Sprouted in the pristine land of India some 5000 years ago, Ayurveda, the science of life and longevity, is the oldest healthcare system in the world and it combines the profound thoughts of medicine and philosophy. Since ancient times Ayurveda has stood for the wholesome physical, mental and spiritual growth of humanity around the world. Today, it's a unique, indispensable branch of medicine, a complete naturalistic system that depends on the diagnosis of your body's humours - vata, pitta and kapha - to achieve the right balance.
Kerala possesses an unbroken tradition of Ayurveda that has surpassed many invasions and intrusions both foreign and native. For hundreds of years the Ayurveda Vaidyas (traditional practitioners of Ayurveda) were almost the only solution for people seeking healing from every kind of disease in Kerala. The legendary eight families of Vaidyas (Ashta vaidyas) and their successors treated the entire state for centuries. Unlike the other Indian states the status of Ayurveda in Kerala is not that an alternative but is main stream. In fact, today, Kerala is the only State in India which practices this system of medicine with absolute dedication.
Being the only resort of treatment for the people, the Vaidyars of Kerala were challenged to interpret the theories of Ayurveda and adapt them actively into effective healing systems in everyday life. Thus almost all the contemporary procedures and protocols of Ayurveda have evolved in and around Kerala.
The equable climate, natural abundance of forests and the cool Monsoon season of Kerala are best suited for Ayurveda's curative and restorative packages. Kerala is perhaps one of the few places on Earth where a temperature of 24-28 degrees is maintained during a period of continuous rain. This prevalence of moisture in the air and on the surface of the skin makes it the ideal place for natural medicines to work at their highest levels of potency. The land is also blessed with innumerous medicinal plants and provides the continuity and consistency of Ayurveda medicines needed for effective treatment procedures. The same herbs with the same potency are available year after year across every season. The rich alkaloid content of the soil enhances the intensity and potency of many Ayurvedic medicines when compared to places with a different soil constitution.
Ashtangahridayam, the practical, user friendly interpretation of Ayurveda, compiled by the great Sage Vagbata is seldom used anywhere in the world as it is extensively done in Kerala. The Vaidyars of Kerala are proficient in this most contemporary treatise of Ayurveda which many scholars consider an advancement over the earlier samhitas of Charaka and Sushruta, the pioneers of Ayurveda. It is in Kerala that Kashaya Chikitsa (treatment with concoction) has become a standardised protocol involving hundreds of Kashayams that were scientifically classified and organised according to various treatment needs. Keralite Vaidyars were the first to focus on the anti oxidant properties of Abayangam leading to the profusion of kizhis. The largest number of Ayurveda colleges and the largest number of practitioners in comparison to any place in the world has led to a tradition of Ayurveda research in a scientific manner in Kerala.
In Kerala Ayurveda is not just a healthcare system but it is a part and parcel of every aspect of life, in Kerala. Miracles like paralysed people walking, incurable diseases cured etc. that happen even today inspire respect and awe for the vaidyars of Kerala.