Hela Wedakama ෴ හෙළ වෙදකම

Indigenous Medicine of Sri Lanka (IMSL) "Helawedakama" is a unique heritage of Sri Lanka coming over centuries based on a series of ancient indigenous medical literature handed down from generation to another. In fact, Sri Lanka is proud to claim to be the first country in the world to have established systematic hospitals. Some ancient cities of Sri Lanka; Polonnaruwa, Medirigiriya, Anuradhapura and Mihinthale still have the ruins of what many believe to be the first hospitals in the world.

Even today, Sri Lanka has numerous branches of Indigenous Medicine such as fracture healing (Kedumbidum Wedakama), treatment for snake bites (Sarpavisha Wedakama), eye-treatment (Es Wedakama), psychiatry (Unmada Wedakama), and treatment for abscesses, wounds and cancers (Gedi-Wana-Pilika Wedakama) etc., which are said to be still effective and accepted by the community. Sarartha Samgrahaya, Vatika Prakaranaya, Deshiya Chikitsa Samgrahaya, Bhaissajjya Manjusa, Oushadha Samgraha etc and various Ola Leave Manuscripts are some great available written material related to Sri Lankan indigenous medicine.

In addition, there are many valuable medicine, treatment methods, beliefs and techniques in some families coming from generations which are still un-documented. At present, Sri Lanka has more than 8000 of Indigenous physicians registered at Ayurveda Medical Council of Sri Lanka, country wide. Many of them have been assigned in Provincial Ayurveda hospitals. Some of the physicians treat emerging health issues like cancers and chronic kidney diseases of unknown origin (CKDu) successfully since recent past in Ayurveda Teaching Hospitals (03), Ayurveda Research Hospitals (04), Provincial Ayurveda Hospitals (56) and Ayurveda Central Dispensaries (208). At present, Sri Lanka has more than 8000 traditional physicians registered at Sri Lankan Ayurveda Medical Council country wide.

History of Hela Wedakama

Sri Lanka developed its own Ayurvedic system based on a series of prescriptions handed down from generation to generation over a period of 3,000 years. The ancient kings, who were also prominent physicians, sustained its survival and longevity. King Buddhadasa (398 AD), the most influential of these physicians, wrote the obtain the permit prior to start treatments for the patients or prior to starting making medicines according to the ancient traditions.

Ancient inscriptions on rock surfaces reveal that organized medical services have existed within the country for centuries. In fact, Sri Lanka claims to be the first country in the world to have established dedicated hospitals with the capability of performing surgeries even for the animals. The Sri Lankan mountain Mihintale still has the ruins of what many believe to be the first hospital in the world. Old hospital sites now attract tourists. These places have come to symbolize a traditional sense of healing and care, which was so prevalent at that time.

Ayurvedic physicians had historically benefited from royal patronage which in turn endowed them with prestige in the island's social hierarchy. From this legacy stems a well-known Sri Lankan saying: "If you cannot be a king, become a healer." Traditional medicine had largely died out in Sri Lanka with the advent and ravages of European colonialism and the growth in popularity of prescription drugs. In recent years, however, increasing numbers of tourists have been seeking out alternative remedies to persistent chronic ailments in traditional Sri Lankan medicine, among other things. In addition, along with Buddhism and other things made objects of nationalism, āyurveda continues to influence democratic politics and general political discourse in present-day Sri Lanka.