Rasa Jala Nidhi, vol 3: Metals, Gems and other substances

by Bhudeb Mookerjee | 1938 | 47,185 words | ISBN-10: 8170305829 | ISBN-13: 9788170305828

This third volume of the Rasa-jala-nidhi deals with purification techniques of the Seven Metals (sapta-dhatu) and various Gems (ratna). It also deals with substances such as Alkalis (kshara), Salts (lavana), Poisions (visha) and Semi-poisions (upavisha) as well as various alcholic liquors. The Rasa-jala-nidhi (“the ocean of Iatrochemistry, or, che...

Introduction to Alkalis (kshara)

The word “kshara” is derived from the root “kshar”, meaning “to remove”. The word is so named, simply because it removes dirt.

The following are the three ksharas:—(1) java-kshara (a potassium carbonate prepared from the ashes of barley-ears), (2) svarji (refined natron), and (3) tankana (borax).

The following are the four ksharas:—(1) svarji (refined natron), (2) ushara (sora—saltapetre—a sodium nitrate), (3) java-kshara, and (4) tankana.

The following are the five ksharas:—(1) kshara prepared from palasha wood, (2) that from mokshaka (ghanta-patali) wood, (3) java-kshara, (4) svarji-kshara, and (5) the kshara obtained from the tila (sesamum) plant.

Of all the ksharas, only svarji, tankana, and ushara are obtained from the earth. The rest of the ksharas are extracted from ashes of wood, leaves, etc. of trees, plants, creepers, shrubs, and grass.

Nava-sara (sal-ammoniac) is also a kshara but it is generally classed with the uparasas, simply because it possesses, to a certain extent, some of the properties of mercury (See page 215, vol, II). It is also called u pakimai” (from root “pach”, meaning to putrefy), simply because it is obtained from materials in a state of putrefaction or decomposition.

Ksharas obtained from the following are also well-known and widely used:—trees or plants of the name of palasha, asvattha, ghanta-patali, dhava, snuhi, apamarga, chanaka-plant, arka, covers of tamarind beans, sesamum plant, ears of barley, basaka, duralabha, kantikari, mulaka (raddish), chitraka, punarnava, and ardraka (ginger).

There are many other trees, plants, shrubs, creepers, and grass from which ksharas may be prepared by the method to be described below.

Of all the ksharas, the most widely known are the following:—(1) java-kshara, (2) svarji (refined natron), (3) usara (nitre *see note), (4) nava-sara, and (5) tankana (borax).

General Properties of the ksharas.

(a) The ksharas are acrid, warm, increasers of appetite, light, moistening, causing inflammation, reducers of phlegm, destroyers of worms, openers of boils, and cleansers and healers of sores.

The man who is conversant with the mercurial operations knows that ksharas give rise to hunger in mercury. The ksharas are efficacious in gulma, piles, chronic diarrhoea, diabetes, and stone disease. They are digestive and increaser of hemorrhage.

(b) The ksharas are better than surgical instruments in as much as the former, like the latter, can serve the purpose of incision, tapping, and scratching; and unlike the latter, can remove the three doshas, and have several other utilities as well. The ksharas may he remover of the three doshas owing to their being combined with the necessary drugs. They, on account of their being prepared from several herbs with fiery qualities, are pungent, warm, strong, digestive, remover of tissues, etc., purifier of sores, causing granulation in sores, drier up, causing steadiness, reducer of fat; and destroyer of worms, mucus, phlegm, leprosy, poison, and fat. They also destroy manly vigour, if taken in excess.

General Process of manufacturing kshar  from ashes.

Note: The word kshara has undergone a gradual process of transformation as follows:—khara—khari—kali—kili—alkkili—alkali.

The wood, leaves, etc. of an alkaline tree, plant, etc. are to be burnt to ashes. One prastha (64 tolas) of these ashes is to be dissolved with 16 times its weight of water which is to be allowed to settle for about 12. hours. The clearest part of the solution is next to be filtered for seven times through a piece of thick cloth. The water, thus filtered, is next to be heated till the whole thing gets dried up. The white-coloured solid product is then to be taken out and kept carefully. The solution, just before it is solidified, is a liquid alkali, used for drinking (in special diseases according to directions found in Sushruta), The solid product is an alkali to be used for external application (according to the instructions given in Sushruta) and as an ingredient of medicines.

Mixed kshara.

Manufacturers of kshara sometimes mix with the mud, referred to above, a sufficient quantity of ashes of grass in order to increase the quantity of the kshara to be produced. The distilled solution of mud and ashes is to be heated, and condensed into a mixed kshara, in the manner described above.

The two ksharas.

Svarjika and java-kshara combined are called the two ksharas.

The eight ksharas.

The following eight are called the eight ksharas:—ksharas prepared from (1) palasha, (2) snuhi, (3) apamarga, (4) chincha, (5) arka, (6) tila plant, (7) ears of barley and (8) svarji kshara.

These are like fire and are curer of gulma and colic.


Rasasastra category This concludes ‘Introduction to Alkalis (kshara)’ included in Bhudeb Mookerjee Rasa Jala Nidhi, vol 3: Initiation, Mercury and Laboratory. The text includes treatments, recipes and remedies and is categorised as Rasa Shastra: an important branch of Ayurveda that specialises in medicinal/ herbal chemistry, alchemy and mineralogy, for the purpose of prolonging and preserving life.

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