Originating in India and then spreading to Egypt, Greece, Rome, Tibet, China, Russia and Japan, Ayurveda is probably the oldest continually practiced holistic health care system on the planet. It's estimated to be between 2500 and 5000 years old.
The word Ayurveda comes from Sanskrit words, Ayus meaning life and longevity, and Veda meaning Knowledge or Science. Therefore, Ayurveda is The Science of Life, specifically referring to harmonious integration of the body, mind, senses and spirit; An art of living, an art of being.
This ancient system was devised after careful observations of hundreds of thousands of individuals, animals, plants, trees and nature in general, over thousands of years. Ancient Ayurvedists recorded in encyclopedic writings the strategies that worked and those didn't for every aspect of health and way of living. The result: A highly sophisticated nature-friendly healing system that has its foundation an immensely valuable herbal and spiritual science.
Furthermore, a stream of scientific studies nowadays, continues to provide confirmation of their efficacy and a better understanding of Ayurveda.
During the two centuries of colonial rule, Ayurveda almost went un-noticed by the British due to its complicated ancient Sanskrit and pali text or most of them did not believe in it or discarded it as some esoteric healing. Furthermore, the British Empire no longer funded Ayurvedic training and over the next century much knowledge and understanding were lost.
However some Ayurveda and Ayurvedic formula did make it to the west and extreme orient. The most popular one which we all know would be "Amala" and "Aritha" fruits to make "champoo" for hair which gave birth to modern day "Shampoo" in use until this day including the word.
European surgeons translated and brought into practice Indian surgery technics described in the Sushruta Samhita (1000 B.C.) including that of to repair damage to the face; traditional aesthetic treatment which was devised to restore the beauty of the Maharajas and princes who were deformed while fighting a battle. This technique fostered the discipline we now call plastic surgery.
Greeks and Arabs were totally inspired by Ayurveda. 'Unani' Greco-Arabic medicine manuscripts describe in detail the knowledge of Ayurveda and technics adopted to suit their needs and stressed that all doctors were incomplete without a visit to India and knowledge of its medicines. Chinese travellers regularly came to learn at Nalanda university and took back with them Marma science which we today know as Chinese acupuncture. Tibetan medicine is essentially Ayurveda efficiently adopted for use in high altitude plateaus of Tibet. Meditation known as 'Dhyan' is Sanskrit to restore the peace of mind, travelled and became Chyan, then Chen and by the time it reached Japan it became Zen.
Thus, Ayurveda for centuries has prevailed consciously or unconsciously in our existence regardless of where we live; but is still awaiting its long due to be in light. Only because our era of mad-cows, crazy chickens and polyester pigs demands it. Rise in global temperature has created havocs in year 2000 and worst is still to come. In the times of net, news and nuclear we as mankind are asking this question more seriously then ever before: Whether healthy man means healthy earth or healthy earth means healthy man?
Ayurveda posed that question nearly 2000 years ago.