Most of the Ayurveda literature is in Sanskrit, hence it did not become popular. Only limited persons/families had access to the related literature because of this. 'Ashtanga Hridaya' was the main reference book for this medicinal form. In Kerala there were certain families who were given special status by the rulers of that period. They were generally known as 'Ashta vaidyas'. There were 18 families earlier. They treated all the eight (ashta) parts of the body, unlike the specialists of these days in modern medicine. Now there are around a dozen Ayurveda colleges in Kerala itself, belonging to both Government and Private sector. In my younger days most.of the people used to consult Ayurveda practitioners, in the beginning. Only if there were any complications they visited the Modern medicine man.
Now the Homeopathy system is also very popular here. Several homoeopathy colleges and practising doctors are present, in both Government and Private sectors.
Allopathy thrives on the 'contra' mechanism. For example quell the fever heat by applying cold press. It is mostly its symptomatic relief that attracts people to it. However Ayurveda attacks the cause of an issue and remedies by acting on the cause.In Ayurveda the causes are all internal on the human body and not any external agent . Ayurveda treats by balancing the distorted equilibrium of the three basic causes for maintenance of our health.
The main problem now we face in relation to Ayurveda is tat due to fast depleting forest and vegetation , many Ayurvedic medicinal herbs and plants are either getting extincted or are rare to find.
In Ayurveda food itself s the basic medicine. Hence there are no harmful side effects.
The principle is different and it would be a basic but gross error of analysis if one were to compare all these for a particular disease. There are many confounding factors that affect a disease and the chance of permanent relief is an open question to many diseases.
As it involves humans, like in any sector, there are a few unscrupulous practitioners in all branches of medicine who bring a bad reputation to the system by making tall claims of 100% cure, Lifelong guarantee, give adulterated medicines etc.
The simple example is the Piles and fistula clinics, no system of medicine can honestly assure a patient that it will not a comeback, yet some people do it and patients get misled and lose faith in a particular type of system.