People of Indian ancestry have lived in East of Africa for over 100 years. Doctors prescribe medicines based on the ancient principles of Ayurveda “Science of Life”. Nutritional tonics boost a patient’s immune system alongside Indian-produced antiretroviral drugs that are cheaper than the European originals.
An exorcist often refers a patient to an Ayurvedic doctor for advice on diet, exercise and medication. Ayurveda “Science of Life” is a holistic healt system, one of the oldest in the world. It is said to have been transmitted through Hindu Gods and written down by disciples in India over 2000 years ago. Its key aims are to balance the bodily humours and achieve a balanced lifestyle. Early texts also described advanced surgical techniques. Common treatments today involve a healthy diet, yoga, oil and herb treatments, enemas and massage.
Palm, leaf, wood
Tamil Nadu, south India, mid-19th century
This treatise in the Tamil script and language on Ayurvedic medicine, the Brahma Vaidya Sutra by Brahma Muni, includes recipes for medicinal oils to treat diseases of the uterus.
(Asia dept. 1996, 7-19.1, donated by John F Evan (From the Estate of J Calelle Evans )
Brass, ivory, wood, horn, palm leaf, seed pods, lacquer
Sri Lanka 18th/19th century
Containers for Ayurvedic medicines have typically been made of precious material carefully decorated and repaired. Many boxes were designed to be carried in a doctor’s pouch. Some of these examples contain pills, wood shavings, moss, and sea shells.
British Museum London 2017 April