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 XXXIX - Purificatory and Palliative Drugs

Now we shall discourse on the Chapter which treats of medicinal drugs possessed of cleansing (cathartic; or soothing effects (Samshodhana-Samsha-maniya-adhyaya).

Emetic Drugs:—

The drugs known as Madana fruits, Kutaja, Jimutaka, Ikshvaku, Dhamagarba, Krita-vedhana, Sarshapa, Vidanga, Pippali, Karan-jaka, Prapunnada, Kovidara, Korvudara, Arishta, Ashvagandha, Vidula, Vandhujivaka, Shveta, Shanapushpi, Vimvi, Vaca, Mrigervaru and Citra, etc. are possessed of emetic properties. Out of these the fruits (seeds) of plants preceding Kovidara in the abovesaid list (from the Madana fruits to those of the Prapunnada) and the roots of plants from Kovidara to its close, should be used.

Purgative Drugs:—

The trees, plants, herbs and creepers, etc. known as Trivrita, Shyama, Danti, Dravanti, Saptala, Shankhini, Vishanika, Gavakshi, Chagalantri, Snuk, Suvarnakshiri, Citraka, Kinihi, Kusha, Kasha, Tilvaka, Kampillaka, Ramyaka, Patala, Puga, Haritaki, Amalaka, Bibhitaka, Nilini, Catur-angula, Eranda, Putika, Mahavriksha, Saptacchada, Arka, and Jyotishmati, etc. are possessed of purgative properties. Of these the roots of plants, which precede Tilvaka in the above list, should be used for purgative purposes. The barks of trees from Tilvaka to Patala in the same list should be used for similar purposes. The pollens or dust of the Kampilla seeds, and of the fruits of trees from Eranda to Puga, the leaves of Putika and Aragvadha, and the milky exudations of the remaining members of the list, should be similarly used.

The expressed juice of Koshataki, Saptala, Shankhini, Devadali, or Karavellika is both emetic and purgative.

The Errhines:—

The following drugs, viz. Pippali, Vidanga, Apamarga, Shigru, Siddharthaka, Shirisha, Marica, Karavira, Vimvi, Girikarnika, Kinihi, Vaca, Jyotishmati, Karanja, Arka, Alarka, Lashuna, Ativisha, Shringavera, Talisha, Tamala, Surasa, Aijaka, Ingudi, Meshashringi, Matulungi, Murangi, Pilu, Jati, Shala, Tala, Madhuka (Maula), Laksha and Hingu, together with such substances as rock-salt, spirits, cow’s urine and watery exudation of cow dung should be regarded as errhines (Shirovirecana). The fruits (seeds) of plants from Pippali to Marica enumerated in the above-said list, the roots of plants commencing with Karavira and ending with Arka, the bulbs of those whose names precede Talisha in the same list, the leaves of those commencing with Talisha and ending with the Arjaka therein, the barks of Ingudi and Meshashringi, the flowers of Matulungi, Murungi, Pilu and Jati, the essence (Sara) of Shala, Tala and Maduhka (Madukha?) (Maul) trees, the gummy exudation (Niryasa) of Hingu plants and Laksha trees, as well as salts which are but the saline modifications of earth, Madya (wines) which are but the modified products of Asava (fermented liquors), and secretions of cowdung, or cow’s urine which should be understood to mean the animal excrements, in their crude or natural state, should be used where errhines are indicated.

Samshamaniya Drugs:—

Now we shall enumerate the names of drugs and substances which soothe or pacify the deranged humours or principles of the body involved in any particular disease (Sanshamana).

Vata-Samshamana-Varga:—

The following drugs, viz. Bhadradaru, Kustha, Haridra, Varuna, Meshshringi, Vala, Ativala, Artagala, Kachura, Sallaki, Kuverakshi, Virataru, Sahacara, Agnimantha, Vatsadani, Eranda, Ashmabhedaka, Alarka, Arka, Shatavari, Punarnava, Vasuka, Vasira. Kancanaka, Bhargi, Karpasi, Vrishchiaali (Vrishchali?), Pattura, Vadara, Yava, Kola, Kulattha, etc. and the drugs forming the group of Vidari-gandhadi-Gana, as well as those belonging to the first two groups of Pancamula (Mahat and Svalpa), are possessed of the general virtue of soothing (restoring to its normal state) the deranged (Vayu) Vata.

Pitta-Samshamana-Varga:—

The drugs known as Chandana, Kucandana, Hrivera, Ushira, Manjishtha, Payasya, Vidari, Shatavari, Gundra, Shaivala, Kahlara, Kumuda, Utpala, Kadali, Kandali, Durya, Murva, etc. and the drugs forming the groups of Kakolyadi, Sarivadi, Anjanadi, Utpaladi, Nyagro-dhadi, and Trina-Pancamula groups generally prdve soothing to the deranged Pitta.

Shleshma- Samshamana-Varga:—

The drugs known as Kaleyaka, Aguru, Tilaparni, Kushtha, Haridra, Shitashiva, Shatapushpa, Sarala, Rasna, Prakiryya, Udakiryya, Ingudi, Sumanah, Kakadani, Langalaki, Hastikarna, Munjataka, Lamajjaka, etc. and the drugs belonging to the groups of Valli and Kantak Pancamulas and those composing the Pippalyadi-Varga, Brihatyadi-Varga, Mushkadi-Varga, Vacadi, Surasadi and Aragvadhadi groups are generally possessed of the efficacy of restoring the deranged Shleshma to its natural state.

The choice of a medicine whether for cleansing or soothing purposes should be determined by the consideration of the strength (intensity) of the disease, and the stamina and the digestive function of the patient under treatment. A medicine (of a soothing or Samshamana efficacy), which is stronger than the disease it has been applied to combat with, not only checks it with its own soothing virtue but usually gives rise to a fresh malady, on account of its surplus energy being not requisitioned into action, nor its being used up by the weakened and conquered original distemper. It is thus stored up in the organism for the working of fresh mischief. A medicine, which proves stronger than the digestive function of a patient, impairs his digestion, or takes an unusually greater length of time to be digested and assimilated into his organism. A medicine, which is stronger than the physical stamina of a patient, may bring on a feeling of physical languor, fits of fainting, loss of consciousness, delirium, etc. Similarly, an overdose of a cleansing (cathartic) medicine may work similar mischief. On the other hand, medicines of inadequate potencies, and accordingly unequal to the strength of a disease, as well as medicines in in-adequate doses fail to produce any tangible effect. Hence medicines of adequate potencies should be alone administered in adequate doses.

Authoritative verses on the subject:—

A prudent physician should prescribe a mild purgative for a patient enfeebled by the action of the deranged and accumulated bodily humours and laid up with a disease in which such a cleansing (cathartic) or emetic remedy is indicated. The same rule should hold good in the case of a patient enfeebled through causes other than physical distempers, and whose bowels are easily moved, and in whom the fecal matter, etc. are found to have been dislodged from their natural seats or locations. Decoctions (including extracts and cold infusions of medicinal herbs) in doses of four Palas weights, and pastes and powders in doses of two Palas weights, should be prescribed in a disease of ordinary intensity. Corrective medicines (Purgatives and Emetics) may be safely exhibited even in a weak patient with loose or unconstipated bowels, if they are found to be stuffed with a spontaneous accumulation of fecal matter (Dosha) etc. inspite of such looseness or easy motion.

 

Thus ends the thirty-ninth Chapter of the Sutrasthana in the Sushruta Samhita, which treats of drugs of cleansing (corrective) and soothing properties.

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