General medicine in Atharvaveda with special reference to Yaksma (consumption/tuberculosis)

Bull Indian Inst Hist Med Hyderabad. Jan-Jun 2002;32(1):1-14.


The Atharvaveda (AV) is by all accounts a curious compendium of medicine in its various stages of evolution and contains the most primitive as well as some of the most highly developed stages of therapy. In AV the word Brahma was used in the sense of Physician. The name Atharvan is almost synonymous with Bhesaja or medicine. The AV represents the charm system of the Ayurveda of the Vedic age. The refrain of AV is that, charms and amulets are more efficacious than herbs and medicine. Kãyaçikitsa (general medicine) is one of the eight branches of Ayurveda, which has exhaustive mention in the AV and helps to establish the continuity of medical tradition in the Vedic period. Hence some scholars had mentioned Ayurveda as Upaveda or Upãnga of AV. AV mentions a large number of diseases both major and minor some where in clear terms and some where vaguely. The term used in AV for disease is Yaksma. Classification of the diseases based on a etiological factors is not found in AV. Thus this article depicts the views expressed in AV i.e. regarding causative factors, classification and number of medical disorders with special reference to Yakşma (Consumption).

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • History, Ancient
  • History, Early Modern 1451-1600
  • History, Medieval
  • History, Modern 1601-
  • India
  • Medicine*
  • Medicine, Ayurvedic / history*
  • Philosophy, Medical / history*
  • Tuberculosis / history*