Measures Of Drugs

The weight of twelve middle-sized Dhánya-máshas (corns of paddy) make one Suvarna-máshaka. Sixteen Suvarna-mashakasmake one Suvarna. The weight of nineteen middle-sized Nishpávas (pulse) make one Dharana. Three Dharanas and a half make one Karsha. Four Karshas make one Kudava. Four Kudavas make one Prastha. * Four Prasthas make one Adhaka. Four Adhakas make one Drona. Hundred Palas make one Tulá. Twenty Tulás make one Bhára. This is the measure in respect of dried substances. The quantity should be double J in cases of fresh vegetables and fluids † 11.

* Thirty-two Palas make one Prastha in respect of water: but in respect of non-oily substances a Prastha is equal to twenty Palas, whereas in respect of fresh drugs it is equal to only sixteen Palas.

† Some Drugs, Viz

Vasá, Kutaja, Kushmánda, Prasa'rani Vala, Amrita and Nimba, etc., are invariably employed in their fresh state and the practice is not to take them in double measures in spite of their freshness. Two different kinds of measure have been adopted in the Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia. One is called the Kálinga and the prepared. A Kudava measure of oil should be boiled and cooked with four times as much of the liquid and a Pala measure of pasted drugs (Kalka). This is another process of cooking medicated Snehas (oil, etc.), 14.

The Kasháya-Páka Kalpa

The bark, roots and leaves, etc., of medicinal drugs should be dried in the sun and taken in any of the aforesaid measures, should be cut in small pieces, or pounded, as the case may be, and soaked in a quantity of water * weighing eight or sixteen times their combined weight. They should then be boiled over a fire and the decoction should be taken down from the oven with only a quarter part of the water left. This is the general rule for preparing a decoction (Kasháya). 12.

The Sneha-Páka Kalpa

One part of the Sneha (oil. clarified butter, etc.), four parts of (any one or more) liquid† substances, a fourth part of the medicinal pastes (Kalka) should be boiled together. This is the general rule for the preparation of a medicated Sneha oil, clarified butter, etc.). 13.

Alternative Methods

As an altenative, a Tula measure of the bark, roots and leaves, etc. (as the case may be) of the drugs to be decocted, should be boiled with a Drona measure of water. The water in the preparation should be boiled down to a quarter part of its original quantity and then considered as cooked and other the Mágadha measure. Maharbhi Charaka has adopted the first, but that adopted by Susiuta is the second one.

* Water weighing four times as much as the drugs when the drugs are of a soft consistency and eight times as much when they are hard and sixteen times as much when they are very hard.

† When there are more liquids to be used than one, the general rule is that the total weight of all the liquids would be four times that of the Snehai if not otherwise directed. All this liquid part should, however, be boiled away and the Sneha part should be left before the Sneha is removed from the fire and before it can be fit for use. It should be noted that the cooking of a Sneha should not be completed in one day. - Ed.

Memorable Verses

The foregoing rules should be adopted where no measures would be found to have been specifically given of the Sneha, the liquid and of the drugs, whereas in cases of specification, the specific quantities should be taken. Water should be used as the liquid, where no other liquid would be mentioned by name (in connection with medicating a Sneha, viz., oil, clarified butter, etc. by cooking). Both for the decoction and paste (Kalka), the drugs mentioned in the respective list should be used in preparing a medicated Sneha in the absence of any explicit and specific injunction to that effect. 15.

Now we shall discuss the degrees of medically cooking a Sneha (oil or Ghrita). Mild (Mridu) middling or intermediate (Madhyama) and hard (Khara) are the three degrees which the boiling process undergoes in medically cooking a Sneha. A cooking is said to be mild (Mridu-Paka) when the oil is found to drop off entirely from its drug-paste (Kalka) leaving it dry and sapless; whereas in an act of middle-cooking (Madhyama-Paka) the paste would be found to have become pellucid and non-sticky like wax; a cooking done until the paste (in the Sneha: assumes a little clear, glossy, frothless, black colour is termed strong (Khara-Paka). A Sneha cooked beyond the last-named degree is called a burnt Sneha. A Sneha should, therefore, be properly cooked. A mildly cooked Sneha should be administered in food and drinks. A middling-cooked one for the purposes of errhines and anointments, while a strongly cooked one should be used for the purposes of Vasti-Karma and as ear-drops. * 16.

Memorable Verses

The cooking of a Ghrita should be considered medically complete as soon as the froth and the sound would vanish and the peculiar smell, colour and taste of preparation would be manifest. The medically cooking of an oil resembles in all respects that of a Ghrita with this exception that an abundance of froth appears on the surface of the oil at the completion of the cooking. 17.