Sushruta Samhita, Volume 5: Kalpasthana

by Kaviraj Kunja Lal Bhishagratna | 1911 | 24,963 words

This current book, the Kalpa-sthana (english translation), deals with the nature of poisons, the management of poisons, toxicology 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 as...

Chapter VII - Description and preparation medicated drums

Now we shall discourse on the Chapter which treats of the sounds of a (medicated) drum, etc., possessed of anti-venomous virtues (Dundhubhi-Svaniya). 1.


The woods of Dhava, Ashva-karna, Tinisha, Palasha, Pichu-marda, Patali, Paribhadraka, Amra, Udumbara, Karahataka, Arjuna, Kakubha, Sarja, Kapitana, Shleshmataka, Amkotha, Amalaka, Pragraha, Kutaja, Shami, Kapittha, Ashvmantaka, Arka, Chira-vilva, Maha-vriksha, Arushkara, Aralu, Madhuka, Madhu-shigru, Shaka, Goji, Murva, Tilvaka, Ikshuraka, Gopa-ghanta and Arimeda[1] should be taken (in equal parts) and burnt down to ashes. The said ashes should be dissolved in the urine of a cow and filtered (through a piece of linen) in the manner of preparing an alkali. This alkaline solution should then be duly boiled (till it would assume a transparent blood-red hue and slimy character), and the powders of Pippali- mula, Tanduliyaka, Varanga, Chochaka, Manjishtha, Karanja, Hasti-Pippali, Marica, Utpala, Sariva, Vidanga, Griha-dhuma (soot of a room), Ananta, Soma, Sarala, Vahlika, Guha, Koshamra, white mustard seeds, Varuna, Lavana, Plaksha, Nichula, Vardhamana, Vanjula, Putra-shreni, Sapta-parna, Dandaka, Ela-valuka, Naga-danti, Ativisha, Abhaya, Bhadra-daru Kushtha, Haridra and Vaca together with pulverised (dead) iron (taken in equal parts)[2] should be added to it. Then it should be boiled again and preserved in an iron pitcher after it had been duly prepared in the manner of an alkali. 2.

Metrical Texts:—

Dundhubhis (drums), banners and the gate ways of houses should be smeared with this alkaline preparation, hearing the sound as well as the sight and touch whereof would lead to the complete elimination of the poison from the system of the patient. This medicine is known as the Ksharagada which is equally efficacious in cases of Sharkara (gravel), stones in the bladder, Hemorrhoids, Vata- Gulma, cough, Shula (colic), Udara (abdominal dropsy), indigestion, Grahani, extreme aversion to food, general edema of the body and violent asthma. The remedy is applicable in all cases of poisoning of whatsoever type and acts as a sure antidote to the poison of the serpents headed by the dreadful Takshaka. 3.

Kalyanaka Ghrita:—

An adequate quantity of clarified better duly cooked with (the decoction and Kalka of) the drugs known as Vidanga, Tri-phala, Danti, Bhadra-daru, Harenu, Talisha-patra, Manjishtha, Keshara, Utpala, Padmaka, Dadima, Malati flower, the two kinds of Rajani, the two kinds of Sariva, the two kinds of Sthira, Priyangu, Tagara, Kushtha, the two kinds of Vrihati, Ela-valuka, sandal wood and Gavakshi, is known as the Kalyanaka Ghrita. The curative efficacy of this Ghrita extends to cases of poisoning, Grahapasmara (hysteria due to the influence of malignant stars and planets), Jaundice, Gara dosha (slow chemical poisoning), asthma, sluggishness of appetite, fever and cough. It is commended to consumptive patients, as well as to men suffering from scantiness of semen and women afflicted with sterility. 4.

Amrita Ghrita:—

An adequate quantity of clarified butter duly cooked with the seeds of Apamarga and of the two kinds of Shveta, Shirisha, and Kakatnachi (previously) pasted with the urine of a cow is known as the Amrita-Ghrita. It embraces within the pale of its therapeutic virtues all cases of poisoning and is capable of bringing back an apparently dead man to life. 5.

Maha-sugandhi Agada:—

The follow- ing drugs viz., (red) sandal wood, Aguru, Kushtha, Tagara, Tila-parnika, Prapaundarika, Nalada, Sarala, Deva-daru, Bhadra-shri (white sandal wood), Yava- phala, Bhargi, Nili, Sugandhika, Kaleyaka, Padmaka, Madhuka, Nagara, Jata (a variety of Jata-mamsi), Punnaga, Ela, Elavalu, Gairika, Dhyamaka, Bala, Toya, Sarjarasa, Mamsi, Sita-pushpa, Harenuka, Talisha - patra, small Ela, Priyangu, Kutannata, Shaila pushpa, Shaileya, Patra, Kalanu-Sariva, Tri-katu, Shita-shiva,[3] Kasmarya, Katu-rohini, Somaraji, Ati-visha, Prithvika, Indra-varuni, Ushira, Varuna, Musta, Nakha, Kustumburu, the two kinds of Shveta,[4] the two kinds of Haridra, Sthauneya, Laksha, the five kinds of officinal salts, Kumuda, Utpala, Padma, flower of flowers

and fruits of Champaka, Ashoka, Sumanas, Tilaka (sesamum), Patali, Salmali, Shelu, Shirisha, Surasi, Trina-shuli and of Sindhuvara, flowers of Dhava, Ashva- karna, and Tinisa, Guggula, Kumkuma, Vimbi, Sarpakshi and Gandha-Nakuli should be carefully collected and pasted with honey, clarified butter and the bile of a cow and should be kept inside a horn (or a receptacle made of that material). This medicine, which is the best of all anti-venomous medicinal preparations, would rescue from the jaws of death, a patient even with drooped down shoulders and sunk and upturned eyes. It is capable of destroying in a moment the irresistible fire like poison even of the dreadful infuriated Vasuki, the king of serpents. This Agada which consists of eighty-five ingredients is called the Maha- sugandhi Agada and is the most potent of all anti- venomous remedies. It should constantly be in the possession of a king. Smeared with the present preparation he is sure to be a favourite with all his subjects and to shine with his sovereign majesty even amidst his enemies. 6.

A physician well versed in the natures of poisons, should adopt all remedial measures excepting the heat- engendering ones in all types of poisoning. But this rule would not be applicable in a case of insect-bite inasmuch as the poison of an insect is cool in its potency and hence would be aggravated by the application of any cooling measures. 7.

Rules of diet and conduct:—

Wholesome diets which have been enumerated in the chapter on Anupana-Vidhi, should be prescribed in cases of poisoning after a due consideration of the nature, habit, and temperament of the patient who should be warned against the use of unwholesome ones. The use of Phanita (liquid treacle), Shìgru, Sauvira, the taking of meals before the digestion of the previous ones, the group of Nava-Dhanya (unmatured corn), wine, sesamum, oil and Kulattha- pulse, sleep in the day time, sexual intercourse, physical exercise, fits of anger and exposure to the sun are forbidden in the case of a poisoned patient. 8.

Symptoms of elimination of poison:—

The restoration of the deranged Doshas and of the vital principles (Dhatus of the body) to their normal state, a natural craving for food and drink, the normal colour and condition of the tongue and of the urine and the normal state and functions of the mind and of the sense-organs in a poisoned patient would indicate the full and complete elimination of the poison from his system. 9.


Thus ends the Seventh Chapter of the Kalpa-Sthana in the Sushruta Samhita which treats of the sounds of medicated drums, etc.

Footnotes and references:


The plants of these should be taken in full i.e. with their leaves, roots, branches, etc. The prepared ash should be dissolved in cow’s urine weighing six times the combined weight of the ashes. Dallana says that Gayadāsa does not read “Śirisha, Pichumarda, Kakubha, Arushkara and Madhu-Śigru” in the list.


The total weight of these powders to be added should be one thirtieth part of the prepared alkaline solution. Dallana says that Gayadāsa counts only thirty and he does not read “Marica, Soma, Guhā, Lavana, Chakra and Ala in the text. We do not, however, find Chakra and Ala in the text. We have, on the other hand, the names of some more drugs which are believed to be mere interpolations from the marginal notes of some manuscripts.


Dallana explains “Śita-śiva” to mean “camphor”. Others explain it to mean “Śami.”


The text has “Śvetā” in the dual number meaning the two kinds of “Śvetā” viz; white Vaca and white Aparājitā. Dallana gives only “Vacā” as its synonym, which shows he takes the word in the singular number and not in the dual as in the printed text. This appears to be the correct reading, for otherwise the number of the drugs in the list would be more than eighty-five.

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