Sushruta Samhita, volume 1: Sutrasthana

by Kaviraj Kunja Lal Bhishagratna | 1907 | 148,756 words

This current book, the Sutra-sthana (english translation), is the first part of this voluminous medical work. It contains a large summary of the knowledge envelopig the medical aspects of Ayurveda. Descriptions of diseases, various diets and drugs, the duties of a surgeon, surgical procedures, medical training; these are only some of the numerous s...

Chapter XXXVI - Drugs of specific actions

Now we shall discourse on the Chapter, which treats of miscellaneous remedies for swellings, etc. (Mishraka-adhyaya).[1]

Metrical Texts:—

A medicinal plaster, composed of Matulanga, Agnimantha, Devadaru, Mahaushdham, Ahinsra, and Rasna pasted together and applied to the seat of the affection, leads to the resolution of a swelling, due to the action of the deranged Vayu.

A plaster composed of Durva, Nalamula, Madhuka, and Chandana, as well as plasters composed of drugs of cooling properties,[2] brings about the resolution of an inflammatory swelling of the Pittaja type, and proves similarly beneficial to a traumatic swelling, or to one which has its origin in the vitiated condition of the blood.

Measures, laid down in connection with a swelling resulting from the effects of poison, would lead to the resolution of a Pittaja swelling as well.

A plaster, composed of Ajagandha, Ashvagandha, Kala, Asarala, Ekaishika, and Ajashringi pasted together, and applied to the spot, leads to the resolution of a Kaphaja swelling (appearing at any part of the body).

A plaster, composed of the components of the abovesaid groups of medicinal drugs and Lodhram, Pathya, Pinditaka, and Ananta, brings about the resolution of a swelling due to the simultaneous derangement of the three fundamental humours of the body (Sannipatika).

A medicinal plaster, prescribed for a swelling due to the deranged Vayu, should be applied by mixing it with a little rock salt, acid (Amla), and oil or clarified butter. Similarly, a plaster, prescribed for the resolution of a Pittaja swelling, should be applied cold, and with a little quantity of milk added to it. A plaster for the resolution of a Kaphaja swelling should be applied warm to the affected part, and with the addition of a considerable quantity of an alkali and cow’s urine.

Pacana Plasters:—

A plaster composed of the seeds of Shana, Mula, Shigru, Tila and Sarshapa, Yava-powder, Kinva (enzyme), and linseed pasted together, or one consisting of thermogenetic drugs (such as Kustha, Aguru, etc.), would establish suppuration in a swelling.

Darana Plasters:—

A plaster composed of Chiravilva, Agnika, Danti, Citraka, Hayamaraka and the dung of pigeons, vultures and storks (Kanka) pasted together, would lead to the spontaneous bursting of a swelling. An alkali, or its ingredients should be regarded as a powerful auxiliary in bringing about the spontaneous bursting of a swelling.

Pidan a Plasters:—

A plaster composed of the roots and bark of slimy trees (Shalmali, Shelu, etc.), or of barley, wheat, and Masha pulse powdered together, would increase the secretion of pus from an ulcer, or a swelling that has burst.[3]

Shodhana Plasters:—

A Kashava[4] (decoction) of Shankhini, Ankota, Sumanah, Karavira, and Suvarccala, or of drugs belonging to the group (Ganas) known as the aragvadadi-Varga, should be used in washing and purifying (asepsising) the contents of an ulcer, or a secreting swelling.

Shodhana Varti:—

A lint saturated with a plaster of Ajagandha, Ajashringi, Gavakshi, Langalahvava, Putika, Citraka, Patha, Vidanga, Ela, Renuka, Tri-katu, Yavakshara, the five kinds of salt, Manahshila, Kasisa, Trivrita, Danti, Haritala and the Saurashtra-mrittika, and inserted into an ulcer or an open swelling, brings about the purification of its interior, and these drugs and substances should be regarded as the ingredients of Shodhana Vartis (aseptic plugs).

Shodhana Kalka:—

A kalka (aseptic paste), composed of the preceding drugs and substances, is possesed of the virtue of purifying the interior of an ulcer, or open swelling.

Oil or clarified butter prepared with the aforesaid Ajagandha, Ajashringi, etc, and Kasisa, Katurohini, Jatikanda, and the two kinds of Haridra, and applied to an ulcer or open swelling, purifies its interior. The medicated Ghrita prepared with the expressed juice of Arka roots, Uttama, the milky juice of Snuhi plants, drugs abounding in alkalis, Jati-roots, the two kinds Haridra, Kasisa, Katurohini and the aforesaid plug-drugs (Sodhana-Varti) pasted together, should be regarded as possessed of a virtue similar to the preceding one.

A medicated oil prepared with Mayuraka, (Apang), Rajabriksha, Nimva, Koshataki, Tila, Vrihati, Kantakari, Haritala, Manahshila, and the aforesaid plug-drugs (purgative drugs according to others), should be used for the purpose of purifying the interior of an ulcer. A pulverised compound consisting of Kasisa, Saindhava, Kinva, Vaca, the two kinds of Haridra, and the component drugs of the aseptic plug powdered together, should be used for the purification of the cavity of an ulcer. For the same purpose a condensed extract (Rasa-Kriya)[5] should be made of the essence of the drugs belonging to the Salsaradi, Patoladi, and Triphaladi groups.


A wise physician should fumigate (Dhupana) an ulcer with the fumes of a compound consisting of Sriveshtaka, Sarjarasa, Sarala, Devadaru, and the drugs belonging to the Salsaradi group, pulverised together and made into an (aseptic) fumigating compound.

A cold infusion (Shhita-Shrita) of trees (Vata, Audumvara, Ashvattha, etc.) which are cooling and astringent in their virtue, should be used in healing or setting up a process of granulation in an ulcer.

The Ropana Varti:—

Plugs of drugs such as Soma, Amrita (Gulanca), and Ashvagandha, or of those belonging to the Kakolyadi group, or of the sprouts of milk-exuding trees (Kshirivrikshas such as, Vata, Audumvara, etc.) and inserted into an ulcer tend to help its granulation (Ropana). A paste (Kalka) of Samanga, Soma, Sarala wood, Soma-Valka, (red) Chandana, and drugs belonging to the Kakolyadi group, is recommended for the healing of an ulcer.

A medicated Ghrita, prepared with the Prithakparni, atmagupta, Haridra, Daruharidra, Malati, Sita, and drugs belonging to the Kakolyadi group, is renowned for its healing properties. A medicated oil prepared with Kalanusari, Aguru, Haridra, Daru-Haridra, Devadaru, Priyangu, and Lodhra, is possesed of a similar efficacy.

A pulverised compound consisting of Kanguka, Triphala, Lodhra, Kasisam, Shravana and the barks of Dhava and Ashvakarna powdered together, is possessed of a similar healing property. The use of a pulverised compound consisting of Priyangu, Sarjarasa, Pushpa-kasisa, Tvaka, and Dhava powdered together is commended for the healing of an ulcer. A condensed extract (Rasakriya) of the bark of milk-exuding trees (such as Vata, Ashvattha etc.) and the drugs known as the Triphala, should be successively used for the healing of an ulcer.


The drugs known as Apamarga, Ashvagandha, Talapatri, Suvarchala and those belonging to the Kakolyadi group, should be used for the growth of flesh in an ulcer (Utsadana).


A. compound consisting of Kasisa, Saindhava (rock salt), Kinvam, Kuruvinda, Manahshila, the shell of a hen’s egg, the blossoms of Jati flowers, the seeds of Shirisha, and Karanja, and powders of the abovesaid metals (Dhatus) mixed together, should be used in destroying the fleshy supergrowths of an ulcer (Avasadana).

A wise physician should use all the drugs and substances as have been enumerated in connection with the healing or establishing of suppuration, etc. in an ulcer, or as many of them as would be available at the time.


Thus ends the thirty-sixth Chapter of the Sutrasthana in the Sushruta Samhita which treats of miscellaneous remedies for inflammatory swellings.

Footnotes and references:


The nomenclature of the chapter is based, according to certain authorities, on the fact of its jointly treating of eight principal processes of absorption, suppuration, spontaneous bursting, etc. of a swelling; while some there are who hold that the name of the chapter is derived from the fact of its containing remedial measures commonly (Mishraka) beneficial to swellings and ulcers.


Belonging to the groups (Gana) of medicinal herbs, which go by the names of their first components, such as the Kakalyadi group (Gana), the Utpaladi group etc.


The plaster should be applied all round the swelling, leaving its head free and exposed.


A decoction with one part of a drug mixed with four, eight or sixteen parts of water, the whole being boiled down to a quarter part of the entire quantity.


The process consists in mixing the drugs with water weighing eight or sixteen times their combined weight, and then boiling them down to an eighth or sixteenth part of the entire quantity.

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