Powders, lambatives, decoctions as well as medicated oils, Ghritas, confection and wines are the forms in which, according to Sushruta, medicines should be given. The different drugs such as roots, leaves, etc. should be culled in the seasons proper to each. He classified the soil into five different kinds for the purpose of growing drugs of different therapeutic properties. Even the virtues of different flavours and colours were ascertained with regard to their respective actions on the deranged morbific principles of the body.
The Ayurveda being the science of life and health, the holy Agnivesha, at the very commencement of the therapeutical portion of his work, * has described several medicinal compounds, which improve general health and arrest the ravages of time. Theoretically speaking the science of the Ayurveda recognises no preordained limit to human existence. Life can be prolonged with the help of suitable medicines. By dint of observation and patient researches our Rishis devised many such adjuncts which can rejuvenate an old man, and supply those vital elements to an old and exhausted human body, which ebb away with the progress of years. Hence, we find many rejuvenating medicines to have been prescribed for men in health which would arrest decay and guard against the approach of senility by increasing the fundamental vital principles of the body and preventing Vayu, Pittam and Kapham from being transformed into morbific diatheses.
Diet - "A good and proper diet in disease is worth a hundred medicines and no amount of medication can do good to a patient who does not observe a strict regimen of diet." Our Ayurveda, instead of being content with specifying the nature of diet in diseases in general, mentions the names of articles, which should, or should not be taken in any specific malady, judged by the light of their properties of aggravating Vayu, Pittam or Kapham. The dietic or therapeutic properties of a large number of articles of human consumption, as well as the chemical changes they undergo in the digestive apparatus of different mammals, have been studied and analysed, and so we find in our physique, medical Samhitas, such injunctions that barleycorns passed undigested with the faeces of a cow or horse, should form the diet of a Prameha patient * that the milk of a she-camel should be given to a patient suffering from a cutaneous affection, and that the flesh of any carnivorous beast or bird should be given to one suffering from pulmonary consumption and so on. It was a cardinal doctrine with Ayurvedic dietists that the longing of a patient for any particular kind of food in a certain disease, emphatically shows that his organism is in want of those elements which enter into the composition of the article offered. Hence elaborate dietetics were formulated, which cannot but be acceptable to the most fastidious patient.
Charaka Samhita Chikitsa Sthanam Ch I.
The exclusion † of salt and water from the food of an ascites or anasarca patient as laid down in our Samhitas shows that our Rishi possessed a higher chemical knowledge regarding the effects of organic matter on the human system than many of us are ready to accord to these pioneers in medical science.