Publication Type:

Journal Article


Indian Journal for History of Science, Indian National Science Academy, p.545-559 (2012)



Ayurveda, Infections, Microbes, Parasites, Pathogens, Sepsis, Vector, Worms


The codified texts of Ayurveda were composed in the few centuries preceding and succeeding the common era. This period marked the emergence of a rational system of medicine in India from the moorings of religious medicine practiced in the Vedic period. Ayurveda made several advancements in theory and practice of medicine that have not yet been recognised as milestones in the history of medical ideas. This paper is an attempt to review the knowledge of pathogenic organisms and their role in diseases based on textual evidences in the early writings on Ayurveda. A careful study of the early writings on Ayurveda reveals that these ancient physicians were aware of not only pathogenic organisms but also non-pathogenic organisms that naturally inhabited the human body. Pathogenic organisms mentioned in Ayurveda include parasite, worms and perhaps microbes also. These texts provide insights on early notions and ideas about the nature of pathogenic organisms, some of which are microscopic and their role in diseases. There are also interesting observations on communicable diseases, epidemics and infection. Many plants and formulations mentioned in the classical Ayurvedic texts have been found to be effective against pathogenic organisms including

Cite this Research Publication

R. Manohar P., “Accounts of pathogenic organisms in the early texts of Ayurveda”, Indian Journal for History of Science, Indian National Science Academy, pp. 545-559, 2012.