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Madhava Nidana – Medical Text Of 8th Century CE

Madhava Nidana, a medical text of 8th century CE, is a popular and comprehensive work on pathology. There is a saying that this work is supreme in its field (nidane madhava sresthah). It is named after the author Madhavakara, son of Indukara, a native of Bengal who flourished in the 8th century CE.

The work, also known as Rogaviniscaya, elaborately considers the causes, symptoms, complications and treatment of disease in 73 sections.

The first section deals with the five factors necessary for proper diagnosis of disease – cause, premonitory symptoms, manifested symptoms and applied therapeutics to trace the cause and development of disease. The rest of the work deals with various diseases. An important and substantial contribution is the description of new diseases like sula and visphota, which were not dealt with in earlier works.

The last section gives a list of diseases which have been dealt with. The book ends with a prayer that all living beings be freed from the entire host of ailments. Though Madhava has borrowed heavily from the older Samhitas of Caraka, Susruta and Vagbhatta, the book shows the ingenuity and scholarship of the author. While describing aetiology, symptomatology and prognosis of the diseases, the book seeks to present them in a simple and cogent style.

Vijaraksita and Srikantadatta have written commentaries on Madhava Nidhana. The work was translated into Arabic and Italian.