Visit to Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine Dispensary in Sri Lanka

The story of Ayurveda goes back 5000 years. The statue that depicts Ayurveda has four hands and each is symbolic of what Ayurveda stands for. One hand holds a shell (longevity); another holds a plant (where all medicine comes from) and the other holds a pot of medicine (symbolising healing)-and another holds a book – the scriptures were originally written on palm tree bark which is virtually indestructible whether it be stored under water or in the air. The scriptures have also been written on silver and the very important ones on gold. There are different branches of Ayurveda, like our medical doctors ie surgery, paediatricians etc. On the shelf below the statue are the objects he holds in his arms.

These medicinal raw ingredients are in small bottles for easy identification.

In Ayurveda the most important thing in life is health. Without health we have nothing.  Ayurvedic doctors train for 5 full years. Part of their training is to know all the plants they work with, at least 600 – how they are prepared, how they heal and when they are used. There are more medicinal plants in Sri Lanka than anywhere else in the world – over 13000. India comes second with the number of plants used for medicine.

The medicines are all made fresh daily. An Ayurvedic doctor prescribes medication for the patient. This medication is different for every person because the whole person is treated, not just the illness. Ayurveda believes the medication is the most important in healing – therapies take the medication to a higher level eg. In Ayurvedic head massage there are many different oils that can be used and the oil suited to the person, their body type and ailment is selected. The massage is about getting more medicated oil into the body and to work meridians for energy flow and circulation.

We saw all the cauldrons with fresh batches of medicine brewing. The ayurvedic doctor showing us around asked for each of our room numbers. He consulted his book and could tell us which cauldron had our medicine brewing. My brew had 7 ingredients. The room was very hot and steamy and I felt for the workers having to work in such hot conditions.

Back 5000 years ago before scales, seeds were used as for weighing.

A lady was weighing ingredients and mixing with water ready to boil the mixture. Because there are no preservatives all mixtures are used within 48 hours and fresh baches are made each day.

We saw barrels of elixers brewing. They stay in these barrels for 2 months, similar to the process of wine making.

This leafy plant is the raw ingredient used for pain relief.

These huge cauldrons have oils in which plants have been steeped in and cooked for a long time and reduced down for potency.

Outside were squirrels enjoying a meal of plants.

This tree’s leaves are used for pain relief.

In this room Ayurvedic doctors are making up packages of medicine for each client, labelling them and they are delivered to the cubby holes at the Health Centre for clients to collect after their treatments.

No patient is treated the same as the next. Ayurvedic doctors consider it a privilege to heal and often do not charge for treating.


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