From Big Medical Encyclopedia

ChARAKA (Charaka) — the outstanding doctor of ancient India, the author of one of the earliest of the famous medical treatises — «Charaka — Samkhita».

As well as Sushruta, it exerted a great influence on development of medicine of that time. Exact dates of his life are unknown. One historians of medicine, hl. obr. the European, referring to ancient Chinese sources, consider that Charaka lived in 1

century AD. The Indian scientists prove that Charaka lived much earlier — approximately in 1000 — 800 BC. However both that and others recognize that he was Sushruta's predecessor.

According to Old Indian references of the data for Charak's treatise received from the semi-mythical doctor of antiquity of Agni-vesy. In the Middle Ages the treatise Chara-ki was translated into the Persian and Arab languages.

In Charaki's work methods of training of doctors, the organization of clinics are described. Much attention is paid to the description of rules of personal hygiene.

Charaka accurately formulated a number of important provisions of the ethical code of the doctor, in particular about a debt of the doctor to the patient, about unselfishness and dedication of work of the doctor, about a medical secret.

A wide range of the problems considered in the treatise «Charaka — Samkhita» confirm a high level of development of medicine of India in the most ancient times and an entsiklo-pedichnost of knowledge of Charaki. India considers it not only the first doctor, but also the first druggist: it described about 500 medicinal plants.

The treatise «Charaka — Samkhita» contains various data on anatomy, physiology and embryology, about the diagnosis, treatment and the forecast of various diseases, about methods of a research of the patient, about food and a diet.

Works: Charaka Samhita, pt 1 — 38, Calcutta, 1892 — 1905.

Bibliography: Kovner S. History

of medicine, p.1, century 1, page 40, Kiev, 1878; Charaka, Entsikloped. dictionary, prod. F. A. Brockhaus and I. A. Efron, t. 38, page 391, SPb., 1903; Jolly J. Indian medicine, Poona, 1951; S r i v a s t a v a G. P. History of indian pharmacy, v. 1, Calcutta, 1954, bibliogr. E. Yu. Burnashev.