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The History of Sri Lankan Ayurveda

Ravana a pre historic king of Sri Lanka was said to be a great physician who is believed to have written many books such as ArkaPrakasha,Kumarathanthra,Udissathanthra and gnadivignana being few of them.

There is a similar story in charakaSamhitha(Indian Ayurvedic book)about a health conference held in Himalaya for which the sage Pulathisi participated who is said to be the grandfather of Ravana

The both above references give an evidence that even in pre-historic period there was an internationally recognized medical system in Sri Lanka.

The Mahawansa, the main source of Sri Lankan history, mentions that king Pandukabhaya built a hospital in 4th Century BC which might be the first hospital in the world. It is evident that there was a glorious indigenous system of medicine in the country.

King Dewanampiyatissa built a hospital nearby Mihintala rock, the ruins of which is still remaining. There are some archeological evidences that there were renowned physicians during this period.

What’s Unique about Sri Lankan Ayurveda?

Indigenous Medicine of Sri Lanka  “Helawedakama” is a unique heritage of Sri Lanka coming over centuries based on a series of ancient indigenous medical literature handed down from generation to another.

Sri Lanka is proud to claim to be the first country in the world to have established systematic hospitals. Some ancient cities of Sri Lanka; Polonnaruwa, Medirigiriya, Anuradhapura and Mihinthale still have the ruins of what many believe to be the first hospitals in the world.

Even today, Sri Lanka has numerous branches of Indigenous Medicine such as fracture healing, treatment for snake bites, eye-treatment, psychiatry, and treatment for abscesses, wounds and cancers and may others which are said to be still effective and accepted by the community.

There are many Ola Leave Manuscripts available which are related to Sri Lankan indigenous medicine. In addition, there are many valuable medicine, treatment methods, beliefs and techniques in some families coming from generations which are still un-documented.

Ayurvedic methods for immunity boosting/Approach to the current pandemic

There are such diseases in ancient Ayurveda texts which mention spreading of illnesses personto person in rapid rate. These diseases are collectively termed as “Janapadodvanshadiseases” (diseases outbreak as epidemics) as they spread rapidly which are caused bypolluted environment, water, habitat and season.

Covid 19 symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath may be correlated with“Vishamajvara” according to another reference. Therefore Sri Lankan Ayurveda is having soundmanagement protocol including preventive as well as curative measures to combat thisdisease. In addition the Sri Lankan community is nurtured with traditional knowledge in preventingcommunicable diseases which are being practiced for thousands of years. Whenpropagating infectious diseases, isolation and quarantine measures have been practicingamong rural community in Sri Lanka from hundreds of years and even today.

The main focus for this pandemic is prevention (general public and people under quarantine) and boosting immunity of general public and affected persons.


The following preventive measures which being classical formulae can be used to kill ordeactivate viruses. This preventive program could be used for 14 days.


Fumigation (Dhoopa)

A mix of following in equal amounts ground together to form a fine powder is traditionally used to fumigate the living environment:

Guggulu (Commiphora wightii), Neem leaves (Azadirachta indica),Wadakaha (Acorus calamus), dried turmeric (Curcuma longa), Suwandakottan(Saussurea lappa), mustard seeds (Brassica nigra)and asafoetida.


Take little amount of this powder, mixed with ghee and fumigate by sprinkling it on some live coals

Steaming (Wedhu)

Take handful of fresh leaves of Mango (Mangifera indica), Madan (Syzygium cumini), Divul (Limonia acidissima), AmbulDodam (Citrusa urantium) and Beli (Aeglem armelos) in equal amount, put them in an earthen pot, add sufficient water,cover it with a lid and boil. When it is boiled, remove the lid and steam the individual


  1. Drinks (Paana) – Juice of fresh basil leaves
  2. Phanta (hot infusions) –boiled ginger and coriander


Curative measures can be used in combination with above preventive measures

There are different kind of herbal preparations that can be used for treating Covid-19 patients

  1. Herbal decoctions(kwatha/kashaya)
  2. Herbal powders(choorna)
  3. Herbal pills(guli,kalka)

Immunity boosting measures

  • Take Chyavanprashawaleha 10gm (1tsp) in the morning.
  • Drink herbal tea / decoction – made from Basil, Cinnamon,Black pepper,Dry Gingerand coriander – once or twice a day.
  • Golden Milk- Half tea spoon of turmeric powder in 150ml hot milk daily.
  • Immunity boosting vegetables and fruits (cabbage, tomato, beetroot, spinach, sweet potato, mango apple, passion fruit, pineapple)

Simple Ayurvedic Procedures

  • Nasal application – Apply sesame oil / coconut oil or Ghee in both the nostrils in morning and evening. –  helps to stimulate nerves system to boost immunity and clean sinuses

Oil pulling therapy- Take 1 table spoon sesame or coconut oil in mouth. Do not drink, Swish in the mouth for 2 to 3 minutes and spit it off followed by warm water rinse. This can be done once or twice a day – helps to keep your oral healthy and removes germs

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