The traditional Hindu system of medicine widely practiced in India, Āyurveda is based on authoritative treatises written in Sanskrit over approximately the past two millennia. Three major classical medical systems have flourished on the Indian subcontinent: Āyurveda among Hindus, Yunānī among Muslims, and Siddha among Tamils in South India. Their reliance on elaborate textual traditions distinguish these three systems from the assorted medical practices offered by astrologers, exorcists, priests, snakebite specialists, and kindred healers in the context of diverse folk traditions. In general, folk practices are associated with a magico-religious understanding of illness, whereas Āyurveda is associated with an understanding of illness that refers to the balance of three physiological principles suggestive of, yet distinct from, the Galenic humors. Such boundaries delimiting

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