Ayurveda physicians in the state developed simplified procedures of therapies of Kerala without violating the fundamentals of Ayurveda.Sirodhara, Pizhichil,Chauthi thirumal, Navarakizhi, Thalapothichil, Pachakizhi and Podikizhi are some of the Kerala special Ayurvedic procedures developed in Kerala. Many herbs and pharmaceutical processings were invented and added to the main practice of Ayurveda. In recognition of specific contribution of Kerala, Udupa Committee constituted by the Government of India recommended the postgraduate teaching and research in four specialties widely practiced in Kerala viz., Marma, Panchakarma, Netra and Visha.
The fundamentals of Ayurveda being practised and taught in Kerala are not different from those of the rest of the country, in their essence and philosophy. However, there is a notable difference pertaining to the importance given to Vagbhata’s Ashtangahridayam in preference to other classical texts. Practice of classical panchakarma therapies in all their authentic fidelity, the innovative development of the reputed Kerala preparatory therapies and finally the wide variety of exclusive herbal based formulations overshadowing the use of metal and mineral based drugs are the main features of Ayurvedic tradition.
The development of Ayurveda in Kerala is particularly noted for its origins in non-brahminical traditions even before the entry of classical Ayurveda in the early centuries of the Christian era. These two streams subsequently blended so well that it gave a unique strength to the health care tradition of Kerala. Selected few brahmin households, named generally as Ashtavaidyas, carried forward Ayurvedic tradition by practicing it as a health care service as well as by teaching its principles in the unique Gurukula tradition. The traditional practitioners of Ayurveda considered Ashtangahridaya as a primary text. Several commentaries were written in Malayalam. More importantly, new texts were written in Kerala both in Malayalam and Sanskrit notably Sahasrayogam, Chikilsamanjari, Vaidyamanorama. These and similar other texts written in Kerala still remain sources of useful information on formulation, medicinal plants and therapies.
Another notable contribution from Kerala is continuation of the practice of panchakarma therapies. Due to congenial climatic conditions, Kerala retained this therapeutic wealth in all its pristine essence. Texts were written here on its practical aspects. More importantly, the Kerala special therapies were evolved which are essentially preparatory for main principal therapies in nature. Dhara, Mukkipizhichil, Navarakkizhiand Chauthitirumal are typical examples.
Several formulations and procedures described in the texts of Malayalam language, are now included in the Ayurvedic Formulary of India. Many of the Ayurvedic physicians of Kerala developing areas of specializations like pediatrics, ophthalmology, martial therapy, and Toxicology.