Sri Lanka developed its own Ayurvedic system based on a series of prescription handed down from generation to generation over a period of 3000years.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 SARATHA SANGRAHAYA, a comprehensive manuscript which Sri Lanka physicians still use today for reference.
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.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 tourist, who marvel at the beautiful ruins.These places have come to symbolize a traditional sense of healing and care, which was so prevalent at the time.
Historically the Ayurvedic physicians enjoyed a noble position in the country's social hierarchy due to their royal patronage.From this legacy stems a well-known Sri Lankan saying,"If you can not be a king, become a healer."Along with Buddhism, the interrelationship between Ayurveda and royalty continues to influence politics in Sri Lanka.
Today, Ayurveda is increasingly sought after by western societies as an 'alternative medicine' and a number of hotels in Sri Lanka offer Ayurveda packages.All Ayurveda schools, hospitals, hotels and centers come under the governance of Department of Ayurveda Sri Lanka.