Tuesday, April 5, 2016

D for Doctor

Welcome to the "Believe it or Not- That's Incredible India!" series. India is home to some of the most astonishing wonders in the world. The rich culture, heritage, food, scriptures, architectural marvels and scores of known and unknown facts come together to create this multicolored melange that is India. Throughout this month, read about the various believe it or not facts about India and know what goes into the making of this incredible country!


The knowledge of medicine and surgery in India dates back to around 800 BC and the ‘doctor’ to whom most of the earliest performed surgeries have been credited is Shusruta. He wrote the Shusruta Samahita which is considered the oldest treatise dealing with surgery.

Shusruta is credited with having performed various complicated surgical procedures, and he was considered to be an expert in plastic surgery of the nose- rhinoplasty, and cataract removal. 

In his book, Shusruta details the human anatomy and describes the procedure to perform these surgeries. What's amazing is that the procedure of performing these surgeries explained in explicit detail by Shusruta are strikingly similar to the surgeries performed today! 

Shusruta described the procedure of surgery documenting how to perform an incision (cheda), scarification (lehkya), puncturing (vedhya), exploration (esya), extraction ( ahrya) , evacuation ( vsraya), and finally the art of suturing (sivya). He also detailed how a dead body can be preserved and later be used for studying the anatomy. How did he have so much knowledge

Charaka (200BC) was another important doctor who contributed to the fields of physiology, etiology, and embryology. He wrote the Charaka Samahita which had descriptions of 2000 medicines and cures for almost every part of the human body!

That's not all! There are ancient sculptures dating back to these times which show the various representation of surgical procedures and anatomy. An example is that of a sculpture of a pregnant woman; the belly cut in half to expose the fetus inside the womb, and showing the layers of the skin, the position of the fetus and the connecting cord in excruciating detail! How cool is that!!

Isn’t it amazing to know that the knowledge of medicine and surgery was known in India long before it was known in the modern world?

Believe it or not- That’s Incredible India!

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