Links between Hippocratic and Ayurvedic dietetics

Text : Marie Josèphe Moncorgé. Translator: Bruce Lee


Just like Hippocratic dietetics, Ayurvedic dietetics, too, has originated from a sophisticated medicine and not from a popular know-how. Both of these are based on a scientific medical doctrine that regards human body as a representation (a microcosm) of the universe. This theory is presently contested but Ayurvedic doctors have successfully developed an efficient medical practice based on experience. This explains why this medical system exists even today.

Indirect or direct contacts between Indian and western medicine took place in several eras. It seems that there were less or almost no direct contacts between Greek physicians of the Antiquity and Ayurvedic physicians. There are legends about this but there is no real proof. On the other hand, we have some facts: Indians were in contact with the Persians during Antiquity and Persians had many contacts with the Greeks. Later, with the arrival of Islam and development of Abbasid dynasty, there were many contacts between arabo-persian medicine (of Hippocratic origin) and Ayurvedic medicine. Later, western medicine, which rediscovered Hippocrates, Galen and the whole Hippocratic pharmacopoeia thanks to Arabic medicine, benefited indirectly from these contacts. All these contacts explain some resemblances between the Hippocratic medicine and Ayurvedic medicine and the presence of medicines of Arabic origin in the Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia and medicines of Indian origin in the Hippocratic pharmacopoeia.

Contacts between Persia and India

Contacts between India and Arabs of Baghdad

Similarities between Hippocratic dietetics and Ayurvedic dietetics

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Liens entre les diététiques hippocratique et ayurvédique