Situated on the lap of the Himalayas, Nepal is naturally rich in Ayurvedic herbals and minerals. History tells, Nepal had been inhabited by several loving caring seers (Rishis) from east to west and mountains to tarai. Their regular study of Vedas and endless eagerness to rescue the livings from diseases and prolong longevity of lives gave birth to Ayurveda (science of life); some about 5000 years ago.
Literally the Sanskrit term Ayurveda stands for 'Ayu' or life and 'veda' or to study. During the dates (during that time) when there was a severe attack on our neighbouring country India by some outsiders then some wisemen, there suggested that the old and very valuable Indian manuscripts can be safe in Nepal. Since then people believe Nepal to posses a great potential. Yes, potential of Ayurveda. It's because of climate, geographical position, great Himalayas and inhabitant of several ancient seers, nature has offered tremendous opportunities of Ayurveda in Nepal. Himalaya and mountains with uncountable number of herbs, many unique medicinal herbs that have never been part of another land,different ancient granthas and more than 1600 varieties of medicinal plants have shown the facts that declare Nepal as an Ayurveda kingdom.
Ayurveda Education in Nepal
Ayurveda Education simply started with Guru-Shishya(teacher-student) tradition. Grandfather, father, some elders or teachers brought to home used to give concepts of Ayurveda to students and children. The tradition continued till the establishment of Ayurveda School in Nepal. Some of the great historical periods of Nepal like Malla period, Lichchhavi period,Shah period also continued the same traditions. During that years, some Nepali scholars used to visit India to get knowledge on Ayurveda from great and experienced teachers.
Demand was high, product was far less, keeping the fact in mind and to produce more reliable and more Ayurveda scholars, Sri Tin Chandra Shamsher established a fund with two lakhs promissory note in 1971 B.S.for further study of Nepali Ayurveda students in India. But, surprisingly few years later in 1985 B.S. Ayurveda School was established in Naradevi, Kathmandu. During the earlier days, three levels of Ayurveda education used to run with two years duration each. The courses offered at that time were Biadya Binod, Baidya Bhusan and Bhidya Ratna. Among the selected students from succeeded students in Baidya Ratna; some were sent to Calcutta Yamini Bhusan Astanga Ayurveda Mahavidhalaya to study B.A.M.S. in full scholarship. The system of educating and getting educated continued till 2008 B.S.
After 2009 B.S.,some syllabi were changed and different courses namely Ayurved Madhyama, Ayurved Shastri and Ayurvedacharya came into classes. The courses remind in act till 2032 B.S. Knowledge on Ayurveda was given from several Ayurveda Books. After the theory class, students used to get pratical classes in Ayurveda Hospital and Bir Hospital. The syllabus contained both about the diseases prevention and treatment.
In 2029 B.S., under new education programme, Ayurveda School was changed into Ayurveda Campus under Institute of Medicine (I.O.M). Since then only certificate level came in course till 2048 B.S. In 2044 B.S., one more Bachelor in Ayurveda Medicine programme was added called B.A.M.S (Bachelor in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery) . But reasoning the lack of materials, educative professionals and hospitals, all pragramms were closed in 2048 B.S.
Thinking complete break in Ayurveda Education is unreasonable, Ayurveda campus in support of Ayurveda Division, Singha Durbar Baidhakhana relaunched B.A.M.S. programme in 2053 B.S. Since then the programme is continuing. Every year students passing certificate level on science taking Biology compulsorily and certificate level students of Ayurveda campus can apply the form and top 15 are admitted according to merit list. The form opens around Ashad/Shrawan(June/July), entrance exam in Bhadra/ Ahoj(Aujust/September) and admission in Kartik(Auctuber/November) and class starts in Mansir first(November).
In 2054 B.S, Ayurveda Department launched another Ayurveda Programme nationwide called Sahayak Ayurveda Karyakarta. The programme is in course in different parts of the country conducted under syllabus of Counsil for Technical Education and Vocational Training Center (CTEVT).Ceritficate level is also started under Mahendra Sanskrit Bishow Bidhyalaya with a goal to develop Ayurveda and make it cheap and affordable for Nepalese people. Basic Ayurveda course is also started in class 9 and 10.
Ayurveda Health Policy-2052 B.S
The Ayurveda Health Policy 2052 signed by His Majesty Government of Nepal( now Nepal Government) emphasized in the establishment of National Institute of Ayurveda science under Tribhuvan University (T.U) for the management of higher study in Ayurveda in Nepal. (For detail-go to Government's Plan)
Since many years ago, under the prescription of Baidhaya, Nepali people used to take different types of fresh and dry plants in different forms. It is still in practice in different parts of the country. Except simple herbs and medicines Baidhayas used to prepare other special types of Rasa (The medicine that is prepared after many processions and contains, as its main constitutents, the mercury (or other defined metal), Bhasna (A form of medicine that is prepared by ashing the medicinally active compound) medicines, compound medicines and give them to patients. Later for the treatment of king and Royal family, king Pratap Malla established a Baidhyakhana (drug manufacturing house) near the Hanumandhoka, Kathmandu.After some time, Prime Minister Janga Bahadur Rana transformed it to Thapathali.
Again, in the time of Juddha Shamsher, the Baidhyakhana was transferred from Thapathali to Singhadurbar. The name was taken after the place Sinhgadurbar. So the Baidhyakhana is called as Singhadurbar Baidhyakhana.
High quality medicine were prepared under the full observation of skilled Ayurveda manpower and were distributed to Royal family, Primeminister's family and higher officers only.
After the restoration of democracy in 2007 B.S, King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shaha Dev let the Ayurveda medicine provide to all Nepalese people. In 2016/2017 B.S, several Ayurveda pharmaceuticals were established in different parts of the country and free distributions of the more featured medicines were done.
In 2052 B.S, Singhadurbar Baidhyakhana Development committee was established under His Majesty's Government, Ministry of Health( now Nepal Governmen, Ministry of Health). Since then more than 110-145 types of Ayurveda medicines are being manufactured and marketed. Moreover, the committee is working for proper usage of Nepali herbs. The Singhadurbar Baidhyakhana having a more than 350 years in medicine is a symbol of pride for Nepali people.
Treatment through Ayurveda in Nepal
Since many years back, the treatment for diseased people has been in different ways. During Rana Regime too, there were seats of Bhaidhays in Army. In 1973 B.S, many Ayurveda Dispensaries were established in different district and at the same time Ayurveda Hospital with 2 beds (?) was established at the bank of Bishnumati River in Kathmandu. Till 2007 B.S., there were 47 Ayurveda Dispensaries and 1 Ayurveda Hosital. After the restoration of Democracy in Nepal in 2007 B.S, many Ayurveda Dispensaries were added to uplift the Health status of Nepalese people. In those Dispensaries in each district, there was used to be either one Kabiraj or one Baidhya with their helpers. Baidhyas used to collect the herbs around them and prepare medicine from the herbs to treat the patients.
Started with their administration under different offices of Government of Nepal, after 2013 B.S Ayurveda Health Administration remained under control of Ayurveda Department of Ministry of Health. Later, it remained under Department of health. Again from 2038 B.S., it has been regulated by Ayurveda Department.
Till 2048 B.S, in overall country there were 14 zonal Ayurveda Hospitals, 141 other Ayurveda Dispensaries.
At present, there are:
-Central Ayurveda Hospital, Naradevi with 100 beds---1
-Ayurveda Hospital Dang with 30 beds--------------------- 1
-Zonal Ayurveda Hospitals------------------------------------- 14
-District Ayurveda Health Centers--------------------------- 61
-Ayurveda Dispensaries---------------------------------------- 216
Now number of overall Ayurveda Health Institutions in Nepal is 291.
Feeling the necessity of Indoor Patient Department, Ayurveda Hospital was established in 1974 B.S with 4 beds. Later in 1985 B.S, 4 more beds were added and the hospital was transfored to Naradevi in 2017 B.S. 8 more beds were added. Now total number of beds is 100. As a central Ayurveda Hospital, it has departments like Internal Medicine (Kayachikitsa), Surgery (shalya), ENT+eye (shalakya), Pediatrics (Baal Roga), Gynecology (Stri Roga) and Acupuncture. Except that, in pathology lab, there are facilities of testing urine, stool and blood with x-ray, USG and ECG. Under pancha karma, there are facilities of Sweden (means therapeutic sweating) and Snehana (means messaging different oils into skin). The hospital is also working as a teaching hospital for B.A.M.S students.
Except Naradevi Ayurveda Hospital there is another Hospital in Dang. In 2048 B.S, Out Patient Department (O.P.D) was established and in 2049 B.S Indoor Patient Department was started there. The hospital is with 30 beds and departments like Kayachikitsa (internal medicine), Shalya (surgery), Shalakya (ENT+ eye), Prasuti (Gynecology) and emergency take in action at present.
Thus, with time Ayurveda Medicine is progressing in Nepal.