The history of the discovery of blood circulation: Unrecognized contributions of Ayurveda masters

Department of Kriya Sharir, Faculty of Ayurveda, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India.
AJP Advances in Physiology Education (Impact Factor: 0.94). 06/2012; 36(2):77-82. DOI: 10.1152/advan.00123.2011
Source: PubMed


Ayurveda, the native healthcare system of India, is a rich resource of well-documented ancient medical knowledge. Although the roots of this knowledge date back to the Vedic and post-Vedic eras, it is generally believed that a dedicated branch for healthcare was gradually established approximately between 400 BCE and 200 CE. Probably because the language of documentation of these early textbooks is in Sanskrit, a language that is not in day-to-day use among the general population even in India, many significant contributions of Ayurveda have remained unrecognized in the literature related to the history of medicine. In this communication, the discovery of blood circulation has been taken up as a case, and a few important references from the representative Ayurveda compendia that hint at a preliminary understanding of the cardiovascular system as a "closed circuit" and the heart acting as a pump have been reviewed. The central argument of this review is that these contributions from Ayurveda too must be recorded and credited when reviewing the milestones in the history of medicine, as Ayurveda can still possibly guide various streams of the current sciences, if revisited with this spirit.

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