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Kerala’s Contribution to Ayurveda

India has graciously shared her secrets of herbal healing worldwide, making it possible for people world over to adopt a better health oriented life style, and we wish to state that the origin of Ayurveda is the exclusive and rightful claim of India. Apart from Ayurveda being rooted in India as a whole, the traditional herbal healing system has seen tremendous contributions from physicians of Kerala as well.

In the state of Kerala, maintenance of Ayurvedic principles, practice of Ayurveda as a structured health system, and teaching texts of Ayurveda maintaining its authenticity in the Gurukulam tradition, was a duty bestowed upon a select few Brahmin households, the Ashtavaidyas. Early Vaidhyas of Kerala have done intense research in the vast subject of Ayurveda, taking advantage of all the medicinal herbs they were blessed with. It is through their research and dedication, Ayurveda as a medicinal system witnessed this spurt in growth, which rapidly spread to other parts of the country and is now Internationally known, as the herbal healing system of India.

Classical Ayurveda texts rooted from Kerala, written in Malayalam and Sanskrit, still remain a source of useful information on medicinal plants and therapies and formulations to physicians. A few examples of classical Ayurveda texts noted in Kerala Literature include the Sahasrayogam, Chkitsamanjari and Vaidyamanorana.

Various forms of classical treatments with special herbs like Shirodhara and Navarakizhi therapies are known only to the Ayurvedic Kerala literarure and has its very own origin with the Vaidhyas of Kerala. The famous sought after Panchakarma Therapy, has received immense contributions from the physicians of Kerala, as they continued practicing and enriching this form of Ayurveda therapy. Several unique herbal formulations born and described in Kerala texts, have received national level acclaim and are now included in the Ayurveda Formulatory of India.

Formulations rooted in Kerala, focus on herbal components rather than basing them on a foundation of minerals and metals. Kerala has been blessed with rich soil and perfect climate, encouraging the growth of nutritious and valuable varieties of medicinal herbs that are unique to her land. This abundance of medicinal vegetation grown in almost every nook and corner of Kerala, has made her famous for her own production of Ayurveda oils, powders and medicines, which are now transported to other parts of India, far and wide.