Ayurveda is the indigenous system of medicine in India. Ayurveda literally means 'the science of living' (longevity). Ayu means "Life" and Veda means "Knowledge". The origins of this system of medicine are lost in the hoary past, and the body of knowledge that comes under the heading Ayurveda constitutes ideas about diseases, diagnosis and cure, which have been accumulated over the ages past.
The feature that distinguishes this system of medicines from other systems like Allopathy and Homeopathy is that it is solely based on herbs and herbal compounds. The medical system of Ayurveda draws heavily from the doctrines developed in the Charaka-Samahita. The main quality which Ayurveda has borrowed from Charaka is its aim of removing the cause for illness and not just curing the disease itself. In Ayurveda there are no such things as instant relievers, pain killers or antibiotics. The herbs used in Ayurvedic remedies do not operate against the body's metabolism, their effect is registered gradually and hence there are minimum side-effects. The constituents of Ayurvedic medicines are largely based on organic matter. The absence of fast registering inorganic compounds which are at times corrosive, contributes to the absence of side-effects from Ayurvedic medicines.
Unique quality of Ayurveda is that it uncovers and cures the root cause of illness, it is safe, gentle and inexpensive, it sees 6 stages of disease development (where modern medicine only sees the last two stages), it treats people in a personalized manner according to their dosha or constitution and not in any generic manner.