Ayurveda is a health science that emphasizes the maintenance of health and prevention of stress and diseases through proper understanding of in depth underpinnings. For the proper understanding of this science lord brahma has classified Ayurvedic science into eight branches..Ashta means eight and anga means branch. In short Ashtaanga is eight branches of Ayurveda.
Ayurveda originally formed one of the subsection of Adharvaveda & even before the creation of mankind, the self begotten Brahma strung it together into a hundred thousand couplets, divided into a thousand chapters. But then he thought of the small duration of human life on earth & the failing character of human memory & found it prudent to divide the whole of Ayurveda into eight different branches.
1.Kaaya cikitsa(general medicine)
2.Baala cikitsa(paediatrics)
3.Graha cikitsa(idiopathic)
4.Saalaakya cikitsa(ophthalmology&otorhinolaryngology)
5.Salya cikitsa(surgery)
6.Damshtra cikitsa(clinical toxicology)
7. Jaraa cikitsa(rejuvenative therapy)
8.Vrsha cikitsa(reproductive medicine)

It includes the treatment of diseases pertaining to kaaya. The term kaaya comprehends the entire process of metabolism. Henceforth, the word also means body as a whole. In simple words vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats and all things else that are eaten are to be bio-transformed to the bodily substances. As long as kaaya is proper all the activities are carried out smoothly. Any disturbance in kaaya causes imbalance in homeostasis & disturbs physiology which is nothing but the disease. Thus kaaya cikitsa refers to the treatment of diseases, which arise due to impaired metabolism. This branch includes the treatment of diseases, which instead of being restricted to any specific organ or to any particular part of the body, affect the entire system. Eg: fever. So this branch can be correlated to general medicine.

Baala cikitsa, in general deals with the diseases of infancy ,childhood, adolescence and their treatment. Baala means nothing but child. It mentions the qualities of surrogates, causes of vitiation of breast milk and modes of its purification, diseases due to intake of vitiated breast milk and their treatment. It also includes the description of symptoms and treatment of infections and affections of childhood. Antenatal care and management of puerperium comes under this. In short this branch includes the care of a baby right from pregnancy to teenage. This can be generally correlated to pediatrics. It also trespasses into the faculty of obstetrics to a lesser extent.

This branch deals with diseases acquired or inherited from apparently unknown cause . in modern terminology it can be considered as idiopathic diseases, in which the exact cause of disease is unknown. According to Ayurveda, micro organisms are symbolically mentioned as bad demons or evils which cause diseases. In that case a person affected with a particular graha will show the features of that graha. For eg.sarpa graha. The exact patho-physiology of these disorders is to be researched.

Refers to the treatment of diseases pertaining to the areas above the neck such as those confined to the ears, eyes, mouth, nose. It comprehends the faculties of ophthalmology and otorhinolaryngology (ENT)

Analogous to “surgery” of modern medicine, deals with various surgical and orthopedic procedures. Removing foreign bodies; either of exogenous origin such as grass, sand, wood, stones, warfare materials like parts of arrow etc. or of endogenous origin such as pus, extravasated blood, dead foetus in the womb etc. comes under this department. It also deals with the diagnosis and management of inflammatory swellings and includes the description and uses of various surgical instruments and appliances. Further, it explains the mode of preparation, properties and application of various cauteries.

Deals with the diagnosis and treatment of bites of poisonous snakes, spiders, insects, venomous worms. Its symptoms and antidotes are also explained. It has also for its object the elimination of poison, whether animal, vegetable or chemical from the system of man, overwhelmed with its effects.

Branch of Ayurveda that deals with various aspects of preventive health care. Without rejuvenative therapy it is not possible to gain a desirable effect. It gives methodology and medication to preserve youth, prolong life, promote intelligence and strength and give immunity to resist diseases. Rasayana improves the metabolic activities and results in best possible bio transformation leading to health.
Includes remedies for increasing the quantity of semen when it is scanty, methods for its purification when vitiated, replenishing its losses and methods of improving virility.
These eight branches are associated with other branches of medicine s such as gynecology, embryology, social &preventive medicine and complementary medicine such as use of herbs, minerals, medicinal plants , spices and gemstones. All remedies are scientific, logical and time tested for their effects.
The ancient virtues of Ayurveda have been inculcated in these eight branches .Due knowledge of these ‘ashtaangaas’ makes a practitioner well versed in this holistic medicine.

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