Anatomy in ancient India: A focus on the Susruta Samhita

Marios Loukas, Alexis Lanteri, Julie Ferrauiola, R. Shane Tubbs, Goppi Maharaja, Mohammadali Mohajel Shoja, Abhishek Yadav, Vishnu Chellapilla Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


This review focuses on how the study of anatomy in India has evolved through the centuries. Anatomical knowledge in ancient India was derived principally from animal sacrifice, chance observations of improperly buried human bodies, and examinations of patients made by doctors during treatment. The Vedic philosophies form the basis of the Ayurvedic tradition, which is considered to be one of the oldest known systems of medicine. Two sets of texts form the foundation of Ayurvedic medicine, the Susruta Samhita and the Charaka Samhita. The Susruta Samhita provided important surgical and anatomical information of the understanding of anatomy by Indians in the 6th century BCE. Here we review the anatomical knowledge known to this society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)646-650
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Anatomy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Anatomy
  • Ancient India
  • Charaka Samhita
  • Susruta Samhita

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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