Galena or sulphide of lead is called anjana or sauvirάnjana in Sanskrit, and krishna surmά in Vernacular. It is called anjana, which literally meaus collyrium or medicine for the eyes, from the circumstance of its being considered the best application or cosmetic for them. The other varieties of anjana mentioned are srotonjana, pushpάnjana and rasάnjana.

Galena Sans 234Sauviranjana

Sauviranjana is said to be obtained from the mountains of Sauvira, a country along the Indus, whence it derives its name. The article supplied under its vernacular name surma is the sulphide of lead ore. Surma is usually translated as sulphide of antimony, but I have not been able to obtain a single specimen of the antimonial ore from the shops of Calcutta and of some other towns. The sulphide of antimony occurs in fine streaky, fibrous, crystalline masses of a radiated texture. The lead ore on the contrary, occurs in cubic masses destitute of rays and is tabular in its crystalline arrangement.


Srotonjana is described as of white colour, and is said to be produced in the bed of the Jamuna and other rivers. It is called saffed surma in the vernacular, and the article supplied under this name by Hindustani medicine vendors is calcareous or Iceland spar. It is used as a collyrium for the eyes, but is considered inferior to the black surma or galena.


Pushpάnjana is described as an alkaline substance. I have not met with any vernacular translation of this word, nor with any person who could identify or supply the drug. Wilson, in his Sanskrit-English Dictionary, translates the term as calx of brass, but I know not on what authority.1


Rasanjana is the extract of the wood of Berberis Asiatica called rasot in the vernacular. It will be noticed in its place in the Vegetable Materia Medica.

Sauviiranjana or galena is chiefly used as a cosmetic for the eyes, and is supposed to strengthen these organs, improve their appearance and preserve them from disease. It enters into the composition of some collyria for eye diseases. Galena, heated over a fire and cooled in a decoction of the three myrobalans for seven times in succession, is rubbed with human milk and used in various eye diseases.1 Another collyrium prepared with lead is as follows. To one part of purified and melted lead, add an equal portion of mercury and two parts of galena, rub them all together and reduce to powder. Now add camphor, equal in weight to one-tenth part of the mass and mix intimately. This preparation is said to be useful in eye diseases.2 From the composition and uses of lead and galena above described it would seem that by the term surma the Hindus meant sulphide of lead, and not sulphide of antimony as is generally supposed.

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