Department of Ayurveda is established under the enactment of Ayurveda act, No. 31 of 1961. A Commissioner appointed under the Act, for development of Ayurvedic medicine. The Commissioner for Ayurveda is responsible for the supervision and administrative control of the Department.


The main objectives of the Department of Ayurveda

(1). Provision of curative services-indoor and outdoor-on the basis of indigenous  methods of treatment, through a network of hospitals and dispensaries, and provision of establishment and services necessary for treatment of diseases, preservation and promotion of health according to indigenous methods of treatment.

(2). Provision and standardization of educational and professional levels in Ayurveda and encouragement of research in Ayurveda.

(3). Provision of ancillary services to facilities treatment, study and research in Ayurveda.

In pursuit of the above objectives this Department performs the following functions.

(1). Establishment and maintenance of hospital and dispensary services;

(2). Conducting examinations at Diploma level in Ayurveda for external students registrations of practitioners, conducting clinical, pharmacological and literary research.

(3). Propagation of herb cultivation and assisting projects to facilities Ayurvedic research;

For the attainment of these objectives, financial provision is made for three projects under recurrent expenditure, namely:

(1). General administration and the administration of the Ayurveda Act;

(2). Curative Services;

(3). Research.

The Commissioner for Ayurveda, subjects to the direction and control of the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine is responsible for the supervision and administrative control of the Department. He is assisted by a Deputy Commissioner, an Assistant Commissioner (administration) and an Administrative Officer. There is no organization at the district level for supervision of the work of the institutions is directly supervised by the Head Office.


The Department of Ayurveda executes some of the functions assigned to it through its own administrative network. The rest of the functions are performed through three statuary bodies set up under the Ayurveda Act, viz: the Ayurvedic Medical Council, Ayurveda Educational and Hospital Board and the Ayurvedic Research Committee, one non statutory committee, viz: the Ayurveda Formulary Committee and the Research Institute at Nawinna.

Ayurvedic Medical Council
This is constituted under section II (I)of Ayurveda Act No. 31 of 1961 as amended by Ayurveda (Amendment) Low No. 7 of 1977. The Act provides for a Council of a maximum of 18 members consisting of ex-officio, elected and nominated members. The Commissioner for Ayurveda is ex-officio president of the council. The Registrar who also functions as the Secretary to the Council is appointed by the Council itself.

The Ayurvedic Medical Council is the authority responsible for (a) recommending to the Minister whether any Ayurvedic teaching institution should be approved by him for the purpose of the Ayurveda Act, (b) registration of Ayurveda practitioners, pharmacists and nurses and the cancellation or suspension of such registration, (c) making rules for the regulation and control of professional conduct of Ayurvedic practitioners, pharmacists and nurses.

The members for the time being of the Council form a body corporate with the name of "The Ayurvedic Medical Council". The Council has perpetual succession and the right to sue and be sued. It may acquire and hold any movable or immovable property and enter into contracts.

Of the functions assigned to the Council, the most important is the registration of Ayurvedic practitioners. The Ayurveda Act No. 31 of 1961 provides that only a registered Ayurveda practitioners is entitled to use the title "Vaidyacharya" (Physician) and only such a practitioners is legally or duly qualified to practice Ayurvedic practitioners, practices for gain Ayurvedic medicline shall quality of an offence.

The registration of Ayurvedic physicians falls under two broad categories.

(1). Registration of physician who possess medical qualifications, laid down in the Act or recognized by the Ayurvedic Medical Council.
(2). Registration of paramparika (traditional) physicians. In order to give an opportunity to physicians who have had no institutional training this scheme of registration was initiated in 1956. The facility is still available though the original intention was to restrict this for a limited period.

The physicians are registered either as general practitioners or as "special physician. The Ayurvedic Medical Council maintainsseparate registers for these categories.

Ayurveda Education and Hospital Board

Ayurveda Education and Hospital Board is constituted under section 22 (Ι) of the Ayurveda Act No. 31 of 1961 as amended by the Ayurveda (Amendment) Law No. 7 of 1977. In the original enactment it was styled Ayurvedic Medicine was one of its principal functions. With the decision of the Government to affiliate the College to the University of Ceylonas one of its institutions the Board was relieved of the responsibility of running the College. Consequently the Board was reconstituted under the name and style of Ayurveda Education and Hospital Board, by an amendment to the principal enactment.

The Ayurveda Education and Hospital Board consist of 16 members ex-officio nominated and elected.) The Commissioner, an ex-officiomember, functions as Chairman. The Board has the following powers.

(a).to arrange with the University of Ceylon the terms and conditions to be fulfilled for the qualifying for the award of the diplomas and certificates of the University:

(b).to determines and hold examinations to enable persons to obtain diplomas or certificates of the Board and to make such rules as are necessary for that purpose;

(c).to conducts or to arrange to conduct courses, lectures and classes to enable persons to obtain diplomas or certificates of the Board;

(d).to appoints examiners for the examinations held by the Board;

(e).to makes recommendations to the Minister as to the fees to be paid to such examiners;

(f).to grant diplomas or other academic distinctions honor is causa;

(g).to makes recommendations to the Minister as to the recommendation of the Central Hospital of Ayurveda and other hospitals of the charges to be made in respect of patients admitted to those hospitals;

(h).to make rules for the exercise, discharge and performance of the powers, functions and duties of the Board ;

(i).to do all such acts as may be necessary for the exercise, discharge and performance of the aforesaid powers, functions and duties.

In pursuance of the power vested in and functions assigned to the Board the following activities are performed at present.

(a).Holding of the "Diploma in Ayurveda" examinations, primarily intended for those who fail to enter any of the recognized Ayurveda educational institutions. It has been found that there is a great enthusiasm on the part of students of Ayurveda to sit these examinations. So far it has been conducted only in Sinhala. Arrangements are being made to conduct this examination in Tamil as well, so that students of Siddha medicine may also benefit.

(b).Scholarship scheme: A scheme of granting financial assistance to candidates for the Diploma in Ayurveda examination was started in 1980. Stipends were available for one hundred students at the rate of Rs. 150 a month. This is pald from the first year. Those who are successful at the annual examination continue to receive this grant till the completion of the course at the end of three years. In addition a trainer (physician)is entitled to a payment of Rs. 50 per students subject to a maximum of Rs. 250per month. In 1980, 66 students studying to a primary examination received assistance under this scheme in 1981, 100 students preparing for the primary examination and 32 students preparing for the intermediate examination received assistance.

Ayurvedic Research Committee
Section 33 (1) of the Ayurveda Act No. 31 of 1961 as amended by the Ayurveda (Amendment) Law, No. 7 of 1977, prividesfor the appointment of an Ayurvedic Research Committee. It consists of the Commissioner (who functions as Chairman) and nine other members, appointedby the Minister. Of the members one shall be from the teaching staff of the Institute of Ayurveda of the University of Colombo and another shall be regular medical staff of the Central Hospital of Ayurveda.

It shall be the duty of the Committee to advice the Minister as to the carrying out research in all branches of Ayurveda with a view to the promotion of its development. and, in particular as to the carrying out of research in respect of following matters :-


  1. (a) Ayurveda literature ;

  2. (b) Fundamentals of Ayurveda doctrine ;

  3. (c) Ayurveda clinical treatment ;

  4. (d) Ayurvedic drugs, pharmacology and pharmacopoeia.

It shall be the duty of the Committee to carry out all such directions as may be issued to the Committee by the Minister in respect of the following matters:-


  1. (a) the maintenance of libraries, museums, herbaria, laboratories or other  institutions

  2. (b) the publication of Ayurvedic manuscripts, Ayurvedic text-books and other Ayurvedic journals or papers :

  3. (c) the compilation and publication of an Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia ;

  4. (d) the standardization of Ayurvedic drugs ;

  5. (e) all such other matters as may be necessary for the performance of the duties specified in sub-section (1)

This Committee is in overall charge of directing and monitoring the progress of all the research activities in the field of Ayurveda. Meetings are regularly held at the Institute itself. An assistant Director of the Research Institute, Nawinna, functions as the Secretary to this Committee.


Formulae Committee
According to the Ayurvedic Pharmacies Regulation 21 (I) "every formulae for the preparation of any drugs to be sold to the public shall be first approved by the Formulae Committee set up for purpose."

Sub - section (2) of section 21 future provides that "any alteration or addition made to or any omission from any formulae already approved shall require the approval of such formulary committee."

In terms of this regulation the minister of Indigenous Medicine has appointed a Formulary Committee consisting of nine members of which seven are Ayurvedic physicians.