Sushruta Samhita, volume 4: Cikitsasthana

by Kaviraj Kunja Lal Bhishagratna | 1911 | 123,229 words

This current book, the Chikitsa-sthana (english translation), deals with therapeutics, surgical emergencies, geriatrics, aphrodisiacs and various other subjects. The Sushruta Samhita is the most representative work of the Hindu system of medicine. It embraces all that can possibly appertain to the science of medicine. Susruta-samhita is recognized...

Chapter XXV - The medical treatment of a variety of diseases

Now we shall discourse on the medical treatment of a variety of diseases (Mishraka-Chikitsita). 1.

It has been stated before that blood-letting is the remedy in diseases of the Pali (ear-lobes). Now hear me describe in detail the treatment of those affections which are confined to the lobes of the ears. They are five in number and are called the Paripota, Utpata, Unmantha, Duhkha-Vardhana and the Parilehi. 2-3.

Causes and Symptoms:—

if the lobe of an ear be suddenly pulled and kept in that position for a long time, a numbed and painful swelling of a blackish red colour is produced on the lobe, owing to its soft and delicate nature. This is found to spontaneously burst or crack, and is called the Paripota, which should be ascribed to the action of the deranged Vayu (of the system). 4.

A painful swelling attended with a burning sensation and suppuration, appearing in the lobe of the ear, owing to the friction and movements of a heavy ornament worn in the lobe, is originated from the vitiated condition of the blood and the Pitta. Its colour is either brown or red and is called the Utpata. 5.

Pulling the ear-lobes down by force tends to enrage the Vayu (of the localities) which in union with (the deranged) Kapha gives rise to a painful swelling in those regions, attended with itching and tinged with the specific colours[1] and symptoms of the Doshas involved. The disease is called the Unmantha, and is originated through the concerted action of the deranged Vayu and the Kapha. 6.

A swelling in an ear-lobe attended with pain, burning and itching sensations owing to its being (pulled down and) lengthened, when found to suppurate (in the end) is called the Duhkha-vardhana; it[2] restricts itself only to the skin (of the affected part). 7.

Small exuding pustules resembling mustard-seeds (in size) and attended with pain, burning and itching sensations, appear in the lobes of the ears owing to the action of the vitiated blood, or the deranged Kapha, or to the presence of parasites (in those localities). The disease soon spreads itself (aud assumes an erysi- pelatious character). It is called the Parilehi from the fact of its eating away the affected lobe with the entire helix. 8.

General Treatment:—

These dreadful diseases (which invade the lobes of the ears) are highly dangerous and tend to destroy and eat away the affected appendages, if not properly attended to at the outset and specially when the patient is addicted to unwholesome food and drink and to an injudicious conduct of life. Hence a physician should speedily remedy these complaints with applications of medicated Sneha, Sveda, etc., ointments, washes, plasters, poultices and blood-letting.[3] This is the general treatment of those diseases. 9.

Specific Treatment:—

Now we shall describe the medical remedies which should be specially used in anointing (the affected parts in these diseases). Drugs, such as Khara-Manjari, Yashti-madhu, Saindhava, Deva-daru, Ashva-gandha and the seeds of Mulaka and of Avalguja should be pasted together and cooked with a compound of milk, oil, clarified butter, lard, marrow and wax. This preparation should be applied lukewarm to the affected lobe in a case of the Pari- potaka type. 10-11.

Manjishtha, Sesamum, Yashti-madhu, Sariva, Utpala, Padma-kashtha, Rodhra, Kadamba and the tender leaves of the Vala, Jambu and Amra (mango) should be cooked together with (an adequate quantity of) oil and Dhanyamla (Kanjika). This oil proves curative in a case of Utpata. 12.

Similarly (a medicated) oil cooked with Talapatri, Ashva-gandha, Arka, Vakuci- seeds, Saindhava, Sarala,[4] Langali, lard of a Karkata (crab) and of a Godha (a kind of lizard), proves beneficial in cases of Unmantha. The affected lobes should be washed (Secana) with a decoction of the leaves of the Ashmantaka, Jambu and Amra (in such cases). 13.

In a case of Parilehi, the affected lobe (Pali) should be dusted with powdered Prapaundarika, Yashtimadhu, Manjishtha and the two kinds of Haridra after lubricating it with the oil cooked with the Kalkas of Laksha and Vidanga. It should be as well fomented with heated cow-dung and plastered with the lukewarm pastes of Vidanga alone, or in combination with Trivrit, Shyama and Arka pasted together (with cow’s urine), or with the pastes of Karanja- seed, Ingudi seed, Kutaja and Aragvadha (pasted with cow’s urine). Mustard oil cooked[5] with the admixture of all the foregoing drugs and with Marica, Nimba -leaves and wax, proves efficacious as unguents (in such cases). 14-15.

In cases where the ear-lobes are affected and have become either thin, or hard, an ointment should be applied to them in order respectively to increase their growth, or to soften them. 16.

The marrow of a jackal and of an animal frequenting and living in swampy grounds (Anupa, such as a buffalo, etc.), together with lard, oil and fresh clarified butter, should be cooked with a quantity of milk weighing ten times their combined weight and with the drugs of the Madhura (Kakolyadi) group, Ashva-gandha and Apamarga and Laksha-Rasa (decoction or infusion of Laksha). The oil thus prepared should be filtered and preserved carefully in an earthen pitcher. The affected ear-lobes should be constantly fomented and well-lubricated with it. The use of this medicated oil helps the growth of the ear-lobes and makes them healthy, soft, smooth, painless, evenly developed and capable of bearing the weight of ear-pendants. 17.

Treatment of Palita:—

The expressed juice of the Bhringa-raja and (the decoction of) Triphala, powders of indigo leaves, Arjuna bark, Bhringa-raja, Pinditaka, black-iron, flowers of the Vija and of Sahacara, Haritaki, Vibhitaka and Amalaka mixed together and pasted with a quantity of mud found adherent to lotus-bulbs weighing as much as the combined weight of the aforesaid drugs should be kept in an iron- pitcher well covered and preserved inside a room for a fortnight. After this period it should be cooked with (an adequate quantity of) oil and with the expressed juice[6] of the Bhringa-raja and (a decoction of) Triphala. For the purpose of ascertaining the proper cooking of the oil, a (white) feather of a Valaka (crane) should be dipped into it, and satisfactory preparation should be judged from the deep blue colour imparted to the feather. The oil should be then preserved in a black- iron pitcher for a month, Used as anointments, this oil arrests a premature greyness of the hair. 18.

The flowers of the Shairiya, Jambu, Arjuna and of the Kashmari, sesamum, Bhringa-raja- seeds, mango- stones, Punarnava,[7] mud, Kantakari, Kasisa, marrow of the seeds of Madana, Triphala, powdered iron, Rasanjana, Yashti-madhu, Nilotpala, Sariva, and Madayanti[8] should be pasted together with the decoction of the Sara (pith) of the Vijaka. It should then be mixed with seven Prastha measures of the decoction of the Sara of Vijaka and preserved for ten days in a covered iron vessel. This compound should then be carefully cooked with an Adhaka measure of Vibhitaka-oil and again preserved in a new iron-pitcher for a month. Then after cleansing the system of the patient, the oil thus prepared should be used as errhines (Nasya) and in anointing the head, and the patient should be advised to live on diet consisting of Masha-pulse, or of Krishara. In the course of a month, it imparts a (deep black) gloss like that of a black bee, or that of Rasanjana to the hair and makes it grow thick and curly. It cures baldness, arrests the susceptibility of the system to an attack of premature decay, removes the wrinkles of the face, and invigorates the sense-organs in the performance of their proper and respective functions. This oil should not be given to a man who does not wish to use it, nor to an indigent person, to an ungrateful wretch, nor to an enemy. 19.

Treatment of Vyanga, etc.:—

Laksha, Rodhra, the two kinds of Haridra, Manah shila, Haritala, Kushtha, Naga (lead), Gairika, Varnaka, Manjishtha, Vaca, Saurashtra-mrittika, Pattanga, Gorocana, Rasanjana, bark of Hemanga (Champaka), the tender leaves of Vata, Kaliya-Kashtha, Padma- kashtha, the filaments of a lotus, both red and white chandana, Mercury[9] and the drugs of the Kakolyadi group should be pasted together with milk. The paste, thus prepared, as well as lard, marrow, wax, clarified butter, milk, and a decoction of the drugs of the Kshira trees should be cooked together. This medicated clarified butter, is the best of all the unguents that may be applied to the face. It cures the most difficult cases of Vyanga and Nilika, and removes all tans, specks, marks, moles, eruptions, etc., from the face. It imparts smoothness to the wrinkled skin, gives a healthy plumpness and bloom to the cheeks, and makes the face as beautiful as a lotus. It should be recommended to kings and to the ladies of the royal court, as well as to persons of the same rank. It acts as a good remedy for cutaneous affections (Kushtha), and may be as well applied in cases of Vipadika. The use of a cosmetic compound consisting of powdered Haritaki, leaves of Nimba, the bark of mango, stems of the pomegranate, and the flowers and leaves of Madyantika pasted together, imparts a god-like effulgence to the complexion of a man. 20-21.


Thus ends the Twenty-fifth Chapter of the Chikitsita Sthana in the Sushruta Samhita which deals with the treatment of a variety of diseases.

Footnotes and references:


Madhava in his compilation reads “stabdhamavedana” (that the swelling is attended with a numbness and no pain) in place of “taharṇavedana” Vagbhata also supports this.—Ed.


Madhava adds “an unsuccessful perforation (in the ear-lobe)” to be an additional cause of this disease. He also reads “tridoṣa”, i.e., “due to the concerted action of the three Doshas” in place of “tvakstho'sau” Madhava has Vagbhata’s support in this.—Ed.


In cases of the predominance of the Vayu, anointment, Anuvasana and poultices should be resorted to. In cases of Pitta-predominance, purgatives should be applied. Emetics should be applied in cases of Kapha-predominance and lastly blood-letting, purgatives and washes, etc., should be resorted to in cases of the affection being due to the concerted action of the vitiated blood and the Pitta.


Sarala here means Dhupa-kashtha, according to Dallana.


Dallana says that this oil should be cooked with cow’s urine weighing four times as much as the oil.


In the cases of cooking an oil, the liquid substance to be used, should be, as a general rule, four times as much as the oil; but in this case, the expressed juice of Bhringa-raja and (the decoction of) Triphala should be continued to be added, so long as the feather does not become deep blue.


According to Dallana, the reading would have been “punarnave” i.e., the two kinds of Punarnava.


One Karsha measure of each of the aforesaid drugs should be taken.


This is the first time that we come across the mention and use of “Parada” (Mercury) in the Sushruta Samhita.—Ed.

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