Authoritative verses on the subject. - The blood of a man is agitated and made hot by fire, and the blood thus heated tends to excite or causes it to raise the bile. And since fire and bile (Pittam) are similar in their taste, essence, effect, potency and natal factors, the effects of Pittam (burning sensation etc.), are naturally aggravated and augmented through a contact with fire. Blisters or vesicles crop up in rapid succession and mark the seat of burning, and fever, thirst, etc., supervene.

Now I shall describe the course of medical treatment to be adopted for the cure of burns. Hot and dry fomentations, as well as warm plasters should be applied to a burn of the Plushtam type, and a course of hot food and drink should be likewise prescribed for the patient. The blood becomes thin when the body is diaphorised by means of warm fomentations, and water, in virtue of its natural cooling properties, tends to thicken the blood. Hence warm fomentations or applications exercise curative virtues in the case of a burn of the foregoing type, and water or cold applications produce the contrary effect. *

Both warm and cold measures are to be adopted in the case of a burn of the Dur-Daghdha type, the medicinal remedies consisting of cold applications and unguents of clarified butter.*

* By arresting the radiation of the incarcerated heat and thereby favouring the elevation of the local temperature and the increase of the burning sensation.

A plaster composed of Tugakshiri, Plaksha, Chandana, Gairika, and Amritam Guduchi), pasted together with clarified butter, should be applied over a burn of the Samyag-Dagdha type, or the flesh of domestic or aquatic or amphibious animals should be pasted and plastered over the affected part. A burn of the present type, marked by excessive burning, should be medicinally treated in the same manner as a case of bilious abscess (Pitta-vidradhi).

In the case of a burn of the Ati-Dagdha (over-burnt) type, the loose or the dangling integuments (skin) and flesh should be removed, and cold applications should be made over the ulcer. Then the affected part should be dusted over with pulverised Shali rice, or a plaster composed of the pulverised skin of Tinduki and clarified butter pasted together, should be applied over its surface. † The affected part should be covered over with the leaves of Guduchi, or of lotus, or other aquatic plants, and all measures and remedial agents, indicated in the case of a bilious erysipelas, should be resorted to in the present instance as well.

* Cold applications and cooling measures should be resorted to in the case of a deep and excessive burn, while the contrary should be held as the correct remedy in the case of a slight and superficial one.

† Several authorities prescribe Tinduki bark and human cranium powdered together and mixed with clarified butter, while others prescribe a decoction of Tinduki bark.

A plaster composed of bee's wax, Madhukam, Sarjarasa, Manjistha, (red) Chandanam and Murva pasted together and boiled with clarified butter should be regarded as beneficial to burns of all types to promote rapid healing.

In the case of a burn from boiling oil, clarified butter or such like substances should be externally applied and all measures which promote dryness of the part (Ruksha) should be adopted without the least hesitation.

Now we shall describe the symptoms which become manifest in a person [whose nostrils and larynx] are choked with smoke. - The respiration becomes laboured and hurried and the abdomen is distended accompanied by constant sneezing and coughing. The eyes look red and seem as if burning. The patient breathes out smoke and fails to catch any other smell than that of it. The sense of hearing is considerably affected; the sense of taste becomes inert; fever, thirst and a burning sensation supervene; and the patient drops down utterly unconscious.

Now hear me discourse on the course of medical treatment to be adopted in the case of one over-powered with smoke. - Emetics in the shape of clarified butter mixed with sugarcane juice or milk saturated with the juice of grapes, or lumps of sugar-candy dissolved in an adequate quantity of water, or any acid potion slightly sweetened, should be administered to the patient. The contents of the stomach are speedily discharged by vomiting; the distension of the abdomen is removed; the smell of smoke in the breath is mitigated, and the accompanying fever with (its concomitants) of sneezing, languor, thirst, cough, laboured breathing etc. is abated, and the patient is restored to consciousness. Gargles having a sweet, saline, acid or pungent (katu) taste restore the sense-perception of the patient, and gladden his mind. Medicated snuffs in adequate quantities should be administered by a well-read physician to such a patient, whereby his head, eyes and neck would be able to resume their normal functions. And a course of diet, which is light, emollient and not acid in its reaction, should be prescribed.

Cooling measures or applications should be prescribed or made in the event of any part of the body being scorched by excessive heat, or by being exposed to a draught of hot and parched wind. Similarly, hot and emollient measures or applications should be resorted to where any part of the body has become frozen or shrivelled by snow or cold winds. A person struck by lightning should be regarded as beyond the pale of medicine.*

Additional Texts

Where the scorching would be found to be considerably extensive; otherwise such measures as lubrication with medicated unguents etc. should be adopted in a case where the patient is picked up alive.

Thus ends the twelfth Chapter of the Sutrasthanam in the Sushruta Samhita which treats of Cauteries and the rules to be observed in their use.