What is Helawedakama

Sri Lanka, historically referred to as Hela-Diva, is a magnificent tropical paradise steeped deep in a proud history of healing, over 5000 years

Sri Lankan Ancient People And Nature’s Wealth

Sri Lanka, historically referred to as Hela-Diva, is a magnificent tropical paradise steeped deep in a proud history of healing, over 5000 years .Although Sri Lanka has been known by the world as Taprobane, Serendib and Ceylon in the past, its historical indigenous name, Hela-Diva is not so well known and popular internationally . Hela were the tribes that inhabited this island  over 5000 years ago and Diva means the Island

There were evidence that the hela had attained an extraordinary level of knowledge in agriculture, irrigation, and had also developed an effective system of herbal medicine, known as Hela-Veda, endemic to these tribes ,and the originator or the founder of  this system was Rishi king Pulasthis.King Pulasthi was the grandfather of King Ravana who invented the  first air craft in the world..It is believed that this system of healing is older than Indian ayurveda system.Factual evidence proves that the King Pulasthi was regionally very popular at that time and he was invited for the first ever recorded medical congress hosted in Himalya province 5000 years ago under the patronage of high level Indian royal Physicians and delegates.

The Hela lived in the tropical paradise Hela-Diva, in the Indian Ocean, an island fortunate to possess a very rich diversity of flora with many endemic species. The species used in herbal medicine is estimated to be over 1100, including many endemic species, which helped to make Hela-Veda not only invaluable but distinct from similar medical systems such as Ayurveda.

Many branches of hela weda were originated from Pulasthi traditions  Such as orthopedic ,Psychatry,Cardiology,and had been practicing many centuries  taking care of mental and physical well being of the Sri Lankans and it is evident that this system of medicine had been highly influenced by Buddhism and other cultural spiritual beliefs practice by ancient Sri Lankan people..It is mentioned in one of the ancient classical text book of hela wda Bi sajja Manjusa written by Rev Anomadassi thero in 2 B.C that Sri Lankan people who lived in that society preserved their mental health and psychological balance by referring thiripitakaya(Tripitaka is the three main categories of texts that make up the Buddhist canon. )and physical health by Hela wedakama or local traditional system of medicine.This means that their social and spiritual aspects were taken care of by Buddhism and mental and physical well being were taken care of by their traditional system of medicine .This book was recently (February 2016) declared as a national heritage by the UNESCO

This is a good point to be reconsider as to how these native tribes were preserved their mental health and psychological balance and led a healthy life and made unbelievable and astounding creations such as huge Buddha statues and carvings, water tanks and irrigation systems and castles ,where there were no psychiatrists and psychologists found at this era .This is a dilemma even today how these people gained this knowledge and power to made these creations. It is believed that kings had use charmers to make use of the unseen forces of these universes,  to made these astounding creations such as heavy vigorous types of work , lifting stones and building pillars. This phenomenon is being researched in the department of manthra in some western universities to evaluate how this power can be possessed to unseen forces.

Efficacy of Hela-Veda Treatment

There are several references to the efficacy of Hela-Veda in the accounts of foreign writers, such as that by the English sailor Robert Knox (1681), quoted earlier in which he states “The woods are their Apothecaries shops, where with herbs, leaves, and the barks of trees they do not able cures”.

              Joao Ribeiro, the Portuguese soldier-historian who served in the island from 1641-1658 remarks in Fatalidade Historia De Ceilao:

              “They are great herbalist and in case of wounds, tumors, broken arms, and legs they get cured in a few days with great ease. As for cancer, which is a loathsome and incurable disease among us, they can cure it in eight days, removing all viscosity from the scab without so much as leaving a mark anywhere to show that the disease had been there”

“I have seen a large number of soldiers and captains cured during my residence in the country, and the ease with which this was done was marvelous. In truth, the land is full of medicinal herbs and many antidotes to poison, which I have tried myself………”

              Many Hela-Veda herbal remedies have been shown by modern research to have a valid scientific basis, are often considered to be more effective than their Western pharmaceutical counterparts, and have the benefit of less or no side effects. Indeed some remedies are being used in Western pharmaceutical products. Dr. C.G. Uragoda writes in his study Traditions of Sri Lanka, a selection with a scientific background (2000):

              “The juice expressed from the leaves of Adhatoda vasica which is a very common plant in  Sri Lanka, has long been prescribed in Ayurveda for lung disorders.”

              “Bromhexine, which is the synthetic analogue of adatoda, is now widely used in cough syrups for its action as an expectorant. There is another method of administering adatoda Dried and rolled up like cigars, the leaves are smoked as a cure for asthma, this form of preparation being a common bazaarmedicine (Lewis, 1934; 302-303).” 

Caring & Healing is a Sri Lankan Tradition

ccording to tradition, Sri Lanka has had many kings who were skilled Hela-Veda physicians and sponsored medical care among their people. The first was the legendary Pulasthi Rishi, who ruled the island 5000 years ago and is said to have written three medical texts on Hela-Veda, one concerning a distillation process, arka, which is still practiced today.

The ancient chronicle known as the Mahavansa states that King Pandukabaya (437-367 BC) built hospitals (Sivikasotthi-Sala) in various parts of the country. This is the earliest documentary evidence of institutions specifically dedicated to the care of the sick anywhere in the world.

After King Devanampiyathissa (307-267 BC) was converted to Buddhism, he established a hospital for Buddhist monks at Mihintale, the ruins of which still exist. Although fledgling hospitals were established slightly earlier, Mihintale is considered to be the first proper hospital in the world. Among the ruins are the perfect remains of a body-shaped trough, beheth-oruwa (medicinal boat), in which patients were immersed in herbal oils.

The knowledge of Hela-Veda was documented in several ways. One method was by inscribing  symptoms of ill-health and the necessary Hela-Veda herbal remedies on strips of palmyrah palm leaves that made up a book known as an ola leaf (puskola). Fortunately the ola ages well, so this rich heritage of Hela-Veda has been preserved and used by generations of physicians in Sri Lanka to this day.

Of the many Hela-Veda physician-monarchs, King Buddhadasa (340-368 AD) is the most renowned; an all around medical practitioner as he was a surgeon and a veterinarian. He established sanatoriums and shelters along the major roads and composed the medical text Sarartha Sangrahaya, which Hela-Veda physicians use even today as a reference guid

As a surgeon, King Buddhadasa had the habit of always carrying surgical instruments and medicines in a small bag. The story goes that he once dismounted from the royal elephant, approached a poisonous snake that was writhing in pain, cut open the serpent’s belly and treated it by removing a tumour.He was considered as a eminent hela weda physician in the hierarchy and the book Sarasansepya  was written by him

Popular Ayurvedic Preparations

Herbal medicaments are mixtures of various herbs prepared to time tested
pharmaceutical procedures recommended by Ayurveda. The curative properties of
these herbs have been identified and catalogued by the ancient Rishis
(hermits). They are meant to maintain or regain equilibrium of body functions
based on the physical and psychic forces mentioned in Ayurvedic Concepts. No
synthetic chemicals are used in the preparation of Ayurvedic remedies.


Some popular Ayurvedic preparations are given belo.


The juice of herbs with or without water/sugar.


Paste prepared by grinding medicinal plant materials.


A decoction. Herbal materials such as bark, roots, leaves, fruits and flowers are cut, sliced or powdered coarsely and one part of the amalgamation is boiled in four, eight or sixteen parts of water (usually cups) and reduced to a quarter.


Medicinal plant materials in powder form.


Tablets or pills prepared singly or in combination.


Preparation in which herbal drugs are soaked in liquids (mainly water) fermented and filtered. Sometimes natural alcohol obtained from herbs is added to expedite fermentation and efficacy.


An Elixir, a Rasayana preparation similar to Asava. Various decoctions are used and fermented for retaining efficacy over a long period of time.


This is a semi-solid preparation; sugar or jaggery is used as a medium


Ayurveda medicinal oils; special procedures are followed in the preparation of these oils.


Ayurveda medicinal oils; special procedures are followed in the preparation of these oils.


A type of medicinal paste used for external application.


Calcified preparations in which herbal extracts are subjected to intense heat.


These are concentrations of decoctions preserved with the help of sugar, jaggery (palm sugar) or herbal alcohol.

(Although classically considered the fifth of the five actions, Rakta Moksha is sometimes omitted and the two forms of bastis are classified separately to make up the number of actions to five).

Detox programmes are recommended once every season for most people, as a way of preparing the body for the next season; thus aiding the preventative aspect of this healing system.