Sushruta Samhita, Volume 6: Uttara-tantra

by Kaviraj Kunja Lal Bhishagratna | 1916 | 113,078 words

This current book, the Uttara-tantra (english translation) is the supplementary part of the Sushrutasamhita and deals various subjects such as diseases of the eye, treatment of fever, diarrhea, diseases resulting from superhuman influences, insanity, rules of health etc. The Sushruta Samhita is the most representative work of the Hindu system of m...

Chapter XXI - Medical Treatment of Ear-disease

Now we shall discourse on the chapter which treats of the medical treatment of the diseases peculiar to the car (Karna-gata-Roga-Pratishedha). 1.

General treatment:—

Potions of clarified butter (after meal), use of Rasayana-measures,[1] renunciation of all sorts of physical exercise, baths without immerging the head, absolute sexual abstinence and abstinence from talkativeness are the general remedies and rules to be prescribed in the affections of the ear in general. 2.

Treatment of the Vataja Ear-diseases:—

The course of medical treatment to be pursued in the four forms of the ear-diseases (all due to the action of Vayu) vis., Karna-shula, Pranada, Vadhirya and Karna-kshveda is the same and is as follows, Sneha should be first administered (both internally and externally) and the patient purged with emulsive purgatives after which the affected locality should be fomented with Vayu-subduing drugs administered in the manner of Nadi-sveda or Pinda-sveda. 3.

A case of Karna-shula (ear-ache), due to the concerted action of the deranged Vayu and Kapha of the locality yield to the application of fomentation to the affected part with (the fumes of) Vilva, Eranda- roots, Arka, Varshabhu, Kapittha, Dhustura, Shigru, Ajagandha, Ashva-gandha, Jayanti, barley and bamboo, boiled in Aranala (fermented rice-gruel) and administered in the manner of Nadi-sveda (fomentation through a pipe). An attack of Karna-shula (ear-ache) yieds to the application of Pinda-sveda made with pieces of boiled flesh of fish, cock or Lava (jointly or severally), or with (balls of condensed) milk. 4–5.

A bowl-shaped cup should be made of the leaves of the Ashvattha soaked in oil and Dadhi-mastu[2] and it should be heated by means of charcoal-fire. The oil, thus heated and made to drop into the affected organ, gives instantaneous relief in a case of ear-ache. The affected organ should be fumigated with the fumes of burning pieces of Kshauma (linen cloth) as well as with clarified butter, Aguru and Guggulu mixed together. Draughts of clarified butter as well as the application of Shiro-vasti after meal are also found beneficial. 6–7.

A rice diet should be foregone in the night, and draughts of clarified butter followed by potions of milk should be taken in its stead. The Shata-paka Vala-Taila[3] should also be prescribed as Shiro-vasti, errhine, as well as Mastikya-Shirovasti and sprinkling. It may also be given internally. Goat’s milk first cooked with Kanta-kari (in the manner of Kshira-paka) and then with the fat (Vasa) of a cock is extremely efficacious (in cases of ear-ache) if used as an ear-drop. 8–9.

The four kinds of Sneha (oil, clarified-butter, lard and animal marrow) duly cooked together with the Kalka of Tanduliyaka, Amkota fruits, Ahimsra, Kendraka- roots, Sarala, Deva-Daru, Lashuna (garlic), Shunthi and the scrapings of bamboo-skin and with the liquids of acid[4] taste (instead of water) should be used as an ear-drop in order to alleviate the aching pain therein, io.

The expressed juice of Lashuna, Shigru, Ardraka, Murangi, Mulaka and (branch of) Kadali jointly or severally poured lukewarm into the cavity of the organ acts as an excellent ear-drop (in case of acute ear-ache). As an alternative, the expressed juice of Shringa-vera mixed with honey, Saindhava, and oil should be used lukewarm as an ear-drop to alleviate the pain therein. Clarified butter[5] duly cooked with the scrapings of bamboo-skin and the urine of a ewe and of a she-goat[6] should also be used as an ear-drop in cases of earache. 11–13.


Pieces of the roots of the major Panca-mula measuring eighteen fingures (figures/fingers?) in length should be covered (extending only to three-fourths of the whole) with a piece of linen and then soaked in oil. The stick so formed, should then be lighted and the oil pouring in drops therefrom should be used lukewarm (as an ear-drop). It instantaneously removes the pain, and is known as the Dipika-Taila. Different kinds of Dipika-Taila may be likewise prepared with pieces of Deva-daru, Kushtha or Sarala wood, and used in the same manner in cases of ear-ache. 14–15.

Tender sprouts of Arka plants pasted with Kanjika (Amla) should be mixed with oil and salt. The paste thus prepared should be placed inside the hollow made in a branch of Snuhi tree and wrapped up with the leaves of the same plant. It should then be scorched in fire in the manner of Puta-paka. The juice should then be squeezed out of it and used lukewarm as an ear-drop to alleviate the pain in the ear. 16.

Different kinds of Ear-drops:—

The expressed juice of Kapittha, Matulunga and Ardraka mixed together and made lukewarm, or the lukewarm Chukra (a kind of Kanjika) should be used as ear-drops in a case of ear-ache. As an alternative, the affected ear should be judiciously dusted with powdered Samudra-phena in such a case. As an alternative, the eight kinds of officinal urines made lukewarm and used as an eardrop may prove efficacious in removing an ear-ache. Similarly, a case of an ear-ache yields to the curative virtue of an ear-drop, composed of the four officinal kinds of Sneha duly cooked with the different kinds of officinal urine and acids (wine, sour-gruel, etc.,) as well as with the Vayu-subduing drugs. 17.

General and Specific treatment of Pittaja Ear-ache:—

The above-mentioned mode of treatment (ear-drops and fomentations, etc.) with the Pitta-subduing drugs should be followed in Pittaja-Karna-shula (ear-ache). The use of the medicated Ghrita duly cooked with milk weighing ten times as much and with the drugs of the Kakolyadi group, as well as the Ghrita[7] duly cooked with the drugs of the Tikta (bitter) group would be found beneficial in such cases. Clarified butter duly cooked with the tender sprouts of Kshira-vriksha (milk-exuding trees), as well as with Yashti-madhu and Chandana wood, or that cooked with the decoction of Vimbi with (the Kalka of) sugar, Yasthi-madhu and the purgative drugs would also be found beneficial. 18-20.

Treatment of the Kaphaja Kama-shula:—

In cases of Kaphaja-Karna shula mustard oil or Ingudi oil will be found beneficial if used as an ear-drop. Decoctions (Yusha) of the drugs of the bitter group, fomentation (Sveda) with Kapha-subduing drugs, as well as the oil cooked with the drugs of the Surasadi, or the major Panca-mula group would be found beneficial. The expressed juice of Matulunga, Lashuna and Ardraka, as well as Shukta, or the oil cooked with any of them should be used as ear-drops in such cases. The use of strong head-purgatives (errhines), or of gurgles is, likewise, recommended in such cases. 21–24.

The medical treatment in a case of ear-ache due to the vitiated condition of the blood should be just the same as that in the case of a Pittaja Karna-shula. 25

Thus we have given a general outline of the course of treatment and remedial measures to be adopted in the four kinds of ear-affections, viz., Karna-shula (earache), Pra-nada, Vadhirya and Karna-kshveda. Now we shall deal with the special recipes and preparations of ear-drops to be employed in cases of deafness (Vadhirya). 26.

Treatment of deafness:—

The oil duly cooked with water, milk and Vilva pasted with cow’s urine (as Kalka) should be used as an ear-drop in cases of deafness. Oil should be first cooked with goat’s milk or the decoction of Vimbi fruit with sugar and Yashti-madhu and Vimbi fruit (as Kalka). When cooled down (it should be churned with the hand and) the Sneha (oily portion) should be separated. This oily part, after being stirred in the decoction of Vilva[8] should again be cooked with milk weighing ten times and with (the Kalka of) sugar, Yashti-madhu and (red) sandal wood. It should then be thickened and used as an ear-drop in cases of deafness. Measures and remedies, which will be mentioned in connection with Pratishyaya[9] (catarrh) or have been already described in the chapter on Vata-Vyadhi[10] Chikitsa may be as well employed with benefit in the present instances. 27–30.

Treatment of Puti-karna, Karna-srava and Krimi-karna:—

The general mode of treatment to be employed in cases of Karna-srava, Puti-kama and Krimi-karna is the same as above. Now here (me describe) the general mode of treatment to be employed in them. Errhines, fumigating, filling up the cavity of the ear (as with an ear-drop), cleansing and washing should be employed according to the exigencies of each case. The affected ear should be washed with the decoction of the drugs of the Raja-vrikshadi or the Surasadi group and filled with the powders of those drugs. In a case of Karna-Srava, the cavity of the affected organ should be filled in with the powders (D. R. decoction) of the Panca-Kashaya[11] drugs mixed with honey and the expressed juice of Kapittha. 31–32.

The use of the powders of Sarja- bark mixed with honey and expressed juice of the Karpasi fruit is recommended in cases of Karna-Srava. A compound consisting of pulverised Laksha and Sarja-rasa (D. R. Rasanjana) should be used in filling up the cavity of the affected organ in the said disease. The oil duly cooked with the tender sprouts of Shaivala, Maha-vriksha, Jambu and of Amra, as well as with Karkata-Shringi honey and Manduki is highly efficacious in these cases. Powders of the barks of Tinduka, Abhaya, Rodhra, Samanga and of Amalaka mixed with honey[12] and the expressed juice of Kapittha should be similarly used. 33–36.

The expressed juice of Amra, Kapittha, Madhaka flower, Dhava and of Shala, or an oil duly cooked with these is likewise recommended as ear-drops in these cases. The oil cooked with Priyangu, Yashti-madhu, Ambalika, Dhataki, Shita-parni, Manjishtha, Lodhra, and Laksha (as Kalka), and with the expressed juice of the sprouts of Kapittha as the liquid, if used as an ear-drop, arrests the secretion in a case of Karna-srava. 37–38.

Treatment of Puti-karna:—

Rasanjana rubbed and dissolved in the breast-milk and mixed with honey proves highly efficacious even in chronic and longstanding cases of Puti-karna attended with fetid discharge. The use as ear-drops of the compound composed of oil, the expressed juice of Nirgundi and honey mixed together arrests an attack of Puti-karna. 39–40.

Treatment of Krimi-karna:—

Vermifuges should be employed for the treatment of a case Krimi-karna. Fumigation[13] of the affected parts with the fumes of (dried) Vartaku, or (the pouring of) mustard oil (into the cavity of the affected organ) is also beneficial in such cases. Vidanga and Haritala (yellow orpiment) mixed with cow’s urine (and used as an ear-drop) as well as fumigating the affected organ with the fumes of (burnt) Guggulu tends to destroy the fetor in the ear due to local parasites. Administration of emetics, smoke-inhalation and gurgles are also beneficial in such cases. 41–42.

Treatment of Karna-Kshveda, Vidradhi, etc.:—

Use of mustard oil as an ear-drop is efficacious in cases of Karna-kshveda.[14] An abscess (Vidradhi) in the ear should be treated as an ordinary abscess. The affected ear should be sufficiently fomented after being filled in with oil so as to soften the filthy deposit in the cavity of the ear, after which the filthy matter should be extracted with a probe or a director (Shalaka). 43–45.

Treatment of Karna-kandu and karna-pratinaha:—

Fumigation of the parts with the help of a tube (Nadi-sveda), exhibitions of emetics, smoke-inhalations, head-purging (errhines), as well as all kinds of Kapha-subduing measures should be resorted to in cases of Karna-kandu. Application of Sneha and of Sveda and then of head-purgatives (errhines) should be made in cases of Karna-pratinaha, and the treatment thereafter should conform to the nature of the specific deranged Dosha of the body involved in the case. 46–47.

Treatment of Karna-paka, etc.:—

Remedies and remedial measures described in connection with Pittaja Visarpa[15] should be used with equal profit in a case of Karna-paka (inflammatory suppuration of the ear). Any filth or vermin, etc., lodged in the cavity of the ear should be removed with the help of a probe, or (by cutting it) with a horn. Cures for the remaining cases of affections in the ear have been described before (in the Chikitsita-sthana, Chapters XVIII, VI and XXIII). 48–50.


Thus ends the twenty-first chapter of the Uttara-Tantra in the Sushruta Samhita which deals with the treatment of the diseases peculiar to the ear.

Footnotes and references:


In place of “Rasāyana” (use of tonic) some read “Rasāśanam” (use of meat-soup with meal).


“Mastu” (curd-cream) is mentioned neither by Vrinda nor by Cakrapāni. According to Videha’s recipe, clarified butter should be used in place of oil in cases of the aggravation of the Pitta.)


For “Valā-Taila”—See chapter XV, Chikitsita Sthāna.


The liquid acids here are Dadhi, Takra, Surā, Chukra (a kind of Kānjika) and the expressed juice of Mātulunga.


Both Vrinda and Cakrapāni read “Taila” (oil) in place of “Sarpih” (clarified butter). But we have the authority of Videha (as quoted by Śrikantha Datta in his commentary on Vrinda) in favour of clarified butter.


Clarified butter should first be cooked with the urine of a ewe and then with that of a she-goat.—Dallana.


Dallana says that Jejjatācārya holds these two recipes as unauthoritative.


In place of “Vilvāmbu-gādham” some read “Vimbi-gādham”, i e., mixed with an abundant quantity of powdered Vimbi fruit.—Dallana.


Chap. XXIV, Uttara-Tantra.


Chapter V and VI, Chikitsita-Sthāna.


According to some, “Panca-Kashāya” means the barks of Āragbadha, Śirisha, Jambu, Sarja and of Asvamāra (Palāśa), but Dallana, on the authority of the authors of the Tikā and the Panjikā, (the two commentaries) refutes this and holds that “Panca-kashāya” means the barks of T induka, Abhayā, Lodhra, Samangā and of Āmalaka enumerated below in this chapter.


Śrikantha Datta in his commentary on Vrinda quotes this couplet, but does not read ‘honey’ there. He reads “tathā” in place of “madhu” |


Dallana explains this to mean fumigation of the affected organ, as well as the use of the same in the manner of smoking.


The use of oil is also recommended in cases of abscess in the ear. In cases of acute and painful Vātaja Vidradhi sesamum oil should be used, whereas in cases of Kaphaja Vidradhi the use of mustard oil is recommended.—Dallana.


In place of ‘Pittaja-Visarpa’, both Vrinda and Chakradatta read ‘Kshataja-Visarpa’.

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