds a mention in the Sushruta Samhita. This is because human mind is equally critical as the rest of the body. Unless we cure the mind the body will never heal. The ancient texts mention how the mental illness happens and how they can be cure. There is a mention of all the mental diseases that can happen and can be cured.
It is incredible that the Sushruta Samhita does mention about hemorrhage too. Sushruta mentions how hemorrhage can be cured by closing the cut edges with stitches. Application of certain chemicals on these cuts can ensure that the haemorrhage is dealt with.
The ancient text also mentions in detail how a limb must be cut in order to protect the rest of the body. There is also a description of removing ulcers from the body. Any disease you name it and you will find the mention of it in the Sushruta Samhita. The descriptions are so detailed and step by step that even the modern medical procedures follow the same.
It is indeed true tha India had attained the heights of progress in the field of medical science during the time of Sushruta. The procedures mentioned by him are a proof of this fact indeed. In those days the wars would be mostly with bows and arrows. The Sushruta Samhita has a section named the Salya tantra that describes how the wounds of arrows can be healed. The text mentions how the different types of wounds caused by arrows can be healed. The medicines that must be used on the wounds and the various surgeries that needs to be done in order to ensure that the soldier is safe and sound.
The Sushruta Samhita also describes the various types of stones that can happen in the urinary tract. How these stones can be removed with surgery has a clear mention in the Sushruta Samhita. Sushruta was indeed a scholar. He had immense knowledge of medical procedures even years back. In his ancient text the Sushruta Samhita he does mention about plastic surgery and how these can be done. The Sushruta Samhita mentioned almost all the types of grafts. The Sushruta Samhita describes how a nose can be reconstructed. There is a detailed mention of how a skin can be replaced after it has been damaged completely.
These are the various surgeries and diseases that find a mention in the Sushruta Samhita. It is interesting that these studies are still so prevalent. The Sushruta Samhita is a very ancient text. In spite of that it has immense knowledge that can guide even the doctors today. The Sushruta Samhita has been translated into many languages.