According to Ayurveda, man as a whole lies within the purview of the science. (Aturastu Khalu Karya Desah). Mind and body can both affect each other and they comprise the seat of diseases. Thus the approach of Ayurveda from the very beginning is psychosomatic. Ayurveda has grouped all human beings into seven different types of Prakriti (Constitution) according to the predominance of one or more doshas and has similarly also grouped into seven psychic Prakriti (Temperaments) according to the predominance of psychic Doshas. This factor is always taken into account in diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of diseases.
The Prakriti or Physical constitution of an individual depends upon the following factors :
(a) Condition of sperm and ovum at the time of conception.
(b) Nature of the season and condition inside the uterus.
(c) Food and other regimen adopted by mother during pregnancy.
(d) Nature of Mahabhuta (elements)—-comprising fetus.
Prakriti is also influenced by the caste, family traits, locality, time, age and individuality.
Several infectious diseases have also been described in. Ayurveda. But much importance has not been given to infections as causes as Ayurveda gives more importance to the host factors. It is well-known that if the soil remains sterile, the seed will not grow.
In the course of treatment, the Ayurvedic physician has .also to take note of vitiation of Dosha, affected Dushya, space, time, vitality of patients, digestive power, constitution, age, psychic factors, and likings and dietetics while treating the case. Ayurvedic medicines are derived from the com¬pounded mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms. More than 20,000 species of medicinal plants and herbs are found in India, out of which 2,000 are in use but 600 to 700 are commonly used in different preparations by the physicians. ‘Several minerals and metals are also used, but they have to undergo various elaborate processes of purification and oxidisation before being put to use. The special therapy of Panchkarma is also used in the treatment. These are Vamana (Emetics), Virechana (Purgatives), Sirovirechana (Purification Processes of Sinuses) Niruha Basti and Anuvasanabasti (Specialised enmata with or without oil), but before doing Panch- ’karma, Snehana (Oleation internal and external) and Swedana, (different kinds of fomentation or Sweating) are necessary. Panchkarma therapy is also used as a pre-requisite therapy before Rasayana is undertaken.