Ayurveda (pronounced I-your-vay-da), said to be a world medicine, stresses the concept of balance in healing. It is the most holistic or comprehensive medical system available.

Five thousand years ago in the Himalayas, one of the greatest sages of India, Srila Vyasadeva wrote down the Vedas for the first time, this included a limb of which is called Ayurveda: "The science of Life" (Ayur means life and Veda means science).

Ayurvedic medicine is a form of alternative medicine, first described by Agnivesha in his book Agnivesh tantra, which later revised by the Charaka and presently known as Charaka Samhita. It is believed that he lived some time between 2 BC and 2 AD. One Kashmiri Pandit Shri Dridhabal re-edited and re-constructed the Charaka Samhita in the 9th century. Ayurveda, based upon the Indian philosophical, psychological, conventional and medicinal understandings, is a traditional health care system from centuries.

Susruta Samhita is written by the Sushruta at an unknown date. Charaka around the beginning of the Common Era, and based on a holistic approach rooted in earlier Vedic culture. Its conspicuous use of the word veda, or knowledge, reveals its role in early Hinduism and describes its hallowed place in India. Ayurveda also had a tradition of surgery in ancient India. Two early texts of Ayurveda are the Charaka Samhita and the Sushruta Samhita.

The notion that Ayurveda is of divine origin is shared by many Ayurvedaic personalities. That the knowledge of medical sciences come from the gods is a common belief in other civilizations as well. Thoth and Apollo were thought to have given medical practices to the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, while in India, it is said that Lord Brahma is the originator of Ayurveda.

Some writers say that Ayurveda is thousands of thousands years old. Acharya Vishwa Nath Dwivedi writes in his book in Bhartiya Ras Shashtra that in early years, when communication language was not written in script, the Guru [teacher] memorises the pupil the Vedas in Gurukul and this tradition was continue upto the years and years till the script did not came in existence. "Atharva Veda" is memorised in this tradition to save the short precepts / sentences.

From mouth to mouth these vedas were alive. Earlier scripts were written on Taalpatra, Bhojapatra , but they can not be saved for many years. Then script was written on the stone and copper sheets.In Atharva Veda, Ayurveda verses are written, by which it can be assumed that Ayurveda is as old as the Vedas.In "Rig Veda" some maxim, precepts are written about the direction of keeping good health. If Atharva veda and Rig Vedas are thousands and thousands of years old, the life of Ayurveda should be counted in the same manner.

But the actual age of the Ayurvedic practice is difficult to establish because it was practiced by the tribes living in the small groups, then the concept came to the wise persons and slowly and gradually it took shape as a mode of treatment and health care system. However any written descriptions are not available. Only correlation and circumstantial evidences is possible to establish the life of Ayurveda.Some facts are available. Chanakyya alias Vishnu Gupta have written book on Economics and Politics, which is knows as "Kautilya Arthashashtra and Rasayan Vigyan", in 430 BC in the regime of Chandra Gupta Maurya. At that time the knowledge of chemistry was in peak.

Dr. Prabhakar Chatterjee writes in Ras Chkitsa that at the time of Buddha, Ayurveda was practiced, and that in this period the Ayurvedic practitioners were commonly using Mercuric-sulphur combination based medicine. In this period Mercury and sulphur and other metals were used in conjunction with herbs to prepare the different medications.

An Ayurvedic practicionner Nagarjuna, a follower of the Buddha, is a well known herbologist, famous for inventing various new drugs for the treatment of ailments. Nagarjuna was accompanied by Surananda, Nagbodhi, Yashodhana, Nityanatha, Govinda, Anantdev ,Vagbhatta etc. The knowledge of Ayurveda progressed alot during this period.

The Buddha period (around 520 BC) is said to be golden period for the Ayurveda. In this period "Ras Vidya" (purified mercurio-purified sulphur based medicaments)innovated in the three departments.

After Kalinga win, King Ashoka (304 BC-232 BC) influenced by the Buddhist teachings, banned the bloodshed in his kingdom in 250 BC. Therefore many Ayurveda practitioners, who were practicing surgery along with medicine, left the surgical intervention and adopted totally new medicinal treatments. In this period, Ayurveda flourished with the invention of new drugs, new methodology and new innovations. The practice of the accompanying surgery slowly died out.

During the regime of Chandra gupta Vikramaditya (375-415 AD), Ayurveda was in the main stream of progress, and continued till the invasion of Alexander the Great, the Mughals and Britain. The last 1100 years were the crucial period for the survival of Ayurveda. Because Ayurveda was understood to be the traditional "science of life", it was preerved by the people of India.