For over two and a half millennia Ayurveda was the mainstream healthcare programme in the Indian subcontinent. However, what was once seen as indispensable, is now often officially described as ‘alternative medicine’. Moreover, there seems to be a lack of proper understanding of the specific culture from which Ayurveda emerged. This is because existing works on the subject have mostly been mere compilations of Ayurvedic practices and focused on classical texts. This book studies the stages of development in the system of Ayurveda and its practice from proto-historic times until British colonization. Using original Pali and Sanskrit works, archaeological artefacts, as well as oft-neglected medieval epigraphic documents, M. R. Raghava Varier highlights how centuries of privileging Western knowledge has resulted in the sidelining of indigenous learning—a process that accelerated with the advent of colonialism. Further, he makes use of Jain and Buddhist sources to question the assumption that Ayurveda is a purely Hindu or Brahmanical system, thus providing a historiographical frame for conceptually establishing the notion of Ayurveda.