A comprehensive understanding of Ayurveda requires a detailed look at its long history, from its source to the various interpretations it has been subjected to, through the centuries. The original verses of Ayurveda are said to be derived from the consciousness of Lord Brahma the Creator, and carefully internalized by his disciples. These were passed down among the Gods, until they eventually reached the three Great Sages - Dhanwantari (in his Divodasa avatar), Bharadwaja, and Kashyapa - who setup different schools of treatment and thought on Earth.
In the course of time, Ayurveda branched out into three categories, namely Shalya Chikitsa - Surgery, Kaya Chikitsa - General Medicine, and Kaumarabhritya - Paediatrics. These had a huge influence on the way diseases and ailments were approached and treated, as the Sages sought this knowledge in times of great plague and pestilence.
The third important phase of early Ayurvedic history is marked by the composition of the first medical literature on the subject that was invaluable in disseminating Ayurvedic philosophies and treatments across the world.