Diseases and causes have been mentioned in the classical texts of Charaka, Susruta and Vagbhata and also in Sarangadhara’s compendium. Madhava Nidana is a well known book on diagnosis. Other books which deal with diseases and health are Chakradata and Bhaishajya - Ratnavali.

Ayurvedic aetiology divides diseases broadly into two : Sarira (physical) and Manasa (Mental).

According to Charaka, the essentials for diagnosing a disease are Pratyaksha (perception), Anumana (inference) and Aptopadesa (authoritative instructions from classical texts).