THE GROWTH OF MEDICAL AND PUBLIC HEALTH CONSCIOUSNESS AMONG THE PEOPLE and subsequent availability of medical facilities is a recent phenomenon. During the early days the disease was generally ascribed to an evil influence rather than considering the same as a physical disorder and as such instead of following remedial measures to cure the physical disorder, the best way thought proper was to propitiate the evil influences which were thought to be at the root of the trouble. However, there were a few who were health-conscious and who did not much believe in the troubles caused due to evil influences. Such persons received medical treatment from vaidyas.

These people followed a system of medicine based upon nadi pariksha, i.e., reading of the pulse and giving treatment based on medicinal properties of plants and herbs. The authenticity of the ayurvedic system of medicine which contemplated use of chemicals and minerals has been sufficiently proved by the numerous rasas and bhasmas mentioned in the Sanskrit treatises such as Sushruta. Vagbhata, etc.

During the reign of Moghal emperors in the country, the system of medicine prevailing in the neighbouring Muslim countries of Arabia and the like made its inroads in this country. This system of medicine known as the unani system was akin to that of ayurvedic system of medicine.

Vaidus were a sort of nomadic people moving from place to place. Their system of medicine was based purely upon the diagnosis of symptoms of the disease. They possessed a very good knowledge of rich medicinal properties of the rare herbs. In the absence of specialised veterinary practitioners they treated the domestic animals too.

The knowledge of gynaecology and obstetrics was conspicuous by its absence. This could mainly be attributed to different taboos then in existence. The deliveries generally took place at the residence of the expectant mothers. Experience of the elderly ladies in the joint families proved to be of immense value to them. They also used to treat minor ailments through a small stock of medicines maintained by them.