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India History


Most of the early Indian culture stems from the area around the Indus river. Archaeological evidence shows that around about 3000 years B.C India had a thriving advanced community that grew rapidly, and then about 1500 years B.C the population shrunk and the advancement was halted.
This it is presumed was a result of a natural catastrophe such as flood drought earthquake or such. It seems however that the Indian medical system and training had been influenced by the other powers of the day, namely Egypt, Babylonia and Greece. The one thing it had in common was the reliance on the medicine man or witch doctors for their guidance.
India however has a rich history, and also has produced one of the best physicians the world has known. The initial thought given to Indian medicine is that of religious witch doctors or local superstitious beliefs handed down over the ages, and this might be true as an enormous country with such a large poor population will not have the resources' to expand its medical knowledge other than that based upon wife's tales.

The Bower Manuscript

This manuscript was purchased by Hamilton Bower in Kucha from Haji Ghulam Qadir. Bower forwarded the manuscript, made up of 51 birch-bark leaves, to the Asiatic Society of Bengal, where it eventually made its way into the hands of Dr. Augustus Hoernle. Though at first considered "unintelligible", it was eventually deciphered by Hoernle.69

This is one of the oldest surviving Indian works and contains remedies using divination and mentions the healing powers of garlic and other herbs.


Sushruta was an Indian physician who is believed to have lived around the 1st century AD
(Although there is some confusion over the exact date as some say as much as 3000 years ago)
He wrote Matsushita-Samhita or “The Collection of Sushruta” Sushruta is an Indian surgical repair textbook, This enormous book has 184 chapters, an incredible 1,120 conditions are listed including 51 eye conditions that can be treated surgically are listed. The book also describes 101 blunt and 20 sharp surgical instruments, many of which are surprisingly similar to instruments used today although he does recognize that the hand is the most important.
If Sushruta was proved to be in existence 3ooo years ago, it would certainly be one of the oldest concise surgical textbooks with only the Egyptian Papyri to rival it.


"Until a physician has killed one or two, he is not a physician"70




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The History of Surgery and Anaesthesia was created as a free resource to educate Students or indeed anyone wishing to understand the beginings of surgery and Anaesthesia.

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