Ayurveda or Ayurvedic medicine is a system of traditional Indian medicine, native to the Indian subcontinent. Contemporary practices are derived from Ayurvedic traditions. Ayurveda is a discipline of the upaveda or "auxiliary knowledge" in Vedic tradition. The origins of Ayurveda are also found in the Atharvaveda, which contains 114 hymns and incantations described as magical cures for disease. There are also various legendary accounts of the origin of Ayurveda, e.g., that it was received by Lord Dhanvantari (or Divodasa) from Brahma Ayurvedic practices include the use of herbal medicines, mineral or metal supplementation (rasa shastra), surgical techniques and application of oil by massages.

Originating in prehistoric times some of the concepts of Ayurveda have been discovered since the times of Indus Valley Civilization and earlier. Ayurveda significantly developed during the Vedic period and later some of the non-Vedic systems such as Buddhism and Jainism also are incorporated in the system. Balance is emphasized, and suppressing natural urges is considered unhealthy and claimed to lead to illness.

Ayurveda names three elemental substances, the doshas (called Vata, Pitta and Kapha), and states that a balance of the doshas results in health, while imbalance results in disease. Ayurveda has eight canonical components, which are derived from classical Sanskrit literature. Some of the oldest known Ayurvedic texts include the Suśrutha Saṃhitā and Charaka Saṃhitā, which are written in Sanskrit. Ayurvedic practitioners had developed various medicinal preparations and surgical procedures by the medieval period.