Charaka Samhita (English translation)

by Shree Gulabkunverba Ayurvedic Society | 1949 | 81,637 words | ISBN-13: 9788176370813

The English translation of the Charaka Samhita (by Caraka) deals with Ayurveda (also ‘the science of life’) and includes eight sections dealing with Sutrasthana (general principles), Nidanasthana (pathology), Vimanasthana (training), Sharirasthana (anatomy), Indriyasthana (sensory), Cikitsasthana (therapeutics), Kalpasthana (pharmaceutics) and Sidd...

Chapter 4 - Six Hundred Purgative Preparations (virecana-ashraya)

1. We shall now expound the chapter entitled “Six hundred purgative preparations (Virecana-Ashrayavirecana-āśraya).”

2. Thus declared the worshipful Atreya.

3. There are six hundred purgative preparations (Virecana-Ashraya); six plant parts are the sources of purgative drugs; the five categories of taste are the substrata of decoctives; five are the modes of the preparation of decoctives; fifty are the groups of the decoctives and five hundred is the number of the decoctives. This is the subject put in a nut-shell.

4.-1. We shall here illustrate the said six hundred purgative preparations in brief, and shall give a detailed exposition of them in the section on Pharmaceutics.

4.-2. Out of these purgative preparations, 133 prepartions are made from the emetic nut; 39 preparations from bristly luffa; 45 from bottle gourd;

4.-3. 60 Preparations from sponge gourd; 18 from the bark of kurchi, 60 from bitter luffa;

4.-4. 100 from black turpeth and turpeth with 10 extra preparations;

4.-5. 12 Preparations from purging cassia; 16 from lodh, 20 from thorny milk-hedge;

4.-6. 39 from soap pod, and clenolepis and 58 from red physic nut and physic nut; these are the six hundred purgative preparations.

Their Six Sources

5. There are six sources of purgative preparations (Virecana-Ashraya) namely, milk, root, bark, leaves, flowers and fruits of plants.

The five substrata of Decoctives

6. The substrata of decoctives from five categories of taste as described in this text, are the decoctives belonging to the categories of sweet, acid, bitter, pungent and astringent tastes. (The salt taste is excluded.)

The Five Modes of their Preparation

7.-(1) There are five modes of pharmaceutical preparation of these decoctives, viz., expressed juice, paste, decoction, cold infusion and hot infusion.

7.-(2) The fresh juice extracted by mechanical pressure from a herb is called ‘expressed juice.’ The soft mass prepared by rubbing the drug along with its juice is known as paste. The physicians give the name of “decoction” to that fluid which is obtained by boiling over a fire.

7.-(3) That is called cold infusion which is obtained by crushing a drug and keeping it overnight in boiled water; and that is called hot infusion which is obtained from a crushed drug by pouring hot water over it.

7.-(4) The potency of each of these five preparations is superior to its succeeding one i. e., each preceding one is more powerful than the succeeding one. Hence the preparation should. be so made as to accord with the strength of the disease as well as with that of the patient. Hence, any and every preparation may not be made use of, in any and every case indiscriminately.

Five Hundred foremost Decoctives Explained in Brief

8.-(1) Now we shall explain and describe the fifty groups of decoctives mentioned above.

8.-(2) They are life-promoters, roborants, revulsives, laxatives, synthesizers and digestive-stimulants;—this hexad makes one group of decoctives.

8.-(3) Promotives of strength, promotives of complexion, promotives of voice, and cordials;—this tetrad makes one group of decoctives.

8.-(4) Appetizers, anti-hemorrhoidals curatives of dermatosis, anti-pruritics anthelmintics and antidotes to poison;—this hexad makes one group of decoctives.

8.-(5) Galactagogues, galacto-depurants, spermato-poietics and spermato-depurants;—this tetrad makes one group of decoctives.

8.-(6) Adjuvants in oleation, adjuvants in sudation, adjuvants in emesis adjuvants in purgation, adjuvants in corrective enemata, adjuvants in unctuous enemata and adjuvants in errhines;—this heptad makes one group of decoctives.

8.-(7) Anti emetics, adipsous agents and curatives of hiccup:—this triad makes one group of decoctives.

8. (8) Intestinal astringents, fecal pigment restorers, ischuretics, urine pigment restorers and diuretics:—this pentad makes one group of decoctives.

8.-(9) Beckies, antidyspneics anti-phlogistics, antifebriles and acopics:—this pentad makes one group of decoctives.

8.-(10) Refrigerants, calefacients, antiurticarials, anodynes and analgesics:—this pentad makes one group of decoctives.

8.(11) Hemostatics, analgesics, resuscitators, procreants and rejuvenators:—this pentad makes one group of decoctives.

8.-(12) This is the exposition of those fifty principal groups of decoctives given by way of illustrating their actions.

The same Explained in Extenso

8.-(13) We shall now enumerate the ten constituent decoctives of each of these principal groups of decoctives which will, in all, make five hundred decoctives.

The Decad of Life-Promoters

9.-(1) Jivaka, Rishabhaka, Meda, Mahameda, Kakoli, Kshria Kakoli,wild green gram, wild black gram, cork swallow wort and liquorice:—these ten are life-promoters.

The Decad of Roborauts

9.-(2) Milky yam, asthma weed, winter cherry, Kakoli, Kshira Kakoli, country mallow, heart-leaved sida, devil’s cotton, white yam, and elephant creeper:—these ten are roborants.

The Decad of Revulsives

9.-3 Nut-grass, costus, turmeric, Indian berberry, sweet flag, atees, kurroa, white-flowered leadwort, jungle cork-tree and white sweet flag:—these ten are revulsives. (3)

The Decad of Laxatives

9.-(4) Turpeth, mudar, castor-oil plant, glory lily, red physic nut, white-flowered lead wort, jungle cork tree, clenolepis, kurroa and hirtiz:—these ten are laxatives.

The Decad of Synthesizers

9.-(5) Liquorice, guduch, painted leaved uraria, false pareira brava, sensitive plant, resin of silk cotton tree, fulsee flowers, lodh, perfumed cherry and box myrtle:—these ten are synthesizers.

The Decad of Digestive-Stimulants

9.-(6) Long pepper, piper root, piper chaba, white-flowered lead wort, dry ginger, Amlavetasa, black pepper, celery, marking nut and asafoetida:—these ten are digestive-stimulants.

Thus the six groups of decoctives are complete.

The Decad of Strength-Promoters

10. Aindri, cowage, climbing asparagus, wild black gram, white yam, winter cherry, ticktrefoil, rohan, heartleaved sida and country mallow: these ten are strength-promoters.

The Decad of Complexion-Promoters

10.-(2) Sandalwood, fragrant poon, Himalayan cherry, cuscus grass, liquorice, madder, Indian sarsaparilla, white yam and white and black scutch grass:—these ten are complexion promoters. (8)

The Decad of Voice-Promoters

10.-(3) Indian sarsaparilla, root of sugar cane, liquorice, long pepper, grapes, white yam, curry-leaf tree, maiden hair, Indian night-shade and yellow-berried night-shade:—these ten are voice-promoters. (9)

The Decad of Cordials

10.-(4) Mango, Indian hog plum, lakooch, Bengal currant, kokam butter Amlavetasa, Indian jujube, big jujube, pomegranate and pomelo:-these ten are cordials (10) Thus the four groups of decoctives are complete.

The Decad of Appetizers

11.-(1) Dry ginger, piper chaba, white-flowered lead wort, embelia, tri-lobed virgin’s bower, guduch, sweet flag, nut-grass, long pepper and wild snake gourd:—these ten are appetizers. (11)

The Decad of Anti-hemorrhoidals

11.-(2) Kurchi, bael, white flowered lead wort, dry ginger, atees, chebulic myrobalan, Cretan prickly clover, Indian berberry, sweet flag and piper chaba:—these ten are anti-hemorrhoidals (12)

The Decad Curative of Dermatosis

11.-(3) Catechu, chebulic myrobalan, emblic myrobalan, turmeric, marking nut, dita bark, purging cassia, Indian oleander, embelia and sprouts of Spanish jasmine:—these ten are curatives of dermatosis. (13).

The Decad of Anti-pruritics

11.-(4) Sandal wood, nardus, purging cassia, Indian beech, neem, kurchi, rape seeds, liquorice, Indian berberry and nut-grass:—these ten are antipruritics. (14).

The Decad of Anthelmintics

11.(5) Seeds of drumstick, black pepper, Thorny milk-hedge Kebuka, embelia, chaste tree, white shirish, small caltrops, Vrishaparnika and kidney leaves, ipomea:—these ten are anthelmintics. (15).

The Decad of Antidotes to Poison

11.(6) Turmeric, madder, turpeth, small cardamom, black turpeth, sandal wood, clearing nut, shirish, chaste tree and Assyrian plum:—these ten are antidotes to poison. (16) Thus the six groups of decoctives are completed.

The Decad of Galactogojues

12.Cuscus grass, shali rice, shashtika rice, Ikshuvalika, sacrificial grass, small sacrificial grass, thatch grass, elephant grass, Itkata and ginger grass roots:—these ten are galactogogues (17).

The Decad of Galacto-Depurants

12.-(2) Patha, dry ginger, deodar, nut-grass, trilobed virgin’s bower, guduch, fruits of kurchi, chiretta, kurroa and Indian sarsaparilla:—these ten are galacto-depurants. (18).

The Decad of Spermato-Poietics

12.-(3) Jivaka, Rishabhaka, Kshirakakoli, wild green gram, wild black gram, Meda, climbing asparagus, nardus and blepharis:—these ten are spermato-poietics. (19)

The Decad Of Spermato-Depurants

(12).-(4) Costus cherry tree, boxmyrtle, fish bone, kadamba, resin, sugar cane, bigger sugar cane, longleaved barleria, hog’s weed and cuscus grass:—these ten are spermato-depurants. (20)

Thus the four groups of decoctives are complete.

The Decad Of Adjuvants In Oleation

13.-(l) Grapes, liquorice, guduch, Meca, white yam, Kakoli, Kshira Kakoli; Jivaka, corkswallow wort and ticktrefoil:—these ten are adjuvants in oleation.(21).

The Decad Of Adjuvants In Sudation

13.-(2) Drumstick, castor-oil plant mudar, white hog’s weed, hog’s weed, barley, til, horse-gram and big jujube:—these ten are adjuvants in sudation.(22)

The Decad of Adjuvants in Emesis

13.-(3) Honey, liquorice, variegated mountain ebony, white mountain ebony, kadamba, hijjal, scarlet-fruited gourd, flax hemp, mudar and rough chaff:—these ten are adjuvants in emesis. (23)

The Decad Of Adjuvants In Purgation

13.- (5) Grapes, white teak, sweet falsah, chebulic myrobalan, emblic myrobalan, beleric myrobalan; big jujube, jujube, wild jujube and Indian toothbrush:—these ten are adjuvants in purgation. (24)

The Decad of Adjuvants in Corrective Enema

13.-(5) Turpeth; bael,long pepper, costus, rape seeds, sweet flag, kurchi fruits, dill, liquorice and emetic nut;—these ten are adjuvants in corrective enema. (25).

The Decad of Adjuvants in Unctuous Enema

13.(6) Indian groundsel, deodar, bael, emetic nut, dill, white hog’s-weed, hog’s weed, small caltrops, wind killer and Indian calosanthes:—these ten are adjuvants in unctuous enemata. (26).

The Decad of Adjuvants in Errhines

13.-(7) Staff plant, sneezewort, black pepper, embelia, drumstick, rape seeds, rough chaff seeds, white mussel-shell creeper and white shirish:—these ten are adjuvants in errhines. (27).

Thus the seven groups of decoctives are complete.

The Decad of Anti-Emetics

14.4 Young leaves of jambul and mango, pomello, big jujube, pomegranate, barly, liquorice, cuscus grass, earth and fried paddy:—these ten are anti-emetics. (28),

The Decad of Adipsous Agents

14. (2) Dry ginger, cretan prickly clover, nut-grass, trailing rungia, sandal wood, chiretta, guduch, fragrant sticky mallow, coriander and snake gourd:—these ten are adipsous agents. (29).

The Decad Of Hiccup-Curatives

14.-(3) Long zedoary, orris root, seeds of big jujube, yellow berried night shade, Indian night shade, vanda orchid, chebulic myrobalan, long pepper, cretan prickly clover and galls:—these ten are curatives of hiccup (30).

Thus the three groups of decoctives are complete.

The Decad of intestinal astringents

15.-(1) Perfumed cherry, Indian sarsaparilla, kernel of mango, Indian calosanthes, lodh, gum of silk-cotton tree, sensitive plant, fulsee-flowers, beetle killer and lotus filaments:—these ten are intestinal astringents. (31).

The Decad of fecal Pigment Restorers

15.-(2) Jambul, Indian olibanum bark, cowage, mohwah, silk-cotton tree, pine resin, baked earth, white yam, blue water-lily and til seeds:—these ten are fecal pigment restorers. (32).

The Decad of Ischuretics

(15).-(3) Jambul, mango, yellow barked fig, banyan, flowering peepal, gular fig, holy fig, marking nut, common mountain ebony and catechu:—these ten are ischuretics. (33).

The Decad of Urine Pigment Restorers

15. (4) Red lotus, blue water-lily, nalin lotus, night-flowering lotus, fragrant white lotus, white lotus, centepetal lotus, liquorice, perfumed cherry and fulsee flowers:—these ten are urinary pigment restorers. (34).

The Decad of Diuretics

15.-(5) Vanda orchid, small caltrops, hog’s weed, rough-chaff, Indian rockfoil, sacrificial grass, small sacrificial grass, thatch grass, elephant grass, prickly Itkata roots:—these ten are diuretics. (35).

Thus the five groups or decoctives are complete.

The Decad of Bechics

16.-(1) Grapes, chebulic myrobalan, emblic myrobalan, long pepper, Cretan prickly clover, galls, yellow berried night-shade, white hog’s-weed, hog’s weed and featherfoil:—these ten are bechics. (36)

The Decad of Anti-Dyspneics

16.-(2) Long zodoary, orris root Amlavetasa, cardamom, asafoetida, eagle wood, holy basil, feather foil, cork swallow wort and angelica:—these ten are anti-dyspneics. (37;

The Decad of Anti-Phlogistics

16.-(3) Trumpet flowers, wind killer, Indian calosanthes, bael, white teak, yellow berried night-shade, Indian night-shade, ticktrefoil, painted-leaved uraria and small caltrops:—these ten are anti-phlogistics. (33)

The Decad of Anti-febriles

16.(4) Indian sarsaparilla, sugar, patha, madder, grapes, tooth-brush tree, sweet falsah, chebulic myrobalans, emblic myrobalan and beleric myro-balan:—these ten are anti-febriles. (39)

The Decad of Acopics

16.-(5) Grapes, date, Buchanan’s nango, big jujube, pomegranate, common fig, sweet falsah, sugar cane, parley and shashtika rice:—these ten are icopics. (49)

Thus the five groups of decoctives are complete.

The Decad of Refrigerants

17.-(1) Fried paddy, sandal wood, fruits of white-teak, mohwah, sugar, blue water-lily, cuscus grass, Indian sarsaparilla, guduch and fragrant sticky mallow:—these tenure refrigerants. (41)

The Decad of Calefacients

17.-(3) Indian valerian, eagle wood, coriander, dry ginger, bishop’s weed, sweet flag, yellow-berried night-shade, wind killer, indian calosanthes and long pepper:—these ten are calefacients.(42)

The Decad of Anti-urticarials

17.-(3) False mangosteen, Buchanan’s mango, big jujube, catechu, gum arabic, dita bark, common sal, arjun, spinous kino and white babool:—these ten are anti-urticarials. (43)

The Decad of Anodynes

17.-(4) Ticktrefoil, painted-leaved uraria, Indian night-shade, yellow berried nightshade, castor-oil plant, Kakolis, sandal wood, cuscus grass, cardamom and liquorice:—these ten are anodynos. (44)

The Decad of Analgesics

17.-(5) Long pepper, pepper root, piper chaba, white-flowered leadwort, dry ginger, black pepper, celery seed, wild carrot, cumin and Thorny milk-hedge:—these ten are analgesics. (45)

Thus the five groups of decoctives are complete.

The Decad of hemostatics

18.-(1) Honey, liquorice, saffron, gum of silkcotton, broken pieces of earthen pot, lodh, red chalk, perfumed cherry, sugar and fried puddy:—these ten are hemostatics (46).

The Decad of Sedatives

18.-(2) Common sal, box myrtle, kadamba, himalayan cherry, Indian toothache, gum of silk cotton, shirish country willow, cherry tree and Asoka:—these ten are sedatives. (47)

The Decad of Resuscitatives

18.-(3) Asafetida, curry neem, white babool, sweet flag, angelica, Brahmi, Bhutkeshi [Bhūtakeśi], nardus, gum guggul [guggula] and kurroa:—these ten are resuscitatives. (48)

The Decad of Procreants

18.(4) Aindri, Brahmi and white scutch grass, emblic myrobalan, guduch, chebulic myrobalan, kurroa, country mallow and prefumed cherry:—these ten are procreants. (49)

The Decad of Rejuvenators

18.-(5) Guduch, chebulic myrobalan, emblic myrobalan, Indian groundsel, white mussel-shell creeper, cork swallow wort, climbing asparagus, Indian pennywort, ticktrefoil and hog’s weed:—these ten are rejuvenators. (50)

Thus the five groups of decoctives are complete.

The innumerability of Possible Decoctives and the Medium Course of Exposition

19. This is the exposition of the five hundred decoctives classified into fifty principal groups of decoctives with a view to illustrate their actions.

20.-(l) While there is no limit to the number of possible dec actives, too brief an enumeration would not be of help to the physician of limited intelligence; therefore it is, that we have given an enumeration that is neither too brief nor too extensive.

20-(2) This is quite adequate for the mediocre for the practical purpose of treatment; and for the highly intelligent who are proficient in the art of inference from innate qualities, it will serve as a guiding principle for the comprehensive knowledge of drugs not mentioned here.

Five Hundred Decoctives in All

21. To the worshipful Atreya who had thus spoken, Agnivesha said “O Lord! these five hundred decoctives do not comprise five-hundred drugs, because some common constituent decoctives keep recurring in these principal groups.

22. The worshipful Atreya replied to him “O Agnivesha! the wise should not see things in that light. Though single, a thing may have many appellations owing to its diverse actions.

22.-(2) Thus a man is able to perform various actions. He is given that particular appellation which is characteristic of the actions which he does, either as an agent or instrument or doer. The same thing is observed in the case of drugs.

22.-(3) If we could indeed find any one drug possessed of all the properties, and capable of meeting all requirements, who would then put himself to the trouble of committing to memory or imparting to his disciples the names and qualities of any other drugs?


23. Here are the recapitulatory verses—

Here are described in brief the 600 purgative preparations, the names of the drugs and the number of preparations from each of them, as well as the six sources of these drugs.

24. The preparations made from articles of all the categories of taste except the salt, are called decoctives; hence, the substrata of decoctives is said to be of five kinds.

25. Similarly, the mode of preparation of these is described as of five kinds; the fifty principal groups of decoctives are also enumerated.

26. Five hundred decoctives are severally described for illustration; there is no limit to the expansion of the subject.

27-28. Over-brevity will not do for, it will not be of help to mediocres; therefore neither an over-brief nor an over-extensive description is given; and this will be of practical use to mediocres and aid the enhancement of the knowledge of the talented; thus the fifty-fold classification of decoctives has been described.

29. He is the best of physicians, who knows the art of combination as well as the systematic administration of these preparations, both internally and externally.

30. Thus, in the section on General Principles, in the treatise compiled by Agnivesha and revised by Caraka, the fourth chapter entitled Six hundred Purgative Preparations (Virecana-Ashraya—virecana-āśraya), is completed.

Thus ends the tetrad of chapters on drugs.

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