Ayurveda is the science of life from India, originated 3000 years ago. It is the oldest healthcare system in the world. It combines the profoundness of philosophy and the goodness of wholesome healing & wellness. In India, the state of Kerala is home to Ayurveda. In Kerala, it is a mainstream form of wellness & healing than an alternative treatment. Above all, it is the only State which practices this system of medicine with total dedication. This is the reason the world knows about Kerala Ayurveda. Many consider Kerala Ayurveda as the most authentic and traditional amongst all.
Vaidyars (literal translation : Physicians) are the traditional practitioners & physicians of Kerala Ayurveda. They have consistently challenged and interpreted existing forms of Ayurveda treatment through the years. In addition, they keep refining treatises and methods of Ayurveda treatment through the land.
Let us explore more about the keepers of the flame of Kerala Ayurveda and their legacy. Additionally, let us also learn how they are keeping it alive through generations.
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The Formation of Itoozhi Illam
Legacy palm manuscripts family documents mention the coming together of 8 Vaidyas who were the leading physicians – each with his own speciality and expertise in a specific domain at Itoozhi Illam ( Home – lit. translation) as the beginning of an organised foray into Ayurveda treatment under the name of Itoozhi Illam. Itoozhi Ayurveda illam became renowned as a center in Malabar for holistic healing, based on traditional Ayurvedic treatises, at the beginning of the 18th century.
The Meaning of “Itoozhi”
Almost all of the famed & revered Ayurveda physicians of Kerala have been associated with their traditional families of Ayurveda. However, the family of Itoozhi Ayurveda, from Kannur, in North Kerala is known to be amongst the oldest and most socially reformist among them all. Itoozhi means “Keepers of the Flame”. It refers to the family’s traditional duty as the preservers of the sacred flame of the Yagnasalas of the Mayyil region. This was along with their ongoing duties as Ayurveda physicians, dating back to almost 5 centuries. Each specialized in a different branch of the ancient science of treatment, and began to treat and heal the thriving community of Malabar. Itoozhi Namboothiri Vaidhyas are also one of the few families who are considered authentic Nethra Chikitsakas in Kerala Ayurveda (Ayurvedic Eye Specialists) in Kerala.
The “Four Pillars of Giving” at Itoozhi Ayurveda
The Itoozhi Ayurveda family has an illustrious tradition that has been passed on through centuries. More than a tradition, it is a continuous process of refinement. Above all, it has been carried through generations. At Itoozhi Ayurveda, there is a simple philosophy. The social prosperity of any community is directly related to the health of its individuals. This meant each of them giving back to the society the wealth they have acquired through their professions to improve each one’s health as its duty. This also included seeking out ways to improve the social standards of its immediate Mayyil in North Malabar.
The Itoozhi Ayurveda family is directly involved in following this four-fold path for the community
Bhoomi Daanam (Donation of Land) – The family has a rich legacy of donating family lands to those without a place to call their own. This holds true for many in Mayyil and nearby areas.
Oushadha Daanam (Free Ayurveda Medicines & Treatment) – The family has always dispensed Ayurveda treatment & medicines free to those who could never afford it. Presently, this continues in the Charity Out Patient program that is conducted every Tuesday at Mayyil, Kannur, Kerala.
Anna Daanam (Donating Meals) – Food is a basic necessity for any human being. There are regular Free Nutritious meals programs that Itoozhi Ayurveda co-ordinates with recognised charitable organisations. These are held regularly. Itoozhi Ayurveda also has a annual program of Oushada Kanji (Medicial Gruel) for school children during the monsoons, spread across all schools in Mayyil.
Vidya Daanam (Facilitating Education) – This is a cause closest to the heart at Itoozhi Ayurveda since education makes all the difference. The family has been at the forefront, donating land for new schools, maintenance of existing schools, help build new schools in Mayyil, Kerala. This includes the Mayyil Elementary School, the Mayyil Secondary School, the Mayyil Public Library and many more. In conclusion, Education is close to the heart of the Itoozhi Foundation.
A Legacy of Healing Luminaries
The Itoozhi Vaidyars did not limit themselves to diagnosis and treatment of illnesses. During the colonial times, there was an effort in suppressing Ayurveda. However, the Itoozhi Vaidyars travelled far and wide, organising workshops on Ayurveda. Their efforts were to encourage discussions and interest in the pursuit of Ayurveda as a science. Above all, it was to popularise the oldest healthcare system in the world. Itoozhi had the good fortune of being the personal Ayurveda physicians to some of the most popular figures of our times. This includes Sir. Chettur Sankaran Nair , EMS Namboothirippad, Field Marshal KM Cariappa, Vallathol Narayana Menon and many more.
The legacy of Itoozhi Ayurveda is a living testament that is unique. It shows how holistic healing based on Ayurveda can influence lives and the community in many levels. Above all, it also helps raise its benchmarks in healing and care.
The Itoozhi Vaidya Shala (Ayurveda Dispensary)
The Itoozhi illam was an Ayrurvedic treatment centre from ancient times. Particularly, the Ayurveda Vaidya sala (Public Dispensary) was started in 1907 by Vaidhyar Itoozhi Valiya Madhavan Namboodiri at Mayyil. He was an expert in spreading Kerala Ayurveda concepts in North Malabar. Additionally, he established the Itoozhi Namboothiri’s Vaidyasala at Calicut and Tellicherry. Presently, Itoozhi Ayurveda is one of the most sought-after traditional ayurveda hospitals in India.
Eye Treatment in Kerala Ayurveda
Itoozhi Valiya Madhavan Namboothiri had early on identified Eye treatment and Fertility treatment as the two core areas of attention. Above all, Itoozhi Vaidyars are one of the few families who are the traditional Ayurvedic Eye Physicians in Kerala. According to the last national survey visual impairment affects over 12 million people around the world. In addition, India is home to over 25% of the total population of visually challenged people in the world. It is in this regard that we have chosen traditional Eye treatment as our core discipline.
Our vision for Eye Treatment is quite simply “Vision”. In short, our “Vision is Vision for All” through Ayurveda.
Ayurveda Eye Treatment at Kottakkal
In traditional Ayurveda eye treatment in Kerala, Itoozhi Ayurveda are the pioneers. Peers across the state have acknowledged this expertise by Itoozhi. In addition, this is also why Itoozhi Ayurveda Foundation Trust signing a historic agreement with Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala. It aims to nurture, develop and mutually collaborate on Eye Treatment in Ayurveda. Additionally, Eye specialists from Itoozhi Ayurveda manage the Outpatient Eye clinic at Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala. The treatment for Infertility through Ayurveda follows the same path. It is holistic and the diagnosis is through Ayurveda with the help of modern technology. Above all, the objective is to assist and enable conception.
At Itoozhi Ayurveda Foundation, Ayurveda is the way of living. In addition, Itoozhi Ayurveda strives to make Ayurveda a model agent of change in wellness & social equity. This helps in the uplifting of the entire community, as proven by Mayyil, the home (town) of Itoozhi Ayurveda.