The Group Of Potherbs

Now we shall deal with the properties of potherbs. The fruits of such creepers as the Pushpaphala, Alavu and Kalindak des-troy the Pittam, generate the Vayu, and slightly produce the Kapham. They tend to increase the discharge of the stool and urine, and are sweet in taste and digestion.

Of these the tender Kushmandas are light in digestion, heat-making in their potency, and contain a greater proportion of alkaline matter. They are appetising, diuretic and pleasant in their effect, and tend to subdue the action of all kinds of deranged humours, and prove whole-some in cases of mental aberration, such as, insanity, etc. The Kalindak tends to reduce the quantity of semen and impairs the eye-sight. It generates both the Vayu and Kapham, while an Alavu is a purgative, produces a condition of parchedness in the system, is heavy in digestion and extremely cooling in its potency. The species, known as the bitter Alavu, is unpalatable and has an emetic property, and subdues the Vayu and Pittam.

The fruits such as the Trapusha, Ervaruka, Karkaru, and Shirna-Vrinta are heavy in digestion and long retained in the stomach in an undigested state. They are palatable, cooling in their potency, generate Kapham, tend to facilitate the discharge of stool and urine, contain a little alkaline matter, and are sweet in taste. A green and tender cucumber subdues the Pittam, while one which is of a pale yellow colour acts as a stomachic. A ripe and yellow Trapusham tends to subdue the Pittam only in the event of its possessing an acid taste. Similarly, ripe Ervarukas and Karkarus generate the Vayu and Kapham, have a sweet taste, and are found to be charged with alkaline matter. They are appetising, relishing and do not inordinately generate the Pittam. A Shirna-Vrinta (water melon) contains a little alkaline matter, is sweet, and purgative. It generates the Kapham is pleasing and appetising in its property, and proves curative in cases of Anaha and Ashthila.

The spices and herbs include the Pippali, Maricha, Shringavera, Ardraka, Hingu, Jiraka, Kustumvuru, Jamviraka, Sumukha, Surasa, Arjaka, Bhustrina, Sugandhaka, Kasamaraddka, Kalamala, Kutheraka, Kshavaka, Ksharapushpa, Shigru, Madhu-Shigru, Phanijhyaka, Sarshapa, Rajika, Kulahala, Benu, Gandira, Tilaparnika, Varshabhu, Chitraka, Mulaka-Potika, Lashuna, Palandu and Kalaya, etc.

Metrical Texts

Potherbs have a pungent taste, are relishing, and heat-making in their potency, and subdue the Vayu and Kapham. They are variously used for seasoning food. Of the above-said spices and herbs, the unripe or immature Pippali is heavy in digestion, sweet in taste, cooling in potency and generates Kapham.

Dried pippali subdues the Vayu and Kapham, acts as a spermatopoietic and slightly soothes the Pittam. Green or unmatured Maricha is sweet of digestion, heavy and phlegmagoguic in its effect. Dry Maricha has a pungent taste, is light of digestion and heat-making in its potency. It is anti-spermatopoietic, destroys the Vayu and Kapham, and slightly subdues the Pittam. The white Maricha is neither too cooling nor too heat-making in its potency, is more efficacious than the two preceding varieties and is specially invigorating to the eye-sight. The Nagaram destroys the Vayu, has a pungent taste, and is sweet of digestion. It is heat-making in its potency, acts as a spermatopoietic and aphrodisiac, is pleasant and imparts a relish to food. It is appetising, light of digestion, and charged with an oily substance. The Ardrakam has a pungent taste, is heat-making in its potency, acts as a pleasant spermatopoietic, subdues the Vayu and Kapham, proves beneficial to the voice, and relieves colic pain and suppression of the stool and distension of the stomach. The Hingu is light of digestion, heat-making in its potency, acts as a digestant, and is appetising. It subdues the Vayu and Kapham, has a pungent taste, is demulcent, laxative and sharp, and relieves colic pain, indigestion and suppression of stool. The Jiraka (whether white or yellow) is sharp and heat-making in its potency, pungent in digestion and imparts a relish to food. It has a pungent taste, is appetising and aromatic, increases the Pittam, and destroys the Vayu and Kapham. The species, known as Karavi and Karavi, like the Upakunchika, are possessed of properties similar to those of the aforesaid Jiraka, and are variously used in seasoning dishes and condiments. Raw or undried Kustumvari (coriander seeds) is sweet, aromatic and pleasant, while in its dried state it is sweet in digestion, acts as a demulcent, allays thirst, and alleviates the burning sensation of the skin. It has a slightly bitter and pungent taste, tends to subdue the deranged humours of the body and purifies its internal channels. Jamvira is digestant, sharp and acts as a vermifuge. It subdues the Vayu and Kapham, and is aromatic, appetising and pleasant. It tends to remove the bad taste in the mouth, and alleviates cough, dyspnoea and diseases due to the action of the deranged Vayu and Kapham or due to poison. The Surasa generates the Pittam, relieves the colic and pain at the sides, while the Sumukha is said to be possessed of the same properties with the exception that it neutralises the effects of poisons brought about through the chemical combination (of several incompatible substances in the organism). The herbs known as the Surasa, Arjaka and Bhustrina destroy the Kapham, are light of digestion, and tend to produce a state of parchedness in the organism. They are demulcent, generate the Pittam, and are heat-making in their potency and pungent in taste and digestion. The herb called the Kasamardaka has a bitter and sweet taste. It subdues the Vayu and Kapham, is a digestant, cleanses the throat and specially subdues the Pittam. The Shigru has a pungent, alkaline, sweet and bitter taste and generates the Pittam, while the Madhu-Shigru variety is laxative, has a bitter and pungent taste; is appetising and removes cedematous swelling of the body. The Sarshapa herbs, as well as those known as Gandira and Vega, can be but imperfectly digested. They tend to suppress the discharge of stool and urine, produce a state of dryness in the organism, are sharp and heat-making in their potency, and serve to derange the three fundamental humours of the body. The herbs called Chitraka and Tilaparni are light 'of digestion), and subdue the Kapham and oedema. The herb known as the Varshabhu subdues the Vayu and Kapham. It proves beneficial in cases of oedema, abdominal dropsy and piles. The Mulaka-Potika has a pungent bitter taste. It is pleasant, appetising, light and throat-cleansing, tends to impart a greater relish to food, and subdues the action of all kinds of deranged humours. Raw or immature Mulaka of the larger species is heavy in digestion and long retained in the stomach in an undigested state. It is irritating and tends to produce a derangement of the three humours of the body, while boiled with oil or butter it acts as a demulcent and subdues the Vayu, Pittam and Kapham.