Neue Krankheit - Alte Wissenschaft: Aids in der Nosologie des Ayurveda
Curare 28.2005:21-216
Keywords: Ayurveda, traditional healing, AIDS, HIV, culture and Aids, categorizing Aids

##New disease - old science: AIDS in the nosology of Ayurveda
The perception and classification of diseases is determined by the epistemological and "cultural" basis of a medical system. The question of how AIDS can be classified in the Ayurvedic system of medicine is a controversial subject among ayurvedic physicians. We take a look at this discussion on the basis of a contemporary publication by the Ayurvedic author H. R. SIVAHARE (1998). Traditional ayurvedic concepts which denote "immunity" in modern professionalised Ayurveda are employed when AIDS is termed "Ojahksaya" (literally "loss of vital force"). This is an old Ayurvedic term used for a modern biomedical concept. However, the term "ojas" is a controversial term in the classical literature and its interpretation as "immunity" is also not without problems. In a different suggestion the term "Rajayaksman" (literally "royal consumption") has been used to describe AIDS. Apart from an alleged correspondance in the symptoms of the two diseases. the connection of Rajayaksman to promiscuity and its infectious character even within the ayurvedic tradition seems to be in favour of such an identification. The search for traditional terms to denote a new disease is part of a peculiar idea of science in the Indian culture. In traditional perspective "science" or "knowledge" (sastra) is eternal and universal. Classifying a new disease means rediscovering something that has long been present in the traditional wisdom. In this context characteristics of Ayurveda as a science, problems of Ayurveda in our times as well as general cultural notions of modern India become evident.##