IN OLDEN DAYS THE INCIDENCE OF DISEASES WAS ASCRIBED TO EVIL INFLUENCES. Propitiating the evil spirits was taken to be one of the ways of curing a disease. It was not that no form of medical help was available. The field of the medical profession was dominated by the vaidyas, the village priest, the vaidus, the hakims and such other persons. They often treated the patients by the use of herbs and indigenous antidotes. The skill of the vaidyas, whose treatment was based upon the ayurvedic system of medicine, was a combination of the inherited knowledge and the practical experience gained. The use of minerals was also developed in ayurvedic system which used ras or bhasma in its treatment of the patients. Most of the practitioners used to diagnose the disease by nadi pariksha. The vaidyas commanded great respect and practised mostly in the rural area of the country. The line of treatment did not differ much in case of the vaidyas and the hakims. Both had a limited knowledge of anatomy.

The vaidus who moved from place to place had a good knowledge of rare herbs with rich mineral and medicinal properties. They also treated domestic animals in the absence of specialized veterinary practitioners. The vaidus' diagnosis was based mostly upon the symptoms while that of the vaidyas was based upon the study of physiology.

The maternity and child care was in the hands of elderly ladies in the joint families.

Consciousness of public health and medical facilities and their consequent growth is a development of recent origin and could be attributed to western education. During the last few decades, the allopathic system of medicine had made a great impact on the minds of the people. Relatively, the importance of the indigenous systems of medicine dwindled considerably. Due to the intrinsic value of the indigenous systems of medicine, efforts are now being made at Government level to revive them. Now-a-days, most of the practitioners in indigenous systems of medicine combine allopathy with the one followed by them. Diseases like plague, cholera, which once made life of the people miserable, have been eradicated through preventive measures such as inoculations, injections, etc. Recently considerable progress has been made in gynaecology. Hospitals and dispensaries well-equipped with modern apparatus have been established and experts and doctors trained in the modern system of medicine are fast replacing the men practising the traditional system of medicine.