Sushruta was a surgeon and teacher of Ayurveda who flourished in the Indian city of Kashi by the 6th century BCE. The medical treatise Sushruta Samhita—compiled in Vedic Sanskrit—is attributed to him. The Sushruta Samhita contains multiple detailed references to diseases and medical procedures.
The main vehicle of the transmission of knowledge during that period was by oral method. The language used was Sanskrit — the vedic language of that period (2000-500 BC). The most authentic compilation of his teachings and work is presently available in a treatise called Sushruta Samhita. This contains 184 chapters and description of 1120 illnesses, 700 medicinal plants, 64 preparations from mineral sources and 57 preparations based on animal sources.
|Angina pectoris, mention and treatment of||The concept of Hritshoola—literally heart pain—was known to Sushruta. Dwivedi & Dwivedi (2007) hold that: 'It embodies all the essential components of present day definition, i.e. site, nature, aggravating and relieving factors and referral. According to him angina is chest pain which is precordial, temporary, exertional, emotional, burning like and relieved by rest. He also linked this kind of pain to obesity (medoroga).'|
|Circulatory system, description of||The knowledge of circulation of vital fluids through the body was known to Sushruta. He also seems to possess knowledge of the arteries, described as 'channels' by Dwivedi & Dwivedi (2007).|
|Diabetes, mention and treatment of||Sushruta identified diabetes and classified it as Medhumeha. He further identified it with obesity and sedentary lifestyle, advising exercises to help cure it.|
|Hypertension, mention and treatment of||Sushruta also explains hypertension in a manner which matches the modern symptoms of the disease.|
|Leprosy, mention and treatment of||Writing in the Encyclopedia Britannica 2008, Kearns & Nash (2008) state that the first mention of leprosy is described in the Indian medical treatise Sushruta Samhita (6th century BCE). The The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Paleopathology (1998) holds that: "The Sushruta Samhita from India describes the condition quite well and even offers therapeutic suggestions as early as about 600 B.C."|
|Obesity, mention and treatment of||Obesity was known to Sushruta who also related it with diabetes and heart disorder. He recommended physical work in order to help cure it and its side effects.|
|Stones, mention and treatment of||The earliest operation for curing stones is also given in the Sushruta Samhita. The operation involved exposure and going up through the floor of the bladder.|
The medical works of both Sushruta and Charak were translated into Arabic language during the Abbasid Caliphate (750 CE). These Arabic works made their way into Europe via intermediaries. In Italy the Branca family of Sicily and Gaspare Tagliacozzi (Bologna) became familiar with the techniques of Sushruta.
British physicians traveled to India to see Rhinoplasty being performed by native methods. Reports on Indian Rhinoplasty were published in the Gentleman's Magazine by 1794. Joseph Constantine Carpue spent 20 years in India studying local plastic surgery methods. Carpue was able to perform the first major surgery in the western world by 1815. Instruments described in the Sushruta Samhita were further modified in the Western World.